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ATK Trofeo Review

Sturdy skimo race bindings that can readily be pressed into all-around backcountry use
atk trofeo at bindings review
Credit: Black Diamond
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Price:  $500 List
Manufacturer:   Black Diamond Equipment
By Jediah Porter ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Nov 8, 2022
71
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#7 of 21
  • Weight - 35% 9.0
  • Downhill Performance - 25% 3.0
  • Touring Performance - 20% 6.0
  • Ease of Use - 15% 10.0
  • Durability - 5% 9.0

Our Verdict

The ATK Trofeo follows what is proving to be a pretty "standard" formula for sturdy skimo race bindings. Across all the brands, standard skimo race bindings are all pretty darn similar. You get a mostly-metal toe piece with a locking lever and a heel piece mounted at a fixed length and that spins in place for release and mode change. You get a flap to cover the pins for uphill riser mode. All this, in this case and across the market weighs somewhere around 140-160 grams per foot. Differences between the different brands are nonexistent to very subtle.
REASONS TO BUY
Light
Simple
Proven
REASONS TO AVOID
Limited feature set
Sticky heel flap
Editor's Note: We tested the ATK Trofeo, mounted to wide powder skis, through the entire 2021-22 ski season. At the time it was sold as the "Black Diamond Helio 145". It is currently sold, and described here, as the Trofeo, but a keen eye will note that our photos have Black Diamond branding.

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atk trofeo at bindings review
This Product
ATK Trofeo
Awards  Editors' Choice Award Editors' Choice Award  Best Buy Award 
Price $500 List
$412.99 at Amazon
$599.95 at Backcountry
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$349.95 at Backcountry
Overall Score Sort Icon
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57
Star Rating
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Pros Light, simple, provenLight, solid, adjustable, three heel lifts, good brakesLight, innovative downhill performanceLight, simpleSurprisingly durable for how light they are, killer price, lighter than most
Cons Limited feature set, sticky heel flapNo certification, limited release adjustmentUnsophisticated heel lifters, untested aftermarket brakeLimited release functionality, no brakes, only one heel elevationNo brake option, heel risers are more of a pain to learn
Bottom Line Sturdy skimo race bindings that can readily be pressed into all-around backcountry useThis minimalist binding has exactly what most of you should want, and nothing you don’t needThese are excellent all around functioning bindings made for human powered skiingSuperlight bindings for light to medium duty backcountry skiing; choose these for simplicity and their all-metal constructionA simple binding design that has been proven over decades now, available for a fraction of the price of others
Rating Categories ATK Trofeo Atomic Backland Tour Marker Alpinist Plum R170 Dynafit Speed Turn 2.0
Weight (35%)
9.0
7.0
8.0
9.0
5.0
Downhill Performance (25%)
3.0
7.0
7.0
3.0
4.0
Touring Performance (20%)
6.0
8.0
7.0
7.0
7.0
Ease of Use (15%)
10.0
8.0
7.0
10.0
7.0
Durability (5%)
9.0
9.0
7.0
8.0
10.0
Specs ATK Trofeo Atomic Backland Tour Marker Alpinist Plum R170 Dynafit Speed Turn 2.0
Weight (pounds for pair) 0.73 1.26 1.18 0.88 1.63
Weight of one binding and screws, grams. Lightest possible configuration (no brakes). 166 286 297 199 370
Weight of 2 bindings, grams. Multiple options are noted where we have tested multiple options. 331 572. 770 with brakes 594. 796 with brakes 398 740
Release value range 1 to 10 "Men", "Women", "Expert" 4 to 10 8 Fixed 4 to 10
Stack height (mm. average of toe and heel pin height) 31 37 36 34 38
Toe/heel delta (mm difference in height between heel pins and toe pins) 1 10 3 4 17
Brakes? No Optional Optional No No
Brake width options N/a 80, 90, 100, 110, 120mm 90, 105, 115mm N/a N/a
ISO/DIN Certified? No No No No No
Ski Crampon compatible? Yes. "Standard" style. Not all crampons will be cross-compatible Yes. "Standard" style. Not all crampons will be cross-compatible Yes. "Standard" style. Not all crampons will be cross-compatible With aftermarket part. Best with Plum brand. "Standard" Dynafit/B&D style ski crampons can be lightly filed to work. Yes. "Standard" style. Not all crampons will be cross-compatible

Our Analysis and Test Results

The ATK Trofeo is a long-standing design only recently more available in the United States. It is reliable and simple. It is also caught up in some branding and rebranding situations that lend confusion to the shopper's landscape. The pair we tested, for instance, were branded by Black Diamond but are available now as the ATK Trofeo.

Performance Comparison



atk trofeo at bindings review - for mellow ski touring in incredible locations (here, alaska) the...
For mellow ski touring in incredible locations (here, Alaska) the ATK Trofeo's weight savings is well worth the compromise in downhill performance.
Credit: Jediah Porter

Weight


Our tested ATK Trofeo bindings, including the mounting screws, weighed 166 grams per foot. Note that weights are often cited without screws. One could argue that screws should be included because bindings always require screws. Why not include them, then? One could use the same argument on the other side. "All bindings use screws. Their weight is pretty standard". Tipping the balance of this somewhat pointless argument, though, is the fact that not all bindings use the same number of screws. For this reason, we include the screws in our weight citations.

The ATK Trofeo is light. For what it does, it isn't the lightest and one can now get significantly more performance for nearly the same weight among other products. Nonetheless, we are talking differences of tens of grams. The ice you didn't chip off at the last transition definitely weighs more than the differences we are talking about.
atk trofeo at bindings review - pairing tiny bindings with huge skis isn't super common, but there...
Pairing tiny bindings with huge skis isn't super common, but there is a great deal of logic here. Big skis should be confined to powder skiing. Powder skiing requires very little downhill performance sophistication from your bindings.
Credit: Jediah Porter

Downhill Performance


The ATK Trofeo holds your boot to the ski in normal to mildly extreme downhill skiing circumstances. What do we mean by "mildly extreme downhill skiing"? We're talking about extreme terrain at mellow speeds or mellow terrain at extreme speeds. Use other bindings (and a rescue/film crew in a nearby helicopter…) for extreme terrain at extreme speeds. It releases in some falls under some amount of force. Performance while skiing and releasing is certainly not the most sophisticated. There is no third party certification backing up the release values and there are no extra springs or release elasticity to enhance retention or elasticity. There are no ski brakes with the ATK Trofeo.
atk trofeo at bindings review - atk trofeo heel pieces. at the time of purchase you choose your...
ATK Trofeo heel pieces. At the time of purchase you choose your desired release value. It is not adjustable once you purchase. See the "10" embossed on each of these bindings, indicating the release value.
Credit: Jediah Porter

Touring Performance


How do we separate weight from "Touring Performance"? Well, weight is the biggest determinant of uphill efficiency. Everything else that informs touring efficiency gets examined under "Touring Performance". The ATK Trofeo has excellent toe piece range of motion and the minimal construction collects minimal icing. There are only two heel levels: flat on ski and mid-height.
atk trofeo at bindings review - atk trofeo toe pieces. this is the same design used by many atk (and...
ATK Trofeo toe pieces. This is the same design used by many ATK (and rebranded ATK) bindings. It is proven and simple. Note the asymmetrical spring position. This is not normal, but works very well for ATK.
Credit: Jediah Porter

Ease of Use


Transitions between up and down are typical of all race style bindings. The main thing that differentiates race bindings from one another is the "stickiness" of the heel pin flap. Some bindings are very sticky to keep the flap in place, while others have zero stickiness and instead rely on each step to push and hold down the flap. We like the latter. The Trofeo heel flap has mid-range stickiness.

Durability


We had no issues with the durability of the ATK Trofeo and know of no reliable reports indicating any pattern of issues. AT Bindings are interesting. The lightest gear in other categories will be the least durable. In the case of AT bindings, gear across the entire lighter half of the spectrum (excluding the absolute lightest, purpose built race-only bindings) is more reliable than heavier options.

atk trofeo at bindings review - race bindings like the atk trofeo are integral to modern "ski...
Race bindings like the ATK Trofeo are integral to modern "ski alpinism".
Credit: Jediah Porter

Should you buy the ATK Trofeo?


Yes. If you want classic, simple race bindings for backcountry skiing the ATK Trofeo is a great choice. That said, all the other options in this category are also good. You can't really go wrong.

What Other AT Bindings Should You Consider?


In this same weight range and overall design we also like the Plum R170. The 170 comes with an adjustment plate (something you can also add on to the Trofeo). A direct comparison to what we tested here is the Plum R145. Even lighter than the Trofeo, and therefore very limited in backcountry application, is the Plum Race 99. If you like this weight range but want adjustable release and more heel lifter levels, check out the Top PIck Dynafit Superlite 150. The Dynafit weighs 13 grams more but adds those two significant features. With more features, though, comes more potential failure modes.

Jediah Porter
 
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