Originally Posted by skier219
I don't think the Fluid system is real beneficial in the flex department if you examine it closely.
I was in agreement with you this afternoon, but I didn't have the chance to write a reply. I was going to recount a long-ish story about a Salomon Pilot Carve plate that I have. I figured "maybe tomorrow".
So I was playing around tonight with my L8Ks when I remembered this issue. Part of my Salomon Pilot Carve story is that although the basic design seemed alright, the actual assembly of the unit was flawed due to over-tightening of fasteners to the point where the floating plate could not slide at all. I recalled the design of the Fluid rail, and aspects of it that seemed puzzling/problematic. I also remembered quite a few pairs of bolts that could have also been potentially overtightened. So I slid the bindings off and flexed the ski to see if the plate actually moved. If it didn't I was going to disassemble it, lubricate it (w/plastic-friendly grease), and carefully tighten the Torx bolts/screws *just so* that it was still free to slide without too much play.
To my surprise, the plate slid flawlessly. I could see ~2mm of smooth movement in the rear plate slot as I flexed the ski. That of course didn't necessarily mean anything, so I installed the bindings back on and put a boot in the binding. With the boot in, the PX12's "dildo" was up and I can see the forward pressure spring indicator. I flexed the ski by pushing down on the boot, and lo-and-behold, the plate was still moving by almost same amount. The forward pressure indicator on the binding moved ~2mm as well.
What this says to me is that Fluid is actually decent at freeing up the ski to flex, as it seems to absorb ~50% of the movement that would otherwise have be all absorbed by the forward pressure spring of the binding. That's pretty good for such a simple design.
(In contrast, take a look at an Atomic Neox binding and its flex plate on a recently old Atomic ski. Now that is a Rube Goldberg contraption.)