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Buyer's Guides on the rack

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 

I realize that all of us demo before we buy and that we all realize that there is a bit of BS in all ski tests, but the Ski and Powder Mag Buyer's Guides are out. Despite the bias in the tests, the pictures and advertisements are at least enjoyable.

One observation - Although some fatter skis are sprinkled throughout the Ski Mag tests, they still don't have a Fat ski test category. With the excitement of Fatties growing over the past few years, you would think that they might take notice!! Supposedly, they will have TT and Fat ski info on the web site. We shall see.

BTW, When does it start snowing, again? <FONT size="1">

[This message has been edited by Bandit Man (edited August 10, 2001).]</FONT>
post #2 of 13
Did you check Powder for fatties or just the twin publications?

Seems like with Powder as the title they should have a bunch of fat boards in their buyers guide.
post #3 of 13
Yup - Powder mag "reviewed" (maybe featured is a better word) 4 skis from each company, a fat, a mid-fat, a TT, and one other.

Nice snow pix, too.

Tom / PM
post #4 of 13
The Flexon comps aren't in there cause they're not new! As much as I try to like those ski magazines, they seem like soulless advertising vehicles to me. About those flexons; I had a friend suggest I get some "real boots" once; and nobody beleives me when I say that not only do they not hurt..they're comfy! Every year when the new boots come out to great reviews I'm tempted to try something new; but then reason prevails. Been down that painful road too many times. However, some new puke green Flexons might be nice... I had my almost three year old up at Park City today and when she saw the lifts she said "lets go skiing!" This season will be her second, and with a little more potty training, she'll get into Alta's ski school and me an mom will get off the bunny hill....
post #5 of 13
For all you Flexon fanatics: what kind of a feet to they fit best? My feet are slightly narrower than average and have a slightly lower instep. I have heard that they are for narrow feet, but how narrow?
post #6 of 13
Raichle's rule! The reason that they get such short shrift in the magazines is that they give lie to the "latest technological advances" in boots that the magazines spew each season to satisfy their corporate sponsers. Give me a break! The Flexon has essentially remained unchanged for more than 20 years so what does that say for all the "technological adavances" of the other boot makers?

It is an embarrassment to others in the industry that the design can continue to be so servicable for so long. The Raichle Flexon's hallmark has been its' relatively soft forward flex but stiff lateral chartacteristics. Guess what? With modern deep sidecut skis that is just where other boot manufacturers are now headed.

Raichle's are also dissed for their bail buckle system. I also have a pair of Head WC boots. They have conventional buckles but are a hassle to deal with. They often spin around and catch when you are trying to unbuckle them. Ever since Raichle replaced their metal buckle with hard plastic ones they have been hassle free to put on and take off.

This season some shops are supposed to be carrying a super stiff tongue as an accessory that is stiffer than the conventional race flex tongue. I am thinking of retrofitting an older pair of green and black Flexon Origional 9.9's with them to use for slalom and GS and retiring my Head WC's. For everyday skiing I ski in a more recent black and silver iteration of the Flexon Comp with a three inch custom power strap.

A "real boot"? Well, they have won a lot of World Cup downhill events where a softer forward flex is prefered by many downhill racers. Is that real enough?

If you want to see them this year's Powder Buyers Gude has a picture of the softer Blue Flexon-T. Just imagine that they are lime Green!

Did I mention that they are far and away one of the lightest boots on the market?

[This message has been edited by Lostboy (edited August 13, 2001).]</FONT><FONT size="1">

[This message has been edited by Lostboy (edited August 13, 2001).]</FONT>
post #7 of 13
Flexon's are very adapatable if you have a good bootfitter. And the Themoflex liner comes in high and low volume models.

I would describe Flexon's as follows: Out of the box they tend to be somewhat low over the instep. Slightly narrower than average at the heel but not as narrow as the -ouch!- Head WC's I own. The toe box is about average with the rest of the boot being somewhat narrower than average.

Of course I have only skied in Lange's a long time ago and sometimes in a pair of Head WC boots. The high end Lange's and Head boots are both considered to be on the narrow side.

Since the mid eighties when I started skiing Raichle Flexon Comp's my foot has become wider(it happens with time)so I've had subsequent shells stretched in the forefoot area. Because the Flexon tongue covers a long open slot it can be easily spread by a competant bootfitter to accomodate a higher instep. The top bail can be adjusted to fit both slim and well muscled calves.

I would give Raichle a try along with other boots and see what you think. I've owned three pairs and love them. BTW I still have the shells of each of them and they are still in good repair. Prior to the inception of the ThemoFlex liner's I replaced the boots when the liners were beyond salvaging. <FONT size="1">

[This message has been edited by Lostboy (edited August 13, 2001).]</FONT>
post #8 of 13
I'm new to this forum and somehow I always seem to refer to those Flexons; but they're a textbook classic of industrial design like a Volkeswagen beetle or a Rolex watch.,. They're ultra simple, every component superbly designed to fullfill it's function and nothing you don't need. That's why they're so light. They are ideal for narrow feet and skinny calves as the shell is so close fitting. The Thermoflex liner will feel uncomfortable in the shop, but once they're cooked and fitted, it's a total custom fit. You can't add material, like foam or silicon; but the shell is so low volume it shouldn't come up. One thing about them; I've been skiing about 15 years. I'm an ex New Yorker who traded his subway pass for an Alta pass. As soon as I got up to "aggressive intermediate" level people steered me into stiffer, more high performance gear. I and my ego bought right in. Enough Utah winters and I "grew" into the gear but it was painful and difficult. About five years ago I was at Deep Powder House in Alta talking boots and the guys looked at my feet and said I had the "golden footshape". I've skied the Flexons ever since and my sking improved dramatically that first winter due to simple comfort. I've gotten to where I ski pretty much everything at Alta and do it in style and comfort.{basically, the Flexons are softer forward but stiffer laterally and are more forgiving than many expert boots; just what I needed for all mountain freesking } A friend suggested I get some real boots, like his Technicas, but hell, The day I beat Glen Plake at anything besides cards, I'll consider it.. Now back to the topic.. Got Ski and Powder today and everything looks so pretty! Professionally speaking, I give the cosmetics an A+ on all the new skis except maybe the Crossmax {busy} The new Fishers look especially tasty. The Dynastar Intuitiv's look great.. the Stoklis are back and the photos don't do 'em justice.. Volkl looks like they're after some design awards.. So it lays to rest the rule that when you find a ski{surfboard, etc} whose performance you love, the graphics are ugly as sin...

Gee Phil.. I just read your posted thread.. I guess all this Raichle talk gets pretty redundant. For what it's worth, I tried the new Atomics on last year and I'll try other new boots again, but I'm addicted....<FONT size="1">

[This message has been edited by Rubob (edited August 13, 2001).]</FONT>
post #9 of 13
Returning to this topic - just finished the Buyer's Guide. I don't know if I'm just jaded by the constantly changing cosmetics or what, but I find this year's crop of new skis, boots, and bindings to be about as boring as can be. Normally, I start salivating like Pavlov's dog over all the new gear and what new stuff I can demo and try. This year....YAWN! With the exception of the Volkl - Marker set-up, I just don't see much to get excited about. Am I missing something here or do some new topsheets and name changes really count as innovations?
post #10 of 13
The binding that rotates on the ski (Head I think) is interesting--not that I would ever use it!
Not to needlessly prolong the Flexon chatter, but isn't that just a bumper's boot? And I'll tell you what, it sure is retro lookin'.
post #11 of 13
I don't know... Those new really fat fischer planks look pretty awesome! The hardwood design looks pretty cool, but the 130+mm front end is just plain sweet! I like the new xxx's also. The twin tip could result in some crazy new moves.
post #12 of 13

No. On the right feet they excel just about everywhere doing just about everything except running slalom gates. Heavier guys also tend to overpower them in GS courses.

The race version of the Flexon is still fairly soft in forward flex for a race boot. Other boots may be better at certain tasks but few are superior to the Flexon at performing as many so well and especially with today's shaped skis.

The Flexon also comes in a softer tongue version although I have never skied in them. This season Raichle will also have a limited edition super stiff tongue available at some of their retail outlets.

As for retro look its a matter of perspective. The Flexon concept is based on a patented design developed for NASA to allow astronauts working in space to articulate their limbs.

How much different do most other boots look compared to twenty years ago? I personally think the Flexon looks kind of cool while most other boots look like something Frankenstein would wear to the prom.

Other than the addition of mostly meaningless external bells and whistles and different color schemes(remember just a few season's ago just about every boot had a indispensable "flex whip" device on its' spine?)the only really significant change was the development of rear entry boots. And for better or worse they have long been gone from the retail scene.

With the single exception of booster straps which are now just about universal on ski boots, the only significant advances in ski boot design that I can think of have come in the last two years. Dabello's canting system, Atomic's replaceable heels, and the new soft boots from Kneissl, Rossi and Salomon and soon Dolomite.

Co-molding and just about everything else in the last twenty years has largely been marketing hype IMHO. Even many of today's custom moldable liners are based on the Themoflex design.

I am encouraged that ski boot makers are finally moving towards functional design innovation. They may yet catch up to where Raichle has been with the Flexon for the past 20 plus years.

It will be a better thing when they surpass the Flexon design. Until then I agree with Rubob who wrote that they remain <a classic of industrial design like a Volkswagon Beetle or a Rolex watch>.

I've just about exhausted my thoughts on the matter.<FONT size="1">

[This message has been edited by Lostboy (edited August 21, 2001).]</FONT>
post #13 of 13

I agree. If you get a chance to see the Volant T3 Power, the "golden" metal finish of the cap is something special to see. I can't predict if it enhances the ski performance.
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