G3 Onyx ReviewApril 13, 2012
- Ski to tour mode without unclicking.
- Transitions done easily with a ski pole.
- Not too heavy.
- Lower price.
- A bit of slop if you are a big guy.
- Everything is plastic.
- Hard to be sure you are in ski mode sometimes.
A good entry binding for skiers entering the tech world, although perhaps not as effective for people over 200 pounds.
G3’s version of the tech AT binding, with some unique innovations in the heelpiece.
After a couple of years in the tech binding industry, I think we can now credit G3 for some innovations that we have since seen inserted into other brands, in particular a non-rotating heel piece where you can flip different levers for different amounts of heel lift.
There is a learning curve to get into these bindings, especially for anyone experienced with other tech bindings who are used to being able to balance on their poles while stepping (and aiming) the toe fittings into the right spot. In the case of the Onyx you have to use your pole tip to push down the toe lever and release it to close around the toe of your boots. This maneuver doesn’t provide much trouble on a flat surface such as your living room, or the trailhead, but I found it to be quite a bit more difficult on a steeper slope (such as after a rappel into a couloir.) Like with any tech binding, it helps to practice before hitting the snow.
Switching from touring mode to ski mode is as easy as a flick of the pole, although it is important to test to make sure you are locked into ski mode. My first turns on the Onyx resulted in pre-releasing (was I actually in?) and a self-arrest after sliding 60 feet down Highlands Bowl at Aspen on a hardpack day. Since then I have made sure to flex the ski and binding to make sure I was in before skiing. Laying the skis on edge is easy with the Onyx, although perhaps because of my size, I do feel some flex in the binding while doing so.
The Onyx is the first Tech binding to make it easy to switch from ski mode back to touring without stepping out of the bindings or playing with ski pole tricks. This is a very convenient feature when it gets flat but is still not necessary to put skins back on. The one improvement I would personally like to see is a better way of being sure I am locked in for the downhill.