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Dynafit TLT Speed Review

These simple bindings are nothing flashy, and that is a good thing
Dynafit TLT Speed
Photo: Dynafit
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Price:  $450 List | $449.95 at Backcountry
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Simple and reliable
Cons:  Sticky heel piece, no brakes, limited heel lift range
Manufacturer:   Dynafit
By Jediah Porter ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Oct 22, 2019
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63
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#11 of 16
  • Touring Performance - 30% 7
  • Downhill performance - 25% 5
  • Weight - 25% 7
  • Ease of Use - 15% 5
  • Durability - 5% 8

Our Verdict

Visually, and in terms of performance, the Dynafit TLT Speed virtually disappears. The subtle and basic performance, packed up in a svelte black form, isn't seeking attention. These bindings do their job reliably and quietly. These are good things unless you want high-end downhill performance, the absolute lightest weight, or maximum usability attributes. Other bindings provide one or more of these upgrades, such that the TLT Speed ends up appearing pretty "average". Our scoring bears that out, putting the TLT Speed smack in the middle of our scoring rubric. It's a great all-around, lightweight ski binding for backcountry skiing. As long as you aren't hucking cliffs or skiing Mach 2, the TLT Speed will keep up and lighten your load. Other options are close in weight and performance, with only marginal improvements.

Compare to Similar Products

 
Dynafit TLT Speed
This Product
Dynafit TLT Speed
Awards  Editors' Choice Award Editors' Choice Award   
Price $449.95 at Backcountry
Compare at 2 sellers
$549.95 at Backcountry
Compare at 2 sellers
$450 List$500 List$445 List
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Pros Simple and reliableLight, solid, just the right set of featuresLight, innovative downhill performanceLight, simple, advanced features for the weightLight, simple
Cons Sticky heel piece, no brakes, limited heel lift rangeNot ideal for truly hard-charging downhill skiersunsophisticated heel lifters, untested aftermarket brakeCrampon mount and brakes not included, heavier than closest competitionLimited release functionality, no brakes, only one heel elevation
Bottom Line You want your backcountry ski bindings to virtually disappear on your feet and skis; these do exactly that, most of the timeIf you truly need more performance features than this lightweight binding provides, you fall into a tiny sliver of skiers at the hard-charging end of the spectrumFor any sort of human-powered wild skiing, this is a reliable choiceFor the weight and cost, you get great functionality and featuresFor moderate backcountry skiing, these bindings could be just the ultralight ticket you need
Rating Categories Dynafit TLT Speed Atomic Backland Tour Marker Alpinist 12 G3 Zed 12 Plum R170
Touring Performance (30%)
7
8
7
8
7
Downhill Performance (25%)
5
6
7
7
3
Weight (25%)
7
7
8
6
9
Ease Of Use (15%)
5
8
7
8
10
Durability (5%)
8
9
7
6
8
Specs Dynafit TLT Speed Atomic Backland Tour Marker Alpinist 12 G3 Zed 12 Plum R170
Weight (pounds for pair) 1.32 lbs 1.26 lbs 1.18 lbs 1.97 lbs .88 lbs
Weight of one binding, grams 199g
Release value range 6 to 12 "Men", "Women", "Expert" 6 to 12 5 to 12 8 Fixed
Stack height. (mm. average of toe and heel pin height) 35 37 36 41 34
Toe/Heel Delta. (mm difference in height between heel pins and toe pins) 8.5 10 3 4 4
Brake options 75, 90, 105 mm 80, 90, 100, 110, 120 90, 105,115 mm 85, 100, 115, 130 mm No brakes
ISO/DIN Certified? No No No No No
Ski Crampon compatible? Yes. "Standard" Dynafit/ B&D style. Yes. "Standard" Dynafit/ B&D style. Yes. "Standard" Dynafit/ B&D style. With aftermarket part. Only G3 brand. With aftermarket part. Best with Plum brand. "Standard" Dynafit/B&D style ski crampons can be lightly filed to work.

Our Analysis and Test Results

The TLT Speed from venerable tech binding manufacturer Dynafit is a sort of hybrid. It combines attributes of race bindings for light weight while adding features that enhance usability for the masses. Like many "hybrid" pieces of equipment, performance is literally compromised. Does this set of compromises hit your sweet spot? Read on to learn more.

Performance Comparison


Testing the TLT Speed bindings on a long, solo slog...
Testing the TLT Speed bindings on a long, solo slog (#elaborateselfie) to Wyoming's Jedediah Smith Peak. For a vision quest like this, reliable bindings are clutch. The TLT Speed didn't let us down.
Photo: Jediah Porter

Touring Performance


In terms of touring performance, we look at pivot range and resistance and heel elevations. The TLT Speed has virtually zero pivot resistance and a wide range of motion. While we never had any issues, there are widespread reports of boots disengaging the toe piece of the TLT Speed in regular use. It seems to be correlated to boot size and model. The issue, more specifically, is in touring mode, when doing anything that extends one's foot to the very front of the pivot range (as when doing a kick turn). In this situation, some boots apparently disengage the lock and push the ski entirely off your foot. Again, we did not have this issue at all. Nonetheless, reports are frequent and reliable enough that they deserve mention here.

Powder snow conditions and an iced up TLT Speed heel piece. The heel...
Powder snow conditions and an iced up TLT Speed heel piece. The heel lifters, in some conditions, can freeze in place.
Photo: Jediah Porter

There are three heel elevations on the TLT Speed, just like on the Editors Choice winners. The three TLT elevations, though, are all relatively close together. The overall range is more like that covered by the two lower levels of these other bindings. Three levels should bump up the touring score, but the fact that all three are so close together negates this.

The low profile and carefully cast toe piece of the TLT Speed shows...
The low profile and carefully cast toe piece of the TLT Speed shows Dynafit's long tenure in this field. These toe pieces are simple and excellent.
Photo: Jediah Porter

Downhill Performance


Downhill performance is right in the league of most of the bindings we tested. Stack height, toe/heel delta, and energy transmission are about average. There is virtually no binding elasticity with this sort of binding design. Release value is adjustable, but not certified by an external body. There are no ski brakes in the event you lose a ski. You must use leashes in any situation where losing a ski would be even slightly bad.

This set of downhill performance attributes is pretty standard. Some are much better, of course. Hybrid tech/standard bindings are much better downhill, while others don't have any adjustable release. The Editors Choice and others in this same weight class have similar downhill performance. More and more bindings in this weight class now add some spring tension in the heel piece that allows for a sort of "forward pressure" or ski flex allowance that enables at least a little release elasticity. The TLT Speed does not have this forward pressure. Discerning skiers in high energy turns may notice this otherwise very subtle difference.

The heel pins of the TLT Speed, inserting into the heel of our Top...
The heel pins of the TLT Speed, inserting into the heel of our Top Pick AT boot, Scarpa Alien RS.
Photo: Jediah Porter

Ease of Use


Simple products are easy to use. Dynafit has been in the business of making simple and easy to use ski bindings for a long time. In some ways, the TLT Speed is the culmination of decades of usability refinement.

In this photo is the heel piece, in tour mode, with a boot hovering...
In this photo is the heel piece, in tour mode, with a boot hovering just above. The middle heel riser is deployed. The high heel lift is stowed over the rearward facing silver heel pins.
Photo: Jediah Porter

Stripped down, but with some important luxuries, one could say that the TLT Speed represents maximum ease of use. Our testing bears this out. We had a fine time with these bindings. The one issue we had was in rotating the heel piece from tour to ski mode. On a couple of occasions, occasions in which we are confident the mechanism wasn't frozen, something bound up in the heel piece to make turning it very very difficult. We got it to turn each time, but it took great strength to do so.

In some conditions, turning the heel piece of the TLT Speed from ski...
In some conditions, turning the heel piece of the TLT Speed from ski to tour mode proved very difficult. Here, OGL tester Ian McEleney wrestles with the binding in conditions that aren't as icy and cold as they look.
Photo: Jediah Porter

Weight


For the price and the functions, the TLT Speed is light enough. You can readily pay more for far less weight, but you also suffer some ergonomic and usability compromises. These are light bindings, in the grand scheme of things.

Durability


We had absolutely no issues with the TLT Speed and anticipate none further. The construction is robust, calling on years of Dynafit experience in the field.

To go from ski to tour mode, the heel piece of the TLT Speed must be...
To go from ski to tour mode, the heel piece of the TLT Speed must be turned, by hand, 180 degrees.
Photo: Jediah Porter

Value


For absolute value, the Dynafit Speed Turn is definitely better. You pay a premium for just a little bit of upgrades with the TLT Speed.

TLT Speed bindings on OGL tester skis approaching an alpine climbing...
TLT Speed bindings on OGL tester skis approaching an alpine climbing mission in Grand Teton National Park.
Photo: Jediah Porter

Conclusion


Simple, basic bindings for all kinds of human-powered high and wild skiing. Overall the TLT Speed is about average. There are some pros and some cons, of course. The end result is maybe a good value, and definitely something you should consider.

Jediah Porter