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Volkl RTM 84 and 81 Demo Day

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 

There is not a dedicated thread to the ’15 Volkl RTM 81 and 84, and, as I got to demo them on an extended basis today, let’s open one. First, I am not a charter member of the “give me my Volkls” club, I selected this pairing because of a very short line at the Volkl tent (which did not last long). In fact, I’m more a Volkl skeptic based on other demos.

 

Me:

- 6’1”, 200 lbs.
- Eastern small mountain, hard snow skier
- Short, carving turns mostly, not a high speed skier
- Weakness as a skier is off piste and bumps. Blue Mtn bumps = ice..not fun!
@Qcanoe called me a pretty good groomer skier last January at the Epic Utah Gathering. Talk about left handed complements! Can’t keep up the first string big boys at Gatherings.      Second groupings for me.
- This season has been mostly on Fischer WC Sl’s in 165
- Today’s conditions, new snow over some refrozen granular, pretty good for my home mountain, Bluebird day

 

I had not researched theses skis, was familiar with many good reviews of the older RTM series. The Rep stated these were both brand new to his fleet and made me promise to treat them well  and return in same condition.

 

Volkl RTM 84, 176cm in length.

 

I owned the Head Rev 85, sold it because of too much overlap with my 78 waist skis by Hart. I like the quicker edge changes of the narrower skis, and, question the value of 85ish skis in the east. Rep told me about the dual rocker plus these were a serious, hard charging ski. Immediately, they ski shorter than the 176 length, turn initiation is very easy, and, comfortable to ski on as they soak up the terrain nicely. Responsive at the lower speeds I use and my shorter radius turns. My issue was that I could not get them onto carving edge easily. When I could, the edge grip was very evident and it is competent. They need some attention to perform, not easily smeared. This skis did all that I asked of it, and, did it pretty well. Skied it for close to an hour. I only wished I was a better skier to push it more.

 

Volkl RTM 81, 176cm in length.

 

I’m at a loss to explain why I demo’d a ski only 3mm less in width from the ski I just demo’d. But, wow, it did all the good things the 84 did, plus, it carved so much easier with great grip. The edge grip resembled the locked in feeling on my Fischer Sl’s, couldn’t believe it was 81 underfoot and 176 long. I was smiling in a few turns. When pushed into bigger turns or higher speeds, it performed..period. Like it’s big brother 84, not easy to smear and push around. Skis shorter than 176. I would have loved to try bumps, but, today was not that day in the icefields of Blue bumps. In construction, it shares the substantial feelings typical of the Volkl line. I could have an affair with the ski.

 

While I demo’d 4 other skis today, these two just stood out for some serious skiing. Good Job Volkl.


Wanted to take the new Red Sled Mantra out, but, the wait was far too long.

post #2 of 22

Thanks for your review.  I own a pair of the 81's in a 171 and absolutely love them for my Mid Atlantic / Mid Western areas I frequent.  I had demoed the 84's when they first came out and though I liked them, I did not love them.  Curiously, I bought the 81's without a demo and purely on the early reviews and the great shop deal I was able to get.  I don't regret my decision at all.  They do everything that I like to do at Holiday Valley, Peak N Peak or Seven Springs.  Fast groomers.  Fall line dancing.  Bumps.  short turns,  Long turns.   Mixed snow conditions.  Even the occasional Nastar!

 

Seriously, these skis hold a very nice GS type carve.  Last Friday on the relatively easy Nastar course on Cindy's at HV, I was able to nearly match my Gold / Silver medal runs that I did on a brand new pair of Volkl Racetiger Speedwall UVO's that I borrowed from the shop.  For the first 6 or so runs I was running 19.60 (my sole Gold) to about 20.5.  When I switched to my RTM's after lunch, I ran very close, 19.80 - 20.7.  It certainly reminded me that it is more me than my ski's preventing me from winning more races in my league.

 

Anyway, anyone looking for a versatile solid performing eastern all mountain ski, should take a demo on these puppies.  Me thinks you will be impressed.

 

Rick G

post #3 of 22

5.8 190 ish pounds, aggressive skier, trees, steeps, bumps, only ski groomers when I have to.  

RTM 84 absolutley rock.  I have a pair in 176 and love them.  also demoed them in a 181 and probably should of gone larger, but have never looked back.   Also have a pair of Gotamas see below. :)   Love Volkl and every other manufacturer out there, some awesome ski's out now, hard to find a bad one.   

 

setting up to spray my buddy. :) 

post #4 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by pdiddy View Post

5.8 190 ish pounds, aggressive skier, trees, steeps, bumps, only ski groomers when I have to.  
RTM 84 absolutley rock.  I have a pair in 176 and love them.  also demoed them in a 181 and probably should of gone larger, but have never looked back.   Also have a pair of Gotamas see below. smile.gif   Love Volkl and every other manufacturer out there, some awesome ski's out now, hard to find a bad one.   





setting up to spray my buddy. smile.gif 

We are the same size pdiddy and I was wondering about 171 vs 176. I'm just getting back into skiing about a long hiatus been back now for 3 yrs and ready to go rtm 84. Strong intermediate type looking to get better and wondering if you ever tried/considered the 171 and what advice/suggestion you could give on the 171 vs 176. Many thanks and sorry for the thread jack.
post #5 of 22

Madriver,

 

I am just shy of 5'9" and am around 190Lbs myself.  I am skiing the RTM 81's in a 171 and love them.  I am sure I could have gone longer, but I ski them mostly at sub 750' hills and wanted the shorter turn radius to get the most of what we have.

 

I ski at a fairly high level and have not been able to out ski them at this length. Rock solid at speed, as long as you have them on edge.   I think the 171 will be just fine for you.

 

Ski On!

 

Rick G

post #6 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by madriversven View Post


We are the same size pdiddy and I was wondering about 171 vs 176. I'm just getting back into skiing about a long hiatus been back now for 3 yrs and ready to go rtm 84. Strong intermediate type looking to get better and wondering if you ever tried/considered the 171 and what advice/suggestion you could give on the 171 vs 176. Many thanks and sorry for the thread jack.

I would go to the 176 for sure.  They ski short.   You should demo them first for sure to make sure you like the reverse camber.  

post #7 of 22

Hi Living Proof,

 

I'm wondering if you could comment on the turn radius between the two? Looking at Volkl's website, the published turn radius for the 84s are slightly shorter than for the 81s which surprised me. I've demoed the 81s in a 171 and right now it's between them and the Head Supershape iRally in a 177. Wondering if it's worth checking out the 84 before I pull the trigger? I was riding up the lift last week with a ski instructor who was using a pair of the 84s and his take was that the 84s were indeed a quicker turning ski (which more suits what I'm after in a ski).

post #8 of 22
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by madriversven View Post


We are the same size pdiddy and I was wondering about 171 vs 176. I'm just getting back into skiing about a long hiatus been back now for 3 yrs and ready to go rtm 84. Strong intermediate type looking to get better and wondering if you ever tried/considered the 171 and what advice/suggestion you could give on the 171 vs 176. Many thanks and sorry for the thread jack.

Where do you ski the most?

 

In the Epic forum's, most would tell you to buy the 176 and the Volkl's do ski short so they turn closer to a normal 170. I'm an outlayer, at times, from that thinking. The 84 is a substantial serious ski that you may like in a 170 even at your size. But only you can determine that and that is based on your needs for speed, terrain, snow type and skill.

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by shewhorn View Post
 

Hi Living Proof,

 

I'm wondering if you could comment on the turn radius between the two? Looking at Volkl's website, the published turn radius for the 84s are slightly shorter than for the 81s which surprised me. I've demoed the 81s in a 171 and right now it's between them and the Head Supershape iRally in a 177. Wondering if it's worth checking out the 84 before I pull the trigger? I was riding up the lift last week with a ski instructor who was using a pair of the 84s and his take was that the 84s were indeed a quicker turning ski (which more suits what I'm after in a ski).

I looked at Volkl's website, and, you are correct the 84 has a slightly lower turning radius than the 81. I would disregard the small difference, it just means Volkl made the tip and tail of the 84 a little wider. My experience was the 81 was the faster at changing edges and was brought up to carving edge much more easily. I found the 81 to be much more responsive to my carving needs. What surprised me about the Volkl's was how much easy carving the 81 provided over the 84 which is just a few mm wider. I asked @Philpug , who is a gear editor here, why this is so and he told me the 81 is constructed differently than the 84.

 

As the Volkl's have full rocker, they ski short, that is, they turn very easily. While I've not demo'd the IRally, it is more traditional cambered, with a turning radius much lower than either the Volkl 81 or 84.  I would predict the RTM 81 at much 170 to be easier for you to ski, the Supershape Rally at 177 would require more input from you (based on the reviews I've read of that ski). The Volkl 81 is more GS feel than the IRally which would turn shorter, but, your skills at tightening up the turn radius play a big part of making the Rally a short turn ski. In some ways, your two choices (170 cm 81 vs 177 cm Rally) should be reversed in terms of length to be a closer comparison.  BTW, I'm a fan of Head carving skis, would love to demo the Rally, but, would check it out in a 170 first for the terrain and style I typically ski.

post #9 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Living Proof View Post
The Volkl 81 is more GS feel than the IRally which would turn shorter, but, your skills at tightening up the turn radius play a big part of making the Rally a short turn ski. In some ways, your two choices (170 cm 81 vs 177 cm Rally) should be reversed in terms of length to be a closer comparison.  BTW, I'm a fan of Head carving skis, would love to demo the Rally, but, would check it out in a 170 first for the terrain and style I typically ski.

 

I've tried the iRally in the 170 as well and I found it to be a bit squirrely for my tastes BUT... there was a few weeks between when I tried the 177, and when I tried the 170 and conditions had changed. I wish I could test both of them on the same day. I wish I could actually try the Volkls and the Heads in different lengths on the same day but that's probably not going to happen around here. Anyhow... Most of the skis I've tried in a 170ish length haven't agreed with me (I'm 5'9" and 180lb for reference). The two exceptions are the RTM 81 and the Nordica Fire Arrow 84 EDT (the Fire Arrow is a phenomenally grippy ski... like skiing with 12 point crampons that slide). The unique thing I found about the head in the 177 was that it comes to life at very slow speeds and as soon as you put any edge into it, it's ready to go. Unfortunately finding it in a 177 to demo in my area has proven to be VERY difficult!

 

They're all better than what I'm skiing on now which are a pair of Salomon X-Scream 9s. Fantastic ski for the day but apparently things have changed a bit. :-)

 

Re: Reversing the 170 and 177 on the 81s and iRally... yup. That's what I thought too. I thought I was going to HATE the 81. I still can't understand how it does what it does on hard pack and ice (Wildcat, NH is my primary mountain) given all the rocker it has. Such a tough decision. The iRally was the second ski I demoed on the first day I started shopping and it immediately put a smile on my face. Given its design though, I'm thinking the Volkl might be a little more versatile. Unlike many of the ski areas in New England, Wildcat has a more lax attitude towards grooming (which is nice because you get some variety) but I really love a bunch of nice short radius turns which the iRally does well (and again, you get that snap at slow speeds too so it's a less fatiguing ski).

If I had a money tree outside... :)

post #10 of 22

Not too much to add here, but I demo'd the 81 RTM this weekend and also found a lot of bite in the edge (on a 1/2 tune). Quick to hook up as well.

 

Regarding the alleged full rocker; I eyeballed it with the skis stood up base-to-base and to me they appear to have a neutral camber nearly all the way through. Add to that their stiffness, and it may help explain why they don't behave like a more rockered ski. I tested a pair of E84s just before, and thought they had more rocker than the Volkls. Enough that I could see the E84 tips bounce a little when laid out flat, not so with the RTMs. 

 

They seem to want a more precise skier than me (I'm a solid intermediate, started 3 seasons ago at 41 yo, only about 20 times on the snow), so I'll be looking for deals on the more forgiving 80s. They felt great on the terrain that was in my comfort zone.

post #11 of 22

Well there you have it,  if your sticking to groomers the 80 is your ticket, if you like to go elsewhere the 84 is your ticket on both.    176 actually feels short to me, but rips and has a great top end. 

post #12 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by rickg View Post
 

Madriver,

 

I am just shy of 5'9" and am around 190Lbs myself.  I am skiing the RTM 81's in a 171 and love them.  I am sure I could have gone longer, but I ski them mostly at sub 750' hills and wanted the shorter turn radius to get the most of what we have.

 

I ski at a fairly high level and have not been able to out ski them at this length. Rock solid at speed, as long as you have them on edge.   I think the 171 will be just fine for you.

 

Ski On!

 

Rick G

 

Thats what I was thinking as well with the short radius. I recently moved to Wisc for work so now I'm on the smaller hills as opposed to the Mad River Glen where I'm originally from. Take alot of trips out west so the only reason i thought rtm 84 was for a dual purpose western ski. Thanks for the advice!  

Quote:
Originally Posted by pdiddy View Post
 

I would go to the 176 for sure.  They ski short.   You should demo them first for sure to make sure you like the reverse camber.  

 

Demoed them before in 176 but can never find a 171 to demo. Thought they felt really really slick, but that was a couple yrs ago when i wasnt getting on edge. Now that I've got on edge more I'm really liking the reverse camber, but may wait to demo next years 2016 rtm cambered before deciding. Many thanks for chiming in

post #13 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Living Proof View Post
 

Where do you ski the most?

 

In the Epic forum's, most would tell you to buy the 176 and the Volkl's do ski short so they turn closer to a normal 170. I'm an outlayer, at times, from that thinking. The 84 is a substantial serious ski that you may like in a 170 even at your size. But only you can determine that and that is based on your needs for speed, terrain, snow type and skill.

 

Coming from Mad River Glen, VT but now am in Madison, WI with a new job, Ski mostly the hills in Cascade Mtn, Devils Head, and Granite Peak. Not much vertical to speak of but I had out west for about 30 days a year and ski resort in bounds and lift serviced outbound up to a single black diamond. I agree everything I read says to go up to 176, but I want to get better at carving on edge and to stop smearing so much. So i'm stuck between the shorter 171 for turning vs. the 176 because of my weight at 190lbs. Definitely an intermediate, but taking 1 lesson out west a year and skiing a bunch to improve. Thanks for the info and help, much appreciated

post #14 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by pdiddy View Post
 

I would go to the 176 for sure.  They ski short.   You should demo them first for sure to make sure you like the reverse camber.

The RTM 81 and 84 do not have "reverse camber"  or really full rocker either, regardless of what is written on the ski.  If you lay this ski on a flat surface, what you will basically see is "no camber"  with a gentle early rise on the tips and tails.  It is not what you would think of as "full rocker" in that you do not have a center low point under the boot which starts to rise off the snow in both directions.  When  you place that ski on a flat surface next to the RTM the RTM has almost no rocker by comparison.  It is that gentle.  I think that is one of the reasons that the RTM skis so well on groomed and hard surfaces that most "full rocker" skis do not excel on.  With just a little bit of edge angle, you pretty much engage the entire running length of your edges giving plenty of grip.  You need much higher edge angles to engage the full edge length with a "full rocker" design which sometimes makes it difficult to ski firmer conditions.

 

Of course YMMV.

 

Ski on!

 

Rick G

post #15 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by rickg View Post
 

The RTM 81 and 84 do not have "reverse camber"  or really full rocker either, regardless of what is written on the ski.  If you lay this ski on a flat surface, what you will basically see is "no camber"  with a gentle early rise on the tips and tails.  It is not what you would think of as "full rocker" in that you do not have a center low point under the boot which starts to rise off the snow in both directions.  When  you place that ski on a flat surface next to the RTM the RTM has almost no rocker by comparison.  It is that gentle.  I think that is one of the reasons that the RTM skis so well on groomed and hard surfaces that most "full rocker" skis do not excel on.  With just a little bit of edge angle, you pretty much engage the entire running length of your edges giving plenty of grip.  You need much higher edge angles to engage the full edge length with a "full rocker" design which sometimes makes it difficult to ski firmer conditions.

 

Of course YMMV.

 

Ski on!

 

Rick G

As with anything it just depends on what your interpritation of wording is.   Yes I own them, flat under the binding but the early rise in tip and tail is pretty early!  so I would consider that a reverse camber since it ISN"T going the other way.    Hence the word reverse, meaning other way.        

post #16 of 22
If you're not sure, get the 171's. This ski skis long and it's a fairly heavy ski. If you're over 6ft and 200+ pounds, get the longer ski. I have the 171 and it's amazing! I'm and expert skier at 5'7'' and 180 lbs. I own 4 pair of skis and in the East, the RTM81 is my go-to ski. I just got the 2016 version, which is even better.
post #17 of 22

For those reading this thread....there was a major design change from 2015.  The 2016 skis are both early tip and tail rise with full camber underfoot.  This put the snap back into them and should ski "longer" than the previous version by a smidge.  They also gave them 3d construction to lighten them up and added UVO dampening to the 84.  I'm not a Volkl rep. just someone who did her research before pulling the plug on the new RTM 84.  These are beefy skis.  I can't wait to get them on snow..

post #18 of 22
I've skied both the 84 and 81 and I agree with you, both are excellent, but try the RTM81. Not quite as beefy as the RTM84, but a great Eastern carver.
post #19 of 22

Agreed.  The 81 is a terrific ski; very versatile.

post #20 of 22

Just picked up my RTM 84 UVO..... the news gets better.  First I chose the 84 because I wanted a not too heavy but still damp ski... now for the happy dance :yahoo:the ramp angle on the motion system binding on this ski is 0.  That's right folks..... the ipt wideride 12 on the rail is flat. Just one more improvement to the ski.  I must now continue my prayers to Ullr so we can get some winter going here in the east.

post #21 of 22

I want to demo the 86 for sure.   Is the 84 UVO, a lot lighter? 

post #22 of 22

The RTM 81 is lighter and quicker, but I would say that none of these skis are particularly light. They have a sheet of steel in them and they both rail!

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