After using the Plum Oazo Binding last season and being very happy with the product, I agreed to sign on with Plum to represent them in Canada. The first binding I received was their Pika model and I have been using it for most of this season, I mounted the binding on a pair of Fischer Hannibal 106s.
The Pika has quickly become a binding I can see myself mounting on the majority of my setups going forward. It is a no-nonsense, durable and lightweight binding that performs as good or better than any I have ever used. The Pika has everything you need including a break system that can be taken on and off in 30 seconds. What the Pika doesn’t have are gimmicks and plastic, which happen to be two things I’ll happily live without in a binding.
At 280g per foot the Pika is lighter than most other bindings with the same features found on the market. The removable break comes in at 85g per foot for a total of 365g, which is still lighter than most other bindings with breaks. The Oazo comes in at 200g but has a different riser style.
One thing I didn’t really like about the Oazo, but got used to, was that I had to rotate the heel head to switch between running flat and the riser. With the Pika this isn’t an issue as the riser is put on with a simple flick of a pole basket. When taking the riser off I have noticed that it stands upright, making the next switch even easier, I love how quickly you can go back and forth. Some people will notice that there is only 1 riser setting at 50mm. At first I was wondering if I’d miss a second setting but quickly I realized that I’d have to be setting a pretty horrible skin track to require something higher. I run my bindings flat 80% of the time and the heel pad on this binding is perfect, I’ve had bindings in the past where the flat position felt “off”, the Pika feels solid and level.
This is probably my favorite thing about Plum bindings. A few seasons ago I had two bindings break on me while out skiing, once during a 4 day trip, as I was about to ski off a summit and the second time as I entered a couloir feature from a cliff drop. Breaking a binding is completely unacceptable. The no plastic design also points to easy infield rebuilds and that is huge for big trips far from the road.
The Pika is shaped out of a single piece of aluminum 7075, it is not forged. Although, I’m sure issues with forged aluminum parts are rare, there are still known problems that can occur in the process. In the end I’m happy to know that a machined aluminum part has the least amount of chance of having a defect.
This binding tours just as good or better than any I’ve used. The toe pieces are the perfect balance between stiffness and release. While skiing out from Talus Lodge this season I snagged a buried tree and double ejected at a casual speed, which showed me that these do indeed release when I need them to. On the other hand I have found that I don’t need to lock out the toes when skinning unless I need to bash down something nasty. I love not having locked out toes while skinning in avalanche terrain, in the past I needed to lock out the toes of my bindings while skiing downhill because the design was poor in this regard, not an issue with the Pikas.
The Pika has a forward and lateral release that is adjustable from 4 to 10. I usually run at 7 or 8 so this works great for me, if you need a higher DIN then obviously this binding isn’t for you.
The down feels solid and the Pikas ski great. I have more confidence in a binding without any plastic and I don’t feel any play in the system. I’ve skied everything from resort groomers to waist deep powder to resort chop and park laps without ever feeling anything but solid. Obviously these bindings are made for backcountry skiing but by skiing outside of that context I know they can handle almost anything throw at them. I would personally mount these to any ski width, I doubt I would find an issue on even a very fat ski but if you need breaks keep in mind the widest set is 105mm.
Removable Breaks, One Binding To Rule Them All?
I don’t use breaks on my setups, after 1500+ days in the backcountry I’ve never felt the need for them. Some people like breaks and others like to have them for when they use their setup inbounds. With the removable break you can quickly attach it for the resort and then remove it to save a bit of weight when you ski in the backcountry. The break takes about 30 seconds to remove and is a simple design while in use.
Is The Pika Binding For You?
Unless you need to save a few more grams for that skimo race or need a higher DIN then yes the Pika will for sure work for you. It’s a great binding that does everything you need it to, while staying light and durable. The riser operates a bit easier than the Oazo and you have the flexiblity of putting on a break for playing at the resort – if you only have one setup for backcountry and resort then this is a huge win.
There is no doubt that I’d mount most of my future setups with a Pika, the balance between weight, features and durablity is perfect.
For more information on the Pika please visit https://www.fixation-plum.com/en/our-bindings/9764-pika.html
To check out these bindings in person head down to SkiUphill in Canmore https://skiuphill.ca/collections/bindings/products/plum-pika-binding