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Flat ski vs. system ski

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 
Most of these flat skis tend to be "big mountian" skis and the "system skis" are techier designs. I was thinking, scary but true and no I wasn't smoking anything at the time but...It is almost like comparing "big block" motors vs. multi valve high reving turbo/supercharged designs. Not that one is better than the other, just different.
post #2 of 24
big thing for me, I break/ damage skis, 100 days a year = 1 - 2 pairs a year, so I want to reuse the bindings.

carving performance is not an issue (not tuned often, bent edges etc) so a binding that is disposible, and might help with edge hold is not a bonus for me....
post #3 of 24
I've been consuming an excessive amount of goodwill tonight, but it seems to me that the rounded, uniform flex that a system ski offers isnt as necessary in a big mountain/off piste type ski, and therefore not worth the extra cost.
post #4 of 24
I'm not convinced that a "system" isn't anything more then a way for a Ski Company to sell you a more expensive product. Atomic and others who have been pushing Systems and Hostage plates are now bringing back flat skis. A case in point is the Old Atomic Rex one of thier best sellers with a large base of supporters. The Mex was it's replacement and from what I have seen sales have been ho hum. My take is with the Rex you could put on a binding that you trusted. Mex might be a good proformer. The Atomic binding never had a good reputation as reliable bindings for skiing off piste. People who would look at the Rex and or Mex are looking fora ski to take on big Mountain off piste conditions. My personal experiance with Atomic bindings has been they are the worse to put back on if you loose a ski in Powder. Cleaning off all the snow from a binding on a 40-45 degree slope in 18 inches of snow is a royal pain in the Butt. You will notice that now the Atomic Daddy line of skis are all hostage plate free. Now from what i heard K2 is going to shot it's self in the foot by making all thier next season Recons and Outlaws "systems" I guess I can cross Outlaws off my list of skis for next season.
post #5 of 24
Like most everything else, it's a complex situation. With big-mountain boards, a lot of folks like to use touring bindings for skinning. Not exactly system friendly. Also, you're big mountain skiiers tend to be a bit more up to date on gear, and are more likely to have a binding of choice. As someone else has also stated, fat boards don't need to carving prowess of a front-side ski, negating the added benifits claimed by system skis. And then there's the financial side of it...
post #6 of 24

Flat Park & Pipe skis= HD?
post #7 of 24
Last time I checked Bode and the others weren't on "system skis". It's all bullshit that we buy hook, line and sinker. I actually feel the skis and the pop at the end of a turn better on a non "system" ski with a flat binding.
If world class racers don't need'em do we?
post #8 of 24
Well, I am resisting with both feet and both hands dug in.
post #9 of 24
Reasons why systems don't sell for big mountain skis

- higher lift sucks for variable snow
- High cost AND moving bindings between skis is necessary for skiers that run quivers and ski a lot
- the bindings used in the current sytems suck (mid level marker, atomic and tyrolia)
- AT bindings are becoming more popular

The only real benefits some find are the ability to move the mounting point and lower shop costs.

If the Gotama had a low lift, wide braked P12/P14/P18 or 914/916 options I bet they would sell a decent amount of systems.

fwiw - I think the M:ex failed just as much because of how it skis as it's hostage plate (see sugar/Big daddy - people complained but the '03-'04 version is still popular)
post #10 of 24
Totally disagree that that system skis are B.S. that we we're being forcefed. Yep, there are financial incentives to marketing the the ski you make with the binding you make, and yep, some of the early results were mediocre (Pilot for instance). But anyone who thinks that flat mounted skis with fixed bindings will outperform systems like Volkl's and Tyrolia's are in denial. It ain't a conspiracy.

When I say "outperform," I mean that systems allow MOST skiers to carve more smoothly and manage pertubations like tip flap at speed more gracefully. You may or may not like the snow feel (I have really mixed feelings about Volkls, for instance). Can a racer who squats 500 lbs do just as well bending a flat mounted ski? Sure. But I notice that even race skis increasingly have plates designed for free-flex systems. And for the rest of us, systems are waay superior on groomed.

On soft stuff, another story. You probably want a softer tip with more resonance to help float, and since you're scarving at best, all that round flex doesn't help much.
post #11 of 24
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by ski=free
If world class racers don't need'em do we?
There is more of a difference with the level that they are skiing at than a beginner to us. It's like comparing my golf clubs to Tigers, yes they look the same but are constructed completely differente because of the power that is put into them. Same with our gear and Bodes.
post #12 of 24
Well this is a fun topic... did you try doing a search Phil?

Anyhow, this is actually something that has intrigued me in recent years about ski construction. Since I ski on mostly race stock skis, or skis that are built similar to race stock skis, I find it quite amusing that ski companies are still pushing, not only the "system" skis, but the crazy technology and various gimics that they pile into these skis.

so now we have two major categories of skis: Race stock skis and big mountain skis that are built like race stock skis, and regular "technology-packed system skis." So, clearly the "race stock" variants offer higher performance than a normal consumer ski. We are starting to see the use on world cup construction on very high end consumer skis like the Head IM:88, the SuperMojo, the Supercharger Blower, and many others. Still though, we see cap skis, system skis, and essentially "mass produced" skis returning year after year to consumer lines.

Why? Well, I suspect there are a few reasons. The biggest reason is that WC construction (meaning vertical sidewall full laminate construction) skis are hard to make. They aren't cheap. They do however offer a lot of variations on how you can make the ski flex and how you can lay out various materials. Of course, this makes the skis all that much more complex to build and it is also just as difficult to get them to "cure" properly and end up with matched flex patterns.

So... ski companies are always searching for a way to perfect the process, so they can mass produce a ski that will have performance similar to the above type of ski (say for example the Volkl All-Star). Not only does this save them money, but they can also attach a ton of marketing hype to whatever this years "new technology" is. This is most likely why you see all of these crazy cap designs (Beta, DoubleGrip, Sigma, Spaceframe (as wel as the new integrated prolink thing - which I might add skis pretty well for a retail salomon design), and whatever Head calls their profile.

Basically, they offer high enough performance and are still cheap to make. While they are at it they integrate a plate into the ski for flex reasons (I agree with the plate idea)... this plate however is drilled for specific bindings... (Speaking of which have you noticed that most "systems" now, while binding specific, will actually accept a "spacer" binding of that particular company; so you can essentially mount any binding of the required company to the "system" plate. My guess is that this is the standard you will see adopted. Specific bindings will still be required, but they will begin to be sold separately for those people who already have other bindings at home...)

Why? Well the obvious reason is so you buy bindings. It also makes sure that you aren't drilling nice skis and attaching horrible bindings. It also makes sure that you are using a proper plate (believe me that are those out there that would still flat mount race skis with un-lifted spacer bindings and call it a day... which I think is the 8th deadly sin... if it hasn't been classified yet it should be... soon, in fact I will get the mod-squad on this as soon as possible). All things considered, I don't think it has been bad for the industry. Most consumers are now on better, more up-to-date equipment because of it. That is never a bad thing - just ask Phil how important the having the right gear is...

I personally think that the benefits of systems significantly outweigh the negatives that they bring to the table. Yeah it sucks if you just bought your 15th pair of skis [cough]Phil[cough] and they required that you buy a 15th pair of bindings versus removing a pair of bindings from one of the 14 other pairs [of Metrons] that you have and putting them on the new pair. I will say however, that most skiers who are truly high level skiers, requiring top notch equipment, are not skiing on the system stuff anyway; or if they are, they only ski on one pair, and the rest of their skis are construction that is, or at least lends itself to race stock construction. I'm not saying that the system skis are bad, but there are certainly better performing skis out there... which also cost a lot more money to get your hands on...


post #13 of 24
Not being a "truly high level skier" myself, I'll speak out for the vast majority of skiers who fuel the entire industry (or industries, to be closer to accurate). They - we - are called "truly not high level skiers", sometimes called "gapers".

What's better about "flat": They don't have the "free flex" and thus are stiffer under foot = more bite, perhaps friskier, all other things being equal. If that's what you want.

What's better about "system": The buyer can mount the bindings without the shop. The buyer can, on some, adjust the fore/aft position of the bindings. The buyer can sell the skis to a skier of any boot sole length with no need to redrill. The rounder flex suits most skiers who are "truly not high level skiers" - and, in skis like the Volkl All Stars, even some "truly high level skiers". The bindings are just hunky dory for us, especially those of us who wish a top DIN of, say, 12.

About the motivation of or cost to the manufacturers, we don't really lose much sleep over it. A business which satisfies customers while spending less and earning more is a good thing.

I will yield the balance of my time to the gentleman from "truly high level skiers".
post #14 of 24
I just got done removing the "truly high level skiers" arrows from my torso and survived long enough to utter that all of my stock race skis have free flex plates on them... Yes Phil, I'm ordering my Metron B5's now...
post #15 of 24
Did they come out easily? The guy at the store said they were supposed to have barbs, or something. I mean, like, he goes, "Like, these are system arrows."
post #16 of 24
One had barbs, but when I finally got it out it looked like the head, shaft, and feathers had all be purchased separately from different manufacturers...
post #17 of 24
Good night, and good luck.
post #18 of 24
I need a smiley guy that waves a white flag
post #19 of 24
Bought a used pair of Atomic REXs with their binding system on it from a friend who thought they were too long for him. I was able to reset the binding for my much bigger boots without the hassle and expense of redrilling the skis. I am also able to instantly adjust the bindings forward and back on the skis through 4 positions, which allowed me to easily find the best position for my skiing. The skis work well in everything from very hard to very deep snow. The one day I took them to Telluride and skied steep bumps I did not like them, but then I moved the bindings one position forward and they became a pretty good bump ski for the rest of the day. It is amazing how much of a difference a small adjustment can change the way a ski works for you. I weigh 215 and have put the bindings through a lot for over a full season with no problems or complaints.

I just mounted another pair of old movable Atomic bindings on some new Fischer Wateas that will be my powder skis. In reading the demo and owner comments here and on TGR I saw everything from recommendations to mount those skis plus 1 cm to minus 2 cm. I had the adjustable Atomics mounted on center and can now easily experiment for myself. Sure they are a little heavier, but I have several pair of flat mounted skis and don't notice a performance difference with the system bindings, so for me the function wins out.
post #20 of 24
Originally Posted by Utah49
I'm not convinced that a "system" isn't anything more then a way for a Ski Company to sell you a more expensive product.
Damn right! Saloman and Atomic want you to use their bindings. Makes me pretty mad. Generally though, no skis I'd actually want to ride are affected, so it's not that big of a deal.
post #21 of 24
i went with the Tyrolia LD12 system on a regular pair of flat skis(Salomon Scream Limited). One thing that drew me to them was that the binding were inexpensive and I could move them easily to another pair of skis especially if they were fishers or Head. I hope this is the last pair of bindings i buy in a while.

So far so good.
one concern I have is that they seem to squeak alot. that might be normal and unavoidable.

I do have concerns of the mounting plate ripping out of the ski since it wasn;t designed for it.

i have had issues putting my skis on after losing one on steep slopes. could be the fault of the binding, the slope or the soft snow underfoot.

and that note, I have slipped a ski more times than than ever. is it the binding? well I guess it;s better to slip a ski than tear an ACL.

my other skis has marker bindings and I hear that people who know are not too fond of them. However, I have never remebered losing a ski as easily and my DIN setting was at 6, 8 on the new pair of Tyrolias.

other than that, I am mildly concerned about Ski theft. I mean if the skis are so easy to user adjust even on the hill, what;s to deter some unscrupulous person from stealing system skis?
post #22 of 24
Originally Posted by tekweezle
one concern I have is that they seem to squeak alot. that might be normal and unavoidable.
post #23 of 24
i was thinking maybe there was alot of play in the mounting mechanism. the binding slides along the rails as you flex the ski.

I guess it;s something I need to get used to. I guess I am predisposed to the binding being mounted securely to the skis and not budging!
post #24 of 24
I'm surprised that no one has mentioned the stance alignment issues inherent in purchasing ski/binding systems.

Anyone who needs agressive canting is screwed with these systems. Canting then requires major boot modification, expertise, and expense. Yuck!

I have skis of both kinds and MUCH prefer the ski qualities of my race-stock quiver for most conditions.
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