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Demo of Kastle RX12 and Ullr's Chariot

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 

Skied a day of boiler plate yesterday at Loon Mtn, New Hampshire. Was really excited because I had a pair of demo Kastle RX12's and my brand spanking new pair of Ullr's Chariots. The chariots were 178 cm and Kastles were 176 cm. I am 6'4" and about 250 lbs (a big guy) and an expert skier.

 

Well, the front side carvers (Kastle's, 70mm under foot) struggled to hold an edge and the twin tip Chariots (101mm under foot) felt like I had hockey skates on. The Chariots were so sharp that they wouldn't drift on the boiler plate, just full on carve or do a grip slip dance if I backed off the edge angle. I did not have a stone to dull the Chariots tips and tails which would have cured that issue, so one run and I was done with them for the day. They carved a mean turn on pure ice and I can see why they were described as "raceable" on Real Skiers site. I look forward to de-tuning them a bit and spending a full day on them (hopefully on better snow, too). I did notice the increased boot force due to the wide width when you roll them on edge to carve.

 

The front side carver Kastle's really surprised me with their lack of grip. What grip they had was very predictable and consistant, though. I was told they were tuned well by the shop, but I doubt it. When I could find a little snow on the side of the trial, the ski was night and day different, in a good way. I will hold off any negative comments till I can talk to the shop about their tune state. The day was all about edges and grip and was really hard to evaluate a skis true performance. Best thing I can say is by the end of the day they felt a lot like my older straight slalom racing skis, but shorter, which is a compliment. In what little soft snow there was, they really came alive and performed.

post #2 of 13

I put 68 day on a pair of 188 Ullr's Chariots TT last season. I am 6' 3" and weigh 250 also, I am surprised you did not get the 188s. We had a great season in the Sierras last year, waiting for things to happen this year. I found them to be a one ski quiver in all but deep powder. I love to carve and so do they. My top sheet did not get scratched up as some folks predicted and they still look like new, I did apply some vegetable oil to the side walls at the end of the season which restored the color.

 

I can not fault them in any way, they took me every where I wanted to go and then some, with great performance.

post #3 of 13
Thread Starter 

I should be on the 188 cm's, but I bought these as an unused trade in from Dawg for a good price. I tried to exchange them through Ski Logik, for the 188's but they gave me some BS about not being able to guarantee their "high quality level" since the skis did not come directly from one of their "shops". Not to sound sour grapes, as I really didn't thing they would do it, but the reason they gave was total BS. I have to say I emailed the factory address on the web site, but I was replied to by a woman in Colorado, who I think works for their distributor. I did not ever contact the owner himself. I assumed they would tell me I basically bought them second hand (never mounted or skied though) so they could not exchange them. I did offer to pay a fee for the exchange if that would be acceptable to them.

 

Anyway, from the one run I did on them, they felt like they loved to carve. On the boiler plate I was on most of the day, they felt like the best edge grip I have ever skied. They needed waxing really bad, my bad for not doing it, and I need to dull the tips and tails to get them to stop acting like an on/off switch at low edge angles. I will post a review after another ski day on them.

 

Glad to hear from someone else who owns a pair. Did you dull the tips and tails before using them? I really liked the way they carved and was impressed at how much they liked short radius turns. Any advise on waxing them?

post #4 of 13

I like my skis razor sharp contact point to contact point (where the skis contacts the snow) I did dull the the tips and tails from the contact point up. I would leave them alone until you ski them a time or two. I wax nearly every time I go out, brand is not important any wax will do.

 

The bases are quite tough, that along with we had a ton of snow last year, my bases are in great shape. They are really practical skis, go anywhere do anything. I skied racing slalom skis for about seven years before trying fat skis, my first was a Line Mothership (still own them) which I really liked but wanted more sidecut. The Mothership is like a fat GS ski, no speed limit, always stable, skis powder, crushes any condition in its path. Ullr's Chariot is all the above but a fat Slalom ski that will make short, medium, and long radius turns. With our weight on these boards, you will seldom be passed.

post #5 of 13

to check just the sharpness of the Kaestle edges, slide the surface of your fingernail across the edge and see if it peels up a layer of nail without effort. that is generally considered sharp if it does. I have to think they aren't real sharp at this time.

post #6 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by davluri View Post

to check just the sharpness of the Kaestle edges, slide the surface of your fingernail across the edge and see if it peels up a layer of nail without effort. that is generally considered sharp if it does. I have to think they aren't real sharp at this time.



That is the standard method for testing sharpness.  The other method is noticing that your hands/fingers have cuts on them from carrying the skis without gloves ;)

 

I've been the victim of poorly poorly tuned skis too.  A bad tune won't do too much in the soft stuff, but it can really detract from a ski's ice performance.  Strangely enough, some stores deliberately put a shoddy tune on the skis so their customers, who are under skilled and want to buy skis above their ability while feeling good about themselves, don't find the skis too unforgiving. 

post #7 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by bttocs View Post

 

The front side carver Kastle's really surprised me with their lack of grip. What grip they had was very predictable and consistant, though. 

At the risk of starting a s**t fight, I had the same experience with the MX70's, both in terms of mediocre but very predictable, precise grip, and they were tuned by one of the best shops in NH, to 1/3. Twice (different shop second time) since I assumed the first time the shop just blew the tune. I've also come across other posts suggesting less than stellar grip for the narrow Kastles. By comparison, my Blizzard G-Powers, also 1/3, also freshly tuned, are ice skates. (And yes, skied them the same way, same form, same angles, once even same day same place. So while I'm sure some of your issue was sharpness, I'm led to wonder if the Kastle carvers have some generic quirks about this. Do they prefer specific angles over others? Do they flex in such a way that the grip doesn't feel as secure even if it is? Are they less forgiving of form lapses than the G-Powers? Would be interested in a discussion beyond the predictable it's-a-bad-tune. th_dunno-1[1].gif
 

 

post #8 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by bttocs View Post

Skied a day of boiler plate yesterday at Loon Mtn, New Hampshire. Was really excited because I had a pair of demo Kastle RX12's and my brand spanking new pair of Ullr's Chariots. The chariots were 178 cm and Kastles were 176 cm. I am 6'4" and about 250 lbs (a big guy) and an expert skier.

 

Well, the front side carvers (Kastle's, 70mm under foot) struggled to hold an edge and the twin tip Chariots (101mm under foot) felt like I had hockey skates on. The Chariots were so sharp that they wouldn't drift on the boiler plate, just full on carve or do a grip slip dance if I backed off the edge angle. I did not have a stone to dull the Chariots tips and tails which would have cured that issue, so one run and I was done with them for the day. They carved a mean turn on pure ice and I can see why they were described as "raceable" on Real Skiers site. I look forward to de-tuning them a bit and spending a full day on them (hopefully on better snow, too). I did notice the increased boot force due to the wide width when you roll them on edge to carve.

 

The front side carver Kastle's really surprised me with their lack of grip. What grip they had was very predictable and consistent, though. I was told they were tuned well by the shop, but I doubt it. When I could find a little snow on the side of the trial, the ski was night and day different, in a good way. I will hold off any negative comments till I can talk to the shop about their tune state. The day was all about edges and grip and was really hard to evaluate a skis true performance. Best thing I can say is by the end of the day they felt a lot like my older straight slalom racing skis, but shorter, which is a compliment. In what little soft snow there was, they really came alive and performed.



I wrote a review of the UC178 last year and had a remarkably similar experience regarding "drifting" on hard snow.  Drifting on softer snow was no problem.  A very slight detuning of the tips did wonders for the ski (I usually don't detune) on hard snow and kept the ski from grabbing.  I saw no need to touch the tails.  My best day on them was skiing in powder with crusty snow underneath (no real ice on the west coast) that came from rain turning to snow the night before.  When the powder starting skiing off people were slipping and sliding everywhere, while the relatively fat UC gripped the hard stuff and had no trouble with the deteriorating top surface.  The ski does have a lot of sidecut/short radius which is a turn-off for some, but that also adds to the versatility.  I find the arced turns to be round and consistent.  I also found it more difficult to change the shape of a carved turn as easily as a ski with a typical carve/race tail, but that was to be expected. I didn't take them out this year since we are still on man-made snow out here and my skinny waisted Laser SCs seemed to be the ticket.  My only issue was finding a file guide since the side bevel comes from the factory at 1.5 degrees.  The bottoms are very hard and resist rocks better than any other ski I have.

 

post #9 of 13
Thread Starter 

I talked to the shop owner, who said the Kastle RX12 skis were NOT tuned before he gave them to me. He also said he thought they needed some work after looking at them. To be honest, I did do the finger nail sharpness test in a couple of spots and they were decently sharp. I didn't check the edges over the entire length, though. To give the shop a little break, they went out and got these skis from a Kastle rep for me, since they didn't normally carry that model, and they offered to tune them and let me have them again. I have to say the shop is really treating me great and they deserve a plug, Fire on the Mountain, in Dover  NH. Bob is the owner.

 

I agree that the Kastle's don't have stellar ice grip and only some of what I experienced was the tune. They slid out on me at least 4 times, and the whole day I was constantly feeling the ski get to the max hold it could handle and start an ever so slight drift. To me I would describe it as driving a Mazda Miata (2 seat sports car) with skinny tires versus a corvette. The miata is sensitive and can go right up to, and slightly beyond its tire's grip in control. But the limit is pretty low. My Chariots were the corvette, you couldn't get them to slip no matter what. When I rolled them over, they bit in. If I had a stone I would have cured the grabbing and would have kept skiing them. They were so bad I worried about getting down to the bottom without crashing. Never felt any ski be so touchy. Haven't skied on new wide skis on boiler plate before, either.

 

When I found soft snow, the Kastle's came alive. They had unlimited grip and were really nice and easy to make do whatever you wanted to . By the end of the day we found some better snow, and I was starting to have a really fun time riding the ski. I even got over the feeling of how short they were (I have been on 205 SL race skis for a long time). This was my fist time ever on current technology shaped skis. I remember Dawg's review of them and I didn't experience what he described, but I didn't have them on any blacks or double blacks. This was a family ski day and blues were it. Its funny in that I bet my wife and son would have enjoyed the blacks better, because they had much better snow from less traffic, but the blues were kind of scary due to conditions, so no convincing anyone to try a black. There will always be other days.

 

I didn't find skiing on modern shaped skis for the first time any big challenge, just different (really short feeling). About 4 turns and I felt I knew how they wanted to behave, like I just finished a first date. By the end of the day I was really comfortable with them, like about a 4th date, and I was starting to feel like getting adventurous with them. Maybe like asking for a sleep over weekend. I am married, so I don't know where this dating analogy is coming from, but it seems to fit.

post #10 of 13

I'd be surprised if you had the same experience as Dawg since you have about 100 lbs. on him. biggrin.gif

 

post #11 of 13

I was skiing the RX12 last week, along with a Dynastar Omeglass ti (freshly tuned).  I would say, offhand, that grip was very similar on each ski.  Skiing the Omeglass ti was easier (steeper pitches of pure ice lend themselves to a more fall line ski with lots of skiers on the hill), but other than that, they were very comparable.  Also skied my P900 Progressors on the same day (out of the wrapper) and they were about the same grip, but had a more aggressive feel tip and tail. I checked later, and there was basically no base bevel at the contact point.  But, yeah, I didn't have an issue.  The stock tune on the Ullr's is pretty aggressive, while the RX12 could have been anything.  I have sold a few and nobody has complained about lack of grip.  Lack of a speed limit and going too fast for small hills; I have heard that one, but never grip. 

 

I have never skied an RX12 "out of the wrapper" but when my MX78's came a couple of years ago, I skied them without touching them.  To this day, I don't know that I have been on a ski with more grip, which includes plenty of "consumer" race skis and a couple of FIS legal ones.  

 

Without seeing them, it is hard to say.  1 base/3 side would be my recommendation.  

post #12 of 13
Thread Starter 

I would like to update this thread with information from the recent ski season (2011/1012)  and sorting out my Ullr's Chariots.

 

Basically, the Chariots had inconsistant bottom bevels (0 in some spots, 1 deg in others) and had concave (ptex high) bottoms. This made the ski incredibly hooky (to a dangerous level of behavior) and also squirrely at speed. I verified this with a true bar and back lighting. I am a competent ski tuner and I redid the ski to a flat bottom shape, 1 deg base bevel, and 2 deg. side bevel. I contacted the factory and they gave me the spec's and told me it was the "factory tune" causing the performance issues. After skiing the new "tune" several times I can confirm they were correct. All bad behavior is gone and the ski is fabulous. The edges are very hard and very sharp and the grip on ice is as good as I have experienced. Some one asked me what made them such a great ski, especially being so wide, and after thinking about it, I said they are just a perfect blend of a number of parameters that make them very good to excellent at everything you could ask a ski to do.

post #13 of 13

I have over 75 days (last year and this year) on a pair of Ullr's Chariots TT 188 and still think they are great. My factory tune was great and did nothing but polish the edges. This season I have torn them up a bit and will need a base grind to restore them. I agree, very secure edge, rail like a race ski but they work great off piste also. Easier to turn than they should be as they have no rocker or early rise.

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