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Gear of the Week: Twenty-Two Designs AXL

Gear of the Week: Twenty-Two Designs AXL

[ January 14, 2011 - 4:08pm ]
AXL main
Dek: 
Twenty-Two designs has been a long time pinhead favorite thanks to their popular Hammerhead binding. The release of the AXL, a binding with a free pivot mode, has answered prayers of telemarkers everywhere.

When my touring buddies shoot condescending remarks about my inefficient freeheel tendencies, I pretend to acquiesce. I stroke their fragile alpine egos with my agreeance. I might be slower on the skin track and not as aggressive on the descent, but I’m in no hurry to convert to their Dynafited or Fritschied ways. I love tele in all its quasi-soulful, hippy glory. Then Twenty-Two Designs released the AXL, a rugged tele binding with a free pivot mode for touring, and while I failed to silence my friends, I could hang.

Twenty-Two designs has been a long time pinhead favorite thanks to their popular Hammerhead binding. The release of the AXL, a loose interpretation of a Hammerhead coupled with a free pivot, has caused a stir.

Like the original, the AXL utilizes the burly 6-hole mounting pattern that lessens the possibility of ripping out of the ski. The springs have been moved underfoot which seems to give the binding a bit more lateral stability. Three cable-guide positions are slightly more limiting than the Hammerhead’s five, yet every tele skier will appreciate the versatility. It skis remarkably similar to the original Hammerhead with only a small sacrifice regarding downhill performance. But on the uphill, it shines. The free pivot mechanism engages with the flick of a pole and the spring loaded climbing wires make for easy steep hill transitions.

If you are remotely familiar with the Hammerhead and refuse to convert to fixed-heel touring, put the AXL high on your wish list.

$320; Twentytwodesigns.com

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