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Volant Machete FB review!

post #1 of 41
Thread Starter 
I bought these skis after demoing the Chubb, and I figured that they would get me more of what I liked about that ski and more. The Chubb was a heavy ski with great float, but lacked versatility and stability. In this review, I'll go over what this ski does well and less well, as well as compare it to other skis I've demoed.

---
Ski: Volant Machete FB (124/94/116), 175cm
Tune: Detuned 1.5cm in from tip and tail, 90 degrees otherwise
Binding: Marker Comp 1400, DIN set at 12
Boot: Lange Banshee 110
Resort: Copper Mountain
Conditions: Variable conditions, from buffed ice to 2 1/2 feet of powder.
Skier level:9

Other skis I've tried like this one: Head Monster 85, Salomon Pocket Rocket, Rossignol Bandit XXX, Dynastar SuperNobis, K2 Seth Pistol, Volant Chubb

I'm 165 lbs or so, so I wanted a ski that was long enough for powder and crud, yet short enough for the bumps, trees, and the terrain park. I got the 175cm length, but was concerned that I was going too short. It turned out I picked well.

In-the-Shop Impression: HEAVY! This ski has a wood core, a metal topsheet, and woven-fiberglass sidewalls. Looks badass. The longitudinal (tip-to-tail) flex is interesting - it has a very stiff forebody, comparable to a traditional laminate race ski (I used a Fischer RC4 WC for reference). The tail is another story - it's comparatively soft. Torsional flex is very stiff.

Here are my numbers.

Powder performance: 9
Damn good float (96mm waist) in the 2 1/2 feet Copper got over the last week. Rips in open powder. Performance about on par with the Pocket Rocket and Pistol, better than the Bandit XXX and the SuperNobis, and way better than the Head Monster.

Crud performance: 10
Unparalleled. This ski creates its own world in the crud. It's heavy and very damp, and as such isn't bothered by anything. At one point, I came to a stop to wait for a slower friend in a field of open crud and bumps, and noticed that my railroad tracks cut right through several bumps. I didn't feel a thing. The girl and I got a little lost and wound up on a blue that hadn't opened yet - it was full of snowcat tracks and death cookies. Skidded technique at 35mph just wound up making me bounce like a washing machine. When carving, the ride was quiet. The ski makes a little "ting-ting-ting" as it cuts through those damn death cookies. Best at crud out of anything I've seen. The Pistol was second, then the Pocket Rocket.

Ice / Hardpack: 8
Edging with such a stiff ski on ice and hardpack was a joy. It really depended on rolling your ankle and slicing into the turn. Once I understood that, I really didn't feel much ice all day. It wasn't a race GS board, but that's not what I was looking for. Best of class.

Trees / Bumps: 7
OK, bad things first. This ski has the heft of a steel I-beam 175cm long. However, because of some creative tricks that Volant did with the weight distribution, all of that weight is mostly underfoot. This is a very centered ski when mounted at the recommended position, and as a result the center of gravity point is exactly at the ball of the foot. As a result, it skis very short. Again, this is a big, heavy ski with a stiff forebody. Zipperlining this ski in hard, icy bumps is a no-go. Instead, one has to use the crud busting abilities to carve small-radius turns through the bumps at speed. Rotary translates very well in the bumps thanks to the centered design. Here, it was a lot less good at bumps than the Pocket Rocket and the XXX, less good than the SuperNobis and Pistol, and about on par with the Monster.

Carve / Long Turns: 8
Damp and stable. Cuts deep trenches in medium to long turns, but requires a lot of input to drive. This ski likes a centered stance very much - pressuring the tips too much in a carve will either wash out the tails or will flip you ass over teakettle (did that once - clickclick splat double heel ejection). Steer with good, centered technique and you'll be fine. The soft tail retards the exit from the turn somewhat. The 21m radius is on par with the turniest of GS boards. Best of class in long turns.

Rebound / Energy / Short Turns: 7
Damp, heavy, and stiff. As such, it requires a lot of input to drive it in short turns, but crossunder technique is possible with much grunting. Very smooth once you get it going. Middle of class here.

Speed: 9
First run on Sunday was deserted and I opened them up on a groomed blue black, top to bottom of Copper, mach schnell the whole time. I think I made fifteen turns before the green runout to Super Bee (I did, however, pause at the headwalls so as not to decapitate someone). My teeth hurt from the cold, because I was smiling the whole way. No chatter whatsoever. Girlfriend thought I was insane. I don't think I have the balls or the skills to find the top end of these things. Best of class by a long shot. Not a GS board, but again, not what I was looking for.

Park / Pipe: N/A
Well, this isn't something you'd ever want to take into the park, but the centered design allows one to pick up and spin the ski pretty well. I did a couple of small 180's, then took it into the park. I spun two good 360s on the first hits, then crashed and popped out on the third. The heavy damp feeling extends here too - the skis land with a solid metallic "ptink!" that's reassuring, and the soft tail helps with pulling out sketchy landings. The Pocket Rocket and Pistol lead here, but none of these skis are really meant for this.

---

Pros: Damp, stable, loves speed, destroys crud, great float. Great ski for experts.
Cons: Heavy. Short turns and bumps require work. Not forgiving of mistakes. I may need to up my lifting schedule to keep up with this ski.

---

Thanks for your words Phil, I love these things!
post #2 of 41
I dropped mine off at the shop earlier today to get the bindings mounted -- nice review !
post #3 of 41
Wow, Jib!! Nice review. Now that's what I'm talkin' about! Thanks for fulfilling my request for a review of the FB so quickly. It sounds like it's pretty much what I was looking for out of this ski, and then some.

I've got mine all mounted up and ready to rock with some P12's. Thanks for the great review.
post #4 of 41
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by carvemeister
Wow, Jib!! Nice review. Now that's what I'm talkin' about! Thanks for fulfilling my request for a review of the FB so quickly. It sounds like it's pretty much what I was looking for out of this ski, and then some.

I've got mine all mounted up and ready to rock with some P12's. Thanks for the great review.
Hey, no prob. I was actually looking forward to writing this up - these things are way fun!
post #5 of 41
Hey I have some Rossi something or anothers...i was gonna rip off those bindings and put them on my new 185 chubbs? any chance? also do I need a new binding or just new brakes??

Can I bend the brakes? what are the brakes for? I just don't have money for new bindings at the moment...although check it out I got the Chubbs for $202 with shipping on ebay...2004 model
post #6 of 41
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by acsguitar
Hey I have some Rossi something or anothers...i was gonna rip off those bindings and put them on my new 185 chubbs? any chance? also do I need a new binding or just new brakes??
You might not even need new brakes. My shop took the 80mm brakes on my Marker Comp 1400's and bent them to fit the 96mm waist on my FB's.
post #7 of 41

Great Review JLB

Jlb,

Can you provide a little moe information about your skiing age and experiece. I am assuming you are in your 20's to early thirties, perhaps some H.S or college racing experience, amy be even an instructiure with a PSIA rating.


The review was excellent in detail and comprehensiveness. Is this a 2003-04 ski, where did you buy it ?

Thanks
post #8 of 41
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by wink
Jlb,

Can you provide a little moe information about your skiing age and experiece. I am assuming you are in your 20's to early thirties, perhaps some H.S or college racing experience, amy be even an instructiure with a PSIA rating.


The review was excellent in detail and comprehensiveness. Is this a 2003-04 ski, where did you buy it ?

Thanks
You're welcome!

I'm 25, been skiing since I was 17. Raced a little in college, and I got certified as a PSIA Level I two years ago, but it's since lapsed. This is indeed a 2003-2004 ski, and I bought it at Gart Sports for $180. I might even go buy another pair at that price!
post #9 of 41
I just spent my first 3 days on these skis, in the recent huge dump Tahoe got. All 3 days at Mt Rose (it's close by). Here's my impressions:

Gen'l info: Skis -- 175cm, w/ Volant plate, bindings mounted at factory-recommended position, w/ Look P12 lifter bindings, factory tune (I detuned the tips/tails a bit - they seemed grabby), hot wax by me. Me -- 6'0", 190#, 32 y.o., can ski any terrain (just not necessarily well), suck at moguls, steep & deep is hard work.

Impression: HEAVY. Powder tires me out, since I don't get to ski it enough to get to where it's easy. My legs were tired from shoveling out 3' from the driveway, and these skis take some muscle to work. After a few runs, I could really feel these skis pushing me around, especially on the cut-up bumpy stuff that was forming by day's end.

I'm somewhat undecided on these skis; the width helps a lot in flotation, but the "sweet spot" seems rather hard to stay on top of. Like jlb said in his review up top, get too forward on these skis and FLIP !
post #10 of 41
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by El Chupacabra
I just spent my first 3 days on these skis, in the recent huge dump Tahoe got. All 3 days at Mt Rose (it's close by). Here's my impressions:

Gen'l info: Skis -- 175cm, w/ Volant plate, bindings mounted at factory-recommended position, w/ Look P12 lifter bindings, factory tune (I detuned the tips/tails a bit - they seemed grabby), hot wax by me. Me -- 6'0", 190#, 32 y.o., can ski any terrain (just not necessarily well), suck at moguls, steep & deep is hard work.

Impression: HEAVY. Powder tires me out, since I don't get to ski it enough to get to where it's easy. My legs were tired from shoveling out 3' from the driveway, and these skis take some muscle to work. After a few runs, I could really feel these skis pushing me around, especially on the cut-up bumpy stuff that was forming by day's end.

I'm somewhat undecided on these skis; the width helps a lot in flotation, but the "sweet spot" seems rather hard to stay on top of. Like jlb said in his review up top, get too forward on these skis and FLIP !
I would recommend some squats, lunges, and plyometrics (jumping) exercises 2-3 days a week with light weight. I did these exercises explictly for these skis in the 3 weeks before the season started; as a result, I was able to handle them a lot better than I thought I was capable of.

As far as powder goes, try staying centered on these skis and "bouncing" from one turn to the other. Literally think or say to yourself while skiing: "boing! boing! boing!" This will help you from getting bogged down. Using all rotary in powder will just tire you out, but if you bounce, you can use probably 30% of the energy you were using before.

Good luck! IMHO, the FB is a hell of a ski but requires some time to get used to.
post #11 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by jlb
I would recommend some squats, lunges, and plyometrics (jumping) exercises 2-3 days a week with light weight. I did these exercises explictly for these skis in the 3 weeks before the season started; as a result, I was able to handle them a lot better than I thought I was capable of.

As far as powder goes, try staying centered on these skis and "bouncing" from one turn to the other. Literally think or say to yourself while skiing: "boing! boing! boing!" This will help you from getting bogged down. Using all rotary in powder will just tire you out, but if you bounce, you can use probably 30% of the energy you were using before.

Good luck! IMHO, the FB is a hell of a ski but requires some time to get used to.
Just what I was thinking: do some jumping exercises w/ handheld weights a few nights a week. I did have the most powder success with the FBs when doing relatively short turns, using more unweighting (up/down) movement than I usually ski with. However, doing such short turns didn't feel like I was using the sidecut of the ski at all. So I tried some large diameter GS turns in open bowl terrain, but that's where I alternated face plants (too much forward pressure) and having the inside ski getting squirrelly (even when trying to weight both skis & keep them both on edge).

It takes you down a notch when you realize that a ski has more ability designed into it than the skier who's on it.

-Karl
post #12 of 41
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by El Chupacabra
Just what I was thinking: do some jumping exercises w/ handheld weights a few nights a week. I did have the most powder success with the FBs when doing relatively short turns, using more unweighting (up/down) movement than I usually ski with. However, doing such short turns didn't feel like I was using the sidecut of the ski at all. So I tried some large diameter GS turns in open bowl terrain, but that's where I alternated face plants (too much forward pressure) and having the inside ski getting squirrelly (even when trying to weight both skis & keep them both on edge).

It takes you down a notch when you realize that a ski has more ability designed into it than the skier who's on it.

-Karl
SKIING magazine has some good sections on exercises. One of the best ones is to take light weights and jump with both feet up onto small boxes about a foot high. Some of the WC guys do this exercise with 4' high ledges and 30 lb weights. : Standing lunges are good too.

Oh, and here's a test to see if your knees need work. Stand on one foot in front of a mirror and do a knee bend. If your knee dives to the inside instead of tracking straight, the muscles around your knees need to be stronger.

Take it easy though. Too much leg work will make it difficult to get out of bed the next day.
post #13 of 41
jib:

Should I mount S 912 Ti Pilot bindings one centimeter behind the line on 175 Machete FB's? Mounting the bindings one cm back was recommended to improve managing the tips in deeps snow. I am 5 11 225lbs. Thanks.

Mainiac
post #14 of 41
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mainiac
jib:

Should I mount S 912 Ti Pilot bindings one centimeter behind the line on 175 Machete FB's? Mounting the bindings one cm back was recommended to improve managing the tips in deeps snow. I am 5 11 225lbs. Thanks.

Mainiac
I wasn't aware they even sold S912 Ti Pilot bindings independently of a ski - that's an integrated system exclusive to Salomon. In any case, I could see mounting 1 cm back being beneficial as far as forgiveness in powder is concerned, but you're going to lose some of the manuverability. I haven't found such a good mix of manuverability and crudbusting in any other ski (by about a factor of two!), and if you move your foot back the ski won't turn as well.

It all depends where you ski. If you ski trees and chutes, I wouldn't move them. If all you do is ski pow, maybe. Talk to a shop tech. I'm really, really happy people here on EpicSki told me not to move my bindings.

Good luck.

Oh, what length are you skiing? You should be on the 185 for your weight.
post #15 of 41
Thanks, jib. I have had the S912Ti bindings on the shelf and was informed that they would work on the FB plate. If they don't work, what would be the best binding for the FB?
post #16 of 41
Any binding with brakes that'll clear the sides of the ski should work. Since you've already got the Salomons, why not use them ?

mntlion here often has Salomon wide brakes for sale; pm him and see whether he's got any.

FWIW, I used Look P12 bindings w/ wide brakes on the FBs.
post #17 of 41
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mainiac
Thanks, jib. I have had the S912Ti bindings on the shelf and was informed that they would work on the FB plate. If they don't work, what would be the best binding for the FB?
As long as the S912 Ti that goes on the pilot plate is the same as a regular S912 Ti, you should be fine. I know that Sally makes a 105mm binding for the Pocket Rocket, you could look for that.
post #18 of 41
Interesting comparison here: just got back from a half day on some Volant Sins (81 mm underfoot; similar Look bindings & same 175 cm length as what I have on the Volant FBs). The Sins ski like normal skis, although a bit heavier, and I felt comfortable on them right away. I actually really like them ! Easy to turn, snappy, yet still stable through crud & choppy powder. They straightline at speed very, very stable.

The FBs, OTOH, are a handful for me under any conditions (so far). I'll take them back out this weekend and report back how it's progressing.

-Karl
post #19 of 41
[quote=jlb]I wasn't aware they even sold S912 Ti Pilot bindings independently of a ski - that's an integrated system exclusive to Salomon.

Rei sells the S912 (but not the Pilot version which is integrated)

Salomon S912 Ti Ski Bindings
$229.00 Item 714538 theprice = "$229.00" ;
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post #20 of 41

2004 Volant Chubb and FB Binding location

I ski on the 2004 Volant Genesis Chubb. 185cm. I'm 57 yrs old 180 lbs skied 40+years. The first day I skied on them in about 15" of powder and chopped up snow and the were fine. The next day there was about 3 ft of snow with deeper drifts and the ski kept diving. I couldn't figure it out at first, but riding up the lift I noticed that my bindings looked like they were about 3-1/2 to 4 inches ahead of the bindings on my sons 190cm Volkl Explosiv. I unbuckled my boots for the rest of the day to take the pressure off the tips when I hit drifts and they were manageable. That evening I measured the skis carefully. It turned out the mounting point was about 9cm ahead of the volkls when using the Cord length. But due to the turned up tail it was about 5cm ahead when calculating from the center of the contact area of the base. I then compared to 7 other pairs of skis and The Chubb mounting point ranged from 3 to 5 cm ahead of any of those skis. At first I thought there must of been a mistake on the mounting mark on the ski. I then got the information from the factory of what the mounting point was supposed to be. The mark was exactly where it was supposed to be according to factory specs. That mark is the same on both the Chubb and the FB. The mark conforms to the theory of mounting the ball of the foot over the center of the contact area of the base. Seems very odd for a powder ski. I moved the bindings back 3.5cm the skis they now behave. They don't dive and are still very easy to initiate a turn and tighten a turn by pressuring the tip on the groomed.
The ski is great in powder and chopped up snow. But what is amazing is how well it carves on groomed soft snow, it can carve tighter turns my 170cm atomic sl 11 and is also stable at speed. The only downside is that it turns too easily and across the fall line more than I like in open powder because it is so soft. (The FB is probably better in this respect) But that same characteristic makes it easier in the trees.
So if you have a problem with your Chubbs and FB's diving, move the binding back to the conventional location and it should resolve the problem.
post #21 of 41
Thread Starter 
kirtland is right in that mounting back makes the ski more manageable. However, I think that I'd be missing out on the uncanny quickness of these skis if I mounted mine back.

Makes landings easier to stick, being centered. Was hucking 14 footers at Vail this weekend on mine.

IMHO, the FB is one of the quickest if not the quickest megafat skis I've ever been on.
post #22 of 41
I'll be mounting mine in time for all the pow I'll be encountering @ ESA. (fingers crossed)
post #23 of 41
Just got mine mounted with some freerides. Heading out to Red, Whitewater and Valhalla Powdercats in 11 (counting down) days. CAN'T WAIT!
post #24 of 41
I'll drop in my $0.02:

I just finished up 3 days in DEEP pow (mammoth) with these and I can't say enough good things....

Me: Skiing 23 years, with some racing experience. 5'7" 168lbs.
Skis: Volant Machete FB 185's with Salomon 912s bindings (Got a great deal on a display pair of bindings that were laying around our local shop!) Skis and bindings mounted were under $300!

Powder: Works. Works very well. You can do what you want and when you want. You will need muscle to move them, but they will do practically anything you ask. Even when the snow has gotten heavy (sierra cement), you still ride on top, and can turn! Wow.... ooohhhh, ahhhh....

Goomers: Works suprisingly well. Good solid edge to edge turns (not a super fast turner, but they don't go anywhere you don't point them). High speeds are fun. You can keep up with you buddies on GS skis (although I doubt you would win unless they stink)!

Crud: Amazing. The best crud machine on the hill. I was leaving my buddy on his Bandit XXX in the dust.

Trees: Best tree experience ever on these. Turned fine on the 185's... No big deal. If you can, go for the longer boards.

I did go over the bars 3 times. Mostly just because I was going so darn fast and my DIN wasn't cranked up beyond what the shop had set. But something to watch out for....
These are a heavy ski. No doubt. But don't carry them. Ski on them. You will be floating enough that you will forget the weight, and just love them.

There are still a bunch on Ebay for sale and you should be able to pick them up for about $200. Great deal. (Our Sportsmart/Sportsauthority/Gart Bro's was alread sold out of the 175 & 185).....

Tony
post #25 of 41
I'm giving up on the Volant FB's, so mine are for sale. 175cm length, drilled once for Look pivot bindings (325mm sole), skied approx. 4-5 days, edges/ bases perfect (no gouges, no P-tex repairs), topsheets have some scratches. The binding holes are only in the Volant riser plate, not into the ski itself. Bindings not included. These skis are just too heavy for me, but obviously some others love them (see posts in this thread...).

$170 - located in Reno, Nevada (near Lake Tahoe, for those who didn't know). PM me for pics.

-Karl
post #26 of 41
Hi Karl,

I'm about your size (5'11", 195-200#) and just bought the 175cm FBs. I haven't gotten them mounted yet so I still have a chance to return them. Can you give a longer expanation of why you don't like these. I know a bunch of other people seem to like them but I don't want to make a bad decision. I also have a chance to get the 155s (they don't have 165's here) but I'm afraid that might be too short.

Here's the other thread I've been askin questions on:
http://forums.epicski.com/showthread.php?t=23005

Thanks,

Adrian
post #27 of 41
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Adrian
Hi Karl,

I'm about your size (5'11", 195-200#) and just bought the 175cm FBs. I haven't gotten them mounted yet so I still have a chance to return them. Can you give a longer expanation of why you don't like these. I know a bunch of other people seem to like them but I don't want to make a bad decision. I also have a chance to get the 155s (they don't have 165's here) but I'm afraid that might be too short.

Here's the other thread I've been askin questions on:
http://forums.epicski.com/showthread.php?t=23005

Thanks,

Adrian
155 is way way too short for you. I'm 165lb and ski the 175cm. Get the 175 cm if you're an advanced skier and the 185 if you're an expert skier.

Also, in answer as to what your forward lean should be in your Line boots, I'd try keeping them centered instead of forward. The FB (as befits an expert ski) really rewards a centered stance.
post #28 of 41
Thanks a lot jib,



I'll keep the 175s and I'll experiment with keeping my boots in a more upright position; like I've been doing on my skiboards. After reading some more posts (about people fliping if they lean too far forward), I'm guessing that I would benefit by using a more upright setting in powder and a more traditional forward leaning setting on groomed runs. Is this right?





BTW... I don't know if you can still find the Line boots anywhere, but I highly recommend them. They are very comfortable and more versatile than any other boots I've seen.

-Adrian
post #29 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by Adrian
Hi Karl,

I'm about your size (5'11", 195-200#) and just bought the 175cm FBs. I haven't gotten them mounted yet so I still have a chance to return them. Can you give a longer expanation of why you don't like these. I know a bunch of other people seem to like them but I don't want to make a bad decision. I also have a chance to get the 155s (they don't have 165's here) but I'm afraid that might be too short.

Here's the other thread I've been askin questions on:
http://forums.epicski.com/showthread.php?t=23005

Thanks,

Adrian
Most of my feedback on the skis is right here in this thread. Overall, I just don't find them to be that fun to ski on.

-Karl
post #30 of 41
Thread Starter 
Had my FB's just tuned, and took them down the (deserted) frontside blue blacks at Breckenridge. These things lock in and rock like they're on rails. I was taking 50mph carves so hard that my outside boot was clipping the tops of small piles of snow 6" high. I'm going to try them in gates this weekend.

Schweeet!

Best skis I've ever owned, period.
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