For those of us paying attention to the invasion of planet tele by tech toes, those puny 2-pin dynafiddle contraptions, The M Equipment’s Meidjo is a head turner. Contrary to expectations of a weak ski connection, designer Pierre Mouyade more or less nailed it when he set out to get “the right sensation,” not necessarily the most powerful. It’s a smooth flexing tele binding with unexpected torsional rigidity. Turns out, those puny 2-pins deliver a powerful bite on the toe of the boot. Combined with a second-heel connection, the sensation is like rack and pinion steering compared to the deflection inherent in a duckbilled wedge like a Switchback or Targa. In fact, if that is the sensation of tele-résistänçe you prefer, the only way to get a lighter backcountry binding than Switchback is to get Meidjo.
Meidjo will also give you Dynafit caliber touring, the undeniable king of climbing efficiency. It’ll cost you seven cool Franklins and that’s only if you already have tech compatible boots. Otherwise, double the cost. It’s a stiff price to pay to be on the bleeding edge of tele innovation. With any luck the changes proposed to the 2017 Meidjo could end the hemorrhaging this year.
The Red Thingy
In my estimation, the most encouraging upgrade is a general beefing up of the red trigger mechanism, what some have called the red stub, and Mouyade calls the red bar. I’ve seen the bar bend, springs fall off, and snap on the axle it pivots around. The axle now has a conical transition, eliminating the corner where it broke combined with a stiffer plastic formula and a bulked up axle housing. All welcome improvements.
Under the hood
A key improvement to the plate chassis is an upgrade to knurled pins that hold the flexor plate to the toe frame. That should hold those slippery buggers in place.
Snow buildup under the flexor plate was inevitable as it would cling to the metal plate holding the cable bar down. If it built up enough it would crack the plastic flexor plate. The metal plate now is treated with a Teflon coating to prevent snow buildup. The metal plate is still a mechanical snow trap any way you cut it, but now is less prone to snow freezing to it; time will tell. In addition, there is now a strip of anti-ice tape provided that runs from under the metal plate holding the cable rod back behind the wire clip that holds the plate down, again reducing the ability for snow to cling and grow in an area destined to be packed with snow. I’m sure there will still be times snow builds up, but these measures should reduce that propensity; how much so remains to be experienced.
The complaints on the heel post have been consistent since inception. The spring that holds the main climbing post erect has a larger diameter and new geometry yielding a higher retention force. Same for the extension climbing wire, prone to collapsing, will be more rigidly held. Once bitten, twice shy. We’ll see.
For those who are switch hitters and want the option to occasionally lock the heel, Meidjo delivers. The 2017 heel has a longer U-shaped spring steel pin to provide the correct gap at the heel, and the cup you put your ski pole tip in now has a metal cap to prevent mangling the cup over time.
The geometry of the plastic tab has been modified so the bends allow you to position your boot to yield better alignment first time when clicking in. In addition, the springs that caused the brake to deploy have been modified — stronger spring tension and cold worked for a harder finish. The brakes will snap open with greater force, and as long as they’re manufactured to spec, should take the punishment. The extra spring tension implies being harder to get clicked in at the toe — so hopefully the geometry of the tab helps overcome that dichotomy.
Perhaps least, but certainly not unappreciated, is the addition of a rubber patch in the dimple where you jab your ski pole to switch modes. It will delay the onset of unsightly knicks and cuts on the plastic handle, but it won’t last a lifetime. Nonetheless, thanks for all the upgrades Pierre.
Two questions arise. First, is Meidjo now strong enough for reliable backcountry duty, and second, do these changes justify a version change?
Second question first. By software standards, the changes absolutely demand a version change. However, for marketing purposes, absolutely not since the basic functionality and interplay of ingredients is unchanged. To publicly acknowledge the differences between the 2016 Meidjo 2.0 and the 2017 Meidjo 2.0 would benefit customers. Whether it’s v2.0b, or v2.1 is for the mob to decide.
More important is the question of whether these upgrades are enough to overcome Meidjo’s reputation for not being tough enough. The presence of plastics is always cause for concern. The history of products using plastic is always one of progressive evolution that usually is successful depending on how high the goals are. Telemarking subjects all components to a jack-hammer of abuse, so it’s a tall order. Pierre’s revision of the spring box appears to have cured its weaknesses. Based on that example I’m cautiously optimistic this latest round of revisions will assuage our fears. There are even rumors of a stronger, stiffer set of springs in the works for those who want more tele tension. As history proves, the patient will again be rewarded.
Meidjo Test Centers
Want to take a test ride before you decide? You should. There will be four authorized dealers in the States offering demo programs for Meidjo this year.
415 North Lake Blvd • Tahoe City, CA 96145
3485 S. West Temple • SLC, UT 84115
226 N. Tejon Street • Colorado Springs, CO 80903
The M Equipment
MSRP: €549 (est. $605 depending on exchange rate/taxes/shipping)
Weight/binding: 500 g – 1 lb., 2 oz. (w/brakes)
Sizes available: Small (22-26), Large ≥ 26.5
Ski Brakes: € 55 (85, 95, 105, 115, 125 mm)