G3 Zed 12 Bindings

The ZED 12 came to market in a soft launch midway through last winter and, as a result, 2020 Gear Test Week was the first time testers got aboard G3’s new binding. And while the tech behind the ZED isn’t anything groundbreaking, its simplicity and reliability make it stand out in the sea of lightweight tech options.

“There was no doubt when stepping into these bindings that they were locked in.”

While the ZED looks a lot like G3’s ION, it’s more than just another version of the stalwart binder. G3 pared the toepiece down as much as possible, while retaining the same tall (and therefore notably strong) jaws. “Best toepiece in the business,” said a tester who skied the ZED for two months last winter. “Good spring clearance, no icing issues and very positive snap when clicking in.”

The heel unit is what really shines, offering a substantial 30-mm range of adjustability, 10 mm of forward pressure to accommodate ski flex and a vertical and lateral release that’s controlled by just one set of springs (and adjustable with a single screw). The forward pressure and release systems are two features uncommon among other brakeless tech bindings. Running aftermarket brakes is an option, though they simultaneously rattle and have a tight tolerance to the heelpiece that makes transitioning from tour to ski mode with skis on a near-impossible yoga move. “Option to use with/without brakes is nice,” one tester said, “though they do feel a little wobbly.”

The ZED’s scores peaked for walking performance, and while several testers echoed the aforementioned brake concerns, ergonomics earned top marks when run brakeless. “There was no doubt when stepping into these bindings that they were locked in,” one said. “This binding may even convert the most Dynafit obsessed.”

1.6 lbs. RV: 5-12 Breaks: 85, 100, 115, 130 ($84)
Crampons: 85, 95, 105, 115, 130 ($75-79)

Want tester feedback on these products? Order in our online store to get a copy of Backcountry Magazine’s 2020 Gear Guide with in-depth reviews of all 39 Editors’ Choice winners, plus more than 200 other must-have skis, splitboards, boots, bindings, clothing and accessories.

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