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22 Designs Lynx 2020 Test Report

Last winter we tested the 1st generation Lynx mounted on a Scott Scrapper 95.
We were excited to try 22 Design’s first “2-pin NTN” binding, and while we liked the feeling of the flex, the lightness and the simplicity of the binding, the design of the toe piece jaws and especially the weakness of the springs meant that we had to ski with the binding toe lever locked in walk mode. Not so reassuring….
Many bindings have teething troubles when first introduced and 22 Designs have been working hard so we were looking forward to skiing the 2020 Lynx with the latest updates. We mounted the Lynx on a K2 Mindbender 116, a wide ski (I like wide skis…) but not a heavy ski. A good modern freetour ski, with enough width to show any limitations the binding may have driving wide skis.
22 Designs have always been quick to react to customer feedback to improve their  bindings for 2020 they have redesigned the toe unit with new jaws and stronger springs to provide stronger closure. The “claw” (the NTN “2nd heel” attachment) has been redesigned to avoid snow build-up and prevent it returning to ski mode from walk mode.

The Flex Plate is thicker and stronger for improved reliability and to increase the “activity” of the binding.
The pivot bar has been moved backwards to give the bindings more power.
After several outings skiing these bindings in different and sometimes difficult snow conditions, we’ve seen that the toe unit now locks perfectly and the binding no longer pre-releases. We had hard snow “like concrete” earlier this season and skiing this with the K2s was a good test of the binding’s potential and they worked perfectly.

                                         

Many skiers thought that the 1st generation Lynx lacked power, one reason why 22 Designs moved the pivot point backwards for this year’s bindings. We found that the power of the new Lynx in position 3 is not very far from that of the Outlaw X with the Super Stiff Spring Set, so there is plenty of punch for driving wide and powerful skis.
What is surprising and very agreeable with the Lynx, like the other 2-Pin NTN bindings, is the feeling of being flat on the ski, of being able to take full advantage of the flex of the ski and of having immediate power transfer to the skis. The level of control and finesse is so much more than with 75 mm bindings, or even other NTN bindings. Telemark World Cup racers are now using the Meidjo, and winning, and we know why since the energy return and feedback is unbeatable with this type of binding. The Lynx has a very progressive flex which starts immediately as soon as you enter the turn, like all 22 Designs bindings (no dead zone as on the Rottefella NTN models). The Lynx is not a release binding and 22 Designs do not produce ski brakes for the Lynx, so one should use a safety leash. Depending on snow conditions snow build-up under the binding can be a problem for many telemark bindings, but we did not have any issues at all with the Lynx, probably due to the clean simple design for these bindings.
                
 

A major advantage of these new “2-Pin NTN” bindings is their superb efficiency in walk mode (like AT insert bindings). At last we have telemark bindings that tour as well as AT bindings. Like the Meidjo and other 2-Pin NTN bindings, you can take efficient friction-less strides and climb so much faster and easier than when using other telemark touring bindings. Using walk mode could not be easier, simply push the Claw back and you’re ready to go. The 2 climbing heels are very easy to use (still a minor weak point on the Meidjo). Step-in to the bindings is easy but should you have new boots with an excess of plastic around the inserts it’s worth cutting/filing this way for smoother boot entry. 22 Designs do produce ski crampons for the Lynx.
They look pretty basic but they’re strong and work well.

 

The new Lynx works very well, it’s easy to use and gives a strong progressive flex. The Meidjo keeps one step ahead in terms of safety and resort skiing, with adjustable lateral release and optional ski brakes. We found that the metal of both the jaws and the toe unit baseplate is softer and more prone to damage than that of the Meidjo. The softer alloy, combined with the more angular design of the Lynx baseplate, causes the toe unit to get scratched / damaged sooner than that of the Meidjo particularly when skiing aggressively inbounds. (I know, I know, the skis shouldn’t touch, but…….!) We recommend the Lynx as an excellent touring binding that’s easy to use, offers efficient climbing and provides precise and powerful control for the downhill.

Neil

Neil started skiing in the Scotland when he hired lightweight tele gear and skied Cairngorm to Ben Macdhui. He was bitten and not by the midges! Th ...