In the past I have steered clear of anything that’s called a “race binding”, my feeling was this category was meant for the single purpose of being as light as possible while being used less than a normal backcountry binding. The Plum R150 has definitely changed my thoughts and although I’m not rushing to put this binding on all my setups, I for sure will be for certain setups. For those who don’t know, I am a Plum team member, although these specific bindings were purchased at cost from SkiUphill in Canmore. I mounted them to a K2 Wayback 80.
Why I Went Race…
With the Oazo coming in at 200g there isn’t a whole lot of reasons for most people to mount a Plum R150. I decided on this binding for my late spring/summer setup as I was looking to shed as much weight as possible because, for the most part, the skis are on my back more than they touch snow in the summer. Anna and I also started doing multi day summer skipacking trips so weight is a massive factor.
Why I Didn’t Go Even Lighter…
Plum also has some lighter race bindings, the R120 (120g) and R99 (99g!) but I just can’t commit to a binding without a crampon slot. More often than not I will find myself on snow in the spring and summer that is just right for ski crampons but a bit annoying for boot packing and for that reason I’m happy to have the extra handful of grams of the R150. It should be noted that the R120 can have a crampon slot added but the forward release is fixed at 7 for the R120 and I wanted 8 which the R150 has.
The Plum R150 has the same toe piece of the Oazo so I already knew that it would work great for me. The difference here is the heel piece which has been stripped down compared to non-race bindings. There is only one riser at 38mm and you can run flat by twisting the heel piece to the side. The release value is set to 8 for both toe and heel, so you really need your regular setting to be close to this number for this binding to work for you. You can not adjust the binding for different boot lengths, so it’s best to have the boots you’ll be sticking with for this setup, (although you can buy a heel plate to allow adjustment). As with most Plum bindings it is machined from a single piece of 7075 Aluminum.
You Can Ski Hard
Obviously this all sounds great but can these things ski well? Damn right they can. For my first mission I took them up Mount Temple SW face, and now that I think about it maybe not the best place to test a brand new setup! It was June, the snow was firm, the sun cups where just starting to form and the slope was no longer completely filled in, which provides a bit of a no fall situation. We didn’t top out due to conditions but we skied most of the main face and not once was I concerned with how the binding felt. The lower bowl feature had sun cups but I was able to ski them without issue – at that point I knew this race binding was a great choice.
Damn Light and Hardy
As with all things Plum this binding is a dependable, light, no bells and whistles product that will surely not disappoint. It has everything one needs for an ultralight setup that can still ski difficult snow well.
Should You Buy A Plum R150?
I’ve had ski partners mount these to some every day skis and I’ve never heard a complaint from them. For me I’d probably only mount a R150 on a ski with a very specific purpose, basically a setup that needs to be as light as possible – summer and late spring warrant such a setup, for everything else I’m happy mounting an Oazo for the extra risers and the built in adjustability or, if less concerned with weight, the Pika for the ease of use. And if I ever got into skimo racing (doubtful) I would see the R150 as great value for my first setup.
For more information check out the Plum website!