The ever-so-popular Madshus Eon

Real reviews by real skiers. What a concept! Add your own today. Reviews only please, questions can be posted as replies but new threads looking for opinions should be posted to the main Telemark Talk Forum.
User avatar
lilcliffy
Posts: 1137
Joined: Thu Jan 01, 2015 7:20 pm
Location: Stanley, New Brunswick, Canada

The ever-so-popular Madshus Eon

Postby lilcliffy » Sat Feb 07, 2015 10:31 pm

What follows is my review of the Madshus Eon/Karhu XCD GT. My current pair of Eons is a 205cm, with a waxless base (although I keep feeling that I wish I had got a waxable base).

(I apologize if I end up annoying anyone by blabbering on about stuff you already know about this ski! I thought I might be able to offer my own perspective, and stimulate a discussion about the Eon/XCD GT)

The Madshus Eon is the replacement for the last generation Karhu XCD GT (the two are essentially identical). With an 83-62-70mm profile; the Eon is a mid-width 1.5-cambered xcountry ski. The “XCD” stands for “xcountry-downhill”. These skis are hybrid xcountry-telemark skis- designed to offer a balance between off-track xcountry touring, and downhill-turning performance. To my knowledge, in the North American market, there are few hybrid xcountry-telemark skis available in a comparable profile. The Fischer S-Bound 78 & 88 (which I have tested) are similar in design and intent.

The Eon is an ideal XCD ski on dense, and/or hard snow up to about 12 inches of powder. IME, once the pow get deeper than a foot- the Eon does not offer as much flotation as I would like. Increasingly people are using the Eon as a recreational off-trail xcountry ski. The Eon is extremely forgiving- with 1.5-camber under foot, and relatively soft tips/tails- it does not require as much skill and effort as a more traditional double-cambered backcountry-xcountry ski.

Here is a brief summary of the Eon specs:
• 83-62-70mm profile
• Progressive sidecut, with a relatively straight tail
• Full-length metal edges
• 1.5-cambered
• Relatively soft tips/tails (from a classic xcountry ski perspective)
• Waxless base under foot (Karhu’s “Omnitrack”); or a waxable base
• Traditional xcountry track groove
The Eon comes in lengths up to 205cm; and in Waxless or waxable bases. I currently have the Waxless base (but wish I had got the waxable base instead!)

IME/IMO the Eon seems to shine in two relatively specific conditions:
1. Telemark skiing on a relatively hard base
2. Xcountry skiing on up to a foot of powder (over a hard base)

The Eon is relatively “narrow” (compared to contemporary hybrid XCD skis), and fairly torsionally rigid- I have been able to stride through some effective telemark turns on this ski- even with relatively light-duty boots. As a xcountry ski I find the Eon as a merely adequate performer. (I do understand why so many people love this ski) I find myself yearning for more grip (waxable base), and more snap (double camber). (I have briefly tested the current Fischer E109 (82-60-70mm), a trad double-cambered backcountry-xcountry ski. IMO the E109 would outperform the Eon as xcountry ski- the Eon would be easier to turn). As far as traction; the Karhu “Omnitrack” waxless design offers excellent performance in ungroomed snow. The grip is lacking on very cold and hard snow (this is a universal problem with all waxless traction )- this is where grip wax will outperform the waxless.

I would love to rigorously test the Eon and E109, at a similar length and base!

No matter what, as a xcountry ski; the Eon is not a great performer in deep, soft snow.

I have 205cm Eons (waxless) in a NNNBC Magnum setup with Alpina Alaska boots. The Eon is a highly versatile backcountry-xcountry ski. However; when the snow is deep and soft- I leave it in the shed!

I have rigorously tested the Karhu XCD GT (195cm/83-62-70mm) against the Fischer S-Bound 78 (199cm/78-61-69mm) and the Fischer S-Bound 88 (189cm/88-68-78mm) Here are my current observations/conclusions:
• Both of the S-Bounds climb more efficiently than the Eon.
• Both of the S-Bounds turn more efficiently than the Eon, in a carved downhill turn.
• The Eon has better traction than the S-Bounds, in kick and glide xcountry striding.
• The Eon seems to track straighter than the S-Bounds.
• The Eon feels a bit snappier under foot than the S-78 & S-88.
These impressions are very similar to my comparative tests of the other S-Bounds and Madshus XCDs. The Madshus/Karhu XCDs seem to have a balance of performance weighted a little more towards xcountry touring (perhaps a legacy of their Finnish designers?). The S-Bounds seem to have a balance of performance weighted a little more towards climbing and downhill turning (perhaps a legacy of their Austrian designers?).

For a few years now my everyday choice in fresh snow has been a 205cm Madshus Eon/Karhu XCD GT (83-62-70mm) with NNNBC bindings. I have always been very pleased with the Eon, especially when I manage to maintain my own backcountry "track." I have never been thrilled with the Eon when I am breaking trail- especially through deep snow.

As a primarily touring-focused XCD ski- I am using the Eon with a NNNBC-Magnum binding. (IME/IMO) NNNBC binding/boot systems offer much more efficient classic xcountry performance (i.e. stride and glide) than 75mm- allowing the complete extension of the Nordic stride.

For my everyday skiing- rolling terrain with only the occasional steep descent and climb- I much prefer the NNNBC system. If my backyard skiing had much more vertical to it- I would probably be on 75mm.

Contrary to the marketing, I would recommend choosing a long length. If you want them short for telemark turns; I would recommend considering a more downhill-orientated ski.

I would also recommend considering the waxable base (even though I have not tested it). I have been a xcountry skier for more than 30 years, and IME/IMO, a waxable Eon would outperform the waxless (as a xcountry ski).

In conclusion- the Eon is a well-designed, very capable and versatile mid-width XCD ski. It is easy to like- and easy to handle. Combine that with a very reasonable price- its popularity is well deserved.
The pursuit of XCD balance: cross-country AND down-hill skiing in the backcountry

User avatar
MikeK
Posts: 3516
Joined: Tue Sep 23, 2014 2:12 pm

Re: The ever-so-popular Madshus Eon

Postby MikeK » Sat Feb 07, 2015 10:56 pm

So if you are of Scandinavian descent choose the Eon, and if you are of German descent choose the S Bound? :D

No seriously - do the narrower S Bounds have the same camber as the Eon? Or is it the same as the wider S Bounds? (I think you mentioned the answer earlier but I don't recall and I don't want to assume).

This is all good info and will help the uninformed skiers purchase a ski, thanks for the review!

Also in my mind, the Eon is the transition zone for 75mm 3pin/NNN BC - but there are obviously exceptions and reasons for putting pins on skinnier skis or NNN BC on wider skis.


Just FYI, I found some info that states a 1.5 camber is a soft double camber, meaning it has a secondary bend creating a wax pocket, but it's softer than a traditional double.

User avatar
lilcliffy
Posts: 1137
Joined: Thu Jan 01, 2015 7:20 pm
Location: Stanley, New Brunswick, Canada

Re: The ever-so-popular Madshus Eon

Postby lilcliffy » Sun Feb 08, 2015 3:14 pm

I personally, feel the narrower S-Bounds have less camber than the Eon...That being said the narrower S-78 & 88 feel a bit snappier than there fatter big brothers- the S-98 & S-112.

I am not sure if I know what "1.5-camber" is either...the Eon/XCD GT has always been promoted as having it. I think you are correct- it is a nontraditional soft double camber.

What I do know is that the Eon is definitely not a trad double-cambered ski (e.g. Glittertind, E99, or E109). But the Eon does have more camber than the other single-cambered xcountry skis I have tested over the years.

As an xcD ski- the Eon has probably an ideal amount of camber at that width (enough to tour on the flats, but reasonable to control in a downhill turn). As XCd ski I personally feel the Eon has too little camber- an opinion that apparently many people disagree with. People sure love the Eon as an off-trail xcountry ski.

My reference to Finland versus Austria was meant to be a joke, but it is also based on some ecological-cultural fact. Finland is very flat, very cold (true Boreal climate compared to Norway and Sweden) and gets a lot of stable snow conditions. Traditional Finnish skis are predominantly designed for maximum touring performance. Have you ever seen pictures of their "forest" hunting/trekking skis- they are made in lengths up to 300cm!!

I have an old friend that is Estonian (who is an unbelievable xc skier and biathelete) (the Estonians are a Finnic people). I have also worked with a few Finns over the years. Word of advice- never call them Scandinavians!:) :lol: Especially if you find yourself half-drunk with a bunch of Finnish loggers...they will quickly remind you they spent a few centuries at war in order to not be called Scandinavians! :twisted: :lol:
The pursuit of XCD balance: cross-country AND down-hill skiing in the backcountry

User avatar
MikeK
Posts: 3516
Joined: Tue Sep 23, 2014 2:12 pm

Re: The ever-so-popular Madshus Eon

Postby MikeK » Sun Feb 08, 2015 4:09 pm

Oh - I had no idea about the Finns and Scandinavia - I'll keep that in mind.

I knew what you meant about the geographical reference too... Finland looks more like the Northern midwest US or Northern Ontario to my eye (probably why so many ended up in Upper Peninsula of Michigan and Minnesota).

I'll add my comments on what I think of these skis next year. I'm still unsure if I'll go wax or waxless, but mainly I'll get them for my wife and give them a try. They might be a little short for me (I'll probably go 195cm for her) but I'll get the feel.

From what it sounds likes you get to ski everyday, so we are more casual users compared to you - weekend warriors if you will, so wax may not be ideal.

User avatar
lilcliffy
Posts: 1137
Joined: Thu Jan 01, 2015 7:20 pm
Location: Stanley, New Brunswick, Canada

Re: The ever-so-popular Madshus Eon

Postby lilcliffy » Sun Feb 08, 2015 4:51 pm

My wife is on 195cm, waxless Eons- she is very happy with them. She comes from a very strong Alpine skiing background (her Mom worked at the local ski hill (Crabbe)- she skied everyday after school)- she does things on the donwhill that are very impressive. She will often make an open Alpine turn- rather than striding through a telemark. Even after several years of xcountry/telemark, the whole Nordic stride thing still feels unnatural to her. The telemark (i.e. striding with the downhill ski in to a carving turn) feels particularly unnatural to her as it is the opposite in an aggressive, carving Alpine turn. Trad double-cambered skis also feel unnatural to her. Her skill keeps improving however. I feel part of it may be that she just doesn't know what a double-cambered ski can do- she just doesn't have the background. We have a bunch of classic groomed track skis, for skiing in town- but they are almost useless for our everyday off-trail skiing.

I am developing a feeling that if I get a pair of E109s and let my wife try them- I may never get them back!

Yeah... we are very lucky to live where we live- to be able to backcountry ski almost every winter day. My oldest son has always said that if we ever move- his number one condition is that we can ski from our doorstep!

GearX still has a bunch of waxable Eons- they are still holding their price over $250 though.
The pursuit of XCD balance: cross-country AND down-hill skiing in the backcountry

User avatar
MikeK
Posts: 3516
Joined: Tue Sep 23, 2014 2:12 pm

Re: The ever-so-popular Madshus Eon

Postby MikeK » Wed Mar 04, 2015 7:09 pm

I bought a pair of Eons - wanted two, but only could get one in 195. Went 10cm shorter for a compromise on turning.

First things first. These, in my mind, are every bit single camber. I can EASILY flex them center to center with my hands. Nothing like the Voss or the Glittertind. Almost exactly the same to my hand as the Epoch.

Flexing and sighting the ski it's easy to reverse camber and the center goes flat with little effort. The Voss and Glittertind retain a small bump that you really have to force hard to get to kind of look flat.

So it seems to me the Eon, Epoch, and Annum are very similar flexing skis - same waxless pattern, just different shapes.

I'm actually kind of disappointed as I'd hoped the Eon would have more of a wax pocket and would be a good glider - OTOH I think it may actually be a decent xcD ski. Maybe at one time it wasn't, but based on the way it flexes I can almost imagine how it will turn. Should be a bit difficult to initiate due lack of sidecut but I'm betting once edged and weighted by someone my size it will banana fairly easily. Torisonally it feels pretty stiff. Stiffer than the Glittertind which feels noodley out at the ends. Probably acts stiffer than the Epoch because of it's narrower dimension (less applied load).

NNN-BC Magnums going on these. If I like them I'm going to get a wax compliment of the same dimensions for cold weather and use these for warm days or when I just don't feel like dealing with wax... already dreading it... but GLIDE, GLIDE... and GRIP!

I expect the glide to be in between the Glittertind and the Epoch... which isn't all that great if you ask me, but probably fair through a few inches of fresh. Broken tracks will probably beg for wax, more stiffness or more camber... and a lot of times popular trails are broke soon after a storm.

I'll add some thought next week after I get a chance to use them. Most likely going to be on the S bound this weekend and try to squeak in a Voss tour.

User avatar
MikeK
Posts: 3516
Joined: Tue Sep 23, 2014 2:12 pm

Re: The ever-so-popular Madshus Eon

Postby MikeK » Thu Mar 05, 2015 10:24 am

Another tidbit of info about these skis.

Three pin line marks just like all the Annum and Epoch, all relating to different boot sizes.

Chord is nearest the back mark (for smallest boots). Center mark is about 1 cm forward of chord, and the most forward mark is 1 cm forward of that. I think it's the exact same relationship as the Epoch marks.

Balance point is slightly aft of the rear most mark... so about 1.5 cm aft of chord.

User avatar
lilcliffy
Posts: 1137
Joined: Thu Jan 01, 2015 7:20 pm
Location: Stanley, New Brunswick, Canada

Re: The ever-so-popular Madshus Eon

Postby lilcliffy » Sat Mar 07, 2015 7:43 am

So it seems to me the Eon, Epoch, and Annum are very similar flexing skis - same waxless pattern, just different shapes.

I'm actually kind of disappointed as I'd hoped the Eon would have more of a wax pocket and would be a good glider - OTOH I think it may actually be a decent xcD ski


Similar to my assessment as well.

I find that the Eon has a bit more stiffness and camber than the Epoch/Annum. The Eon has as a track groove and less parabolic sidecut- with quite a straight tail. In general- I find that the Eon tracks straight like a traditional xcountry ski. However- as you stated- it is 1-1.5-cambered, with a soft flex. The camber and flex pattern is clearly to offer better climbing, turning and flotation than a double-cambered ski. The Eon is confusing- it is clearly designed to be a true xcountry-telemark hybrid. A true jack of all trades- and a master of none. The Eon is very versatile.

In a straight-forward xcountry context- the Eon is often a bit disappointing. It is not really wide enough (or long enough) to offer any serious flotation in truly deep snow. When the snow conditions are ideal for the Eon- as a xcountry ski- I am left wanting more stiffness and camber (e.g. Fischer E109).

As a telemark ski. It is not very wide underfoot. You need skins to climb any seriously steep slope. The straight tail and track groove make these skis track straight- I would not say that these skis "want" to turn. However- with a traditional telemark angled stride- I find these skis turn quite smoothly- in a wide range of snow conditions- even with non-rigid boots.

As far as the camber issue for xcountry touring...a double-cambered ski is going to easily outperform the Eon. But a traditional, long (i.e. 200+cm), double-cambered ski is a bit of a nightmare as a xcD (i.e. telemark) ski. Seems most people are forced to go to a short length when using a double-cambered ski as a telemark ski. I am willing to bet that a long Eon will outperform a short double-cambered ski in a backcountry-xcountry kick and glide context.
The pursuit of XCD balance: cross-country AND down-hill skiing in the backcountry

User avatar
MikeK
Posts: 3516
Joined: Tue Sep 23, 2014 2:12 pm

Re: The ever-so-popular Madshus Eon

Postby MikeK » Sat Mar 07, 2015 7:00 pm

OK here's my thoughts on the Eon. I love it, and hate it at the same time. It's a really nice ski on hills. I have NNN-BC Magnums on mine and was easily wiggling tele turns down mild slopes with these and the Alaskas. Much easier to do that with a Glittertind. Not as quick to initiate as the S Bound and doesn't want to turn as tight, but it's fairly easy even for a hack like me. Where I started to struggle is where it got steeper and or double fall lines. I wasn't quick enough with my transitions (my lack of skill and also the length of the ski) to do this. I had to fall back on stems (which suck too because of the length). I have the same issues with the S Bounds, but they are eager to make turns. You can feel the sluggishness with miminal sidecut and long length. OTOH I feel super stable on a long ski like this in a telemark position - these feel more stable all around than any of my other skis (except maybe the Epoch, but it's on the short side). So in short - I really love how these handle hills. With some more practice I could really have some fun on low angle hills. I was very impressed with the boot/binding. Didn't feel much different than a pin setup on a ski this light. Easily controlled.

The glide in these isn't that bad. It's about Glitt on the right snow - by that I mean just a few inches of dust or a broken out track. Glitts might be a tad faster on a broken track. I skied in those conditions today and they were nice.

What I didn't like was the grip. I've noticed this with my wife and using the Epochs but sometimes I can just annihilate her up hills. I thought it was technique. No. The Omni Grip isn't as good. Hand down. I just don't have enough experience on the Epochs to know that - and they have more surface area making it less of an issue as with the Eon I think. Todays snow was mid-20's, slightly granular. I was having to herringbone where I'd normally just stomp up with the S Bound. I didn't care for that. I'm hoping today's snow was extra poor, but I'm not impressed with that aspect... it gets worse.

So I decided to try them off harder surface and into stuff that hadn't been skied. The snow is terrible now. It's a breakable crust with hardly any density for about 10" - you just break and sink. The Eon were horrible in this. I could barely get moving as they'd just bow and not actually grip the snow below. What's worse is one I had broken this track, returning in it was a sugary, granular snow that I could get NO grip in. I mean nothing. I'm ashamed to say I had to take them off and walk up a 5deg incline. I suggest carrying kicker skins with these skis. I know I'm going to - they surely can let you down.

So for skiing down and skiing on relatively consolidated snow, they aren't bad. I actually like them a lot. Where they kill the Glittertind is down hills - their flex is just so much better.

I hope to ski them later on in some warm, spring conditions where they should shine. Today, I wished I had the wax version, or at least some kick wax to add to them.

User avatar
lilcliffy
Posts: 1137
Joined: Thu Jan 01, 2015 7:20 pm
Location: Stanley, New Brunswick, Canada

Re: The ever-so-popular Madshus Eon

Postby lilcliffy » Sun Mar 08, 2015 5:43 am

Did you determine whether they have a track groove? Mine do. Mine are an earlier product year than yours...2007 I think.

I am getting the impression that my Eons may be stiffer than yours...

Your description of climbing issues with the Eon- I too have experienced. As you stated- width underfoot is a significant issue. With only 62mm underfoot- the Eon is not a traction king- at least not going up slopes. My Eons are stiffer than my Epochs and my Annums as well. The added camber reduces climbing efficiency as well.

The other issue as far as traction relates to the pattern and the location underfoot. My impression is that the S-Bound design is more geared towards climbing than the Karhu/Madshus XCDs. I find that the Omnitrack has excellent kick and glide traction (for a waxless base). The Omnitrack K&G traction in backcountry snow is somewhat legendary.

In short- I strongly believe that Fischer has become much more focused in its Nordic backcountry performance design. The S-Bounds, at least IMO, are designed to be xcD skis- climbing/turning.

The Karhu/Madshus XCDs are much more of a hybrid performance design. The Eon is advertised as "being more about the tour than the turn". IME this is equally true of the Epoch and the Annum. It is easy to assume that the Annum is a more xcD focused ski- until you test and compare it against the S-112.

The problem with performance designs that are "do-it-all" is that they often let you down in particularly demanding situations. For example- the snow conditions you describe in your last post sound very poor- the Eon failed- at least when climbing.

In my neck of the woods- the current snow conditions are ideal for the Eon- at least out in the open.
The pursuit of XCD balance: cross-country AND down-hill skiing in the backcountry


Return to “Community Ski Reviews”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests