Fischer S Bound 98 and Madshus Epoch

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MikeK
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Re: Fischer S Bound 98 and Madshus Epoch

Postby MikeK » Thu Jan 15, 2015 10:05 pm

Wow - thanks for the info lilcliffy. That's good stuff.

Did you notice any difference in the gliding characteristics (tracking aside) between the two line-ups? It seems to me the Fischers feel more glidey, yet a bit squirelly sometimes for kick and glide - it's not really an issue in deep snow. I had guessed it was a function of the Fischer being a bit stiffer in it's flex than the Madshus.

On another note, I failed to mention how these guys climb. I think both are awesome. It's much easier to set the single camber on each step than a double cambered ski when going up. It may also be the scale design as well. Both seem very proficient and climbing stuff steeper than I think I could without ever resorting to a herringbone as with a traditional xc ski.

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lilcliffy
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Re: Fischer S Bound 98 and Madshus Epoch

Postby lilcliffy » Thu Jan 15, 2015 10:32 pm

MikeK wrote:Wow - thanks for the info lilcliffy. That's good stuff.

Did you not any difference in the gliding characteristics (tracking aside) between the two line-ups? It seems to me the Fischers feel more glidey, yet a bit squirelly sometimes for kick and glide - it's not really an issue in deep snow. I had guessed it was a function of the Fischer being a bit stiffer in it's flex than the Madshus.

On another note, I failed to mention how these guys climb. I think both are awesome. It's much easier to set the single camber on each step than a double cambered ski when going up. It may also be the scale design as well. Both seem very proficient and climbing stuff steeper than I think I could without ever resorting to a herringbone as with a traditional xc ski.


We/I have noticed that the Fischers seem to glide a bit more smoothly- not exactly sure why this is- perhaps it is a complex of factors. This seems to feel more noticeable when I am on a downhill run than on the flats. I do find that the Karhu/Madshus' have more grip- at least in the kick and glide (as you mentioned- uphill traction has as much to do with camber/flex as traction design). Perhaps the waxless pattern on the Karhu/Madshus is balanced towards classic kick and glide performance- the Fischers perhaps balanced a bit towards climbing and gliding efficiency?

Regardless- because of the better grip under foot in the kick and glide- I find the Karhu/Madshus' perform better as a xcountry ski.

Your mention of the Fischers feeling "squirrely" in the kick and glide is an excellent way to describe it- I believe that this is the product of the parabolic shape. As an example of this- my wife and I ended up once on a snowmobile track on the backside of Mount Valin (Saguenay, QC)- after playing around in powder all afternoon at the top of the Mount in the Vallee-des-Phantomes. Between the two of us we had a pair of Karhu XCD guides (195cm) and Fischer S-Bound 112 (189cm). The S-Bounds were fantastic climbing and turning up in the deep powder- they tracked reasonably well in deep fresh snow on the flats- but they were a nightmare on the snowmobile track- they absolutely would not track straight! After over 10 hours of climbing, turning (repeat! repeat!) and striding- my wife and I ended up having to trade the Karhu and S-Bounds back and forth a few times on the way out- just to offer temporary relief of frustration from the "squirrely" behavior of the S-Bounds. The S-Bound 112 did offer some significantly better downhill performance- but I would pick the XCD Guide/Annum over the S-Bound 112 for a true backcountry tour.
The pursuit of XCD balance: cross-country AND down-hill skiing in the backcountry

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MikeK
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Re: Fischer S Bound 98 and Madshus Epoch

Postby MikeK » Fri Jan 16, 2015 11:55 am

Well lilcliffy, thanks again.

And it's great to hear about you and your wife skiing these together, because my wife and I do the same. She's been on the Epochs and doesn't have much interest in trying the S bounds but so far she doesn't have any complaint. Because she's doing snowplow/stem/parallel turns mostly just to control her speed, I doubt the turning ability difference matters much to her.

Eventually I'd like to have the whole compliment of xcd skis but so far I've found I can cover most cases with just a 'fatter' ski and a 'skinny' ski. Having something like the Eon or the S bound 88 might be a bit redundant, and just fun to have just because.

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lilcliffy
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Re: Fischer S Bound 98 and Madshus Epoch

Postby lilcliffy » Sat Jan 17, 2015 9:33 pm

Hey MikeK,'

I have tested the full compliment of XCD skis because of my somewhat large family (wife and 4 children) and some close friends that are testing similar equipment. In particular, I have a friend that is a life-long avid skier (50+ years at alpine, telemark and xcountry) that is a SERIOUS gearhead and has always been willing to lend me equipment to test.

I have borrowed some of his S-Bounds and Karhu XCDs many times over the last decade.

In the end, I have settled on the Madshus XCD lineup as my "XCD" skis- although I love downhill, tele runs- I am unwilling to sacrifice touring efficiency for downhill performance. For my use- the Karhu/Madshus XCD lineup provides the best balance- favoring the flats a bit over the downhill.

I am skiing regularly on the Eon and the Annum (same as my wife). My son prefers the Epoch over the Annum (but he is lighter than me). My daughter prefers the Eon over them all (she's a twig!)- she uses the Eon in all conditions.

The Eon/XCD GT is an interesting ski- very popular. I am currently using it as my off-trail cruising ski. I currently am on the waxless version for some reason- I would prefer the waxable for my typical use- speed/glide. The funny thing is- I ended up relying on the Eon as a replacement for a longer (210cm) narrower (60mm shovel), double-camber, backcountry Karhu ski that broke several years ago. Honestly, I have never been crazy about the Eon as a narrow backcountry-xcountry cruising ski.

My next acquisition is a long, waxable, off-trail ski. Been considering the Eon, 205cm, waxable. But- am also looking at classic double-cambered skis like the Madshus Voss, and the Fischer Backcountry lineup (e.g. E89, E99, E109). Also considering the Madshus Glittertind- though of all these skis- I have never tried the Glittertind!

You mentioned a "fatter" ski (I am assuming this is the Epoch, and S-Bound 98)- but what is your current "skinny" ski?
The pursuit of XCD balance: cross-country AND down-hill skiing in the backcountry

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MikeK
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Re: Fischer S Bound 98 and Madshus Epoch

Postby MikeK » Sat Jan 17, 2015 9:45 pm

So much I want to say, but I'll keep it brief:

My skinny ski is a 200cm Glittertind, waxless. My wife uses a 190cm E99, waxless.

I've had some thoughts of getting some wax versions of the Glittertind and possibly an Eon for a faster kick and glide - I can cruise pretty fast with the Glittertind if I'm motivated to - it's as fast as any other waxless xc ski I've been on (I've read some people complain it turns like crud and doesn't glide, but I disagree). I like it the best in soft powder for descents (I mean who wouldn't?)... it can be a little hairy in rougher conditions (I just need to learn to ski better).

Like you, I don't much like the skinny skis for breaking through deep, fresh snow - I'd much rather use the S bound 98. I have a pair of Annums as well - those were purchased primarily with the intent of skiing downhill/tele rather than touring.

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Re: Fischer S Bound 98 and Madshus Epoch

Postby lilcliffy » Sat Jan 17, 2015 9:57 pm

Cool...what is your perspective on the E99 versus the Glittertind? The profile is very close- but what about the camber/flex? My experience with the Fischer Backcountry lineup (i.e. E99) is that they are classic, stiff, double-cambered off-trail xcountry skis. My impression of the Glittertind is the same as the E99, but I have never tried it- your thoughts?
The pursuit of XCD balance: cross-country AND down-hill skiing in the backcountry

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MikeK
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Re: Fischer S Bound 98 and Madshus Epoch

Postby MikeK » Sat Jan 17, 2015 10:49 pm

Oh they are definitely different.

The years we have the profile is identical, I think some of the newer E99s got a little thinner?

Flex is night and day different though. The Glittertinds are very, very soft. Literally you could flick the tip and it goes into an oscillation. The flex isn't perfectly round though, you still get a flat spot in the center over the 'wax' pocket. The E99 is similar in it's flex, it's just a bit stiffer both tip and tail.

They both have a true double camber. You can feel if you push them together. The Glitts feel quite soft until that last 1/2 to 1/4" and they are stiff. E99 is the same, only slightly more effort. Neither feel like a true traditional xc touring ski though.

To put in perspective maybe I feel like they are actually like the S bound 98 vs the Epoch in that respect. The difference in stiffness is comparable to the difference between those two.

Oddly enough, I don't find the Glittertind all that slow to tour with. The E99 is perhaps a bit quicker, but if it is, not enough to write home about. I can't tell you for sure because of the difference in length between what we have. I'm sure a wax version would be a big improvement although I think Fischer dropped the wax E99 from the North American market.

Now I don't know what the current offerings are, but our E99s have sintered bases, a clear improvement over the Glittertinds which I believe, like all the Madshus xcd skis, are extruded.

It looks as though the S bounds are a hybrid? Is that possible? The scales looks sintered but the flats look like the Madshus bases. I tried to find some info on Fischers site but it was unclear.

For kick and glide I find either of these skis nice to ski on in about up to 6" of snow over a base - more than that and I wish I had something wider. They also do quite nice in groomed tracks. They are right at the limit of what will fit.

Downhill neither are turny at all. I'm not very good at any kind of telemark in packed snow, I seem to just skid all over trying to put enough pressure on them to flex - stem christie skids seems much easier for me. In deep snow, I feel it's the opposite... then there is actually enough give to let them flex and side support to keep them from wiggling all over. Deep wet snow you are in trouble again - they just seem impossible... jump or step turn.

I'm sure a good skier could get them through most anything - it's just practice. The Glittertind is probably the slightly better choice as an xcd ski just because of it's additional softness.

As far as climbing, I feel they are comparable. Neither pattern is at good as climbing as the single camber xcd brethren. You really have to stomp these down in cold conditions to get a set. The pattern itself isn't as long, and you have to fight that double camber. But I suppose they didn't figure anyone was going to be climbing or descending anything as steep as one might with the wider xcd skis.

Both are super light - I'd think they'd be about identical but I've not measured. It's one of the best attributes of a ski like this. It feels like almost nothing on the foot.

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MikeK
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Re: Fischer S Bound 98 and Madshus Epoch

Postby MikeK » Sun Jan 18, 2015 8:47 pm

lilcliffy - one more thing I found out about the E99 we have.

My wife was skiing these today and it was quite warm, about 37°F. We skied in groomed tracks and in the morning we were on a lesser used area, and she was fine. Later in the day we went to very popular trail that had been skied hard all day and packed to almost ice (not really ice as it was above freezing). She started complaining that she couldn't get any grip to kick and I could see she was slipping all over.

I kept pestering her to switch because I was having no issues. When she finally did I found out it really was the skis. The waxless pattern on them was getting no grip on this particular surface.

Most of the time they have been pretty good, or so she says... but this made me wonder if there were other times she was struggling and it was just the pattern failing to grip.

So if you ever were looking into a waxless ski, this and this alone would lead me to believe that the Glittertind has a slightly superior pattern. Of course Fischer is always changing these, so maybe their newest offering are better.

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lilcliffy
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Re: Fischer S Bound 98 and Madshus Epoch

Postby lilcliffy » Sun Jan 18, 2015 10:58 pm

MikeK,

Thanks for the great info man.

I wonder if the fact that the E99 is stiffer, is a contributing factor with the lack of traction on hard, frozen snow?

Is the waxless pattern on the Glittertind the same as the XCD line (Eon, Epoch, Annum)? I have always been very impressed with Karhu's progressive waxless pattern- which is identical on the Madshus XCDs. As far as the kick and glide phase; IME, the Madshus/Karhu XCDs outperform the Fischer S-Bounds- but this likely a result of a complex of factors.

On the other hand- I am looking at a waxable ski for my next acquisition- which is a totally different traction scenario. By the way- I can get the Fischer E99 waxable ("tour" model) from the dealer in Fredericton- very expensive! The Glittertind is much better value.

I agree with your comment that neither of these skis are as stiff as a classic double-cambered xcountry touring ski (i.e. primarily designed for groomed track).

However- the Fischer Backcountry line (i.e. E99) are what I would call traditional double-cambered off-trail/backcountry xcountry skis (as opposed to the softer, 1.5 and single-cambered XCD skis). I have been under the assumption that the Glittertind is in this trad category as well...

What do you think? Would you place the Glittertind in the traditional camp? Or is the Glittertind more a little brother of the Eon? Or- does the Glittertind occupy its own category in between the traditional double-camber, and the soft XCD group?

In the end- what I want is a traditional double-cambered backcountry-xcountry ski- for fast backcountry cruising. IME the performance advantages of grip waxing increase with camber. In other words- on hard, icy snow, perhaps the waxless pattern of the E99 does not get enough surface area contact because of the stiff double camber (and would perform better with appropriate grip wax). On the other hand- perhaps the Glittertind is just as cambered- but simply has a better waxless traction design?

Your experience with the performance up to 6" of powder makes sense to me. IME the Eon is efficient up to about 10" of powder. Beyond that the Annum completely blows it out of the water. I can literally fly through deep, soft snow on the Annum- especially with my 195cm Annums, with the NNNBC setup. The complex of fat shovel, soft flex/camber, width under foot, and relatively straight tail- make the Annum, IMO, the ultimate stride and glide xcountry ski, in deep, soft snow.

The Eon in a 205cm, waxable interests me- but I'm not sure why. It has too little camber to truly take advantage of a wax pocket. The only advantage would be the performance flexibility of grip wax. I would love to test the Eon, 205cm, against the Fischer E109, 205/210cm in a variety of snow/temperature conditions- totally different skis.

Traditionalists are adamant that soft, 1.5 and single-cambered XCD skis are too inefficient for xcountry skiing- that they are more properly telemark skis. I myself, for many a year, used the Annum/Guide exclusively as a telemark ski with 3pc bindings. But I eventually got fed up with the poor performance of trad double-cambered skis in deep, soft snow- and decided to try using the softer XCD skis in the pow. I cannot believe the performance.

However- I do need a backcountry-xcountry ski for cruising on hard, dense snow. We get a lot of snow in central New Brunswick. The temperature and snow conditions can change constantly however- unfortunately "requiring" a range of skis to choose from (I say "requiring" with humility because my wife (and others) think I am bit obsessed with performance).

I am actually seriously considering either the Madshus Voss, 210cm, waxable, or the Fischer E89, 210cm waxable. I have tried both. Both super fast on dense or hard snow. Again, the E89 is stiffer- but the Voss still has the full double camber. The Voss is softer in the tip and tail than the E89. In general the Voss seems more "forgiving" than the E89 and better suited to truly off-trail skiing. (sound a bit like your comparison between the Glittertind and E99?) The E89 is also MUCH more expensive than the Voss.
The pursuit of XCD balance: cross-country AND down-hill skiing in the backcountry

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CIMA
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Re: Fischer S Bound 98 and Madshus Epoch

Postby CIMA » Mon Jan 19, 2015 1:31 am

You two guys have done a great job!

The discussion here seems very interesting as myself an owner of S-bound 88, E109 waxless and Glittertind MGV+. I mounted SNS-BC bindings on all of them.
Though E109 and Glittertind are new additions for me and haven't been tested yet, your information is good enough for me imagine the performance of kick & glide.

Since I'm rather a serious XCD downhiller, I'd like to comment on downhill side later in a couple of months. I expect E109 and Glittertind will be good for crud and consolidate snow in spring.

As for downhill performance, I prefer S-bound 88 to Epoch. Though Epoch has slightly wider sidecut in tip and looks advantageous on powder, I prefer stiffer camber of S-bound 88 because it enabled stabler ride to cut through sudden changes of terrain. In addition that camber strength of S-bound gives me a feeling as if I were bouncing on the bed.
powder skiing on SNS/Outtabounds Crown
That is fun!
I don't have compelling reasons for upgrading wider skis like S-bound 98 or Annum for powder. Those would be a little overkill considering the softness of boots.

BTW, if I go for a long walk-oriented tour in mid winter, I would pick E109 or Eon.
The flowing river never stops and yet the water never stays the same.


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