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Who should tweak fins and bindings?


Horton
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If you have a tournament ave score above 96 balls, this thread is not for you.

 

In the last week or so there have been a number of threads about wings, fins and binding angles.

I am conflicted about this because this forum is here to educate and entertain but I worry that some of you are losing sight of what good for your skiing.

 

If you do not run 32 off or better, your ski should be set up exactly at factory stock or set up by a skier with a lot of tuning experience. Adjustments like front binding rotation are really on the fringe and are not for low or mid level skier.

 

There is a skier at SkiWest who over the years has succumbed to tweaking. About once a year I take his ski and put it back to exactly stock. Each time he looks at me like I am a magician because his skiing immediately improves. (Love you Donny)

 

Ski tuning has value but it should not be a constant pursuit and the factory test guys are the best at it. Almost every ski I ride and test is set to bone stock or close. Sometimes I take off the wing. Sometimes I take out a little depth. Rarely do I move the bindings.

 

Lastly, if you have not yet mastered the fundamental skills anything you do with a fin or binding adjustment is a Band-Aid.

 

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This is my super old tweaking manifesto

 

http://ballofspray.com/home-v16/tech-articles-mainmenu/53-2004-lever-article

 

I still stand behind 90% of it

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@Horton,

Bit of the story behind my current interest. picked up my S2 last Saturday, (About 700km round trip).

Asked the nice girl at the shop about the fin setting & she looked back blankly.

I proceeded to watch her assemble a Supa-Lite X.....

 

Fin block on with cordless drill, stop when the phillips bit bounces out of the screw.

Fin gets slipped into the slot & allen screws given a quick nip up.

A couple of quick twists of the srew driver & the wings in place.

 

1/2 dozen quick zaps with the drill & the front binders on in the middle position, 5 more zaps

on the back fitting & jobs done!

 

Hmmm, I'm thinking the S2's received the same treatment.

Some people here may be shocked at how some ski's are assembled

by the staff in some shops. Even impact drivers are good!

 

Back home before dark & end up in here & find this as best reference:-

http://www.ballofspray.com/forum#/discussion/6642

Nothing currently on HO's site for the 2013 skis.

 

Grab the calipers to check the length & get readings like 53", 75" & 87".

So much for those calipers; New battery, no difference.

 

So Sunday Ski on it how it is; bar changing the wing from 10° down to 8°.

 

Have now reset it according to the above figures that I assue are still correct.

 

So all this fiddling with fins get's Junior questioning how his NOS is set up & it

certainly is nothing like the 65.5 settings in the above table for the S2, regardless of whether they'd apply.

 

So getting it to a know setting would be worth while one would presume.

 

Had been stuck on my CDX-1 for over 10 year, with water time tapering back a long way in 2005,

due to drough, divorce, property settlement & trying to run a business.

 

Was running deep into 28 off back then, but lack of water time has since reduced that score.

In that time I think I moved the wing only once.

 

Totally agree that there's more to be gained from in focusing on technique, in that ability range.

Something I learned a lot of in the 80's when I skied with & drove for Bruce Cockburn, who was my landlord at the time.

 

So while I've got a lot of interest in the fin settings topic, it's primarily about getting it right as a starting point, acording to those who know better than I do & then skiing on it as is & focusing on my own abilities.

 

So back to the NOS (65"), like Monza? Nitro? Anything would be great when we have zilch!

 

Cheers

 

Phil.

 

(How long winded was that!)

 

 

 

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For the NOS I would go with generic settings for a ski that size. Monza #s are as good as any.

 

Do you think you have a good handle on measuring technique? If not let me know there has to be a good video out there somewhere or I will whip one out.

 

That story about the S2 really scares me....

 

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@Horton Good topic. I think your example with Donny is important. If you want to tweak a bit, it is important to have a baseline (maybe stock) that you go back to periodically to make sure your tuning is actually accomplishing what you set out to do. If you tweak a little, then a little more and never go back to a baseline, you won't know if you end up at a really good setting. You will just know it is better than your last crappy setting.

I like the eye doctor test. Take a couple passes at stock. Tweak. A couple more passes with the same boat, driver and conditions. Better or worse? After a bunch of passes on the better setting. Put the ski back to stock or whatever setting you know you like. Ride it again. Better or worse?

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@horton, DFT is the one we're least confident with due to the radius at the back of the ski causing difficulties in obtaining consistent measurements. Presuming calipers must be flat, but still find it a bit hard.

 

Knocked up a piece of flat aluminium with a hole in it to measure depth. It's exactly 2.000" so just add that to the depth.

 

Length is with the tips flat against the centre of the ski?

 

A good video would be great for a lot of people!

 

Make one by all means!

Would be another good asset to have on this site.

 

 

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@Horton think your right. Stock settings or other factory suggested settings. A lot of times changes are made instead of tweeking skills. But a lower level skier needs to make sure there skies are set up correctly, don't assume its right when you get it. Couple of guys I ski with were having problems. When I ask them about it they both said their ski were set up how they came. One had the fin shoved all the way forward. I moved it back close to 1/4 inch and it really cleaned up his skiing.

 

If you don't know do some reading are find someone who does to help you.

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@gregy yea that really sucks.

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I was very guilty of changing settings and not going back to stock to get perspective on my changes. What this caused for me is a lot of tweaking over a great length of time. Always seemed to take forever for me to get a ski right. Not good. What I've found is I end up making fin moves closer to the original stock settings tawords the end of that lengthy time period. Gone to checking a stock setting against my new setting but only recently and only after reading something along those lines here on BOS. Quick question. Fin depth: does it have any effect on edge change quickness??? aka rolling from one turning edge to the other turning edge.
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I'm neither a good enough skier nor a talented enough technician to fiddle with my fin. All of my efforts are focused on getting the numbers as close to factory as my adjustment skills will allow and then keeping my fin put. My wing was off for half the season but now that I'm getting into 32 off, I've put it back on.
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My experience is that I leave the fin as it has been set. It was tweaked for me after skiing with Wade Cox. When my wife and I were in Acapulco there was an individual who would tweak his fin after every pass. He was skiing at 28 off - his buddy who was down there with him mentioned to me that he had never seen him run a pass - ever. Goes to show you that what @Horton said is spot on. I ski into 32 off yet never touch my fin. Will I get into it as I get better? Maybe, we'll see, but for now, it is at the setting that Wade set it up as. Which has been two years.
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@Brady if necessary I can do it for you

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I have seen some odd fin settings from the factory, and some not even tight. I agree that if you are a novice, the best place to start is near factory settings, and you should seek help from a skiing partner or someone who can watch the ski in the water and tell if your bindings are in the right spot or fin needs some tweaks.. Every ski has a sweet spot, and if you just ride it stock from the factory, you may or may not be in the sweet spot for YOU. Not playing with bindings and fin settings can actually hold your performace down, or sell an otherwise good ski for you.
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@BraceMaker

 

What you really want is a pro shop or tech who really knows what they are doing to set up your ski. There are too may skiers riding $1300 skis that were wrong when they came out of the box. On one hand we tell skiers to stop tweaking and on the other hand we know your ski may be totally wacky.

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@ThePantsManCan not a bad idea but would not work. The distance from the top of the ski to the bottom will often vary more then the accepted margin of error so a pre- manufactured stop point does not solve it.

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What @Horton said. For years, Denny Kidder has been pushing for jigs that would set the fins on D3 skis to perfect factory spec before shipping. Even with D3's high standard of excellence, they've not been able to make this work so far. Even with unlimited budgets, there are low-tolerance parts of Ferrari motors that still have to be measured and assembled by hand.
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@horton - I have always meant to have someone check my fin measurements.

 

I machine for a hobby, use micrometers and calipers daily, and get consistent measurements, but always wonder what someone who specializes in ski set up would measure. My metrology is solid, but fin measurements are weird, faster to measure threads.

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Your what is solid?

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Learn something new every day

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@Phil2360

I worked in a ski shop in victoria over summers for 7 years during school/college. HO and Radar skis come from the same place in melbourne. Last summer, every higher end ski that came into the store was partially setup, with the fin within 2-3/1000 most of the time. It was always pretty close anyway. Good enough for 99% of the customers buying one, but I would always set it exactly to stock.

I would take that up with the store, that whatever they are doing is not helping themselves, and you the customer. Could even be dangerous with a crazy wild setting. The distributor often emails the stores when factory settings have been changed or at the start of each season. They SHOULD own a calliper.

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+- .005 is more than good enough

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I have some questions in regards to the settings on my new ski. The Senate C has the the pre-set threads for where the screws go into the ski. The Strata boots have about 3/4 of an inch where they can slide forward or back. First, where should I put the boots? All the way forward, in the middle or in the back. Second, should I trim off some of the rear foot plate so that it will fit closer to the front boot? (My shoe size is 14, so I bought the biggest strata boots made. Third, I am removing my wing and going with the straight fin...does that need to be adjusted in any way? Fourth, trying to do this myself, I need to get two stickers on my ski, a BoS sticker and a "I love polygamy" sticker.
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Who should tweak their ski? Anyone who has the tools and knowledge to reset their ski to factory specs. Don 't understand why all the fuss about who should and who shouldn't tweak their ski. It can be both fun and educational trying different fin settings and if you learn the basics about it and stay away from irreversible ski tuning ( sanding edges or bevels) what 's the problem?

For myself I have discovered over the years that as I learn more about both skiing technique and ski tuning I tend to end up closer to factory settings.

But I get a feeling that factory settings keeps getting better with each ski generation, did we ever get proper factory settings 15-20 years ago?

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@DanE the problem is that a lot of skiers screw up thier skiing by constantly tweaking.

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Says the guy who's on a new ski every other week and keeps skiing better, lol.

Yea, I know what you mean, one should stay on a setting that feels promising on a number of sets and not make the mistake of tweaking after every set that doesn't feel like the best set ever.

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my tournament avg (ranking) is like 91.5 with tournament best of 93.5 and looking to get to 97 (or even 96.5) next season. I have learned alot about fin settings but have learned way more by not tweaking much. I skied with a pro (off and on but as much as possible) that taught me about analyzing adjustments, ideal fin setings, how to make them. Also taught me alot of good technique as well.

I had a D3 for years that i felt like i couldnt get dialed and I have worked hard on technique to get it to like me at 32 off.

In october I went way out of my comfort zone and got a brand new leftover 2012 A2 (early christmas from wife!) I had stock settings, and a slightly different setting recomended by Adam Caldwell.

Before I took a ride on this ski, I took every bit of set up knowledge I had and set the fin up at stock with my caliper IT TOOK 2 HOURS, no lie. felt great and ran like 3 at 32 off in the first and second set.

Then I set it to Adams recomended #'s (not much different and he does have experience with this ski thru 39 off) THAT TOOK ANOTHER HOUR, 3rd set blasted thru 32 (after a bunch of 28s) on first attempt then got 5 then ran it again then got around 3ball @35 twice.

I will not touch this fin again, maybe to check it, but thats about it, ski is awesome but i feel like i wanted to be sure on settings before riding, and i sure dont want to waste the time it took me to get it measured right while on the water or in a boat. could never trust a measurement like that unless a pro skier was involved

 

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Put a scribe mark on the fin and ski after dialing in the settings like that. Now an easy visual inspection will indicate if anything has moved. If you need to readjust, most of the good feel will be there by just getting visually close.

Tweaking settings can be very entertaining. Maybe not the best for buoy count but very informative. Plus a couple sets with a weird setup will make your scribe line baseline feel great again. As long as you can go back to a setting that works, adjusting things can be quite useful.

However, good technique is always more valuable.

Eric

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If 35 years of successful car racing has taught me one thing, it's that for success, you need a strategy. I can't help but think in strategic terms. In skiing, I have strategies for improving my technique, and strategies for my equipment. And every time I read "I never touch my fin," I wonder how can any serious skier think that way?

 

Nearly all skis come from the factory with the fin in the wrong place. Most ski shops don't have the time or staff to do a setup job much better than the factories. Some well-meaning club members have calipers but incomplete skillsets, and fins that never get checked can and do get knocked out of place. To me, adopting an attitude like "I never touch my fin" is as incomprehensible as "I never check the air in my race car's tires."

 

Since all fins need to be set and checked properly at some point anyway, why wouldn't any serious skier have a legitimate fin strategy; whether it be gearing up and learning how to properly measure and set a fin personally, or finding one qualified person (for consistency) to always go to for fin work--even if nothing more than setting and keeping factory settings is the goal.

 

I favor "if you want something done right, you should get good at it yourself."

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@SkiJay. I appreciate your comment and actually don't disagree with it. I think @Horton is only saying that you should get to a certain level before you adjust your settings. To use your example, being a person who has NEVER raced a car, I quite frankly wouldn't know what dynamics having less air in the tire vs having more air in the tire would have. As long as the tire manufacturer says to have the tire pressure at 75psi, i would leave it there regardless of the conditions, and if it fluctuated a few psi because of the factory, a newbie driver couldn't tell the difference.

 

YOU however, would look at that and say, it's hot today, it's slick today, there is a lot of humidity, it's raining, I want the tires to last longer, (forgive my examples, I don't race, but hopefully you see my point) and you would adjust the tire pressure accordingly. I would even venture to say that if you had your tires set even 2 psi less, you would absolutely notice the different characteristics of your car's handling.

 

So, I believe Horton is saying that until you get to a level where you can tell what doing this and that makes a difference, it would be best to leave it at factory settings.

 

I can relate exactly to what you are saying in regards to golf. I have seen so many golfers trying to get into the long drive circuit and they tweak and tweak and tweak and it actually hurts them. Until you can consistently hit a golf ball 350 yards, or are at the single digits handicap wise, I would venture to say, you would not even know the difference between a frequency matched shaft or a cut tip, or a bent down iron. To be able to notice those things, your swing has to be so consistent, that when an anomaly happens, you understand it is the club and not you.

 

Just my two cents.

 

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@Brady I both understand what Horton is saying, and didn't intend to disagree with him in my post. I wrote about the need to KNOW that you have factory settings or your baseline settings on your ski, no matter what level you are at.

 

"Tweaking" is another story. I don't consider the ability to set your own ski to factory and keep it there "tweaking." Tweaking is adjusting your ski for every little variable like the tire and golf examples you used above. I agree with Horton's 32 off guideline on tweaking.

 

BTW, I like your golf analogy and your reference to high level awareness being a prerequisite. It relates directly to fin tweaking.

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32 off is a good prerequisite but not enough.

 

Anyone tweaking the fin away from factory settings needs to be doing it to achieve a specific change in ski behavior.

 

So, the tweaker needs to know what he wants to achieve and how to achieve it (what fin parameter he should be adjusting to get the desired result). Do not take advise from "experts" stating "I saw your fin and it looks too short/long/shallow/etc..., you should change it".

 

By the way

 

"skiing like crap"

"my ski is not turning"

"my arms are far away from my body"

"I am not running my PB in every set"

"I should be skiing like Nate with this new high end ski"

"I am failing 50% of my waterstarts"

 

are not specific ski behaviors that can be fixed by tweaking the ski...

 

 

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