Enforcer 88 vs 94

Philpug

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With an apology to @Tbone we are now going to go down a rabbit hole.
Phil, am I to interpret your comment to mean; 'keep flexing'?
There was a time when hand flexing made a difference in choosing a ski, now it is just a small part in the decision process.
 

Philpug

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The article referenced is absolutely true when the only numbers you're working with are those printed on a ski top sheet. SoothSki changes the game...
Ski flex numbers are not like golf shaft flexes, were with a shaft, you are working with one swing plane, skis are in a 3 dimension environment. Sorry, but you cannot compare a Blossom Pure 99 to a Augment 99Ti to a Kastle MX99 and a Bonafide and since this thread stared with Nordica's an Enforcer 100 based on flex numbers, they are all different shape skis, and the same goes with turn radius and widths, skis are more than the sum of some numbers.

The only numbers that matter in skiing is times in a race, past that any number is purely subjective ... even what shows in your binding window because there is an at-use range.
 

Noodler

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Ski flex numbers are not like golf shaft flexes, were with a shaft, you are working with one swing plane, skis are in a 3 dimension environment. Sorry, but you cannot compare a Blossom Pure 99 to a Augment 99Ti to a Kastle MX99 and a Bonafide and since this thread stared with Nordica's an Enforcer 100 based on flex numbers, they are all different shape skis, and the same goes with turn radius and widths, skis are more than the sum of some numbers.

The only numbers that matter in skiing is times in a race, past that any number is purely subjective ... even what shows in your binding window because there is an at-use range.

As the SoothSki folks point out, the interpretation of their published data requires a level of experience on the part of the skier to understand what the data represents. There is very little missing here if you look at the entire picture that the SoothSki comparisons show. Everything you mentioned is there in the data. For those skiers that are familiar with particular skis and how specific characteristics of those skis translate to on-snow performance, these kinds of comparisons will prove valuable to help them narrow down to a short list of new skis to either demo or purchase blind. I would say that for those skiers who have confidence in interpreting the data, they're actually better off starting with these kinds of comparisons rather than relying solely on the subjective reviews from unknown reviewers. Your own experience with your own skiing on your own skis is a fantastic baseline to use when considering your next ski based on measured comparative data.
 

Carl

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Ski flex numbers are not like golf shaft flexes, were with a shaft, you are working with one swing plane, skis are in a 3 dimension environment.

A golf shaft has flex in one dimension and torque or twist as well. Off center hits, especially off the toe, result in twisting of the shaft and will affect the direction of ball flight. Stiffer shafts will generally twist less than more flexible shafts.
 

Tom K.

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I used to get hung up on the flex and sidecut numbers, but over the years, experience and Phil have shown me that they don't always tell the whole story. Anyway....

Being more than just a casual fan of the Enforcer line since they were first introduced, I would sum things up as follows:

The Enforcer 88 was a bit more than the 100, then the 93 was pretty much a wider 88. The 94 amped things up a bit from the 93 and 88, and the latest 100 is a bit more ski than the last version (a'la 93 to 94 progression).

But they still ski closely enough for me that I'd simply choose width based on how much or little I was planning to ski off-piste with them. They all have an uncommon blend of high performance and ease of use (= longer ski days for these aging knees).
 

dwerdd

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I've been tinkering around with soothski a bit too, my trust in their numbers for stiffness measurements is not 100%:


1637599341377.png


1637599369645.png

1637599381679.png


I compared 2020, 2021, 2022 versions of the Enforcer 88 and 94, all in 172cm length. The only change within the same model between model years should be a different topsheet design, yet the stiffnesses between years can vary quite a bit (especially in bending stiffness). One has to wonder if the differences (between same model, different years) are due to manufacturing tolerances or just measurement variance (maybe when the 2021 versions were measured the temperature or other conditions were slightly different for example, or the ski wasn't measured exactly centered, etc.).

For reference, compared the 21-22 enforcers against a 2020 navigator 90 in 172cm, a ski often recommended as more beginner friendly within Nordica's lineup:
1637599883630.png


All things considered, the enforcer 88 and 94 seem more similar than different. You could sub the navigator 90 for other similar length all mountain skis (brahma, kendo, mantra m5 or m6, bonafide), the result I found is quite similar. The Enforcers form a pretty tight cluster whereas the compared ski is usually a ways off (generally to the bottom left of the "enforcer cluster", i.e. less stiff in both dimensions).

________________________________________________

To rein in the soothski ski nerdery a bit and return to actionable recommendations/insights for @Tbone ....

I bought the Enforcer 94 in 172cm last season. I am 5'9"ish (174cm), 140 lbs, advanced skier. I am pretty happy with the skis overall, could easily be my one ski quiver in Tahoe (I own a pair of Fischer RC4 WC SC from my days living in New England too). I myself was mulling between the 88/94 as well as the 172cm and 179cm lengths when I was buying last year. I am sure the 179 would have been fine for me too, maybe better on groomers and crud but worse in bumps and trees though. If I didn't already have a narrow ski I would have more strongly considered the 88 as well.

Having skied the 94s in 172 for the better part of a season, I wouldn't size down to the 165 length.
 

Noodler

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I've been tinkering around with soothski a bit too, my trust in their numbers for stiffness measurements is not 100%:


View attachment 149091

View attachment 149092
View attachment 149093

I compared 2020, 2021, 2022 versions of the Enforcer 88 and 94, all in 172cm length. The only change within the same model between model years should be a different topsheet design, yet the stiffnesses between years can vary quite a bit (especially in bending stiffness). One has to wonder if the differences (between same model, different years) are due to manufacturing tolerances or just measurement variance (maybe when the 2021 versions were measured the temperature or other conditions were slightly different for example, or the ski wasn't measured exactly centered, etc.).

For reference, compared the 21-22 enforcers against a 2020 navigator 90 in 172cm, a ski often recommended as more beginner friendly within Nordica's lineup:
View attachment 149094

All things considered, the enforcer 88 and 94 seem more similar than different. You could sub the navigator 90 for other similar length all mountain skis (brahma, kendo, mantra m5 or m6, bonafide), the result I found is quite similar. The Enforcers form a pretty tight cluster whereas the compared ski is usually a ways off (generally to the bottom left of the "enforcer cluster", i.e. less stiff in both dimensions).

________________________________________________

To rein in the soothski ski nerdery a bit and return to actionable recommendations/insights for @Tbone ....

I bought the Enforcer 94 in 172cm last season. I am 5'9"ish (174cm), 140 lbs, advanced skier. I am pretty happy with the skis overall, could easily be my one ski quiver in Tahoe (I own a pair of Fischer RC4 WC SC from my days living in New England too). I myself was mulling between the 88/94 as well as the 172cm and 179cm lengths when I was buying last year. I am sure the 179 would have been fine for me too, maybe better on groomers and crud but worse in bumps and trees though. If I didn't already have a narrow ski I would have more strongly considered the 88 as well.

Having skied the 94s in 172 for the better part of a season, I wouldn't size down to the 165 length.

The skis in question that I reported on were the 2022 version. No matter what manufacturers might state, when you're talking about a new model run, you're talking about a different ski.
 

Noodler

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More data (since there is a continuing convo on what the data shows).

I noted in my first post in the thread that the K2 Mindbender did not exhibit what I experienced with the Enforcers.

1637604320411.png


Notice how the Mindbender models (90 and 99) are much closer together and how the 90 actually has a bit higher torsional rigidity than the 99. This data supports how those skis behaved on slope.

In data there is power, and with that power comes improved knowledge and understanding.
 

ski otter 2

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Yes, a rabbit hole.

@dwerdd, the main variable with flex you left out, and that is that most skis are made mostly or partly of wood, no two pieces flexing alike even from the same tree, same part of that tree - so I've heard over and over.


More generally,
To me, with skis, when possible, our own experience is best, hopefully decisive. But we are all different, with different best choices.

So, for me, best I go by what I experience myself, my own body of experience/understandings, rather than specs or what anyone else tells me, other than using that stuff as pointers, indicators, sometimes as starting points, or to clarify or fine-tune things at times.

So maybe useful for clarification, in this case.

Also, correct me if I'm mistaken, but I believe I was told by the Nordica rep this time, in some detail, that the Enforcers have shapes and designs in common, and thus similarities, and some shared performance goals, and yet get slightly different build materials/treatments according to length to keep the different lengths of a model performing as similarly and optimally as possible, rather than just a few prototype lengths being optimal.

Also, from my understandings/experiences/questionings/observations, there is a very noticeable difference in stiffness/flex within any set of the same ski model, same length, same year, same run. Often at the factory they will flex skis to match in pairs. I've described in other threads/years, the hours racers and their techs spend sorting out relative flexes in up to 30-40 pairs per top skier of the identical race models every year, and I've experienced these flex differences myself.

Again, the main reason, I've been told by many, for these differences is that the skis have wood in them, and wood has irregularities, and growth bands, all effecting the flex in irregular, ultimately hard to predict ways. Hence the need to both flex test (techs and racers) and slope test (each individual racer, or small groups of racers comparing observations with their techs, over and over, run after run; until the skis are sorted out in rows, in the order of stiffness, and even given flex numbers).


Occasionally, I've demoed a ski, only to find the particular pair I end up buying flexes noticeably differently, and performs differently, sometimes for me better, but sometimes worse. (Yes, I remember these performance differences; an odd ability. [Wish I could remember where I put my keys as easily.] A related ability is that I also remember the sound(s) of a particular guitar, both before modifications and after - again, an odd ability, but one that is not common among [guitar] luthiers, or players much better than me, I've found.)
 
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Tbone

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If you’re set on the Enforcer, why not demo both the 88 and 94 in different lengths to take the guesswork out of it? If you share a bit more about how you ski technically and what you generally like about a ski you’ll likely get some recommendations about other skis that might be better match for you than the Enforcer or it could confirm that it’s the right ski for you.
Would be the ideal option, but where I am, I don't have the demo option easily available. I have a trip planned for Mid January, and want to have skis set for that. Obviously, could rent and demo when I am in Deer Valley/Alta (prior skis got swipped at end of last season!)
 

rickg

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Late to the party here, but wanted to add my highly opinionated $0.02 worth.

I am 5'9", 190 lbs and consider myself to be an expert skier. I have a pair of the Enforcer 88's 179cm and love them! I bought them to be a western trip ski replacing a pair of Bones. These 88's are very fun! Perform well in most conditions you would encounter short of blue ice and 24"+ of Pow. Based on your description of your skiing, the 88's would be the better choice for primarily an eastern skier. It will even suffice on most days out west. If you get a big dump, rent a pair of powder skis or just ski them old school getting face shots on every turn!

Rick G
 

SoothSkier

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So this does beg the question regarding how SoothSki gathers its data. Is there a representative sample set tested or is it simply one pair of skis? There will always be variances due to the manufacturing tolerances.
This is a good question we have asked ourselves a few times in the past. We even debated this with some known shops such as Dan Lachance in Tremblant. He used to measure racing skis to ensure a perfect match. Back in those days (a few decades ago), it made sense, manufacturing was not what it is today. We carried the discussion to Utopie (Quebec based manufacturer who has J-Skis, G3..., and a bunch of smaller brands). The answer there was that yes there could be some variability, which can be fought back by using pre-preg and measuring wood cores (or getting expensive certified ones). But according to them, once the the batch is launched, within this batch, there is very little variation and they QC it with 3 point testings and have set tolerances. Where it can be a problem is if you start a batch, stop and relaunch it later in the year or elsewhere on the planet. This is actually a problem big brands are facing, especially when they transfer manufacturing at another location. Wood cores vary as they are not from the same batch, may not have the exact same epoxy and fiber properties... Could be difficult to get back to the exact original. We actually did some work for some large brands to help them "find" back the original spec of a ski they liked.
As for us, we have re-tested a same model and compared different skis. I have never seen any significant difference. But I suppose we were always within a batch. I'd be curious to compare a ski from the US and one from Europe. Also, we should keep in mind that variations of less than 10% are virtually impossible to notice, even for experiences designers.
I should also state that some companies run continuous testings of what they manufacture. They bough our machine to design and they also use it fo QA/QC. I wish more companies start doing this, it would reduce yearly variabilities.
 

AlexisLD

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As Marius described, manufacturing appears to us as being quite consistent for a same run / year. To put numbers on things, our machine has a 5% precision (closer to 2-3% in reality, but we claim 5% to be conservative). Our measurements of multiple skis of the same model / length / year reveal that the manufacturing tolerance are on the order of the machine precision (5%). Could it be more? Yes I can. Should manufacturers let high variability happen? Probably not! Have we measured skis that are consistent from one year to the other? Yes, and that is the case for most skis (<5-10%). Are some manufacturer more consistant than other? Yes for sure, but we haven't check.

Ski flex matching is not done anymore as far as I know, except maybe for racing skis of sponsored athlete.

It is important to remember that IF manufacturing tolerances are more than 10-20% and highly variable within a same year / model / length, THEN measurements AND reviews are useless. Nobody can provide relevant information from products with random specs. If we lived in such world, buying skis would be like playing Russian roulette!

We will write something more in depth about this (look for aeroelasticity if you are interested, and replace the aero part by snow), but we think that:
1. We are capturing most of the important variables to describe a ski behaviour.
2. You can't say that numbers don't work if you were always missing some of the information before (e.g,. as far as I know, nobody really had access to torsional stiffness information before).
3. We are not measuring everything that could be measured (e.g., damping), but we think that we can capture the most important information on a ski. We think that it is useful to have detailed informations early in the season on most skis available in all lengths, even if it doesn't capture as much details as skiing them on snow back to back for a number of days/weeks. We also think that numbers are often more convenient than trying to find demos, and finding demos with the snow conditions that you are looking for. But in all cases, if you have access to reviews or demos take advantage of it. This is just another tool in the toolbox... not an either-or proposition.
4. We also think that you can spend way too much time looking at these numbers. We do spend too much time looking at them... don't sweat too much about small difference and remember to go skiing! :)

As for the analysis of the Enforcer 88 vs 94, you can easily see in the comparator that the geometries are almost identical (beside the width). The main difference that I can see from these numbers is that the 94 is about 10% stiffer both in bending and torsion, and slightly heavier (8% --> 2178/2013). If the same construction is used in both skis, just having a wider platform would explain a 7% increase in bending stiffness and in weight (94 mm / 88 mm). This is pretty close to the measured 10-8% differences. Many other theories could explain these differences (e.g., thinner core for the 88). Remember that these differences in stiffnesses are close to our machine precision at 5% (so part of it could be noise) and manufacturing tolerance. These difference are lower than what we feel most people would be able to feel (10-20%), but if you are that sensitive to ski flex then YMMV according to manufacturing tolerance, year of production, etc. It is a small difference, no questions about this. If @Noodler can confidently feel that, I would want him on my on-snow testing team!

** The average bending stiffness axis of the stiffnesses graph is misleading. It stretches the axis way too much on computer screens making any small difference look gigantic. I hate this! Look at the numbers and percentage differences before saying "it is a huge difference".

The Navigator 90 vs Enforcer 88 is a much easier comparison. They both have almost the same geometry. However, the stiffnesses are way different so it is easier to isolate the effect of such change (but note that weight is also reduced so you also have to account for that). The Navigator is an intermediate ski according to most reviews and the manufacturer. The Navigator is specially softer in torsional stiffness (-40%). Bending stiffness is also lower (-25%), but not as much. For a given geometry, what makes a beginner / intermediate / advanced ski is the torsional stiffness. The difference between these two skis would easily be felt on the snow by pretty much any skier. However, these skis look almost identical on a ski rack in a shop and would appear more similar than they actually are during a hand flex test...
 
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