It has been a number of years since 22 Designs first introduced the Hammerhead Telemark binding. When they did, it was a bit of a revolution in the Telemark world. It introduced a very active, charging binding, that could take full advantage of the plastic boots such as the Scarpa T1. It gave the skier the power to drive big skis and control their edge to a degree not previously seen. The days of the G3 Targa were over.
A number of ski brands have attempted to one up 22 Designs and introduce their own various twists on achieving high levels of activity in the binding, and the ability to drive the ski harder. The Hammerhead still remained strong.
The Legacy of the Hammerhead will come to an end at the end of this season. For 2012/13 the Hammerhead jumps in price to $240. 22 Designs introduced the Axl a couple of seasons ago, their first touring model, with great success. It kept the same interface as the Hammerhead in the toe plate, but changed the springs to underfoot and added a free pivot mode. For a season or two, the Black Diamond O1 gave the hammerhead a run for its money thanks to its free pivot mode. With the Introduction of the Axl, 22 Designs made an attempt to offer the same power of the Hammerhead, with a different build and a touring mode.
Looking around at my fellow teleskiers and talking with a number of people, the Axl did bring the power of the Hammerhead to a touring binding. The Axl has taken over. With this success, it looks to be that 22 Designs has decided this is the time to retire the Hammerhead. After this season, the Hammerhead will fall into legend and into spare parts drawers of ski shops across the country.
With prices going up on pretty much everything, everywhere, the Hammerhead has become very expensive to make and deliver on time. 22 Designs has consistently gotten their products to market very late in the season over the last few years.
Upon seeing the success both functionally and in the market of the Axl, 22 Designs proceeded to introduce the new Vice binding at $210 and 3lbs 4oz for a LG. In comparison the Hammerhead weighs 3lbs 3oz. It is built basically the same at the Axl sans the tour mode. It will have the classic toe plate that has defined 22 Designs bindings and the underfoot spring system of the Axl. We shall see if the Vice fills the large shoes that the Hammerhead will leave behind. The Vice will also be going head to head against G3’s new offering, the Enzo. G3 sought to take the strengths of all of the best bindings on the market and combine them into the Enzo. The Enzo R will weight 2lbs 13oz per pair and cost $224.95. It’ll be interesting year in the tele world to see who is left standing in the end.
See below for a preview from Telemark Ski Magazine of the the Vice