Atomic just released the newest version of its hybrid touring and alpine bindings, the Shift2. After listening to consumer feedback and consulting with professional athletes, the brand claims to have addressed all of the most common issues skiers had with the original Shift bindings.
When Salomon launched the S/LAB Shift MNC Binding (and sister brand Atomic simultaneously launched the identical Atomic Shift binding within its own collection) in 2017, it was a big deal. The brands targeted the do-it-all touring, alpine hybrid binding at freestyle skiers who wanted something with pins and risers for uphill use, which also functioned like a true alpine binding on the descent.
At the time, GearJunkie called it a “major revolution in ski bindings.” The Shifts became a favorite among freestyle backcountry skiers for their versatility. And they helped pare down many a quiver with their dual backcountry/resort function.
However, despite several iterations and updates to both Atomic and Salomon’s Shift bindings over the years, several common problems have continually plagued some users. Skiers griped about the Shift’s AFD being difficult to adjust accurately. They complained of finicky forward pressure, a stiff toe lever, brakes that engaged during walk mode, and pre-release issues on forums and comment sections across the web.
But now, with the release of Atomic’s Shift2 10 and 13 MN, the brand said all of those should be problems of the past.
“With the launch of the Shift2, Atomic’s binding development team has addressed and improved the pain points of the original product and has been now validated by some of our top athletes,” Atomic told GearJunkie. “The Shift2 binding features offer better stability and power transfer along with more precise adjustment for a powerful downhill performance.”
Addressing Feedback, Solving Problems: Atomic Shift2 MN
Before diving into all of the changes and updates Atomic made to its Shift bindings, it should be noted that not all Shifts (Atomic or Salomon) had problems. And among those that did, it was never serious or widespread enough for Atomic or Salomon to issue a recall. GearJunkie’s editorial director Sean McCoy said he’s been riding a pair of Shift bindings for 5 years without any issues.
The real problem? People love the idea of the Shift so much that they want the design to be perfect. It wasn’t. But Atomic is getting closer to achieving that — and the new Shift2 MN is a big step.
According to Atomic, all of the issues with previous Shift bindings have been addressed in the Shift2 MN. After extensive testing with the Atomic freeride team, and considering consumer feedback, the brand made numerous changes to provide greater stiffness, more power, improved shock resistance, and better durability in the Shift2 MN.
That started with the AFD.
“The new aluminum-reinforced Micro AFD provides an exact fit and greater lateral stiffness for increased precision and power transfer,” said Atomic. “This aluminum Power Block offers a more precision fit with the boot interface, increasing lateral stiffness and improving power transfer for more powerful downhill performance.”
Atomic also added new toe wings and an oversized toe lever. The goal there was to provide more reinforcement and greater durability while also increasing the bindings’ shock resistance “for more spirited skiing,” Atomic said.
Finally, Atomic redesigned the Shift’s brake lever to prevent unintentional release. I witnessed this issue firsthand. A friend’s Shift brake was releasing in walk mode on a multimile hut trip. The brake would not stay locked during walk mode. She had to ski strap it to keep it from dragging as she toured.
The new brake lever shouldn’t do that, according to Atomic.
Beyond those updates, Atomic added a new climbing aid with 4mm of lift for steep uphills. It also made some light cosmetic changes, like adding gold anodized aluminum. Both the Atomic Shift² 10 and 13 MN are Multi Norm Certified and fit every normed boot on the market.
The Shift2 Approach
The success of the Shift bindings from Salomon and Atomic speaks volumes to their performance. They’re on GearJunkie’s list of the Best Backcountry Ski Bindings and have been for several seasons. Despite the challenges that some skiers have had with these bindings over the years, they’re still one of the most popular hybrid touring/alpine bindings on the market.
And, now, Atomic seems confident the changes it made in the new Shift2 MN have put its most common issues to rest. Time will tell now that the Shift² MN is available to buy online and at Atomic retailers. If the problems persist, Shift users will undoubtedly let the brand know about them.
To learn more about the new Shift² 10 and 13 MN, visit the Atomic website.