Originally Posted by tromano
To sum up. Here are the problem I can defiantely see with a stiffness index.
-A single number does not acount for relative tip, tail, underfoot flex.
-Flex refers to longitudinal flex. This is argueably the less important flex number and at best tells only half the story. Torsional flex is at least as important, no one is talking about measuring or reporting that number.
-Different lengths skis within a single model often have different flex values. Longest length is stiffer, shortest length is softer, etc...
-Apparently, no buy and support in from shops / insiders. And no obvious ROI.
Ok, last post before I head off for the weekend and stop bothering everyone.
Keep in mind that
1. I am not a very bright guy
2. I've spent a total of 5-10 minutes thinking about this idea.
So, here is my idea for a test machine.
You take a single clamp that clamps a ski standing on its side (so that gravity doesn't affect the readings). You can place the clamp on chord center, manufacturer's recommended mark, or wherever you like, as long as you do the same for each ski.
You take 4, 6, 8, or however many you like, pistons with cylindrical rods at the ends that are parallel to the bottom of the ski (perpindicular to the rod of the piston). These pistons must be adjustable to account for skis of different lengths (spread them apart for long skis, and bring them together for shorter skis), always spacing them equally far apart.
You push out the pistons until all the rods just touch the surface of the ski at the selected test points. Then, the machine applies a standard pressure through each piston and measures the distance each one has moved once the the ski stops flexing, thus giving you a flex curve along however many points in one shot.
After that, in a separate test, you apply two more clamps (tips and tails) that twist the ski at a standard pressure and measure the results relative to the fixed clamp in the middle.
Of course, you want to test a few of each ski and take the average, rather than just doing one each. But, since you just have to take out the first ski and pop in the next, it doesn't add much time. Going from model to model, length to length will take the most time, just because you have to readjust the position of the pistons
You can take the results and color code them, change them to a number scale for each test point (1-10), or whatever you think will make it easier to visualize. So, you end up with something like 456654 (symetrical park ski with stiffer mid-section and softer tips and tails) or some picture that goes from light to dark and back, maybe with a picture of a ski bending a little in the middle and more at the tips to go along with the numbers or colors to make things even easier to visualize.
Then, you put that on a sticker along with the other measurements (length, width, sidecut, etc.).
I guarantee you that, if an online shop with a wide selection of skis does this for every model and length they sell, after the word spreads, their site will start to receive a significantly larger number of hits than all their competitors. And, if their prices are competitive, their sales will go up as well.
Plus, if the test machine itself proves to be a hit, they could manufacture more and sell them as well. So even the test equipment could become a source of a little bit of revenue.