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Nordica Top Fuel - yes i know, another review

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 
Hi All,

I know there have been a ton of reviews on this ski posted here, but I figured another couldn’t really hurt anything. Since I had to move during the first part of the ski season, this past weekend was my first time on the snow in almost a year. Anyway here are my/the snow stats:

Height: 6’1”
Weight 185
Level – (not sure how to rate myself, I am a strong skier maybe level 7/8)
Skis: Nordica Hot Rod Top Fuel - 178
Boots: Salomon X-Wave 8
Resort: Sunday River, ME
Conditions:
Day 1 – Spring Slush – temp 30 – 40 degrees and sunny
Day 2 – Frozen hard pack – big ice patches, some soft spots and bumps – snow was very inconsistent from one trail to another but it was still pretty warm and sunny keeping some trails relatively soft.

Day 1:
My first impression of these skis was that they are a little tough to ski at slow speeds/short turns without skidding/really working them (although my volkl g3 motions were the same way minus a little work), however they absolutely mash the crud and slush that was everywhere on Saturday and feel very stable. Despite the tail not being turned up much it is still easy to ride switch when you want to. These are far and away the heaviest skis I have ever skied on, and probably the heaviest that I have ever even handled in a ski store. I didn’t feel their weight at all underfoot and making a few jump-turns (just for fun/testing) and maneuverability in the air was surprisingly not a problem. Now for the good stuff:

At full throttle these skis rip harder then any I have ever been on – edge grip is nothing short of spectacular and they run right where they are supposed to – put them on edge and STAY ON TOP OF THEM – partly due to not skiing in a year, I was a little back a few times coming around a couple sharp corners and they were VERY close to getting away from me. I guess you would say that they are pretty demanding and require your full attention when skiing at speed. Stability, Stability, Stability - There is zero chatter and it doesn’t take TOO much effort to flex them despite how stiff they are. Long/medium turns were its strongest point at speed – shorter turns weren’t too hard to complete (at slower than top speed) but that is not what these skis want to do - Mach 1 all the time. It wasn’t until the afternoon on the first day that I finally felt that I had a very good handle on them and that they weren’t “skiing me” (Read: I was finally remembering how to ski). As the snow hardened up in the afternoon completing shorter turns proved much easier, however was still quite a workout – a solid run down a wind blown/packed White Heat (steep trail) linking short turns was one of the most fun – and tiring – runs of the day.

Day 2:
Conditions were a little more solid on Sunday and the Top Fuels shined with outstanding edge grip. Even on patches of sheer ice there was little skidding once I committed to the turn. Some of the sunnier/un-groomed trails allowed for (a very little and widely spaced) soft bump skiing and I found a shaded trail with a stretch (50 yards max) of solid/icy bumps. Soft bumps: forgetaboutit – the top fuels pound them into submission and just blast through the fluff/slush. Despite the width of these skis the solid bumps were not a problem either (however I was not in a true mogul field and it was for a very short amt. of time, probably no more then 12-15 turns). I would love to get these down a true bump trail to not only see how I can handle them based on last year, but also to see how they perform. There were no glades open that I found (there might have been 1 but the cover was so thin it just wasn’t worth it to seek it/them out) so I’m not sure how I would have handled them in the trees. In the powder…. come on, this is New England, but I’m guessing they float pretty well based on the way the mashed through the crud and slush.

As far as the X-Balance system goes – I can’t say one way or anther as to how well it works. I would need to get on a different pair of skis and ski them back-to-back. I can say that I felt very “centered” on the skis almost the entire time, which could easily be a result of this system.

Overall these are truly excellent skis. I’m sure there are shortcomings when compared to other skis however I haven’t been on many pairs of skis that would warrant a fair comparison. Bottom Line – these skis rip, and handled everything I could find last weekend extremely well. I felt comfortable from the second I got off the first lift despite having the “I Hope I Can Remember How To Ski First-Day Jitters” and I couldn’t be happier with the purchase. I hope this was helpful or at least semi-interesting. I can’t wait to get out on these again next weekend.

Cheers
post #2 of 24
Nice review! We never get enough of 'em here!
post #3 of 24
I absolutely love these skis. 11 days out already, lots of powder, and these are getting my through my first Colorado winter with a HUGE smile on my face!
post #4 of 24
Good review. Still can't choose between the AC4 and the TF. It sounds like a lot of ski for the woods back here. It would be great on firm snow and everything else. Can it be turned in tight situations? I am on the 724 Pro and you have to work that ski sometimes. That is a good feature in so far as I am concerned. Everyone seems to think it would not be good in the woods.
post #5 of 24
freeskinow,

The 724 Pro was my mid-fat for the last two years and this year I switched to the Top Fuel. They are actually pretty similar in turn shape. If you can handle in your Pros in "tight spaces" and trees, the TF will be the same or easier. I can tell you it's definitely not any harder. I really liked the Pros a lot, but the TF is better in pretty much every way. Better in crud, better float, more stable, same damp GS feel and the XBS "feel" underfoot is great.

The skis feel damp and heavy, totally calm and smooth at speed, but unlike most burly skis they aren't "planky". Feel is very subjective, but I think Nordica has the rest of the industry smoked right now.
post #6 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Matter
freeskinow,

The skis feel damp and heavy, totally calm and smooth at speed, but unlike most burly skis they aren't "planky". Feel is very subjective, but I think Nordica has the rest of the industry smoked right now.
Well put Matter. I own the TF's and demoed the AC4's last week. I thought the AC4's where ok, but I was glad to get back on my TF's. I live in the NE too and ski trees and have no problem with them there.
post #7 of 24
Ok now Highpeaksdrifter...we're not gonna let you off the hook that easy . Give us a run down comparing the AC4 and TF. I'm sure a lot of us here would like your feedback. Cheers.
post #8 of 24
I have owned a pair of the TF's since late last Spring. Overall, I love these skis. Rock solid, FAST, great edge hold, fantastic in crud and even moderately deep powder. My only complaints: there is a milosecond delay in initiating turns that takes some getting used to and, the skis take some work on really short-radius turns (not surprising-given their turn radius). I did try this experiment recently. I took the skis back to my shop and had them move the bindings forward to their most forward position (this was + two holes in my case). WOW, what a difference! No more milosecond delay in changing edges, and now I can make much shorter radius turns. Carving cleaner arcs too. Downside: the skis now feel a TAD less stable at real speed (but still very stable). If I were skiing out West in good snow (powder), I'd probably leave them where they were originally. But for the East-I relly like the feel now.
Pat
post #9 of 24
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by patprof66
I have owned a pair of the TF's since late last Spring. Overall, I love these skis. Rock solid, FAST, great edge hold, fantastic in crud and even moderately deep powder. My only complaints: there is a milosecond delay in initiating turns that takes some getting used to and, the skis take some work on really short-radius turns (not surprising-given their turn radius). I did try this experiment recently. I took the skis back to my shop and had them move the bindings forward to their most forward position (this was + two holes in my case). WOW, what a difference! No more milosecond delay in changing edges, and now I can make much shorter radius turns. Carving cleaner arcs too. Downside: the skis now feel a TAD less stable at real speed (but still very stable). If I were skiing out West in good snow (powder), I'd probably leave them where they were originally. But for the East-I relly like the feel now.
Pat
Patprof66 - it's funny you say that, in the lift line I noticed that there is approx 1 mm of "play" in the bindings from side to side before the ski begins to engage and go from flat towards an edge. I didn't feel it when I was on the snow but that doesn't mean that the delay wasn't there - most of the snow was very choppy and there were not a lot of completely groomed runs. I'll be checking this out on Sat.
post #10 of 24
Patprof66,

How did you move your bindings forward? As far as I can see they are not adjustable :...

redline
post #11 of 24
Redline-I left my TP's in my locker, so I don't have them in front of me. But, as I was watching the guy do it-- this is what I remember: there were two large phillips head screws (one in the front & one in the back). There were also about 5-6 screw holes (again-front & back). He removed the front screw and moved the binding ahead 2 holes (as far as they could go) and then replaced the screw. Did the same thing in the back. Had to also do some minor adjustments to get my boot heel to close properly. I now have about 5 days on the skis and can't believe the difference it has made!
Pat
post #12 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by team ftb
Ok now Highpeaksdrifter...we're not gonna let you off the hook that easy . Give us a run down comparing the AC4 and TF. I'm sure a lot of us here would like your feedback. Cheers.
Some guys who write reviews in here are outstanding in their skill of transferring their thoughts and feelings from their head to the keyboard. I'm not one of those guys, but I'll do my best.

The TF is quicker then the AC4 edge to edge. While its true that you have to work them at slower speeds, making short turns, the same can be said for the AC4's.

The TF is a more powerful carving ski then the AC4. Doing GS turns at higher speeds brings out the best in the TF. No ski in it's catagory can stay with it for long at speed.

The TF has a damp, but not too damp feel. It has some rebound out of the turn. The AC4's felt kinda dead by comparsion.

Both skis are big and beefy. The TFs can plow through crud, slush anything you through at it. The day I demo'd the AC4's it was eastern hardpack so I don't know about them.

Both skis hold a nice edge on ice and hardpack, but I thought the TF's were better at it.

In conclusion, I didn't hate the AC4's, it think they're ok and many people might like them, but the TF's, IMO, are better in every catagory. I'll be taking them to Colorado in Feb. and can't wait to use them there.
post #13 of 24
HPD,
I think you did a great job describing the TF. Very articulate
post #14 of 24
Awesome highpeaks drifter, thanks a lot!
post #15 of 24

Drifter

That was very helpfull.
post #16 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by patprof66
Redline-I left my TP's in my locker, so I don't have them in front of me. But, as I was watching the guy do it-- this is what I remember: there were two large phillips head screws (one in the front & one in the back). There were also about 5-6 screw holes (again-front & back). He removed the front screw and moved the binding ahead 2 holes (as far as they could go) and then replaced the screw. Did the same thing in the back. Had to also do some minor adjustments to get my boot heel to close properly. I now have about 5 days on the skis and can't believe the difference it has made!
Pat

Just to throw a wrench in here,

A few weeks after skiing my TF's I noticed that my boot center was actually slightly behind the center mark on the skis. I took them back to the shop and asked if there was any way to center them up to the mark. They told me Marker's scale on the bindings correctly put me in the slightly back position. I could only move up 1.5 cm, to the next notch on the bindings which would put me about 1 cm forward on the ski. At the time I thought that was definitely preferable to being mounted back on a carving ski so I told them to go ahead. Long story short, I went from loving the TFs to hating them. The forward position felt twitchy and squirrelly and my tips started to sink in crud and light powder. And I'm even skiing 178's and just weigh 160. Moved the bindings back to the point I was supposed to be at (the Marker designated position which puts me slightly behind the center mark) and everything was cured.

I'm not telling you to not experiment with it, but I had the exact opposite experience as Patprof. Its too bad there aren't more notches for the toepiece as I'd really like to test somewhere in between where I am now and the next mark forward.
post #17 of 24
Interesting that we both could have such opposite results with the same experiment. One possibility--I weigh 225 lbs.As I mentioned in my post-if I were skiing alot in powder, I would stick with the suggested setting. I just back from skiing all morning in crud and they were fantastic. I also heard from the local Nordica rep that next year the binding plate that they are going to will allow for much easier and finer adjustments.
post #18 of 24

a different opinion

I hated these skis. Felt dead to me. Hard to initiate turns and very little kick exiting a turn.

Found the Speedmachine 16.1 to be much more energetic and fun to ski.
post #19 of 24
I am interested in these, the AC4's and other 82-84mm wasted skis.
post #20 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Phil Pugliese
I am interested in these, the AC4's and other 82-84mm wasted skis.
I hear that. I sold my Salomon Xtra Hots which were way too soft for me. I'm going to replace that spot in my quiver with either the TF or AC4. Do you think that they will have both these skis at Elk of Friday. If they do I might have to make the trip up there.
post #21 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by hardpak16
I hated these skis. Felt dead to me. Hard to initiate turns and very little kick exiting a turn.

Found the Speedmachine 16.1 to be much more energetic and fun to ski.
Hard to see how one could "hate" the TFs

Maybe on real hardpack they don't work, but in soft Western snow, I've never skied anything better
post #22 of 24
Hardpak,

Please, please explain to me how you can compare a 67mm waisted 'race-bred' ski to a 78mm All Mountain ski??? Whatever next, comparing the TF's pow performance to that of a freeride ski?

It only makes sense to compare ski's of different categorys to get a general frame of reference. For a meaningfull qualitative comparison you need to compare within the genre (mid fat all mountain)... ie - Head 77's, AC4's AMC79 etc...

Just my 2c's....

redline
post #23 of 24
Here is a question.....
Which of these 2 skis would have better edge hold on hardpack the Volkl AC4 or the Top Fuel?
I have my 6 stars as my hardpack ski and I am looking for a wide ski that has some edge hold when conditions firm up (soft to hard snow).
I have the 6 star in a 175cm. I am 6' 280lbs. I would get the AC4 in a 177cm or the Top Fuel in a 178cm.
Also, how much difference would I notice in the Top Fuel in a 178cm after skiing the 6 star ion a 175cm. Would that extra inch make that big of a difference?
post #24 of 24
topfuel kills everything when it comes to hard snow carving

never been on 6stars, but the stability, smoothness, balance (x-balance system) of the hrtf will blow you away

do not get them (the hrtf's) unless you like to ski very fast
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