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Demo, testing and tuning

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 

I understand hand tuning, machine tuning and tuning from the factory.

 

When a person tests skis, do they test them with a factory tune?

 

I have read a blanket statement like "all my skis have a 1 degree base and 3 degree side edge."

 

So, if for instance, you test a Head vs. a Fischer ski you might hear a comment like the Fischer had "great edge grip."  Wouldn't that be function of the factory tune?  Head comes with a 1 degree base and 1 degree edge while Fischer's are 1/3.  If you put a 1/3 on that Head ski, would the great edge grip of the Fischer seem not so great?

 

When testing, shouldn't all the skis have the same base and edge angles?  It seems to me that would level the playing field, no???

 

Also, when testing, do you test new skis or are they just the demo fleet?

 

If I understand what I've read in regards to the demo fleet, you could literally have either no tune, a factory tune or some other tune on those skis.  If it's unclear what the tune is when demoing, how can you make an informed decision?  Ignore the tune and try to concentrate on other attributes of the ski?  Do they mark the demo skis with how they are tuned?

 

Thanks for the help. 


Edited by DirtViking - 2/19/14 at 5:35am
post #2 of 21
Thread Starter 

Looking for some insight here....

 

Maybe I should just ask 1 question.

 

When testing or demoing skis, do you pay attention to the tune of the ski??????

post #3 of 21

You are absolutely testing the tune along with the ski, you learn to differentiate with time and experience, but it definitely affects your opinion. Skis are rarely 'tested' with the factory tune, all of the major magazine tests get 'specially prepared' skis, something that has always bothered me. Consumers are almost always skiing the rep's tune or the shop's tune when they demo a ski, depending on the way they get access to demo skis.

 

As I mentioned, with experience it gets a lot easier to tell what the ski is doing and what the tune is contributing... but a nice tune can really make a good ski seem special.

 

There is no real solution other than a consumer reports style- walk into a shop and buy a ski off the floor and test that, if the manufacturer supplies the ski it's gonna try to get every advantage possible. Good reps are fastidious with keeping their skis tuned well (not factory tuned, tuned.) Shops are often a bit lazier... which really bothers me.

post #4 of 21
Thread Starter 

Thank you for the response.

 

When demoing (for myself), I should ask if all the skis I'm testing have the same tune?  Will they know?  Is it reasonable to think that they put the same tune on the entire demo fleet?  Is there a reason to put a different tune on different brands or types of demo skis?

post #5 of 21
I know I have frequently demoed a ski from one shop's tent, then later gone to another tent, picked up the same ski, same size, because it was out at the first tent and I wanted another go on it. And had completely different impressions of the ski! Only recently have understood why. I always assumed these demos were tuned to some factory spec, but it turns out that they just run all these skis through at the same settings. Different shops default to either a 1/1 or a 1/2. If you bring your skis in to be sharpened and you don't tell them, they give you their default. Factory tune? What's that?
post #6 of 21
What your going to find is that the only tune you can trust, is the tune you do yourself.

I'll say, every shop can put out a bad tune every now and then. No one in a shop is perfect.

Not all shop tunes are the same.

I'll also say the some rep's do there own tuning, For the past 8 years or so the Volkl guy that comes to Okemo, has the best Tuned skis I've ever skied. After talking with him years ago, my skis, ski just like his.

If you get a badly tuned ski, you will know it with in the first 50 ft.

I can tell within the first 50ft if I'm going to like that ski.

I've been doing my own tunes for over 13 years now. When I demo and its not right, it doesn't take long to figure out somethings wrong.

I have gotten on a couple of demo's on the past 15 years or so and could tell there was something wrong. It doesn't happen that often but it does.

I used to have a ski house room mate that was a Atomic rep. One evening he asked me to fix the skis, the shop screwed up. So yes it can happen.


As for the 1/3 or 1/1 or 1/2, it's really hard to tell the difference. I don't think I could.

Other things the come into play, is de-tuned or not. and ski lenght, Some MFG's I find I have to ski there skis in a shorter lenght to get them to turn quickly. Some of the high end Rossi's a few years back, I had to drop down to a 163cm to enjoy them. I normally skied a 170cm back then.
post #7 of 21
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Max Capacity View Post


As for the 1/3 or 1/1 or 1/2, it's really hard to tell the difference. I don't think I could.
 

 

I understand what you're saying.  Maybe I can't tell the difference either, but there are those on here that suggest a specific tune for all their skis.  1/3 is often mentioned.  I was under the impression that there was a significant enough difference to either put that on your skis or have someone do it for you.  That was more or less the reason for my post.  I'm getting ready to demo some skis and have been reading reviews and this whole tuning thing is rarely, if ever, mentioned (in the reviews.)

 

Do you think the tune may be more ski dependent.  Meaning a damp ski, for instance, may feel the same whether the tune is 1/1 or 1/3.  A race ski is completely different and much more noticeable if the tune changes from 1 to 3 side edge?  Still trying to get my head wrapped around this...

post #8 of 21
It probably depends on your test conditions. Groomers and hardpack will give you a clue about the tune because of the impact on edge hold. Fresh soft snow and powder, not so much. I try very hard to identify a run which has it all and hit the same route for each ski.
post #9 of 21
I'm one of the one's that recommends 1/3, I was told to go to that by a young friend that was a racer out of Burke Academy. My GF, who's been skiing 4 years is also on 1/3 no de-tune.

I would think to tell the difference, I would have to ski the 1/1 or 1/2 and then get back on my skis at 1/3. But that really doesn't happen that often. I do know that when people ask me which ski I liked best at the demo day. My answer is normally, my ski.

That's why I'm still on a 3 y/o ski.
post #10 of 21
I believe in demoing, but I think the problem is, if it's not a long demo, then anything that needs you to ski differently you will hate, but it could actually be a good ski if you gave it a longer test and learned how to ski it. I came to this realization after getting skis I didn't demo because they weren't available to demo, and relying on the judgment of people who historically had liked what I liked. Spent a full season coming around to liking them. But I'm pretty sure it was good for my skiing.
post #11 of 21

Skis are designed to be skied with the factory side and base bevel. In a factory demo setting you want the ski to preform the best possible. All skis need a tune right from the factory. They need some hot wax love, at the very least a file taken to the edges for any burs and such as well as a flat bar. No factory puts out 100% all the time. So for a demo you need the ski to be at its best. As for changing the side bevel for a demo. I would never change anything from the factory for a demo, just enhance the ride. You want to show what the ski is capable of from the start not what you can do to it after the fact. Think of it in car terms. If I am test driving a car, I might have intentions of putting new rims or rubber on it but I want to know how the car handles before the "up grades". Besides I trust the design team more than that crusty old dude at the mountain that says " I only ski a 1:3"  

post #12 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by SVmike View Post
 

Skis are designed to be skied with the factory side and base bevel. In a factory demo setting you want the ski to preform the best possible. All skis need a tune right from the factory. They need some hot wax love, at the very least a file taken to the edges for any burs and such as well as a flat bar. No factory puts out 100% all the time. So for a demo you need the ski to be at its best. As for changing the side bevel for a demo. I would never change anything from the factory for a demo, just enhance the ride. You want to show what the ski is capable of from the start not what you can do to it after the fact. Think of it in car terms. If I am test driving a car, I might have intentions of putting new rims or rubber on it but I want to know how the car handles before the "up grades". Besides I trust the design team more than that crusty old dude at the mountain that says " I only ski a 1:3"  :bs::bs::bs:

 

This maybe the worst post with the most misinfo I have seen in a longtime. 

 

Skis are NOT designed for a Factory tune they are designed for any tune the skier wants to put on them. 

 

YOU SHOULD TRUST THE CRUSTY OLD DUDE NOT THE DESIGN TEAM. MR. CRUSTY HAS NO PROFIT MOTIVE. SKIS FACTORIES DO WHAT IS EASIEST AND MOST ECONOMICAL.

 

I HAVE YET TO SKI AN ATOMIC SKI OVER THE LAST 15 YEARS THAT DID NOT SKI PERFECTLY RIGHT OUT OF THE WRAPPER. I am in no way affliated with Atomic

post #13 of 21

Very good ^^^^ with just a little caveat. In my decades in the ski biz, I have done lots of things including tune skis for a ski company as a race rep and product manager, tuned skis for buyers as a sales rep and tuned skis for consumers as a retailer. These are all different things and a factory that turns 500,000 skis a year is unlikely to be able to deliver a consistent product off of the machines they use. I tell a retail consumer that all the skis on our wall (all 12 brands/100 models) ski adequately out of the wrapper. In almost all cases, they will ski at their best if one of our techs spends an hour or so on them. Most "factory tunes" are not tunes. Rather, they are mass produced, machine finished, with all that entails. For most skiers, they are OK, for some skiers, they are perfect, but for most skiers, most of the time, they can be improved.

 

Naturally, you have to be relatively experienced and tune sensitive to know what is right and what is not. I'm about 60% through testing next year's skis and in many cases, the skis have been less than perfect. Sometimes it's a lazy rep that just unwraps them and throws them on snow. Sometimes it's a "green" ski that isn't fully set up and needs to be "processed". Other times, it's ski that needs a certain spec to be effective. It's all variable and there are zero absolutes.

 

SJ


Edited by SierraJim - 2/19/14 at 10:54am
post #14 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by SierraJim View Post
 

Very good ^^^^ with just a little caveat. In my decades in the ski biz, I have done lots of things including tune skis for a ski company as a race rep and product manager, tuned skis for buyers as a sales rep and tuned skis for consumers as a retailer. These are all different things and a factory that turns 500,00 skis a year is unlikely to be able to deliver a consistent product off of the machines they use. I tell a retail consumer that all the skis on our wall (all 12 brands/100 models) ski adequately out of the wrapper. In almost all cases, they will ski at their best if one of our techs spends an hour or so on them. Most "factory tunes" are not tunes. Rather, they are mass produced, machine finished, with all that entails. For most skiers, they are OK, for some skiers, they are perfect, but for most skiers, most of the time, they can be improved.

 

Naturally, you have to be relatively experienced and tune sensitive to know what is right and what is not. I'm about 60% through testing next year's skis and in many cases, the skis have been less than perfect. Sometimes it's a lazy rep that just unwraps them and throws them on snow. Sometimes it's a "green" ski that isn't fully set up and needs to be "processed". Other times, it's ski that needs a certain spec to be effective. It's all variable and there are zero absolutes.

 

SJ

:beercheer:Thumbs Up

post #15 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Atomicman View Post
 

 

This maybe the worst post with the most misinfo I have seen in a longtime. 

 

Skis are NOT designed for a Factory tune they are designed for any tune the skier wants to put on them. 

 

YOU SHOULD TRUST THE CRUSTY OLD DUDE NOT THE DESIGN TEAM. MR. CRUSTY HAS NO PROFIT MOTIVE. SKIS FACTORIES DO WHAT IS EASIEST AND MOST ECONOMICAL.

 

I HAVE YET TO SKI AN ATOMIC SKI OVER THE LAST 15 YEARS THAT DID NOT SKI PERFECTLY RIGHT OUT OF THE WRAPPER. I am in no way affliated with Atomic

And I am extrememly tune sensitive and have tuned my skis and my 2 racer sons skis for years! As far as the Atomics go, this applies to race skis, race stock skis, all mountain skis and even my new 103mm rituals, although I have now changed those to a 3 degree side edge!:D  Crusty old guy......................guilty as charged!


Edited by Atomicman - 2/19/14 at 11:10am
post #16 of 21
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by SierraJim View Post

... Sometimes it's a lazy rep that just unwraps them and throws them on snow. Sometimes it's a "green" ski that isn't fully set up and needs to be "processed". Other times, it's ski that needs a certain spec to be effective. It's all variable and there are zero absolutes.

SJ

Thank you for the insight.

I still have a few questions...

What are you actually doing to the skis? Removing the factory inconsistencies or changing the side edge or both? For example, would you take a Head Rev 85 (1/1 from the factory) and change to a 1/3 prior to or during testing for any reason?
post #17 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Atomicman View Post
 

 

 

I HAVE YET TO SKI AN ATOMIC SKI OVER THE LAST 15 YEARS THAT DID NOT SKI PERFECTLY RIGHT OUT OF THE WRAPPER. I am in no way affliated with Atomic

Ha ha ha... You my friend are full of well...... There is no factory in the entire industry that I would ski right out of the wrapper. If you are it says a lot about you, not me. The facts are, we are talking about a DEMO here. I could give a rats ass what you like on your edge. Yet in a demo situation the ski should be set up as the manufacturer intends, not to what some guy that thinks he knows best says. Sure, once you own the ski, change the bevel or not.

 Hate all you want, there is not a rep in the world that would change the edge bevel for a demo, and not a good rep for that matter that wouldn't go over every ski in his or her demo fleet before allowing it on snow.  Yell all you want with your cap lock on but again we are taking DEMO not you personal sticks...   

post #18 of 21

I would take a Head Rev 85 and pull the base by hand with a 1* file guide. I suspect that 90% of the time, I'll get some metal at parts of the ski and maybe little or none at others. Then, I'll take down the sidewall offset and pull the side edge with a 2* guide. This will set the angles consistently. After that, it's all about final level of sharpness vs. polish and that's more personal than anything else. I would seldom set side angles at 3* except possibly for very technical skis (such as a Head iSpeed for ex).

 

SJ

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

I HAVE YET TO SKI AN ATOMIC SKI OVER THE LAST 15 YEARS THAT DID NOT SKI PERFECTLY RIGHT OUT OF THE WRAPPER. I am in no way affliated with Atomic

We have been over this in another thread I believe. Your statement is very BOLD and so I'll say it again. To be clear, I do not consider Atomic to be particularly bad. However, of the 7 pairs of Atomics I have bought in the last four years not one had a consistent base bevel. They varied by as much as 2 degrees on the same edge. Side edges have issues, too, but are of course easy to fix. I also ski Head and find that they have improved in the past few years but are not perfect either.

I am sure that many will find that the skis perform perfectly fine out of the wrapper. however, i am picky and these days where I have less time and more money I have all new skis shipped to SkiMD who makes them live up to their potential.
post #20 of 21
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by SierraJim View Post
 

Sometimes it's a lazy rep that just unwraps them and throws them on snow. Sometimes it's a "green" ski that isn't fully set up and needs to be "processed". Other times, it's ski that needs a certain spec to be effective. It's all variable and there are zero absolutes.

 

SJ

 

Could you also describe demo skis this way?  I presume it depends on the shop?

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by SierraJim View Post
 

I would take a Head Rev 85 and pull the base by hand with a 1* file guide. I suspect that 90% of the time, I'll get some metal at parts of the ski and maybe little or none at others. Then, I'll take down the sidewall offset and pull the side edge with a 2* guide. This will set the angles consistently. After that, it's all about final level of sharpness vs. polish and that's more personal than anything else. I would seldom set side angles at 3* except possibly for very technical skis (such as a Head iSpeed for ex).

 

SJ

 

That helps, thank you.

 

It sounds as though the skis that you test in the same category have the same tune???  Just to be clear, if you compare a Head Rev 85 (1/1 factory) to a Blizzard Magnum 8.5 ti (1/3 factory) you'd still tune both to 1/2 for testing?

post #21 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by DirtViking View Post
 

 

Could you also describe demo skis this way?  I presume it depends on the shop?

 

 

That helps, thank you.

 

It sounds as though the skis that you test in the same category have the same tune???  Just to be clear, if you compare a Head Rev 85 (1/1 factory) to a Blizzard Magnum 8.5 ti (1/3 factory) you'd still tune both to 1/2 for testing?

 

When talking about our store demos.....sure.....we always tune our demo skis the same and they are all 1/2 with the exception of "technical" skis like the highest end carvers which are often 1/3. Unfortunately, when I test skis from a buyer's perspective, I'm testing stuff that's all over map. They usually belong to the local rep or the ski company and sometimes they are hand tuned but often they are not. Sometimes, they are right out of the wrapper and that's not always good. I can generally tell the difference between a ski that's just too sharp and one that's too flat. The "too flat" situation is the worst and the hardest to fix when the skis are green. When we get skis dropped off such as that Rossi I was mentioning, we will often tell the rep that we will tune them for him. In that particular case, I knew the ski should be good but it wasn't and I could tell from the first turn they needed work so I just withheld judgement on that one.

 

SJ

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