3 84mm waisted skis - MX83 is the one I know best, skied it all of last season, 6-7 days on FA84, 3 runs on V-Werks today, plus a few last season.
Last season I used the MX83 for my go to hardsnow ski and was very happy with it. This year I decided to try the Firearrow 84. I was drawn to it by my enjoyment of the Nordica DGR Evo EDT last year. I skied that in a 186 and had such a great time on it. I skied the 186 and while it performed great in the race course, it was also really fun to free ski on. It was easy enough that I felt like a 182 could have been an everyday ride and if they made a 192, I'd have liked to try it in the race course. What made it so fun for me was the ease with which I could switch from skidding to carving and it's smooth predictable feel. Since the FA84 appears to share it's construction and I didn't want to ruin my GSRs by using them for a daily driver I decided to give the FA84s a shot.
I've got about 7 days on my FAs now and am really happy with them they are delivering all that I asked for. Based on reviews I decided to go for the 176 since everyone was saying what a bear they are to ski. I'm not sure that rep is deserved - if you can ski, they are sweethearts. I always bag on people for saying that a wider ski has GS ski grip, but these are pretty close. They give me better grip than any non-race ski I have ever tried, but they still have that easy buttery feel getting on and off the edges. I have to be slightly more precise/attentive during transition than I do on the 70 waisted GSRs. They are smoooth and will do a short turn, but maybe prefer to go bigger. I think at the end of the day the MX83 is a bit better at making a short turn while the FA has a few more horsepower and wants you to use them.
Today half the people I was skiing with were on Volkl RTMs and since there was a demo going on I decided to try them. I love the look and the idea of the V-Werks so I went with that in a 176 - if they'd had the 181 though I would have tried it (or both). After skiing this ski for the second time, I'm not so sure that rocker (really what I'd call a mild reverse camber) should be on a frontside ski. When noodling along I can feel the edge engaging right in front of my toes and I don't really like that. When people say that a ski wants to make just one size turn this is the ski they are talking about. It is very smooth when rolling from edge to edge and arcing the sidecut in big turns. It really rips here. When you want to tighten it up and you standup and steer it a little more things start to go wrong because you don't have edge engagement from tip to tail. The edge comes and goes with the terrain you are rolling over and gives it a wobbly feel that you have to manage. When you tighten it more and go to a short turn that goes away, but don't try to use the tail because it is a banana peel!
The wide frontside ski segment is a bit strange. Why does the ski need to be this wide? I really, really like the FA and am glad I have it, but I do like how on the GSR the edge is right under my foot. I think the 84 waist is a bit better in softer snow and it doesn't give up much to the GSR on really, really hard stuff. As a longtime Kastle skier I liked the MX83 very much, I think it has more versatility than the FA but less ultimate performance. If I want that versatility though, maybe I'd rather have the FX84 which is even more versatile and rips almost as hard as the MX. The FX has that rockered tip in just the right amount and it doesn't detract from the ski, but I think what Volkl has done with the RTM is too much and the pendulum needs to swing back. The clinic I was in today seemed to be largely devoted to workarounds for skiing rocker in hardpack and as one of the few guys on a fully-cambered ski I was thinking "there's an easy fix guys".