Dynafit Brake Modification

| January 18, 2010

As a crusading Dynafit Evangelist, I’m loathe to say anything bad about them, but will admit that many times the brakes hang up and don’t deploy. This happens often enough that some of my Dynafit buddies skip the brakes altogether as “they never work anyway.” It seems that this is more common with skis that are right at the brakes limits, like using a 92mm brake on a 91mm ski, which technically should work, but seldom does.

Rather than yarding on the brake legs, (which only makes matters worse as they require a certain geometry to retract and deploy well), I use a Dremel tool and grind off the inside of the plastic tabs.

In the above photo, the leg on the left is stock and the leg on the right has been ground down.  This modification probably voids all sorts of warranties and will get you in trouble with the same authorities who come after people who cut warning labels off of mattresses, but if you enjoy dodging The Man, the modification works for me.

I use brakes on most of my skis mainly out of habit as I often drop my skis on the snow to step into them, and like having them stay in place.  On some super phats, my racing skis and some mountaineering skis, I’ll skip the brakes for weight and simplicity.

Help support StraightChuter.com and get your grind on with a set of Dynafit TLT Vertical ST Alpine Touring Bindings from Backcountry.com. Click on the photo below…


Category: 02 Gear

About the Author ()

Andrew McLean lives in Park City, Utah and is a gear designer, writer, photographer, ski mountaineer, climber, Mountain Unicycle rider and father of two very loud little girls.

Comments (10)

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  1. The Man says:

    Go ahead – trim those brake tabs – cut the tags off your mattress and pillows.

    Son, we live in a world in which
    mattress and pillow tags must be preserved.

    Who’s gonna do it? You?

    I have more responsibility
    than you can fathom.

    You don’t know what I know.
    Tags save lives!

    And my existence,
    while grotesque to you, saves lives!

    But deep down, in places
    you don’t talk about at parties, –

    – you need me preserving those tags.

    I haven’t the time or inclination
    to explain myself –

    – to a man who needs my protection –

    – but questions the way I do it.
    Better just to thank me.

    Or maybe you’d rather do it yourself!

    Either way – I don’t give a damn!

    I’m out here watching! And I’ve about had it with your type! Just remember – one day, you’ll go too far and I’ll be there to nail your ass!!

    Consider yourself warned!

  2. keither says:

    Mine tend to hang up on the metal part of the arm (bar). What, if anything, have you used to keep them smooth sailing? I’ve tried polishing the bar, but have limited success. These brakes seem to work fine or have individual issues…kinda like kids, in a way.


  3. Andrew says:

    Hi Keither – Huh. I’ve never seen that, so I’m not sure how to to fix it. In general, you want to avoid grabbing the two legs and pulling them apart Rambo style as it just makes matters worse. If you do need to actually bend the metal legs, try to hold them in place with some big pliers, then pull the legs out with another pair of pliers. (grabbing kids with pliers also seems to work well)

  4. Andrew says:

    The Man – I was only kidding about the mattress tags. Really. I often dip them in polyurethane just to make sure they are legible and durable. ;)

  5. The Man says:

    Hmm….Polyurethane dipped tags – that’s brilliant. Only a fine upstanding citizen would think of that. Perhaps I’ve mis-judged you. We could really use a guy like you around here at the Bureau. Drop me a line if this blogging thing doesn’t pan out. I can offer excellent pay, great benefits, lots of time off, a cubicle all to yourself, unlimited use of a black Ford Crown Victoria (sorry – no ski rack), and a phone system where no one could possibly get through the gauntlet of menu options and actually reach you. Think about it……….

  6. Ben W says:

    To bend Dynafit brakes clamp a vice on the part of the brake arm that is always parallel to the ski and use a metal pipe, broken ski pole or similar object to bend the arm until it is entirely straight. Then adjust the arm in the vice so when you re-bend it it will be the proper length. Be aware that the brakes will end up being about .25-.5cm wider than the spot at which they are clamped into the vice on each side.

  7. Brad says:

    I am having trouble with one of my brakes retaining clip falling out. It first happened not long after purchasing them and the brake disappeared. I was sent a free replacement and they have been fine until now, a few seasons later. I put my last one in and after a week,gone. Any ideas

  8. Andrew says:

    Hi Brad – I’ve had the same issue before and fixed it by pulling the binding apart, cleaning it, then carefully putting it back together. This assumes you haven’t lost the clip…

  9. Brad says:

    Yup, The clip is gone , as well as the spare I had. When I had it apart I did clean, now I’m skiing half braked. In need of spare parts. Is there such a thing?

  10. Steve says:

    I have a BD Justice ski that is 115 underfoot. The problem with the Dynafit brake isn’t so much the deployment angle but with the ridiculously short brake arms. If you compare the Dynafit brake arms with any wide alpine ski brake, you will see that the Dynafit brake is at least 1″-2″ shorter.

    If the ski is placed on any snow surface where the tip and or tail isn’t lower than the brake, the brake barely contacts the snow (no more than 3/8″). This can be a serious problem especially when stepping into the binding on a side hill in very light powder or hard snow.

    Rebending the brake arms will help but not enough to prevent a runaway ski.

    As for the retaining clip, if you even once push the brake arms forward the retaining clip can be forced out. This can happen when prying one’s skis apart after carrying them hooked together.

    I have spoken to several Dynafit owners who use safety straps in addition to or instead of the brakes.

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