2021 Kästle ZX108

SkiTalk Test Team

Testing skis so you don't have to.
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Philpug: Could the all-new ZX108 be the deal of the 2021 season? At $749, I believe it is in the conversation. I talked to many ski shop owners and buyers who are actually unhappy with the pricing of the ZX. They all feel the ski should cost more, and I have to agree. The ZX108 might not warrant a comma in the price, but it really should be at least a $995 ski. Well, it's not, so what does that mean? It means that as a consumer, you are getting a 25% discount right out of the box.

The ZX108 is very similar to the old BMX skis but with a more modern shape. I was really hoping to spend more time on these back in the spring, but with the season being cut short, I was limited. What time I did get on them, I was impressed. This is a bargain-priced Kästle that does indeed ski at about its price point.

Insider tip: This ski was born and bred in Jackson Hole. When someone asks what you paid for your Kästles, just reply, “If I told you, you wouldn’t believe me” and leave it at that.​
Drahtguy Kevin: Wanna dance? This new model is like no other I’ve been on. "Playful" is a word not often used to describe Kästle, but it works here. You still get a stable, smooth ride with a softer tip and flex. It absolutely snakes through moguls, trees, and other tight spots with ease. Tight, medium, and long turns are at the user’s beck and call. Soft crud and powder are favored conditions for the ZX, but not the only snow it excels in. And at well under a grand, this ski won’t break the bank.

Insider tip: This Kästle without a comma in the price is the real deal.​
 
Awards
Who is it for?
Value seekers. Want a One Oh Something that can handle the entire mountain? Look no further.
Who is it not for?
Groomer-only folks will miss the point.
Skier ability
Advanced, Expert
Ski category
All Mountain, Powder
Ski attributes
Off Piste, Trees, Touring/Backcountry
Segment
Men

Specifications

HighFives
Available sizes
169, 179, 184, 191
Dimensions
140.5-108-129.5
Rocker profile
Camber with tip and tail rocker
Construction design
All new
Binding options
Flat
right ad

Philpug

Notorious P.U.G.
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Reno, eNVy
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Long Term Update: We finally got some conditions in Tahoe that I could spend more time on our wider options. Today I was able to get on the all new Kästle ZX108. Unfortunately, ZX drew the short straw and was left with sloppy seconds after I started the day on the Rossi Black Ops Sender Ti. The ZX was unable to be appreciated in the best of the great early season conditions today but made the most of the hand it was dealt.

As the morning went on, I was able to find some nice stashes for this all-new bargain-priced Kästle to show its strengths; @Drahtguy Kevin said in his initial review that the new ZX108 is playful, and it surely is. In the cut-up snow on the sides of the trail and in the late-morning stashes, the Kästle performed just as expected of a ski with its DNA. The ZX108 does not pretend to be an MX — or even an FX — but it is its own ski and with that has its own personality: light, playful, and modern. Question: How do you say, “Dude, let’s go shred" in a thick Austrian accent with a Czech dialect?
 
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wallyk

Would rather be ski'n
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The MinnieApple
"bargain priced Kästle"........three words I thought I would never see used together.

Is the sub-$1,000 price point a result of economies of scale from the Sporten acquisition?
 

Philpug

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Is the sub-$1,000 price point a result of economies of scale from the Sporten acquisition?
I an sure that is part if it but remember, the first generation of Kästle BMX's were also sub $1K and those were built by Elan.
 

ChrisJ

Booting up
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Jan 12, 2017
Posts
29
Long Term Update: We finally got some conditions in Tahoe that I could spend more time on our wider options. Today I was able to get on the all new Kästle ZX108. Unfortunately, ZX drew the short straw and was left with sloppy seconds after I started the day on the Rossi Black Ops Sender Ti. The ZX was unable to be appreciated in the best of the great early season conditions today but made the most of the hand it was dealt.

As the morning went on, I was able to find some nice stashes for this all new bargain priced Kästle to show it's strengths as @Drahtguy Kevin said in his initial review that the new ZX108 is playful and it surely is. In the cut up snow on the sides of the trail and in the late morning stashes, the Kästle performed just as I would have expected a ski with it's DNA. The ZX 108 does not pretend to be a MX ...or even a FX but it is its own ski and with that it has it's own personality, light, playful and modern. Question, "How do you say "Dude, lets go shred" with a thick Austrian accent with a Czech dialect?
Long time Kästle fan here and owner of the FX106hp, MX99 and TX98. The ZX108 sounds promising and having looked at the rocker profile, shape and taper I'm eager to try them but when I flexed my usual size 184 the ski feels very soft by any standard, much softer than my FX106 and way softer than my MX99 or long past BMX108, heck softer than my TX98's. I have a hard time imagining this ski holding up to fast skiing in heavy PNW snow. I will try and flex the 192 and likely would have to size up, which I did for refernece on the BMX115 I bought a 193 which I loved but really that ski I could have ridden in a 185 without any reservations at 6'1" 190lb. So for those that have tried it whats your feedback in chop and in terms of stability? I'd love to move my FX106 over to take on freeride touring duties and add a ZX108 but given my expectations for edge hold and stability at speed that my other skis have in spades I am sceptical about the ZX108. I need to demo but the rep moved to the Kootneys so its a tough season for try before you buy. That and frankly every mag and forum is basing the feedback off of reputation and almost nobody has skied it yet which makes this even more furstrating.
 

DoryBreaux

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Is this kinda like a Corvette c8 to an Aventador?
 

Philpug

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Long Term Update: After having the ZX108 in some softer snow a few weeks back I was finally able to get ski this all new Kästle in some deeper Tahoe snow. We had recently recieved 5 or so feet of the deep white stuff at Mt. Rose and with the 108 being the widest option I had to ski, I was in luck. The ZX is as surfy as some others in this class that might have more tip and tail rise but it does offer a level of playfulness that most narrow wide skis do not offer. The 108 worked very well in the heaver snow in the trees and handled the larger bumps that were starting to form. The 19.2m radius felt about dead on in that the ZX made some really nice medium radius (medium for a 108) turns in the varied conditions. This new Kästle offers two personalities depending on the skier, it cam be a finesse with power ski for a bigger ski and a playful charger for a lighter skier.
 

DoryBreaux

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I'd be interested in how it compares to the fx106 (or whatever they're calling it now).
 

Philpug

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I'd be interested in how it compares to the fx106 (or whatever they're calling it now).
Completely different animal, I'd be interested your opinion on the 191...if you could ever find one to get on.
 

ChrisJ

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I'm very close to swithing my FX106hp 184 over to a freeride touring setup which I think will be perfect for our heavy PNW snow and buying a ZX108 in 191 based on this additional posirive feedback as my daily soft snow ski. If I do go that route I will update with a comparo bwtn the 2 skis.
 

ChrisJ

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Update - I now own a 191 ZX108 with a Kästle/Tyrollia Attack 13. Skied them twice so far in almost identical conditions. Brought out the FX106HP 184 the second day to A-B the two skis. I will forgo a review until I ski them in soft snow and get the tune dialed but here are a few 1st impressions. They are mounted on the Generation Z line.

Design, finish, weight - this is a thin looking build, noticibly so compared to the FX106, less beef underfoot and slimer overall. Expains the 2170g/ski weight in a 191 with no carbon or particularily light core. With binding these are 65g lighter than my FX with STH2 13's. My FX106hp 184 is 2060g/ski, difference is STH2's are 220g heavier. Finish is simple, excellent, actually prefer the look of the classic hollowtech 2 vs 3, nice colourway, bit more muted than FX - but that ski def looks more expensive top and base. ZX base is nicely structured and flat, tune is razor sharp, like a ski meant for running gates - I think Kästle could/should tone this down but easy enough to do on your own. New topsheet finish sheds snow very well - much appreciated by ppl like me with OCD about that sort of thing esp. when touring.

Initial impressions - Cypress Mtn, Coastal BC, conditions were mix of few cm of new over firm base, few icy patches, rather aggressive snow - had a few refrezes, sun etc.
First off it took half a run to get used to them if that, very neutral ski and like the FX they initiate without much effort and are very quick for their width. Edge grip was frankly shocking. Tune is a big factor but I didnt expect such a simple layup at this weight to have this much torsional rigity. I've since detuned the tip and tail a bit more and taken a gum stone to the edge as the factory tune was producing to much bite at low edge angles, not very forgiving. I'll forgo more feedback on edge hold and performance in challenging snow for once I have the tune dialed. The FX in these same conditions was much less effort and more confidence inspiring.

Stability was a notch above the FX106 likely most due to length, I suspect the 192 FX106 is at least as stable as the ZX. This was welcomed as I would really like the FX106 in slightly longer length. I had no problem throwing them around in better snow, nice energy, very quick and rewarding. Maching groomers was the biggest surprise given the way Kästle markets the ski, they initiate well, the have nice energy and a strong tail. No boring straight line runs back to the lift - this is not the old BMX108! Feel the 191 ZX is more in line with my MX99 184 in terms of power and stability and urges you to ski faster.

I should get them in some mixed/new snow and pow over the next few days and will report back on how I feel this skis does in conditions it was designed for.
 

sfmtber

In the parking lot (formerly "At the base lodge")
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Mar 13, 2019
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San Francisco
How does the ZX108 handle crud? Currently have a BMX 105 non metal and it does surprisingly well on everything but firm crud.
 

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