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Why not a Railflex on fat skis?

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
I'm just wondering if anyone has mounted the Railflex system on wide skis or if not, what are the drawbacks?
I'm new to the fat ski craze, and my understanding is that fat skis are generally mounted with bindings with minimal lift. I am not clear as to why this is as using a binding with more lift would allow one to get the skis on edge if one ventures onto the groomers. On the other hand, I don't see how additional lift would negatively effect powder performance. What am I missing?
I can understand that adding a plate to gain height would be bad as it would add stiffness to a ski and that would not be desirable in powder or the woods.
It would seem as though the Railflex system would add some lift without having too much of an effect on the flex of the ski.
Thanks.
post #2 of 12
wrong i may be but a true fat is not a carving ski and you need no lift to ski it to its true capacity???.Sure i am others will chime in.
post #3 of 12
Adding lift will help a wider ski carve.

Are you in the market for a fat carving ski?

The lift makes wider skis slightly slower edge to edge, there is a longer distance to go to get the ski on edge so the skis feel clunkier. The ski also wants to be on edge more so smearing, skarving, landing air, skiing switch, skiing moguls, all get a little bit harder. The Railflex system also adds to this, it eliminates the flat platform under the boot, allowing the ski to flex deeply into a round arc, great while carving, crappy when making quick 'hit the edge and release' type turns. Most poeple who want a fat ski want it for skiing in softer ungroomed snow (duh!) where there is often moguls, trees, rocks, etc. places where carving isn't very important, lift makes skiing these places harder and it only slightly helps on groomers.

...on the other hand, Tyrolia makes a 115mm railflex brake. They obviously see a place for it on fat skis.

It's a matter of taste and style, there is no right or wrong. I used to like to lift (with race plates) my fat skis. I also liked big burly fat skis that felt as much like GS skis as I could find... then I started skiing them in the woods in VT and realized that linking 5 to 7 carved GS turns then bailing from my line is over rated. I now prefer a 'surfy' feeling fat ski that lets me smear turns and keep my line going with out stopping. I find flat mounting doesn't hurt on the groomers and it enhances a fat skis good qualities, lift compromises the soft snow performance and does little to help on groomers.

It's kind of like putting Z rated tires on a Ford F350, sure it'll handle a bit better on the highway... but it's still a truck, and now it's less truck-like.
post #4 of 12
To lift or not to lift (That is the question)

I like some lift on my fat ski's (around 100mm) under foot. Bro's and Legend Pro's

It does help control edging when you have the skis making big angles.
The lift causes the ski to be a bit more nervous (touchy) on step pitches and in crud.

Many people are fans of railflex on fat skis because it allows you to adjust the boot center on the ski by about 1.5 CM. This is very desirerable for some. You can be forward or centered for firm snow performance and can move it back for powder performance.

There are positives and negatives to just about anything
post #5 of 12
Actually, MTT, it allows easy (2 minutes) boot center adjustments by 1.5cm either way -- or 3cm total. And there's a greater range of adjustment if you're willing to slide them off the rail.

Like MTT, I have lifted bindings (Rossi Power 140) on my 99mm Bros. I haven't had a problem with that, but don't have anything to compare them to... particularly since my new Bros are getting Dukes.

I almost put Railflexes on my new 136mm-wide Praxis Powders, so that I could lend them to others to spread the gospel. I ended up deciding against them because people who have a lot of experience with them suggested that, although they are less prone to it than demo bindings, they develop slop over time. Instead, I'm putting Mojo 15s on mine.
post #6 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by Whiteroom View Post
Adding lift will help a wider ski carve.

Are you in the market for a fat carving ski?

The lift makes wider skis slightly slower edge to edge, there is a longer distance to go to get the ski on edge so the skis feel clunkier. The ski also wants to be on edge more so smearing, skarving, landing air, skiing switch, skiing moguls, all get a little bit harder. The Railflex system also adds to this, it eliminates the flat platform under the boot, allowing the ski to flex deeply into a round arc, great while carving, crappy when making quick 'hit the edge and release' type turns. Most poeple who want a fat ski want it for skiing in softer ungroomed snow (duh!) where there is often moguls, trees, rocks, etc. places where carving isn't very important, lift makes skiing these places harder and it only slightly helps on groomers.

...on the other hand, Tyrolia makes a 115mm railflex brake. They obviously see a place for it on fat skis.

It's a matter of taste and style, there is no right or wrong. I used to like to lift (with race plates) my fat skis. I also liked big burly fat skis that felt as much like GS skis as I could find... then I started skiing them in the woods in VT and realized that linking 5 to 7 carved GS turns then bailing from my line is over rated. I now prefer a 'surfy' feeling fat ski that lets me smear turns and keep my line going with out stopping. I find flat mounting doesn't hurt on the groomers and it enhances a fat skis good qualities, lift compromises the soft snow performance and does little to help on groomers.

It's kind of like putting Z rated tires on a Ford F350, sure it'll handle a bit better on the highway... but it's still a truck, and now it's less truck-like.
. Great analogy. I do get a kick out of these full size trucks w/ 22"+ wheels on them. Kinda defeats the purpose.
post #7 of 12
Question conflates flex and lift. Agree with Whiteroom that lift only helps if you ski your fatty on groomed a fair amount (think Mantras). But IMO, that little bit of extra flex you get from non-fixed bindings (yep, I know the threads about this) helps a pow ski do what it's bred to do. Solution: Go flat mount a Freeflex or Cyber or Marker 1300 or any of the other flex bindings, stick on/bend wide brakes. No higher than fixed mounts, still have flex.

OTOH, a RF also buys you extra length. Meaning you can go next length up, mount a RF, move it forward to ski tight spots, middle for normal, backward to surf the bowls at speed. And diddle with the boot track to get many more increments than the 1.5 the top gives you. More usable length + RF = more versatility.

I've done all of the above, all work.
post #8 of 12
Why:
1. If you want to adjust your bindings for / aft on the ski. Especially worthwhile if you have jsut 1 (or 2) skis and you need to maximize the versatility of that pair.
2. If you want some marginal carving benefits
3. If all your other skis are RF and you want to have the same bindings for consistency. Especially good if you change ski often to have the same ramp angle, etc between skis.

Why Not:
1. Tyrolia bindings are not known for being really torsionally rigid, the rails don't help.
2. Lift might not be helpful to have all that lift on a wide ski.
3. Bindings are plastic, not as durable, may develop slop, don't have a high din, etc...
post #9 of 12
I know we've covered this before somewhere.... but generally fat skis will feel more stable underfoot with no lift. This is especially important for powder, park use, moguls, or skiing trees and gnarly terrain off-piste. Lift can actually make a ski feel clumsy in those situations.

I had RF plates on my old Karmas (which are not all that fat anymore at 87mm waist) and in retrospect I should have mounted flat. Which I did on the PEs that replaced the Karmas.

In terms of flex, while the RF plate does allow the bindings to free-flex, affixing the RF plate to the ski stiffens it up quite a bit in the middle. So it's likely a wash in terms of overall effect, at least on softer skis (say, the average wide off-piste ski). On a hardpack carver ski, I am sure the added stiffness of the plate is much less of an effect, and the more aggressive ski sidecut benefits from the binding free-flex.
post #10 of 12
Tromano slurs RF's unnecessarily! : NO binding is 100% metal, ALL use modern plastics for housings etc. and we should be glad they do because otherwise they'd all weight twice as much as an old Line setup. The lifespan of that plastic tends to be a lot longer than you'll probably own the ski; issues he raises are only relevant if you race, or weigh 200 and mach through crud 200 days a year. In which case you should be on, umm, racing bindings with 17-21 DIN's. Which of course can weigh more than the powder ski they're mounted on.

More to the point, the amount of metal increases as the performance level of the binding does. The 12 RF has a fair amount of plastic, isn't meant for serious loads from bigger skiers (thus the thinner spring), but I've never noticed any "slop." If it's there, it's in the fraction of a mm range, which is not exactly a deal breaker for a powder ski that turns by flexing rather than edging. The 14 has a lot more metal, the racing toe, and I have never heard of one breaking or getting loose. Not like say, a typical Sollie toepiece.

He also ignores the fact that Tyrolias/Heads/Elans/Fischers are the knee-friendliest bindings out there, so the RF also is cool to your body. Tromano, go sit in the corner!
post #11 of 12
Slander? Come on! It has the word flex in the name. I just said they are not rigid and made of plastic. All true!

:
post #12 of 12
Consider that the RF is about the same height as a Duke. Lots of fat skis - both conventional and rockered/reverse - are being mounted with Dukes. Among them are Lotus (Duke is recommended by DPS), Praxis, Hell Bents, etc., etc. Arguably the height of the Duke is less than ideal for some of these. And the Jester has the same wide base. So why the Duke? Answer: you get something for your trouble - if you care about skinning, even just now and then.

The same goes for the RFs. As noted before, there are advantages to the RFs. Demo-binding type sole length adjustability. At least 3cm range of center point. In exchange, you arguably introduce some bit of performance degradation (depending on primary use and ski design). My sense is the "more conventional" the skis and the more time spent on groomers or firmer natural snow, the less the compromise will be in practice.

Only you can decide if that return is worth the price (possibly not very large) in the context you are considering.

BTW - the RFD 14 seems to have a really solid reputation. And even the 12 is decent enough. So I would not worry about that part of the equation.
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