From the get go my confidence that 22 Designs could and would come up with a solid 2-pin tele binding was high. Last year was a bit of a let down, but after making a number of changes this year’s version, what everyone is calling v2, is a solid hit, but not an “out of the park” home run. It skis awesome and tours great but the coil springs take awhile to reach a final set, so the pre-tension that makes the claw connect reliably takes time to stabilize.
Ch, ch, ch, ch, ch, changes
For 2020 all the changes to Lynx are functional but not cosmetically obvious except the deeper blue anodized metal parts of the toe arms and claw. The net change in performance is easy to distinguish compared to last year’s Lynx. Under the hood the 2020 Lynx has more power, is easier to click into at the toe, and with proper coil spring tension, switches modes more reliably. The weight is the same, so there’s no significant change to uphill efficiency, except for the fact that the Lynx comes with a pre-assembled DoubleUp Heel and two climbing posts.
Revised Transmission – More Power
Aside from the many improvements to nearly every part making up the Lynx, the most obvious change is to the power train. It’s an easy to feel difference, but not so easy to see. The activity pivot locations are moved back one full position. There are still three holes to slide a Slic® pin in to for positioning the activity plate, but they are shifted back one position, effectively creating a new set of holes that, relative to the locations of holes for v1 would be #2, #3, and #4.
The dominant increase to power comes from using a thicker flex plate (0.115″ vs 0.1″). With the first year Lynx I could barely tell any difference between the activity positions, especially between adjacent positions. With Lynx v2, the difference in positions is more distinguishable, but still subtle. What I mean is, the difference between the flexplates in v1 (0.1″) and v2 (0.15″) is more noticeable than any of the pivot positions for either version. For instance, if I put one pivot in #1 and another in #2 (either version) I can’t tell the difference. The difference between #1 and #3 on v2 is distinguishable, but not for v1. Based on feedback I’ve seen on various online forums I think the future of adjusting the “activity” for Lynx will be more dependent on changing flex plates than pivot locations.
Tighter is righter
One less appreciated result that I’ve mentioned before and bears repeating, the 2-pin connection is noticeably tighter than any cage-style telemark binding. In and of itself the NTN connection makes a tighter connection than is possible with a wedged shaped toe plate for any 75mm binding. However, holding the toe of the boot with a tech toe raises the bar even more and those who have experienced it confirm a tele tech binding is the best ever.
Although 22D claims that the coil springs are stronger this season, resulting in the claw latching onto the second heel of an NTN boot more reliably, that is only true temporarily. In my experience it doesn’t take long before the coil springs take a “set,” effectively shrinking in their fully extended length. There needs to be a significant amount of pre-tension in the coil springs when they’re fully extended for the claw to snap onto the duckbutt of a boot.
The solution is to add spacers between the top hat holding the coil springs on the cable and the back of the springs. This is a relatively easy operation if you do it before mounting your binding. Afterwards it requires pulling one spring back while trying to slip another spacer on. Even to the practiced, or mechanically inclined, this is a PITA procedure. Based on feedback from a number of users, do yourself a favor and start with two spacers and pray you don’t need four. After three days on my Lynx v2 I needed to add one spacer. After six, a second was added and by day eight, it acts like it needs another.
There is another possible cause for the claw not reliably latching onto the boot – the braided cable loop could be trimmed too long which would require more spacers to yield adequate pre-tension for the claw to work. Either that, or have the cable replaced. If you’re not sure, ask the experts at 22D.
One concern voiced by users is that the increased pre-tension from added spacers will make Lynx excessively active. This is only partially true. The compression springs do not contribute to the tension on your trailing foot until the boot is raised, say, 10 degrees. The initial sensation of tension comes from the leaf spring effect of the flex plate. So while the coil springs do contribute to the overall power of Lynx, it isn’t until after initiation which is the dominant force in the tele equation. In other words, the increase in tension from the coil springs is over appreciated. Lynx is not your typical cable binding where the tension comes from the coil springs exclusively. With Lynx, it is a secondary contribution, arguably the minority contributor.
Claw triggered less in tour mode
The other part of the claw is the tendency for it to spontaneously flip up and grab your boot while skinning. With v2 this has been reduced, thanks to a revised shape on the claw that allows snow to escape out the back. However, in deep and/or sticky conditions snow can still build up under the claw. This causes it to be pushed back enough to disconnect from the cam holding it down in tour mode at which point it will then flip up and latch onto the duckbutt. Again, not as much as v1, but still possible.
Two things help to eliminate this. First, make sure there’s enough pre-tension in the coil springs (probably two spacers) and secondly, add some anti-ice tape to the top of the flex plate so snow can’t stick to it. It isn’t much, but it can and still does happen. It’s a simple fix, and cheap, thus probably worth it. Oh, and it’s worth mentioning this only occurs if/when you’re touring without any climbing posts.
Cracking Flex Plates
While the thicker flex plates deliver a faster and more powerful engagement, they are not without a potential liability. There are tabs on the sides that hold the cam stop (the mechanism that keeps the claw in tour or turn mode) at the correct distance from the toe for the claw to grab the second heel. However, the flex plate is prone to cracking lengthwise at about half the thickness at these tab stops.
In severe cases the tab stops could break off. If you see the flex plate cracking, give a call to 22D and they’ll send replacements. The current theory is that the cracked plates are from a flawed batch of composite material. However, it also begs the question of whether the tabs themselves require some sort of reinforcement to prevent this. My money is on a design change.
Lynx ain’t got no stinkin’ brakes. It’s a backcountry binding where light weight is the goal so brakes were jettisoned for leashes. If you can’t bend over as a telemarker to put on leashes you have a other issues.
Not only does Lynx have slots for adding crampons, they made sure with v2 that the pin holding the tech arms in place can’t slide into the crampons, which, if it happened, could prevent you from either adding or removing crampons.
Overall 22D’s Lynx is a head turning product that is helping to break through the obtuseness of typical telemarkers who are content with what they have. The touring efficiency of any 2-pin telemark binding is undeniable except to ostrich-brained free heelers who remain happy with their Targas. The downhill power is undeniable as well, with instantaneous engagement and better edging power than is possible with cage toed bindings, including Outlaw. However, Lynx ain’t perfect yet. The flex plates might crack and the compression springs need to be tightened with additional spacers to keep the claw working. If two is enough, that’s okay, but if it takes four, that would be annoying though not a deal breaker.
If you can live with those inconveniences, Lynx could be your next telemark binding, arguably the best you’ve ever used.
Weight/binding: 2 lbs., 3 oz. (1000g) LG • 2 lbs., 2 oz. (960g) SM