2015 Fischer S-Bound 98 Review S98

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LoveJohnny
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2015 Fischer S-Bound 98 Review S98

Postby LoveJohnny » Wed Jan 20, 2016 10:00 am

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The S-98 have been previously discussed here before, in a much better way that I could ever do. But I thought I could write a few words about this year's version and the addition of integrated skins.

Fischer XCD skis are very hard to find here in Eastern Canada. I have never seen any stores carrying them. I never had any S-Bounds before but I was lucky enough to find a brand new pair this fall. So I can't compare to older S98s but my guess is this must be the same ski except with different graphics and the addition of a built-in skin system.

The S-Bound 98 is pretty much Fischer's version of the 10th Mountain ski. Sidecut is 98-69-88. The old 10th Mtns were 99-68-84. In the real world, with both skis placed side by side and base-to-base, the sidecut is pretty much the same. The main difference is the flex. They both have a medium single camber but the flex on the S98 is much stiffer than on the 10th Mtn and the Epochs. Although Fischer claim all their S-Bounds skis have what they call "Nordic Rocker Camber", the tips are still much more stiffer than the 10th Mountains.

The S-98s are a bit heavier for the same size, about 100g more, thanks to the "Air Channel" ski core... 8-)
Despite the name Air Channel, I didn't have any problems mounting the bindings, all the screws were biting into something. I did feel some sort of "empty" layer right before hitting the P-Tex while drilling...

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The sintered "Offtrack Crown" waxless pattern is very efficient. It climbs a bit better than the 10th Mtns, and the stiffer flex makes them better for kick and glide, (They have a bit too much sidecut to track very straight.) But on the other hand, the pattern drags slightly more on the downhill. They turn very easily, just like the Epochs. According to MikeK and his great scientific brain, he calculated the radius at 29.9m. I have to disagree here. According to my feeling, my eyes and my legs, I would say they're more in the 17-19m range.

The stiffer flex makes them a very nice all-around ski. They especially shine on the groomers or on a thin snow cover with a hard base. But if you ski only fresh powder in the BC like I do, the Epochs might be a better 'powder' ski than the S-98 because of its much softer flex and tips...

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The main feature on the 2015-2016 model is obviously Fischer's "Easy Skin" system. I don't use skins anymore, even on the steeps. I'd rather zig-zag or side-step my way up or even take my skis off. I haven't even used my kickers for 2 years. But this is pretty cool. Other manufacturers have been doing this for some time, and while I'm not particularly crazy about it, I know this is a feature that people will really, really enjoy. The skins do what they are supposed to do. They are easy to put on and easy to take off, they are more convenient than kicker skins. The hole through the base of the ski is much bigger than the very tiny ones on the Asnes skis, but I don't think there could be any icing issue there. I made sure to wax the opening properly to prevent any kind of snow accumulation in there.

So that's it. It's a killer ski, very, very good construction. At 425$ USD with the skins and no bindings, it's not the cheapest ski around but it's totally worth it!
/...\ Peace, Love, Telemark and Tofu /...\
"Your heel (and mind) is not really free until you cut the cable..." -Me

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MikeK
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Re: 2015 Fischer S-Bound 98 Review S98

Postby MikeK » Wed Jan 20, 2016 10:25 am

Must be Chinese wood weighs less than air?

I agree though, the S98 feels like it turns way tighter than 30m radius. Calc it out or compare it to any ski with similar cut and length, I'm pretty sure it's correct.

FWIW you were almost dead nuts on the Discovery relative to the calculated radius... not sure why these skis would be so much different?

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lilcliffy
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Re: 2015 Fischer S-Bound 98 Review S98

Postby lilcliffy » Wed Jan 20, 2016 9:40 pm

Excellent, fantastic review LJ- good stuff man.

Although I do not own any of the S-Bounds- I have tested them many times. I do not own any of them, because I would use them almost exclusively in deep, soft snow- and I prefer the Epoch/Annum in that context (and they are significantly cheaper). But if I still lived in more mountainous terrain- and wanted the stability and carving efficiency on dense snow- the S-Bounds would be the ticket!

The Epochs/10th Mtns are slightly rockered in the tip. Fischer’s “Nordic Rocker” is designed to produce tip rise when the camber is fully compressed. True rocker (i.e. the reverse of camber) contributes to more effective flotation and turn initiation in powder.

I agree with your assessment of flex pattern- I too feel that the Epoch’s flex pattern, and open tips perform better on fresh, soft snow. (not that the S-98 doesn't offer effective flotation- it does! I just mean that the Epoch is dead on hardpack)

As far as the xcountry K&G performance- I think it depends on a complex of factors.

Yes- the stiffer flex of the S-98 will inherently offer a more effective Nordic “kick”, especially on a dense base. But, I personally find the more parabolic shape of the S-98 works against the stiffer flex during the glide phase.

(My wife and I have had kind of awful experiences when we have ended up on groomed snowmobile track (with dense boreal forest preventing skiing off-track)- when trying to cover distance with the S-98 and S-112. That parabolic sidecut will not track straight during the glide phase, on a groomed surface.)

The Epoch has a significantly straighter tail- I personally find it tracks straighter. But- the Epoch has the reverse issue- it does not have a stiff enough flex to give an effective Nordic “kick” on a dense base!

From my perspective the flex pattern of the S-98 is primarily geared towards efficient downhill turn transitions.

The flex pattern of the Epoch is clearly designed for deep soft snow- I find I am too heavy for the Epoch though- I prefer the Annum for my weight. Otherwise I would rather the Epoch because it is faster than the Annum.

I think that the S-98 is a more versatile downhill-oriented XCD ski than the Epoch- as it performs better on dense snow.
The pursuit of XCD balance: cross-country AND down-hill skiing in the backcountry

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Woodserson
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Re: 2015 Fischer S-Bound 98 Review S98

Postby Woodserson » Thu Jan 21, 2016 9:37 am

I can't wait to ski mine, as soon as we get some snow where I'm not going to catch an edge on a rock, or pavement!

The more you ski the ski, the less the grip section will grab on the downhills. A few good days on east coast granular will wear it down to where you want it. I found this to be true in several of my Fischers.

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anrothar
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Re: 2015 Fischer S-Bound 98 Review S98

Postby anrothar » Mon Apr 11, 2016 1:01 am

The addition of the Easy Skin makes me want to sell my 2013 S98's and get the new ones. Though I don't know how much the Fischer scale pattern could actually benefit from anything less than tip to heel(at least) skins. The Offtrack Crown pattern grips so well that 'fish scales' is insulting to it. I feel like it deserves to be referred to as 'Dragon Scales'.

I also wonder about the Easy Skins effect on ski durability.

Other than that, the above reviews seem to back up what I think of my '13 S98. Excellent climber, nice and turny, squirrely but manageable on hardpack.

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lilcliffy
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Re: 2015 Fischer S-Bound 98 Review S98

Postby lilcliffy » Sat Oct 22, 2016 7:08 pm

Hey LJ

Rather than asking you this question in the "Nordic rocker" thread...

What binding and boot are you using with the S-98?
The pursuit of XCD balance: cross-country AND down-hill skiing in the backcountry

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LoveJohnny
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Re: 2015 Fischer S-Bound 98 Review S98

Postby LoveJohnny » Sun Oct 23, 2016 1:30 pm

NNN of course... I mounted the Mags on this one, just because it's the last NNN binding I had... But I'll put the Mags on the Objectives... Even if there's no difference to me... Maybe I'll see a difference with larger skis...

anrothar wrote:Though I don't know how much the Fischer scale pattern could actually benefit from anything less than tip to heel(at least) skins. The Offtrack Crown pattern grips so well that 'fish scales' is insulting to it.

I don't see much difference between a integrated skin and the waxless pattern... Pretty much the same to me... But intergrated skins would be really cool on waxable S-Bounds...

Excellent climber, nice and turny, squirrely but manageable on hardpack.

Actually, the S98 is my favorite hardpack XCD ski... I wish they would make waxable ones with flat, alpine camber.
/...\ Peace, Love, Telemark and Tofu /...\
"Your heel (and mind) is not really free until you cut the cable..." -Me

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lilcliffy
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Re: 2015 Fischer S-Bound 98 Review S98

Postby lilcliffy » Wed Oct 26, 2016 12:08 pm

LoveJohnny wrote:NNN of course... I mounted the Mags on this one, just because it's the last NNN binding I had... But I'll put the Mags on the Objectives... Even if there's no difference to me... Maybe I'll see a difference with larger skis...

I doubt you will notice any difference in performance/leverage, but I do think that wider base plate offers more torsional strength to the binding- likely a good idea for a ski as wide as the S-98.

I don't see much difference between a integrated skin and the waxless pattern... Pretty much the same to me... But intergrated skins would be really cool on waxable S-Bounds...

I personally find that waxless patterns glide much better than a kicker skin- integrated or not. But I find that a kicker skin offers considerably better grip than waxless traction- especially if when travelling under a heavy load- or pulling one!

And yes- would love to see waxable S-Bounds with easy-skin attachments.
The pursuit of XCD balance: cross-country AND down-hill skiing in the backcountry

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mugglesport
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Re: 2015 Fischer S-Bound 98 Review S98

Postby mugglesport » Wed Nov 30, 2016 5:04 pm

I actually have the older version of the 98s, so maybe it's different than these...but has anyone figured out what edge angles these come with from the factory?

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MikeK
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Re: 2015 Fischer S-Bound 98 Review S98

Postby MikeK » Wed Nov 30, 2016 5:16 pm

mugglesport wrote:I actually have the older version of the 98s, so maybe it's different than these...but has anyone figured out what edge angles these come with from the factory?


Just a guess they are flat 90deg, but I plan on borrowing some race tuning gear from a friend to do my Tuas, so I can check against the block.

If you were to re-cut them, I'd guess you'd have to bevel because I don't see how else you'd do the scale section (honestly, if they are 90, I'm not sure how they grind them at the factory).


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