Comparison review: 2015 Kastle BMX 108 and 2016 BMX 105
-BMX108: medium density to heavy wet snow, transitioning to heavy crud, set up bumps. 12-16” of new. Trees and bumps mostly, lots of untracked, skied for 4 hours.
-BMX105: Copper demo, 3-5” of new medium density snow, transitioning to crud, lots of bumps, ½ of a groomer. Skied for 2 runs
Skis: the BMX108 was new in the 2010/2011 season I believe. It replaced the old model with lots of metal. This ski was used in the 178cm length, 2015 model. Rounded flat tail, tip early rise, no metal, camber underfoot. BMX105 is new for 2016. 181cm length, 2 sheets of .5mm titanal, reduction in weight, more taper and rise at the tip, a bit of rise at the tail, along with tail taper.
Skier info: 5 foot 9, 155lbs, can ski the entire mountain competently, prefer steeps, bumps, trees, and groomers, in that order.
It was cool to get to test these essentially back to back. Thank to Finndog for loaning me his 178's. The new 105 was first: it skis a bit longer than the old model. I bet the running length is equivalent. And FWIW, according to Kastle, the BMX105 shares the same construction as the FX95 HP and FX85 HP.
BMX105: this was one of the first skis I tried at Copper. Got it up into some steeps, crud, bumps, on 2 long test runs. Just an initial feel, but it was arguably the finest ski I tried during the 2 days of demo (24 in all). Which means it is arguably the finest ski of this width I have ever tried. Unshakable would be the first word that comes to mind. In cruddy and bunched up snow, the ski not only is not deflected; it accelerates! Smooth as silk. Normally, this comes with a price: stiff, hard to ski, hard to bend. Not so the BMX105. This ski was as easy as they come in this length: I did not test an easier 100mm+ ski at Copper. Huge sweet spot, very buttery tail, not aggressive, but firm when you wanted firm. And stable. 181CM felt like a 185cm or so. I compared this to my Blizzard Scout in 185cm: that thing has no more top end, but is a beast to ski in comparison. You need to be on it, all the time. Edge hold for a 105 was phenomenal. Not really a carver, but decent here. Those of you who follow my reviews know I like to lay a ski over, and usually I complain about hard snow performance of anything over around 90mm. This ski was solid. Feel was more akin to the FX series (old) than the BMX it is replacing. Metal, damp, good edge hold, nice power if you ask for it, all around you couldn't ask for more. Improved, more surfy tip. Tail a good blend of finishing the turn and a neutral feel. Loved it. SSH also tagged it as a showstopper of a ski.
BMX108: mounted with an Attack 13 adjustable binding, 1cm back. Skied in 178cm. The day started off with medium density new snow, and I was skiing a lot of fresh runs or barely tracked out runs on this ski. Very surfy, stable, never felt like it was too short. And easy to turn. Nearly as easy as the new 105. Very playful and quick in the tight Steamboat trees. I loved it in this terrain. Taking it into some more skied-out areas that were bumping up, it was relatively nimble as a zipper line ski, but pretty stiff. I had to keep on it, really dive those tips and work the ski, had to ski perfectly in those bumps to get good results. When I cranked up the speed, it really blasted through the crud. As the day went on, the medium density snow really set up, mist moved in, and skiing got very difficult indeed. In these conditions, I wanted a softer ski at the tip especially; the 108 is just a little stiff up there, seems to richochet off of set up snow piles. Any ski would have been a handful in these conditions, but I think bad snow is where a super forgiving ski like the Soul 7 may have excelled. Although, the Soul 7 would have been left in the dust by the 108 at speed in lighter, more forgiving crud. Once I got out of that crappy crud, I made my way to the trees off of Sunshine; which had been skied out, and nicely bumped up. The 108 really came alive in those longer, softer bump turns. I just planted down the fall line, relaxed the core tension, pulled the feet back, and let the ski drive/scarve in the direction I wanted. Easy, predictable, just a joy to ski. There were a lot of people in those trees, and I was definitely skiing faster and taking a more direct line than anyone else I saw. The ski was working well. There were no groomers to test on.
In summary, I didn't get to take the 105 out in heavier, deeper snow, so I can't compare float. With that said, there is no reason to think they won't be similar. The 108 is very surfy in the tip. But it can feel a bit planky at times, it wants to charge a bit. The new 105 had a more nimble feel, with all of the stability of the 108. It was a bit quicker, larger sweet spot, and felt grippier too. I also enjoyed it better in bumps. In summary, I would say as a pow and crud blaster tool, you can't go wrong with a 108. Especially as they should be on closeout soon. But if you want a versatile new snow day ski that can really serve as a softer snow one-ski quiver, the new 105 is that ski, and is as good as anything on the market that I have tried. Certainly there are similar skis, but better? That is a tough one. SR107 was close, not as much top end though. Pinnacle 105 felt lighter, but was kicked around on the death cookies more. Should have tried a 184cm for a better comparison, it was always out at the booth. I will update when I have more time on them.
Other skis I tried in this range at the demo (I will ski more at the local demo in 10 days) Feel free to ask for a comparison:
-K2 Pinnacle 105 177cm
-Stockli Stormrider 107
-Stockli Stormrider 100 Motion
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