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.
Dynafit TLT Speed Review
Compare prices at 2 resellers Pros: Simple and reliable
Cons: Sticky heel piece, no brakes, limited heel lift range
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|Pros||Simple and reliable||Light, solid, just the right set of features||Solid, reliable ski bindings, excellent toe piece entry and easy heel lifter transitions||Super light, adjustable for length, proven design, widely available||Surprisingly durable for how light they are, killer price, lighter than most|
|Cons||Sticky heel piece, no brakes, limited heel lift range||Not ideal for truly hard-charging downhill skiers||No ski brake option, heavier than bindings with the same or more features||No brakes, limited release adjustment, no heel lifters||No brake option, heel risers are more of a pain to learn|
|Bottom Line||These simple bindings are nothing flashy, and that is a good thing.||This minimalist binding has exactly what most of you should want, and nothing you don’t need.||These Canadian bindings use a now-proven overall design and include the latest of the greatest usability benefits. We only wish they were lighter.||The Helio bindings suffer none of the special problems we’ve encountered in other ultralight bindings. For this, they earn our Top Pick award.||A simple binding design that has been proven over decades now; with an economy of scale and few design changes in many years, these are available for a fraction of the price of others.|
|Rating Categories||Dynafit TLT Speed||Atomic Backland Tour||G3 Ion LT 12||Black Diamond Helio 180||Dynafit Speed Turn 2.0|
|Touring Performance (30%)|
|Downhill Performance (25%)|
|Ease Of Use (15%)|
|Specs||Dynafit TLT Speed||Atomic Backland Tour||G3 Ion LT 12||Black Diamond...||Dynafit Speed Turn...|
|Weight (pounds for pair)||1.32||1.82||2.13||0.8||1.63|
|Release Value Range||6 to 12||"Men", "Women", "Expert"||5 to 12||6 to10||4 to 10|
|Stack Height (mm. average of toe and heel pin height)||35||37||46||39||38|
|Toe/Heel Delta (mm difference in height between heel pins and toe pins)||8.5||10||12.5||11.5||17|
|Brake options||75, 90, 105 mm||80, 90, 100, 110, 120||No brakes||100, 125mm||No Brakes|
|Ski Crampon Compatible?||Yes. "Standard" Dynafit/ B&D style||Yes. "Standard" Dynafit/ B&D style||With aftermarket part. Only G3 brand||Yes. "Standard" Dynafit/ B&D style||Yes. "Standard" Dynafit/ B&D style|
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.
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.
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.
There are three heel elevations on the TLT Speed, just like on the Editors Choice Atomic Backland Tour and the Top Pick Fritschi Tecton. 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.
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 marginally bad.
This set of downhill performance attributes is pretty standard. Some are much better, of course. The Marker Kingpin and Top Pick Fritschi Tecton are much better downhill, while the Top Pick and super simple Plum Tech Race 150 doesn't have any adjustable release. The G3 Ion LT has similar downhill performance. The Ion LT adds 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. Discerning skiers in high energy turns may notice this otherwise subtle difference. Aside from the addition of brakes, the downhill performance of the Plum Guide XS and Editors' Choice Atomic Backland Tour is quite similar to that of the TLT Speed.
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. 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 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.
The similarly equipped G3 Ion LT represents the ease of use ideal. Getting in, getting out, and changing modes is easier on the G3 than on almost any other binding, inducing the TLT Speed.
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.
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.
Great all-around, lightweight ski bindings 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.
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.
Simple, basic bindings for all kinds of human-powered high and wild skiing.
— Jediah Porter