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ntn freedom tips thread redux

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  • ntn freedom tips thread redux

    Hey everyone, first post here. When Ttips cratered one of the first things I thought was "Oh no, the NTN Freedom tips thread!" I had only skimmed it, thinking if/when I got some then I'd go over it in depth. I'd done my time as a way-early adopter for NTN and figured I'd let someone else do the trail cutting for the Freedom. Of course, just when my new Freedoms were delivered, Ttips went TU. I was reading there less as the junk-show got out of hand.

    So I see that tele.skier is here, always a strong source of practical tele gear info, along with a few others. Maybe I can get the short version of things to look for with my new Freedoms. I remember something about shimming the heel piece, but the details and other issues escape me. I'd appreciate any tidbits that could be dredged from the collective memory.

    Since there isn't a technical discussion sub-forum here (yet), I just started this topic right in the middle of everything. Hope it's okay that it isn't centered around old gossip and odd forum personalities.

    backcountry in northern New Mexico

  • #2
    here are a couple things:

    1) Some people (including me) have had trouble with the heel lifter falling down. Many have had no problem. Some have fixed it by enlarging the notches. That only worked ok for me (snow would get in blocking the engagement after flipping it up and down a few times- taking the ski off and working it back and forth to get the snow out works but who wants to have to do that). I replaced mine with my old Hammerheels, which also avoids the need to shim since they are taller. I just love those anyway- fastest & easiset up/down around. I don't care about not having a second, lower bar like the Freedom heel has- ymmv.

    2) If you choose to shim the existing ones (or use a Hammerheel) it makes it slightly harder to get the binding on, so you want to shim the middle pink plastic piece too.

    3) B&D (not Black Diamond- B&D) makes ski crampons for them if you want them. But if you get them, a shim on the pink plastic piece can cause them not to fit right. If you intend to use these, I wouldn't bother shimming the Freedom heel, it's not that big a deal to have a bit of a low heel I don't think.
    Last edited by Tele 'til You're Smelly; 6 September 2013, 02:51 PM.
    Reluctant enthusiast, part-time crusader, half-hearted fanatic


    • #3
      Originally posted by televisionary View Post
      I just started this topic right in the middle of everything. Hope it's okay that it isn't centered around old gossip and odd forum personalities. TIA
      That's the idea. Start here. The moderators will move things when they need to be into the categorized, archival sub-forums or nuked as needed.
      Last edited by Dostie; 6 September 2013, 02:58 PM.

      ain't no turn like tele!


      • #4
        No doubt there was a ton of good info in the TTips archives. I think that's the real loss of TTips. You could find a lot of good opinions on things if you know how to search.

        To be brief,.. Nils first noticed the low heel on the freedom binding. When I skied my first 100 yards on freedoms, I fell down 3 times... With my cuffs locked in the most upright position, (I can explain why I do that another time) my hips were in the "back seat" in my normal relaxed stance position. The skis were very slow to respond. The shim cured that back seat feel for me. I think you can also chose to lock your boot cuff in the more forward leaning position and that will move your "hip center" forward too, but it's less energy efficient to ski that way. The shims are worth trying... I like them in combination with a more upright cuff position.

        I have freerides on all my resort skis, but have gone to inserts for the freedom binding on my touring skis. That really made testing the shims easy. I skied a lap without them, then took 5 minutes to install them and skied a lap. No question that the shims made both NTN bindings feel more similar to each other than the low heeled version of the freedom. (except maybe the freedom binding engages the springs earlier which makes them feel a little more powerful even with softer springs)

        I like the inserts and the freedom binding combination. I can add or remove the brakes when I resort ski or tour... If you mount freedoms permanantly, you have to chose one or the other in a more permanant way.
        Last edited by tele.skier; 6 September 2013, 04:07 PM.
        the fall line is your friend.... resistance is futile


        • #5
          Thanks guys! Anyone else?
          backcountry in northern New Mexico


          • #6
            It looks like Freedoms will be on my set-up this winter. Does anyone remember how thick (mm's or inches) that folks were making the heel shims? What were they using for shim material? polyethylene?

            In the event Dostie is listening, I vote for not subdividing the forums into different sub-forums. I enjoy scanning the titles of the technical and social threads all in one place and then choosing and reading as time permits. I find I just have the time and inclination to go to a General Forum, and don't usually go much further. I belong to a Whitewater forum in the Northeast that has over the last year further sub-divided their forums. Now it seems that none of the forums get a critical mass to remain vibrant and it may be one of the reasons that that particular message board is shrinking - except for the "gear for sale" forum. There is always interest in buying and unloading used boats and stuff.


            • #7
              Any hydrophobic plastic is good. Polyethelene would certainly work and cut easier than the polycarbonate I used to make my shims. I tried 2 thicknesses of polycarbonate. In my world they were a skinny 1/8th, and 3/16th of an inch. The 1/8th was certainly an improvement over the standard low heel, but I liked the 3/16th thickness polycarbonate, so I went with that.

              Click image for larger version

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              the fall line is your friend.... resistance is futile


              • #8
                Much of the old TTips thread content is still available in Google's cached pages. Google search for "ntn freedom thread tips and tricks", and rather than clicking the links for the various Google search results, click instead on the little triangle on the right below each link, and if you see an option for "Cached" there then click it to view Google's cache of that page. See my post on finding lost TeleTips content in Google caches if that's not clear. Grab the content now, 'cuz there's no telling how long Google will maintain their cache of these dead pages.


                • #9
                  Certainly buying the torx wrenches and making a small set part of your kit was an important tidbit. They need to be checked periodically.

                  The bindings can ice up, so keeping them free of snow is a good idea when possible. Don't flip them upside down into the snow so you can sit on them. That's an esp bad idea with the Freedoms.

                  There's also James messing with installing fixed Voile crampons underfoot. You can do it if you grind part of the lip off the brake itself. I went with the dynamic B&D crampon route.
                  Drive the cuff!


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Berkshire Jack View Post
                    It looks like Freedoms will be on my set-up this winter. Does anyone remember how thick (mm's or inches) that folks were making the heel shims? What were they using for shim material? polyethylene?
                    Personally I like mine without a shim, the stock heel height works well for me.

                    In addition to personal preference, I think it also depends on the boots. Some boots are more high in the heel relative to the forefoot than others.


                    • #11
                      here's the issue with heel height...

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                      Notice how the shin angle is fixed in all three drawings. This illustrates what a boot with a locking cuff does to a skier. It gives you leverage, but it also determins the efficiency of your full extension position, and some of the necessary compensation a skier must make to stay balanced in othe positions..

                      Too verticle of a shin, puts your hips in the back seat.

                      Too much forward lean and the skier needs to bend his knees more to move his hip center backwards which is less energy efficient.

                      The critical angle in the stick figure drawings is the skier's shin angle to the ski. There's only 2 ways to change that basic angle with plastic boots if the shin angle is too verticle. One way is to lock the boot cuff in a more forward position, and the other way is to change the height of the heel/toe height relationship..

                      Since I don't like my knee over the ball of my foot all day pressing on my cuff when I am standing in a relaxed position. I prefer my cuff locked in the most elevated position, and I shimmed the heel height to give me the optimum shin angle, and the least amount of shin pressure on my boot cuff in the full extension position...

                      *B, I am curious to know if you lock your boot cuff, and what forward lean detent do you lock it in? thanks...
                      Last edited by tele.skier; 9 September 2013, 08:37 PM. Reason: to appear to know WTF I am talking about....
                      the fall line is your friend.... resistance is futile


                      • #12
                        I do typically descend with locked cuffs. Regarding the angle, it depends. I used to choose the least forward locked position. Now I may go with the most forward one that does not produce discomfort or imbalance. What feels right probably depends on the boot; and the binding, terrain and conditions.


                        • #13
                          Not much of an advocate for high heels. IOW - I LIKE the low heel of Rottefella's Freedom. But then, I like low climbing posts and I ski with my boots in walk mode too. Where do I fit in tele.skier's table of body positions? I like to think row 1, but his description makes me think row 2, but I don't suffer the trouble implied by that graphic either. tele.skiers explanation makes sense, but it doesn't affect me.

                          The main thing is Rottefella created a ramp on the toe of the Freedom which helps to engage the bellows flex sooner. Overall I think it is one of the sweetest flexing tele systems available.

                          ain't no turn like tele!


                          • #14
                            The critical aspect that determins everything else is the angle of the skier's shin. If you don't lock your boot cuff, then you control your shin angle NOT the boot.

                            The effect I am talking about does not apply to boots where the skier has the ablility to have the angle of his ankle in an adjustable position... IE, skiing with your boot cuff unlocked or skiing on leathers. The most natural adjustment to make for any biped to be balanced while standing on any surface is to stand errect and let the ankle angle vary to keep your balance...

                            Ski boots with a locked cuff, don't allow your ankle's angle to change,... So if your cuff is locked at a 90 degree angle, and your heel is lower than your toe,.... YOUR shin is past verticle... and seeing as a human knee can't flex in the reverse direction, your centering will be in the back seat like figure B1.

                            All I am saying is that you can remedy an incorrect "SHIN" angle in 2 ways.

                            Change the locking cuff angle... Or unlock it

                            Adjust the heel height so the cuff can be locked at the working lean angle....

                            *the whole purpose of this is the be balanced and well centered and have the most efficient neutral position when the skier isn't driving the cuff of the boot (IE, the ski) Figure A1

                            If you have too much shin angle like the Figure C series, then you are only centered when your hips only move backward when you compress,.... SO usually a skier stays in a slightly compressed stance in his neutral position, Figure C1, which is more exhausting muscularly.
                            the fall line is your friend.... resistance is futile


                            • #15
                              That is one reason why I prefer to ski in walk mode--so I can control my shin angle. I feel a lot more balanced. I think this concept goes beyond just NTN Freedoms and is relevant to all free heel binding systems. When the shin angle is locked--or effectively locked by a boot that is stiff enough to make it difficult to flex your ankles--your ability to ski in balance is going to depend on adjustments to the geometry that allow you to stand in balance. Just having your heel slightly lower in a stiff boot with a locked cuff can make a large difference in your fore-aft balance. The sensitivity of the system to small changes in geometry is quite pronounced.

                              My only area of slight disagreement would be to suggest that there are three ways to remedy an incorrect shin able, the two included as your first being dynamically different. When you unlock your cuff by skiing in walk mode you gain a much greater range of motion that you can use to control your shin angle. Conversely, if you change the shin angle but keep the boot locked, you are still working with a smaller range of motion but obviously much greater ability to exert pressure at the ski tips. The skiing technique will evolve differently in those two scenarios. Not saying one is better or worse, right or wrong, just that they are quite different in how you ride the skis.