Rossignol Black Ops W Rallybird Ti Review
Compare prices at 3 resellers Pros: Stiffer in the tip than most, floats decently in powder
Cons: Nothing like the impressive old Rossi Soul line of skis, not playful
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Rossignol Black Ops W Rallybird Ti
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|Pros||Stiffer in the tip than most, floats decently in powder||Crud blaster, dependable, great one-ski quiver option, good for every ability level||Awesome powder tool, fabulous fun factor even for light skiers, affordable price||Great stability at high speeds, good on hard snow and crud, more affordable than others||Superbly stable at high speeds, great edge hold|
|Cons||Nothing like the impressive old Rossi Soul line of skis, not playful||No wow-factor, not a lot of rebound||Gets bouncy in crud, slight tip flap, doesn’t carve perfectly||Only for shallower pow days, needs strong skier to guide them||Too burly for lighter gals, not nimble|
|Bottom Line||Doesn’t ski as well as the discontinued Rossignol Soul 7, but it still handles powder ok||A great all-rounder ski that we think is the most versatile option for a one-ski quiver||A fun and responsive toy for powder days, groomer antics, and bumps, with a value-oriented price tag||This model will do great in everything but the deepest powder and is ideal for an aggressive skier||A good choice for hard-charging speed demons that still performs decently off-piste|
|Rating Categories||Rossignol Black Ops...||Nordica Santa Ana 98||Elan Ripstick 94 W||Faction Dictator 2.0X||Volkl Secret 96|
|Stability At Speed (20%)|
|Carving Ability (20%)|
|Powder Performance (20%)|
|Crud Performance (20%)|
|Terrain Playfulness (15%)|
|Specs||Rossignol Black Ops...||Nordica Santa Ana 98||Elan Ripstick 94 W||Faction Dictator 2.0X||Volkl Secret 96|
|Waist Width (mm)||102||98||96||96||96|
|Shape (Tip-Waist-Tail) (mm)||137-102-127||132-98-120||136-96-111||127-96-117||135-96-119|
|Available Lengths (cm)||163, 171, 178||151, 158, 165, 172, 179||154, 162, 170, 178||155, 163, 171, 175, 179, 183, 187||149, 156, 163, 170|
|Length Tested (cm)||171||172||178||171||170|
|Rocker Style||Tip and tail, low camber underfoot||Tip and tail, camber underfoot||Tip and tail, cambered inside edge Amphibio tech||Tip and tail, camber underfoot||Tip and tail, camber underfoot|
|Weight Per Pair (lbs)||7.9||8.1||7.4||7.9||8.5|
|Construction Type||Full rectangular sidewall||Energy Ti W||SST sidewall||Sandwich||Full sidewall|
|Core Material||Paulownia||Performance Wood & Metal||Tubelite wood||Paulownia & Poplar||Beech and poplar|
|Intended Purpose||All-Mountain||All-Mountain||All-Mountain||All-Mountain, Big Mountain||All-Mountain|
Our Analysis and Test Results
Rossignol seems very enthusiastic about their new Black Ops line of skis, but we are left wondering why they would discontinue the Soul series when they were obviously onto such a good thing. The old Rossignol Soul 7 HD W hit the very top of our charts in powder and playfulness and handled incredibly well in every other metric. This new Rallybird is only just above mediocre in the powder and frustrated us elsewhere. It can be relied upon in soft, fresh snow but doesn't provide the versatility to compete in other terrains.
Stability at Speed
We could feel that the Rallybird does have quality construction, and in particular, we felt that the tips of the skis were built solidly; we could move to the front of the ski and feel supported, and we didn't experience much of the dreaded tip-flap. It holds an edge well in a short turn, but when we brought it up to higher speeds and larger turns, it began to chatter slightly. It feels very stable in a tight turn in the steeps and less stable in a bigger, faster turn.
The Rallybird feels true to its publicized 16-meter turn radius; it definitely prefers to make a tight turn. In this type of turn, it feels reliable to tip it on edge and have it hold. Unfortunately, when we turned up the tempo and tried to carve a larger turn, it didn't hold the edge as well. In a short turn, however, we appreciated the feeling of solid tip construction, allowing us to get the turn started with confidence. While it rolls from edge to edge with relative ease, there is not much rebound to help ping you into the next turn.
When we took the Rallybird in boot-top lightweight powder, it stayed afloat well and easily buttered across the surface. However, when one of our testers took this ski to Alaska for some properly deep pow, it struggled. She told us she didn't believe the ski had a progressive enough flex pattern to handle any inconsistencies in the snow texture; she felt it was a bit of a dead plank, bucking her into the backseat. For the rest of us mere mortals skiing resorts in the continental country, though, the Rossi was more than adequate. It stays on top for the most part in 6 to 10 inches of fresh snow. We just missed the ever-present honeycomb tips of the old Soul 7, rising to the surface every turn without question and guiding us through the powder field.
Rossignol has used something called an "extended core" in the Rallybird, which might account for the stability of the ski extending all the way to the tip, unlike many of its competitors. This means the more reinforced tip doesn't get deflected and pushed around as much in unpredictable snow. Overall, the ski's performance as a whole in choppy conditions was good but not mind-blowing.
Our testers agreed that this is not the Rallybird's strong suit, especially compared to the old Soul 7 which shined in this metric. It doesn't have much zip or energy, and the rebound exists but isn't outstanding. It did feel light enough to get in the air and provided a stable landing afterward. The pick-up-and-go feel just wasn't present.
While the Rallybird makes a respectable carved short turn, it doesn't seem to love a softer edge, making skidding and pivoting through the bumps a little harder than we expected on a 16-meter turn radius. That said, it isn't as heavy and planky as some others, so there is still enjoyment to be had in moguls.
At one of the higher price points of the group, the Rallybird isn't versatile as a one-ski quiver, nor does it excel enough in one metric to make it worth a specific-condition purchase.
Not a particular stand-out in any category, the Rallybird is a disappointing substitute for its shining star of a precursor.
— Renee McCormack
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