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Boot stiffness considerations for racing

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TJP

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But the RX isnt a cabrio boot, so why linear?
From my experience and impression, Langes have a different feel to their flex with more travel and less of an on/off sensation, similar to the Full Tilt flex. Other race boots more often feel like you come up against a solid wall as you flex forward. Maybe others can chime in?

This difference in the flex quality of Langes seems to be widely recognized on the World Cup. Several other boots are rumored to have tried to imitate the Lange flex including the new race boots from Nordica, Fischer and Dalbello. Rossignol threw in the towel on making their own boots (formerly Caber) and instead relabeled Lange boots. The changes usually involve raising the bottom of the front cuff to allow more travel before impingement with the lower clog among other unknown changes.

Other rumors on this forum have racers signed with Head skiing on repainted and/or rebranded Rossignol and Lange boots. (see links below) I believe Kristopherson, Hirscher and the other Van Deer racers are now all on Langes.

Relabeled and Mixed Brands with Langes:
Ryan Cochran-Siegle: Head or Lange?
Racers on Langes (first 2 pages only)
 
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onenerdykid

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From my experience and impression, Langes have a different feel to their flex with more travel and less of an on/off sensation, similar to the Full Tilt flex. Other race boots more often feel like you come up against a solid wall as you flex forward. Maybe others can chime in?
They can both still be progressive as long as they get stiffer the more you flex them.

Lange just has a softer, initial feel vs. a more direct, stiffer initiation. Put another way, one boot can ramp up more slowly, one boot can ramp up more quickly. Both are progressive, just different flex patterns.
 

Zirbl

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Before you cut anything - if you're in a ZC with a Corsa liner, you've got what is reportedly a very soft tongue between the shin and the plastic of the cuff. Have you tried swapping the tongues with those from the Lange or any other race liner?

Also, could the toeless footbed set up be reducing ankle dorsiflexion from the start? Or do other boots flex fine with that set up?

Also also, if you have the fit of the clog right, is it worth getting hold of a ZB cuff and seeing how it skis with that?
 
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markojp

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From my experience and impression, Langes have a different feel to their flex with more travel and less of an on/off sensation, similar to the Full Tilt flex. Other race boots more often feel like you come up against a solid wall as you flex forward. Maybe others can chime in?

This difference in the flex quality of Langes seems to be widely recognized on the World Cup. Several other boots are rumored to have tried to imitate the Lange flex including the new race boots from Nordica, Fischer and Dalbello. Rossignol threw in the towel on making their own boots (formerly Caber) and instead relabeled Lange boots. The changes usually involve raising the bottom of the front cuff to allow more travel before impingement with the lower clog among other unknown changes.

Other rumors on this forum have racers signed with Head skiing on repainted and/or rebranded Rossignol and Lange boots. (see links below) I believe Kristopherson, Hirscher and the other Van Deer racers are now all on Langes.

Relabeled and Mixed Brands with Langes:
Ryan Cochran-Siegle: Head or Lange?
Racers on Langes (first 2 pages only)

The Lange RS flex changed a good deal with the change to dual core. Head flex changed with design, B's to WCR with the R's in an effort toward redesign. The white paint was by and large for SL as the B's struggled, but speed worked. WCR's addressed the short comings of the B's in tech, and eventually most but not all speed athletes adopted them as well (with individual mods and experiments).
 

Snowfan

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Lange RS 130w here. Love them with a custom fit from A Racers Edge Breck. Added Booster Strap Expert version and cut plastic out of the way so the elastic straps tighten the liner not the upper cuff. 3 slots gained on top buckle.

Better feel and control of tips. Less effort required for turns and turns are much quicker and snappier now. Removed the top bolt in back to soften flex.

61 days in them this season and I do not touch the buckles all day, they fit so well.

Miserable to take off in cold weather. I'm going to go down one size and get into a 110 flex next time. Restarting Masters speed events next year.

I think stiffness might be overrated.
 

James

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Hey @TPJ , if you’re wanting an older pair of zc shells in 27 to play around with, let me know. I’d send it for the cost of shipping. I may still have the liner, which wasn’t used more than a week. The tongues are not attached, as the little velcro prongs irritated my foot, I ground them down but went too far and the attachment ripped.
Years ago I sold a pair of za’s after a downsizing experiment didn’t work. I think I sold it for $80, and the liners were basically new as I had mostly used a different one. It languished so long I was about to just get rid of them when I got a pm saying he’ll take them.

Turns out the guy was a hard boot snowboarder, and he takes the back screws out and replaces them with an external threaded rod set up to change the lean.
When he got them, he found them “crazy stiff” and found it amazing that it wasn’t considered very stiff for skiing.
 

Zirbl

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Lange RS 130w here. Love them with a custom fit from A Racers Edge Breck. Added Booster Strap Expert version and cut plastic out of the way so the elastic straps tighten the liner not the upper cuff. 3 slots gained on top buckle.

Better feel and control of tips. Less effort required for turns and turns are much quicker and snappier now. Removed the top bolt in back to soften flex.

61 days in them this season and I do not touch the buckles all day, they fit so well.

Miserable to take off in cold weather. I'm going to go down one size and get into a 110 flex next time. Restarting Masters speed events next year.

I think stiffness might be overrated.
I also found that cutting the flap made a huge difference in shin tracking when I had that boot. No need to do that in the Zs, the cuff is lower and out the way of the strap to start with. The companies like to make out that the RS/Hero is just a softer and wider version of the Zs, but it's not - the Z cuff travels more with you. The Zs also have more forward lean and more ramp, even if the catalogues state that they have the same angles.
 
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TJP

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Hey @TPJ , if you’re wanting an older pair of zc shells in 27 to play around with, let me know. I’d send it for the cost of shipping. I may still have the liner, which wasn’t used more than a week. The tongues are not attached, as the little velcro prongs irritated my foot, I ground them down but went too far and the attachment ripped.
Thank you for that offer James, but they are way too big for me to be useful. I typically ski in a 25.5 and have skied in a 24.5 after substantial grinding.
 
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TJP

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Before you cut anything - if you're in a ZC with a Corsa liner, you've got what is reportedly a very soft tongue between the shin and the plastic of the cuff. Have you tried swapping the tongues with those from the Lange or any other race liner?
I have never had any problems with the tongues in any of my four pairs of Zipfits. If I do, I have plenty of tongues to swap.
Also, could the toeless footbed set up be reducing ankle dorsiflexion from the start? Or do other boots flex fine with that set up?
The toeless footbed works great in all my boots and is warmer than many of the rigid footbeds I have tried.
Also also, if you have the fit of the clog right, is it worth getting hold of a ZB cuff and seeing how it skis with that?
Swapping cuffs is a great idea! Unfortunately there is very little support for race boots in the US and spare parts like tongues are almost impossible to find. I will try asking a few of the more race oriented fitters in town if one can be ordered. Thanks.
 

markojp

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Swapping cuffs is a great idea! Unfortunately there is very little support for race boots in the US and spare parts like tongues are almost impossible to find. I will try asking a few of the more race oriented fitters in town if one can be ordered. Thanks.

Where are you located?
 

Zirbl

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I have never had any problems with the tongues in any of my four pairs of Zipfits. If I do, I have plenty of tongues to swap.
Do what works for you, obviously, but weren't you were in softer boots on all those Zipfits? Just thinking that a hard plastic race tongue drives the cuff differently and might be worth trying before doing anything that can't be undone.

Or, if buying new boots is an option, why not forget this thread and test them? A lot has happened since 2016. If we've established that a 2016 Lange flexes differently to a dual core Lange, and a dual core Lange in dark blue flexes differently to one in royal blue, I don't see how you can just drop down a letter without getting in the boots.

I will try asking a few of the more race oriented fitters in town
You have more than one race-oriented bootfitter on your doorstep, but you can't talk products and flex patterns with any of them?
 
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James

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Just thinking that a hard plastic race tongue drives the cuff differently and might be worth trying before doing anything that can't be undone.
Good point. Don’t know the current zipfit tongue, but in the past almost any intermediate boot had a stiffer front plastic piece on the tongue. Just ridiculous.
 
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markojp

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You have more than one race-oriented bootfitter on your doorstep, but you can't talk products and flex patterns with any of them?

One needs to be ready to receive.
 

JPL

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Wow, lot of stuff going on here. I have fallen victim to to many choices before also, my go to thought on boots or really any piece of ski equipment is " if I never thought about it while I was using it, its probably doing its job". A revolving unlimited number of trick set ups just invites inconstancy, so many variables with snow conditions and ski set up that can skew what your boot set up feels like. If you like fiddling with boots then go ahead, but if consistent performance is the end game, pick something and start running gates.
 
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TJP

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Or, if buying new boots is an option, why not forget this thread and test them?
Buying boots and testing them is exactly my plan. I have a pair of Rossignol ZA's on order, which I might be able to set up and test this season at A-basin before the season ends in early June. Going to ZA's may seem like a big step from ZC's but with Men's World Cuppers getting Podiums in 120 flex boots, a softer option seems worth exploring especially at my lighter weight. I value the opinions of the many experienced skiers in this forum and I have learned a lot from this discussion.

A lot has happened since 2016. If we've established that a 2016 Lange flexes differently to a dual core Lange, and a dual core Lange in dark blue flexes differently to one in royal blue, I don't see how you can just drop down a letter without getting in the boots.
Testing flex in a shop is totally different than on the snow. My ZC's seem very soft flexing at room temperature but become surprisingly stiff when cold. Demo testing boots seems an impossible option. How do you propose to "get in the boots" to assess their flex?

While flexes sometimes change slightly from year to year, I don't believe the changes are very significant. The Atomic STI and Atomic TI boots have not changed significantly in about 19 years except for color.

You have more than one race-oriented bootfitter on your doorstep, but you can't talk products and flex patterns with any of them?
Unfortunately, bootfitters in the US have changed since the pandemic. You can no longer just walk-in and ask questions. Now you must schedule a minimum half hour appointment during which time you are typically pressured to buy new boots, have a footbed made and have your boots canted. I don't need that headache. Luckily, I have recently found a talented coach who also does boot fitting for his racers that is willing to talk products, flex patterns and help me get my boots set up properly without expectation of a major purchase.
 
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markojp

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Boots always flex differently in the shop. You're a ME and plastics expert. You should know this and know why.

The changes in both Lange and Head race plastics are real. The change in how Head WCR's bend vs the B series is real. They ski quite differently. Friends who get gear from Lange like the newer plastic better than the old. Real? Not real? I don’t know. I only set up their boots. If one boot manufacturer doesn't change designs, more power to them, but it doesnt mean others haven't .

And it bears repeating, you aren't a WC athlete. Neither is anyone else here. In theory, i ski the same boots as some of them do, but I'm very confident that other than color and graphics, they aren't. I'm ok with that.

Honestly, I can call 3 or 4 local fitters, ask questions, and go visit. Sorry to hear your local fitters are so hard to access, but you seem to be pretty confident of your thoughts and choices without their input, so why worry? Just get some boots, test, ski the one you like and call it good, no? I guess I'm wondering, why ask an internet peanut gallery?. Head over to HH's place and see if they can help.
 

Ivan

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The Atomic STI and Atomic TI boots have not changed significantly in about 19 years except for color.
As far as I know, the Atomic race boots have undergone at least two huge changes in the past 10 years or so. First going from the TI to the Redster, and then essentially going back to the old boot.
 

Sherman89

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Totally agree! Thank you for that clarification. Few people understand the concept of linear flex. I mistakenly used progressive flex when I was describing the more linear flex of Full Tilts and Langes.

Lange appears to make this same mistake when they describe their boots as: "A legend in the ski industry, the Lange RX 130 LV GW Ski Boots are favorites of bootfitters and industry pros who continue to appreciate their predictable, progressive flex and superb snow feel."
For those that may not understand the difference between progressive and linear progressive and linear also apply to car springs: linear springs have the same give/take from the beginning of compression, progressive springs have a rated give/take becoming stiffer under compression. Race cars use linear springs to reduce body lean and produce a much firmer ride often used in sports cars, the family car uses progressive springs for a better ride.
 
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