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Which poles to get? Gabel 7075 AL vs. Goode composite

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
Any thoughts out there on the relative merit of 7075 grade aluminum poles (I can get a pretty good price on a pair of Gabel poles, $20) compared to the Goode Super Max composite poles ($40 from REI), which are made of something called Vylon:

http://www.rei.com/online/store/ProductDisplay?productId=47670186&storeId=8000&cat alogId=40000008000&langId=-1

I've heard composites are better b/c they don't bend. But some people have complained about them breaking. Does the 7075 aluminum (supposedly "aircraft quality") solve the bending issues?
post #2 of 6
No, it doesn't. They'll bend if stressed enough or treated poorly.

I have also heard of composites shattering. What I heard was some were prone to shattering at very cold temperatures. I've never seen it, though.

IMO, Poles are there to help my timing and balance. ...and, to clean snow off the bottoms of my boots. As a result, they get banged up pretty good. Gives 'em character. Aside from looking beat-up my poles have served me well for their intended purpose. I'm happy considering what I paid (nothing) and how long they've been with me. I figure if I'm not strong enough to hold some cheap, thicker poles then I'd better start lifting more weight at the gym. I don't see myself spending big money on composites any time soon...

just my two cents...
post #3 of 6
bostoneel, I shifted from aluminum to composite (Goode 9303) this year. I like the lighter feel and smaller diameter on the composites. But I think it's totally a personal preference.

The Goode's seem to absorb the shock of a pole plant better than my old Reflex poles did (but, I shouldn't be planting my pole when I'm skiing! I notice it at the base when I slam them into the snow). I like the adjustable length, too (the handles move up and down).

My $0.02, FWIW.
post #4 of 6
Pole material isn't a critical equipment decision, but the composites are nice. I also like that they don't draw the warmth out of your hands/body like aluminum does when you hold onto the tubes when riding the lift on really cold days. But if it comes down to spending more on poles or getting an extra day on the mountain, I'd spend the $$$ on a lift ticket.

Aluminum poles can also break. They just cost a little less to replace.
post #5 of 6
There are many differences in both aluminum and composites when making a ski pole choice. I have used both very expensive and very cheap composites, and you get what you pay for. My current poles are made by Gabel and are lighter than most mid and low priced composite poles, and have (and still are) served me for 5 years for my SL and GS poles. They don't look like new, but haven't altered from there original shape. The only composites I would consider are Excel or Swix, but I am not willing to shell out the money for them.
post #6 of 6
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the helpful replies! I picked up a pair of the Goode composites at REI last night, but they seem really heavy. I think I may return them and pick up the Gabels elsewhere instead.

BetaRacer, are your Gabels made out of the 7075 alloy? The ones I looked sound similiar to yours -- they are definitely lighter than the low-end Goodes I picked up last night. It's good to hear that yours have been sturdy.
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