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Elan vs Volkl

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
Hello all, I'm looking for a new pair of skis to replace my old Elan SCX's. I've skied them for about 8 years, so I figure it's time for an upgrade . I've been looking at the Elan Magfire 10/12 and the Volkl AC3/4. I'm not really sure which pair would be the best for me. I'm about 6'0, 185lbs. Spend most of my time skiing in New England, but try to get out west at least one week per year (this year Whistler). I'd say I'm at an advanced level, moving towards expert. I like to ski everything, but almost always in-bounds. Anybody know what the real difference is between the Magfire 10's and 12's or the Volkl AC3's and AC4's? Is the Elan binding system any better than the Volkl system, or vice versa? Any suggestions? Thanks in advance.
post #2 of 18
The Volkl Motion system was the first and one of the best if not the best ski integrated binding sytems. Both the Mag 10 or the AC-3 would be great. you can not go wrong with either.
post #3 of 18
The question that you should be asking yourself is what type of "feel" do you want you skis to have. I know the feel of a ski is really not a great way to measure the difference between ski A and ski B since you can't really define "feel" with numbers... BUT it is one of the most important things you will consider in your decision. So, focus your attention away from the binding system, and focus on how each ski will not only ski... but feel on the snow. I have a lot of experience on Elans, but less experience on Volkls (still some experience), so take my advice for what it is worth.

The Elans are going to have a more damp feel. They will feel solid throughout the ski, and offer a good amount of very smooth rebound. I always felt that when skiing Elan skis I could feel the tip and the tail of the ski engaging, while on other brands you only feel what is directly under foot and the tip and tail feel slightly removed from where you connect to the ski. Elans tend to like a centered stance and require less power when skiing them... although they will reward power when you give it to them.

The Volkl on the other hand is going to be stiff and powerful. Flexing them in the shop you can tell that they are stiff. I have never enjoyed them partly because of my size (155lbs). But, for a heavier person they are great skis. Volkls tend to like to be driven... not ridden, if that makes any sense. Essentially you won't be able to be lazy on them. They may out perform the Elan on groomed snow (if you can bend them) but give up performance, or at least user friendliness in rough terrain such as crud or bumps. They will like to be skied forward (Volkls tend to have stiff, short tails). They will also reward putting power into them with a strong snappy rebound, but if you can't bend them you will feel like you are bouncing up and down on a 4x4 peice of lumber.

Hope that helps. I would steer toward the Elan just because you are aspiring to become an expert skier. Jumping onto too stiff of a ski too soon can hinder your development. It isn't a question of which ski is a better performer, because even I, at my low weight, could take the ski out and ski on it and you may not be able to tell the difference in my skiing... so both skis are fully capable of skiing the same terrain with the same rider piloting them, but one may suit your skiing style and needs more than the other.

Later

GREG
post #4 of 18
By the way, Welcome to EpicSki.
(and I was referring to the AC3/MAG10) The others will be too wide for mostly eastern skiing - i ski in western NY on slalom skis all the time.
post #5 of 18
I think they're all really nice skis (but please stay away from the Marker system skis from Volkl - buy them flat - see the recent Marker post for more info). Note that the Magfire 10 and 12 are really very different skis. The Magfire 12 is more of a typical all-terrain ski given its dimension. The 10 is more in the new super sidecut family of skis (a la Metron, Nordica Hot Rod, etc.). The Volkls are stiffer rides. One thing that has really stuck out in the reviews of these skis is that the Elans are mentioned as having that rare ability to perform well at slow speeds as well as fast (they're responsive and respond well). The Volkls are bit "burlier" and want to be run a bit faster to get the most out of them.

I would have to argue whether the Marker Motion system really is the best when compared to the Elan Fusion system. Elan was way ahead of the game with the first truly complete integration between the binding and the ski (the binding interface is completely built into the core of the ski). I personally haven't ridden it (I prefer all of my skis flat), but I've never seen one negative review or comment about the Fusion system.
post #6 of 18
The Magfire 10 in a 168cm length.
post #7 of 18
I wouldn't get too upset over the Marker discussion that is taking place. People love to talk about bad experiences they have had with a product. Some marketing group did a study and essentially the results were that if a consumer has a bad experience with a product they will tell 10 people, versus if they have a good experience the will tell 2 or 3. Bottom line is people like to talk about their bad experiences... so anytime you question a product's integrity you will get more people telling you that they dislike the product than those who like the product.

I have said this time and time again on this board: Bindings really do not matter. They have become so advanced and well built in the last few years that the manufacturers cannot afford to have a faulty product on the market... especially in the US where people will "sue your pants off" (anyone else watching that thread?). I have skied on nearly every binding on the market (all accept VIST), and have only ever had a problem with demo bindings from various manufacturers. I race, and quite truthfully, you can toe out of any binding when youre at your recommended DIN setting. You could get arguements here that just about every manufacturer sucks when it comes to bindings. Just because Joe Shmoe so and so had a bad fall on brand X, blamed the bindings, and now only skis on brand Y does not make brand X a bad brand. If Joe Shmoe is happier on brand Y then let him be, but that does not mean that you should not consider a pair of good skis due only to what fixation device is slapped on top of them.

Later

GREG
post #8 of 18
the integrated bindings are equivalent, no real performance difference between the Elan and the Volkl.

HeluvaSkier explained it best. When you hear someone say "Volkl is best!" but they don't say anything else... ignore them. They're like those stupid people who have to have their favorite NASCAR racer's number on their vehicle, etc. Joiners who like to be cool because of their affiliation.

IMO, Volkls are pretty bothersome skis for anyone who isn't average build or heavier, for the reasons HeluvaSkier said. To me at 5'10" 155 lbs they feel like dead 2x4s under my feet. to flex them I have to go about 30mph, which isn't bad when I want to go fast, but it's a HUGE pain in the arse if I want to ski more slowly. it's also a HUGE pain in the arse if I want to relax, as HeluvaSkier also stated.

most of the people I know who enjoy or have enjoyed skiing on Volkls are either

(a) average-to-husky/fat/obese/mesomorphic people,

(b) thinner people who are VERY accomplished and VERY fast skiers, or

(c) GAPERS at any skill level who simply want to "look cool" with their Volkls.
post #9 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by HeluvaSkier
I wouldn't get too upset over the Marker discussion that is taking place. People love to talk about bad experiences they have had with a product. Some marketing group did a study and essentially the results were that if a consumer has a bad experience with a product they will tell 10 people, versus if they have a good experience the will tell 2 or 3. Bottom line is people like to talk about their bad experiences... so anytime you question a product's integrity you will get more people telling you that they dislike the product than those who like the product.

I have said this time and time again on this board: Bindings really do not matter. They have become so advanced and well built in the last few years that the manufacturers cannot afford to have a faulty product on the market... especially in the US where people will "sue your pants off" (anyone else watching that thread?). I have skied on nearly every binding on the market (all accept VIST), and have only ever had a problem with demo bindings from various manufacturers. I race, and quite truthfully, you can toe out of any binding when youre at your recommended DIN setting. You could get arguements here that just about every manufacturer sucks when it comes to bindings. Just because Joe Shmoe so and so had a bad fall on brand X, blamed the bindings, and now only skis on brand Y does not make brand X a bad brand. If Joe Shmoe is happier on brand Y then let him be, but that does not mean that you should not consider a pair of good skis due only to what fixation device is slapped on top of them.

Later

GREG

Greg,
Seriously, your posts are really good now..... you used to annoy me a few years ago, but you're getting pretty damn wise in your old age!

....and the correct quote is "Sue you for your pants off.
post #10 of 18

Definitely need a lawyer

I don't think I want to be sued for my pants off... that reminds of the quote from Super Troopers "Who wants a moustache(sp?) ride!?" Dirty old men hanging around here these days... I'll tell you. I'll take your comment as a compliment UP. BTW, when are you going to make it back to ski my local mole hill? As for that picture in the instructors arena... i really did think it was you for a few too, and was surprised to see it was someone with a higher post count. You wouldn't have been shy about it though, I suspect.

The category 'c' that Gonz talked about is probably a prevailing amount of the population... unfortunate for them, but great for Volkl, since it keeps them in business and considered to be at the top of the industry.

Later

GREG
post #11 of 18
It was a compliment.... no sarcasm this time. I may make it to NY this winter. I had a great time last time. I'll definitely get in touch with you.
post #12 of 18
another way of looking at this:

there really isn't anything wrong with preferring a stiffer ski, even if you're skinnier than me or Greg.

what is "wrong" to me, though, is working harder than you need to, simply to ski on a Volkl.

just because a ski makes you work hard TO FLEX IT doesn't mean it's improving your technique.

if you want a ski to help you improve, get one that demands precise input but has a flex pattern that suits your weight, present ability, and typical skiing speed.
post #13 of 18
Well said Gonz!
post #14 of 18
What time is the game?
post #15 of 18
Carving Volkls have been losing their character, IMO. Older ones were famous for being silky, making smooth, powerful arcs of all sizes if you brought your A game. Newer ones, since the Superstar series, have softer shovels, stiffer mid sections and tails, feel burly. Deceptively easy initiation, but need aggressive management, some skier weight, esp in bumps or chop. No matter what some mags claim, not an "AME" ski. I've owned a lot of Volkls, but I'm thinking about giving up on models under 87 mm. wide. (The fatties rock, on the other hand.)
post #16 of 18
One more difference worth mentioning (and one that really surprised me) is where Volkl and Elan mark the midsole mounting point. Volkl tends to put the midsole mark further rearward (as do most German/Austrian manufacturers). Their mark generally is about 30mm too far back for me (based on BoF calculation). The Elan skis in the same lengths have their mounting position more forward and much to my surprise, landed almost perfectly where the BoF method places me on their skis.
post #17 of 18
I don't have much to add except to echo HS comments on the importance of feel, and appreciate Gonzo's on matching the ski you buy to weight and what you are actually going to do w/ it. Too often (and I have to include myself in this) we figure we need the gnarliest thing available -- 'if everyone else is skiing the xxxx9, no way am I going to go w/ the xxxx8'. But I'm most interested in beyond's comments about the change in Volkl feel. I haven't skied a Volkl in the last few years but I have always loved the feel in the past. I guess I will have to try one this year and see if I agree about the changes...
post #18 of 18
I actually think that the Fusion mounting system gives the ski a very different feel from anything out there. From my perspective, I felt more "inside" the ski when skiing the Fusion system skis and more "on" the ski with others. It is different--not necessarily better or worse. I liked it.

Between the options, I'd recommend the MagFire 10 for your skiing and locale. I'd stay away from the AC4 for the locale reasons. I also agree with others here... I think that the Volkls have lost some of their shine...
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