Originally Posted by troutman
Nicely written, well thought out post, Kiwiski. I just don't agree that systems will go away.
In the US, I think we will continue to see them sell well on the types of skis on which they do well now - skis with less than a 80mm waist. Close to 50% of the US market of these models is systems, so there is very little consumer resistance in 2004. I think there is a huge performance advantage for these skis. These skis have so much sidecut and so little length, that you want any help you can get putting every cm of edge in contact with the snow.
You mentioned that only Pilot, Motion, and Fusion are really systems. The rest are predrilled hostage plates/doodads.
You claim there are huge performance advantages to say, Motion. Having skied on quite a few of the Motion skis both flat and w/Motion, I'd like to call BS on that.
"Every CM of edge in contact with the snow"
Nice goal, but that isn't going to happen routinely on any ski, system or not. If you made a ski that damp and
flexible, it would ski like a log. FWIW, when I look at photos from races, no one has a big huge flat spot under the binding anymore. That is with race skis and race bindings on the newer race plates, which allow for more flex.
The plate on my Blizzards is a reasonable example. Its probably way too beefy, and thats a disadvantage. However, it floats and I get "all ski on the snow" despite my FK race bindings, which might as well be 20 years old.
Can you explain the "advantage" of a "free floating system"? Last I checked, the change in distance between toe/heel on a very
shaped ski that is deflected as much as feasible is still shorter than the travel of a typical forward pressure spring before it reaches coilbind.
That is to say, the forward pressure spring absorbs the shearing action between the ski/plate and binding as the ski flexes. So long as the forward pressure system is designed properly, it does so while keeping the spring rate linear.
That hasn't changed in 20+ years. I would submit that the reason people used to get huge flatspots under bindings were:
-Absurdly stiff skis underfoot. The old skis were often twice as thick underfoot as a modern ski.
-Absurdly stiff plates....like Deflex.
Certainly, 8 screws into a ski is a more torsionally rigid/lower convergence setup than four or so non-precision rails
with a non precision fit to the slots that noticeably varies from pair to pair. So I don't see the "feel" factor being there. Perhaps I'm still pissed about the poorly designed locking pins on the old Motions, and the bindings I had to hunt down on the hill.
And the various forms of "Piston Control"? If my ski needed more damping in rebound, I woulda bought a Rossignol.
EDIT: Ranting about what I believe is perceived value aside, I agree with you on the likely US market sales trend. Perhaps some of the other industries that currently do things "a la carte" should look at the "system" sales model and consider applying it. Thule/Yakima come to mind. Actually, I guess they are already moving that way, with Rapid Railing and so on.