Plates... Naked truth :-) PART 2 (season 2011-2012)

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Abrax
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Plates... Naked truth :-) PART 2 (season 2011-2012)

Post by Abrax » Sunday 23 October 2011, 21:57

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SUBJECT CUT BY THE MODERATORS
:arrow: See the PART 1 (season 2010-2011) here (click!)

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Hi there!
Does anyone have any feedback/news about plates in EC?
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Re: Plates... Naked truth :-)

Post by pokkis » Sunday 23 October 2011, 22:10

I think no too many free carvers have spent much time on plates yet.
Plus one clear point with plates is that they will require some tuning and mile on them before you will get used to them.
Where attachment points are adjusted compared to palcements of axles and bindings, that will take quite time to tune them to work for riders riding style.
Plus additional height and weight are challenges for some riders.
I have let some folks to test my setups for few runs but response have been good and not so good :)
Anyway i will continue to ride my BBP-plate and will test another one too this winter.
I basicly ride only without plate for tests purposes or when on my narrow board, or when in powder, otherwise i'm on plate due i feel that i will get even more out of my boards and i can run longer and push more, just to have more fun on slope :bravo:

For EC, i dont know due i dont ride EC-style, just flegmatic :dogeyes:
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Re: Plates... Naked truth :-)

Post by Felix » Sunday 23 October 2011, 22:58

I'm not sure if plates work well for EC. Plates are mainly for bad conditions (be it ruts or ice, work wonders on rutty ice like PGS/PSL courses -- the racers frequently said that the more close you get to the Finals, the more plates pay off). On a nicely groomed slope (well if you take Zinal such thing doesn't exist -- even at 4PM during ECS all slopes are still too good conditions for plates to be worthwile) there is not much need for it.

And on really mashed up slopes - at least I - I don't like to EC but rather take some other boards and ride classic cross over or cross through technique (and then plates work really well). Must say though that if conditions are really bad I prefer racing skis or Raxskis and pack up my boards.
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Re: Plates... Naked truth :-)

Post by pokkis » Monday 24 October 2011, 9:08

Yes, worse the surface gets more benefit one gets from plate.
But for me there is nothing to loose to ride with plate also on first runs of the day, board does not work worse than without, vice versa, but benefit of plate is naturally much smaller then. I was riding 50+ days ie almost every day last winter with Donek and BBP-plates on very variuos surfaces on boards with higher side cuts, this winter i get new board with slightly more user friendly so my journey with plates will continue :angel:
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Plates for EC

Post by Arnaud » Monday 24 October 2011, 22:10

pokkis wrote:For EC, i dont know due i dont ride EC-style, just flegmatic
Felix wrote:I'm not sure if plates work well for EC.
An EC point of view
Thanks to Pokkis (thanks again man !) I tried the plates last season. It was the Donek model and I used PH1 bindings. I made the test on a very steep black slope (steepness >70%) with icy artificial snow (without bumps)
The first impression was a terrible inertia due to the extra weight. Imoh, this extra weight is the main disadvantage for extremecarving : as you know, one of the key point of EC turn is the lightening (lifting) of the board before the turn. Due to the additional weight this phase is more difficult and less dynamic with the plates. When I removed the system I also noticed that the space between the plates and the board was full of snow, adding more weight ... :(
Of course, I was able to lay down front and backside turns, but my front side turn was not so smooth because due to the additional height given by the plates, I had to bend the body to touch the snow (see Vahur's post here)
During the laid turns, the grip is good but I felt that my feet were "disconnected" from the snow. Don't know if it's pro or con !

After the test I made again the same slope without the plates. The board appeared light, light and my turns easy and smooth.
Fin told me that Bomber plates are lighter and lower. I hope to have the possibility to test setup this season.
felix wrote:Must say though that if conditions are really bad I prefer racing skis or Raxskis and pack up my boards.
In this case , I prefer to stay at home !!! But this never occurs, because I always ride where the slopes are like in Zinal during afternoon (or better) :lol: :lol: :lol:
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Re: Plates... Naked truth :-)

Post by pokkis » Monday 24 October 2011, 22:47

Arnould, i dont remember how many runs you were able to make :) but as said it takes time before one can adapt to plate, plus it need also be adjusted properly.
Unfortunately we did not had too much time for testing then and due our basic setup differences i installed plate according my best quess, which propably gave non-optimal results. Must remembe alo that i've been riding heavy boards already several years so for m that is no issue, vise versa, i lik that smoothnes and easines they provide.
But yes that havy snow can be PIA if onedoes not remember kick it away between runs.
Yes BBP is lighter and lower, but i must say that i dont feel either them as much as feel differences ininterface mecanics and stiffness of plate it self.
New Donek mechanism for this year looks quite improvement comparedto old ones, but have not seen possible price effect yet.
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Re: Plates... Naked truth :-)

Post by Abrax » Monday 24 October 2011, 23:52

Are the sliding mechanisms protected from the squeezed snow in any way?
If the snow gets into the sliding mechanism it can decrease the amount of possible movement... It there any problem with this?

As far as I understand it, the amount of snow below the plate is the most heavy part of the whole system... So it should work good if there was less place for the snow...
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Re: Plates... Naked truth :-)

Post by Arnaud » Tuesday 25 October 2011, 21:22

Abrax, in addition to the ACSS, we should think to a HS2RS for plates :lol: (Heating System to Remove Snow) :silly:
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Re: Plates... Naked truth :-)

Post by Abrax » Tuesday 25 October 2011, 21:46

Sure, I've already 2 systems in stock... :bravo:
One is a kilo pack of NaCl, the other is a set of lens glasses! Beautiful, made in steampunk style! :-) :silly:
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Re: Plates... Naked truth :-)

Post by pokkis » Tuesday 25 October 2011, 21:53

Snow weight is only problem when there is such idiotic heavy slush snow and rider does not kick it away before cliping in rear binding berore run.
That goes away quite easily just slashing board side way s with front foód to slope prior attaching rear foot as long you rember do it before each run.
Like soft snow gathers there front and after bindings to top surface with such idiotic snow conditions :mrgreen:
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Re: Plates... Naked truth :-)

Post by Fin » Wednesday 26 October 2011, 2:32

Excellent discussion on plates. Would like to join in but feel obligated to make a statement of full disclosure:

I own and run Bomber Industries. I make and sell plates (Bomber "Boiler Plate") and thus am admittedly bias towards their use and function. But I am also an engineer and a user, so please consider my comments and observations below as strictly my personal opinion and NOT the ramblings of a salesman trying to sell you something. If you believe I am try to "market my goods" I apologize and by all means, call me on it.

OK, with that out of the way would like to join in. Good news is we now have a full season (2010/2011) of consumer plate use behind us and we can safely start to make some conclusions from feedback. Also, I have had the opportunity to personally demo out, between on-snow events and demos from our shop here in Colorado, about 100+ plates over the course of last season. So below is a list of observations on plate use from last season (no particular order):


- One of the biggest conclusions we came to is that plates perform the best when used by a high-level/advanced rider. When, what I consider, a high-intermediate/expert/high-level carver took out the plate they typically liked it and understood it purpose. When a beginner/mid-intermediate carver took a plate out they were generally on the fence as to whether it helped them or hurt them. It came to the point that if someone was, what would be called a beginner, we would talk them out of trying a plate at that time.

- A plate adds extra height and weight. No new news there, it does. As stated above in the first observation, this can be VERY detrimental if someone is still working on basic carving skills as adding weight and height will not help. However, most people agreed that, yes, they did feel the extra height and weight of the system but it became less and less noticeable and less an issue the more they rode it. My take is as long as there is a "return" on the investment of added weight and height, I'll take it. Keep in mind our carve set-ups tend to be heavier than your typical soft boot set-up, but we take the hit as we get it back in performance, right?

- Slow speed control was something most people commented on as well. Really it seemed to come down to when you are shutting it down and coming to a stop or the lift line. It is hard to manipulate the board at those slower speeds with a plate. That said, most agreed that with some time on it, they just changed their technique for low speed and it became a non-issue. But something to remember when you do try one. And the other attitude/comments where more along the lines of "I ride hard boots to carve, not skid to stops".

- Smoothes out non-perfect carving terrain. As we all know, sometime the terrain is not perfect. But quite a few people found that with a plate, they could ride and carve on terrain that might not be as doable without a plate. It is a suspension/isolation system so it does make sense. I have a story on this: at the SES last season 6 of us left the tent to go do a run at Buttermilk resort. Two of us (myself included) where on plates, other four not. Did the run with the group and at the bottom of the hill the four without plates shook their heads and stated that the where disappointed in the run, too rough and icy, and too many ruts from other carvers. My buddy and I on the plates looked at each other and agreed we thought the run was excellent, smooth, and we did not experience anything these others were talking about.

- Can ride longer. Did not see this one coming! You would think with extra height and weight, fatigue would set in sooner. As it turns-out, seems the opposite occurs. The reports are that people can ride longer into the day than before with plates. I suspect the suspension aspect of a plate takes a certain level of fatigue out of the aspect of carving. I also have to agree with this one, I can ride longer into the day with a plate.

- Now plates are not without their shortcomings. One being price. They are not cheap. Hard to avoid this one as the materials needed to make this strong, yet light, are not inexpensive. Also, we find they take more time to find where they work the best for you. If just mounting a binding onto a board is 2D, then adding a plate makes it a 3D event. Now you can move the plate back and forth on the board as well as the bindings. And don't forget most plates have adjustable pivot point distanced. So you now have a HUGE amount of variables to change and work with.

- It takes a while to get used to the plate. We found the "One run" test was not at all fair for a plate. How many people would still be carving if they judged it for "just one run"! It takes some time to get used to and, as stated in the above observation, you also need to adjust some of the settings to make it work like you want it to. From our observations, the more people rode the plate, the more they wanted to ride with the plate (if that makes sense).

- Plate are absolutely terrible for anything other than on-trail type riding/carving. The weight, height, and reduction in low speed control are a HUGE burden when trying to use one off trail (i.e. trees, powder, ect). Trust me I tried it! But this is a bit of a mute point, as I believe most plate manufacturers would tell you that they were never meant for this.

Bottom line, is a plate needed to carve? Absolutely not. But you might also ask, are hardboots needed to carve? No, you can carve on anything, including softboot. But the hard boots are the better tool for the job. Could that be the case for a plate?

We need another season with plates to figure this out. But I do want to see if a plate is a good match for ECing or not? I'll admit, I don't know. But I do know, that right now, there does not seem to be a good side by side comparison of EC turns with and without a plate. Anyone else want to see this :mrgreen:

Cheers,
Fin

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Re: Plates... Naked truth :-)

Post by nils » Wednesday 26 October 2011, 8:51

hi Fin,
Fair presentation....
Now the need is for test plates so we can try it out...
I volunteer to have one set sent at me that I could after xmas send to J and P for Zinal testing :)

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Re: Plates... Naked truth :-)

Post by pokkis » Wednesday 26 October 2011, 9:49

Nils, if you could make to Zinal session, you can test my plate :bravo:
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Re: Plates... Naked truth :-)

Post by fivat » Wednesday 26 October 2011, 11:22

Fin, it's interesting to see that you are experiencing things similar to what we (the Swoard team) experienced in 2003 when we introduced our wide board Extremecarver Gen1 (while the market was focusing on narrow boards). We could not give our board to the people without any explanation, without any advice, etc. It was a lot of efforts, and apparently you also need now to spend a lot of energy to change people mind. The labor is never over, and after 8-9 years we still have to explain and demonstrate basic things.
It would be simpler to sell bicycles. ;-)

Some of your sentences are almost the same as the ones we have written many times:
Fin wrote:However, most people agreed that, yes, they did feel the extra height and weight of the system but it a "return" on the investment of added weight and height, I'll take it.
The width of the Swoard is believed to be a disadvantage by some riders (they think about the "quick edge change" argument for the narrow boards). But this is not a problem with the proper technique, and the "return on investment" pays a lot!
Fin wrote:That said, most agreed that with some time on it, they just changed their technique for low speed and it became a non-issue. But something to remember when you do try one.
Changing the technique...
Fin wrote:It takes a while to get used to the plate. We found the "One run" test was not at all fair for a plate. How many people would still be carving if they judged it for "just one run"! It takes some time to get used to and, as stated in the above observation, you also need to adjust some of the settings to make it work like you want it to.
Exactly the same with the Swoard. Indeed "One run" is not at all fair. For some riders several days may be required!
Fin wrote:But I do want to see if a plate is a good match for ECing or not? I'll admit, I don't know. But I do know, that right now, there does not seem to be a good side by side comparison of EC turns with and without a plate.
I wait for my plate, as planned with you last summer. I got no positive feedback from other riders about plate-extremecarving on steep slopes, but I want to test by myself and for more than "One run". :D

Patrice Fivat

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Re: Plates... Naked truth :-)

Post by fivat » Wednesday 26 October 2011, 11:23

@pokkis:
I will never test your stuff ;-) after what I witnessed in La Thuile: both your bindings opening on the plate, and then board destruction at the end of the steep slope. 8O

@ Nils:
The Swoard team will have one plate for the entire season.


For me, using a (stiff!) plate WITH modified boots (springs, etc. making them softer) AND flat bindings giving good lateral flex, is a big paradox, a non-sense at extremecarving. But I'm ready to make some serious tests! :D

I must be honest, here is what I believe for 2 years.

The weight is probably not a problem for a racer crouching during the turns and extending the legs (sometimes jumping) for the transitions. Jacques and I are doing the opposite: we extend the legs during the laid turns, and need to pull the legs during the transitions. So the weight of the plate acts differently, especially on very steep slopes (the races are not made on steep black slopes).

Another point is that Jacques and I prefer being very low on the boards: no canting or lifter.
Letting the board flex in a perfect arc (one argument for using plates) is exactly what we are claiming for 8 years on our Web site: this is why we use no stiff bindings, no stiff boots (our original spring modifications was made in 1998) and no canting (since one gets a natural canting when the board is bent).
Our current opinion is that a plate system is mainly useful for people who still want to ride with stiff boots and bindings that prevent the board to work and bend properly. J Jay Anderson himself told in a video (in French) that this plate system solved the problem that racers are riding "against" the board! The needs of these guys who mainly ride full speed on uneven icy race tracks are quite different of our research about EC I think...

But again, I will make some serious extremecarving tests. I guess that on not too steep slopes I will be happy, especially on bad snow. 8)

Patrice Fivat

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