A late reviewThsi ski is amost getting old now, the best part of a year having pased since cirqueriders review. Still, here's a couple of comments.
I rode the 184 on anything from icey man made snow, to some powder.
No extreme terrain though, nothing supersteep or no big fields. That have to wait, unfortunately. I have the ski mounted with a Salomon S916 on a home made plate system (only 3.5mm high). Plan to also use AT gear and maybe tele gear too. I mounted the binding 20mm back from the reference bootcenter point (more on that later). My weight is 150lbs/68 kilos.
First, I have absolutely loved the V-Explosive (190s) since the second I got on the ski. While not the most allround ski, it provides most of what I really want from a ski which is lots of power, edgehold, speed and generally anyhting that makes it possible to keep going regadrless of the surface thats under you. I 've been thinking the V-Ex might be one of the best skis for that. I still do, also after having ridden the Mantra.
That said, the V-Ex is not an allround ski if you by that also take into account that the ski should be able to do a variety of turns and suit a variety of skiers. The V-Ex do ski anything, but only in full charging mode. After only a few turns on the Mantra, its clear that it's far from as stable as the V-ex but on the other hand heaps more versatile. Still the Mantra does keep many of the traits of the V-Ex, an immaculate edgehold, great carving ability and especially the speed. When many softer skis (like the Gotama and Karma) sort of get stuck a bit when you oush them hard enough, the Mantra, like the V-Ex, just accelerates. Compared to the V-Ex, the Mantra can be carved also slower and I would say it feel like it has more curve built into the ski than the numbers indicate.
An interesting point is that when on puts the 190 V-ex and the 184 Mantra besides each other so that the running surfaces mid points coinceide, the bootcenter mark is 6 centimeters further back on the Mantra. Thats ALOT, especially considering the V-Ex has a bit longer nose too, which should add some float to it. After thinking long and hard and also looking at the ski from above, standing on different points, I mounted 2cms back. I have nothing to compare to, but it does feel like a perfect fit. With this mounting, the tails of the Mantra 184 and v-ex 190 are about equally long btw. In the soft stuff, I could stay very centered and even forwards to keep the ski level and hence faster without any hesitations. The ski was still more than quick enough on the groomed or wherever I took it.
So, would an explosive owner need to get the Mantra. Depends. I would say that the Mantra would fit probably 10 times as many skiers as the V-ex. It draw you into the turn soo much easier and is overall an easier ski (while still providing the same racey feel). For me, it definitely complements the V-Ex. As I wrote above, it gives you the best part of the v-ex feel in a turnier package.
One way to put it is that on hte V-Ex. The skier has to do EVERYTHING except keep control to get any kick out of it. The V-ex provides the control for you regardless what you do. The Mantra will help you a lot more and
draw you into the turn. You pay for this by having to be a tad more balanced in difficult terrain live with a more lively tip. The control factor of the V-ex probably has alot to do with the kind of extreme back mounting, but also with the very low sidecut curveature in hte front part of the ski. So, rear mounting the Mantra more, may make it closer to the v-ex, but my guess it that you really will not come that close and in the process
loose much of the balance of the Mantra.
So after having loved the V-ex for so long, whats my feel towards the Mantra?. Well, part of the fascination with the V-ex is its single mindedness (so to say). The Mantra is not fascinating in the same way, but
its I think its every bit as much af a full blooded ski and there is not a lot of skiing where the v-ex would be more effective. So, in some sense the Mantra is maybe a better ski. But love....nah, at least not yet.