Meidjo muscles up for 2017

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

All the area around the junction of the red mode lever has been beefed up, plus a conical radius and a stiffer plastic formula.
All the area around the junction of the red mode lever has been beefed up, plus a conical radius and a stiffer plastic formula.

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

Knurled pins should stay put.
Knurled pins should stay put.

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.

Progression of the metal plate securing the pivot of the cable bar. L-R: v1, v2.0, v2.1 (teflon coated).
Progression of the metal plate securing the pivot of the cable bar.
L-R: v1, v2.0, v2.1 (teflon coated).

The heel

A stronger spring and revised extension wire will keep the climbing posts from collapsing this year. Cross your fingers just in case.
A stronger spring and revised extension wire will keep the climbing posts from collapsing this year. Cross your fingers just in case.

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.

Brakes

Stronger springs and a new toe tab improve the ski brake function.
Stronger springs and a new toe tab improve the ski brake function.

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.

Mode Lever

A rubber insert protects the mode switch lever from knicks and cuts.
A rubber insert protects the mode switch lever from knicks and cuts.

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.

Conclusion

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.

Alpenglow Sports
415 North Lake Blvd • Tahoe City, CA 96145
530-583-6917

Freeheel Life 
3485 S. West Temple • SLC, UT 84115
385-227-8968

Mountain Chalet
226 N. Tejon Street • Colorado Springs, CO 80903
719.633.0732

Telemark Down
860-428-5979


The M Equipment
Meidjo 2.1
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)

© 2016

6 thoughts on “Meidjo muscles up for 2017

  1. Patiently waited for version 2.0 of the M after being on 75mm norm for a good 15 years. Can confirm the broken heel set springs on mine, but response to issue was prompt & a new set in the mail forthwith. Two weeks of backcountry touring in western Canada this season yielded no major issues. Snow buildup, yes, depending on temperature & when cold, not really a factor. I love they way they ski & in fact did a real time comparison by mounting a Voilé Switchback binding on left ski & Meidjo on right ski for a full day in the backcountry. Yay Binding Freedom inserts! Boot driving the Switchback was a well worn BD Push & the M was plied with a new this season, but broken in Scarpa TX Pro (last year’s model). Both left & right skis were ScottyBob’s all mountain HeadRush. Snow conditions were soft! I started the season on the new NTN setup & found the 1st few turns a bit funky, but during my recent backcountry experiment, I was unable to detect a difference between the Switchback/Meidjo setup, turns felt virtually the same! Snapping into a friend’s Rottefella Freedom setup during the same trip, I thoroughly disliked the very stiff feel, particularly in the deep snow. Although I was able to adjust my technique to muscle them around in the soft snow without face planting, I was happy to get back on the M! Check my posts to the Google+ Telemark community for more info & photos.

  2. Craig, thanks for all the info. I would like to echo what you said about the smooth flex. I have skied just about every Tele binding out there and these are by far the smoothest, most fluid feeling bindings out there …. and touring – forget about it, no comparison. Also, you may want to update your article, the Mountain Shop in Portland, OR is also an authorized dealer with demos skis available.

    The Mountain Shop
    1510 NE 37th Avenue
    Portland, OR 97232
    (503) 288-6768

    1. Hard to answer the comparison succintly. Meidjo clamps at the 2nd heel, Moonlight (and TTS) on the “real” heel. The difference is rooted in the connection point. In general heel connections create more tip pressure for an equivalent amount of heel lift. This is probably the sensation you are most familiar with since most telemark cable bindings attach at the heel. But NTN binding connect at the second heel. It is not universal but IME Meidjo and Outlaw have a faster, smoother engagement than heel connected cable bindings. It IS subtle though, and about the only way I know to quantify the difference is to test ’em yourself. Even if I could articulate it adequately, it also depends on the specific model and size of boot. NTN boots do not have a universally consistent flex in the same way that 75mm boots do. The presence of the 2nd heel causes a discontinuity in the flex of the sole. This is totally dependent on manufacturer, model, and boot size. So, as you can see, it isn’t an easy question to answer with any precision for the majority of people.

      1. Thank you for the well informed answer! My first and only telemark binding is an NTN, and since I’m so new to the game I’m guessing it won’t be much of a difference to me. That is also great information, so thanks again!

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