Cage Match Comparison Time Machine Cage Match: The Völkl Mantra

Philpug

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Which one? That is the question I have to ask whenever someone inquires about a Mantra, the new M5 in particular. "I owned" "My buddy owned" "I read about" ... the Mantra. I always have to answer, "Which one?" The reply is usually, “What do you mean, 'Which one?'"

There have been several different Mantras over the years. Things started off in the mid-2000s at 94 mm underfoot with a really nice, balanced flex. As the years passed, the Mantra became wider and stiffer up until 98 mm. Völkl then added a bit of tip rocker and eventually decided the ski didn't need camber. By the time it reached 100 mm underfoot, it was a zero-camber ski. Throughout this evolution-turned-revolution, many people bought the ski on reputation and ended up with a ski that wasn't what they expected. This is one of the pitfalls of keeping a name around too long. We see it in the auto industry, as well: a good example is the Nissan Maxima, which turned from a four-door sports car (remember 4DSC?) into a luxury vehicle.

The M5 is a ski that Völkl is using in an attempt to reclaim the Mantra’s youth. It slimmed back down to 96 mm, and became cambered again. The M5 prefix is to show that the newest incarnation is the fifth generation in the series; could it be a stepping stone to renaming the line? IMHO, the Mantra name will be phased out and it will simply be called the M5.

So, if you had a Mantra in the past, will you like the new one? I will ask again, Which One did you have? If it was a 94mm or 96mm version from pre-2010, I think you will like the new M5. If it was the 98mm version with full camber or even the one with a bit of rocker, probably not. If you liked the more recent 100mm zero-camber incarnation, maybe. The new M5 presents a bit of a dichotomy for Völkl. It is a very important ski for the company, a ski that needs to be successful -- but not necessarily in its first year, rather in its second or third year of production. The first year, the sales will be based on, right or wrong, a well-earned loyal following. The proof will be in the pudding as the years roll on. Will the aura (yes, I went there) of the Mantra continue, or will even the most loyal of Völkl zealots realize that they might have to look elsewhere?
  • Why choose the Mantra M5? You bleed Völkl. Nothing wrong with that, it is a very good ski, but even the Mantra loyalist should consider demoing first.
  • Why look elsewhere? The new M5 is not the raw powerhouse you might be expecting.
  • Insider tip: The M5 is more refined and versatile than any Mantra in the past. It is as tenacious on firm snow as any of the earlier generations and, other than the 100mm version, better in the soft. This is the best balanced Mantra ever -- no matter what they call it.
 

MarkG

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I love the '[ski model] vintage vs vintage' cage match. Not sure how much fun they are to write...
 
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Philpug

Philpug

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I love the '[ski model] vintage vs vintage' cage match. Not sure how much fun they are to write...
I will be doing these on a case by case basis and really where there are a lot of generations in a name.
 

Scruffy

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KingGrump

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The gen 2 Mantra was way too burly even for western soft snow bumps. I had the red gen 1 Mantra. That was a sweet all around ski.
Bought the 2011 gen 2 Mantra with the wizened old Asian dude graphic. Great for groom, crud & spring mush. Too burly for bumps and I spend lots of time in bumps.
It was replaced by a pair of 2011 Kendo after about 30 days. The Kendo just do everything a bit better & easier. I'm on my fifth pair of Kendo. One of my favorite ski of all time.
Never touched the gen 3 Mantra. Too much like the gen 2 Mantra except with a slight front rocker.
Went through a pair of 2015 (gen 4) Mantra in the interim. Nice ski for the bumps. Had to remind myself to actively retract the new inside ski due to the lack of rebound (no camber). Had to work a little harder on the groom. Otherwise a good ski. Totally flexed out after 105 days.
Have a pair of M5 mounted up and waiting to go. Probably won't see snow until I drive out west in late January. Having way too much fun on the FIS SL & GS skis in SVT.

It's all good. :beercheer:
 

Guy in Shorts

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Racked up 27 days on the M5’s last season. So far this season skied my Renoun Endurance’s the first 16 days followed by the Faction Dictators for the dozen soft days around Thanksgiving. The Stockli SC’s have been glued to my feet the past 21 days. The M5’s are waiting in wings ready to shine again soon. Hard to put such a sweet ski in fourth place in the daily driver rotation but that is where it ended up for now.
 

James

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Is there a consensus on the mount point for the '19 M5? In 177,184.
 

SmileGuy

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I will be doing these on a case by case basis and really where there are a lot of generations in a name.
I’d love to see an enforcer vs enforcer. Not a ton of generations but I’m skiing a 2012 just out of the wrapper that really defines the change in ski design vs today’s. Skis aren’t as damp and stable but are easier. Do I need easier if I can ski the more stable one?
 

James

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I’d love to see an enforcer vs enforcer. Not a ton of generations but I’m skiing a 2012 just out of the wrapper that really defines the change in ski design vs today’s. Skis aren’t as damp and stable but are easier. Do I need easier if I can ski the more stable one?
Didn't that one have a lot of sidecut?
Volkl made so many changes to the Mantra they should have changed the name. Is the Explosiv the only ski they made for years without huge changes?
 

SmileGuy

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Didn't that one have a lot of sidecut?
Volkl made so many changes to the Mantra they should have changed the name. Is the Explosiv the only ski they made for years without huge changes?
21m @185. Perfect except in small deep bumps.
 

KingGrump

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Just prepped a few new skis last night. Have to say the tune on the new M5 is spot on right out of the wrapper. Perfect 1/3 tip to tail. Great finish.

Prepped several other new skis this season so far. A mix of Atomic, Volkl and Stockli. The only new ski that came close in terms of a good factory tune was a pair of NOS Atomic GS ski in wrapper. It was 0.5/3 with about 1 mm of storage wax.
 

cbk

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07/08 Mantra (silver/gray with red graphics), 177cm, 133/9/116, 20.3M radius (calculated). Full camber. GS ski for crud. Still have them!


 

mogsie

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I have a question to people who have skied the M5. If I buy a M5, will I be able to ski it anywhere I usually ski with my 2016 Kendo ? Trees, bumps? My Kendo is 184 cm and I'm looking for the 184 M-5. I can't try any Volkl before buying so I'll appreciate any input...
 
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Philpug

Philpug

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I have a question to people who have skied the M5. If I buy a M5, will I be able to ski it anywhere I usually ski with my 2016 Kendo ? Trees, bumps? My Kendo is 184 cm and I'm looking for the 184 M-5. I can't try any Volkl before buying so I'll appreciate any input...
I would say the M5 will be better in the trees and bumps but not quite as good on the groomers.
 

mogsie

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Thanks! So It really changed a lot. I used to own a 2014 Mantra in 184 cm and there was no way I was going in some trees on them... But they were so gorgeous!
 
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