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Review: Head i-Supershape Titan vs. Rally comparison

post #1 of 29
Thread Starter 

AppleMark

 

 

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. 

post #2 of 29

Nice reviews as always.  "Fairly athletic"? - you're way too humble. :)

 

I love both of these skis, but I prefer the Titan in the 177cm because I would take that ski out more as an all-mountain ski; in the West I want the longer length to smooth out any crud/chop/chunder, etc.  And quite honestly, even in the 177cm size this ski still has a ton of sidecut (15.5m) and can still rip some very nice quick turns.

post #3 of 29
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Noodler View Post
 

Nice reviews as always.  "Fairly athletic"? - you're way too humble. :)

 

I love both of these skis, but I prefer the Titan in the 177cm because I would take that ski out more as an all-mountain ski; in the West I want the longer length to smooth out any crud/chop/chunder, etc.  And quite honestly, even in the 177cm size this ski still has a ton of sidecut (15.5m) and can still rip some very nice quick turns.

Yeah, I agree.  The only downside of the 177 was the lack of quickness: it is a better all-mountain length.  If I could just combine the nimble feel of the 170 and the stability of the 177, it would be about perfect. 

 

I know people who are good athletes: they can dunk a basketball and learn to ride a unicycle in 5 minutes.  That isn't me: I happen to be a guy with a very big aerobic engine and strong legs from riding my bike all the time.   Big difference! 

post #4 of 29

Personally I preferred the Rally over Titan for a few reasons, I found the edge to edge quickness to be better on the Rally and it to be a bit more playful. These are attributes I am looking for in a frontside ski. If I am gonna be on a ski over 80mm underfoot, I want a bit more versatility than the Titan offers...for me an my size (5'10"/190lb). We have a local Head Mountain Rep who is 6'2" 230ln who prefers the Titan..makes sense he is per portioned larger than me and I am sure the Titan feels to him like the Rally does to me. I think the Head Rev 85 would be the ski for me if I must have a Head over 80mm. IMHO size matters not only in the ski but the skier. 

post #5 of 29

Very interesting compare/contrast.Any guesses on the Head Prestige? This has the same shape as the Rally,but with the chip.Thanks in advance. John

post #6 of 29
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by John B View Post
 

Very interesting compare/contrast.Any guesses on the Head Prestige? This has the same shape as the Rally,but with the chip.Thanks in advance. John

I haven't skied the Prestige. With that said....every Chip model I have tried/owned over the years (it has been several) have had enhanced dampness and stability, but sometimes taking away the fun factor.  The Rally is a very "fun" ski, with the only downside being a somewhat lower speed limit than competitors.  The chip would probably bring the speed limit up, but have it skiing more like the more stable Speed, and less like what it currently skis like in the base Rally. 

 

Of course, this is simply conjecture.  

post #7 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by dawgcatching View Post
 

 

Of course, this is simply conjecture.  

At least until SIA when hopefully Head will have the Limited and Prestige models available for demo (assuming they're in the 2015 line-up).  I'm a fan of the older Chip 71 and Chip 78 (although they're not everyone's cup of tea).

post #8 of 29

Anyone know where the chip is located? The picture indicates a squarish plate forward of the binding, but my understanding is that KERS is behind the binding. So either the gismo ahead of the binding is just an insignia, or this a throwback design to the original i models. 

post #9 of 29

The chip is to the rear of the binding heel piece.

 

post #10 of 29
Anyone know if the "chip" you see actually does anything? Seems easily damaged exposed like that, but when I raised the question to the store guy, he said it's just decorative, the actual working parts are inside the ski. Which sort of makes sense, since I don't see what Head claims needing an microchip to function.
post #11 of 29

Noodler, I was referring to the Prestige Chip series that John B asked about, here: http://www.head.com/ski/products/skis/performance/prestige/5991/?region=eu I also note this page from the Head U.S. website, that puts the chip ahead: http://www.head.com/ski/technologies/skis/?region=us&id=312

 

So I know KERS is in back, but it's not the only Chip in town...:)

post #12 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by beyond View Post
 

Noodler, I was referring to the Prestige Chip series that John B asked about, here: http://www.head.com/ski/products/skis/performance/prestige/5991/?region=eu I also note this page from the Head U.S. website, that puts the chip ahead: http://www.head.com/ski/technologies/skis/?region=us&id=312

 

So I know KERS is in back, but it's not the only Chip in town...:)

 

For the Prestige series, the chip is on the shoulder.

post #13 of 29

Thanks for info. So it will handle more like the older chips. 

post #14 of 29

Perhaps I should have put one of these - ;) - in my earlier post.

post #15 of 29

No, but some of us appreciate clever bad jokes enough to roll with them...

post #16 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by beyond View Post
 

Anyone know where the chip is located? The picture indicates a squarish plate forward of the binding, but my understanding is that KERS is behind the binding. So either the gismo ahead of the binding is just an insignia, or this a throwback design to the original i models. 

 

The Titan I tried had the chip on the back: (my observations in the link below)
http://www.epicski.com/t/117732/quick-ride-2013-2014-head-supershape-ititan-era-3-0s

 

I always wanted to ski a pair with the chips, stop and drill a hole in the chips and try the same runs again to see if the chip really does anything you can feel...but I didn't have the budget for it and my buddy wouldn't let me drill holes in his skis....oh well...

 

 

post #17 of 29

^^^^ Yep, all the current Supershapes with KERS have the chip in back. But the Prestige, which is only available in Yrp this season AFAIK, doesn't seem to show a similar chip in back, does show something about the right shape in front. As per the picture I linked. So curious. Personally, I prefer the front setup, but that's just me...

post #18 of 29
I thought the back is a stupid place for it. When you unlock your binding with poles, where does the tip go if it slips?
post #19 of 29
Dawgcatching - I have a question regarding the rally. I have a pair of I.speeds @ 180cm, I.titans @ 177, and volkl sl @ 165. It's a great quiver for what I like, front side hard pack groomers.

I want to replace my volkls with a new short radius, quick edge to edge, solid ski, but may not want to stick with a race line sl ski - will be coming back from pretty serious knee surgery and want something slightly more forgiving. Naturally, my first step was towards the i.sl, but I want a ski closer to the feeling of the titan than the speed, but still quick, so low 70s under foot. I also wouldn't mind something more at home going a bit slower than the speeds, even the titans - sometimes it's just too crowded for the speeds. The titans I can really slow down with pressure on edge.

My question, if I were to gear up with a shorter rally, closer to 165, do you think I would reach that middle ground? I know it won't be as stiff or fast as the I.sl, I just don't want it to be as soft or gutless as a rev. I do love the super shape line. Was thinking a shorter magnum too, again 165 range, but would opt for a narrower waste, all things equal. I thought about getting a second pair or titans in a shorter length, but as much as I love the , @78mm underfoot they are not quick enough edge to edge for a short radius turn. Want to be in the 11-13m radius zone.

Thinking 170 magnum may fit the bill...

Thanks!
Edited by davidp50sl - 2/8/14 at 3:23pm
post #20 of 29

So having been a chip designer for most of my working life I was curious about how the whole KERS thing worked.  I managed to find a patent for the first application, which was a tennis racquet damping system. It was many pages long and I was impressed by  the complexity of the entire system. Let's just say there's a lot going on under the skin.


Edited by stevesmith7 - 2/8/14 at 5:17pm
post #21 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by stevesmith7 View Post
 

So having been a chip designer for most of my working live I was curious about how the whole KERS thing worked.  I managed to find a patent for the first application, which was a tennis racquet damping system. It was many pages long and I was impressed by  the complexity of the entire system. Let's just say there's a lot going on under the skin.

The graphene that they are bringing over from the tennis division is also very interesting and skis quite well. They are using it in the women's Joy series this coming year. 

post #22 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Philpug View Post
 

The graphene that they are bringing over from the tennis division is also very interesting and skis quite well. They are using it in the women's Joy series this coming year. 

The KERS system goes way beyond just materials. The chip stores energy from a piezo layer and then uses it to modulate the stiffness later in the cycle. In the racquet they were trying to dampen out vibrations by energizing the KERS on a cycle by cycle basis. 

 

 

BTW, the Rally was my favorite too. I'll be looking for a pair come spring sale time.

post #23 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Philpug View Post
 

The graphene that they are bringing over from the tennis division is also very interesting and skis quite well. They are using it in the women's Joy series this coming year. 

I just bought a Head racquet with graphene. I've played it about 5 times, very impressed. Not sure why, but I like it....

post #24 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by segbrown View Post
 

I just bought a Head racquet with graphene. I've played it about 5 times, very impressed. Not sure why, but I like it....

Wait till you try the Joy skis…you will need a CC with Graphene. 

post #25 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by davidp50sl View Post

Thinking 170 magnum may fit the bill...
 

I think you definitely have a strong candidate for your needs with that ski.

post #26 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by stevesmith7 View Post

 

 

BTW, the Rally was my favorite too. I'll be looking for a pair come spring sale time.

Would you consider a 177? 

post #27 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Philpug View Post
 

Would you consider a 177? 

I skied the 170. Probably wouldn't want the 177 as my intended use is for a bump/spring ski that skis a little easier (and wider) than my everyday SL skis (Stockli Laser SL) but thanks for keeping an eye out for me Phil.

post #28 of 29
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by davidp50sl View Post

Dawgcatching - I have a question regarding the rally. I have a pair of I.speeds @ 180cm, I.titans @ 177, and volkl sl @ 165. It's a great quiver for what I like, front side hard pack groomers.

I want to replace my volkls with a new short radius, quick edge to edge, solid ski, but may not want to stick with a race line sl ski - will be coming back from pretty serious knee surgery and want something slightly more forgiving. Naturally, my first step was towards the i.sl, but I want a ski closer to the feeling of the titan than the speed, but still quick, so low 70s under foot. I also wouldn't mind something more at home going a bit slower than the speeds, even the titans - sometimes it's just too crowded for the speeds. The titans I can really slow down with pressure on edge.

My question, if I were to gear up with a shorter rally, closer to 165, do you think I would reach that middle ground? I know it won't be as stiff or fast as the I.sl, I just don't want it to be as soft or gutless as a rev. I do love the super shape line. Was thinking a shorter magnum too, again 165 range, but would opt for a narrower waste, all things equal. I thought about getting a second pair or titans in a shorter length, but as much as I love the , @78mm underfoot they are not quick enough edge to edge for a short radius turn. Want to be in the 11-13m radius zone.

Thinking 170 magnum may fit the bill...

Thanks!

 

Hi there,

 

The Rally is pretty soft.  Based on your other skis, I would say 170cm.  Or, get the Magnum at 170cm. It is a little more precise.  Even the i-speed is a candidate.  Neither is "burly"; they don't qualify as "carvers", they qualify as "hard snow biased frontside skis".  I just did a head to head on all 4 supershape models, they all ski well, but if I had to pick one, it would be Magnum (for the snow feel and quickness of a playful carver), or Titan (for the bit stouter feel and more stable in chop snow ability.  

 

Based on what you are looking for, the Magnum or i-speed makes more sense than the Rally.  A few more mm in width is giving you any sort of benefit as a carver.  The quickness difference between the Magnum and Rally back to back is palpable, though.  

post #29 of 29

I would also vote for the Magnum based on what you're looking for. I recently spent a day on both the Magnum and Rally. Both are superb skis, but somewhat different. I agree with Scott, the Rally does feel somewhat softer, with more of an all mountain feel to it. The Magnum felt a touch stiffer than the Rally, and quicker edge to edge, which was to be expected. Had that slightly detuned race ski feel, plenty of performance and grip without the demanding nature of a race ski. I'm 210 lbs, and skied both skis in the 177, if that helps. I'm in the process now of trying to decide between the Rally or the new Titan as my everyday ski. The Magnum would be in the picture too, except for the fact that I've already owned two of them, so it's time for something different.

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