Head i-titan vs. i-Rally, 2014 ski models reviewed
Skier: 5 foot 9, 155lbs, skis 30-50 days per year. Fairly athletic, technically oriented skier. Terrain: softer groomers, rock-hard groomers, solid bumps, off-piste steeps
Sizes compared: 170cm in each
A quick overview of both the i-Supershape Rally, and i-Supershape Titan. Both skis are similar in design: one being 76mm underfoot, one 81mm underfoot. Both are designed to ski a bit shorter than head height, for a typical carver feel. The Rally is fairly soft for a frontside carver: very reminiscent of the original Supershape. The Titan is a bit stiffer; more of a blend of frontside all-mountain tool with race carver stiffness. These have the same general overall Head signature feel: damp, grounded, powerful, stable, no surprises. Medium muscularity. If you have skied the classic Head Monster iM88, you know the feel!
There isn't a whole lot of selection in this category from many manufacturers. It seems that most companies offer a race carver suitable for either GS or SL, and everyone has mid 80's all-mountain skis. These 2 models are different: they are performance-oriented frontside skis, not really stiffish race carvers, but high-end carving and all-mountain tools that work at lower speeds than a typical 69mm underfoot race carver will. Similar skis would be the Fire Arrow 84 EDT from Nordica, the Kastle MX78 and MX83 to name a few. The models from Head are going to be more performance-oriented than, say, the Blizzard Magnum series, which have a more all-mountain focus and give up some groomer edge as a trade-off.
Groomers: perhaps where both skis are most at home. Skied on both hard and soft snow groomers; the Rally feels significantly more pliable and easy to bend at slower speeds. It has a very nice even tip flex profile. Quite aggressive laterally, and easy to bend up when pressured; even at slow speeds. Cake to turn and ski when pressuring the tongue of the boot on. Nice finish, good lateral edge grip when exiting the turn on hard snow. Feels light on the snow, playful; maybe the Mazda Miata of skis. Not a ton of horsepower, but forgiving, quick, nimble. Great teaching ski. The Rally does have a top end that will be found fairly easily by more aggressive skiers. 97% of the people on the hill won't see this speed limit, which is up near race speeds.
The Titan is a bit more powerful ski, stiffer all around. Whereas the Rally is playful, fun, quick, and super forgiving, the Titan moves toward a more aggressive platform, with a hybrid race-carver and all-mountain frontside feel. It wants a bit more energy to come alive: not a full race carver, but it does like a little more input than the Rally, as the flex is a bit more stout. Still a great teaching ski, although it might not be as ideal as the Rally at 2mph. If the Rally is a Miata, the Titan is a bit more Subaru BRZ: a bit more tightly wound performance oriented car. I found the tail on the Titan to be a bit more loaded feeling than the Rally, like a tightly coiled spring when released, and the lateral grip on the Titan was at least as good on the Rally. Top end on the Titan was a good 5mph more than the Rally, mostly due to the stiffer flex. I can load the tip easily on either, it is just the Rally is almost stupid easy to get performance out of, whereas the Titan is a little more demanding.
Off-piste: both skis are fun: the Titan has the edge in crud at speed. It doesn't get kicked around as much. Feels more stable, and also has a bit larger platform. In bumps, the bit softer Rally is easier to ski: the Titan's tail is a little aggressive for bumps, but manageable. The Rally is super fun in bumps: the big sidecut numbers may be holding it back a bit, but it is an all-mountain ski, not a specific bumper, so I can live with it.
What would I choose, and why? For my current needs, the Titan would likely get the nod. I prefer having more top end, and don't mind having to ski with more input to get it. It just sings at speed. With that said, the Rally has a ton going for it, as well. If I were teaching and really working on a lot of slower speed drills, as well as looking for a fun ski at more moderate speeds, it would be the better choice. Rally is also better in bumps. The skis are close enough in performance that it would be tough to say which is better.
I will update the thread when I get more time on each. Kind of shut down at the moment, but snow is on the horizon that will hopefully get the mountain running again.