Featured Individual Review 2019 K2 Recon 130LV

Discussion in 'Gear Reviews and Comparisons' started by Philpug, Dec 17, 2018.

  1. Philpug

    Philpug Enjoying being back on two skis. Admin Pugski Ski Tester

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    AybIRFCjSyiWGhkxKMajXw.jpg
    Recon 130 LV with matching @KULKEA Heated Boot Trekker
    Boots are not new to K2, which introduced a short run back in the 1970s and then moved away from them. Around 2012, K2 re-entered the market with a four-buckle boot. The all-new collections did well, with a good stance and an Intuition liner, but it wasn't the sales success K2 had hoped. Enter the new Recon/Luv collection for 2018-19. Where the previous boot was a follower in design, the new boot is a leader. The Spyne and Spyre felt like me-too boots, and they were never the first ones I reached for when fitting someone. But the Recon has its own character and is a top contender.

    Last year I had the opportunity to spend a few days in the Recon (read about that HERE) and was impressed even though it was not my size. That boot was passed along to @Ron, who is now skiing it as his everyday boot; his long-term review can be found HERE. What I immediately noticed with the Recon was how light it is -- yes, like the Salomon S/Max, the other boot I am reviewing this season. I could feel the difference from my Raptor immediately when I put the boot on and start walking. But how will the 1650g boot feel on snow? Stay tuned.
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    As I referenced in the Recon boot preview, this boot is shaped like a foot. I know that sounds obvious, but you would be surprised by how many boots still just do not fit. Yes, last year I was questioned how I could fairly review a boot that wasn’t my size. Well, for not being my ski-boot size (25.5), it is my measured size (26.5) -- and it skied darn well. If I were a 10-day-a-season skier and not looking for a performance fit, I probably would be skiing a 26.5. But I am not that skier.
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    With Thermic C-Pack 1700 installed (review coming)

    Putting on the LV next to the MV model, there isn’t that much of a difference in fit. It isn't that the LV is generous; it is that the MV is snugger than most 100mm boots. The Recon has 12° of forward lean out of the box, definitely on the upright end of the spectrum. I prefer a little more aggressive forward lean, so during the shell molding process, I worked on pulling the cuff forward during the cooling stage. I also added a pad by my sixth toe for a bit more room. The one thing I didn’t have to do was pad my navicular; the Recon has one of the best pockets here. I didn’t check my lateral alignment before I molded the shell, but when I was done, my stance was neutral.
    This is where I found the first of two flaws with the boot (the second will be addressed in the insider tip at the end of the review). "Flaw" probably isn’t the right word; maybe it is just a design oversight that can be easily addressed by a competent bootfitter. On the medial (inside) side of the cuff, on the bottom of the third strap, the plastic is not rounded where it meets the clog. It actually rounded and conformed when I heated the shell, but it still pressed down on the clog (lower shell) when I flexed into the boot. This design aspect is more exaggerated with someone who has a very skinny leg and must take volume out of the cuff. This is not the first boot I have had to do this with, but it is the first boot where the cuff was angular rather than rounded where it meets the clog. This issue was remedied with a couple of minutes with a Foredom. When done, the overall fit of the boot is uniform and snug; now all that's left is to ski it.
    "Reactive" is the first thing that comes to mind in the new boot. These new plastics brighten up the experience; the boot just pops. The Raptor, again, is a great boot, solid and stable. The Recon is like a teenager who is full of energy; while it might make a mistake or two, it is bright-eyed and full of zest. The Raptor is more mature and calculated. Is either bad? Not at all, it is personal preference. Where the Raptor is isolated, solid, and goes over (and through) everything, the Recon with its thin wall and lightness is more sensitive and transmits more snow feel.

    Will these new plastics replace the old guard? Of course not. But unless you are racing and looking for the Nth degree of precision (and I am not sure how much of the latter is really lost), a boot like the Recon should be on your short list.
    • Who is it for? The skier who wants performance but not at the cost of weight; the price-conscious, because these retail for about $100 less than most other comparable flex offerings.
    • Who is it not for? Ricky Racer. If you are running gates, stay with your traditional plug/race boots. But if you are considering a boot for the days when you are not whacking gates, you might be surprised with this one.
    • Insider tip 1: If you tried the last generation of K2 boots, forget them; this boot truly is all-new.
    • Insider tip 2: The second design miss is that the lugs are hollow. In the quest to save grams, they removed plastic from the lugs. Does this matter for the vast majority of skiers? No, but if you are looking at extreme canting or dealing with a leg-length issue, it might cause limitations. (Of course, this can be said about almost every non-solid-lug race boot on the market.)
     

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  2. Ron

    Ron Don't judge a ski by its width underfoot! Pugski Ski Tester

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    after about 40 days, liners are still solid and still lovin' this boot; plenty high level of performance (except for Ricky or Rachel racer) very warm (no need for heaters down to single digits for 3 hours) and don't forget the ease of getting into and out of these shells.
     
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  3. Thread Starter
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    Philpug

    Philpug Enjoying being back on two skis. Admin Pugski Ski Tester

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    There are a couple of specific things that stand out with this boot:
    • Weight. You definately can feel the lightness not only in walking but there is a reactiveness that can be felt
    • E-Z On/Off. This is the easiest 4 buckle boot I have ever experienced for getting on and off, no matter what the temperature.
    • Toe Room. The designer were adament in creating a larger toe box...1.5mm in every direction.
     
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  4. Ron

    Ron Don't judge a ski by its width underfoot! Pugski Ski Tester

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    This! Seemingly reduces the swing weight of skis. most felt in tight spots where you need to suddenly pivot.
     
  5. Tom K.

    Tom K. HRPufnStf Skier

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    Hard to argue with easy on/off!

    Possibly a minority opinion here, but I really dislike a lot of toe room. I like a snug, but not truly tight, fit up there. Same in all my shoes, whether they be street, bike, or hiking.

    But not flip flops. Definitely a fan of toe room in those! :D
     
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  6. Thread Starter
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    Philpug

    Philpug Enjoying being back on two skis. Admin Pugski Ski Tester

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    I thought I did too...Until...
     
  7. Ron

    Ron Don't judge a ski by its width underfoot! Pugski Ski Tester

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    my opinion changed after my experiences with Altra and Hoka's. a wider toe box allows the toes to spread, actually increasing balance and blood flow. as long as the met heads are secure, you wont experience any detrimental effects.
     
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  8. ted

    ted Putting on skis Skier

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    BSL for 25?
     
  9. Thread Starter
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    Philpug

    Philpug Enjoying being back on two skis. Admin Pugski Ski Tester

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    296mm
     
  10. ted

    ted Putting on skis Skier

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    Thanks. How is the instep- higher or lower?
    Can you compare fit to Promachine?
    What do you think of the softer plastic over the top of the foot, does it wrap the foot better than a more tradition single density plastic?
    No shops in my area carry this boot.
     
  11. Thread Starter
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    Philpug

    Philpug Enjoying being back on two skis. Admin Pugski Ski Tester

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    The ProMachine is a little snugger in the heel. Over the instep is more than the Raptor I came out of but not overly generous. I love the light weight and the boot is warmer too, Toe box is very generous and comfortable. Both these and the Nordica are moldable so a lot can be done with both.
     
  12. WheatKing

    WheatKing Ice coast carveaholic Skier

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    As someone who appreciates light gear and has a stupidly high instep could you measure the opening? dunno if these should be on my radar as i'm looking for a new boot.

    Any chance you can get pictures unbuckled.. or am i barking up the wrong tree??
     
  13. Turnoisier

    Turnoisier Booting up Skier

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    @Philpug Was the above picture of the boots taken after you altered the lower buckle straps? If so, could you tell me roughly how much plastic you needed to shave off? I have noticed that as soon as the top buckle is tightened, the lower cuff buckle is pulled down at a weird angle, which causes a pinched feeling on the top of the outside ankle. I too have very skinny calfs, but also relatively large boney ankles. This is a problem I've had on a couple of different boots (always more on one side than the other), and is usually cured (more or less) with heat moulding/stretching the ankle pocket, but it seems worse with the Recon than usual. If a little judicious boot surgery could cure the problem, that would be great. Many thanks!
     
  14. Bogatyr

    Bogatyr Chasing the snow Skier

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    What about the lateral stiffness ?
     
  15. Ron

    Ron Don't judge a ski by its width underfoot! Pugski Ski Tester

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