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Head Monster iM77

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 
About me:
- Age 38
- Level 8-9 skier
- Height: 6'1" Weight: 190lb
- Ski 25-30 days per season
- 28.0 Salomon Xwave 9 boots, 325mm sole length

The skis:
- 177cm Head Monster iM77 skis with Tyrolia RailFlex LD-12 bindings mounted 1.5cm forward of mid-sole mark
- Sidecut: 119-77-104

Snow Conditions Included:
- Groomed packed powder
- Cut powder and crud
- Corn snow

I picked up these skis during dawg's 2007 closeout sale last spring, and wasn't sure if I should write a review -- I only got a few days on the skis at the end of the season, and 2007 was the last year of the iM77. After putting a few more days on the skis this season, I decided a review would be a good idea -- I have some strong impressions of the skis that may be helpful to anyone shopping for leftover 2007 skis or looking at used skis.

Upon first skiing the iM77, my initial impression was that they didn't have a whole lot of character, and there wasn't much happening in the tail. I tend to prefer skis that offer distinct feels in each part of the turn; I like feeling precise entry into the turn as the ski tip bites, a tip to tail transition through the turn as pressure builds, and then a bit of a kick coming from the tail upon the finish. For instance, many Fischers offer this sort of a sequence, and it fits nicely with my body motions in a turn.

I don't know if what I felt of the iM77 is characteristic of all Heads, but the iM77 seems to blend the various parts of the turn into one smooth flow, from start to finish. What I originally pegged as a somewhat bland feel later became smooth and easygoing, and the ski itself almost becomes transparent. When skiing the iM77, I actually feel like more focus goes into me and my skills, and the ski does it's job and gets out of the way. Of the many skis I have owned, this is the first ski that I can say that about. The skis almost disappears, but at the same time, there is a strong confident edge all throughout the turn.

Compared to other mid-fats I have owned (for instance, Elan Mag 12), the iM77 feels very light underfoot (and when carried around). It's a welcome change from the many mid-fats that seem to take the bulldozer approach to all mountain capability and crudbusting. While beef is one way to attain structural stoutness, Head has taken a different approach here. The iM77 is rather thin and light, but is every bit as good of a crudbuster as the heavyweights. Perhaps it's the Intelligence fiber technology at work. Whatever the case, this is a very thin and light ski that still has a lot of torsional stiffness.

The iM77 also differs from many mid-fats I have skied in that it has a bit more sidecut. It's not enough to make the ski super turny or compromise its abilities off-piste, but it does chop a meter or so off the turning radius in each length, compared to other mid-fats. That turns the iM77 into a much stronger hardpack ski than the typical mid-fat, and it's a very good carver that is a lot of fun on groomed snow.

I pull out longer and wider skis for powder, but I can report that the iM77 is pretty good in the limited powder I skied it in. Actually, I would not feel too bad if this was the only ski with me on a powder day; it skis about like what you'd expect from a 77mm waist ski, and gives just enough float to make things interesting. The longish tip shape has got to help, as it makes the tip of the ski more effective in soft snow than a short tip geometry. I might actually prefer this ski if I was really storming through tight spaces, trees, and other varied terrain in powder -- sometimes my longer/wider skis feel a bit clumsy in these situations.

Overall, I like the iM77 a lot. I guess the thing I like the most is that the ski does everything I want with little complaint. It's not like many skis that start to call out to you with an "ahem" when you push them way out of their envelope. This ski can do a wide range of things well, all the while feeling smooth and fairly transparent to the skier. I have pushed it hard on groomers, banged it through bumps and terrain, pushed it through crud, and relaxed on it while making turns with my wife. I think this is probably as close to an all-mountain ski as I have owned. I'll still go with my PEs for powder and my RX-9s for carving, but the iM77 can pretty much overlap those two skis if I needed it to.

I will close by noting that Head's center binding position on this ski puts me 3 cm back of a BOF mount, farther back than most skis I have owned (most are 0 to 2cm back). I moved the RF bindings to +1.5, putting me 1.5cm back from BOF, and prefer the way the ski feels. That slight change seems to give me better balance over the tips and tails through a turn.
post #2 of 19
Thread Starter 
One other thing I should note -- this ski did not make a good first impression on me, but has become one of my favorite skis. This is one ski that took a lot more time to discover and feel out than my typical short demos allow. Sometimes I wonder if those short 2-3 run demos might actually be limiting the types of skis I like...
post #3 of 19
Good review. Are these the chip or non-chip version?
post #4 of 19
The very damp nature & feel of many Head skis can take a little getting used to, especially compared to the more lively Fischers.

Head makes great midfats, thanks for the review.

Michael
post #5 of 19
Thread Starter 
Coach, these are the non-chip model.
post #6 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by skier219 View Post
Coach, these are the non-chip model.
Thanks, I have the same ski and really like this ski. The perfect blend of energy and dampness, IMO, but quite a different feel than the chip version.
post #7 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Coach13 View Post
Thanks, I have the same ski and really like this ski. The perfect blend of energy and dampness, IMO, but quite a different feel than the chip version.

How do you tell the difference if it has the chip or doesn't? I looked at the Head website and it doesn't mention "Intelligence Chip Technology" only "Intelligence Technology" for the IM78.

I just received the IM78 last Thursday and have the same experience as skier219. My first morning was not impressive. But by the afternoon and the 4 days afterward, I can say I've found my new everyday ski. And after Sunday's rain in the east, we had boilerplate conditions Monday and to a lesser extent, Tuesday. These skies hold an edge on ice.
post #8 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by B R View Post
How do you tell the difference if it has the chip or doesn't? I looked at the Head website and it doesn't mention "Intelligence Chip Technology" only "Intelligence Technology" for the IM78.
The im77 was offered both in a chip (yellow w/ railflex) and a non-chip (black and orange sold flat) version.

The reason you can't find this difference for the im78 is that it's only sold with both the Intelligence & Liquidmetal Technology.
post #9 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Coach13 View Post
The im77 was offered both in a chip (yellow w/ railflex) and a non-chip (black and orange sold flat) version.

The reason you can't find this difference for the im78 is that it's only sold with both the Intelligence & Liquidmetal Technology.
Thanks
post #10 of 19
Thread Starter 
I can't say for sure, but I think they only offered the non-chip version in 2007, with RailFlex. My black/orange non-chip iM77s came with a RF plate (I supplied the bindings -- had an extra set laying around).
post #11 of 19
Found the IM78s (w/ Railflex - RFD14s) beside the tree on Christmas Day. Scott's (Dawgcatching) reviews and those of others on this forum were what turned me on to Head. At the time, I was looking at Volkl, Fischer and Elan.

Turned 20 runs with the brother-in-law that day at Keystone on various terrain - frontside to Outback. Utterly remarkable. Your comments related to it being subtle and something that you learn to appreciate over a longer series of runs is spot-on.

My grin was frozen until I went to bed (and perhaps long after).

Great review. Remarkable ski.
post #12 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by skier219 View Post
I can't say for sure, but I think they only offered the non-chip version in 2007, with RailFlex. My black/orange non-chip iM77s came with a RF plate (I supplied the bindings -- had an extra set laying around).
yes, that is correct. The 2006 version was a metal laminate ski available either with or without chip, and that ski had tapered sidewalls. The 2007 was non-chip, and had the same topsheet shape and sidecut, but used a cap Full Metal Jacket instead of the metal laminate of the 2006. This made the 2007 more forgiving, with a larger sweet spot, without giving up much in terms of stability, IMO. The 2008 is similiar in layup to the Supershape, but has increased stability due to more surface area. I think the overall character is similar to the Supershape, which lends itself very well to all-mountain, all-condition skiing.
post #13 of 19
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by dawgcatching View Post
The 2007 was non-chip, and had the same topsheet shape and sidecut, but used a cap Full Metal Jacket instead of the metal laminate of the 2006. This made the 2007 more forgiving, with a larger sweet spot, without giving up much in terms of stability, IMO.
Sounds about right -- the iM77 has one of the largest sweet spots of any ski I've owned. In fact, sometimes it feels like it's all sweet spot.
post #14 of 19
Hey there,
I'm 230lbs, 5'10...ski mostly on the east coast, spend time on trials and in the tree's...pretty aggressive. Would this be a good ski for the east?

Cheers
post #15 of 19
Just skied my im77's for the first time today and they are definitely a good ski for the east.

I got a great deal on the 181cm im77's and was a bit worried they would be too long. I skied them today with the railflex in the forward position and they skied great. Not too long at all, very responsive and great edge hold. I think this length would be very good for you at 230lbs.

Mike
post #16 of 19
I'm 6'4" and 215 - I'm looking at 170 or 177 - Anybody have any input on which length, for east coast skiing, do you think would be best?
post #17 of 19
Definately 177 if not 181 as long as you are at least a high intermediate to advanced skier. I'm on the 181 and am 25 lbs lighter and 3" shorter than you and have no issues with the length. These are very user friendly skis.

Mike
post #18 of 19
Thread Starter 
Definitely the 177 length. You could even go 181. 170 would be ridiculously short for you.

I'm 6'1 195lb, and really liked the 177cm -- I considered it to be a perfect length for that particular ski and my use on the east coast. I am selling those skis, BTW, see the gear swap if you're interested:

http://forums.epicski.com/showthread.php?t=76265
post #19 of 19
I've owned both the chip and non-chip versions and agree that they are very different. I much prefer the non-chip version myself and I get to dust them off again in 2 weeks. Japan here I come.
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