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2007 Nordica Doberman SL R (155/165)

post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 
Conditions: Spring race camp. Spring granular frozen overnight. Mostly skied in the shade and in-course.

My specs: 6’, 170lbs. male, 35th season skiing, PSIA level II cert. Ski fast, love to turn, enjoy the “arc and spark”, and powder. Gearhead.

My own equipment (05/06 season): Tecnica Icon Race XT17 boots with ZipFit Plug Leather liners, 162cm Atomic Metron m:b5 skis, Leki AERO Viper Trigger poles, Marker helmet and goggles.

This review consists of my thoughts and impressions of these skis. As all should know, ski impressions are driven by personal preference, technique, preferred sensations, and so on. Some have said that we prefer skis that mask our technique issues. Probably true. We also probably prefer those that our technique can really use. So, this is not doctrine. Simply what I think about what I felt.

Skiing style/technique: I have asked some ski instructors and race coaches to describe my skiing to give you an idea of my technical ability. Here's what they had to say: "dynamic, smooth, efficient. Good turn completion. Occasional tendency not to move down the hill on initiation that is easily corrected when you think about it." "...skiing looked generally quite good. You seem to ski a pretty aggressive line and generally in balance. Your turns are generally carved, even on the pitches. The thing I did notice that I would comment on if I were coaching you was a stance that seemed a bit narrow, and a turn initiation that seemed a bit steery." "...you are a technically strong, aggressive skier with a bias toward power rather than finesse. Smooth and fast!!" All that said, I felt pretty out of my element in the gates today, so do not take these insights as coming from a hard-charging gate-basher...

Preference in skis: If you consider the skis that I prefer, you'll see that I like 'em light and lively. I like a lot of snow feel and energy in the ski. I prefer a slalom racing ski feel for my personal skis, and I love the carve.

Review:

The Doberman SL R is the "race stock" ski from Nordica, but they do not have a "consumer race" line. If you buy a race ski from them, you get the same skis that their FIS racers are on (although, of course, not their WC racers). I skied the 155 because I don't care a whit about FIS rules for me, and for (trying to be) bashing the SL gates, shorter seemed better.

These skis are rock solid on edge, have a nice SL sidecut, are quick edge-to-edge, and solid at speed. They have energy, but are not overpowering. They are lively without being squirrely, and elicited confidence from the first arc. I liked the level of energy without feeling like they tossed me around. Given how I felt the last time I skied a Doberman (the Pro SC; the "detuned SL" in the line), I was delighted both with the ski and my ability to ski it.

I really didn't want to give them back. I'll be on the GSs for a few runs tomorrow, so will report on them, as well. Those of you who prefer full-on race skis (especially those of you who are in gates frequently) should give these a ride.

Edit: Please see a further review on the 165 further down in this thread.
post #2 of 26
Thread Starter 
post #3 of 26
The Doby SLR was on my short list last year, but were sold out and Dawgcatching had to good a deal on Head RD SLs to pass up.

I look forward to your GS report.
post #4 of 26
Try Nordica's Race Stock GS too if yo get the chance. I tried a couple pairs during the Sugar Slalom in April and they were super sweet.
post #5 of 26
Thread Starter 
epic, that's what I will have an opportunity to try tomorrow.
post #6 of 26
Thread Starter 
Also, for the record, these skis were all hand-tuned by Matt Schiller and his team. They were tuned to World Cup standards, .7/3 on the GS, .5/3 on the SL. And pristine. I can't say enough about the tunes that these skis had!
post #7 of 26
ssh , I see you are using the trigger Leki's. Your's is the alu-carbon one?
How do you like the trigger system .?
How easy is it to leave them behind in a near fall situation where you put your hand down and recover?

What was your reasoning for choosing the composite over the all carbon?
one?
Do you recommend these.?My poles need replacing and i am not familiar with the trigger system.
post #8 of 26
Thread Starter 
Here's a follow-up and expansion on the earlier review:

I skied the Doberman SL R in the 165 all day today, running SL drills and gates. While actually wanting to get on the 155 again, the 165 is the typical men's length, so I let one of the ladies ski the 155 that I would have taken...

That said, I'll expand a bit since I had many more runs on the ski today (from 8am till about 10:45, with a complete run cycle taking less than 10 minutes).

I really like this ski! It has a very reassuring stability and smooth character that doesn't diminish its energy. When I really stood on it (which is what I was working on today, so please understand that I am no elite racer!), it was confidence-inspiring. The edge was always there. The only thing that kept me from making huge angles and arc-to-arc on these skis was my own lack of skill combined with my lack of confidence, especially early in the day.

Interestingly (and, I think, importantly), my confidence in this ski grew during that day. I was able to increase the amount of body movement inside the turn over the course of the day, and the ski responded. It never washed out, whether at the top of the mountain early in the day when I was trying to figure it out or at the bottom while the snow was still hard when I would really work them arc-to-arc trying to work my body into more inclination. I could stand on the outside ski and ride them on the hard refrozen spring snow.

On the feet of the more accomplished members of the camp (including Deb Armstrong), it was clear that they bend into a really nice arc, and work very well in SL gates. At one point I check out Deb's arcs from the chair and could see that she was riding the edges from gate to gate, with only a very little redirection periodically due to the set.

In short, this is a full-bore race ski that will answer the call. And yet, surprisingly, not beat the crap out of you when you hit ruts or other terrain "features" that can sometimes rocket you out of your skis (or the course).
post #9 of 26
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by GarryZ
ssh , I see you are using the trigger Leki's. Your's is the alu-carbon one?
How do you like the trigger system .?
How easy is it to leave them behind in a near fall situation where you put your hand down and recover?

What was your reasoning for choosing the composite over the all carbon?
one?
Do you recommend these.?My poles need replacing and i am not familiar with the trigger system.
I highly recommend these poles. I think they are fantastic. They have the "feel" of aluminum, while having the shock-absorbing properties of carbon. I love the combination. I also love the Trigger system. It's quick on/quick off, will come off if it needs to, protects the thumb because of how it attaches, and will stay on even when your hand is wide open (which is also great for instructors; hand demos without pull your poles off).

I like the combo materials because it "feels" a little more rigid than pure carbon (which I had in my Goodes in 03/04). I wouldn't hesitate to get another full carbon, though. I don't think I'll ever get a non-Trigger pole again unless I don't have a choice (or somebody comes out with something even better!).
post #10 of 26
ssh, thank you for the review.

I have one question, though:
Was the 165 significantly stiffer than the 155? This is important for me. I weigh 155lbs.

Btw, Nordica has a consumer race line. The Pro GS and SL are the skis you can get and are one step down from the SL R and GS R.

Thanks,
Jamie
post #11 of 26
Thread Starter 
sywsyw, Nordica's Race Department guys apparently don't call those "race skis".

Anyway, I did not notice a lot of difference in stiffness between the two, but I think I was skiing them much better on Monday (165) than Saturday (155). And I had them longer (which helps me on a ski this demanding). You're about 15-20 pounds lighter than me. If you don't have any FIS requirements, I'd go shorter if I were you.
post #12 of 26
Starting this year Nordica is using a less aggressive construction for their Pro SL and GS skis than in the past. This trend contines in 07. The Pro SL and Pro GS have an Active contruction which, back in 05 was used for the Pro SC (which you mentioned in your review) but they have Titanium instead of Carbon.

The 05 SL and GS had the same contruction as the race stock skis (Energy) the SL had a Carbon sheet while the GS had a Titanium sheet. The Carbon made the ski slightly more forgiving. Those skis were closer to the race stock skis than the current ones. The construction is different. The 05 SL had a sucessfull race contruction coupled with a more forgiving material. Now they are offering a less aggressive contruction with a more aggressive material.

So i understand why the guys from the Race Dept did not call the Pro SL and GS race skis.
post #13 of 26
Thread Starter 
The SL R and GS R are full sandwich construction, metal top and bottom. Flat topsheet. Thin and light, but durable (smacked 'em with a bunch of gates on Monday).
post #14 of 26
For this year, Nordica added a second sheet of metal to the SL R (and possibly GS R). The 05 SL R and the SL had the same race construction called Energy with vertical sidewalls and one sheet of Titanium for the SL R and Carbon for the SL. The latter also has a much softer plate (X-Balance) than the Vist plate they offered. The SL R had metal in it while the SL didn't and this made the SL softer flexing. I think carbon dampens vibrations more than Titanium. It was enough ski for all but the most aggressive skiers. It had the same construction but no metal and a softer plate.

The 06 and 07 SL R is stiffer than the 05 model but it seems it worked very well for you.

I have one more question for you: which plate did you have? There are at least two plates available for the SL R: the X-Balance Racing and the X-Balance Racing WC 2006. Both are expensive and the WC 2006 consts only slightly less than Racing.
Was the plate stiff or did you feel that it stiffened flex?

Thanks again,
Jamie


Jamie
post #15 of 26
Thread Starter 
Jamie, how would I know which plate it was? bennyr said that it was a VIST plate. It has "XB" on the side and "WorldCup" on the side. No Piston. I would assume the WC 2006?
post #16 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by GarryZ
ssh , I see you are using the trigger Leki's. Your's is the alu-carbon one?
How do you like the trigger system .?
How easy is it to leave them behind in a near fall situation where you put your hand down and recover?

What was your reasoning for choosing the composite over the all carbon?
one?
Do you recommend these.?My poles need replacing and i am not familiar with the trigger system.
Trigger rocks!
I've had 'em for about three years now and love 'em to death. I'll never go back to traditional pole straps.
Only minor disadvantage is when you need to carry your gear or put in a rack at a skihut, you can't hang the poles on your ski's, but that's about it. Anyway, they are so light (even Titanium's that I've got) that it's not too much of a hassle to carry them around in the other hand
post #17 of 26
Jamie,
I'm not really a Nordica guy so I can't answer your question in the detail you are after but my understanding is that the plate on the skis we skied over the weekend is going to be Nordica's plate offering for this 06/07 season. It is their design and manufactured by VIST just like several of their past plates and those of Elan, Salomon, Head, Rossi, and others. The front and rear screws don't float like other similar plates so it does seem to stiffen the ski a bit but complements the ski well. I have seen other similar Nordica plates at races in Europe that were a little different and in some cases looked beefier as far as I know this is the plate they have settled on. The other nice thing about this plate is that it doesn't have a dedicated binding hole pattern so you can drill it for whatever you want to ski with.
Have fun
post #18 of 26
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Schussboelie
Trigger rocks!
I've had 'em for about three years now and love 'em to death. I'll never go back to traditional pole straps.
Only minor disadvantage is when you need to carry your gear or put in a rack at a skihut, you can't hang the poles on your ski's, but that's about it. Anyway, they are so light (even Titanium's that I've got) that it's not too much of a hassle to carry them around in the other hand
Agreed. The only downside occurs if/when snow gets into the Trigger hole in the handle. So, I always make sure that I knock the snow out of them before clipping back in.

The major advantage: I'm always the first one ready to ski at the top!
post #19 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by ssh
Agreed. The only downside occurs if/when snow gets into the Trigger hole in the handle. So, I always make sure that I knock the snow out of them before clipping back in.

The major advantage: I'm always the first one ready to ski at the top!
I'm looking for a good deal on the composite model . If anyone has a good idea, let me know
post #20 of 26
Regarding the plates on Nordica Race Stock Skis:

Any bit of information I have ever seen on the skis indicate that they come flat (at least this past season). Due to their partnership with Marker this year, the WC pistons were the recommended plate with the Marker 1800 Race binding being the recommended binding. For next year it might be possible that they are using a VIST designed plate (I presonally like those better), and including them with the new skis (which I also like better as buying new plates gets rather expensive). If they badge the "new" plate XBS or any variant of XBS it is likely made by Marker, as they build the current plate design that is on most high end Nordica retail skis.

As for the history of the skis, the last few years of Nordica SL's and GS's have been similar sandwich construction to the SLR's and GSR's but believe me when I say that they (the retail SL/GS) do not come close to comparing to the R's in performance. The retail skis have also always had some sort of doctored up topsheet that didnt seem to provide anything other than weight and marketability to the ski.

I will likely be on the SLR and GSR for next year. I don't know if I am racing yet, but they will at least be my free skis for in the east, with my older 165 SLR's becoming rock and western front-side skis... The old 155 SLR's will evenutally go to the girl friend I think...

Later

GREG
post #21 of 26
BTW, I will second the Leki Triggers... I started using them this year for GS and if I had not just gotten brand new SL poles a few seasons back I would have started using them for SL as well. They work great, although can be rough if you un-clip them on a lift... nothing to grab at the last second if you drop a pole. Luckily I usually do what most racers do and put them under one of my legs for the lift ride.
Later
GREG
post #22 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by ssh
...The major advantage: I'm always the first one ready to ski at the top!
Uh huh, and we're glad you finally caught up:
post #23 of 26
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by cgeib
Uh huh, and we're glad you finally caught up:
It's your fault, you know. And now everyone else knows, too!
post #24 of 26
You always were way faster than me, stupid boots...
post #25 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by doublediamond223
You always were way faster than me, stupid boots...
That makes him faster than both of us... hm.
post #26 of 26
Thanks for the replies.

Steve, it was the X-Balance Racing WC 2006.
Nordica sells an X-Balance Racing plate, too. I do not know what are the differences between the two plates, though...
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