Lange WC RP ZA Questions

Discussion in 'Ski Boot Discussion by America's Best Bootfitters' started by NateR, Sep 24, 2017.

  1. NateR

    NateR Booting up Skier

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    Hello all,

    This evening there was a gear night where reps from several manufacturers showed up at a local ski shop with their equipment, along with some racer discounts.

    I'm starting into Masters racing this year, so settled on the Lange World Cup RP ZA/ZA+ boots. I need to make a decision on whether I want to go with the ZA or ZA+ (question on that in just a moment), and need to let the shop know tomorrow (Sunday) which one I want.

    My questions:
    1. In the literature they handed out there, it says that the ZA/ZA+ is a 130 flex boot. Unfortunately they did not have that in my size, so I was trying the ZJ+ in my size (way too soft - just kind of leaning forward while resting flexed them a fair bit). I'm now kicking myself for not having tried the ZA/ZA+ in a larger size just to get a feel of the flex. The thing I'm wondering now is... Everywhere I've read online lists the ZA/ZA+ as a 120 flex. Trying the other boots there and talking to the fitter, it looks like 130 flex is is where I should be aiming for. Anyway, what's with the varying flex rating depending on where I look (yes, same model number)? Should I go up to the ZB and work with the fitter to soften them some?
    2. For ZA vs ZA+... Talking to the fitter, he said the cost to grind the soles to DIN-spec (I haven't a clue whether I'm remembering the terminology correct) would cost $60-$80, but would allow for left/right canting as necessary. The boots cost the same. What are the chances I'd benefit from this?

    Thanks!
    Nate
     
  2. BGreen

    BGreen Out on the slopes Skier

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    I think there are too many questions here to answer over the internet. $80 to route DIN interfaces seems more than a little steep to me. It takes about 20 min. The ability to cant a boot by sole grinding is great providing the shop is set up for it with sleds. If it is just a planer with a few strips of tape on the side, you’re better off with canted lift plates. Which way you go is more about the skill of the person doing the work.

    As far as whether ZA or ZB is better for you, it depends on what you want, your range of motion, your strength, height, technical skill, etc. Sine you are buying from a race shop, ask them if the ZB would be better. My gut for a new masters is ZA is better, but you can always soften a boot. Most masters, and at some level racers in general are moving to softer boots, particularly for GS and SG. If I recall, the ZA flexes out about the same as the RS 130, which an ok all around flex. The masters coach that I work with has gone to the SS flex Dalbello, which is claimed to be about a 110 flex, and he can squat a mid-size car. He originally bought them for speed and slowly started using them for everything.

    I have not skied the ZA, only tried it in a shop, but went with a different brand mostly for a lower price. However, @ScotsSkier has a pair, and I’m sure he’ll weigh in.
     
  3. otto

    otto Getting on the lift Skier

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    NateR,

    Flex designation on ski boots is nothing more than a basic road map to steer the end user into a good match. It is easy enough to explain to you the differences between a ZA and a ZJ, however to help you make a buying choice it would be helpful if you could provide all of the information about you and your skiing...

    Real race boots, are not usually given a flex number designation. Flex numbers are a marketing gimmick that helps sell ski boots when there is not a guided tour available, like buying your boots online, or at a big box store, or a so-called specialist that has hired a 20 year old snowboarder to sell ski boots. Giving a retail ski boot the "130" designation is simply the suppliers license to steal an extra $100 from you at retail.

    The stiffness in race boots comes from a combination of the thickness and the plastic make up. ZA's and ZJ's are made from different plastics, making the ZJ softer. In addition, the ZJ has some minor interior sculpting that gives the fit feel of the ZJ a bit more generous fit. Also the sole cant angle of the two boots is different. The ZA sole cant is tipped 1 degree to the outside and the ZJ sole has been ground back to zero in the factory.

    There is a logical reason for the differences... The ZA is the softest flex of the Lange/Rossi race group. Targeted for lighter weight and or developing FIS athletes. Originally the ZJ was developed for transitioning U16 athletes. It's like a race boot with training wheels. It gives the fit characteristics of the real race boot without the high flex. In some of the European markets, many recreational skiers use race oriented ski equipment. Based on that need, Lange/Rossi decided to sell and market the ZJ to these skiers that still want the fit and precision of a real race boot, but without the high flex. So they opened the space inside the ZJ shell, so it would not need as much customisation, as well as "de powering" the sole cant so the boot would ski more playfully out of the box.

    With customisation the ZA can be modified in flex to be almost as soft as a ZJ, and the fit can be ground or stretched to be more generous, and the sole can be planed for any cant angle that you want.

    One thing that you should be aware of is that these race boots will stiffen up considerably more than any of their retail counter parts when it gets cold. So the shop feel versus the below freezing feel is more extreme than retail boots. Too bad we have to ski in the winter...

    On the question about canting the boot soles. because the control of the race boots is so precise, you should take advantage of the oversized sole to have your sole cant angle set up by the shop for you. Your stance will be different on the2 boots until you have the shop dial it in for you.
     
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  4. Philpug

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

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    Thanks Jim for checking in..saved me from pinging you.
     
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  5. Muleski

    Muleski Skiing the powder Industry Insider

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    Two VERY good posts ^^^^.

    Key takeaway is that even if one is used to doing their own research, making their own decisions and purchases over the net, one area where it is very difficult is ski boots.

    One where it is impossible...High performance plug boots. Literally impossible.

    You need an experienced, skilled bottfitter in that niche. One like @otto and his staff.

    If you can't find a way to get to one, do NOT buy the boots. And do not try to get advice on "what flex" etc. via any forum. This is, IMO, the best. Still this is a face to face deal.

    My daughter lives in a "Mecca" of great bootfitters, yet chose to have her latest pair fitted and the work done 2200 miles away by somebody who she has worked with for "a long time."

    The Masterfit shops are a great start. Plenty of opinions to be offered based on location by Puggers with hands on experience.

    Self serving on the net tends to missably confuse people on this.

    Otto's words on flex are pure gold, BTW.
     
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  6. ScotsSkier

    ScotsSkier USSA Coach Pugski Ski Tester Industry Insider

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    Yes, I have the ZA Lange in a 24 shell. I have heard all these stories of it being soft but I have not found it to be that way. It is slightly softer than my tecnicas but they are the R model full on WC version (not the commercially available 9.3). They work for me.

    Slightly confused why you would be debating between the ZA and the ZA plus. The plus IIRC is the same boot but with a wider clog. For those with a wider foot. And the sole comes unfinished on them so has to be planed/ routered to get them to binding standard. Also normally lifters are added at the same time to protect the sole
     
  7. BGreen

    BGreen Out on the slopes Skier

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    One thing I’ll say about @otto, his knowledge, experience, and his shop are the reasons I sent a girl from Australia to him to get boots over the summer. Think about that for a minute.

    @otto Thanks for the ZA/ZJ clarification. I always wondered about that.
     
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2017
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  8. Thread Starter
    TS
    NateR

    NateR Booting up Skier

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    Thank you for the replies! Great info provided.

    This post is after having talked to who I'm told is the best bootfitter in the area (at least that's what I've been told by the head of the race program here, as well as a couple of the reps I was talking to that know him (On a side note, how would one find out about a bootfitter's level of knowledge/reputation? His name is Chuck Cremer if any of you have heard anything about him)). The flex question was just me second-guessing and gathering more thoughts after seeing varying flex numbers online for these boots (I'm getting the feeling that flex is just a number). He, along with the rep, specifically recommended the ZA/ZA+ after talking to me for a while - this isn't me trying to select a boot online. When I left last night, I was left with one choice to sleep on and let him know today: whether to spend the extra money for him to grind the soles and customize the left/right cant or go with pre-gound. Sounds like that's Otto's recommendation, and based on what you guys are saying, he knows what he's talking about.

    For the ZA vs. ZA+, I was told that the only difference between the two was that the ZA needed ground to be DIN-compliant, and the ZA+ came pre-ground. However, looking at Lange's website, it shows the last of the ZA as "92mm," and the last of the ZA+ as "92+mm," so it looks like there may be a bit of a size difference (reading online it sounded like at least in previous years the plus came pre-punched somewhat). Also, down in the features section the differences between the ZA and ZA+ is the ZA sole specification is "To Grind" and has a 1 degree cant, whereas the ZA+ is "Pre-ground" and has a 0 degree cant.

    If the only size difference is that the ZA+ comes pre-punched, I'm leaning toward the ZA for the added customizability with the left/right cant (since there'll be a fair bit of punching/grinding anyway).
     
  9. BGreen

    BGreen Out on the slopes Skier

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    Always custom grind. It gives you flexibility. I was both surprised and displeased when my boots came pre-ground from the manufacturer. In the end it didn’t matter much, but it forced me to use plates.
     
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  10. Thread Starter
    TS
    NateR

    NateR Booting up Skier

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    That's it, ZA is on order through the shop! Appreciate the advice, all.
     
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  11. WadeHoliday

    WadeHoliday Getting on the lift Skier

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    I'm drawn to this boot as well, tried it on when they were working on my boots a few days ago just to kill time, and straight out of the box, felt great and flex felt so much better then my nordica doberman wc 130, i think they are on to something w/ this plastic blend.

    Scotskier,
    what do you think of this boot for me (you know my skiing, moderate to slow, mostly off piste, bumps, steeps)

    I'm thinking I want the fit of the narrow race boots, and have been in plug type boot for many years, but really want a softer and more progressive flex.

    also wondering about the dalbello super soft.

    re: boot geometry, it also seemed that lange felt like it a bit more forward lean then my doberman.

    thx!
    W
     
  12. Thread Starter
    TS
    NateR

    NateR Booting up Skier

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    Well, after skiing with these boots for a season (around 30 ski days), I can say they're awesome! Still need a couple tweaks perhaps, but head and shoulders above my probably-too-large Salomon X-Pro 120s I used the previous season.

    In terms of stiffness, the ZA turned out just fine for me. It's a bit toward the stiff side for where I am right now (I think), but it hasn't proven to be a hindrance.

    Not sure if this is it, but I know that mine came with some removable spacers on the back of the liners to push them forward (my bootfitter removed them in my case).
     
  13. Muleski

    Muleski Skiing the powder Industry Insider

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    "Not sure if this is it, but I know that mine came with some removable spacers on the back of the liners to push them forward (my bootfitter removed them in my case)."

    Yep, 98% of those skiing a Lange plug throw that spoiler right in the trash. The US Race Director actually keeps asking why they even made the spoiler.........
     
  14. WadeHoliday

    WadeHoliday Getting on the lift Skier

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    I understand not using the spoiler for racing, and I'm actually thinking this lange has more built in forward lean them my dobie wc130, and for me I like that. I'd be one of those 2% that use the spoiler. I use a spoiler in my dobie too, but of course I'm not racing. I'm just looking for a softer 92-93mm precise boot with a good forward lean for old guy off piste skiing... I think this lange or the rossi, which i think is the same boot may fit the bill. that said, the dalbello super soft may be just a softer version of my nordica and do the trick.
    thx for insight into this boot.

    cheers!
    W
     
  15. Philpug

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

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    With my chicken leg, I also use a spoiler, I need ot to take up volume.
     
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  16. ScotsSkier

    ScotsSkier USSA Coach Pugski Ski Tester Industry Insider

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    @WadeHoliday I think it would be a really good boot for you. You are much more of a finesse skier than me and the progressive flex would enhance that. The Lange plug in my experience gives the best “feel” for the front of the ski of any boot I have used. The only reason I have not switched is that the Tecnica plug I use gives me a little bit stronger/ faster power transmission to the ski for my style. I haven’t given up on the Lange yet though and plan to do a bit more testing with it on a slalom ski and a speed ski.

    What size boot are you? If you can get into a 24.5 you are welcome to try mine
     
  17. WadeHoliday

    WadeHoliday Getting on the lift Skier

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    Thx!
    I'm not really sure I was ready for a new boot, but that one felt so dang good next to mine as right out of the box, I may just go for it anyway. I was having them deepen the saddle cuts to soften my boot even more, but the lange was smoother, more supple and just felt right. Love to try it after it's been at 20degrees for awhile as well.... I was also very impressed with the fit, as a plug, I didn't think I'd have to do much at all to that thing cozy as can be...

    I have the EDT dobie as well, and i haven't had major cold issues, but that edt plate always seemed a questionable idea for cold transfer, that said, I do use boot gloves anywhere below around 20degrees. After a few years and maybe a couple hundred days, plus heating up in my boot back every night, I think maybe the plastic on my dobie may have gone through enough change to be a bit "dead" as well.

    I"m a 26.5 though, so I think i'd have to cut my toes off to get into the 24...

    now the color... for my stealthly image of snaking around in the woods unseen, that color is a bit bright...!

    thx!
    W
     
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2018
  18. HardDaysNight

    HardDaysNight Getting off the lift Skier

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    Interesting that you feel the Lange has more forward shaft lean. It’s a pretty upright boot (12 degrees). Not sure about the Dobermann, but I seem to recall it’s in the 14-16 range. Maybe a function of the flex?
     
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  19. WadeHoliday

    WadeHoliday Getting on the lift Skier

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    interesting, and good info, thx harddaysnight. That was one of my questions, but couldn't find forward lean angles stated anywhere.

    anyway, after the last couple days, I think I'm going to hold off. My boots feel better after the last saddle cut tweak, and probably more importantly, not saying well under freezing the last few days. Us CA skiers aren't so used to teens and twenties consistently...! 30's is more where my boots feel happy to work well for me.

    Thx!
    W
     

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