30 Dec 2003 10:13:51
Griss
Salomon 9 vs Carbon

OK, I'm in the market for new striding/classic boots. The boots I have were
top of the line about 10 years ago. I ski about 75 times per year, about
1/3 of that striding. I race only a few times per year and am middle of the
pack in the 50+ age category.

I understand and fully agree with the principle that fit is the most
important thing.

I currently am on the Salomon system so am looking at the 9 (yellow) and
carbon (grey). Other than $100, what is the difference? Obviously the
Carbon's are lighter, but how much? Are there any other characteristics
that are significant (e.g. ease of use, flex, overall support). As I said,
I do race a *little*, but mainly like a "performance" boot just because I
like the feel and function of good equipment. Since I ski a *lot* and
really only buy new equipment when I need it (every 10 years or so), I am
not adverse to spending the extra $100, but not if it is something that
really doesn't suit me. Comfort is important, for example, and it kind of
looks like the Carbon might be less comfortable and more difficult to use.

As a related question, I see that the current yellow and black 9's are
colored opposite to what they were before the carbon came out. (e.g.
whatever parts used to be yellow are now black and vice versa). Other than
that, I can't see any difference between the new 9s and the 9s of two years
ago - is there any difference other than switching the black and yellow in
the color?

Another boot that I've seen on the Salomon system is the Sportful. They look
like decent boots but are quite a bit cheaper. I can't do side by side
comparisons w/ Salomon, and can't find info on weights for any of these
boots. Any experience with these?

Finally, I might just take the plunge and switch systems. Are there any
relative advantages to the top of the line Alpina or Rossignol (the only
others available locally). Here, both of these boots are significantly
(~$50) cheaper than even the Salomon 9's - and of course closer to $150
cheaper than the Carbons. One observation I've made is that the Salomon
9's, while no longer the "top of the line" for Salomon - are still at the
quality and features level, or even above, of the "top of the line" in
Alpina and Rossy - is this true?

Thanks for your help.

Grizzy






30 Dec 2003 23:08:12
Gary Jacobson
Re: Salomon 9 vs Carbon

> As a related question, I see that the current yellow and black 9's are
> colored opposite to what they were before the carbon came out. (e.g.
> whatever parts used to be yellow are now black and vice versa). Other than
> that, I can't see any difference between the new 9s and the 9s of two
years
> ago - is there any difference other than switching the black and yellow in
> the color?


I just did a careful side by side comparison of my old yellow and the newest
blak ones. No discernable difference.

> Another boot that I've seen on the Salomon system is the Sportful. They
look
> like decent boots but are quite a bit cheaper. I can't do side by side
> comparisons w/ Salomon, and can't find info on weights for any of these
> boots. Any experience with these?

I have owned Artex, which are proto Sportful, and NNN. Excellent quality.
Would Sportful go back to NNN after switching to Solomon? I hope so.
Be careful that the sole of the Sportful is a true racing sole. They have
some versions with nice uppers but heavy rubberlike soles.

>
> Finally, I might just take the plunge and switch systems. Are there any
> relative advantages to the top of the line Alpina or Rossignol (the only
> others available locally).

I really object to the complex and costly Pilot system, and am happy with
thr NNN and Rossi skate set up. Rossi is more a minimal boot than the
Alpina. I believe that most skate boots are way overbuilt. I think that
classic boots may be underbuilt. Also, I want to comment that maybe the more
flexible carbon sole of the Solomon high end classic boot is not best for
some people. I benefit from a stiffer sole, and am forever searching for a
classic or minimal combi boot with a stiff sole. Anyone with arthritic toes,
or maybe anyone who skis a lot, would benefit from stiffness in the sole as
it take the load off the toe joints. I can understand for racing that a
flexible sole in the toe area that is torsionally stiff is ideal.

Gary Jacobson
Rosendale, NY

> Thanks for your help.
>
> Grizzy
>
>
>
>




31 Dec 2003 09:19:35
Griss
Re: Salomon 9 vs Carbon

Thanks for your help.

<chanting mantra ... fit, fit, fit.... comfort, comfort, comfort >, off to
try on a couple more boots.

Grissy




02 Jan 2004 00:30:37
Ira Edwards
Re: Salomon 9 vs Carbon

Also remember that the Rossignol boots are lighter than the Carbon boots,
cost over $100 less and have thermo Adjustable fit. this allows them to
break in to the shape of your foot (have a shop tech mold them for you, they
can be remolded if you choose not to buy them...) and gives you great warmth
through bertter circulation. due to the molding, they fit a fairly broad
rang of feet, but fit is key and definitely go withthe boots that fit YOUR
feet, not what the masses say are the best boot...

-Ira
Anchorage, AK


"Griss" <[email protected] > wrote in message
news:[email protected]
> Thanks for your help.
>
> <chanting mantra ... fit, fit, fit.... comfort, comfort, comfort>, off to
> try on a couple more boots.
>
> Grissy
>
>




05 Jan 2004 10:34:36
Griss
Re: Salomon 9 vs Carbon (vs Alpina vs Sportful)

"Ira Edwards" <[email protected] > wrote in message
news:[email protected]
> Also remember that the Rossignol boots are lighter than the Carbon boots,
> cost over $100 less and have thermo Adjustable fit. this allows them to
> break in to the shape of your foot (have a shop tech mold them for you,
they
> can be remolded if you choose not to buy them...) and gives you great
warmth
> through bertter circulation. due to the molding, they fit a fairly broad
> rang of feet, but fit is key and definitely go withthe boots that fit YOUR
> feet, not what the masses say are the best boot...

Thanks Ira. You're right on. I looked at the Rossys that a friend has,
talked to him about them, and was very interested. But there's none
available locally right now. I was actually quite interested, but not
interested enough to go the mail order route.

Warning: Long analysis and personal experience follows, for those that are
interested. I'd also like to know if anyone else is this OBSESSIVE about
fitting boots. I always go through this and really can't help myself.

I'm currently in the Salomon system in my striding gear, but was willing to
change to NNN if necessary for best fit. My main goal is to improve the
overall stability and support, and especially downhill control. I'm
replacing what was more or less, near-top of the line, IIRC, 10+ years ago
when they were just a low cut boot - no ankle collar, relatively flexible
sole. I want a "more or less" top of the line boot and can afford it. I
decided that, while cost is important, fit is more important and if it cost
me an extra $100 to get that, so be it. I ski several times a week for >5
months a year so it's easy to spend the extra money. I'm just a guy who
skis a lot, has pretty good classical technique, races enough (mid pack at
best) to motivate me, and really enjoys high performance gear. Gear lasts
me forever. My current boots are still in excellent shape and have been used
a lot. All of the following is based on actually bringing a pair of each
boot home and wearing them for a couple of hours a couple of times (morning
and evening). I was able to do this because I paid for them up front with
the understanding I could do this inside the house.

It boiled down to four boots / three brands available locally (in top end
striding boots): Solomon (both Racing 9 and Carbon), Alpina CL (NNN), and
Sportful (Model ?? - top of the line competition model - SNS profil sole).

Local retail costs were:

Alpina and Sportful ~$180
Salomon 9 ~$230
Salomon Carbon ~$330.

Sportful: I looked at the top of the line racing model. It looked like an
excellent quality boot with excellent features. Has an adjustable heel
snugger. Has a fairly stiff sole, but I thought not as stiff as the
Yellow/Black Salomons, but stiffer than the Alpinas (they were in different
stores, so I'm not real sure about that). Has a substantial velcro ankle
cuff. I looked real hard at it and tried on the available pair that was
close to my size. Unfortunately, the 43 was a little too big/sloppy and
there was not a 42 available to try. I suspect it would have been too
small. I probably could have made the 43 work with different insoles,
really snugging down the heel, etc. but didn't have to. I do strongly
recommend looking at this boot if anyone is in the market for a SNS boot. I
really think it's a "sleeper".

Solomon: The yellow/black (Racing 9) and the grey (Carbon) are definitely
built on different lasts and have different characteristics. Both are
excellent boots with excellent features. Both have adjustable heel snugger.
The 9 has a fairly substantial velcro ankle wrap. The Carbon has a slip-in
lycra-looking ankle cuff. The Carbon seems to be narrower in a given size.
The 9's fit me in a 42 2/3, but felt a little sloppy in the next size up, 43
1/3 (even using heel strap). The Carbons were too small in the 42 2/3, but
felt good in the 43 1/3. The 9's that fit best gave me an uncomfortable
spot on the bottom of the ball of my left (larger) foot when flexing. The
Carbons that fit best felt much more comfortable in that area. The arch and
heel on both felt fine. The Carbon has a much more flexible sole. The 9
has the stiffest sole of any that I tried. I thought that the 9 felt like
it had the best ankle support of any I tried, but that could be an illusion
because of the way the ankle cuff is built. Of course, the Carbon is
"lighter" and costs $100 more.

In fact, I purposefully AVOIDED trying the Carbon at first because I'm not a
dedicated racer and didn't want to spend the extra $100. To be honest,
another reason I avoided the Carbon is that, although I ski a lot and am a
pretty good with my classical technique, I'm not a super strong skier and
really would feel sheepish about traipsing around on leading edge boots, and
being passed by many, many people on less expensive and much older gear.

Alpina: This is also an excellent boot. The sole is very flexible. The
arch seemed a little higher. The toe area of the boot seems a bit more
roomy and the arch seemed a little higher than the Salomon. I have a fairly
flat foot, so this isn't necessarily good. This boot, in walking around in
it, seemed lighter and more "slipper-like" than the Sportful and Salomon 9.
The quality is top notch, although I didn't like the ankle cuff design as
well as the Salomon and Sportful (Alpina: zipper - something to fail
eventually; others: velcro - which won't fail and would be easy to replace
if it did). It also didn't have an adjustable heel snugger, but that didn't
seem to be a problem. The 43 fit me well, the 42 was too small.

At this point, I hadn't tried the Carbon on and it came down to the Salomon
9 and the Alpina. Both fit OK, but the Alpina seemed more comfortable over
all, after obsessing over it for a few days. The Alpina's arch was a little
high, but the Salomon felt uncomfortable on the ball of the left foot when
flexing. Probably both problems weren't insurmountable, but the ball of the
foot thing bugged me much more and had the potential of actually hurting. I
came THIS CLOSE to buying the Alpina and changing my two pair of striding
skis over to NNN.

Then two things happened.

1. I went out for a long ski on my old gear with a good friend, and far
better skier. He reminded me that for the amount I ski, I was foolish to
avoid trying the Carbon simply because it costs more. He agreed that the
weight and other possible performance features were probably nothing to pay
for (for me), since all options would be a satisfactory improvement. But,
he (and others on this newsgroup) reminded me that the Carbon did in fact
have significant structural differences than the 9 - mostly in the last and
the sole flex, and therefore it is not simply a racier version of the 9. He
also reminded me of many FAR less important things I've spent $100+ on.
And, AS WE ALL KNOW (but need to continually remind ourselves), the BOOT IS
THE MOST IMPORTANT THING, BY FAR.

2. Although the lower cost of the Alpina was NOT an important
consideration, I also realized (DUH!) that the $150 I'd "save" by going with
the Alpina over the Carbon, would be eaten up by replacing two pair of SNS
bindings with two pair of NNN, local prices. It would actually cost me $20+
more to go with the cheaper boot. I repeat, the cost was not the factor in
the Alpina, it was the most comfortable to that point. But remember, cost
WAS a factor in avoiding the Carbon to that point.

So I tried on the Carbon, as above, and felt it gave me a little better fit
than the Alpina. The arch felt a little better. The sole felt much more
flexible than the Salomon 9 (more like the Alpina) and didn't give me the
uncomfortable spot. It seems pretty obvious to me that the Alpina would be
warmer, but that's not a consideration to me, even though I live in a very
cold climate. I bought them, and saved some money to boot in a round about
way!

I know I'll be a little sheepish about skiing around on these "leading edge
racing boots". Believe me, I'm REALLY NOT thinking I'm buying free speed. B
ut they are very comfortable and I know without a doubt I'll get my use and
enjoyment out of them once I get over this "stigma". I won't look
ridiculous on these things, technique-wise, just an old slow guy.

I skied an easy 15 km tour on the new boots the other day and they passed
the test. I would say they are much better in all respects over my old "low
cuts", but are HUGELY (!!!) better in down hill control when cornering.
Like I said, I'm not a really strong skier, but am relatively good at
downhill, and love going fast and in control down hill and around corners.
I don't know if it's the better ankle support (after all, it's not a whole
lot of support given by a lycra cuff), or better torsional rigidity of the
sole - I suspect that's mostly it. I also suspect I'd have found the same
thing with any of the other options I looked at.

As for warmth, yes, they definitely LOOK like they won't be as warm as the
others I tried on. However, my old boots are VERY minimal and I truly think
these new ones will be as warm. From the ankle cuff alone, they will
probably be in fact warmer. And I always have the overboots.

Anyway, there ya go.

Did I ask, is anyone as obsessive about boot fit as I am??

Grissy