Battle of the mid-width XCD titans: S78 vs Eon

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MikeK

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Battle of the mid-width XCD titans: S78 vs Eon

Postby MikeK » Sat Nov 21, 2015 7:15 pm

Measurement Data:

Eon_S78_Specs.png


Stiffness measurement:

Eon_S78_Stiffness.png


Explanation of measurements:

Tip and tails widths are the maximums at each end of the ski, waist in the minimum.

Sidecut is just the difference between the tip width and the waist width as measured.

Average mass is the average scale reading between the two skis with no bindings.

Geo should be self explanatory.

Camber height is for one ski, placed on a flat surface to the maximum gap. Same applies for load applied. Weight is applied approximately where the boot would apply the load.

The chart shows the flex of the ski in terms of the camber gap from the floor. I used 5lb lead weights and measure the gap to plot the change. I also checked the gap with half my weight which is zero as shown in the chart. We can deduce the gap goes to zero somewhere between 30 and 100 lbs but I have no idea where. I could devise another way to measure this, but it's fairly irrelevant to me. Once the ski goes flat at half my weight, I've lost most of my glide. As for other skiers, it may be more relevant but all skis will vary and different lengths will be different. Mainly what I wanted to show was the similarity or difference between the two skis I have.

Interpretation of Measurements:

So going in order of the table we can see Fischer lies a little about the profile. The real ski actually has more shovel width, less waist and more tail width than the profile they give. No surprise as they use a pretty aggressive sidecut profile. Madshus is pretty much on the money, just a little narrower all around. Overall the Eon has a little more sidecut but nothing significant. The actual details of the shape are probably more consequential.

In terms of heft, the Eon is a little lighter, but also a tad over a cm shorter. I didn't try to do any normalization based on that, it is what it is. These are the two closest comps on size. I don't know what it is, but the Eon always feel lighter in my hand. Might just be it's construction feeling a little cheaper. 60g is actually fairly hard to discern and if I switch hands with the skis it changes which one feels heavier or lighter. In other words, you won't be able to feel the difference.

On to the geo we see the exact same trend we saw with the S98 and the Epoch. The S78 has it's balance exactly at chord center. Also note a 199 S Bound is more like a 195, not sure why they use the 9 instead of 5 for the last digit? Stupid marketing distinction?

As far as the wax pattern, we also see the same thing as with the other S Bound vs the Madshus. The pattern is longer and farther forward on the ski. I don't know why it works or if it's the pattern itself, but with the other matchup in the real world the S Bounds climbs far better.

On to camber gap we can see the Eon has a higher initial gap but at 20lbs load both skis are pretty similar. Both close right up at 100lbs.

Looking closer at this with the graph you can see the Eon is initially softer, then it stiffens up to nearly the same rate as the S78. All this is within 30lbs of load. So in terms of body weight that's pretty inconsequential. Hand flexing the S78 feels stiffer, but in reality they are pretty darn close where it matters. Both are too soft for optimal gliding and both seem to be plenty soft enough for full engagement of the edge with 50% body weight.

Pictures and other details:

A couple pictures of the tails of each ski to show the track groove in the base and the different tail shapes. And another shot to show the different scale patterns.

Eon:

rsz_dsc_0353.jpg


rsz_dsc_0354.jpg


S78:

rsz_dsc_0352.jpg


rsz_1dsc_0351.jpg



A couple other cool details about the S78 over the Eon...

There is a 3mm plate in the binding mount area. I assume this provides some level of reinforcement in that area (the Eon has and extra layer in this area) but also to provide additional turning leverage. Both skis are 19mm thick in the middle without the plate. This plate may also be the reason I tend to think the S Bound might have a second camber. It might just be a single but locally stiffened in this are enough that when I reverse flex it I don't see that round shape I'm looking for.

The S Bound has a notch for a skin clip in the tail. Eon has none. Kind of suggests the intended market of these skis although unlikely I'll ever use a skin on either.

I like the graphics on the S Bound much better. Doesn't mean crap, but I figured I'd throw that out there :mrgreen:

Field Test:

My typical test is to take them through the woods on a 4 mile loop and then shoot them down a 15deg (about what a blue run would be at a resort) slope. I've tested every ski I own in this way and is my manner of telling how they tour vs how they turn. I turn them on the tour, but I focus on just the climbing and dh aspect on the hill. Snow conditions vary, so I'm hesitant to report any real data, just give some vague impression.

Both sets of skis will have NNN-BC Magnum bindings and be tested with the Alpina Alaska NNN boot.

Test Results:

I failed to do a field test the way I described above, but I have skied both of these skis enough to make an educated decision. The S Bound exceeds the performance of the Eon in every aspect, except maybe turning, in which case both skis seem to be very similar, if not the same. For some reason I feel the Eon reverse cambers a little nicer, not sure why, but it's just a feeling I get when skiing it.

Both skis glide excellent for having such little camber, and low camber stiffness. Their high L/W ratio coupled with nice gliding scales seem to impress me every time. One would think these skis would be slow, but honestly, I don't find them much, if any slower than double camber waxless skis like the E99 or the Glittertind. I've, in fact, made better times on the same tours with the S78 and the Eon feels every bit as fast.

Where the Eon loses it is grip. In the snows I've tested the S78 never faltered, but Eon would lose grip in certain types of snow, particularly crusty, crystalline snow or very crystalline powder. I've found the S78 to climb very nearly as good as the S98, which has more width under foot. I cannot distinguish a difference.

Both skis are excellent, rugged BC tourers and feel great with system bindings. Either can be skied with pin type bindings with no issues.

The Eon feels ever so slightly better turning in soft snow whereas the S78 feels a little better in harder, older snows. This is why I think the Eon might reverse a little nicer, and maybe the S78 is little stiffer torsionally, but this is marginal.

Neither ski is very adept at turning in deep snow. They have very long turning radii and don't float well enough to really exceed at this. They get by, and can get you down a hill on a tour with deep snow. The both like a little base to really feel alive though, both touring and turning.

I previously had a lot of love for the Eon until I skied more on the S78, and I was seduced by it doing pretty much everything the Eon does, but perhaps a little better.

The big kicker is Fischer no longer provides the S78 (now called the Traverse) in it's full length of 199cm. In that respect, if I'm limited to 189cm, I'd probably opt for a wider ski. I get similar float from a 189 S98 and 199 S78.

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Re: Battle of the mid-width XCD titans: S78 vs Eon

Postby lilcliffy » Thu Dec 03, 2015 10:55 am

Here's my first predictions:

1) You will find the S-78 is a bit stiffer and it will have more "snap" than the Eon, on dense/hard/groomed snow.

2) You may find that the softer-flexed Eon performs better in fresh, soft snow. (I want to be clear here. I mean that the Eon itself will perform better in fresh, soft snow, than it does on hard/dense snow. I am not sure whether you will like it better than the S-78 in fresh, soft snow. I know I do- but I do have the 205cm Eon; and the S-78 I tested was shorter)

3) The "off-track crown" waxless base design of the S-78 will climb better than the Eon.

I cannot predict the following, but I am keen to read about your experiences with the following:

a) How they compare in different downhill turns, in different snow/terrain conditions.

b) How straight they track in K&G xcountry skiing, in different snow conditions.

c) How the "kick" traction compares in K&G xcountry skiing.

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lilcliffy

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Re: Battle of the mid-width XCD titans: S78 vs Eon

Postby lilcliffy » Thu Dec 03, 2015 10:56 am

Can't remember- do the S-78s have a track groove?
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Re: Battle of the mid-width XCD titans: S78 vs Eon

Postby MikeK » Thu Dec 03, 2015 11:08 am

lilcliffy wrote:Can't remember- do the S-78s have a track groove?


Both have a track groove.

I weighed them and measured them last night. I'll post the results later on today or tomorrow. Very similar to what I found with the S98 and the Epoch in what is similar and what is different.

I think your predictions are going to be correct.

It's really going to come down to tracking vs. turning based on the sidecut shape difference and slight stiffness difference. I suspect the differences here will be less pronounced than between the S98 and the Epoch.

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lilcliffy

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Re: Battle of the mid-width XCD titans: S78 vs Eon

Postby lilcliffy » Thu Dec 03, 2015 11:59 am

I think that we just nailed it.

Snow conditions are a critical factor.

If the snow conditions you are on are typically hard/dense- then I predict you are going to like the S-78 better than the Eon as an XCD ski. (Being a weirdo- I still wish they made the S-78 longer)

The next critical issue is application: XCd versus xcD.

Personally I don't find either of these skis perform great as XCd skis on dense/hard snow.

If the test is purely an xcD test- then I think that difference in performance between the Eon and S-78 will come down to snow conditions.

If the test includes an XCd application- then perhaps it should include a off-track, double-cambered ski with a similar profile- such as the E-109?

In an XCd application- I believe that the E-109 would probably beat both of them across the board. A long Eon might come close in fresh, soft snow...
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Re: Battle of the mid-width XCD titans: S78 vs Eon

Postby MikeK » Thu Dec 03, 2015 12:12 pm

Well... I think the line is blurred enough on these skis that they could be either xcD or XCd. Surely there are so many more options for xcD skis that it makes me think they are a major compromise.

I don't find either the S98 or the Epoch good on hard snow for turning, so I suspect I'll find the same thing with these skis. Striding may be slightly better on hard snow, but I'd rather have a DC ski for that.

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Re: Battle of the mid-width XCD titans: S78 vs Eon

Postby MikeK » Thu Dec 03, 2015 1:03 pm

Thinking a little bit more about the E109. It's really a different class of ski. Some of which doesn't necessarily make sense to me. I'm sure it would stride better than either of these two skis. I don't know how well it might turn. What I wonder is how much one might give up on climbing and descending, and like you say, it doesn't make a lot of sense to have a lot of parabolic sidecut on ski that is more attuned to flats.

It might be the very reason a ski like that is a dying breed.

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Re: Battle of the mid-width XCD titans: S78 vs Eon

Postby MikeK » Sat Dec 05, 2015 9:39 pm

Updated original post to include measured data and pictures.

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Re: Battle of the mid-width XCD titans: S78 vs Eon

Postby Johnny » Mon Dec 07, 2015 10:26 am

Image


WOW. This should be your profile picture. That is the Mike I know...


MORE GRAPHICS!!!!

Image
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lilcliffy

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Re: Battle of the mid-width XCD titans: S78 vs Eon

Postby lilcliffy » Mon Dec 07, 2015 10:49 am

MikeK wrote:Thinking a little bit more about the E109. It's really a different class of ski. Some of which doesn't necessarily make sense to me. I'm sure it would stride better than either of these two skis. I don't know how well it might turn. What I wonder is how much one might give up on climbing and descending, and like you say, it doesn't make a lot of sense to have a lot of parabolic sidecut on ski that is more attuned to flats.

It might be the very reason a ski like that is a dying breed.


The E-109 is clearly intended to be an off-track xcountry ski. It is definitely double-cambered- but it does have a flex pattern designed for soft, fresh snow (i.e. it is nowhere near as stiff as the E-89). Again though- whether you can actually capitalize on this depends on getting a long enough ski. A short E-109 is not going to offer the K&G performance that this ski is capable of.

I can only assume that the profile is intended to add some "easy-turning" to the E-109. The intent is an XCd ski. This is where I am disappointed...I would want an E-109 for the K&G performance- not "easy-turning". I would prefer to have more width/traction under foot. IMO, the trade off between "easy-turning" and K&G traction is not worth it- in XC ski like the E-109. (Although- if you are using the E-109 in a short length for xcD skiing- then I can see why skiers would want the sidecut). Give me the full on XCd performance when I want it. If I want more downhill performance I'll pick a ski with a bit more "telemark" blood in it.

(As an aside- we have enough snow now! I was out on my new Asnes Combat skis (78-67-73) this weekend. They are double-cambered with a smooth, even flex. I got them in 210cm- AWESOME K&G in fresh snow!)

The S-78 and the Eon, to my mind are clearly true XCD skis- designed to offer a balance between xcountry and downhill performance. That balance always comes with its advantages, limitations and trade-offs.
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