First Look: Telebuddy Binding Plates

Telebuddy Binding Plates

For August ‘Guschti’ Poltera, the problem was two-fold. Foremost, as a free rider Guschti was always switching between a Bishop Bomber for controlling fat skis on hard packed runs, and a lighter 2-pin binding for easier hikes off-piste. Secondarily, as good as the Bishop was for edging hard snow, he and his friends wanted even more edge power with telemark bindings on their typically fat skis. Without drilling too many holes he wanted to be able to easily swap bindings between skis. As he says on his website, “after a few beers and some Bob Marley candles” the project began.

No conflict mounting pattern

To reduce the dilemma Guschti created the Telebuddy plates; a set of aluminum mounting plates with an unique, diamond-shaped 4-hole mounting pattern to hold the plate to the ski. Scattered around this ski mounting pattern are threaded M6 hole patterns for popular 75mm bindings, New Telemark Norm (NTN) and New Tele Tech Norm (NTTN) bindings. The threads for the various tele bindings are not cut into the aluminum, since those would inevitably wear over time, but are cold-worked inserts pressed into the plate.

Plate shifting benefits

Telebuddy Binding Plates
Shifting the plate by position. Marks on the side correspond to each discreet slot position.

The key to making the many patterns co-exist on the same plate is to shift their location. This is done by making the ski mounting pattern a set of four slots with discrete positions along the slot. Each slot mounting position puts a specific tele binding in the same position on the ski. For example (see tables below), with the NTTN plate you mount in the most forward position for a TTS binding, the second position for Meidjo v2.0, or the third for 22 Designs Outlaw X.

This also raises the possibility of a third use for the Telebuddy plates. Instead of using it for swapping bindings for a specific pair of skis, or bindings between skis, you could also use it as a shift plate for optimizing the binding location on your skis. To do this you’d want to figure out where the binding should be for your boot and then modify the plate mounting location so you could shift the binding forward or back in the discrete holes. For example, the standard mounting instructions suggest drilling the mounting hole location relative to the first hole. But with a little thought and analysis you could shift it to a middle position allowing you to adjust the binding location relatively easy. The exact implementation for this function is left for the user to figure out.

While going through the motions to install a set of Telebuddy plates I happened to use a pair of swiss-cheesed skis with mounting holes for a Meidjo, TTS, and G3 Ion. The mounting pattern for Telebuddy conflicted with none of these bindings, effectively allowing me to mount any binding I might want to what would otherwise be a ski ready for sacrificing to Ullr in a pre-season bonfire. In other words, another function of the Telebuddy plates might be to extend the life of a ski that couldn’t survive yet another binding on its own, but with the Telebuddy could accommodate several additional alternatives.

Compatibility

Telebuddy Binding Plates
Anodized Telebuddy plate for 75mm & NTN bindings.

75mm & NTN Telebuddy plate:

  1. Rottefella’s Freeride (’07—’11)
  2. 22 Designs Hammerhead (or Outlaw X)
  3. 4-hole pattern bindings:
    G3’s Targa & Enzo
    Voile’s Switchback, Switchback X2, Hardwire
    BD’s O1, O2, O3 (4-hole pattern)
    Rottefella Cobra
  4. Rottefella Freeride (>2012)
  5. 22 Designs Axl, Vice
  6. 7tm
Telebuddy Binding Plates
Telebuddy plate for NTN and NTTN bindings.

NTTN Telebuddy plate

  1. OMG TTS
    w/non-standard cable positions
  2. Meidjo v2.0, v2.1 (sm only)
  3. 22 Designs Outlaw X
    22 Designs Outlaw v1 (w/customization)
  4. Rottefella’s Freeride (>2012)
  5. 7tm

The dirty details

A couple things to keep in mind: this is a cottage industry product, thus, while the plates themselves look beautiful and there is a lot attention to detail in the finished product, some details are missing or not obvious without patient study. First, the plates did not come with instructions. Perhaps that was the result of merely of sending the plates for review in haste and trusting that online directions would suffice. To Gustchi’s credit, they did, but it required a bit of interpretation and the competence to determine center lines and drill without a jig. A thorough review of bindings indicates the position of each binding relative to pin-line (either 2-pin or 3-pin, depending on the binding) may shift a few millimeters from recommended, but probably not enough to notice. It is worth mentioning that screws for your particular binding are provided.

To figure out where a binding mount pattern is located on the plate, there are marks on the forward corner of each particular binding relative to their position for the discreet slots of the plate mounting screws. For first position, there’s a single dot next to the corner hole, for position three, three dots, etcetera. Or you can just slip a binding over the top and move it around until it lines up. The latter is probably faster than squinting to read the markings on the plate, at least for this old man’s eyes. ;)

Telebuddy Binding Plates
See those tiny dots? Each dot indicates relative slot position for a particular binding so pin-line is where you expect it to be – more or less.

Secondly, they don’t work with all bindings off the shelf; notably the first generation Outlaw or Meidjo (v1.x), and, for the moment, size large of Meidjo v2.1. They work easily with Outlaw X, but the cams of the original Outlaw, those orange ‘feet’ that close the claw onto the duckbutt of an NTN boot, require additional custom spacers to engage reliably. To make Meidjo 2.0 or size small Meidjo 2.1 work with Telebuddy plates, you need to make additional modifications to mount the shift bumper plate and the heel post; the details are left for qualified users to figure out. Rottefella’s Freedom won’t work yet either, but since this is a small operation you could probably get Guschti to add the missing holes with a personal plea. For most other tele bindings, it’s smooth sailing and the heel plates make it easy to adjust the position of the heel post.

It is worth noting that, while directions were a bit incomplete when I first looked at Telebuddy plates for review, clarifications and updates have been added to the website since then. My guess is that by the time you order up a pair there will be more information available, and perhaps additional bindings.

Telebuddy Binding Plates
An example of too many binding holes already, but Telebuddy plates interfere with none of them.

One other important consideration. While part of the reason for using Telebuddy plates is to raise the binding on fat skis, the practical limitations of the diamond-shaped 4-hole mounting pattern mean it won’t work on skis narrower than 90mm at the waist. In fact, below 100mm you need to make sure the mounting area is wide enough for the plates themselves (80mm) and the mount pattern (57mm on-center). They don’t make sense for narrow, touring skis, not only because of the width requirements for mounting them, but also because each plate adds half a pound of touring weight to each ski.

As indicated above, these aren’t for everyone, but Guschti notes inquiries from free riders, pro ski instructors, guides, and patrollers prove the Telebuddy plates do fulfill a need. If you want extra edging power on your fat skis, the ability to shift your bindings for or aft to optimize binding location, to swap bindings between skis, or extend the life of a pair of over-drilled skis, Telebuddy plates may be the answer you’re looking for.

Telebuddy.ch
75mm/NTN Telebuddy Plate
MSRP: 170 CHF ~ $171 USD
Weight/ski: 6½ oz. – 180 g

NTTN Telebuddy Plate
MSRP: 170 CHF ~ $171 USD
Weight/ski: 6½ oz. – 180 g

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