22D Goes Stealth With The Outlaw X

The dust had barely settled on 22 Design’s Outlaw before the boys behind the acclaimed NTN tele trap were already scheming improvements. On the docket for next season is an Outlaw with a revised claw and step-in system that is easier to get in AND out of. The new claw also reduces weight.

There’s no doubt the Outlaw raised the bar on what was possible for a NTN binding. Not only does it have edging on par with alpine rigs, the tele flex is both smoother and potentially more powerful than what Freeride allows, depending on how strong the tension is dialed up. In fact, depending on your boot, I’ll wager Outlaw is potentially the smoothest, most aggressive tele binding ever. Yes the Freeride with red springs may be more active than Outlaw with a standard spring set to 5, but the stiffy spring at least equals it. It has activity on par with Axl, but because it hooks to the boot mid-sole it doesn’t create the pogo-stick sensation common with highly active cable bindings, i.e., HH#5 or the many variations on that theme (Axl/Vice #3, TTS #3+, Bishop). In other words, it holds solid no matter how fast you may be cruising, but isn’t as prone to over loading your ski tips in softer snow and slower speeds.

Unlike the Freeride and almost every 75mm cable binding, the tension embedded in Outlaw’s single underfoot spring is active before you even lift your heel. In the case of a Freeride, Switchback, or O1 the tele résistançe doesn’t start kicking in until after you lift the heel a few degrees; even Axl and Vice have a small “dead spot” where the cable has yet to become active though to a much lesser degree .

At the other end of the performance spectrum, Outlaw was the first NTN binding to offer a resistance-free pivot for ski touring. Not only is it frictionless, it delivers a full 55° range of motion; more than enough for snap kick turns even, or especially, when switchbacking in steep and deep terrain. The mode switch is the same as that found on the Axl, simple and reliable.

22 Designs Outlaw X
Next generaton Outlaw gets a new hook and cam system with less weight.

Where 22 Designs is upping the ante for next season is with the claw that hooks onto the 2nd heel of NTN boots. The camming action of the Outlaw, those orange hunks of plastic that toggle up or down to connect or release the hook from the boot’s duckbutt. Depending on your persuasion that makes it either a duckhook, butthook or maybe a hook that quacks. From the get go those cammed orange feet have had their share of tele-quacks, I mean, quirks. For the next version the hook is improved by eliminating the feet that push the hook fore and aft from the equation. It only took a few seconds to prove the functionality of Outlaws HTN heel clamp.

There is bound to be at least one problem with it. If you have those orange duckfeet triggering the hook on your Outlaw, you’ll probably want an upgrade. Hopefully it will be available as a kit.

© 2017

14 thoughts on “22D Goes Stealth With The Outlaw X

  1. I ditched the brakes as well. They were clunky and made it much more difficult to get into the binding. They would also catch on things. I’m am struggling with one of my bindings that seems to be defective. It appears to be fine, but it is not fully engaging and I have come out of my ski quite a few times and it has fallen off while sitting on the chairlift. It has been an issue ever since purchasing them and it is only one of the bindings. If they can’t figure it out, I’d say the bindings are junk compared to how much I paid for them. So frustrating.

  2. How do the Outlaws perform when touring in warmer/moister snow?
    The Freerides pack with snow in the pivot and in a few other places. So do the Meidjos (and then things break)… TTS-type bindings have some snow-packing issues as well, but much less and there are ways to avoid it.

  3. Outlaw is awesome. I find it a fantastic tele binding for New Englands seemingly always variable conditions that I ski. Brake also the issue for me. With brake removed all is good. Leashes are fine in my opinion as they have been on my Switchbacks. Personally not compelled to change out for the Outlaw X.

  4. I’ve been on the Outlaw since it cam out. Looks like a pretty cool evolution of the clamp.

    Personally, after they sent me the new cams, I have had no problem with stepping in with the originals…works perfectly. (The old cams weren’t working with my Crispi’s.)

    I ditched the brakes as well…they make stepping in a PITA and they are way too outboard….hook everything. Unless they radically change the brakes, I’ll stick with leashes even with this new version.

  5. Deep snow boot entry with brakes of 2016 Outlaw just way too difficult. Decommissioned them and went back to leashes. Also, the original duckbutt cams occasionally over-rotate without boot “clampage” and this inadvertantly hooks into a locked predicament that requires pole tips to lever back for another step-in.

  6. I agree with the previous replies regarding the brake. While the claw design change looks nice, the orange cam type claw really never gave me any problems. The brake, however, is nothing but problems. Can’t step in, sticks out too far and catches the other ski when touring, breaks and bends in the backcountry. I just went back to leashes. I really wish 22D would have focused on the main problem everybody is complaining about: BRAKES

  7. Hi. Had the same issue with the brakes. Didn’t really mind that the brake itself does not tuck up like an alpine brake but I couldn’t get my toe in the binding in a timely fashion. Found it frustrating and within a couple of days got rid of them and back to leashes. On an up side after about 15 days on the binding now I am finally finding it easier to get in and out. So I think the bindings are great but do not worry about the brake for the time being.

  8. The brakes are lame:
    1. The lever that you step on is too vertical, making it difficult to slide the toe under the binding lip while releasing the brake. I find it tricky even on flat terrain.
    2. To your point, it has low tension.
    3. Unlike alpine brakes, which retract toward the binding, the Outlaw brake simply raises up. It protrudes well past the outside of the ski, with the risk of hooking up at high edge angles

  9. Do you know if they redesigned the brake as well? Not a big fan on how difficult it is to get in and out of the binding with their ski brake. I ended up going back to leashes. Plus I trashed my brakes hiking with them by stepping on them. Springs broke and it was just a mess.

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