Sunday, February 01, 2009

Pilot vs 666

Friday we tested skating skis equipped with the two competing systems, Salomon Pilot and Rottefella NNN. It was not the NNN triumph our Fischer rep had hoped to achieve.

We put the boots on at least four people. Only one thought they had potential to become comfortable on his foot. He also liked the ride on the skis with NNN, but has not skated extensively on any technique-specific equipment. Anything would feel more precise than pushing himself around on 200+ cm classic skis with low-topped, soft racing classic boots.

In the rigid-soled boots, on that strange, flared binding plate, I felt isolated from the ski and the snow. The boot didn't hurt as much as I thought it might. It would have hurt if I'd skied a long time, but we wanted to compare the two systems back-to-back to get the sharpest impression.

NNN suffers from the inherent handicap of any single-bar binding for skating. The boot is rigid and the binding has those wings on it to make up for the tenuous connection provided by only a single bar. If they have to stick to a single bar, perhaps they could place it farther back under the foot to limit lift and maintain sole contact to increase lateral control. It would not have to be more than a couple of centimeters to achieve this effect. On the down side, the strain on that bar would be considerably greater than on anything currently in use. But hey: that's what engineers are for. Figure it out. Helpful hint to start you off: the boot sole would have to be a bit springy to enhance the spring of the binding itself. This flex would also increase the comfort of the boot.

To the laboratory! Quickly!

Skiing the Salomon felt as supple and sweet as ever. Until the Rotten Fellas get a better act together I know where I'll be. Unless I'm somewhere else entirely.

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