2011 Fischer Motive 80 Review
I had a chance to ski the Fischer Motive 80 and 84 today in fairly challenging conditions: perfect for determining how a ski handles varying snow conditions. I loved the Motive 80 and 84 when we tested them last spring (we ordered a bunch for sale and demo as a result) and wanted more time on them (I have been considering making the Motive 84 my firmer snow ski).
Some scratchy, firm snow, some wind-blown snow a couple of inches deep, some challenging shark fins as a result of wind compaction, with a few bowling balls thrown in for good measure, and some soft, uneven bumps. I don't know what it is with the bumps here; they either resemble a luge run, or tend to get oddly grouped together and out of sync.
I am 5 foot 9, 155lbs, and like to ski fast, mostly off-piste , and can ski most any condition. Bachelor is our home mountain, Village Bike and Ski in Sunriver our shop. Ski 30-45 days/year. I try to be as un-biased as possible with my reviews. We carry lots of skis, but typically target those that are of high quality, and I have gotten into trouble by not pulling punches when it comes to reviews.
The Motive 80 is a new ski: softer than the 84, and one step down in performance. It could be compared to Dynastar's Sultan 80, where as the Motive 84 is similar to the Sultan 85. Has the Railflex replacement (Powerrail) binding system, and vertical sidewalls, but is not as stiff as the 84. Skied in 175cm.
1st run: scratchy groomer: again a zippy ski. Very fun, more energy even than the Motive 84. Edge hold wasn't quite there like it was on the 84, but still adequate: this is a softer ski, with a bigger sweet spot. It ripped around, but I did feel it didn't want to constantly accelerate like the 84: that ski just wants to go faster, whereas the 80 wants to chill a bit more and relax. Maybe a 30-35mph upper ceiling? Extremely smooth yet light on the snow; this is a unique feeling ski, similar to a Watea series. VERY forgiving: it is hard to make a mistake on this ski, and it responds instantly to input. A great ski for a skier taking clinics, which often involve slow-speed, balanced drills to improve skills. As it responds instantly to input, it makes a great “skill-building” tool. Also, very fun for those not burning up the mountain at 45mph+. It really did have quite a bit of spring in the tail, similar to the 84, but I felt like I couldn't make a mistake on it. It was mellower at the top of the turn: the 84 pulls you in and tosses you across the fall line: the 80 is less aggressive, and takes more time to set up onto edge.
2nd run: bumps and trees: This ski is extremely easy to pilot around any obstacle. It practically turns itself. Great for off-piste adventures. Bumps were as good, if not better than the 84. Smooth, huge sweet spot, easy to maneuver, good with pivoting as well as moving the feet. A great tool for any sort of bump field.
3rd run: challenging crud; The 80 was a bit more forgiving than the 84 here: larger sweet spot, ease of release in softer snow. It did get bounced just a bit more at speed. Great at slower speeds, more at home for less aggressive skiing and skiers, no doubt. Again, light yet smooth, a joy to ski. It didn't really want to charge; I felt a bit tossed around in rough snow once skiing above the skis' comfort level. But, at the speeds most people ski, this was a performance-oriented, relaxing ride. I never felt tossed around at lower speeds, and thought it again would be a great tool for learning how to properly ski crud and really work the ski from tip to tail, which comes into handy on steeper, dicier terrain.
This was a very impressive ski. More suited to mid-energy or mid-speed skiers with performance in mind; the person who doesn't want some dead K2, but also want somewhat of a race-bred feel with some horsepower under the hood. Quite suited to off-piste adventures, but totally at home on the groomed, at any sub-mach speed. Lots of energy, an incredible light, lively snow feel, and very forgiving for what it is. Matches up well with the Sultan 80. Great ski for many skiers, and a ski that could take you up to the solid expert level, on and off-piste.
A note about the tune: the Motive 84 was a bit railed out of the box; it was a touch aggressive edge to edge. Not too bad, and certainly worth skiing, but the demo pairs I have been on had full grinds on them and had zero grabbiness. The out of the wrapper Motive 84 had a bit, this pair was a bit railed at the contact point and to about 5cm toward the binding. The 80 was about like I remember it being tune-wise at the demo shows last spring, it comes accurate with regards to the tune. SJ can correct me if I am wrong, but I think the tune on this is 1/3.