Spring system: how soft?

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Spring system: how soft?

Post by fivat » Monday 25 April 2016, 16:35

Here are a few thoughts and experiences I wanted to share, as the season is ending and we are back to the computers.

Since the trend started here in 2002 thanks to Jacques Rilliet, many (most?) riders have modified their hard boots. At some point, there is the crucial question: how soft? :think:

Of course, it depends partially on personal taste, but the height and weight of the rider should be considered first: we can't compare a rider of 190cm and 90kg with a girl of 165cm and 50kg. The same spring system (with same colors of springs and same setup) could be too soft for the guy and too stiff for the girl.

During the events, I have watched some riders who have probably too soft springs. For extremecarving, soft is good, but too soft is no good :!:

I remember that in the nineties, I had some really soft Raichle boots (already modified thanks to Jacques), what was very helpful: good for progressing in moguls (where you have to "push-pull", as we named this) and for getting fluid style. So "too soft" is not necessarily bad. It works great on some terrains... as stiff hard boots work great on flat blue slopes too. To the beginners, I would recommend soft springs to learn riding "with the legs" and not only carving by balancing the body. Then, when the rider knows how to "push-pull", he can increase the stiffness.

Recently I tested some UPZ RC-8 boots with too soft springs and too soft plastic. From "outside", people could see no difference in my style. But from "inside", I could feel the lack of support on the tibias (in the frontside turns). Then I felt a bit less efficient and less strong in my turns. I also experienced some resonances (oscillations of boots) in function of the terrain: this is no good. :?

Beside the springs, the stiffness of the tongues and the plastic shell have to be considered. The way the entire boot is flexing is important. Ideally, the own plastic of the shell should not bend itself (like freestyle boots) because it doesn't allow a rigorous ankle rotation control.

So, what should be the criterias for choosing the proper springs and setup?
  • 1) The boots flexion should be controlled by the spring system and the tongue only, not the plastic of the shell. It's important to get a good progression when bending the boots, like the linear resistance of a spring.

    2) If you are big and heavy, use stronger springs.

    3) If you are rather a beginner, use soft springs at start.

    4) For riding fast on flat surfaces, you can choose harder springs. For extremecarving with a style inspired from surfing (as explained in this Website), don't choose too stiff springs.

    5) If you extremecarve black slopes, and like mugles too, softness is better for fluidity.

    6) Make tests! Your feeling is the main criteria. :D
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Re: Spring system: how soft?

Post by Zemely » Monday 25 April 2016, 23:46

These statements are true for all boots, or forgot to specify that it is written from the perspective of the owner of North Wave Point 900/950 and other shoes are not considered?
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Re: Spring system: how soft?

Post by fivat » Tuesday 26 April 2016, 9:09

All boots, since I'm also talking about the old Raichle and the recent UPZ RC-8.
My team mates also ride UPZ RC-10, Deeluxe, Head Stratos Pro (the ancestor was Blax which I used too, modified and very soft), ...
I have no experience on Burton boots.

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Re: Spring system: how soft?

Post by Zemely » Tuesday 26 April 2016, 12:16

fivat wrote:1) The boots flexion should be controlled by the spring system and the tongue only, not the plastic of the shell. It's important to get a good progression when bending the boots, like the linear resistance of a spring.
Where in your opinion the moment when the spring completely unnecessary and even harmful (flex too much)?
Many hardboots, including UPZ RC10, at a certain weight / height of the rider - may be so mild that no spring will not help. Especially well at frontside.
It is absolutely not necessary to put all the boots spring systems?
fivat wrote:3) If you are rather a beginner, use soft springs at start.
Until now regret that I had heard plenty of rave reviews about the ACSS and with them "lost" almost two seasons - the progress has gone to a change in the tilt controller noticeably tighter, but in reality with the removal of springs system on the front foot. So what does "use soft springs at start" - softer than what? I would like to hear more specifically and in detail, rather than general phrases. Why then Raichle SB in one Shell had a choice of more than 5 stiffness options - the same boots with plastic of different hardness. And about the only thought spring on Raichle AF700?

For example, Raichle AF600 and rider 70 kg/180 sm: what I should think of spring on this boots?
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Re: Spring system: how soft?

Post by rcrobar » Tuesday 26 April 2016, 18:13

Hi Zemely

Do you use one long spring for your frontside turns/springs or are you stacking different springs?

Do you prefer to set your frontside/turn springs with a lot or very little pre-load (springs tightened)?

Thanks
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Re: Spring system: how soft?

Post by Zemely » Tuesday 26 April 2016, 19:16

rcrobar wrote:Hi Zemely

Do you use one long spring for your frontside turns/springs or are you stacking different springs?
There used to be, but stupidly lost time. I prefer that the front boot has a progressive resistance lean. Given that the shoes on the stiffness as the Deeluxe Suzuka and my weight is 70 kg - works best bolt M6: rigid fixation in both directions when erect cuff. This is probably why I feel at ease on the double black slopes too.
Rear boot is firmly fixed on the slope just ahead - to both shoes have the same rigidity forward. It is not like when the rear shoe softer front. And -30°С - perfect.
And video:
rcrobar wrote:Do you prefer to set your frontside/turn springs with a lot or very little pre-load (springs tightened)?
NEVER, springs on front boot became things of the past one season ago. It is therefore possible to quickly progressing this season:
This is one of the main reasons because of which many do not progress in riding or special difficulties in frontside.
Therefore, the position of the springs surprises me want regardless of the boot model and the rider.
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Re: Spring system: how soft?

Post by fivat » Tuesday 26 April 2016, 20:42

Sorry, I don't understand your English very well, as your point.
I'm really surprised that you have no spring on front foot, but spring on back. And, for me, your boot seems stiff in the video.

The most important is that you have found what works for you. It takes time!! This is the rule 6) above. 8)

For the beginners and newcomers, simple explanations and rules are necessary. Some people may be discouraged by technical and weird details.

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Re: Spring system: how soft?

Post by fivat » Tuesday 26 April 2016, 20:45

I should add another rule, which is obvious for most of us:
  • 7) The lower the bindings angles, the softer the boots.
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Mobility vs Ankle Protection

Post by rcrobar » Tuesday 26 April 2016, 21:16

Hi Zelemy

Nice turns!!

VERY interesting boot/spring/no spring set up as well! Really cool how to see your approach and solution to a problem you had. Your set up obviously works great for you.
Zemely wrote:Where in your opinion the moment when the spring completely unnecessary and even harmful (flex too much)?
Your front foot set up is very different than mine, at the same time I think we both have tried to create a 'similar' way to protect our ankles ... maybe it is better to say we both have tried to create a stop point to the range of motion for both performance and safety.

What you have done to your boots does make sense to me, even though you have no spring on the front boot and I do. You have a 'stop' point on your front boot, I tried to do the same thing but in a different way using springs.

The lengths of the combined springs, or one long spring if it is the right length (or no spring and a block and a bit space for movement and a boot that progressively bulges in your case) ... must be the 'right' length. IMHO they should not be too long. If the boots and springs are FULLY collapsed-compressed in a VERY hard ankle impact, the ankles range of motion should STOP before the ankle can bend too FAR; the collapsed springs become a block similar to your front boot.

With my boots set up a very stiff shell is key. Ideally the shell will not collapse further as this is what protects your ankle from going past it's normal range of motion, causing injury, if the springs fully collapse in a hard impact.

This type of hard frontside impact happened to me this season! I am sure the only reason I didn't break my front foot-ankle is because of the spring systems 'spring length,' the very hard shell and the fact that the range of motion is 'set up' to stop before the ankle can bend too far.

Cheers
Rob

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Re: Spring system: how soft?

Post by Zemely » Tuesday 26 April 2016, 22:59

Rob, thanks. But it is typical ride in Russia in the Ural mountains.

Main flex - deformation of plastic. For example, Deeluxe made boot in one shell (shapes) in different stiffness: Track 225, Track 325, Track 425...
Raichle have more flex variation in one shell. About 10-12 items in SB-series and 2 items in AF-series. And different stiffness tongue for all series.
Why? Because you can choose plastic of your boots for you weight! It's great! No spring system, unless RAB on AF700/Indy/Track 700.
It's better and more easy, then lost time with springs - if you can buy boots with other stiffness of plastic.

Track 325 perfect for rider about 70-85 kg, same flex have Deeluxe Suzuka - but in other shape (wide).
If anybody set spring system on Track 225, when weight about 70+ kg - he is crazy!!! No progress in ride!

I read you. Question, how much different your spring stiffness from plastic deformation? And as far as shoes bend under you in an arc with a blocked spring?
My boot hard can be felt without rigid boards. But in work in softer than desired. No spring, a lot of flex.
And also Carve RS bindings. And Kessler 185 custom for 75 kg.

The most important thing - just tilt the cuff, or boots flex is a kind of spring, which does not allow to unload the board.
You take a static position on the board, or the rush to meet the load and keep your boots. Flex of plastic-constriction or flex of spring - common flex.

Image
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Re: Spring system: how soft?

Post by rcrobar » Wednesday 27 April 2016, 1:48

Hi Zelemy

I have owned and used the original Raichle Snowboarder, 225's, 325's both with the Ride-Walk mechanism and the RAB spring system. I have used Tongues with 3 different flexes, I have cut and modified 325's, etc. I have used the boots you mentioned a LOT and know what positive and negatives of them very well. So I completely understand the idea of getting your movement from the plastic boot deforming.

The main issue I have had with the idea of using the plastic shell this way is how the temperature changes affects the shell and tongue flexibility; one day the boots were just right, then too soft, then too stiff. If I had a choice, I personally like to select the stiffest boot. I prefer getting the ankle movement from the spring system, with a very hard plastic boot acting as the foundation for the springs. I have also sanded areas of my tongues so they are a bit thinner and are not affected by freezing very much at all. I would guess that the support being 80% springs and 20% tongue and very little from the boot deforming. Ultimately this is personal preference, as long as you can move the way you want to move and are supported enough ... it all is good:)

The range of motion you have illustrated in your picture can be easily duplicated with springs of different stiffness and lengths ... and a bit of cutting, stacking and experimenting via trial and error; it is unfortunate that you lost so much time in this area.

For me personally the toe side turn spring is where much of the modifying/adjusting happens. I like the first part of the knee bend to be super SOFT and easy to do. I also like the very deepest part of the knee bend to be very STIFF! I also should mention that I use my one hardboot set up for just carving, freeriding in powder, ECing, moguls, etc. With my one boot set up I can use stance angles as low as 30 degrees and as high as 60 degrees ... all with a great range of motion in the front and back boot. I also think we should point out that you have very little rotation with your style, not a bad thing, just that this will change what works for you with regards to your boot/spring set up; you are making nice turns in your style so it is working great for you:)

I like when the initial ankle/knee movement is like using 225's Raichles in walk mode with loose boots or even like softboots. I also prefer when the very end of the deepest knee bend is like the stiffest boot locked in position, probably like 425's in locked mode. For this reason I still stack springs rather than using one spring under tension. I also leave about 1cm of free spring space or movement before the spring actually engages preferring not to have a pre-loaded tension. This is a very personal preference as Patrice mentioned.

I think the dream is to have boots made out of carbon, very light, strong and not affected by the temperature.

Interesting discussion.
Cheers
Rob

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Re: Spring system: how soft?

Post by nils » Wednesday 27 April 2016, 14:45

Interesting topic indeed,
As Rob says: I prefer to rely on springs that I can adapt, modify to set the motion I want, rather to rely on plastic deformation which is too much related to outside temperature change..
What works perfectly on a -5°C will become a very stiff boot at -15/-20 and before I switched ( long ago now, like Rob ) to .900 it was either too stiff or too soft!,
I prefer to have a plastic that has smaller effect on flex.

Indeed ideal boot would be an temperature inert material, as well as a ankle movement that is totally controlled by custom springs adapted to weight and power of rider...ideal boot would be a two part .900 with the zone in between made with neoprene or soft insulating material.
Something like this maybe:
Nils_boots.jpg
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Re: Spring system: how soft?

Post by fivat » Wednesday 27 April 2016, 19:34

Clear and nice explanations, in good English, Rob and Nils! :bravo:
It reminds me the good times when we spent hours explaining that in this Forum or during our first EC events.

Yes Nils, I would love to test such boots. :clap3:

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Re: Spring system: how soft?

Post by jax » Friday 18 November 2016, 0:46

A lot of good info.
Thanks :clap: :clap: :clap:
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Re: Spring system: how soft?

Post by Abrax » Friday 18 November 2016, 13:15

Hi all,

Somehow I've missed this very interesting thread :-(

But finally I read through this, got myself a bit laughing and I must ask 2 questions:

Zemely, the questions are to you :-)

1. In you discussion with rcrobar you stated:
Zelemy wrote:
rcrobar wrote:
Do you prefer to set your frontside/turn springs with a lot or very little pre-load (springs tightened)?
NEVER, springs on front boot became things of the past one season ago.
I ask myself what you were meaning... This seems to be a general statement regarding all the carvers in general and it seems that if it became a thing of the past that would mean that anybody who still rides with a spring on his/her front boot is a kind of luddite or what?
So I can assure you that in general sense it is not a thing of the past. :-) I bet you didn't really mean what you have written...

2. Another one here:
Zelemy wrote:If anybody set spring system on Track 225, when weight about 70+ kg - he is crazy!!! No progress in ride!
Why do you really think so?
What is a real disadvantage of using your ankles against a situation in which you get blocked of using your front ankle?

I believe that you may have a really solid reasons behind this but it would mean that either physics work different in your area or someone just didn't understand things right as they should be.

I have one friend who rides like this and each time he tries to get low down, his body mass center travels to the back of the board to compensate the problem of not being able to bend his ankles... IMO it works against the smoothness...

No offense here - I'm really curious :-)
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