The Black Diamond O1 is a "true" free-pivot telemark binding that provides zero resistance while climbing.
1. It has a simple mechanism for activating climbing mode (& skiing mode).
2. The O1 has a hardy contraction - stainless steal toe-piece and lots of metal.
3. It gives you a choice of three levels springs/cartridges (underfoot) provide plenty of power for ripping tele turns on the biggest of boards.
4. BD has two sizes (fat & skinny) of climbing crampons that work with these bindings for when things get dicey.
1. The o1 has lots of metal = heavy binding (but really, how much does it matter?).
2. The included climbing bar is too high and weak.
3. The small plastic spacers in toe-piece may have a tendency to wear out before you do.
4. Ice may occasionally freeze up under the toe-piece, forcing you to take off the ski (or wack it really hard) in order to transfer from climbing mode to ski mode.
5. The cartridges have a tendency to 'loosen' on their own.
6. The binding is non-releasable.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
Free-pivot tele bindings have been out for a couple seasons now and if you've been lucky enough to try (or own) them, you'll wonder why it took so long to get to this point. Finally tele skiers can keep UP with their AT brethren using (nearly) the same amount of effort.
The BD 01 is a stout binding that performs very well in just about all conditions. Yes it's heavier than the other free-pivot tele bindings out there, but its construction means it should also last longer. And despite the added weight, the amount of energy saved while climbing will EASILY make up for it. They provide plenty of power for ripping downhill as well.
The 01 isn't perfect, nor is it the only choice out there (especially as we hear more about the NTN system) for this type of binding. It's not cheap either (none of them are) but if anything does goes wrong, the binding is backed up by a solid company that will respond appropriately.
I've taken the BD 01 to the summit of Mt Rainier; raced over 12,000 ft at a Whistler randonnee rally and lapped many powder stashes. In short, they've seen just about every snow condition. The climbing bar, in my opinion, is too high and doesn't fit as snug into the heal plate as I'd like. There is some hard plastic, and it didn't take long for me to wear out the plastic spacers on the toe-piece. Fortunately BD responded quickly and replaced the bindings. So far the new pair is performing how they should.
To make a long story short, I will NEVER go back to the old style of tele bindings. Unless you spend 95% of your time inbounds, there simply is no reason to go back.
AVG USER ADVICE