2021 Kästle MX88 or 83

markojp

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Ahhh. Okay. There is the disconnect then and perhaps with @Philpug as well. You are mainly interested if the new model is "good"

I'm more passionate that I feel one of the more unique skis that I personally really liked in the market was changed. And not only changed, but that it's bad for Kästle. You don't care much about either other than reviewing the new ski which you feel is "good". There is the disconnect. Ah, okay. Case closed.
You're buying skis for you. If it's not 'your ski, it's just not your ski. It doesn't really mean the company is going to pot. I test skis to figure out who a ski is for. Sure, I take note of what I personally like, but I'll generally qualify the difference to be upfront about things. A great example of a ski that is exceptional for its segment was the Nordica Nav. 80. Is it 'my' ski? No. Is it excellent in many of the qualities that make a great skill building ski that can take one from matching to parallel to advanced bumps and carving? In spades. It was an eye opener and a bargain when measured in bang for the buck. In closing, I'll say only that if you want a shop ro go out of business quickly, only buy and sell what you personally like.
 

Wasatchman

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Actually, I think the disconnect might be with you, ;) If you don't like or approve of the ski, it is bad...and really now it is is just wrong, wrong for you. ;) It is perspective. @Alexzn and I differed on the FX generations, he liked one generation more than another and I liked the other...does than mean either was better? Yes and no, depending on persecitve.
No, that's not the way I am looking at it. I think you and @markojp are misunderstanding me. I may be arrogant, but not so arrogant to call something a bad, bad move simply because of my personal preference of the ski.

The way I'm looking at it is the Kästle MX was one of the most unique skis on the market. It's not easy to have a ski standout as differently as the MX did. Now if a larger company made the change to boost sales, i might be disappointed but I'd get it. The problem for Kästle is they are a lower volume boutique, and my guess is a big part of their sales was because it was so unique in the first place. And because of the changes, if the ski is less differentiated, their sales might actually decrease, not increase like they are hoping because 1) they are a smaller company with less marketing muscle than the larger brands, and 2) are at a notably higher price point.

So, central of why I think it was a bad, bad move isn't so much that the new ski may be wrong for me, but it is actually detrimental to the company, in my view. So I think you and @markojp may not understand me. Well, in fact for sure @markojp and I are on a disconnect, because his post implied he cares little of what it means for Kästle. He mainly cares about the MX89 on a standalone view without the other considerations I was bringing into the conversation.

So key to why I thought it was a bad, bad move was the context of thinking this is going to hurt the Kästle brand. And why i say, okay, if Kästle is successful with all these moves I will say I was wrong and even though I'm bummed about the MX89 change I will understand it is the right thing to do.

Edit: Furthermore, I have also stated that Renoun discontinuing the Z90 is also probably a bad move. I have never been on the Z90 so I'm not saying that because I like that ski and so not having it is bad, I'm saying it because discontinuing the Z90 might prove bad for the brand potentially. So if you go back to the Renoun Z90 thread you will see I make similar comments and is consistent view about a ski I have no personal affinity for nor have ever tried.
 
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markojp

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Beating the dead horse, but you really need to ski things before leveling strong, emotion driven criticism. Yes, the Z-90 is an excellent ski. Personally, I thought the tail design could be improved for greater off piste versatility, but on piste it was really good. It still isn't 'my ski', but I'd be happy to make it work if a pair landed in my lap. If you want an upgraded old MX88/89, the Augment 88 soft flex is your ride if you spend a good deal of time off piste and in bumps, and a length shorter in medium if you ski primarily on groomers. Anyhow, in my Forest Gump voice, "that's pretty much all I have to say about that."
 

David Chaus

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I have nothing invested in this contest, however I will say that when I (finally) demoed the MX 88/89 and 83/84, I felt the strengths of grip and stability were better for a narrower ski, like the discontinued MX 78. I really couldn't see the point of that level of stability for an 88-90 ski for mere mortals (which I am). I know, I know, a heavier/stronger skier than I, that likes to blast through everything would absolutely love it, however I found the 88/89 to be a chore in bumps and off-piste.

So the issue remains: does a company benefit more by changing a ski to meet the needs of a wider range of skiers, or does it benefit more by maintaining a legacy ski for the hard core skiers with both the chops to ski it and the money to afford it? In the end, Kästle will do what is best for Kästle, and they probably have a better idea of what that is than any of us.


....says the skier who really wishes he had gotten a Fisher Motive 95 in 180 when he had the chance.....
 

James

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On piste, the Monster had the same power, and the length was right (184 vs 188).
Lol, don’t get me started on Kästle’s length problem over the years. It’s a joke when you have to switch models to get the length you want.
I thought the original MX83 was one of the best skis made.
Now if the Nordica Fire Arrow 84 edt evo, (tremendous ski), had had a non plow tip, likely it would’ve completely displaced it. Though there’s something in the simplicity of just a laminate ski versus the essentially bolt on turbo of that carbon plate. Fun.

Well see on this new MX. So far I agree with @Wasatchman . Why take your absolute strength and turn it into something else.

Now, maybe it’s time to check out that Soloman S Force Bold or Max, the 84mm one with a tail that out squared Kästle.

The original FX series was a fantastic ski. No, it didn’t do everything well, it’s edge hold was actually pretty bad, but such a lovable ski. Incredible snow feel. Had a personality. You just ski it differently in different places.
Frankly they ruined it after gen 1, even if it was “better” all around.
says the skier who really wishes he had gotten a Fisher Motive 95 in 180 when he had the chance.....
Nah, many people ended up dumping them. Largely because of the front end I think. Not tight enough.
 

Wasatchman

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So the issue remains: does a company benefit more by changing a ski to meet the needs of a wider range of skiers, or does it benefit more by maintaining a legacy ski for the hard core skiers with both the chops to ski it and the money to afford it? In the end, Kästle will do what is best for Kästle, and they probably have a better idea of what that is than any of us.


....says the skier who really wishes he had gotten a Fisher Motive 95 in 180 when he had the chance.....
Thank you @David Chaus. You get it!! I prefer to think of it more as a debate than a contest though, but that's a good summary!! Edit: though some may read it was starting to dangerously devolve to more of a pissing contest.

I think a larger company can do better changing a ski to meet the needs of a wider range of skiers, but for a smaller volume, boutique that move becomes very risky. I think a boutique needs to be differentiated.

And yes, your point is well taken that Kästle is doing what they think is best for them. But companies make bad decisions all the time. We'll see. But thank you, you nailed the crux at the debate I was getting at versus the personal preference part.
 
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Wasatchman

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Frankly they ruined it after gen 1, even if it was “better” all around.
Love that quote, man. Very insightful. How many models of skis have been "ruined" for a lot of people even as it is "better" all around. That's very insightful. I have never skied the FX, but I think it's very insightful.

Edit: and that insightful quote can be a missing element in ski reviews. In a vacuum a new version of the ski can be "better" all around but if it takes away too much from what it really did well in the first place the ski can lose it's soul. Love it, man. That's a super insightful thing you just said about your experience with the FX that can fit in many other instances for people.
 
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markojp

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Seems to have been said about other skis... Firearrow EDT, Monsters, Pro Rider xxl, old Stormriders.... It's just tough selling powerful skis even if it's what we personally prefer. Yes, I'm in that camp as well.
 

Philpug

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And I know people who stockpile previous FX series. I also know three good skiers who I recommended to test a Kästle and they bought a pair immediately after the demo (2 MX89s and an FX95) I doubt the new models will get the same response.
The original FX series was a fantastic ski. ... Frankly they ruined it after gen 1, even if it was “better” all around.
How many models of skis have been "ruined" for a lot of people even as it is "better" all around. That's very insightful. I have never skied the FX, but I think it's very insightful.
@Alexzn said the 2nd gen was the best ski ever...well, maybe not the best ski, but knows people who stockpiled them... @James said they ruined it. So, which is it?
 

Wasatchman

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@Alexzn said the 2nd gen was the best ski ever...well, maybe not the best ski, but knows people who stockpiled them... @James said they ruined it. So, which is it?
Both are right for their personal preference and experience. Edit: from a commercial popularity perspective, @James is more right. The 2nd gen FX series did not sell well. In particular, the FX85 was on clearance for $200 at Sierra Trading Post. Regardless, I enjoyed hearing both points of view.
 
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James

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@Alexzn said the 2nd gen was the best ski ever...well, maybe not the best ski, but knows people who stockpiled them... @James said they ruined it. So, which is it?
Heh, of course I’m right!
Seriously though, since the 2nd gen is completely different, those two views are not incompatible. People still look for the first gen to use as an intro AT ski.

Both are right for their personal preference and experience. Edit: from a commercial popularity perspective, @James is more right. The 2nd gen FX series did not sell well. In particular, the FX85 was on clearance for $200 at Sierra Trading Post. Regardless, I enjoyed hearing both points of view.
Wasn’t that when they started making like 6 types of park skis?
This is what I don’t get. Lets make an endless number of models, park, touring, etc, most will never sell much. No shop can carry that many. Yet the ones that do sell, they don’t make enough lengths in. How is that good for business?

Seems to me a different selling model might be to make more lengths/constructions to fit different types of skiers. Augments 10 flexes are too much considering no one can test them.
Dare I say like Soloman’s Power Number idea of yore? Just don’t hide the length or we’ll pull another ski off the wall to measure it.
Or how 155 and 156 slalom skis are different construction for different weight/skills.
 

Philpug

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Heh, of course I’m right!
Seriously though, since the 2nd gen is completely different, those two views are not incompatible. People still look for the first gen to use as an intro AT ski.
It was a ki I never warmed up to either.
Wasn’t that when they started making like 6 types of park skis?
This is what I don’t get. Lets make an endless number of models, park, touring, etc, most will never sell much. No shop can carry that many. Yet the ones that do sell, they don’t make enough lengths in. How is that good for business?
This was few big hiccups in Kästle's progression. Signing of Colby, not the athlete tat was on a Kästle buyers radar. Selling on STP, HUGE mister and Kästle immediately knew it. You cannot be a premium brand AND use a clearing house to move excess inventory. They would have been better to make that product free to dealers free or near free. I am not sure they liked hearing it from me but I did tell them this.
Seems to me a different selling model might be to make more lengths/constructions to fit different types of skiers. Augments 10 flexes are too much considering no one can test them.
I told this to Augment, too many flexes...and work on the makes. 3 flexes at most. I have flexed a 7, 8, 9 back to back to back, hardly a difference could be felt.
Dare I say like Soloman’s Power Number idea of yore? Just don’t hide the length or we’ll pull another ski off the wall to measure it.
Or how 155 and 156 slalom skis are different construction for different weight/skills.
For years I have said Salomon's PR (Power Rating) was brilliant idea. The same with Salomon's Volume boot sizing, focusing on the measurement of the vamp/ankle volume.
 

Andy Mink

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It's threads like this that make me glad I haven't skied multiple versions of skis! No comparison, no problem.
 
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David Edwards

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I may have opened up a debate like no other and I apologize. On another note, I drove to Vail for the day and while in the Village, noticed the 2021 Kästle MX skis on the rack. I did venture in to check them out and flexing the 83 and 88 pulled me closer to the 88. The 83 is still stiff but lighter for sure. I must say though “ they are magnificent to look at”. I was offered a great deal and will have the 88 in my garage by Friday; I’m still on the fence with length. The 180 looked like a telephone pole.
The manager of the shop made an interesting comment which is in line with some of the comments here “ the big, stiff and demanding skis just don’t sell; when they do sell, it’s on clearance. People want fun skis”.
 

Wasatchman

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I may have opened up a debate like no other and I apologize. On another note, I drove to Vail for the day and while in the Village, noticed the 2021 Kästle MX skis on the rack. I did venture in to check them out and flexing the 83 and 88 pulled me closer to the 88. The 83 is still stiff but lighter for sure. I must say though “ they are magnificent to look at”. I was offered a great deal and will have the 88 in my garage by Friday; I’m still on the fence with length. The 180 looked like a telephone pole.
The manager of the shop made an interesting comment which is in line with some of the comments here “ the big, stiff and demanding skis just don’t sell; when they do sell, it’s on clearance. People want fun skis”.
I touched off the debate, certainly not you and by no means is an apology warranted. I hope you enjoy your skis!!
 

Philpug

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The manager of the shop made an interesting comment which is in line with some of the comments here “ the big, stiff and demanding skis just don’t sell; when they do sell, it’s on clearance. People want fun skis”.
@markojp brought that exact point up, "They don't sell at retail".
 

Wasatchman

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@markojp brought that exact point up, "They don't sell at retail".
It's going to be interesting to watch. The MX series while not high volume, was I believe Kästle's best seller by a significant margin. But a ski like that which is ordinarily not a big seller can work well for a boutique as they don't require near the volume like the biggies do. In fact, i would think one of the main purposes of a boutique is to be differentiated and serve underrepresented areas mass brands don't cover. If the MX didn't sell well at full retail, I can guarantee none of Kästle's skis did.

Pure speculation on my part, but my guess is the group that revived Kästle did a fine job reviving the brand but probably didn't make all that much money. The recent purchaser of the brand may be thinking I'm going to take the work they did revitalizing the brand and take it to the next level, but what that means is we need to significantly boost its mass appeal. If it works, then it could be a homerun. If it doesn't, it could be a spectacular bust. The ski equipment business is brutal. But maybe the buyer is fully aware of this and didn't pay all that much for the brand and looks at a potential all or nothing approach as good risk versus the reward.

We've had a good debate on it and unless others want to chime in with thoughts I'll be content to let it go and watch now and see what happens.

Edit: Anecdotally, it seems to me Stöckli was significantly more popular than Kästle shooting the breeze with shop guys and anecdotally from posts on Pugski. So perhaps the other vision is to morph the brands offerings more like Stöckli while still keeping it premium. My guess is that is not their vision given the move to Czech Republic and significantly expanding the line to include lower price points. Again, will be interesting to watch.
 
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KingGrump

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Anecdotally, it seems to me Stöckli was significantly more popular than Kästle shooting the breeze with shop guys and anecdotally from posts on Pugski.
Much depends on when and where.
Aspen & JH - Kästle.
LCC & Taos - Stöckli

Pugski - Kästle was hot couple years back. Now, it's Stöckli.
Skiers are fickle. All looking for the next hot thing that will make their skiing that much betterer.
 

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