Although Look had a low market profile in recent years, it's coming back as a player in the binding game. By employing sound mechanics and building elasticity and compensators into the toe, Look engineers have met the challenge of providing both protection and performance.
The TX7 features a 3D Active toe that releases in any direction over a 180-degree range and a mechanical AFC (anti-friction device) that glides laterally. According to Look, this ensures release even if the binding is contaminated with dirt. The TX7 also has a three-piece heel, with separate release and entry springs. Its 10 mm of lift under the binding gives the ski more guts, but the system still feels light. With DIN settings of 3.5-10, the TX7 targets Executives and Players.
TX7 with MaxFlex $270
The MaxFlex is a 15-mm rubber laminate plate with 2 mm of ramp angle for a more aggressive forward stance. It's center-mounted to let the ski flex naturally, and screw holes in the universal mounting zone are slotted to let the plate float. Unlike some plates, the MaxFlex is not sluggish at low speeds. Height and ramp angle invite early edging and snappy short turns, without losing intimacy with the ski. For All-Mountain Experts looking to conserve a few bucks.
TT9 RL $325
In the minds of many, Look turntable heels still offer the ultimate in step-in feel, elasticity and security. With 10 mm of lift and a two-degree ramp angle, the TT9 RL feels solid. The heel does need to be cocked and centered before entry, and the forward-pressure adjustment looks intimidating. But the "clunk" you hear when you press down is as secure as closing a Mercedes door. The TT9 retains the heel in three places, rather than the single heel cap on a conventional step-in. It occupies little space on the ski, and the turntable itself rotates directly under the tibia, a feature noted by several orthopedists who recommend it to skiers with previous injuries. With more elastic travel than any other binding, this Look can be skied at a lower DIN setting. It's best for Racers and All-Mountain Experts.
TX8 with MaxFlex $340
Good for a more advanced All-Mountain Expert worried about pre-release, this top-of-the-line toe can be switched to stiffen the upward release mechanism by 30 percent. DIN ranges from 4.5 to 12.5. The toe and plate feel much like the TX7 MaxFlex. Tension is difficult to switch on the hill, but it is probably a one-time operation. Set it and leave it.