Fischer Nordic Rocker

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rongon

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Fischer Nordic Rocker

Postby rongon » Tue Oct 18, 2016 10:00 am

I don't mean true rocker for a ski like the Eon- I mean something more like Ficher's "Nordic rocker" (which I think is brilliant BTW).


I thought the S-Bound "Nordic rocker" was just a marketing name for what happens when you weight the ski into an arc, not any kind of a true rocker in the tip. Am I wrong about that?

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Re: 2016-17 Madshus Skis

Postby MikeK » Tue Oct 18, 2016 10:35 am

rongon wrote:
I don't mean true rocker for a ski like the Eon- I mean something more like Ficher's "Nordic rocker" (which I think is brilliant BTW).


I thought the S-Bound "Nordic rocker" was just a marketing name for what happens when you weight the ski into an arc, not any kind of a true rocker in the tip. Am I wrong about that?

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From what I can tell comparing the Madshus skis to the Fischers, yes... they look identical. When you flatten a ski with camber the contact point at the tip moves back and raises up slightly. I didn't measure it precisely between the two, but if it is different, it's like mm of difference i.e. very, very small.

I'm under the impression myself that Fischer's S Bounds always had this attribute and they decided to capitalize on it. One thing I don't like about Fischer is that they seem to put all these fancy names for simple, ordinary things on their skis to try to make them sound better or different. In fact their skis do sometimes have attributes that make them better or different, but they aren't easily translated until you actually ski them.

Fact of the matter is that they (and Madshus/Karhu) have been selling the same skis for over a decade with only slight changes. Fischer has been fattening the line and has honestly made major strides in their scale technology, but all the other stuff seems to me to be smoke. Madshus doesn't bake any of this into their skis, but they haven't really done anything other than integrate the Omni scale pattern, which actually kind of sucks. They've apparently softened and taken some camber out of them over the years, and removed wax models, but Fischer has done the same (even dropped some of their weirder models).

The whole air core thing is a bit of a joke to me. Even with the air core, the Fischer skis weigh more than skis that have solid cores (Madshus and Asnes) of similar dimensions. They also have very, very thin edges to reduce weight compared to Asnes. Fischers do tend to be the stiffest in bending and torsion, so to me that says they use more glass and is probably why despite the hollow core, they are heavier.

Sorry to get off on a tangent, but there isn't much development in this sector of skiing. I think they throw a few bucks at it every year to design new top sheets or improve scales, etc... but mostly it's milking the same low volume, low profit line that they've had for years. It only makes sense, all the money is in resort or race skis, either in XC or DH. We're small potatoes.

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Re: 2016-17 Madshus Skis

Postby lilcliffy » Tue Oct 18, 2016 2:25 pm

rongon wrote:
I don't mean true rocker for a ski like the Eon- I mean something more like Ficher's "Nordic rocker" (which I think is brilliant BTW).


I thought the S-Bound "Nordic rocker" was just a marketing name for what happens when you weight the ski into an arc, not any kind of a true rocker in the tip. Am I wrong about that?

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I was falsely under this impression as well...

But- I have discovered it is a real thing.

You are certainly correct- it is not the same thing as true rocker (i.e. reverse camber).

I have both the current E-99 and E-109 with "Nordic rocker". Like a trad XC ski both of these skis have no rocker. But- when you compress the camber, the tips open up considerably. This is not a traditional characteristic in a XC ski- at all. And on a hard-groomed XC track it would not be an advantage at all- in fact, it would significantly reduce the glide surface/length of the ski, during the glide phase. On fresh, backcountry, ungroomed snow, the opening of those tips may not shorten the glide surface/length at all. And- I would assume that the tips opening during the glide phase, should facilitate trail breaking in fresh snow...They should certainly improve downhill turn initiation- especially on fresh snow.

The current Madshus XCD line (i.e. last gen Karhu XCDs)- IMO- does not have "Nordic rocker". The UTE test describes the Eon as having 10cm of true tip rocker- I will have to take their word for it- I do think I see it- but if these skis have rockered tips, it is VERY slight. Regardless- if I compress any of my Madshus/Karhu XCDs the tips do not open up as much as the current Fischers with "Nordic rocker". IMO- "Nordic rocker" really is a real thing. IME- the Madshus/Karhu XCDs "feel" like they have "open" tips because the tip flex-pattern is so soft and flexible. IME/IMO- this also causes them to perform very poorly downhill on hard/dense snow. The Eon feels the most torsionally rigid of the three, but only because it is narrower. The Annum/Guide bucks and twists all over the place when I try and hold it on edge on hard/dense snow, especially at speed.

I have no doubt that "Nordic rocker" will facilitate downhill turn initiation- and climbing as well.

I am confident that Nordic rocker would negatively affect the glide phase of classic K&G on a hard, groomed track (which is no problem for a BC ski!)

I don't know how Nordic rocker will affect the glide phase on fresh, ungroomed snow...The tips on the E-99/E-109 are moderately stiff (certainly stiffer than the Madshus)- the opened tips should still carry a glide surface on fresh snow.

An example of a completely different approach to this is the current Asnes Ingstad/Combat Nato (I have the 210cm). This ski has neither a rockered tip, nor "Nordic rocker" and the tips are significantly stiffer than the E-109 (the E-109 is more cambered and stiffer underfoot). Compressed on a hard surface, my 210cm Combat Natos have at least 20cm more glide surface than my 210cm E-99s...In certain XC contexts, the Ingstad could be an even faster XC ski than the E-99- despite it being wider! The Ingstad/Combat has stiff, broad, elongated and raised tips (they are beautiful actually)- this is a very traditional approach to breaking trail through deep snow- and it certainly works. I am keen to compare what approach is more effective at breaking trail- low profile tip with "Nordic rocker" (E-109)- or broad, elongated tip (Ingstad)?
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Re: 2016-17 Madshus Skis

Postby lilcliffy » Tue Oct 18, 2016 2:59 pm

MikeK wrote:From what I can tell comparing the Madshus skis to the Fischers, yes... they look identical. When you flatten a ski with camber the contact point at the tip moves back and raises up slightly. I didn't measure it precisely between the two, but if it is different, it's like mm of difference i.e. very, very small.


Used to think this...but I was actually almost shocked how much my E-99/E-109 tips open up when I compress the camber. Perhaps this is a product of the current E-99/E-109 being a complete redesign? It at least appears that the S-78/S-88/S-98 are identical to previous design cycles of S-Bounds- so, perhaps that is why the "Nordic rocker" is less pronounced? I don't know- I don't own any of the current S-Bounds- have only tested them several years ago...

How does your S-78 compare to your Eon? Do the tips of the S-78 open up when you compress the camber?

My Eons are slightly open (rockered) and they do not open up significantly when I compress the camber (all of our family's Madshus Karhu XCDs are alike in this respect). The Eon's tip is very soft though- much softer than my E-109. The Combat Nato tip is even stiffer than the E-109.

I'm under the impression myself that Fischer's S Bounds always had this attribute and they decided to capitalize on it.

This may be true- not sure- but the current E-99/E-109 definitely have a pronounced "Nordic rocker"- which the previous generation definitely did NOT have.

One thing I don't like about Fischer is that they seem to put all these fancy names for simple, ordinary things on their skis to try to make them sound better or different.

My perspective is that Fischer seems to be focusing on performance and reducing manufacturing costs- which have come at the loss of durability and longevity. I am confident that the current E-99/E-109 perform better than the previous generation. It is clear- from user reports- that they are not as durable as the previous generation.

Madshus doesn't bake any of this into their skis, but they haven't really done anything other than integrate the Omni scale pattern, which actually kind of sucks.

The current Madshus XCDs are exact carbon copies of the last generation Karhu XCDs.

They also have very, very thin edges to reduce weight compared to Asnes.

I wonder if this is primarily to reduce weight, or manufacturing costs...

Fischers do tend to be the stiffest in bending and torsion, so to me that says they use more glass and is probably why despite the hollow core, they are heavier.

Torsionally- how do your Ingstads flex compared to your S-78?
My Combat Natos feel torsionally stiffer than the E-109; but, the E-109 feels more cambered and stiffer underfoot.

but there isn't much development in this sector of skiing. I think they throw a few bucks at it every year to design new top sheets or improve scales, etc... but mostly it's milking the same low volume, low profit line that they've had for years. It only makes sense, all the money is in resort or race skis, either in XC or DH. We're small potatoes.


It is certainly small potatoes in the North American market...I still CANNOT believe one can no longer buy an E-99 with a waxable base in the US!!!? The fact that enough Canadians buy waxable makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside (BUT it likely has as much to do with climate and snow conditions as skier habits ;) )

BUT- here's the thing- perhaps when it comes to true backcountry, off-track, Nordic cross-country and downhill skiing technology- there is not a whole lot of innovation left to pursue in a fundamental sense...We are talking about a technology that is fundamentally thousands and thousands of years old...

When I look at the tips of my new E-99/E-109 opening up when I compress the camber, I recognize some very real potential innovation. It will certainly facilitate climbing/turning. But is it better for breaking trail than an old-school, broad, raised elongated tip?

Check out the trail-breaking tips on these traditional, non-rockered skis!
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Re: 2016-17 Madshus Skis

Postby MikeK » Tue Oct 18, 2016 3:25 pm

lilcliffy wrote:
Used to think this...but I was actually almost shocked how much my E-99/E-109 tips open up when I compress the camber. Perhaps this is a product of the current E-99/E-109 being a complete redesign? It at least appears that the S-78/S-88/S-98 are identical to previous design cycles of S-Bounds- so, perhaps that is why the "Nordic rocker" is less pronounced? I don't know- I don't own any of the current S-Bounds- have only tested them several years ago...

How does your S-78 compare to your Eon? Do the tips of the S-78 open up when you compress the camber?

My Eons are slightly open (rockered) and they do not open up significantly when I compress the camber (all of our family's Madshus Karhu XCDs are alike in this respect). The Eon's tip is very soft though- much softer than my E-109. The Combat Nato tip is even stiffer than the E-109.


The only ones I compared very closely were the S98 vs the Epoch. I've handled the other and flexed them a fair bit but I didn't get down on the floor with them side by side like I did with those two.

I really didn't see much difference. They both rockered more when I compressed the camber, and it was only a few mm. The contact point shifted back, but perhaps it does shift more on the S Bound (Fischer claims 5/10 - 5mm rise, 10cm rocker).

lilcliffy wrote:This may be true- not sure- but the current E-99/E-109 definitely have a pronounced "Nordic rocker"- which the previous generation definitely did NOT have.


I wish I still had some E99s - I'll check some other skis, but I'm under the impression that every cambered ski does this to some degree. The exact amount of 5/10 that Fischer claims may be way more than some skis do.

lilcliffy wrote:My perspective is that Fischer seems to be focusing on performance and reducing manufacturing costs- which have come at the loss of durability and longevity. I am confident that the current E-99/E-109 perform better than the previous generation. It is clear- from user reports- that they are not as durable as the previous generation.


That is probably the case. I don't see how they are any less costly than previous generation Fischers I've owned. I'm sure having their manufacturing in Europe hurts them in comparison to Madshus who manufactures in China.

lilcliffy wrote:The current Madshus XCDs are exact carbon copies of the last generation Karhu XCDs.


Correct - I was referring to the older generation Karhus which had different camber(s) and scale pattern (the old one's I've seen have just a plain-jane traditional fish scale).


lilcliffy wrote:I wonder if this is primarily to reduce weight, or manufacturing costs...


Probably a bit of both. Steel is pretty cheap, so I'd expect is more along the lines of saving mass.

lilcliffy wrote:Torsionally- how do your Ingstads flex compared to your S-78?
My Combat Natos feel torsionally stiffer than the E-109; but, the E-109 feels more cambered and stiffer underfoot.


I thought the Fischers felt stiffest all around, but I'll check again.

lilcliffy wrote:It is certainly small potatoes in the North American market...I still CANNOT believe one can no longer buy an E-99 with a waxable base in the US!!!? The fact that enough Canadians buy waxable makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside (BUT it likely has as much to do with climate and snow conditions as skier habits ;) )

BUT- here's the thing- perhaps when it comes to true backcountry, off-track, Nordic cross-country and downhill skiing technology- there is not a whole lot of innovation left to pursue in a fundamental sense...We are talking about a technology that is fundamentally thousands and thousands of years old...

When I look at the tips of my new E-99/E-109 opening up when I compress the camber, I recognize some very real potential innovation. It will certainly facilitate climbing/turning. But is it better for breaking trail than an old-school, broad, raised elongated tip?


I think climate change will definitely help the fishscale market. I hope to get a few good wax days to do some learning and get a feel for the difference. It's really just a lost memory now.

Perhaps it's just the engineer in me, but I don't see any huge revolutions for this type of skiing. JL seems to think different, and it's just his nature, but beyond a certain level of weight reduction, I don't know what else there is? 1000s of years of ski making has put us here and in recent years, this whole big-mountain powder ski has "revolutionized" skiing, although that's not really a new technology. It's just we have the material science now to make big huge fat boards with curved tips that are fairly torsionally stiff and fairly light.

If you talk to anyone in mechanical engineering they will tell you everything has been thought of 100 years ago, just we never had the material or manufacturing to make it reality. It's fairly true, and skiing is no exception.

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Re: 2016-17 Madshus Skis

Postby MikeK » Tue Oct 18, 2016 5:58 pm

OK - I'm on board with the Nordic Rocker. There is a difference.

I can't really see it with the ski on the ground because it's not much, but if you hold the S Bounds base-to-base, you will see that they open up much longer than any other ski.

All my skis do this. The more camber they have, the more the tips rise, generally. The contact point where the tip turns up also moves backward. I would say most skis are about 2-5cm when held base-to-base and compressed. The S Bounds do look to be about 10cm. It's a very, very small gap though. Like 1mm, so it's not a heavy rocker.

So here was my thought all along - all skis with camber raise the tips and shift the contact point to add rocker when compressed. The difference in the S Bound is how much. As stated above, it is longer. So I was missing that... point taken ;)

Perhaps there really is something to it and it does help the skis initiate better. They do really feel that way. And perhaps that's why they feel like they "carve" a tighter arc than their sidecut radius suggests.

As far as the Eon, I don't see any rocker on the pair I have. Not any rocker beyond the way the tips are shaped on the Epoch as well. I do see what you mean though. They do have a much larger radius into where they contact and they do appear to contact a little further back than the S78 or Ingstad, I'd say 2-3cm on the skis I have.

As far as torsional stiffness of the tips, my calibrated hand says the S Bounds are by far the stiffest. I can barely even get any twist out of them. The Eon and Ingstad are pretty close. If you grab too far up the shovel the Ingstad feel less stiff (the actual tip is really thin), but near where the effective length is it gets thick and really stiff.

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Re: Fischer Nordic Rocker

Postby MikeK » Wed Oct 19, 2016 9:12 am

This should be its own topic.

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Re: Fischer Nordic Rocker

Postby lilcliffy » Wed Oct 19, 2016 10:15 pm

Ha! You beat me to this Mike! I was going to start a new thread regarding "Nordic rocker"- thanks for moving our conversation here to begin it!

I will take some photos of the Nordic rocker on my new E-99s and E-109s this weekend.
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Re: Fischer Nordic Rocker

Postby lilcliffy » Sat Oct 22, 2016 1:48 pm

Well- I tried to take some photos of a number of my skis to illustrate the presence or absence of "Nordic rocker". The photos did not turn out- very difficult to see it....I will try it again at some point on a dark background.

First of all- what is "Nordic rocker"?

Starting with what it is not- "Nordic rocker" is not the same thing as rocker. A rockered profile is the opposite of a cambered profile. And although some Nordic skis do have a truly rockered tip- skis with "Nordic rocker" have a traditional full-length cambered profile (i.e. the unweighted contact points are at the tip and tail).

A fully rockered ski would offer zero true Nordic "kick" and would be extremely inefficient as a XC ski.

A Nordic ski with a truly rockered tip gives up some kick and glide efficiency in exchange for "early tip rise" (i.e. causes the tip to rise towards the surface of the snow). Early tip rise facilitates a number of things including trail-breaking in deep, soft snow; downhill turn initiation; and uphill climbing.

Traditional Nordic skis have a full-length camber for a number of good reasons- not the least of which is to maximize the glide length/surface during the glide phase of classic kick & glide XC skiing.

A ski with "Nordic rocker" appears to have a traditional Nordic camber profile- with no tip rocker. However- when a ski with Nordic rocker is fully weighted (i.e. the camber is fully compressed), the most forward contact point of the ski moves back and the tips open up (i.e. appear "rockered").

I have been examing the tips- both weighted and unweighted-of a number of my BC Nordic skis:

1) 2006-2009 Madshus Eon: no Nordic rocker
2) 2001-2013 Karhu XCD 10th Mtn/Madshus Epoch: no Nordic rocker
3) 2001-2013 Karhu XCD Guide/Madshus Annum: no Nordic rocker
4) 2015 Asnes Combat Nato/Ingstad: no Nordic rocker
5) 2015 Fischer E-99: considerable Nordic rocker
6) 2015 Fischer E-109: considerable Nordic rocker

Fischer claims that the current S-Bounds all have Nordic rocker. I have not tested any of them in several years. Would be great to hear from other skiers with S-Bounds and get their observations regarding Nordic rocker.

I was actually surprised by how much my E-99/E-109 tips open up once they are weighted. (BTW both of these skis open up at least twice as much as the 10cm shown in Fischer's diagram below).

Both the E-99 and the E-109 are cambered like a classic XC ski- but the opening of the tips is very different from any BC-XC ski I have ever owned. I will be skiing on them this winter and will be able to compare them to my other skis that do not have "Nordic rocker".

I expect that the "Nordic rocker" will definitely facilitate turn initiation and uphill climbing. It should also facilitate early tip rise during the glide phase of classic K&G XC skiing.

I don't know how Nordic rocker will affect the glide surface/length of the ski when XC skiing...The tips of both of these skis are fairly stiff- I don't expect it to have a negative impact when XC skiing on deep, soft snow (i.e. the open tips should still offer a firm glide surface on soft, uneven snow). In fact, the early tip rise could offer some greater trail breaking efficiency.

I am particularly interested in comparing the E-109 against the Combat Nato/Ingstad. The flex pattern of these skis is slightly different to begin with; the Ingstad has a traditional Nordic cambered profile (i.e. no tip rocker; no Nordic rocker); the Ingstad has much broader, raised, elongated, tip.

The idea of adding either true rocker or, Nordic rocker to a backcountry Nordic ski- intended for deep, soft snow- opens up some very exciting possibilities. For example, ski manufacturers have been building BC Nordic skis with significant sidecut for some time- to offer a tighter turning radius. While this is awesome for turning on a dense base, it can make for a "squirrely" XC glide, and it can also significantly reduce surface area/flotation on narrow and mid-width skis. What about taking a mid-width Nordic ski, add tip rocker (or Nordic rocker), but reduce the sidecut. A ski with this design would have a longer turning radius- than a similar ski with more sidecut- but it would track straighter, offer more flotation, still offer decent turn initiation, and should still be manoeuvrable on soft snow.

I think that Fischer's Nordic rocker is very cool, and a truly innovative idea. Looking forward to putting it to the test this winter!

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Re: Fischer Nordic Rocker

Postby Johnny » Sat Oct 22, 2016 3:18 pm

Great thread!

My 2016 S98s do have Nordic camber too... They don't open a lot but just enough to notice... I would love to see them open just a bit more... But still... Honestly, they are the most easy XCD ski to turn I have every tried. On harder snow, the Nordic camber makes them turn very, very easily, while still staying on edge when needed. On fluffy stuff, maneuverability is unbeatable, but I find them just a bit too stiff for pure powder...
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