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Is it me, or does touring with tech toes, bellows, and risers suck?

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  • Is it me, or does touring with tech toes, bellows, and risers suck?

    I finally got a chance to tour with my Meidjo/TXP setup... backcountry snow conditions in the Sierras have mostly kept me at the resort this winter. To my surprise, what bothered me the most was not the fiddly transitions with the Meidjo bindings, nor the weight of the TXP's (though I definitely noticed it).

    My question is: what do you guys do about the bellows flex when touring with a 2-pin toe and heel riser? I felt like half of the energy of each step went into compressing the bellows. I never had this problem with 75mm, and I suspect other NTN bindings that hug the toe don't either. I think this problem is specific to TTS/Meidjo/Lynx bindings... ironically the ones that are supposed to tour the best.

    I don't know if I'm doing something wrong, but it seemed to me that a riser under the mid-foot in front of the duck butt rather than at the heel would be way better... but I haven't seen such a beast. Do others just get used to the energy-sapping bellows? Or not use heel risers?

  • #2
    Are you leaning forward and pushing from your toes when skinning? I think I would notice the bellows flexing if I did that. I try to stand up tall with good posture and use even pressure on the full length of the skin when I climb. I don't notice the bellows flex except for when I slip and have to bend forward to catch myself.

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    • #3
      I agree with cesare, don’t lean to far forward when climbing. Focus on weighting the tails of the skis and don’t use the risers unless you really need them. I personally feel that tech toes and bellow’d boots feel much more natural to me than any other system.
      Function in disaster, finish in style.

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      • #4
        jtb,

        Rarely do I engage a heel riser. I LIKE the flex of the bellows. It allows better grip, especially sans heel riser. I might go to a low riser for a short steep pitch. If a heel riser is required, I'll make my own path at a lower angle.

        ain't no turn like tele!

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        • #5
          Originally posted by jtb View Post
          My question is: what do you guys do about the bellows flex when touring with a 2-pin toe and heel riser?
          We thank sweet baby Jesus? Haha, no but for real, it's interesting how bipolar the consensus is on this. Some folks really like having the bellows for skinning, and some really dislike it. I tried to find an answer with this thread:
          https://www.backcountrytalk.com/foru...ll-efficiently

          The closest we could come to an agreement is that "It depends," on 1). Your own personal biomechanics, and 2). The type of terrain you ski. If you're an overpronator or supinator, that extra flex may help enable the foot to move in a way that propels the ski forward in a straight line. If you see folks with an already-inefficient stride using excessively rigid boots, you'll notice that the accommodation required to move the skis forward in a straight line has to come from the larger muscles/joints, and it looks darn miserable. Much better to let the foot/ankle do the accommodating, and let the larger muscles/joints just take care of propulsion. Likewise, if you're on flattish terrain, you can load things up for a better kick & glide if the boot can flex (hence the reason classic XC ski boots have flexible soles). If you're trudging straight uphill, with essentially zero glide, it absolutely can feel like you're moving backwards with every bit of bellows flex, or having to expend more energy as they collapse.

          Cuff range of motion likely plays some role as well. A flexible bellows coupled with huge ROM can really make your stride feel natural, and enable you to get more glide (thus letting you take advantage of the positives offered by the bellows). The choppy stride required by minimal ROM boots like the TX Pro can exacerbate the unnatural, inefficient sensations. I'm a fairly ugly runner, with a relatively inefficient stride, but I've been told by multiple people that I look very "athletic" skinning. It's not me though, it's the boots.

          I had the same thought re: a midfoot riser rather than a heel riser. This would be easy to test on a TTS, but maybe on a Meidjo too if you use the crampon clip. I don't have the clips, but if you do and want to lend them to me for measurements, I'll 3D print you some risers to try.

          The notion that OP didn't feel the troublesome collapsing sensation in 75mm boots is puzzling. Maybe this is related to the uneven flex commonly associated with TX Pros? Like, the relative inflexibility of the cuff makes the bellows' extreme flexibility stand out that much more. Or maybe it's less noticeable in 75mm boots because you're gradually flexing the boot through the whole stride? Perhaps with tech-toe boots, we subconsciously pivot the boot on the pins into optimal push-off position, then load it and feel the bellows collapse more dramatically (even though you end up in a position with the same amount of flex).

          Hopefully I can test all of these ideas later this season when I get my hands on a Pomoca Pomocup. If anyone sees some cheap used 28.0 Scarpa Aliens for sale, let me know. (Forgive me Sondre, it's just for testing!)

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          • #6
            Wondering if the lack of rearward ROM with the TxPro comes into play for the OP? I dislike skinning with the TxPro more than any other tele boot I've ever owned. But generally speaking, I like touring with the bellows on both 75 and NTN.

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            • #7
              I think that since 75mm touring bindings with a free pivot keep the binding underfoot, they might offer more support for the bellows which lessens this sensation. When you use a riser, try to keep your weight back a bit, and not "toe-in" so hard. This actually will provide better grip over the length of the skin. On terrain where that "toe-in" and kick after you load up the bellows is advantageous, you won't be using a riser. Different techniques for different pitches of skinner. I'll never tour in anything but a bellowed boot, they are too damn comfy.

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              • #8
                I like touring in my TX pros, it sure beats the Crispi WC that I have for resort and the Evo I sold.

                I did find the below flex a little soft so I added carbon plates between the liner and the boot to stiffen that up, it makes touring more stuff too and may solve your problem too. I ordered "rigid" carbon insoles from eBay but you could DIY cheaper (I was in a hurry getting ready for a trip). Bobby and some others had a recommendation in another thread (maybe the one about the Crispi WC?) On cheaper carbon to stiffen up a TX pro

                I noticed annoying Bellow flex on the Scarpa F3 when boot packing, never when touring though on my tts setup.

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                • #9
                  I don't think it sucks. Works great on all TeleTech, Meidjo and Lynx. But I also prefer to have a low or no riser.

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                  • #10
                    Beats having to lift an entire binding with each step.

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                    • #11
                      I also think that it is to a high degree related to poor boot ROM, which in turns tricks people to use high risers. With poor ROM and high risers you can't have an efficient stride. I have never experienced any issues with sagging when I run uphill in jogging shoes in the summer, and with F1's and 2-pins (with low, or even no risers) I don't either have any major issues - although I can experience some sagging if my stride is bad and of balance.

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                      • #12
                        Thanks for the tips. I agree that keeping weight on my heels would probably help. With my old 75mm setup, with the heel riser up, the bellows were already compressed and any pressure on the ball of my foot went into the climb. Walking on my heels sounds unnatural, but I'll try it out.

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                        • #13
                          It's much less effort. Skinning has never been easier. ;-)

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