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Rossignal B4 Review

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
Got a chance to try the new Rossi B4s on Saturday skiing with Telluride Helitrax. According to the tech at the rental shop they are basically the same as this year’s B3s, but with a different top sheet. They also have a label claiming they have “Phat Technology”, but I have no clue what that is.

Height 6’5”, Weight 215 lbs. B4s were 185 cm, and supposedly had an extra layer of metal that the shorter lengths do not have.

Other skis I like: Volkl Explosivs, K2 AK Launchers, Rossi XXXs, Atomic REXs

Conditions were 20” of new that was 4 days old and pretty much all untracked and settled to the point where I only sunk in about 8”-10”, but could push them a little deeper if I tried. The snow was set up to the point of being a little spongy and had quite a bit of spring to it. Some very light, and some verging on corn snow by the end of the day. Also skied some fairly soft wind drift. Did some chutes that were cut up to the point of being crud. Skied a hard cat track in the morning and an intermediate slush run on the area at the end of the day. It was the end the season, so they were not interested in conserving the snow, and consequently I was able to do some high speed GS turns.

My basic impression of the ski was that it was too soft and did not have enough sidecut. It did very well in the softer snow (even the windpack), but I found it a little hard to control when I pushed it, or when the snow was a little more set up. I felt that I had to really stay on the front of the ski or I would lose control, which did not seem appropriate for the snow conditions. It carved OK at slow speed on the hard pack, but did not have much sidecut and tended to slide on me when I leaned on it on the icy cat track. Likewise, when I pushed on it in the slush it did not seem to want to really carve.

In my opinion the old XXXs are a much better ski because of their stiffness and sidecut. The B4 would be a nice ski for Alta on a powder morning of deep light snow, but IMHO if you like the Explosivs or XXXs, I do not think you would find the B4 to be enough ski for you, although it would probably make a good tele ski.
post #2 of 14
Sounds consistent with where I see Rossi going with their freeride/powder line. Since 2000, they've become softer and less durable. Last good big mountain ski they made was the XXX.
post #3 of 14

I demoed the new Bandit B2(which replaces the current B1) a week ago in a 182. I skied on different terrain and conditions but my findings match exactly to yours. The conditions were a mix of early morning Eastern Hardpack/Ice and then slush.

Very stable in slush but it is a chore to lay it on edge without sliding or slipping. At higher speed the Tips did get knocked around a lot in the slush as well.

On the hardpack on steep terrain I felt like I was always riding on the edge of a serious wipeout. The Ski is just too easy to bend.

I was a little dissapointed as I heard the new bandit line was much more stiff.
post #4 of 14
I'm with GrizzlyMike on the Bandits. I got to ride them in NY in February - had a good day for demos - started on groomers, which all got skied of to ice, then it warmed up to 48 degrees, so we got some slush and it refroze that night. I wasn't really that impressed with the Bandit B1 or B2 - (BTW - 6'4" 175lbs) not a whole lot of fun at high speed. I loved the Atomic SX:B5 (174) and the SX:11. The Atomics rocked. I actually bought myself a pair of the SX:B5's for next year.
post #5 of 14
Thread Starter 
One of my friends that skied with me the day I tried the B4s was on his brand new (this year's) B3s, which are supposed to be basically the same skis. He has had a pair of XXXs (185s) since they came out and absolutely rips on them. I've chased him in everything from knee deep power at Alata to big bumps at Taos when he was on them. He was heartbroken after our day of heli skiing on the new B3s (177s), and is going to sell them.

In my opinion the XXXs are a true classic. I know at least 15 people that ski them (alpine or tele), and everyone raves about them. I have literally seen people become better powder skiers in front of my eyes after getting a pair. Why do they take a proven great ski and wimpify it? It amazes me that the knowledge and technology have been around for at least 10 years to make a rock solid all snow condition carving machine, yet they keep pushing shorter softer skis on the market.
post #6 of 14
I actually heard from a few guys who have had first hand experience with the new B3 that it is a burly ski by Rossi's standards. The Rossi rep around here left a pair at their shop about a month ago and most of the guys in the shop who've tried it have said nothing but great things about it? In fact, one of the guys, who IMHO is one hell of a skier, claimed the ski was almost too much to handle as it consistently plowed through anything and everything he threw at it.

Now, I'm not speaking from first hand experience with this ski, and I agree entirely with the fact that Rossi's Bandit line is just too dang noodly. But, these accounts have me considering adding this ski to my quiver next year.

Can anyone else lend any validity to these claims?
post #7 of 14
Has anyone here tried the B4 and the B-Squad 91? How much stiffer is the Squad?
post #8 of 14
I posted my review of the new B2 and B3 about 3 weeks ago. The conditions of my test runs were difficult, but here is my basic view: The newer ski seems faster and a bit snappier. I thought the new B2 did NOT handle mashed potatoes well, but the new B3 did. Since they have the same materials, I think this was due to the B3's overall larger dimensions.

For what it is worth, a ski instructor I know in Utah (who is a GREAT skier) is sponsored by Rossi. He has skied all of this year's and next year's Bandit line. I asked him what he thought and he would bet that the B2 or the B3 will be ski of the year next year. BUT, he pointed to the Dynastar Legend 8000 in my hand (that I was about to demo for the day) and said it is a better ski than the Bandit series. Why? He was not worried about foam vs. wood core (arguing that unless you ski more than 30 or 40 days a year, the foam core ski will last you long enough to want to buy skis in the next technology wave). He just thought the Legend was a more versatile ski and was quicker edge to edge. When you ski the steeps at Snowbird, you want quickness.
post #9 of 14
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by Billiam
He was not worried about foam vs. wood core (arguing that unless you ski more than 30 or 40 days a year, the foam core ski will last you long enough to want to buy skis in the next technology wave).
Most serious skiers log at least 30 days a year. If you are paying $500+ for a top line ski, I do not think it is unreasonable to expect it to last at least 2 seasons. I don't know about you, but I have to pay for my skis.

If you take the current B3 and just flex it with your hands, it is very noodley compared to the XXX. I am generally not a fan of foam core skis, but regardless of your material preferences, the latest "B" series of Bandits seem to be significantly softer and less of a hard core ski than the "X" series. Is that progress? Call me a cynic, but the future seems to be skis made in China that are cheap to produce (i.e. foam core), rather than an advancement in skis that can go faster in more varied conditions. The XXX ripped up the mountain. What has Rossi got to offer as the next generation?
post #10 of 14
Mudfoot: so you have not flexed or tried the 2005-06 B Series? It has a new sheet of metal that supposedly makes it stiffer. That and a new tip, is supposed to make it better in off-piste situations.

The key point I was making about wood vs. foam was that if you ski under 25 days a year, a ski will last you much longer than 2 seasons. I would hope 4 or 5 and by then, technological changes may dictate a new tool anyway. And, yes, I pay for my skis. The instructor in Utah get free skis from Rossi but still recommended the Dynastar anyway.
post #11 of 14
Thread Starter 

I believe that you will concede that a foam core ski is not going to age as well as a wood core. My point is that, for as much as we have to pay for top of the line skis like the Rossi B series, it is dissapointing to get a product that starts to noticably lose some of its qualities after one season of hard skiing. I own some very nice foam core skis, but I still don't like the life-span vs $$ factor compared to wood core skis.

My original "review", which I admit is based on one short day of skiing, is of next year's B4. My friend was skiing on this year's B3s, which were about the same width as the new B4s. His 177s were softer than my 185s, but it is my understanding (admittedly based on heresay) that the 185 has an extra layer of metal that the shorter lengths do not have.

In any event, as stated in my review, we both found the B series skis to be too soft for our liking after a day of off piste skiing in deep snow, and markedly wimpier than the old XXX. Since I was skiing "next year's ski," it is possible that it was not identical to what will show up in the stores.
post #12 of 14
Your impressions of the 04-05 B3 mirror what I feel about mine. I was thinking that maybe it was me not having a chance to get the ski dialed in. Then again you if you look at all the rave reviews of the b3, I keep thinking that it must be me.

I got the b3's at the end of last season to replace some PR's. Now after 15 days on them, I'm wondering if I had made the right choice for a fatty.
post #13 of 14
Thread Starter 
You sound exactly like our heli guide. He has been skiing the B4 all season. After I told him my opinion of the ski, he said that he started out the season thinking that he "just had to figure out the skis." After a couple of weeks he finally concluded that it was the ski that was a little squirrley and not his technique.

I liked the B4 in very soft snow, but it seemed both too soft in flex and torrsionally. It skied more like an intermediate or tele ski. Nice even flex, just not enough of a solid feel when the going got a little rough, which is where the old XXX excelled. I was skiing mostly set up untracked powder, and they seemed to have a little too much of a mind of their own.
post #14 of 14
If you want beef why are you looking at the B3/B4? Either find the old XXXX/B4 or the new Squad 91. Otherwise go Volkl/Head/Stockli/Dynastar LP.
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