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EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › On the Snow (Skiing Forums) › Member Gear Reviews › Kastle MX83 and Elan Amphibio 88xti: 2 Very Good Skis! Comparison Video Review
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Kastle MX83 and Elan Amphibio 88xti: 2 Very Good Skis! Comparison Video Review

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 

Kastle MX83 and Elan Amphibio 88xti: 2 very good skis

 

Video comparison review

 

 

Skis:

2013 Elan Amphibio 88xti, 178cm, w/fusion bindings. Skied out of the wrapper. Tune: a touch railed, not too bad, probably flat with 3-4 light stone passes

 

2013 Kastle MX83, 173cm, w/PRD12 Head (branded Kastle) bindings. Also skied out of the wrapper. Tune: also a touch railed, close though. Again, a few light passes and setting up base bevel tip and tail will dial it even more

 

Conditions: 4-6 inches overnight of good snow, skied late in the day. Previous day had seen rain and therefore a bit of dust on crust action. Some spots very good (somewhat tracked out off-piste) and some spots not so good (icy bumps, scrubby late day groomers).

 

Location: Bachelor

Skier info: 5 foot 9, 155lbs, ski 30-50 days a year. Early season fitness, only 10 hours on the hill so far. Capable all-mountain skier, tend to ski pretty fast, like to stay off-piste and ski steeper areas than Bachelor, if possible.

 

Overview: Aside from length and width, the biggest differences between these skis are:

  1. flex. The Kastle is quite a bit stiffer tip and tail. Underfoot, they are similar. Both are 2 sheets of metal, full vertical sidewall, but the Elan's tip and tail are thinned out with the Waveflex sheets, and the Kastles are thicker. The Kastle flex should approximate the MX78 and MX88 (they feel almost identical) as they each share the same core and layup.

  2. Amphibio has the inside edge rocker: just a slight early rise that keeps the ski from hanging up on that inside edge. It actually skis well when switched (the inside rocker edge becomes the outside edge) although I preferred it to be skied as designed. It was close though, you could go a whole day and not notice they were backward if you weren't familiar with the ski or on soft snow.

 

Review

 

First off, these skis are very, very close in performance. Don't believe me? Check out the back to back shots of each ski!

 

Cut-up crud: Both of these skis are really fun in crud. The Elan gets the slight edge here, solely due to the extra length. I could ski the 178cm more aggressively than I could the short 173cm MX83 length. Just a little more stable in rough snow, and I felt like I could move my feet more. On the shorter ski, I had to stay more centered. It was close though; I could live with either, but if pressed, prefer the Elan in crud. In terms of absolute stability, they are pretty much identical, but when rough snow comes into play, the ski with the longer wheelbase gets the nod. Check out the back to back on the video, you might notice a few slighty differences.

 

Firm, crappy bumps: these bumps are pretty lousy, even by Bachelor standards. The only bumps on the entire mountain, they seem to attract more snowboarders than skiers. New snow wasn't sticking to them, so it was basically the ice from the day before with a few soft spots in the troughs.

 

Here, it was a draw. First off, the flex of the Elan was more forgiving. That softer tip and tail was just a little easier in and out of the troughs than the Kastle. We are talking a tiny amount though; after a few turns, it would be barely noticeable, if at all. I would even call it more of an adjustment period rather than really being better, even. The shorter length of the Kastle was easier to ski. Both were grippy without being catchy. You can see in that video that I am not really attacking these bumps: they are just not real confidence-inspiring. The skis “slid” well between one bump and the next, I guess you could say. Both were all I could have asked for, though. No complains with either.

 

Groomers: Conditions on the groomers were also sketchy a bit: soft snow one turn, boilerplate the next, and skid piles everywhere, so not much trust in my skill! Here the MX83 gets a solid nod. It has the feel of a pure, race-bred carver. The ski just gets after it: pull out a good release from the old turn, get down the fall line and show the bases up the hill early, and you are going to have a rewarding, big-G ride through the apex. Tons of grip, but never railed. If you need to correct, you can do so, and the ski is not super stiff, and very approachable. I couldn't be more pleased. You won't find a better carver in this width.

 

The Elan is very solid, being that it is wider at 88mm. Energy on this ski in the turn exit is very good for a ski of this width: it also feels like a ski with a solid race pedigree. Grip is also excellent. It does feel a little sluggish, due to it's wider width, and not quite as powerful at the top of the turn, nor with the vice-like grip of the MX83. With that said, it is quite a capable carver, as good as I have found in this width (aside from the Blizzard Magnum 8.7 and Volkl AC50, neither of which are terribly versatile). It's benefits are excellent edge hold once edge angles are established, plenty of energy, and great stability. The Elan gave me some great turns as well, and a bit more confidence in loose snow piles. I would rather be on this ski than the MX83 when the groomers are choppy and unpredictable, but the MX83 is the better of the 2 for hard snow and smoother groomers. It just feels closer to a race ski, without all of the work a full race ski entails.

 

Fun: this is a pretty subjective criteria. They are both fun in their own way. The MX83 comes across at the bit more serious ski, incredibly powerful but rather forgiving. Due it it's short length, it was somewhat compromised in softer snow, but had an ultra refined feel. The Elan, although not quite as smooth, was very competent in many conditions, and really ripped in off-piste snow. It held it's own and skied with a lot of energy too. For pure fun factor, on hardpack, on and off piste, the MX83 gets the nod. If venturing into softer terrain (and you happen to like skis close to 180cm for off-piste skiing) then the Elan is the better choice, as is it for those looking for a bit more float but still a wonderful carver. The 88xti is as good as an 88mm carver as I have yet been on, for a versatile ski that can really go anywhere.

 

Final say: I think for Westerns my size and skill, the 88xti is the better choice for a daily driver. It can handle moderate new snow: I have had it in up to 10 inches, no problem. Exciting on hard snow, can do any terrain well. Eastern skiers and those who ski primarily hardpack: the MX83 is a bit better choice. More grip, more energy, more fun on hard surfaces. With this said, these 2 skis are really splitting hairs between them.

 

 

post #2 of 24

as always, a great review!  And its great to see more reviews of Elan skis.  I was wondering why comparison the MX83 to the Amphib and not the 88.

post #3 of 24
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Finndog View Post

as always, a great review!  And its great to see more reviews of Elan skis.  I was wondering why comparison the MX83 to the Amphib and not the 88.

Didn't have the 88 mounted up at this point, which is why I couldn't do a comparison video review.  

 

I can do a quick comparison though, having skied the MX88 quite a lot since it's inception (we were the first retailer on the West Coast to pick up Kastle, back when some shops now selling them were po-poing the line).  Keep in mind that the MX88 is a little too stiff and longish for me as an all-mountain ski for my size.  Yes, I can ski it at insane speeds in junky snow, but it isn't as quick as a ski in a better length and flex for me, like the FX94. 

 

Crud: MX88 is a bit smoother in crud, a touch more stable.  Overall snow feel is livelier on the Elan, it being a bit softer.  Elan is also a bit quicker to come around.  For skiing bigger turns at speed, slight edge to the MX88; if looking for a turnier ski, something like a REV 85, the Elan is more in that feel. 

 

Groomers: for bombing GS turns, the MX88 gets the nod.  For edge grip, probably a wash; perhaps a slight nod to the MX88 on bulletproof ice, although I haven't skied both there back to back.  As a carver, the Elan is quicker and has more power tip and tail, as well as more shape. It skis with more energy, whereas the MX88 feels more like a narrower big-mountain ski, so more damp but with less pop finishing the turn.  The way I like to ski groomers, I would give the Elan the slight edge. 

 

New snow: The Elan feels a little floatier in the tip, as the flex is softer there. 

 

Bumps: The Elan is a little more forgiving in the tail, the Kastle feels less hooky, so pretty much a wash. 

post #4 of 24

thanks Scott!   tough to find the Elans anymore but they do make some great skis

post #5 of 24
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Finndog View Post

thanks Scott!   tough to find the Elans anymore but they do make some great skis

 

I think this is the most well-rounded Elan I have been on since either the Apex or the old 666.  Powerful yet agile.  

post #6 of 24

Scott, I am no pro skier guy, but to me you looked like you skied better on the MX83 in all conditions, even in the crud. Not sure it means much, but jsut saying. 

post #7 of 24
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by tromano View Post

Scott, I am no pro skier guy, but to me you looked like you skied better on the MX83 in all conditions, even in the crud. Not sure it means much, but jsut saying. 

You are correct; nice eye!  I did ski better on the MX83: it being the shorter, more demanding ski in the crud, I had to be more balanced.  But, the Elan was the better ski there, I could ski faster and get away with more.  I was skiing with better releases and core tension on the MX83, for sure.  A good analogy is when I ski a ton locally (mellow terrain): I can get away with pretty lazy backseat skiing here, especially on soft skis.  Then, I go on a road trip to a real ski area with steeps, big bumps, no fall zones, and the first day is always rough!  After 2 days though, I am skiing better than I have all season, as I am getting instant feedback on what is smooth/powerful, and what feels like fighting the skis and the hill. 

 

Ideally I would ski the easier Elan as well as the Kastle, but having grown up with poor technique (I had 3 lessons between the age of 10 and the age of 22), it can be tough to break bad habits, and easy to slip back into them. That also is likely why I prefer a typically bit more demanding ski: I love the feedback and the more rewarding feel when I ski it well, vs. a dead, easy ski that doesn't really care if skied well or poorly. 

post #8 of 24

"Scott, I am no pro skier guy, but to me you looked like you skied better on the MX83 in all conditions, even in the crud. Not sure it means much, but jsut saying."

 

I agree w/ Tromano,

 

and disagree w/ your assessment of yourself a bit. :). 

 

It looks to me like you get more out of the ski on the mx, and also looks like you feel like by believing in that, therefore moving to the edgeset w/ more commitment.

 

i want one!

 

Holiday

post #9 of 24
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Holiday View Post

"Scott, I am no pro skier guy, but to me you looked like you skied better on the MX83 in all conditions, even in the crud. Not sure it means much, but jsut saying."

 

I agree w/ Tromano,

 

and disagree w/ your assessment of yourself a bit. :). 

 

It looks to me like you get more out of the ski on the mx, and also looks like you feel like by believing in that, therefore moving to the edgeset w/ more commitment.

 

i want one!

 

Holiday

Yeah, especially on some of the weird snow. The MX83 is just so much more powerful on edge.  Just wish it was a little longer.  I might re-think my MX83 purchase and get an MX78 in 176 (now called 178) instead.  Probably a little better length for me in off-piste soft snow.

post #10 of 24

I had my MX83s out yesterday. The 173 really didn't feel any shorter than my 176 MX78. The 83 has a lot more horsepower though - I like it.

post #11 of 24

odd sizing on the 83.  That jump to 183 just seems to long for a traditional ski for someone who likes the mx78 in the 176 and 178 in the 88, but jumping up seems too long for a ski you want to be nimble and quick. I am probably wrong but its a mental thing.  

post #12 of 24
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by epic View Post

I had my MX83s out yesterday. The 173 really didn't feel any shorter than my 176 MX78. The 83 has a lot more horsepower though - I like it.


Interesting!  The current 78 and 83 are the same layup, I am surprised they ski differently. How many days on your 78's?  Did you throw a plate on the 83?

 

Scott

post #13 of 24

I think that the 78 and the RX are also supposed to share the same construction, but the RX has always felt stronger to me as well. I've always wanted a little more power from the 78 which is why I put the WC Piston plate on it. My 83s have a riser from a Head RD SL on them.

post #14 of 24
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by epic View Post

I think that the 78 and the RX are also supposed to share the same construction, but the RX has always felt stronger to me as well. I've always wanted a little more power from the 78 which is why I put the WC Piston plate on it. My 83s have a riser from a Head RD SL on them.

The MX78 and RX did share the stiffer phenol race stock sidewall, but that is no longer the case. Did they change that last year?  Not sure

post #15 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Finndog View Post

odd sizing on the 83.  That jump to 183 just seems to long for a traditional ski for someone who likes the mx78 in the 176 and 178 in the 88, but jumping up seems too long for a ski you want to be nimble and quick. I am probably wrong but its a mental thing.  

 

I skied my new MX 83 today (thx Scott!)

 

I am 6ft, 170, and hte 173 is perfect. I will will primarily use it as my "on" the snow ski, and that is plenty of length for my skills and speed.

 

Quick impression:

as I wanted, just a bit narrower, shaplier version of my MX98 that I"m going on 5 years owning. the 83 is a fun carver, makes short swing turns well, was nimble and playful in the chalky bumps, tracked well in drifted snow and chalky mixed density tree skiing.

you can rail it, drift it, bend it agressively, or slow it down and soften it up. all around versatile, fun and playful while still having the high end to hold at speed. I also think I like a 18mm ski, and my next 100mm ski may have a similiar shape.

 

Cheers,

Holiday

post #16 of 24

Had a chance to ski the MX83 today in the 183 length at Okemo. At my height and weight (6'1, 213) I figured the 173 was going to be too short. I had previously owned the MX78 in the 176, and I wouldn't have wanted to go any shorter than that. Conditions were typical New England dust on crust, although they did an excellent job recovering from the rain they got on Friday. I was somewhat surprised that a ski of that length with a 20m turn radius was actually quite agreeable to just about any turn shape you wanted to make. Short fall line turns, long drawn out GS turns, no problem. Supremely stable, incredible edge grip, even on real glare ice. I was also surprised how quick edge to edge they were. They gave the feeling of being on a narrower ski. Didn't get the chance to try them on any real bumps, other than some crud bumps that formed along the edge of the trails. And out of respect for the shop (Boot Pros) that gave me a brand new pair straight out of the wrapper to try out, I resisted the urge to try them on anything off piste, just not enough cover yet (although if I had my older skis with me, it would have been game on). Truly a magnificent ski. I can see why they were Peter Keelty's ski of the year over at Realskiers. If I had one fault to find, it would have been that the 183 length was really overkill for most people short of 6'4 and 250 lbs. As I have mentioned before, I think Kastle missed the mark in not offering a 178 length to bridge the gap between the 173 and the 183. I think that ski in a 178 length would fly off the shelves, would probably sell way more of those than the 183's. Just my opinion. But I'm sure that there are more people like myself that would be much more likely to buy a pair if they came out with the 178. I might just bide my time and lay low till we see if they decide to come out with something around that length for next year. If they do, look out. That would be one hell of a ski.

post #17 of 24
Great review and very timely for me in that I'll be demoing the Volkl RTM 80 against the MX83 in the next couple days, although I'm not half as good as you are!
post #18 of 24

To be truthful, after having demoed the ski, I probably would have been fine with the 173 length. That ski is so powerful that I can't see myself overpowering it. I found the 183 length to be incredibly nimble for a ski of that size with that much horsepower under the hood. I'm sure that the 173 would have taken on a much more slalom type feel. And another thing that surprised me was how easy it was to ski, like it was on autopilot, and very forgiving. I screwed up big time once, should have gone down, but was still able to recover. Usually with a ski of that much punch, you don't get second chances. Not the case with this one. 

post #19 of 24
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mac View Post

To be truthful, after having demoed the ski, I probably would have been fine with the 173 length. That ski is so powerful that I can't see myself overpowering it. I found the 183 length to be incredibly nimble for a ski of that size with that much horsepower under the hood. I'm sure that the 173 would have taken on a much more slalom type feel. And another thing that surprised me was how easy it was to ski, like it was on autopilot, and very forgiving. I screwed up big time once, should have gone down, but was still able to recover. Usually with a ski of that much punch, you don't get second chances. Not the case with this one. 

You should post some video of you skiing the 173cm. I want to see what the ski is doing under a bigger skier, compared to me (a small skier) on the same size! 

post #20 of 24

They also have the 173 length set up for demo, no problem getting my hands on a pair. Not so sure about the video, though. Don't know off hand who I could get to video me. This might be a better request for Epic. He owns the 173 length, and is about my size, maybe a bit lighter than me, but I'm guessing he's around 200 lbs. And I'm sure he knows someone with a video camera up at Stowe. Or maybe he and I can get together and put something up down the road. Aside from being a very skilled skier, he's also got a special touch with the camera. But I agree with what he said before, the MX83 does seem to me to have more horsepower than the MX78 that I owned. Just feels like a more potent ski, IMO.

post #21 of 24

Just found this thread. I own a pair of the Elan 's but have yet to ski them. I am told by a friend they are too long for me. ( 178 cm.). I weigh in at 170 and am 5'9" in height. An Elan chart I found suggests I should be on the next length down. I am expert and don't think it matters really Any thoughts from anyone skiing these? Thanks in advance.

post #22 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by jimidee33 View Post
 

Just found this thread. I own a pair of the Elan 's but have yet to ski them. I am told by a friend they are too long for me. ( 178 cm.). I weigh in at 170 and am 5'9" in height. An Elan chart I found suggests I should be on the next length down. I am expert and don't think it matters really Any thoughts from anyone skiing these? Thanks in advance.

 

Charts are very general in nature and can't possibly take in all the factors involved.   You already own them, ski them, love them, make them your bitch.

 

 

OP:  I would have thought the 176 82Xti would have been a better comparison.

post #23 of 24
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by jimidee33 View Post
 

Just found this thread. I own a pair of the Elan 's but have yet to ski them. I am told by a friend they are too long for me. ( 178 cm.). I weigh in at 170 and am 5'9" in height. An Elan chart I found suggests I should be on the next length down. I am expert and don't think it matters really Any thoughts from anyone skiing these? Thanks in advance.


I am your size in height, 155lbs though, and run the 178!  Should be fine if you are up to skiing it.

post #24 of 24
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by SHREDHEAD View Post
 

 

Charts are very general in nature and can't possibly take in all the factors involved.   You already own them, ski them, love them, make them your bitch.

 

 

OP:  I would have thought the 176 82Xti would have been a better comparison.


I have skied that and reviewed it elsewhere, but it is a much stiffer ski, not a good match for my weight. The 88 is more in line with how well I can flex a ski.

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