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Piston vs No Piston: Volkl S5

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
Gang, let me start off by saying that I have been coming to these Forums for some time and I am impressed by both the knowledge but especially by the warm and helpful attitude of the posters here. I have occasion to use a pretty prominent forum re another sport, but the welcome here is considerably better, and I appreciate it. It sounds corny, but there's a family atmosphere here.

Here's my dilemma: I am in Upstate NY and have been made aware of a very good deal on some Volkl S5's... the catch is that while they have the Marker IPT bindings, they are without the Piston Motion device/interface attached to the toepiece. I have received conflicting advice on the the Piston - one camp says that it is in essence a gimmick that can be overpowered, especially by a bigger skier (I am 6' 1" 210) while the other feedback I've gotten says that the Piston Motion binding is in essence what makes the S5 and its predecessor the Five Star* such a great ski. Indeed, that latter camp, a very happy 5* owner, insists that its the binding that makes the ski, more so than the ski's inherent design and sidecut.

I'd love to be able to demo but the opportunities to do so here are few and far between, and have been further narrowed by the delayed onset of viable snow here. I guess my questions are (1) is the lack of the Piston a
dealbreaker; and (2) can the device be purchased or retrofitted later at a reasonable price (the toepiece has what appears to be a removable plastic "plug" at its very tip where I've seen the PM device connect.

Thanks to all of you and I welcome any opinions you may have. For what its worth, this ski would be my entry into the world of shaped skis after relying on straight skis for entirely too long. I'm not sure of my level but would peg it at about a 6 - I do well on blacks no matter how steep or firm the snow, but falter in bumps or other irregular conditions. I'm really looking forward to new skis as my "ticket" to upping my level, and I fully realize I'm going to have to devote time and effort learning how to make them work the right way. The other skis I've had my eyes on are the Speedmachine Mach 3's (carbon, not titanium) and everybody's sweetheart, the RX-8.
post #2 of 6
The question on pistons has been asked quite a bit lately. The piston acts to dampen short occilations in the ski that you feel as chatter at high speed and on harder conditions. Its a subtle difference and its importance really varies with how and where you ski. The piston can be purchased and installed later. I bought one for about $35 for a pair of Six-Stars and installed it after having the ski for a year. So, figure the piston has a retail value of around $55 to $60 and be sure the price you pay is adjusted accordingly. If you choose to add it later, its no big deal to do so. The piston hooks into a slot on the underside of the toepiece, and is mounted by one stationary screw and a sliding T screw in front of the toe. I have the template.
post #3 of 6
Thread Starter 
Thanks, Cirque. I guess I'll push the skis as hard as I can and see if I generate the chatter; if so I'll track down the piston and that "tang" that extends forward of the toe. Might have to get the shop guys to do the actual drilling...
post #4 of 6

Volkl unlimited AC4's with piston

My 170 Volkl ac4's are unbelievable stable at high speed. I have skied them for 20 days this year and love them. The piston, I am told, is the main reason for the stablity with out any chatter. If I concentrate on keeping them apart ( after 40 years of locking my knees together ) I only have to push my knees forward and roll the edges to carve.

I have been told that the pistons can be disconnected to provide greater float in powder but have not found anyone who has tried it. Let me know if you have any info on disconnecting the pistons.

Have fun.
post #5 of 6
I own a pair of 2006 5* (168) with pistons. At high speeds I have felt their chatter which surprised me because I thought the pistons would have eliminated that. Although without the pistons the chattering would probably be worse. I demoed the Superspeeds (6*?) that had pistons for a day in Killington and was pretty pleased with them. They did not have as much chatter as the 5*. However, I demoed a set of 175 so that could have made the difference.

If you are heavy and tend to ski fast, then I would recommend (based on my little experience) to get the pistons.
post #6 of 6
I skied the original T50 motion 5*s for years without the (optional) pistons. I am about your size and weigh. I never had issues and I loved the ski.

I skied the new S5 (w/piston) in 168 at a demo day this year and didn't like it nearly as well. However there have been plenty of changes since the T50 that would account for that.

The piston will change the feel slightly but not much else. I would say the forward / aft mount position will be more important than the piston.
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