Look XM 13 Freeride Touring Binding Review
Website: Look Bindings
Weight: 2860 grams per pair
Summary: The Look XM binding is a burly binding that performs like a legitimate downhill binding, but also has the versatility to tour. The Ski/Tour function is simple, reliable, and well designed. If you’re looking for one binding to do it all, the Look XM is an excellent choice.
The Look XM Freeride Touring binding is a hard charging, no nonsense ski binding. When you click your boot into the Look XM feel free to ski hard and huck like a champion. This binding is at home in any snow condition in any terrain. With the ability to ski like a dedicated freeride binding and the ability to tour, this is the perfect binding solution for many skiers.
From what I understand the Look XM binding is identical to the Salomon Guardian and the Atomic Tracker. It just has different stickers and color schemes. The Look XM is also cheaper as it hasn’t developed the brand recognition like Salomon has. That being said, here is my review of the Look XM.
I have the Look XM 13 with a DIN of 5 to 13. The XM is also made in a 16 DIN version that is heavier and more expensive. I primarily use the Look XM to ski in bounds. Currently, it’s my go to ski binding for tram laps, quick lift accessed backcountry laps, and cat skiing. If I’m going on a dedicated tour, I will be on Dynafits. No question asked.
Skiing the Look XM in bounds is fun. The binding sits 26 mm off of the ski. It’s heavy at 2860 grams per pair, but it skis like a legitimate downhill binding. I have experienced no play in the bindings (like I did in my old Marker Dukes) and have put it through the wringer both in Montana and in Chile. The Look XM works with both alpine soles and touring boots, which makes it versatile.
The toe piece has an adjustable toe height (screw on top of binding) and adjustable wings to accommodate a variety of boots. I primarily ski the XM with my Dynafit Titans or Scarpa Freedom SL boots. A large 80 mm footprint allows the binding to drive power to the ski and it’s rigidity allows for edge to edge power. Two stability bars under the boot connect the heel piece and toe piece and have been built with a touch of elasticity to enhance natural ski flex. For what this binding is, it’s relatively very low profile and sits closer to the ski than its competitors. Plus, it’s durable and burly.
The Look XM skis great. But the real reason you’re looking at the Look XM is for the touring capabilities. The binding can be flicked in and out of ski/tour mode with the flick of a pole. You don’t have to take your boot out of the binding. This is really convenient.
The heel piece of the binding clicks into a six screw metal baseplate, which makes me feel secure. Behind the binding, a locking mechanism can be disengaged to put the binding into tour mode. When the binding is in tour mode, the climbing bar must be flicked 180 degrees underneath the heel to prevent the binding from going back into ski mode.
With the climbing bar in place, the binding has a slight rise that’s barely noticeable. In tour mode, the Look XM offers 90 degrees of pivot through the toe piece. It pivots on a metal pivot axle and plastic hinge on the toe piece that is attached to the ski with four screws and is super tough.
The heel riser can also go into a higher mode for steeper climbing. To reengage the ski mode, the climbing bail must be flicked back to flat behind the ski. The metal baseplate prevents snow buildup and I have always been successful at clicking back into ski mode on first try – no more annoying banging off of ice. It’s an incredibly simple, well designed, and reliable system.
The Look XM binding comes in two sizes – Large (305 to 360mm boot sole lengths) and Small (265 to 320 mm boot sole lengths). Always go with the smaller size if you can fit to reduce weight and bulk. When selecting a binding, you also will have to select a brake size. According to the Look Website, the brake comes in sizes 90, 100, 115, and 130. Choose a size larger than the waist of your ski. I have a brake size 115 for my Liberty Variant 113 ski.
I’ll be the first to say that Look does not have a very impressive website, but there bindings really do rock. You won’t see too many people skiing or touring on the Look XM, most will gravitate toward the more popular Salomon Guardian version.
If you’re looking for a freeride touring binding that skis anything anytime with the versatility to also do simple tours, then consider buying the Look XM. It works well for what it’s designed for.
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