In the past, I have steered clear of anything called a “race binding”. I felt this category was meant to be as light as possible while being used less than a normal backcountry binding. The Plum R150 has changed my thoughts, and although I’m not rushing to put this binding on all my setups, I will undoubtedly be for specific configurations. For those who don’t know, I am a Plum team member, although these particular 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 are only a few 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 ski packing 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 can’t commit to bindings 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. The R120 can have a crampon slot added, but the forward release is fixed at seven for the R120, and I wanted eight, which the R150 has.
The Plum R150 has the same toe piece as the Oazo, so I knew it would work great for me. The difference here is the heel piece which has been stripped down. 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 need your regular setting to be close to this number for this binding to work. 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 there are better places to test a brand new setup! It was June, the snow was firm, the sun cups were starting to form, and the slope was no longer 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 could 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 satisfy. 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 everyday skis, and I’ve never heard a complaint from them. For me, I’d only mount an R150 on a ski with a particular purpose, a setup that needs to be as light as possible – summer and late spring warrant such a setup. For everything else, I’ll happily mount an Oazo for the extra risers and the built-in adjustability or, if less concerned with weight, the Pika for ease of use. And if I ever got into skimo racing (doubtful), I would see the R150 as excellent value for my first setup.
For more information check out the Plum website.