2018 Kästle

Discussion in '2018 Reviews by Brand' started by Pugski Test Team, Mar 6, 2017.

  1. Pugski Test Team

    Pugski Test Team Testing skis so you don't have to. Pugski Ski Tester

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    18 BMX105 TC.png
    Kästle BMX105
    Dimensions: 134-105-123
    Radius: [email protected]
    Sizes: 165, 173, 181, 189
    Size tested: 181
    Design: Carryover

    Philpug: I am not sure how I can be so blah on the FX95 and so enamored of the BMX105. The FX/BMX shape is indeed polarizing, with many really liking the FX; the BMX, although not a sales sensation by any measure, is a reference ski in the One Oh Somethings. In the heavy snow/muck/glop that we received at Snowbasin for this test, the BMX105 handled it with same comfort and reliability as it did last year in the perfect chalky snow at Copper. I think I found my new safe word: BMX105.
    • Who is it for? Those with deep pockets who ski bell to bell in wind buff.
    • Who is it not for? Bigger stronger skiers, but that is why they built the HP.
    • Insider tip: A great compromise between a finesse and power ski, a rare blend.
    18 FX85.png
    Kästle FX85
    Dimensions: 119-85-105
    Radius: [email protected]
    Sizes: 157, 165, 173, 181
    Size tested: 181
    Design: New Construction

    Ron: One of my favorite skis ever, the FX85 is still my go-to for everyday loose snow up to 6 inches or time in sidecountry and trees. Kästle has added a 157 to the lineup, beech and fir cores for better longevity and durability, and new topsheets. The nonmetal version is more playful and workable than the HP but still plenty stable for most mortals under 190 lb. The new core doesn’t feel any different, and I actually like the new topsheet. This ski is still off-piste-oriented so don’t buy it for frontside groomers: the tapered tips and tails aren’t as quick to engage on the smooth snow, but that’s what makes them so good off piste. It is an excellent example of why you should never buy a modern ski based on its waist width. I have skied plenty of terrain in boot-deep fresh and leftovers with utmost confidence. The ski flexes so evenly and has a moderate amount of pop, making it fantastic in bumps and trees.
    • Who is it for? Skilled drivers who want a narrower all-mountain ski or OSQ. I ski this all over and up to 6 or 8 in.
    • Who is it not for? Intermediate skiers won’t appreciate all it has to offer.
    • Insider tip: The HP is not necessary for most skiers.

    UGASkiDawg: Kästle made some changes to the wood types and the topsheet and the colors ... so what? The ski still kicks arse. I love the new FX series and I did not like the old FX94s. I’m an unabashed Kästle fanboy, and that continues. They are smooth as silk and a blast to ski everywhere. Go get on a pair on any kind of soft snow. The HP version adds a layer of metal that does exactly what you would expect it to do. This ski never surprises, and always delights. Just point and chute!
    • Who is it for? Anyone who likes to ski off piste
    • Who is it not for? I don't know, you got me...
    • Insider tip: Size up.
    18 FX95 TC.png
    Kästle FX95
    Dimensions: 126-95-115
    Radius: [email protected]
    Sizes: 157, 165, 173, 181, 189
    Size tested: 181
    Design: New Construction

    Ron: Kästle has added a 157 to the lineup, beech and fir cores for better longevity and durability, and new topsheets. The FX95 is more of a charger than the FX85 and does have more float, but it's not as floaty as many other skis in the 95-100 range. It is intended for those who prefer something a bit more stable than other 90-somethings, who yearn for that Kästle feel and stability. The 95 is still remarkably agile and nimble, though. Again, there are no changes other than the core and topsheets. It would make an excellent one-ski quiver for those who prefer something a bit wider as their everyday ski. Those who ski in the open may want to go HP for a decided notch up in stability, but otherwise you aren’t giving up much going without metal.
    • Who is it for? Skilled drivers who want a wider all-mountain ski or OSQ.
    • Who is it not for? Intermediate skiers won’t appreciate all it has to offer.
    • Insider tip: The HP is not necessary for most skiers.
    18 LX73.png
    Kästle LX73
    Dimensions: 115-73-99
    Radius: [email protected]
    Size tested: 164
    Design: All New

    Tricia: Kästle has changed its LX lineup this year; it has added a sidewall construction, making this ski completely different from past versions other than the LX in the name. As you would expect from a Kästle, it carved beautifully and inspired me to push my own limits with that smoothness we’ve grown to love. What the LX line has lost in nimbleness, it has gained in power, cutting through the crud effortlessly.
    • Who is it for? Someone looking for a smooth, precise groomer ski.
    • Who is it not for? Skiers who like a midfat as their daily driver.
    • Insider tip: If you’re a previous LX72 or LX82 customer, try before you buy; it is not the same ski anymore.
    18 LX85 TC.png
    Kästle LX85
    Dimensions: 126-85-109
    Radius: [email protected]
    Sizes: 144, 152, 160, 168, 176
    Size tested: 176
    Design: All New

    Philpug: The LX85 is not simply a replacement for the outgoing LX; it is MX Lite, closer in feel to the MX skis than the intermediate-inspired LX82s that are now extinct. As I was writing this, it hit me: these feel more like a replacement for the first-generation FXs. If you liked the on-piste feel of the old FX and miss it in the new FX, you will appreciate these.
    • Who is it for? Lighter experts and advanced skiers who have skills.
    • Who is it not for? Someone who expects to grow into the skis.
    • Insider tip: These skis are ready for prime time; if you aren't sure whether you're ready, you probably aren't.

    Ron: If you have read other Pug testers' reviews already, you’re going to hear this again: MX Lite. Yep, I wondered about this ski after ripping down a cut-up groomer at decent speed with confidence. What was Kästle thinking? Hmm, this ski is nearly as stable, quick, smooth, and energetic as an MX. I think the LX label took a lot of us by surprise; it’s not your mother's LX. I do wonder how it will work for its intended lightweight skier. In any case, it is a really nice ski that performs at a high level.
    • Who is it for? Well, who is it intended for? For lighter-weight skiers who possess the skills it wants, but you need to demo this ski if it is on your radar.
    • Who is it not for? It very well may be too much ski for the lighter skiers it was aimed at.
    • Insider tip: Demo first.

    SBrown: The LX85 minded me a lot of my MX83, which is a great thing but possibly not a great thing. The stiffness of the tip surprised me a bit when I took it into moguls, throwing me around a little until I realized that yes, it IS as stiff as it hand-flexed.
    • Who is it for? Anyone who likes Kästle skis.
    • Who is it not for? Skiers looking for “friendlier” Kästles.
    • Insider tip: It’s been said, but this isn’t the old LX.

    UGASkiDawg: I never got on the old Kästle LX series, but I had heard that it was a meh ski in its lineup. I’m an unabashed Kastle fanboy, having basically loved every one I’ve ever clicked into except the FX94 -- which I wasn’t thrilled by but was perfectly acceptable. I had low expectations for this ski, but was pleasantly surprised. It certainly doesn’t have the power and thrill of the MX series but on the other hand rewards the intermediate/advancing skier with that silky Kästle feeling in a more relaxed package. This is a ski that my wife who is technically competent but not much of a hard charger would have a blast on and would get off thinking that wasn’t hard which is exactly what she wants and needs!
    • Who is it for? The skier whose skill set is advancing and wants a premium-feeling ski that rewards competence but doesn’t demand it.
    • Who is it not for? The hard-charging speed demon who thinks their ski choice should say something about them.
    • Insider tip: Get them as a gift for your significant other who skis but doesn’t love skiing and watch them smile.
    19 MX84 TC.png
    Kästle MX84
    Dimensions: 128-84-112cm
    Radius: [email protected]
    Sizes: 152, 160, 168, 176, 184
    Size tested: 176
    Design: Carryover

    Drahtguy Kevin: A carryover from last year when it was all new, the MX84 gets in and out of turns easily and with energy. Kästles seemingly turn cruddy snow and chewed-up groomers into cord again. The price of admission is high for a reason.
    • Who is it for? People who like the finer things in life.
    • Who is it not for? Misers.
    • Insider tip: Trust is all this ski needs.

    FairToMiddlin: Between getting on some "mulligan skis" and some other skis that just left me scratching my head, I needed some me time, and I needed it on a sure thing. The MX84 is a carryover from last year, but I didn’t get on it then, so it was waiting for me when I went in search of a hug.

    Mmmm….

    The MX84 is Kästle smoothness with a spicy 16m sidecut. Groomed? Yup. Crud? Certainly. Bumps? Yes, please. Strong, quick, predictable, stable; I would be a poor fella if I had to pay into some kind of "cliché superlative swear jar" while describing this ski.
    • Who is it for? If you want a winner and are willing to pay for it, the MX is in that very small club.
    • Who is it not for? Snowboarders.
    • Insider tip: Kästle (and Stöckli, and Renoun) are dangerous skis to try; the experience can take you to dark corners of your mind: “which of my children do I like less? I could be skiing on this if I give him/her up .…”

    Philpug: Still one of the reference skis in the hard-snow-biased 80-something category. This ski never fails to amaze me. It is just one of the best skis on the market, period, a ski built to a standard and not just a price point.
    • Who is it for? You know who you are.
    • Who is it not for? If you don’t know, then it's you.
    • Insider tip: If you want something special, look at the limited edition model with the wood/carbon fiber graphics.

    Ron: The MX84 is unchanged because there’s no reason to change it. It’s a superb carver that can dance in soft stuff, crud, and push piles at the end of the day. It can make any shaped turn at will. Its float in transition is addictive. Supremely smooth, precise, accurate, and exhilarating. Gobs of energy. An absolute joy to drive. Skilled pilots only. Etc, etc, etc ....
    • Who is it for? High-level skiers who appreciate all that this ski demands and needs to be enjoyed.
    • Who is it not for? Posers.
    • Insider tip: Even if you can’t afford this ski, go demo it to see what Kästle is all about. The 176 is plenty for anyone thinking they need a 180
    18 MX89 TC.png
    Kästle MX89
    Dimensions: 129-89-113
    Radius: [email protected]
    Sizes: 156, 164, 172, 180, 188
    Size tested: 172
    Design: Carryover

    SBrown: I took this one out after having a mildly scary experience with a not-ready-for-prime-time ski. It was early in the day and I wasn't sure if it was me or the tune, so I went for an old stand-by. Whew. It wasn't me after all. That said, this one can be a handful off piste for lighter skiers.
    • Who is it for? Strong technical skiers who like to haul ass in all conditions.
    • Who is it not for? Slowpokes.
    • Insider tip: Sigh.

    Drahtguy Kevin: (from last year) Kästle introduced Hollowtech 2.0 this year and revised the tip shape, sidecut, and lengths as well. All those changes seem to improve already-great skis despite some tuning issues at the Kästle tent. I got on these skis a couple different times to flesh out the tune troubles. When right, the tighter turn radius is a welcome addition to the smooth, stable, and inspiring ride of both skis.
    • Who are they for? Those willing to pay the price for a phenomenal ride.
    • Who are they not for? People not willing to commit to putting a ski on edge.
    • Insider tip: The new sizing is spot on.

    FairtoMiddlin (From last season): Kästle revamped the FX line last year, changing the skis' shape and feel noticeably. This year it was the MX's turn to go under the knife. The difference is minimal, but better. My old MX88 has a 20m turn radius in the 178, the 180 MX89 has a 18m turn radius. The MX74 and 84 have similar subtle sidecut reductions as well compared to the outgoing MX78 and 83. The result is a ski that feels very familiar, in a comforting way, but is even more enthusiastic (and accessible to more skiers) than in years past. Plenty of skis out there perform on hard snow, but few can reach into the sublime with trees, crud, and bumps with the ease that the MX does.

    Quality control reared its ugly head again in the Kästle tent, however: the 89 I was given was noticeably concave shape on the base. When skied on edge, the 89 was stable and predictable; increasing edge angle to tighten a turn was a satisfying thing. But any other method of affecting turn shape (pivoting, side slipping, brushing the tails) was unnerving, the ski was fighting me, wanting to snag an edge. I'm picturing being given a track day in a Ferrari 458 Italia with bald tires….
    • Who is it for? Aggressive all-mountain skiers, folks who demand the ski on their feet to be smooth on any part of the mountain, and are willing to pay for it.
    • Who is it not for? Penny pinchers, easy cruisers; this is still a serious ski.
    • Insider tip: I can't believe I'm saying this about Kästle, but be wary of the tune out of the wrapper. Get it done by someone you trust.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 7, 2017
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  2. ski otter 2

    ski otter 2 Getting on the lift Skier

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    If possible, I hope you all get a chance to demo and review the Kastle MX 74.

    For me, it was substantially different from the MX 84, and was a standout on afternoon skied off groomers, bumps and off piste. Memorable. As fun as the 177 Monster 88.

    Last year, the Kastles I really loved most were the FX 95 HP (again) and that new for the year MX 74 172 (r 14,7 @ 172 and r 16.2 @ 180).

    Probably the best comparison ski to it of the recent skis I've tried was the 77 waist 16/17 Head Supershape Rally 177 (r 13.6 @170), another gem. I enjoyed both, but of the two, on that day most liked the shorter MX 74. On that day, it made afternoon skied off terrain as easy to ski as morning groomers. The 74 enjoyed fast or slow, and varied turn shapes - to a great extent.

    I don't really know how it differs from its predecessor, the MX 78 (r16 @ 168; r 18 @ 176), except for the shorter turn radius, and thus a willingness for shorter, more technical turns, probably.
     
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2017
  3. surfsnowgirl

    surfsnowgirl Instructor, Jeep Wrangler driver and winter lover Skier

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    I used to own the LX 82. I feel like it was a fine ski but it didn't jump out at me so I sold it. I wish Kastle was a more frequent demo opportunity for me. I know Stratton has them but I never ski there. It's possible they aren't for me. Maybe one day.
     
  4. TheArchitect

    TheArchitect Expert...only in my mind Skier

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    Yeah, I wish Kastle was easier to demo as well. I have two pair (MX88 and FX94) but I'm interested in trying the FX95 HP. I wonder if the added metal in the HP might prove to be like combining the 88 and 94 into one ski so I could get the best of both in a OSQ.
     
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  5. DanoT

    DanoT RVer-Skier Skier

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    Does Kastle still make the BMX108 or has it been replaced by the BMX105?

    And I guess the MX83 has been replaced by the MX84?
     
  6. markojp

    markojp mtn rep for the gear on my feet Industry Insider Instructor

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    Yes and yes.
     
  7. Philpug

    Philpug The Ski'er Admin Pugski Ski Tester

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    No, the FX and MX series are still completely different in feel. The new FX is not like the olf FX at all, where the old FX was much more similar in feel to the MX, almost an MX-Lite, I used to refer to it as the Cayman to the MX's 911. The new one is much more mixed snow biased with it's straighter sidecut and rise at the tip and tail, more like the a powerful version of the first generation BMX.
     
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  8. neonorchid

    neonorchid Out on the slopes Skier

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    Which is "more like a powerful version of the first generation BMX", the FX (non-HP), the FX HP or both?
     
  9. Philpug

    Philpug The Ski'er Admin Pugski Ski Tester

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    Both, the HP is a more more powerful version though.
     
  10. TheArchitect

    TheArchitect Expert...only in my mind Skier

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    Very good to know. I can happily stick with what I have for now. I don't have any complaints with those but one can never have too many skis!
     
  11. TheArchitect

    TheArchitect Expert...only in my mind Skier

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    Phil, does Kastle make a ski like I was describing? A mix of the 2012 MX88 and the 2015 FX94. Something that skis like the FX94 but with a bit more stability at speed? I love both skis but if I could design my own ski it would be a slightly more stable FX94. Perhaps I should have bought the next size up from the 166cm and that would have been the answer.
     
  12. Read Blinn

    Read Blinn lakespapa Skier

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    They're at the Okemo demo day every year, in the spring, anyway. I've tried a number of Kästles there the last couple of years. The Boot Pro in Ludlow does demos, too. (They charged $35/day, which was reasonable. I bought my FXs there.)
     
  13. surfsnowgirl

    surfsnowgirl Instructor, Jeep Wrangler driver and winter lover Skier

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    After my LX82s I'm not overly curious. However, I'd try another pair if the opportunity was there. I've yet to get to Okemo. Good to know about the demo day and boot pro. I'll look out for the Okemo demo day cause who doesn't love a demo day. :)
     
  14. Read Blinn

    Read Blinn lakespapa Skier

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    Me, I do!

    LXs (pre-2017-18) aren't great examples of what Kästle is about. The current LX is supposed to be a different beast, but I've only been on the 72, and the tune sucked.

    Okemo has a December and a March demo. I don't think I've seen Kästle at the December day. Okemo doesn't update the brand list on the website, which includes Stöckli, for instance, which hasn't attended the Okemo day in years, and doesn't mention Kästle.
     
  15. TheArchitect

    TheArchitect Expert...only in my mind Skier

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    That's good to know. I've never tried a Stockli and would gone if I saw it on the list.
     
  16. surfsnowgirl

    surfsnowgirl Instructor, Jeep Wrangler driver and winter lover Skier

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    My LX82s were 2016. They were capable enough on hardpack but there was just something missing for me. I'd love a recommendation on what Kastles I should try.

    As an aside I LOVE my stockli laser AXs :)
     
  17. Tony S

    Tony S aka qcanoe Skier

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    I was very patient and sneaky this summer. Pounced on a deal on these. Had my eye out ever since spending a day on a pair of MX 83s at the Jackson gathering in 2015.

    20170901_080532-01.jpeg
     
  18. Read Blinn

    Read Blinn lakespapa Skier

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    Yeah, I was lured to my first Okemo demo day by that promise.
     
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  19. Philpug

    Philpug The Ski'er Admin Pugski Ski Tester

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    Am I the only one who gets a bit dizzy looking at this image?
     
  20. Read Blinn

    Read Blinn lakespapa Skier

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    I wondered about that. On the other hand, knowing @Tony S , I figured he had a good reason.

    I'd like to know how he built that rack, though.
     

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