Bishop Binding’s long awaited next gen tele binding, the Bad MoFo (BMF), is getting a few important refinements before being certified for production. As with most prototypes, the basic function and design ideas were validated, but there were details in some of the parts that needed improvement.
The most obvious improvement is to the step-in heel; a laudable feature that, in the test prototypes, didn’t work consistently with all boots. According to Peter Van Dyke, lead designer of the BMF, the new heel “is more substantial and looks more like an alpine binding. It acts more like one too by centering the boot as you step down.”
This change raised the weight, so some had to be trimmed in other parts. For instance, the case holding the spring tubes, behind the knuckle, will be made with carbon fiber instead of aluminum. “We used Finite Element Analysis to determine that the carbon fiber case wasn’t just lighter, it turns out it was stronger too,” said Van Dyke.
“With telemark bindings you can’t sacrifice durability for weight. It just doesn’t work.”
While they were at it, the ski brake was shifted back and made easier to install and remove using only two screws. “We realized if someone bought the switch kit, so they could easily swap bindings between skis, they were probably changing the width of the ski and thus they’d be swapping the brakes too. With the brake position shifted back, it will be easier to slide the toe of the boot under the bale and provide a bit more leverage so the arms retract more easily.”
Bishop Binding owner, Dave Bombard added, “We also made it a little more active, moving the pivot [of the knuckle] back about half a centimeter. The range of adjustment is so large it was possible to get a neutral feel so we wanted to make sure the active end was higher.”
In touring mode there were changes made at either end. The mode switch is now made of aluminum, making it more durable and easier to hook with a pole to change modes. And the heel post was modified to hold the climbing wire upright even when stomping, because, as Bombard pointed out, “stomping happens.”
One thing missing is a ski crampon. Bishop Bindings won’t be making their own ski crampons this season. Instead they have found Voile’s universal ski crampons will fit in the area under the knuckle.
Preseason orders are better than expected from the retail sector and even with a heavier heel the target weight of 1900 grams per pair is being maintained.
With limited time on the binding we can confirm the BMF delivers solid, edge-holding turns with an adjustable flex that works with NTN and 75mm boots. One of the BMF’s potential benefits is it purports to have a ‘tele-release,’ with the understanding that it isn’t reliable in the same way alpine release is, but can release as opposed to not. The day to day benefits include step-in convenience, optional ski brakes, a free-pivot tour mode with 60-degree range of motion, and solid edge-hold. Though it isn’t lightweight compared to the competition, weight has traditionally been the price of downhill performance.
Weight/pair (targeted): 1900 g
Bishop BMF-3 (Non-Touring)
Weight/pair: 1890 g