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Order if Adjustment


gginco
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When its time to "dial" everything in on a new ski or when you get that "start from scratch" urge in what order do you set things up or make adjustments? There's binding location, binding angle, wing angle, fin length, fin dft, fin depth etc. etc. With one effecting another so easily it seems an order of precedence would be necessary. After you think you have it "almost" perfect do you just stick to one or two adjustment from there?
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Starting with binding placement has long been the rule. But it seems the range of binding placement is shrinking on today's highly evolved skis.

 

Paul Crawford at D3 recommends not deviating from factory binding specs at all. Goode recommends only moving 1/8" either way, etc. One hole either way seems to be more than max these days, but you still have to account for variation in ankle location in different bindings.

 

The next change (fin or wing) depends on what you personally would like the ski to do differently.

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Except on the HO's where even their sponsored skiers recommend moving back with the bindings as much as 1/2 inch from HO's published numbers.

 

Greg Badal told me to set to stock specs and then if you fall back on the boat in the gate glide consistently to move the bindings back. If you are too fast in the gate glide, move the bindings forward. Then set dft to get the turn radius you want.

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Badal is a perty smart fella. We used the binding tip recently on an open skier who was experiencing too much speed on his Razor at the turn in. Moved the bindings 1/8 forward and slowed the entire pass down. When I switched to a reflex/rtp, the onside turn was WAYYY too aggressive. Badal had me move the fin back .025 to increase the turn radius and slow down the ski on the onside. Boom, problem fixed. That was not a move I would have tried but it helped the onside AND helped the offside. From there he said use the depth to set how you want the ski to hold behind the boat and at the finish of the turn. Increase depth .003 at a time til it won't roll out off the 2nd wake, then back it off .001 at a time until you have a comfortable margin between where it rolls and where it won't roll.

 

A few pro skiers I know are running longer and deeper than what is stock. They say it helps with stability in the rougher water. Matt Brown has had me keep increasing depth on my ski. I'm .015 deeper than stock now and haven't yet reached the point where it won't edge change cleanly.

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@ShaneH I have used badal fin numbers on my A1 and A2 with good success but if i could pick one word to descibe ho skis it would be "finicky". it seems if i gain a pound overnight the ski notices. i want to believe there is bigger sweet spot on the a2 and want a proven method for finding it. i will ride an a3 next summer but think the method (order of adjustment) to find the sweet spot should be somewhat universal.
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I have tried many different fin/binding settings. Basically I am not sure what are stock settings for the 68.5. With my current setup it turns very slow on my 1,3,5 onside and does not hold angle offside to onside, seems very sensitive to any changes I make. Any suggestions would be most welcomed. Water temp is approx 55 degrees ,my skidays are quickly ending.
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You're a bit off on depth and binding setup. Skidawg rode the 68.5 into 41 off numerous times using the following setup.

length with tips-6.835

dft .785-flat

depth 2.504-2.510

Front binding at 29 7/8 to 30 inches

 

If it's slow turning on your onside, the first thing I'd do is take the depth out back to 2.504. That's a ski that likes to be on edge to come back in. The depth might be causing you to be too on top of it as it comes at 1/3/5.

 

The Elite has a small performance envelope. If you find the right spot to ride it and stay there, it's golden. If you move around and miss that spot, it'll fight you.

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@ShaneH Thanks, I will try those settings. Just one more question . I know DFT can be very sensitive on this ski. When you move the fin forward(any ski) does it tighten the onside turn and fix slack problem on onside and what effect does it have on the offside?
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@gmut I agree with @ShaneH on every count. I'll add the following for your consideration if you still don't find the ski behavior you are looking for with Skidawg's proven numbers.

 

One of the reasons the Elite is less forgiving than other skis has to do with the design of the front of the ski. Its taper and relatively narrow sidewalls make it easy to turn, but a little too easy to over-turn. When trying to tune out some of this oversensitivity, it's easy to go too far with certain settings causing imbalances in the fin dynamics that really mess up the ski. But, there are different clusters of settings that work together and can change the character of the ski.

 

Here is a balanced group of settings that make the Elite less sensitive while maintaining its fast and responsive nature:

 

FL = 6.810"

FD = 2.512"

FDT = .705"

Wg = 8 - 9°

FB = 28 7/8 - 29"

 

I thought I was really onto something with these numbers until learning that both Jason McClintock and Drew Ross had been there for a long time, and both of them have run into 41 many times with very similar setups. While these numbers are for the 65.5" ski, the 68.5" was designed exactly like the 65.5. The 67" ski was a slightly different design, but that's another story.

 

The "evolved" stock settings for the 65.5" ski were 6.848", 2.515", 0.730", 9° & 29.25" to give you an idea of the magnitude of each change if you want to give this setup a try on your 68.5" ski.

 

As for slack at the ball, if your Elite is your first really fast ski, this is one of the downsides. I worked so hard at rope control (early edge change, good post-wake connection, etc.) while on the Elite that now with the slower Nano1, rope control is a non-issue.

 

Good luck!

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@SkiJay Thanks for the numbers, however I can't get the dft as far back as .705 on the 68.5 without modifying the fin slot, hits the clamp screw at approx .740. I have tried Skidawgs numbers and for some reason, rff vs lff and hard shells vs Wileys,or195lbs vs 215lbs not sure why but just didn' feel right. This ski is very sensitive to small changes.
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@SkiJay Yep,actually I stand the ski on end and measure with caliper head, easier to put thumb pressure on head of caliper and seems to be more repeatable or accurate I guess. Andy Mapple has a video on youtube describing this method. I hope to get on the water today and try your settings, just cant get the dft any further back than .740 without filing on the fin slot.
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@gmut I was just checking to see if you were using the head or stem to get .740 as the minimum DFT cause I have no personal experience with the 68.5" Elite. To try this setup on your ski, I'd start with 6.815, 2.515, .755 & 29 3/4" then play with DFT (more for easier turning, less for more width, space and a tighter rope). Please understand that I'm taking a stab in the dark with these numbers for your ski size. It should be fine, but take it easy the first few passes.

 

The idea here is that the Elite is a fast nimble ski and a fin-back short-length setup helps avoid pointing all that speed right at the ball out of the edge change in addition to reducing the tendency for the occasional tip-bite. Your comment about slack rope and needing to turn tighter suggests you are skiing narrow at the ball. If neither this setup nor SkiDawg's solid numbers gets you where you'd like to go, it's probably a matter of changing edges sooner and adapting your pre-turn movements to improve rope control. The Elite is a great ski but demands solid technique.

 

Good luck and hope the weather holds for you.

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@SkiJay Yes , absolutely, I am skiing narrow can't seem to get to bouy wide and early, thinking I had too much tip. I will try these settings and let you know. Does not look good today 20-30 mph winds, maybe just before sunset...hopefully the wind will subside a little. Thanks.
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@gginco Getting back to your comment, "...the method (order of adjustment) to find the sweet spot should be somewhat universal." Most agree that moving the bindings around on top of factory recommended fin settings is a good place to start, but that seems to be pretty much where any universal consensus on order of adjustment ends. I’ve heard that the wing is the obvious next adjustment because it’s easy to tell if you have too much or too little braking effect from the wing for your personal style. I don’t see the wing-setting as being that “obvious” as it affects width, stability and turning characteristics of the ski too. But it’s easy to work with and is as good a next move as any. There’s even less consensus as to what should come after setting the wing.

 

You mentioned that you’d like to find a bigger sweet spot on your A2. Without knowing more about exactly what “sweet spot” means to you, I’d say work with fin length to broaden any sweet spot you can find. By this I mean if you can get the ski to handle pretty well but find it seems a little inconsistent, a shorter fin may improve consistency.

 

The longer your fin, the easier it is to engage your ski’s tip. If tip engagement gets too easy, engaging just the right amount of tip gets vague and consistency suffers. Sometimes the turn is perfect, and then out of nowhere it’s too much, so you get too dainty with your inputs and it’s not enough. This inconsistency makes it hard to decide on what to do with your settings and with your technique.

 

If you reduce fin length, it will take more effort to engage the tip of the ski and with more effort comes more feedback and feel. It’s like preload in the boat’s steering. With no preload, the steering feels vague and it’s hard to get a feel for how much input is needed at the wheel for a subtle correction. The more preload there is the more feel you have. It might help to think of decreasing fin length as being like increasing steering preload. With less fin length, the ski will resist your inputs a little more so it is more tolerant of unrefined inputs, which is a lot like having a bigger sweet spot.

 

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@SkiJay Thanks for the input. I'm on the top end in weight that is recommended for a 67.5" A2. Logic tells me to set my ski up to be on the "long" side to accomodate my size a little better. I guess "sweet spot" to me means the place where stability and forgiveness exist without detrimental sacrifice in responsivness. It's the "cake and eat it too" thing and something I think all manufacturer's are striving to achieve but with different philosophies. Obviously the vast majority of top end skis are shaped with pro input and with top end pro and top end ametuer skiers in mind. There seems there could be a void in ski shapes that might better serve the 22-32 off skier. The golf industry figured it out and developed the titanium mega heads to give amatuer golfers the big gun off the tee box. It completely changed the industry. Since the titanium mega head ski doesn't really exist for the average 22-32 off skier I'm trying to "dumb" down my top end ski to my 28-32 off ability. So, your post I think really understood what I was asking and essentially said by doing what you suggest it would allow me to ski more like I'm in a rodeo without getting bucked off too easy. I don't know if you ski a lot of brands or models (shapes) but if so, what's the most stable yet responsive enough ski you've skied?
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@gginco Stability and responsiveness are pretty much a trade-off, and the only way to have both is to compromise on both. I think the manufacturers have actually done a very good job of covering the full range of skiing abilities. Unfortunately, by the time you are skiing 32 off, a high-end ski will make the pass as "easy" as possible. Going back to your golf club analogy, the more forgiving a club is, the harder it is to shape shots like an advanced player. By the time you are skiing at 32 off, you are getting into "shot shaping" level of skiing, and "training wheels" will be more of a hindrance than a help.

 

Of course high-end skis can still be categorized as more forgiving or more nimble. Skis like D3's X7 or Goode's Nano One are more forgiving of imperfect skiing, but require more effort from the skier. Skis like the Radar Strada or Razor are fast nimble skis, but they require solid consistent technique for the rider to benefit from their speed. To each their own, but I've just left a fast ski for a forgiving ski and I'm finding that forgiveness sends me home from the lake happy more often than the occasional brilliant performance on my fast ski did. It sounds like forgiveness in a high-end ski is what you are looking for to.

 

BTW, just because a ski is forgiving and on the slow side doesn't mean it isn't capable of great things. Nate Smith on his X7 proves it.

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