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AC4 piston binding question

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
I have been skiing on my AC4's for the past 2 months. I just noticed that my ski did not have the piston part attached to the binding (the long metal strip). I took them back and the guy told me that usually they don't add them on, because they don't believe they do anything.

I like how the AC4's ski now. Should I add on the piston?

post #2 of 8
There was a thread on the PCOS system somewhere. I have the piston on my AC4's. I have several friends with AC4's and none of them have it. I've tried both, with and without. The differences are subtle and only at high speeds when you're really edging hard. They eliminate some of the chatter. The difference is not huge. If you like the ski the way it is, don't bother with it, it doesn't make that much difference.
post #3 of 8
The troublesome part of this is that, assuming you bought these skis at retail from an authorized seller, the ski (in the U.S. market channel) comes with the PCOS, and it should be installed. Many Volkls in Canada are sold with the PCOS optional, and they are priced lower. It makes me suspect that the person you bought from is selling skis intended for the Canadian market and is pocketing the extra cash.

Other than that, the behavior of the PCOS is exactly as described above by ferniefreeheels. (is it ironic that a guy with "free-heels" in his name is an expert on alpine fixed-heel binders?)
post #4 of 8
First of all I don't claim I am an expert in anything. I telemark and I alpine ski. Alpine was my first sport. I started that in about 1971. I got into telemark about 10 years ago when the tele gear started getting good and the alpine touring gear was only so, so. I go back and forth between the two. Between the two sports I put in 50-75 days in a season, resort and back country combined.

All I offered was my humble opinion... had I realized that an "expert opinion" was required, I guess I'd of kept my piehole shut.

...and no I did not buy these skis from a traditional retail shop. The guy I buy my skis from will sell them to you with or without the PCOS. If you want the PCOS it costs you $65 extra. I splurged and bought it and also bought the higher end marker binding which is also an option. The Guide's Hut here in town (retail shop) also sells the AC4's the same way, with or without the PCOS and with higher end bindings if you want em...all you gotta do is dig a little deeper.
post #5 of 8
I bought my AC4's and found when I got home that they didn't have the piston. The store told me that many believe it doesn't do anything. That's a horshit answer. The ski comes with the piston, and on resale a buyer may wonder where the piston is. Please sell me the ski as advertized. The piston does no harm and leaving it off should be up to the customer, not the store.

There are plenty out there who will make my decisions for me - I don't need yet another one.

. . . and on that subject, WHY must I be offered only bindings with enough ramp angle to make them fee like high-heeled shoes?! Sell me the bindings FLAT. If I want to vary ramp angle from flat, I'll arrange for it myself, thank you. As it is, I have to prop up the toe to get - not NO ramp, just LESS ramp. For anyone who questions my concern, try this: On your current skis and bindings, whatever they may be, try skiing with a shim of about 1/8" under the toes of your boots. Focus on what it feels like. Then take the shims out and try skiing with them under the HEELS of your boots - and you won't need to "focus" to find out that excessive ramp angle SUCKS. Thsi was one of the on-snow excercises we did at ESA Aspen under the guidance of boot fitters Bud Heisman and Eric Ward (Eric is inventer of the patented "Shim Balance System" and a primo boot fitter). What an epiphany! Thanks, guys!
post #6 of 8

Piston, AC4's, Volkl

I purchased 2007 AC4's with the Piston installed and they are as stable and carve on ice. I demo ed last years AC4's without the piston and my new skis feel a lot better and more stable at high speed.

I had a Volkl rep. at Alta tell me that the ski will float better in powder without the piston. Have you skied much powder on your's? How do they handel?

Old ski bum with big smile.
post #7 of 8
Thread Starter 
They were ok in the powder and crud (> 8 inches), but I thought that they had a tendency to get tossed around a bit and seemed to want to dive rather than float. Still love them though.
post #8 of 8
Currently using the Marker 1300 with "on-off" switch on a powder ski. IMO, the piston does make a small but noticable difference on hardpack. Skis just feel a bit calmer. Can't feel much diff in pow, but usually turn it off on principle. This is the center mounted piston with no extension toward the tip.

If you've ever watched the tips of the turbo versions, such as on the AC4, at speed on ice, you can see the piston at work. Whether that makes much difference at ski center is tough to say; Stockli's are very smooth and calm with soft tips that vibrate like crazy.
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