Posted: Wed Mar 23, 2005 4:40 pm Post subject: The Karhu Quandary....The Jak & The 7tm
Ok, I'll start w/ the basics:
Is this a tele or alpine ski: Tele
Weight in this length: not a whole lot considering how freakin big it is
Boots used: T1
Bindings used: 7TM (not the tour model...way, way too much $$)
How many days on the skis: 4
Resort or backcountry: resort
Geographical region: SW Coloardo's awesome San Juan Mtns
Tell us about the terrain you ski: steep, bumpy, wooded, and if Iím lucky...deep
Do you know how the skis were tuned (bevel): factory
How long have you been skiing: 12yr alpine, 3yr tele
How many days a year: 40+
Previous ski that you liked: BD Crossbow, Karhu Kodiak, K2 Work Stinx (right up until I broke it), anything by Volkl
Previous ski you did not like: Rossi Hellgate, anything by Atomic
How big are you: 6'4" 215lb
Mostly tele or parallel: 95% tele, parallel only when I'm spent.
As a transplanted right coaster, I know what life is like on the super hardpack. That being said, I was truly impressed with the Jak BC on some lousy post thaw frozen schwack we had a few weeks back. For a super fat ski, it really doesn't do too bad on hardpack or the groomed. It's a much more versatile ski than my Work Stinx were and I have no complaints keeping this thing inbounds. It's light enough to get around in the bumps, carves groomers surprisingly well, and rocks in the deep & variable. A friend of mine skis the 180cm Jak and has nothing but raves...especially in the bumps. The 180 skis short (174ish in reality) while the 190 is really pretty close to its advertised size. At 6'4" thatís fine & dandy with me in this "super shorter is better" world we live in.
While most folks are bent on this being their "back country only ski", I'm content to keep it as my #1 board unless the bumps are super rutted out (ie: telluride 2 weeks after a storm).
One of the best skis I've ever tried. I'm very happy with this purchase. It's my weapon of choice for the resort, Silverton & beyond.
While I can't vouch for the coolness of the Tour model, I must say I am truly disappointed with the standard model. With a MSRP of around $230, you really don't get much (I got it on sale for $170, which makes it almost bearable). Skiing this binding without a lifter plate (*not included) is just dumb. I've learned to tele w/ lifters so maybe that makes me jaded, but with today's fatter boards itís a necessity if you ever plan on getting an edge in.
Back to the "non-value" of the 7tm. For $230 you DON'T get lifters, leashes, brakes, or climbing wires (incidentally all of which are in the pretty pictures on Karhu's website). The a-la carte accessories are ludicrously expensive...you'll be into these for over $300 by the time you get all the necessities.
I chose this binding because of nagging knee problems...most of which might have been avoided if I had twisted out of my G3's during some awkward deep snow falls. The release mechanism is top notch. A solid design and it is the only DIN releasable tele binding so far on the market. It's the rest of the binding that I find lacking.
The "cable" system looks and skis flimsy. I have my doubts about the rubber connection between the toe cage & the spring mechanism. It just doesn't strike me as bomber. Then the spring...while every other popular tele binding on the market uses two compression cartridges (the hammerhead being an exception, but that thing is beefy), Karhu decided one spring would cut it. Maybe itís fine for smaller guys and smaller boots, but with my setup, size, and aggressive style it skis weak. It's not nearly as aggressive as my old G3 Targas. In hard turns I can feel my rear boot start to twist out of the toe cage, and even though its slight it can be a little unnerving when you're pushing yourself on technical terrain. I'd take a hardwire, a G3, or an 02 any day. Only catch is that damn DIN release....
My last design complaint is the housing for the spring mechanism. It's right under the heel of the boot and made of plastic. This leaves it to "bonk" off either the top of your ski or the $39 hard plastic lifter plate (once again, not included). I expected the heel lifter to at least be made of a rubber material to lessen the blow but it ain't. Hard plastic on hard plastic can't be good in my mind. Karhu (and my local shop) are insistent it will not crack over time. I hope I'm wrong, but I don't see that holding up with the abuse I put on my equipment.
Karhu has put out some great skis this year. The Jak is a hard charging big mountain machine...I just don't see the 7tm being even close to a suitable mate. I think the 7tm Tour hits its market much more dead on...guys who tour usually want a more neutral type binding. The tour release mode is dead on and the mechanics of the binding suit that type of skiing application well.
Another thing that boggles me...Karhu introduces the Agent as its pipe & park ski. There is NO WAY I would be comfortable with a 7tm on those if I were launching myself day in and day out. I can't see that spring housing holding up after hundreds of icy landings.
I think a DIN release is the future of tele for both orthopedic and backcountry safety. If I were you, I'd wait for the next generation...from Karhu or whoever.
In regards to what I see as design shortcomings, I really hope I am wrong. I'm into Karhu with nearly a grand worth of gear and don't want to play the warranty game if I don't have to.
Joined: 06 Dec 2004 Posts: 13194 Location: People's Republic
Posted: Wed Mar 23, 2005 5:23 pm Post subject:
As a 200 pounder myself, I had a lot of the same concerns about the 7TM. But I have been so far, happier than you have been. I agree that the 7TM does not hold my toe in as snugly as I might like, but I have not come close to twisting out yet. While I am recovering from a major knee surgery last April, I have been starting to jump a bit and nothing has broken so far. I don't go very big and limit it to steep and soft landings. I don't think I cold have justified paying anything close to Retail for the 7TM and I would not even think of using it without risers. I got my bindings for $129, and extra set of release housings for $90, and risers/brakes for $25 each. So for bindings I am sunk in about $300 for two pairs of skis. I am pretty happy but would like the toe box to be tighter.
I have 190cm first year Jaks and I don't have any trouble driving them with the 7TMs but the VPIIs I used to have on them were more powerful. I love the Jaks but use them less than my other skis with an 89mm waist. Next year's Jaks should be dialed iin really nice as an all mountain ride. _________________ that sounds like a sure-fire way to get bitch-slapped by devil's club -- dschane
Ok, maybe I came off a bit too harsh on my binding. While I think there are some major design flaws, it still is (sigh) the best releasable out there. For now anyway....
I think the loose toe can be contributed directly to the lack of forward pressure generated by that lone spring. That and the angle which the force is applied (directly under the boot rather than on the sides).
In any event, I'm stuck with these and will make the best of them. I'm glad I'm not the only freak who feels his toe moving around a bit more than usual.
What's this I keep reading about the "new" 7tm Power???? Will this be available here anytime soon??? Very curious on possible improvements to this product.
ps - nice job scoring these bad boys for $129...where did you pick them up? Best price I saw was $155 (after I already bought of course).
I'm 190lb, 6' and ski Jak BC (180cm) with 7tm. Nice review, although I find the 7tm a great binding: snug and tight fitting with no wiggle in the front. Are you sure the rear spring is tightened enough?
I use Garmont SynerGs, which may ski different with this binding than your T1s. A friend of mine tried my setup with his T1s, and reported a hinged feeling when trying to bend the rear boot. It would be interesting if there is a trend here: Garmont + 7tm = vs. Scarpa +7tm =
Joined: 06 Dec 2004 Posts: 13194 Location: People's Republic
Posted: Thu Mar 24, 2005 10:05 pm Post subject:
T1 sole is quite a bit stiffer than either T2 or any Garmont. That might account for the hingy thing. But if the Garmont duckbill fits the toe box with no movement, that is clearly different from my T2s, which I can wiggle fairly easily. They still drive the ski, but I miss the way my old VPIIs wiggled a lot less (though they are not as tight as a Bomber). _________________ that sounds like a sure-fire way to get bitch-slapped by devil's club -- dschane
Joined: 18 Feb 2005 Posts: 30 Location: Northern Cali
Posted: Fri Mar 25, 2005 5:55 pm Post subject: 7TMs = questionable for me
Just spent two days on my new TMXs (loved them) with 7TM tours (doubtful). T2s in deep ( ) California "powder". I too have concerns about my knees so I went to 7TMs sight unseen (or untried anyway). Although I had heard they are relatively "neutral" I am stepping up from old RivaZs and figured couldn't be much weaker. But I was disappointed. Trailing ski/boot kept flexing up in the duck bill instead of under the ball of the foot. Result, loss of control of trailing ski and bruised/pinched toes each turn, also kept hitting my knee on rear ski which has never been a problem before. Problems could be related to the deep heavy snow but the flex just didn't feel right. The power version may be a solution but now I spent all my money can't afford more gear till 2010. Someone mentioned that the power version with the tour feature might be the perfect solution; but either Karhu is slow in figuring this out or they are milking us by design so that we have to buy new bindings each year as they oh so slowly get it right.
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