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Setting up a Technica Icon Alu for racing

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
I am a beginner as far as ski racing goes and would like advise
on how to set up the above boot for Slalom and GS racing as
far as forward flex and forward lean go
post #2 of 21
VERY tough question to answer over the internet. Too many factors come into play here. If you don't have a good bootfitter anywhere around you, you could possibly ask the question over in the equipment forum- but they'll have the same handicaps that I do.
post #3 of 21
Cassina,

The biggest problem the Icon has is the cuff itself. The boot struggles with flex. IMO the cuff is poorly designed. The thick liner is bad for racing.

You can change the flex of the boot (there is a two position flex adjuster on the spine) and it will make a noticeable difference. There are also flex cuts on the lower and putting the two pieces in will stiffen flex. You can make the flex stiffer if you bolt the cuff to the shell which is hard (i think impossible) with the stock cuff.

This is why i suggest replacing the stock cuff with the XT-17's race cuff. It is the best thing you can do. The lower of the Icon is good (heel is narrow (only the heel); the ankle area is a medium volume fit (although it could have been narrower but it has room for the ankle to flex freely and are not blocked by a too narrow shell); the mid foot is a medium foot; the instep is medium and the forefoot is accomodating but hoolds the foot properly.

The poorly designed cuff is a bad idea for this shell which is good for a lot of people (except those with narrow feet). The Endoframe is the heart of the shell and transmits energy to the ski. The other material used is softer.

My shell is a 26. The cuff is a 25. This is important. The cuff fits perfectly on the shell. All i had to do is fix it to the shell where the Dual Pivot lower holse are with the screws from the XT's cuff. But i think the screw from the Dual Pivot would work,too (although i did not try).

Now i have a zero preload boot (where the lower strap rests on the instep) which is more responsive. The stock cuff did not rub on the lower if i remember correctly.

The fit is perfect. It flexes as well as the XT. A smooth flex (no sound).

I bolted the cuff to the shell to make the boot more responsive. Previously, i cut the lower shell to make it a hinged design more responsive to foot steering and i could bolt it in one place unfortunately. But it is enough b/c the bolt allows the boot to return to neutral after flexing it. The difference is visible.

Maybe you can get a pair of used XT's and use the cuffs. Remember, the cuff has to be one size smaller than the shell to work perfectly.

Pics here

If you have any questions feel free to ask or send a PM.

The cuff hold my skinny lower leg extremely well and the footbones can articulate in the shell. With the lower leg hold, the heel is cemented into the heel pocket. I have enough room at the ankle bones to flex freely. The rear half of the foot is very tight fitting while the forefoot is comfortable (the big toe has room to articulate).

Regarding the stance, i am more upright in the boot now.

Oh, i almost forgot. I threw away the stock liner and am using the Diablo Race R leather lace up liner (the copy of the Nordica leather lace up liner). Simply the best liner i ever had. From now on the Nordica liner is the only one i am going to get. Much better than the Lange RL11 liner or Atomic RT liner. I can't even close the cuff if the stock liner is in the boot : .

Jamie
post #4 of 21
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by sywsyw
Cassina,

The biggest problem the Icon has is the cuff itself. The boot struggles with flex. IMO the cuff is poorly designed. The thick liner is bad for racing.

You can change the flex of the boot (there is a two position flex adjuster on the spine) and it will make a noticeable difference. There are also flex cuts on the lower and putting the two pieces in will stiffen flex. You can make the flex stiffer if you bolt the cuff to the shell which is hard (i think impossible) with the stock cuff.

This is why i suggest replacing the stock cuff with the XT-17's race cuff. It is the best thing you can do. The lower of the Icon is good (heel is narrow (only the heel); the ankle area is a medium volume fit (although it could have been narrower but it has room for the ankle to flex freely and are not blocked by a too narrow shell); the mid foot is a medium foot; the instep is medium and the forefoot is accomodating but hoolds the foot properly.

The poorly designed cuff is a bad idea for this shell which is good for a lot of people (except those with narrow feet). The Endoframe is the heart of the shell and transmits energy to the ski. The other material used is softer.

My shell is a 26. The cuff is a 25. This is important. The cuff fits perfectly on the shell. All i had to do is fix it to the shell where the Dual Pivot lower holse are with the screws from the XT's cuff. But i think the screw from the Dual Pivot would work,too (although i did not try).

Now i have a zero preload boot (where the lower strap rests on the instep) which is more responsive. The stock cuff did not rub on the lower if i remember correctly.

The fit is perfect. It flexes as well as the XT. A smooth flex (no sound).

I bolted the cuff to the shell to make the boot more responsive. Previously, i cut the lower shell to make it a hinged design more responsive to foot steering and i could bolt it in one place unfortunately. But it is enough b/c the bolt allows the boot to return to neutral after flexing it. The difference is visible.

Maybe you can get a pair of used XT's and use the cuffs. Remember, the cuff has to be one size smaller than the shell to work perfectly.

Pics here

If you have any questions feel free to ask or send a PM.

The cuff hold my skinny lower leg extremely well and the footbones can articulate in the shell. With the lower leg hold, the heel is cemented into the heel pocket. I have enough room at the ankle bones to flex freely. The rear half of the foot is very tight fitting while the forefoot is comfortable (the big toe has room to articulate).

Regarding the stance, i am more upright in the boot now.

Oh, i almost forgot. I threw away the stock liner and am using the Diablo Race R leather lace up liner (the copy of the Nordica leather lace up liner). Simply the best liner i ever had. From now on the Nordica liner is the only one i am going to get. Much better than the Lange RL11 liner or Atomic RT liner. I can't even close the cuff if the stock liner is in the boot : .

Jamie
Thanks Jamie

A very technical answer and a bit too technical for my entry level racing ability but from your answer I am of the impression that I leave the boot
flex stiff and try and get the stance more upright which I have done by
removing the spoiler. Even with the spoiler removed the increased forward lean over my old Dacshstien boots is quite noticeable which I have found to be of benefit when skiing
my 177 to 205cm skis but have found with my shorter skis 155cm SL and
169cm Twin Tips the greater forward lean was too overpowering for the
length of the ski if I am making any sense here.

No doubt I will understand your answer better if I become a better racer
post #5 of 21
Usually racers like a more upright stance. I think that was one of the things mentioned above.
Several years ago, when flex gates came in, most people straightened and stiffened their boots. That is my preference these days, especially for SL. The straighter, stiffer cuff lets me pressure the tips faster with less body motion.
Harald Harb and some other bootfitters advise adding some clearance at the ankle and the little toe to allow for articulation of the foot in the boot. I've done this to my Dobermans and really like it.
The most important thing though is proper canting. Most racers grind the cant into the sole of the boot. That way you can try any ski and be properly aligned. Only the good bootfitters will do this for you. Don't believe someone who trys to tell you "you don't need it" or "it doesn't make any difference". Of course footbeds are part of the canting process too.
post #6 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by SLATZ
Usually racers like a more upright stance. I think that was one of the things mentioned above.
Several years ago, when flex gates came in, most people straightened and stiffened their boots. That is my preference these days, especially for SL. The straighter, stiffer cuff lets me pressure the tips faster with less body motion.
Harald Harb and some other bootfitters advise adding some clearance at the ankle and the little toe to allow for articulation of the foot in the boot. I've done this to my Dobermans and really like it.
The most important thing though is proper canting. Most racers grind the cant into the sole of the boot. That way you can try any ski and be properly aligned. Only the good bootfitters will do this for you. Don't believe someone who trys to tell you "you don't need it" or "it doesn't make any difference". Of course footbeds are part of the canting process too.
post #7 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cassina
Thanks Jamie

A very technical answer and a bit too technical for my entry level racing ability but from your answer I am of the impression that I leave the boot
flex stiff and try and get the stance more upright which I have done by
removing the spoiler. Even with the spoiler removed the increased forward lean over my old Dacshstien boots is quite noticeable which I have found to be of benefit when skiing
my 177 to 205cm skis but have found with my shorter skis 155cm SL and
169cm Twin Tips the greater forward lean was too overpowering for the
length of the ski if I am making any sense here.

No doubt I will understand your answer better if I become a better racer

If you set the flex adjuster to "lock" and put the flex cuts in their place, the boot should have the stiffest flex.

Yes, removing the rear spoiler does make the stance more upright. The problem with the Icon Alu is the boot board ramp angle. It's too high IMO. The XT has a slightly flatter ramp which does make a difference. So the boot board ramp angle may be the problem here. It does not work well for me. Luckly, it can be modified.

IMO it would be a good idea to look at the boot board ramp too.

I don't understand what you're saying about the SL skis.


Tell me what you did not understand. I will try to explain.

Jamie
post #8 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by sywsyw
This is why i suggest replacing the stock cuff with the XT-17's race cuff. It is the best thing you can do.
Doesn't the Icon Alu Comp model already have the carbon reinforced cuff shared with the XT?
post #9 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by NE1
Doesn't the Icon Alu Comp model already have the carbon reinforced cuff shared with the XT?
No. The Icon Alu Comp has an aluminium reinforced cuff. The Icon Carbon had the carbon reinforced cuff.
post #10 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by SLATZ
Harald Harb and some other bootfitters advise adding some clearance at the ankle and the little toe to allow for articulation of the foot in the boot. I've done this to my Dobermans and really like it.

That's why i gave up skiing the Icon XT. While the boot fit very well out of the box, it has no ankle pockets. I also bought it one size smaller than the Alu Comp looking for a true race fit. Unfortunately, i don't have access to a good bootfitter who can punch the shell at the ankle bones and grind or punch the heel pocket. I could feel the XT blocking my articulation. This affected my fore aft balance and the ability to start the turn.

The Icon Alu Comp has a good medium volume fit (narrow-ish heel, medium ankle area, medium instep, medium volume mid and fore foot, slightly longer accomodating toe box ) and while it is not as tight as the XT (narrow heel, narrow ankle area, very low instep, narrow-ish mid foot, relatively narrow fore foot, narrower nad lower volume toe box) it definitely has more room at the ankle bones and i can articulate. The ankle and foot articulation provide the ability to make refined tuning movements.

Jamie
post #11 of 21
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by sywsyw
If you set the flex adjuster to "lock" and put the flex cuts in their place, the boot should have the stiffest flex.

Yes, removing the rear spoiler does make the stance more upright. The problem with the Icon Alu is the boot board ramp angle. It's too high IMO. The XT has a slightly flatter ramp which does make a difference. So the boot board ramp angle may be the problem here. It does not work well for me. Luckly, it can be modified.

IMO it would be a good idea to look at the boot board ramp too.

I don't understand what you're saying about the SL skis.


Tell me what you did not understand. I will try to explain.

Jamie
thanks for the reply Jamie

What I was meaning with my shorter 155cm Slalom Skis and 169 cm Twin Tips was that due to the increased forward lean the ICONs (with their greater cuff height) had over my old Dachstien Pro99 boots, when I fell I always fell head first over the front of the skis. In the case of my 177 to 205 cm skis I found the greater forward lean of my ICONs an advantage in that I noticed an easier ability to initiate a carved turn.
I will set the boot settings to stiff but while I understand what you are saying regarding screwing the liner to the shell to improve upon the stock
stiffness I am not at a level in racing ability to warrant that sort of modification and besides I have found that in all terrain skiing I was being
thrown off center on occasion with the boot being set to its stiff setting.
I will be looking to get quicker response from my ICON's when I race this
weekend than I got from racing in my old Dachstiens which I only took up
last weekend because I found them a warmer boot. Perhaps it will be coldness they may inhibit my racing ability this weekend? Like Helisking I feel that if I do not give racing a go it may become a regret later in life
even if I am unable to match my all terrain skiing ability on the race course.
post #12 of 21
It seems to me that you really like more FL. If that is the case i think the Icon would be a good choice. IMO the FL has to match the skier.


No, i bolted the cuff to the shell. I think this is what you were refering to when you wrote "liner". The benefits of the bolted cuff are:
  • a progressive flex
  • a much more responsive boot
  • better rear support
  • the cuff returns to neutral
  • springy flex
The best is the two bolt design. But one bolt is good enough. The second bolt usually makes the boot stiffer. Most plug and semi-plug boots have a two bolt design. Some have only one bolt for a softer flex with the same benefits.

I bolted the cuff to have all the benefits i mentioned above and to stiffen flex. If you fix the XT's cuff to the Icon Alu Comp shell the flex is VERY SOFT and the cuff can't return to an upright position. If i tighten the upper buckles on the first notch the stiffness is very similar to the Icon's "Flex" setting (without the flex cuts). Maybe a little softer. But it feels different because the flex is different. If i tighten the upper buckles on the 4th notch, the stiffness is very similar to the Icon's "Lock" setting (without the flex cuts). Maybe a tad stiffer. Again, the feel is different because the flex is different.

Yes the Icons will probably ski much better than you old boots. I would not worry about cold feet. The Icon's stock liner is relatively thick so the boot is quite warm (unless you suffer from cold feet).
post #13 of 21
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by sywsyw
It seems to me that you really like more FL. If that is the case i think the Icon would be a good choice. IMO the FL has to match the skier.


No, i bolted the cuff to the shell. I think this is what you were refering to when you wrote "liner". The benefits of the bolted cuff are:
  • a progressive flex
  • a much more responsive boot
  • better rear support
  • the cuff returns to neutral
  • springy flex
The best is the two bolt design. But one bolt is good enough. The second bolt usually makes the boot stiffer. Most plug and semi-plug boots have a two bolt design. Some have only one bolt for a softer flex with the same benefits.

I bolted the cuff to have all the benefits i mentioned above and to stiffen flex. If you fix the XT's cuff to the Icon Alu Comp shell the flex is VERY SOFT and the cuff can't return to an upright position. If i tighten the upper buckles on the first notch the stiffness is very similar to the Icon's "Flex" setting (without the flex cuts). Maybe a little softer. But it feels different because the flex is different. If i tighten the upper buckles on the 4th notch, the stiffness is very similar to the Icon's "Lock" setting (without the flex cuts). Maybe a tad stiffer. Again, the feel is different because the flex is different.

Yes the Icons will probably ski much better than you old boots. I would not worry about cold feet. The Icon's stock liner is relatively thick so the boot is quite warm (unless you suffer from cold feet).
It was unfortunite that I bought my 155cm SL and 169cm skis before I bought my ICONS as I probably would have gone 165 in SL and 179 for
the others (P Enemy) The differance that I have noticed between my old
Dachstiens and Icons has been in the area of edge to edge quickness at the expense as I said warmth and to a degree comfort, but I am yet to fit
a custom molded footbed. May look at battery bootwarmers.
I will post feedback if I am able to race this weekend. I live in New Zealand and the shop in the city I live did not stock the XT for comparison. At the time I got my icons all I was looking for was a replacement for my aging Daschtiens and while I was able to assess them
accuratly for fit and flex I overlooked the forward lean differance which has proved both a plus and a minus in relation to ski length.

Thanks again for your reply
post #14 of 21
Did you ski the Icons in the race course?

I wanted to suggest a thin liner for racing, but it seems to me that you want a very warm boot. But i will try to convince you that a thin race liner might be better (at least in the race course).

I want to tell you that a race liner can change the fit. For example, with my thin race liner i have a racer type fit in the heel/ankle/lower leg/instep and mid foot and a VERY RELAXED fit in the toe box. I should say that i have a size US 10 D foot and ski an Icon size US 8 (26 mondo) with 1.6cm behind the heel.

The kind of fit i mentioned is not available with the stock liner. Why? Because it is relatively thick (i've seen thicker liners) and i could not feel a difference between the fit in the ankle/heel and the toe box. It felt the same in all the areas. It was a slipper-like fit. With the race liner i could feel the ankle/heel/lower leg/instep area much better. From the first met-head back it is tight fitting. On the other hand, the fit in the toe box is very different. It is more relaxed than even with the stock liner because the race liner is thinner. Still, it is held properly but much more comfortable. The toes will be warm and sit flat to help the skier balance better instead of being hobbled. The Icon's toe box is a little longer and this will help too.

If you get a race liner, you will "feel" these areas better. My Icon flexed better with the race liner. The fit in the instep and lower leg changed. A race liner will fit different than the stock liner in the instep and lower leg because it is not bulky. The cuff will hold your foot better. The instep profile has everything to do with the flex quality and a liner that is not bulky in this area will improve the flex quality.

There are different race liners available. I have experience with the Nordica Dobermann lace-up liner found on the DObermann WC 150 and 160 and 100 models, Tecnica Diablo Race R lace-up (the Nordica copy) found on the Diablo Race R H17 (and i believe H13) models, Lange ZR liner found on the Lange WC 150 and XT's liner.

The Dobermann/Diablo liner is the thinnest and will probably be the coldest.
The Lange liner is better padded in the ankle/heel and the upper part of the liner.
The XT liner is better padded in the mid and forefoot and its upper part is similar to the Lange.

All these liners have a neoprene toe box except the XT's liner. All have padding that will hold your foot better than any other production liner (except the XT which is good but its padding is not at the same level as the others but the difference is not a lot).

Hope you will consider a race liner. This is probably one of the best things you can do if you want to set up your boot for racing.


Jamie
post #15 of 21
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the reply Jamie

Yes I did ski the Icons in the race course and on my 155 Slalom skis
and I found no problem with the increased forward lean that I said in
an earlier post but I was skiing on rough terrain when I was skiing on my
Slalom skis and having forward falls.

I did notice better turning power with my Icon boots in the race course
but unfortunatly only went from last place to 2nd last so I hope to have
some entry level race instruction in order to get my technique refined this
week. Regarding boot warmth I have analysed that issue again and feel it
is a cut off of circulation affecting my little toe area which I will look at getting a customised formthotic sole made in combination with leaving my
toe clip looser . My big toe area is fine.
As for racing liners I am not sure they are sold on their own where I live
but at my level, technique refinement is the major thing for me to work on
in combination with getting the balance between boot warmth/fit right.

I will be definitly staying with the Icons for any races I go in from now on
but I already consider myself to be skiing at level I am happy with and if
I am unable to refine my technique with race coaching I wont be disappointed.
post #16 of 21
I agree with you that technique refinement is the most important thing.
If you become a better racer you may want to look at a full race boot for the days when you're racing.

Good luck,
Jamie
post #17 of 21
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by sywsyw
I agree with you that technique refinement is the most important thing.
If you become a better racer you may want to look at a full race boot for the days when you're racing.

Good luck,
Jamie
Thanks again for the reply Jamie

You will be interested to know that since my last post I have had some dedicated racing tips given to me by an instructor/coach who observed me in the race course,and his advise was to keep my arms forward at all
times, not wave my poles around and stand forward over my skis.
After practising what he said off course in the morning before my first ever desent of a Super G Course I found his advise was of definite benefit.
It was also noted that I was standing too upright in my boots prior to the start.Soin future as I may have said in a previous thread reinserting the
plastic spoilers will no doubt fix that.
I did fall on the first of 3 practise Super G runs and got a comment from the guy who picked my skis up that I looked good prior to fallling so I was
left with the impresssion that my binding had pre released possibly due to the fact that I had over looked the fact that Super G binding settings are
normally higher than recreational. I was advised that if I was now on 8 to go to 10 for any future Super G course.

Getting back to the boots I am definitly going to have look at some type of boot warmer as my feet were freezing in comparison to my old now loose fitting Dachstiens. I have been told that full race boots are even colder and I have noticed that the current Technica Diablo Race Pro boots
are not sold over a 9.5 size from looking at the Technica Website. I even
ended up using a non race ski in the Super G course due to the chopped up condition and used a pair of Volkl AC4 which were plenty stable and I think if I had used my racing skis with the bindings set at 8 I would have had more than1 fall

Cheers

Peter
post #18 of 21
Regarding the boot issue, i suspect you suffer from cold feet. The Icon is not a cold boot. The liner is relatively thick so it's a pretty warm boot.

I guess i'll have to give up the idea of a racing liner as an upgrade for your boot. I am obsessed with boots and the racing cuff and liner upgrade are probably the best for your boot. But i don't think they would work very well for you. A thin liner would be colder than the stock liner. The performance increase would be significant but your feet would be cold.

I have an idea. Why don't you post a video of your skiing in the Technique forum? I am sure some coaches and instructor can help you.

Jamie
post #19 of 21
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by sywsyw
Regarding the boot issue, i suspect you suffer from cold feet. The Icon is not a cold boot. The liner is relatively thick so it's a pretty warm boot.

I guess i'll have to give up the idea of a racing liner as an upgrade for your boot. I am obsessed with boots and the racing cuff and liner upgrade are probably the best for your boot. But i don't think they would work very well for you. A thin liner would be colder than the stock liner. The performance increase would be significant but your feet would be cold.

I have an idea. Why don't you post a video of your skiing in the Technique forum? I am sure some coaches and instructor can help you.

Jamie
From what you are saying I am guessing that the performance difference
between the ICON and the XT Race boot would be as noticable as the differance between my old Dashstiens and my ICONs. There may be an issue with circulation cutoff but I dont want to get the shells heat blown
as the boots my become too loose once the liners have packed out. I have only had about 8 days in them.

Do you know anything about battery boot warmers eg Thermic brand?

I dont have any videos of my skiing but the advise from the coach/instructor was of definite benefit which involved me consistantly
keeping my arms forward at all times on the race course. This is something
I have always done to some degree in normal skiing but only on groomed terrain so a bit of practise involved in order to apply to changes in terrain.
From my experience race courses should not be treated as groomed terrain.

Peter
post #20 of 21
You are the only one who knows how the Icon compares to your old boots but the performance difference between the XT and Icon Alu is noticeable.
It is narrower in the ankle/heel area with lower instep and a narrower forefoot. It has a much better cuff and a thinner liner. It flexes much better than the Icon. This translates to a more responsive boot. The drawback is that it will be colder and more unforgiving.

The XT's lateral quickness is much better than what the Icon has to offer. Both are shaft-steering focused. This means that the primary input comes from the cuff, not the lower shell. This is where the XT really shines. Its race cuff holds the lower leg much better than the Icon's stock cuff, flexes extremely well and the race liner is thinner. The narrower XT shell may help a little but when both boots are shaft-steering focused, the difference is in the cuff and liner. This is why i modified my Icon. I was looking for the Icon's medium volume lower shell for articulation, comfort and warmth and the XT's cuff and liner for performance. For me it's a great combination of comfort and performance. The best of both worlds.

I don't know anything about thermic.
If you have a circulation cutoff issue i suggest you solve it. I am not a bootfitter but i can tell you that a low instep or a narrow forefoot can lead to circulation cutoff. If the instep is too low for you the bootfitter can grind the bootboard. It's not a big deal.
The forefoot should sit flat. This is important. The toebox should have enough room for your toes. Actually, Tecnica made the toe box longer and open to allow metatarsal expansion when weighted. This way the skier will be balanced and have a more athletic stance and the toe box will be comfortable and warm.

Jamie
post #21 of 21
Thread Starter 
Thanks Jamie

While I would not doubt your opinion on the XT I feel certain that the more narrow forefoot of the XT would not be worthwhile in the interest
of circulation cut off or coldness. My big toe area is fine but as my left
foot is wider than my right the little toe area feels the coldest on my left
foot. I may look at getting the base ground in the area of my little toe but
may try first to cut a small notch out of the little toe part of my inner sole. My feet are not sore when I remove the boots so I do not percieve
any issue regarding my boots being too small. As for a thermic boot warmer I may do an experiment with nichrome wire rapped around
my innersoles and hooked up to a 6-12v DC Powersupply to get an idea of whether a thermic bootwarmer would be a worthwhile investment.
I do know from my old Dachstiens that there is a very fine line between
cranking the boots for the best performance fit and over cranking creating
circulation cutoff

Peter
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