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Hard snow demos: 2014 Head i.Supershape Rally, Stockli SX, Head Rev85 Pro

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 

 

 

Product:

Length Tested: 177 (Rally)

Dimensions/Turn Radius:  15.9m (Rally)

Camber (select one, delete the rest): Early Rise Tip w/ camber (Rally)

Binding: Demo

Mount point: Suggested (boot center)

 

 

Other Skis in Class:

*177 Stockli Spirit OTWO (review coming)

*older Head Titan

 

Environment & Conditions:

Location of Test: Northstar

Number of Runs: 4 days

Snow Conditions: hard, some bumps/chop

Demo or Own: Demo

 

Tester Info:

Username: Fairtomiddlin

Age: 40

Height/Weight: 5'10", 180#

Ski Days/Season: 30-50

Years Skiing: 4

Aggressiveness: Aggressive(Driver)

Current Quiver: Elan SL 165cm, Kastle MX 88 178cm, Blizzard Magnum 8.0 Ti 179cm

Home Area: Loveland, Northstar

Preferred Terrain (select one/all, delete the rest): groomers, terrain park, bumps, off-piste, trees

 

Pros: Hard snow power, but fun.

Cons: prefers to be on edge (see below), more hard snow than all-mountain.

Head Rally 177cm review

 

This is a fun yet powerful ski, an ideal tool for the narrow end of a smaller (3-ish) quiver, or someone looking to hone carving skills and wanting a ski to bring out the best in them for that.  It skis great on groomers (obviously), the TR is on the smaller end of the cheater GS sidecut spectrum; they hook up and fire across the hill out of the old turn and into the new almost as enthusiastically as my 165 SL skis, but without the threat of breaking a leg lurking in the back of my mind.  Once the hill became cut up and scraped off later in the day, the Rally showed grip and dampness, shrugging off irregularities on the surface and keeping me on track, while being nimble in piles forming on the side of the trail.  I was comfortable trusting it from the first few turns. 

 

No ski does everything well.  The Rally’s weaknesses are float on a new snow day (it's not quite a 1SQ) and nervousness running bases flat at straightlining speeds (which to me is like tips flapping on a rockered ski: if you don’t like what you see your skis doing, stop watching them and keep skiing!); they aren’t a tiring ski, but they do like to be on edge.

 

Rally vs Head Rev85 Pro, 85mm, 170cm 14.8m TR

 

The Rev85 and the Rally are more similar than they are different; you can click out of one and into the other and ski the same without adjusting technique (I did just that, several times over a couple of days).  The Rev is a fantastic collection of compromises, it performed much closer to a hard snow ski than I thought it would.  Quick, fun, but stable.  Rally is just more of those things: 10 or 20% more quickness, stability, and grip, coming at the cost of a little less soft snow capability, and a lighter wallet in your cargo pocket.  I had spent most of a day on the Rev, thinking "this is all you need for anything short of boilerplate", then swapped back to the Rally and realized "Well, alright then: the Rally does dial up the trust, I can dare the ski more to keep up with my CoM as the pressure builds in the new turn..."

 

Rally vs Stockli SX, 72mm, 178cm 17.2m TR

 

The SX is more focused (or less versatile, however you want to look at it…), meant for someone more committed to the groomer experience, or someone with a larger quiver where each ski has less things to try and be good at.  It takes the hard snow attributes of the Rally and turns them up to 11, much in the way the Rally does that vs. the Rev85.  What the Rally offers is way above average hard snow performance, but still being fun at lower speeds, fun in bumps.  It's not that the SX is difficult to ski at all, it even has a generous sweet spot (although the guy I saw riding the shorter SX 170s with a race plate might think differently), think ‘freight train that can corner’…  

 

…which is where you feel the extra drain on your credit card went toward.  There is more to it than turning things up to 11, the feel is so... refined.  It wasn’t just me that remarked how unflappable the SX is on edge and at speed, the love child between Courvoisier and a crocodile, extra smooth with tenacious grip.  It reminds me of my MX88s, only better in every way, at least on hard snow.  Ferris could have been talking about the SX when he said, “It is so choice; if you have the means, I highly recommend it.”

 

-Side note: the surprise of the demo was the Rev85; I expected the Rally and the SX to be pretty much what they were billed as, and they certainly delivered, but the Rev was very, very good, it gets some kind of ‘punching above your weight’ award.  It would be a great affordable bottom half of a 2SQ, or as a travel ski that has you covered for a range of unforeseen conditions.  I would have preferred to ride the 177cm, but that the 170 impressed me so much speaks even more for the things.

 

post #2 of 21

Cool, thanks for posting!  I have owned all of those skis, although my SX's were w/VIST plate, and I concur with your observations.  I think the REV 85 Pro may be one of the most underrated skis out there, especially if people are looking for "narrower all-mountain".  

post #3 of 21

Another thanks for the post, FTM.  The Rev 85 was my favorite do-most-anything-well model when I tried out skis at Snowbasin last winter.

 

It's hard to imagine anyone who couldn't have fun on that ski.

post #4 of 21
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the feedback guys, it was a hoot trying these great skis, I'm a lucky gaper.

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by dawgcatching View Post
 

Cool, thanks for posting!  I have owned all of those skis, although my SX's were w/VIST plate, and I concur with your observations.  I think the REV 85 Pro may be one of the most underrated skis out there, especially if people are looking for "narrower all-mountain".  

 

Scott, (and this is having re-read your 2011 sub-80s review buffet, the one with the CX, SX and narrower SC, et al), can you crack the code on who the SC, SX, CX, and even non-FIS GS are for (both 170ish and 177ish)?  While not as bad as Kastle's FX/LX/MX 78/82/83/84/88/92/94, I stared at the Stockli website and glazed over wondering what the four skis within about a meter in TR differ over (flex, for starters, I reckon).

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Peters View Post
 

Another thanks for the post, FTM.  The Rev 85 was my favorite do-most-anything-well model when I tried out skis at Snowbasin last winter.

 

It's hard to imagine anyone who couldn't have fun on that ski.

 

Bob, I have a similar question about the REV 85 Pro and the Rossignol e88, how do these two turny skis differ (I haven't had the chance to try the e88)?  The more I've demoed, it seems it's not a question of 'better ski', there are so many good ones, but getting on the ski that does what we're looking for.

post #5 of 21

(Delete duplicate post)

post #6 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by dawgcatching View Post
 

Cool, thanks for posting!  I have owned all of those skis, although my SX's were w/VIST plate, and I concur with your observations.  I think the REV 85 Pro may be one of the most underrated skis out there, especially if people are looking for "narrower all-mountain".

 

Dawg, do you still rate the SX as one of the best front side skis around?

 

I've had mine for 3 years now (Vist Speedlock TT plates so not uber stiff) and still look forward to being able put the powder skis or the AT skis aside and go and run some gates.


Edited by Taxman - 12/23/13 at 11:16pm
post #7 of 21
Very good reviews and comments distinguishing these skis from each other. You can get the Rev (last year's model) for about half what you would pay for the Rally. I'm a tweeter on the 170& 177 lengths I think. I did get to ski the 177 Rev last year and liked it very much.

Decisions. My mad money might need to now be directed in buying a Hot Gear bag for my Zipfits. I don't think I can get the liners in the shells without heat!
post #8 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Taxman View Post
 

 

Dawg, do you still rate the SX as one of the best from side skis around?

 

I've had mine for 3 years now (Vist Speedlock TT plates so not uber stiff) and still look forward to being able put the powder skis or the AT skis aside and go and run some gates.


Hi,

 

I love the SX, but the RX12 is up there as well.  The SX is slightly livelier, the RX12 a bit more damp and predictable in rougher snow. 

post #9 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by FairToMiddlin View Post
 

Bob, I have a similar question about the REV 85 Pro and the Rossignol e88, how do these two turny skis differ (I haven't had the chance to try the e88)?  The more I've demoed, it seems it's not a question of 'better ski', there are so many good ones, but getting on the ski that does what we're looking for.

 

Sorry I didn't see this question earlier.

 

I think you're absolutely right about the "better ski" theory.  Both of these are extremely good skis.

 

To me (my opinion only), the E88 has a bit more pop to it.  It's a little "livelier" and perhaps just a little better for carving on hard snow.  The 85 Pro is more damp and smooth (which is a quality that I really like in a ski) and has a bit of an edge in softer snow and junky crud.

 

I think both of these are really good skis for the narrower end of a quiver and I could be very happy on either one.  It's not that one has obvious advantages over the other, it's just that they are different "personalities".

 

Hope that helps.

post #10 of 21
Thread Starter 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Bob Peters View Post

 

It's not that one has obvious advantages over the other, it's just that they are different "personalities".

 

Hope that helps.

 

It sure does, thanks for the comparison; and I like the idea of getting away from "better" and into "personalities", that's a good word for it.

post #11 of 21

Hey there- I am a 42 year old expert skier looking for a fast carver.  I like your review of the Rally and want to buy some.  Question on sizing- I am 5'11 and about 185 and wondering if I should go 170 or 177.  From your review it sounds like you loved the 177s and are about my size.  Did you try a 170?  For someone my size do you think the 177s are a good call?  Any feedback would be preferred.  Thanks!

post #12 of 21

Just a comment for OP and ^^^^: The 177 is as long as they get, the 5th of 5 lengths. You both are slightly below to about average in weight, and between 60th and 70th percentile in height, so pretty close to average there too. So I'm left to wonder who is Head making these lengths for? Are slightly larger than average guys, say 200 lbs and 6', just out of luck for any of Head's non-race carvers, including the Titan and Magnum, which also top off at 177? Or are we all going longer than Head intended, and what does that mean? :dunno 

post #13 of 21
As a 205# guy, the 177 Titan is fine.
post #14 of 21
These skis are more euro market driven, so like Euro clothing, things are smaller, lighter.
post #15 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by labdonj View Post
 

Hey there- I am a 42 year old expert skier looking for a fast carver.  I like your review of the Rally and want to buy some.  Question on sizing- I am 5'11 and about 185 and wondering if I should go 170 or 177.  From your review it sounds like you loved the 177s and are about my size.  Did you try a 170?  For someone my size do you think the 177s are a good call?  Any feedback would be preferred.  Thanks!

Size is not always a simple function of height and weight. The answer to your 170 vs 177 length is influenced by your individual skiing style preferences. If you like higher speed GS style turns, then go longer. If you like shorter radius turns and/or moderate speeds, consider the 170. Shorter will be better in bump situations, and, narrow trails as the turn radius is lower. It's probably safer to get the 177 where you may have to work a little harder in shorter turns, but, have the higher performance window open for cruising. 

post #16 of 21
I was at a local ski shop looking at the Head carving ski line yesterday and nothing over 170 cm. the owner and a guy I believe has a ton of knowledge and credibility told me at 6 ft 168 lbs. and for skiing here in western Pa. I should ski 170 cm in the I Speed, Rally, TItan.

My own personal experience with the Head skis that I have owned have been:
Head TItan 177 cm 2011 model I believe. Very " big and brauny" ski I probably would have liked better in 170 length
Head I Speed 170 cm I think 2010 model THought it skied a little short and would have liked it more in 177 length I believe
Head TT 80 176 cm. 2011 model I think but just got them last season. Would not want them any shorter I don't think
Head Peak 90 177 cm Limited number of days on these and have only skied them in Colorado. Again happy with the length and would not want them shorter.

So the age old decision on what length for me seems to be a dilemma and I am never really sure. Obviously demoing would help confirm and make the best informed choice, but demoing not an easy thing here locally. I think the decades of skiing 205 cm skis may have influenced my longer preference on current lengths.

When you measure a 170 to a 177 length for me it's like the difference between my nose and forehead. You wouldn't think it should make any difference really but it does and is pretty impacting regarding how the ski skis.

So I remain tortured in my ski length decision making .

Just my $ .02
post #17 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by roundturns View Post

I was at a local ski shop looking at the Head carving ski line yesterday and nothing over 170 cm. the owner and a guy I believe has a ton of knowledge and credibility told me at 6 ft 168 lbs. and for skiing here in western Pa. I should ski 170 cm in the I Speed, Rally, TItan.

My own personal experience with the Head skis that I have owned have been:
Head TItan 177 cm 2011 model I believe. Very " big and brauny" ski I probably would have liked better in 170 length
Head I Speed 170 cm I think 2010 model THought it skied a little short and would have liked it more in 177 length I believe
Head TT 80 176 cm. 2011 model I think but just got them last season. Would not want them any shorter I don't think
Head Peak 90 177 cm Limited number of days on these and have only skied them in Colorado. Again happy with the length and would not want them shorter.

So the age old decision on what length for me seems to be a dilemma and I am never really sure. Obviously demoing would help confirm and make the best informed choice, but demoing not an easy thing here locally. I think the decades of skiing 205 cm skis may have influenced my longer preference on current lengths.

When you measure a 170 to a 177 length for me it's like the difference between my nose and forehead. You wouldn't think it should make any difference really but it does and is pretty impacting regarding how the ski skis.

So I remain tortured in my ski length decision making .

Just my $ .02

So, none of his customers ski outside of western Pa? We stock the iSpeed up to a 184..because well..we don't discriminate against big guys. 

post #18 of 21

Just to add a little more confusion to the "right" Head carving ski length, here's Philpug's review of the '15 Supershape I Speed done on a 170. Phil sure seemed to like how that length prevailed.

 

Until this season, I skied the original 66 waist Supershape in a 170.

 

http://www.epicski.com/t/126431/review-2015-head-supershape-i-speed

 

It's strange that nobody commented on that review. Years ago, had I seen a pic of Phil on skis with the Head logo, I would have screamed PHOTOSHOP!

post #19 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by roundturns View Post

I was at a local ski shop looking at the Head carving ski line yesterday and nothing over 170 cm. the owner and a guy I believe has a ton of knowledge and credibility told me at 6 ft 168 lbs. and for skiing here in western Pa. I should ski 170 cm in the I Speed, Rally, TItan.

My own personal experience with the Head skis that I have owned have been:
Head TItan 177 cm 2011 model I believe. Very " big and brauny" ski I probably would have liked better in 170 length
Head I Speed 170 cm I think 2010 model THought it skied a little short and would have liked it more in 177 length I believe
Head TT 80 176 cm. 2011 model I think but just got them last season. Would not want them any shorter I don't think
Head Peak 90 177 cm Limited number of days on these and have only skied them in Colorado. Again happy with the length and would not want them shorter.

 So the age old decision on what length for me seems to be a dilemma and I am never really sure. Obviously demoing would help confirm and make the best informed choice, but demoing not an easy thing here locally. I think the decades of skiing 205 cm skis may have influenced my longer preference on current lengths.

When you measure a 170 to a 177 length for me it's like the difference between my nose and forehead. You wouldn't think it should make any difference really but it does and is pretty impacting regarding how the ski skis.

So I remain tortured in my ski length decision making .

Just my $ .02

Is the moral of the story that we simply adapt assuming the selected ski is not quirky? Unless we spent time on the other length, we are speculating. Agree that the original Titan's were a lot of ski and better short.

post #20 of 21
I'd agree with the old Titan. Not so much the new.
post #21 of 21
Thread Starter 
Labdonj, a few months after I did this review, I got to try the 177 Rally next to the 170 Magnum at SIA in Feb of 2014; it comes down to what you want the ski to do for you, vis a vis length.

Do you want a 'more forgiving WC SL' feeling ski? Then the 13m 170 is your stick. Or, are you hoping open things up a bit with a 'wide cheater GS'? The 15ish meter 177 (or even 184, whatever that has for a TR) is what you should look at. To me, the Heads felt plenty strong for 90% of skiers, and much more playful/forgiving than the race skis they kinda-sorta pattern after in a given length/TR.
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