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Head iXRC 800 - has anyone skied these?

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
Has anyone had any time on the 07/08 version of this ski? There just doesn't seem to be much written about these at all. There's a bit on older versions here in the forums (but no detailed reviews) and in the magazines (the usual vague, non-informative reviews), but nothing on the new version. Seems the Xenon line is getting all the press for Head in the intermediate groomer category. This one seems to be slipping under the radar. The little I've read is from European skiers, and they're pretty high on it.

They seem to fit into the category that I am looking to demo/purchase -- ie. eastern groomer ski with a decent sidecut (nice agile turn radius - 13m @ 170), forgiving for a solid intermediate (and progressing fast) skier, and good edge grip and stability (classic Head characteristic), lots of speed potential (theoretically) for me when I want to let 'er rip. I really like the damp feel of Head skis and their ability to smooth out the rough stuff (for some of us, less lively is a good thing ), so I'm inclined to stick with this brand. The XRC 800's spec out pretty decent -- Liquidmetal, Intelligence, Metal Jacket -- if that means anything and isn't marketing drivel.

I'm on the 05/06 version of Head Monster iM70 at the moment, which I have concluded are too short for me (170) and too soft (no metal in these). They were great to learn on, but I've outgrown them quickly. FYI, I'm 6'2", 215 lbs, 45 years.

If I were a better skier, I'd probably move to the XRC 1200 or 1400 Chip, or the Supershapes, or maybe the Fischer Progressor, but I'm afraid they'll be too much for me to handle, too unforgiving, and would exhaust me after a couple of hours. I'll demo some, just to check 'em out, but I'm not optimistic. I want to be able to ski all day with my kids and still be able to walk at the end of the day. OTH, I want a ski I can grow into, and won't be redundant as quickly as the iM70's.

Other skis on my short list to demo are Fischer RX8, Dynastar Contact 9, and Nordica Gransport 14 (good reviews on these in the press, including Realskiers.com). I may try some Supershape Speeds, too. My wife skis these - they have a moderate flex but are torsionally stiff, and seem to be relatively forgiving, and are very well built. At Lake Louise recently, she skied for about 6 hours per day for four days in a row without getting done in by them. Fast, slow, tight arcs, long arcs, bumps, steeps - they did it all with ease. She LOVES these skis.

Sorry for the ramble, but if anyone has any experience on the XRC 800, or any of the others on my demo list, I'd really like to hear from them (except about the RX8's, thank you very much - there's tons written here about them, and all good...I get the picture! And may just end up with a pair of those, when the testing is done).

Cheers, and thanks in advance!

Svend
post #2 of 14
I have skied the 800, 1200 and 1400 chip ski all 07's. They all hold edge nicely and are stable at speed. I purchased the 1400's at the end of last year and probably have 20 days of hardpack skiing on them. I love them for their edge hold but they are very stiff and can wear you out. The 800 is softer and easier to ski. The 1200 and 1400 both require you ski fast all of the time to make the really perform. I also changed boots to a much more stiff flex and that got more out of the 1400. When they are running downhill they will rip. If I lived up in Canada, where you get better snow conditions, I might have gotten the 800 since they may be more versatile on softer snow.

Just for reference I also demoed several volkl and elan skis for hardpack groomer skis and bought the heads. It really came down to the Elan Ripstick(They rail) and the 1400's for me but got the better deal on the heads.

You may want to contact Dawgcatching on this forum. He seems to sell a lot of Head and Elan skis. I'm new to this forum and I have PM and called his shop a couple times and they have been very helpful. I have not bought anything from him yet but that I'm sure that it's only a matter of time.

Hope this helped and good luck.
post #3 of 14
Thread Starter 
Thanks, JBB - that was helpful, esp. to compare the XRC 800 to the 1200 & 1400. I'm going to try to find a shop that has them for me to have a look-see and hopefully a demo. I've called a couple of shops around Toronto, but no luck so far. I'm looking for something longer and slightly stiffer than my current iM70's, and if these fit the bill, they might be just the thing. From your comments, so far so good....
post #4 of 14
Thread Starter 
JBB -- I forgot to ask...how tall and heavy are you? If you're around my size and weight, and find the 1400's to be stiff and demanding, that is good info to have to compare. Thanks!
post #5 of 14
SGN,
I'm 40, 5'10 and 195-200. I ski about 30 days a year in the east and starting to ski out west more and more.
If I remember correctly the 800 has the liquid metal but not the chip. I Have to tell you when I read and heard about the chip I was more than a little suspect but they do seem the faster you go the stiffer they become. I tend to ski ski pretty fast and they never seem unstable. I really like them and I believe them to be quite a bit more still than the im 70's.
post #6 of 14
Thread Starter 
Hmmm...interesting. Go faster and get more stiffness...I've heard that is the case with the Chip skis. And I believe it when you say they are more still than the iM70's. Mine get deflected pretty easily in badly chopped up crud, but then they are too short for my size, and it's probably my lack of experience playing a part too. Gotta learn to ski more aggressively in that stuff. A stronger pair of skis wouldn't hurt either

You're not too far off my weight, so that is good feedback to get - Thanks again!
post #7 of 14
Do not pass go; do not collect $200; go directly to your Head shop and buy some Supershape Speeds.

I haven't tried the 800s, but the supershapes are pretty good for what you want, and I couldn't see any reason why you wouldn't just get them instead, then I read your weight. The ss are a little soft for someone your weight imho. You would be better off with the SS Speed. These skis rock. I tried them out in 177 I think and was quite pleased with them. At your weight you might want to go for 184 cm.
post #8 of 14
Thread Starter 
Gee, his and hers Supershape Speeds in the household:
Quote:
I may try some Supershape Speeds, too. My wife skis these - they have a moderate flex but are torsionally stiff, and seem to be relatively forgiving, and are very well built. At Lake Louise recently, she skied for about 6 hours per day for four days in a row without getting done in by them. Fast, slow, tight arcs, long arcs, bumps, steeps - they did it all with ease. She LOVES these skis.
Maybe I'll finally ski fast enough to catch up to her :

Seriously, they are an excellent ski, and the moderate flex may be OK for my level. Yet they're advanced enough to be able to grow into them and not make them redundant in two years. And they're incredibly well made and tough - you could drive a tank over these and not have a scratch. Interestingly, there isn't a lot written about these here on the forums. Another excellent Head ski to go under the radar?

I might be able to find these to demo in Collingwood -- if not, Whiteface and Salt Lake City are coming up.

Thanks, Ghost!
post #9 of 14
Svend

You are not short, not light and not old. I cannot see the XRC 800 being enough ski for you as you get better unless you are a pretty timid skier. Go for the 1200 as it is suited for your size and age.

I would find a shop that sells both located near a ski area and ask to demo both. Ski no less than three runs on each and if possible try different lengths.

If you are skiing groomed trails and are looking for a carver I am not sure why you think that 170 is too short. I am about same size as you and ski 163 cm version of both these and SS Magnum as my preference for this type of skiing.

I find the XRC800 (and the ic280 & ic180 before it) to be OK in a 163 but soft in a 170 version. I like the XRC800 because it has a decent price point and is fun but is better suited to lighter skiers.

This weekend I am skiing on XRC800 163 because I like them better than Xenon 9 170cm which is my other option. Last two weeks I was on XRC1200 163 which I preferred but they are now sold as were my SS Magnum the week before that.

If you are an intermediate and want a ski to learn technique on I would not go longer than 170 and might suggest 163 depending on the size of the mountain you ski Shorter radius just too much work on a big mountain but a lot of fun on a little hill). If determined on 170 go for XRC1200 as that is what most skiers your size prefer of the two.

The Intelligence is the same in the im70, XRC800 and XRC1200. If I remember correctly the IM70 is an earlier version of IM72 which was similar stiffness to XRC800

Where do you ski? Maybe someone on this list can point you to some demos

Hope this helps

Mike
post #10 of 14
Thread Starter 
Hi Mike,

Thanks for the insight. It's good to hear from someone else who's skied on the 800 and the 1200 too, esp. someone my size.
Quote:
I cannot see the XRC 800 being enough ski for you as you get better unless you are a pretty timid skier. Go for the 1200 as it is suited for your size and age.
This is the same advice that I got from JBB111, so its looking like the 1200 or even 1400 Chip is suitable. Realskiers considers the Chip to be more forgiving than the 1200, so that is a good thing as far as I am concerned. They have the exact same dimensions. There is a shop not far from me that sells the 800 and 1200, but they have nothing to demo, and no other shop around here carries the XRC line - just the new Monsters, SS Magnum and Xenons. At very least I can bring in one of my own skis to my local guys just to compare flex side-by-side with the 1200 and 800, and then judge from there. I will be skiing Whiteface (Lake Placid) at the end of this month, and then Utah in March. I will see if I have better luck there finding some demos. Anyone know of a good source for Head demos near either place?

Quote:
If you are an intermediate and want a ski to learn technique on I would not go longer than 170 and might suggest 163 depending on the size of the mountain you ski Shorter radius just too much work on a big mountain but a lot of fun on a little hill). If determined on 170 go for XRC1200 as that is what most skiers your size prefer of the two.
This is interesting feedback. I posted a question a while ago regarding tuning my iM70s (http://forums.epicski.com/showthread.php?t=65890), and got several replies that they were too short for me and this was causing the problems I noted. I never really felt my skis were too short, perhaps just not stiff enough and therefore got deflected too easily in crud and chop, and maybe not quite quick enough edge-to-edge (hence my tuning question re. edge bevels). I'll just have to try a longer length, if I can, and see which works best for me. If I can stay with a 170, then that's my preference, as I find them sufficiently agile for short turns on narrow runs, and plenty stable for fast carving (as long as it isn't too chopped up).

Bottom line is that if I can get a ski that is stiffer than the iM70 for better crud busting, and has a bit more side cut for quicker turns (this is an optional bonus, as I don't mind adding some muscle to a short turn when needed), then I'll be a happy guy. I tend to like medium to wide, fast turns, so definitely don't want a ski that locks me into short little arcs. BTW, the Supershape Speeds are also way up there on my preferred list. Nice boards. They have similar radius to the 1200/1400s, but are slightly narrower all around by a couple of millimeters.

You asked about where I ski...well, lots of places actually. Mostly at our home hill in Ontario, Blue Mountain, which is pretty small (but hey, its the biggest we've got) about once per week. But we've promised ourselves do at least one or two family trips West every winter, plus at least one short trip to Quebec, Vermont or NY State. This year its been Lake Louise, and then coming up its Utah and Lake Placid (gonna be a good season when its all done!!!).

Thanks again Mike!

Svend
post #11 of 14
Svend

Blue Mountain is a nice resort with lots of variety. Only skied there one weekend but was worth it!

As it is short vertical and teh hill you ski most I would suggest you try something shorter rather than longer.

If you work in Toronto you might find someone who will do the demo. Suggest you do this soon as the XRC800 and XRC1400 (chip) are not part of 2009 line. The XRC1100 SW is part of 2009 line and replaces XRC1200. Just to make a point about when to demo - the Xenon 9 is now gone too. Demos from this point forward are usually next year stock which is why we have sold off most of 2008 skis already.

Not sure why you are haing difficulties in crud but is probably not the ski.

If you ever make it to nova Scotia look me up and I can set you up on various Head models. Also our local shps are really good with demo of other brands as well.

Good luck with this

Mike
post #12 of 14
Thread Starter 
Hey Mike,

Thanks again for your time responding to my questions. I appreciate it, and your advice is very reasonable.

Small as it is, I like skiing at Blue Mountain. It can get busy at times, but weekdays and evenings are usually uncrowded. There are some fun runs, and as you said, lots of variety. The view over the lake is nice, too.

I'll try to sniff out some XRCs for demo in Toronto. I don't work there, but live only 30 minutes away. Not sure when I'll be back in Nova Scotia -- April or May at the earliest. I typically go there at least twice per year for business, but usually not in winter. Great province! Love going there. I may look you up anyway, even if there isn't any snow on the ground. Are you the Head rep in that area?

I'll get this whole question of "which ski is best for me" sorted out in the next couple of weeks once I have some more slope time and demo some different stuff. I want to try a wider ski, too, just for the heck of it, to see if I like the 75-78 mm waist. It may all come down to a decision to keep my iM70s for another season or two and keep learning (I have some lessons coming up soon), and then make the jump to an advanced ski.

Cheers,

Svend
post #13 of 14
Thread Starter 

His 'n Hers Supershape Speeds

Quote:
Do not pass go; do not collect $200; go directly to your Head shop and buy some Supershape Speeds.
Hey Ghost, if you're still subscribed to this thread, just wanted to let you know that I picked up a spanking new pair of '09 Supershape Speeds. So now my wife and I both have the same ski...awww, shucks. The new models are wider all around, and have a tighter turn radius -- 116/68/100, 14.8 metres at 170. The binding has changed, and is now called FreeFlex 14 Pro. Graphics are slightly different too:

So if you happen to ski Blue Mtn., and see a middle-aged couple, both on SS Speeds, give us a yell.

Mike - sorry that the Halifax thing didn't work out, but thanks again for your help. I took your advice and went with a 170 length, which I am comfortable with performance-wise and should have no trouble handling.
post #14 of 14
I'd lean toward the 1200, but IMO there's a lot of info here that's misleading. I've skied both, reviewed them briefly here a year ago, same ski as this year's.

1) It has the intelligence construction, and the stiffening at speed is noticable, albeit not as dramatic as versions with the chip. The chip really becomes stiff at speed. But the 800 is about as beefy as the SS, less than the 1200, which is quite stiff.

2) I've seen several instructors, including a level 3, who use a 800 for teaching. Why? Because it's versatile in terms of turn shapes and speeds, grips like a pit bull, and is very stable in crud. So not just a ski for terminal intermediates. Rather a ski that handles nicely at instructional speeds, which of course no one here EVER skis at. : And oh yeah, I've seen these guys absolutely rip on their 800's; 40 mph+ 50 m turns. Like all Heads, they have a high top end.

3) For all that, at 215, you could probably handle a 1200 if you like to go fast all the time. If you do bumps and like to vary your speeds more, go with the 800. The Supershape is more of a SL carver, better for short radius turns, nice at speed, smoothest and dampest of the bunch, but not nearly as happy in crud or pow, and IMO, not quite as grippy on ice.
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