This is part of the story for sure but there is a lot more to the new Mantra story than just the full rocker bit. First, it's probably good to remember that Volkl has the strongest franchise in the world of skis right now. I also question the efficacy of some of their moves but the fact remains that many people tend to revere the brand and just plain want them. For at least a few years, the Mantra had been the best selling flat ski in the US market and the mystique and the strength of the brand have have kept the model alive for longer than any recent ski model. Things were going well in that part of Volkl's stable until along came the Bonafide and to a lesser extent, the Hell & Back/Enforcer (and others). In the estimation of many skier's and critics, those skis just plain skied better than the Mantra in the conditions where the 98mm ski is supposed to excel. Mantra sales and more importantly, its image started to erode.
So.....if you're Volkl, what do you do? Many of the things that they could have done would be considered a "me too" kind of thing.
Instead, they came up with a whole new story for the Mantra that tied into what they are doing with the rest of their lineup and allowed them to have a unique story within the category.
- They gave the ski a low, tip to tail, continuous rocker like many of their skis both above and below the Mantra's width.
- They gave the ski (IMO.......finally) a more round, even flex that is also somewhat softer than before. That burlyazz, stiff tail is gone.
- They also chose to make the ski stiff at the extremities and softer underfoot in the theory that you still get the bite at the extremities and also the ski bends enough underfoot to give more "POP" than most other rockered skis.
- They will be marketing this as the "best Mantra ever" in the hopes of retrieving some of their lost loyalty.
Thanks SJ! Very instructive post! I just wish it won't be that much better since I just bought a 2014!!!
So we could say that they did 2 majors changes: flex and rocker... I wonder why they just didn't tried playing with the flex first? Was the Mantra always stiff?