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Are you happy on stiff racing boots?

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
Just a general question: I am generally skiing in flex index 120 (Head Raptor) boots for all-mountain skiing. They are a bit soft when really driven hard, but good in bumps. I was thinking of a stiffer boot, but had a bad experience with my old Head RD96's, which were brick-like flex and I had trouble being active with my feet in them.  

Any ideas on an "ideal" flex for someone my weight and skill level?  155lbs or so.  I was thinking a flex 130 (head) boot may be better, but 150 is likely too stiff.  

Do you ski in really stiff boots for all-mountain conditions? If so, what are your experiences?  I know some like really stiff boots, but others (such as my fitter) think that you need to be able to basically flex a boot with your ankles (done by jumping indoors) in order to have the ankle articulation required for all-mountain skiing.
post #2 of 18
I'm a believer in going as soft as you can not the other way around. Go for as soft as possible without bottoming out. But, I spend most of my day in the bumps, cliffs or jumps in the park.  I just posted a related link. For me flexing and supinating/ pronating in my boots are priority. Yes you loose a little control in powder and crud or when skiing crazy fast but for me it's worth it!
post #3 of 18
Go for the 130, since it can be adjusted upto 140 and as low as 120.   The 150 that you know I have, are nearly flex proof.   When cold, I swear that they are just going to shatter because they get so hard the flaps barely move when taking the boots off.  I like that, but I think I read the 150 (which goes upto 160) is harder than the RD96 was, so if the 96 was a bit too stiff these might be too.   Still these are the best boots I have ever owned and I have owned quite a few high end boots in the past 6-7 yrs from several brands.

They do suck in challenging snow and moguls....but I dont care since I look for smooth and fast, and when I get a chance to rip, or on the race course, they really, really shine.

Im like the guy in every neighborhood who drives around in his 700hp 500cu Chevelle stop light to stop light at 30mph, waiting for the unaware  Ferrari victim.
post #4 of 18
I've skied all day only to find out that I never buckled my top boot buckles   And. it really didn't make much of a difference.   I will crank them down tighter if I am about to run some gates, but other than that I prefer some give.  I'm certain that having softer boots has saved my knees many times.  I do sacrifice some small amount of precision between my legs and ski edges (bit of slop), but I can still keep up with everyone and shred most peeps and steeps. 
post #5 of 18
I am in a pair of Doberman 130 Pro's (last years) and love them. Coming from a pair of Krypton's that were decidedly softer.  With Nordica's much more control, power and finesse. Yes, they do get stiff in cold Maine air. But I put a pair of real Booster straps on the and keep the top buckle very loose. Never felt I could not flatten the ski, no shin bang (have Insta Prints for chicken shins) and put a set of Aline foot beds in. Great all day boot.
post #6 of 18
Again, I think Boot flex should go along with ski flex and terrain type. If you are on soft skis you will overpower them with a super stiff boot.  And you wont be able to flex your boot properly. If you have a super soft boots and stiff skis you run the risk of having the tip deflect in chop. Just going fast you don't need a stiff boot, you need lateral stiffness but not a stiff flex.
post #7 of 18
Why get a stiff Boot if you don't buckle the top one? Seems you're trying to make the boot ski softer.
post #8 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by ski=free View Post

Again, I think Boot flex should go along with ski flex and terrain type. If you are on soft skis you will overpower them with a super stiff boot.  And you wont be able to flex your boot properly. If you have a super soft boots and stiff skis you run the risk of having the tip deflect in chop. Just going fast you don't need a stiff boot, you need lateral stiffness but not a stiff flex.

You know.....I really never thought about that, and I think you are right.  My softest ski, an expert Head iC300 Chip, feels like crap compared to all my other skis, which are race skis with exception to the iM88s---which are nearly as stiff as race skis themselves.
post #9 of 18
I look at it as how much response do you want (or need).  A very stiff boot (and a less than cushy liner) will provide much faster response to your movements, but also be much more punishing when you're out of balance.  As far as balance goes that's really the more critical component - you need to be sure that your are aligned fore/aft for your stance so that you don't "need" to flex the boot to be in balance over your skis.  Get the balance right (hey that should be a song ) and then choose the flex for your the kind of skiing you usually do.

It's nice to have a stiffer boot to really drive a ski if you need to.

I've recently gone much stiffer with my boot setup (as you may recall) and I couldn't be happier. 
post #10 of 18
     Quote:
Originally Posted by ski=free View Post

Again, I think Boot flex should go along with ski flex and terrain type. If you are on soft skis you will overpower them with a super stiff boot.  And you wont be able to flex your boot properly. If you have a super soft boots and stiff skis you run the risk of having the tip deflect in chop. Just going fast you don't need a stiff boot, you need lateral stiffness but not a stiff flex.

I like this idea too - definitely some food for thought.  I'll have to go think on it a while...
post #11 of 18
Thanks guys. It's something I've noticed with my quiver. I'd love to hear your thoughts as well. I love that we have this forum to become better skiers and get answers to our questions!
post #12 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by ski=free View Post

Why get a stiff Boot if you don't buckle the top one? Seems you're trying to make the boot ski softer.

You can make a stiff boot ski softer by loosening the top buckles-and/or turning the flex adjustment).. But, you can't make an already soft boot ski stiffer

Funny thing is, I have some stiff Rossi boots and some softer old school Langes.  I use the same liners in both though.  I favor the Langes for everyday skiing but will move the liners to the Rosi shells full time when/if the old Langes finally blow up.  But, for VERY agressive skiing on hardpack I lke  the stiffer boots better.  But for bumps, powder, and just having fun I prefer the softer Langes (or Rossis loose at the top).
post #13 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by crgildart View Post




You can make a stiff boot ski softer by loosening the top buckles-and/or turning the flex adjustment).. But, you can't make an already soft boot ski stiffer

Funny thing is, I have some stiff Rossi boots and some softer old school Langes.  I use the same liners in both though.  I favor the Langes for everyday skiing but will move the liners to the Rosi shells full time when/if the old Langes finally blow up.  But, for VERY agressive skiing on hardpack I lke  the stiffer boots better.  But for bumps, powder, and just having fun I prefer the softer Langes (or Rossis loose at the top).

 


I hear ya. I guess if you have to go one way or the other go stiffer then modify. But for me, I'll trade a little rough chop tip deflection of super speed hero carving for every other type of skiing. I just got a stiffer boot for warm days and big skis. But will keep my softies for bumping and jumping all day.
post #14 of 18
I weigh 155 #'s.  I have skied mostly in race or plug boots for the past 30 yrs. in all conditions.  I am currently in my 2nd pair of Lange RL11 150's.  On the coldest days they ocassionaly seem a little too stiff.  Other than that, they work for me.  I also have AT boots that are very soft.  The performance is substandard, but much easier to walk in.

YMMV,
JF
post #15 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by deliberate1 View Post

I am in a pair of Doberman 130 Pro's (last years) and love them..... Yes, they do get stiff in cold Maine air. But I put a pair of real Booster straps on the and keep the top buckle very loose. ....

That's a like like what I do.  I have the Dobie 110 which is just like the 130 with one less rivet in back.  I replaced power straps  this season with booster straps and really like it.  I really allows you to progressively flex.

I've always found that it's the powerstrap that controls the bit on the top of the boot.  The too buckles do more to stiffen the put then to keep it wrapped on your shin.

I now barely buckle the tops and adjust the preload on the booster strap for the feel I want for the current conditions.
post #16 of 18
 After 20 years on Raichle Flexons, I got a pair of Head RD96 boots this year. I've been liking them a lot. They have forced me to think about my mogul technique for the first time since the '80s. Now, it may be a bit masochistic, but I like that. It's like driving an old 911. If you're not doing it right, it goes wrong fast.

They do all the stuff race boots are supposed to be good at on the groomers, which is a nice change of pace from my old, beat up boots.

I've had them in waist deep powder and in the trees and have even hit a few 6 - 8 footers and haven't felt held back by the boots much at all. I think I would want something a bit softer for drops any bigger than that, though. 

I don't think the plug boots will end up being my every day boot. I'm saving my pennies for some Dynafit Titans (or similar AT boot). Then I'll use the RDs for masters racing, where they belong.  I'm pretty sure I could be happy on almost any boot with a flex above 90 as long as it fits right. For the record, I'm a wee little guy at 140 lbs.
post #17 of 18
Just adding to the list of who does or doesn't rock stiff boots.

I ski the Tecnica Agent 130. I guess I've posted up enough that you can put me in some context with respect to size and type of skiing favored.

I  never want a boot going to max flex when I hit some abrupt terrain bump or something. The 130 flex seems perfect for control in all snow, including powder and crud. I can easily work the boot by flexing my legs, but they never max out.

My skis are all stiff, so on that theory, which probably has some validity, they match up.

IMO, Tahoe=stiff.
post #18 of 18
I'm wondering if foot size has a bearing on appropriate boot flex. I postulate that if you have really long feet (and possibly correspondingly long shins), you have a lot longer piece of plastic to bend when you flex your boots, and therefore flexing it a given distance for a given stiffness rating might be significantly easier in a larger size than a smaller size. Make sense?

I have small feet (24.5 mondo), am light (135), and have relatively short legs. (I know this last from sizing bike frames.) I ski hard and fast at times, and am technically competent or better on hard snow, but I still find that really stiff boots just don't work for me. No matter how emphatically / often I put myself back in the front seat, if my boots are too stiff I just can't camp out there properly.

Current boots - that I've been in for a year and am extremely happy with - are Salomon Falcon 100 Jr. Race. The flex is nominally 100, but I speculate that this is a misleading number and may represent a flex relative to other Junior boots.
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