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Katana Details

post #1 of 28
Thread Starter 
So far this is one of the most handled (fondled) skis on the rack. The flex is not as stiff as one might think. I can't find a ski on the rack with a flex that feels the same. I would say that the Katana is softer than the Mantra in the same size and a little stiffer than the Nordie Enforcer. The 190 Katana feels slightly softer than the 183 but that could just be flexing the longer ski will naturally feel softer. They could well be the same if there was a better way of measuring.

Here are some pics of the new Katana.

Tip profile showing tip splay.



Camber free zone here.



Excellent craftsmanship with the perforated metal behind the clear sidewalls and the Volkl logo which is actually the keyslot for the edges. Very strong construction here.



The Powder Channel. This is sort of a mini swallowtail that is filled in with a urethane piece.




Very cool ski with lots going on.

SJ
post #2 of 28
That is an impressive view of that ski. Thanks!
post #3 of 28
Love the made in China sticker.
post #4 of 28
For the life of me, I can't figure out the reason for the Powder Channel. Why not just have no swallowtail or a real swallowtail?

Katana's are made in China? I thought all the high-end stuff was still made by Krauts. That sucks.
post #5 of 28
Interesting. When I flexed them they struck me (subjectively) as pretty burly. That would be consistent with reports that they ski pretty big.

They are a ski that has me a bit confused. Being flat rather than "funshaped" they seem unlikely to have the easy powder handling as well as pivot and lack-of-edge-catch benefits of reverse cambered/rockered skis. Yet without any real camber, they seem like they'd miss the benefits that camber can deliver. OTOH, a number of folks have commented about how well they rail if you take control and get them on edge.

Here's the first review thread I know of: http://forums.epicski.com/showthread.php?t=51460

It'll be interesting to see what people think as the season progresses.

I guess I really do not care where they are made.
post #6 of 28
What's with the pre-scratched looking topsheet? Is that anything like the pre-ripped jeans?

I prefer to add my own after a good season.
post #7 of 28
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by krp8128 View Post
What's with the pre-scratched looking topsheet? Is that anything like the pre-ripped jeans?

I prefer to add my own after a good season.
You pay extra for that....just like with the Jeans.

On the flex thing, I guess it's all perception. I like a fat ski to be in the medium range so it's fairly burly by my perception. The Katana is firmer in flex than most of the wider skis on my rack. OTH for somebody that thinks Mantras, LPs and stuff like that are wimpy, this may not be what they were hoping it would be.

SJ
post #8 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by spindrift View Post
They are a ski that has me a bit confused. Being flat rather than "funshaped" they seem unlikely to have the easy powder handling as well as pivot and lack-of-edge-catch benefits of reverse cambered/rockered skis.
Not every powder skier digs the whole "pivot" thing. Me for example. A flat camber turns into a reverse camber the second you ski into deep snow. Once you get back on the sucky groomers, you have a ski that probably isn't as good as something with some camber but is way better than something with reverse camber. I really, really dig flat camber skis. Hopefully there's a lot more of them to choose from in the future.
post #9 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jer View Post
For the life of me, I can't figure out the reason for the Powder Channel. Why not just have no swallowtail or a real swallowtail?
First time I've seen such a close-up, I'm thinking the same. Looks more like a design element than something that actually makes a difference.
post #10 of 28
if the powder channel is soft, couldn't one just x-acto it out and make an actual swallowtail? you know, self-customize the sucker?

SJ: out of curiosity, which of the Volkl freeride skis are made in China and which are still being made in Germany (i think two seasons ago the Mantra and Karma were made in Germany and the Goat, Sumo, and Dogen were made in China...i think)
post #11 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by dookey67 View Post
if the powder channel is soft, couldn't one just x-acto it out and make an actual swallowtail? you know, self-customize the sucker?
Actually, you can do that with any ski if you have a bandsaw. The Katana's tail is pretty kicked-up tho, I don't know that a swallow would really make any difference. The Sanouk had a much bigger swallowtail and wasn't anywhere near as "twinned" - just a really slight kick.
post #12 of 28
Thread Starter 
The Mantra is still made in Germany. Goat and Katana are China. On the bridge I can't tell.....no China sticker, but no "Made in Germany" on the topsheet either. Given the construction of the Bridge, it makes sense that it's China, but I don't know.

SJ
post #13 of 28
Bridge is German.
post #14 of 28
The Katana's swallowtail design will allow you to ski switch if you have to...thats my guess! Benefits of a semi twin tip with a bit of a powder channel.
post #15 of 28
Those are really easy on the eye, thanks for the pics SJ
post #16 of 28
The tip looks pretty low-profile, like oldschool downhill racing skis. For a powder ski I would have thought more tip would help the ski engage in the turn.
post #17 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jer View Post
Katana's are made in China? I thought all the high-end stuff was still made by Krauts. That sucks.
I love how everyone building skis in China puts a little sticker with crappy adhesive on the tail where its guaranteed to fall off, while even the folks building stuff in eastern Europe are proud enough of what they do to silkscreen it on the topsheet.

:
post #18 of 28
Hey thanks for putting these up Jim.

As for the tip being low profile, I think it is and it isn't. Its hard to tell for sure from the pics, but it looks to not rise up all that much (probably what you're referring to) but I think it starts rising maybe a couple cm earlier than a normal tip, its just a slightly longer, more gradual rise.

This is the way the AK rocket tips are, and I think its $$$$$.

Of course, it could just be my imagination, since thats what I wanted these to have. I was actually expecting/hoping for a bit more.

I'm not completely sure about the idea of a zero camber ski, but I'd sure love to try these sometime. Might end up buying a pair once my EHPs get a bit more beat up.
post #19 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Garrett View Post
I love how everyone building skis in China puts a little sticker with crappy adhesive on the tail where its guaranteed to fall off, while even the folks building stuff in eastern Europe are proud enough of what they do to silkscreen it on the topsheet.

:
How's the popcorn?

Once upon a time people laughed at japanese made electronics. The were considered inferior, cheap and tacky. I remember those days pretty clearly. The anti-China thing is no more productive. Fancy monograms or cheap labels -- get used to seeing lots of that same message on items of both low and high quality. And if there's a quality difference between higher end ski models built in China vs those build elsewhere, I'd love to see someone point it out (factually).

But back to the topic at hand - I'll be interested to see what people think about these vs conventionally cambered but somewhat softer skis this season. Personally, I'll be spending most of my time on skis shaped like play kayak hulls.
post #20 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by spindrift View Post
They are a ski that has me a bit confused. Being flat rather than "funshaped" they seem unlikely to have the easy powder handling as well as pivot and lack-of-edge-catch benefits of reverse cambered/rockered skis. Yet without any real camber, they seem like they'd miss the benefits that camber can deliver. OTOH, a number of folks have commented about how well they rail if you take control and get them on edge.
Camber is a detriment in powder and crud. Before designing the Spatula, McConkey did some testing with a panel of some friends with several powderskis including both unskied Chubbs, and old "worn out" decambered Chubbs, and the old ones rode the best. This was where the idea of reverse camber was developed. The FB, which McConkey also designed, is a flat cambered ski.
post #21 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by spindrift View Post
How's the popcorn?
And if there's a quality difference between higher end ski models built in China vs those build elsewhere, I'd love to see someone point it out (factually).
I'd be the last to say there is. My point is they should print that country of origin on there like everyone else. Same quality? Put up or shut up.
post #22 of 28
Thread Starter 
The tip profile and splay (two different things) are fairly similar to many other fatter skis on the wall. I don't see this as being low profile at all, I'd say it's about average. I do think the splay runs farther back than some, but not by a lot.

There are a few "spear" tips like the Squad/Quad and the Coomba. They seem to work too, and they certainly have a longer splay than the shorter tips like the Mantra or the Katana, LP, P-100, Gun, Goat, etc.

SJ
post #23 of 28
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Garrett View Post
I'd be the last to say there is. My point is they should print that country of origin on there like everyone else. Same quality? Put up or shut up.
The quality on this Katana is superb while some Gotamas have been a little rough. Realistically, we all care about how they ski and there is certainly no question about these. I don't see any reason not to screen it on the topsheet though. No need to minimize it. Nobody really cares.

SJ
post #24 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by volantaddict View Post
Camber is a detriment in powder and crud. Before designing the Spatula, McConkey did some testing with a panel of some friends with several powderskis including both unskied Chubbs, and old "worn out" decambered Chubbs, and the old ones rode the best. This was where the idea of reverse camber was developed. The FB, which McConkey also designed, is a flat cambered ski.
Ah, yes here it is, from McConkey's "Mental Floss" (the guide to skiing Spatulas):


Then in 1998 the Volant design engineers came out to Squaw Valley. The plan was to test out some new shaped fat skis that they wanted to make with a bunch of my friends and knowledgeable skiers. These new skis were basically a Volant Chubb with more side cut. We tested them against many skis including our old, used for a year Chubbs. Yes, they were more versatile and could be used to carve easier turns on the groomed but in the powder they still were more work than skis with minimal side cut. Then Scott Gaffney, who was one of the testers, decided to open his mouth and suggest a concept which is probably the most important yet now seeming so obvious discoveries in powder ski technology. He said, “I think my old, dead, decambered Chubbs float better in the snow than those ones with new ski life and camber.” And then the light bulb flashed on. I dug up my old beer napkin and began pondering the concept. I thought about hard snow and soft snow and began copmparing the similarities of powder to water. I realized that the effects of riding on powder snow would be very similar to riding on water. Water skis have reverse side cut. So do surf boards. and they both have decamber or rocker.
post #25 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by SierraJim View Post
I don't see any reason not to screen it on the topsheet though. No need to minimize it. Nobody really cares.

SJ
Yup, that is how I see it.
post #26 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by scb67 View Post
The Katana's swallowtail design will allow you to ski switch if you have to...thats my guess! Benefits of a semi twin tip with a bit of a powder channel.
From everything I've seen (and I saw these in person last spring) the powderchannel is nothing more than a semi-twin that looks like a swallowtail from a distance. It's like they cut an itty-bitty swallow into a twin tip, discovered that it really didn't do anything, then covered it back up with urathane.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kiwiski View Post
The tip looks pretty low-profile, like oldschool downhill racing skis. For a powder ski I would have thought more tip would help the ski engage in the turn.
IMO - for powder skis, more tip is beneficial. More being defined as longer (starting farther back), not a tip that points up to the sky. If you think the tips on the Katana are low-profile you should see the tips on a DP Lotus.

Quote:
Originally Posted by spindrift View Post
Once upon a time people laughed at japanese made electronics. The were considered inferior, cheap and tacky. I remember those days pretty clearly. The anti-China thing is no more productive. Fancy monograms or cheap labels -- get used to seeing lots of that same message on items of both low and high quality. And if there's a quality difference between higher end ski models built in China vs those build elsewhere, I'd love to see someone point it out (factually).
They can't get dog food and toys right, what makes you think they're gonna get skis right?

The thing I really don't understand about the whole made in China thing is - the only reason to outscource to China is to cut production costs, right? Then why does a pair of Chinese Katanas retail for the same as a pair of German Sanouks? Pass some of the savings from cheap labor onto the consumer.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SierraJim View Post
There are a few "spear" tips like the Squad/Quad and the Coomba. They seem to work too, and they certainly have a longer splay than the shorter tips like the Mantra or the Katana, LP, P-100, Gun, Goat, etc.

SJ
Spear tips rule in really deep snow. Noticably more precise
post #27 of 28
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Spear tips rule in really deep snow. Noticably more precise
Could be....I haven't had the chance in anything I'd call deep. I think that for sure they have some benefits in chop and crud. I skied the Coomba in some pretty mixed stuff last spring and the tip seems to punch or slice more than lift. For rough snow, I like that feel.

SJ
post #28 of 28
yea, my squads are awesome in crud if you have room to let them run. Part of that is the stiffness and everything else, but I can tell that part of how they slice through everything is because of how the tip is shaped. Seems to work well when they're flat, and really well when they're on edge.
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