Kastle FX96 Ti Review
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Kastle FX96 Ti
|Price||$1,099 at Backcountry|
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$750.00 at REI
$749.95 at REI
|$699.94 at Amazon|
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|Pros||Stable, feels extremely well made, magnetic ride feel||Stable, confidence inspiring, magnetic ride quality||Stiff, explosive, carving machine||Powerful float, stable at speed, can arc or smear turns||Playful, responsive, versatile|
|Cons||It skis you, sluggish edge to edge||Damp, heavy||Heavy||Some vibration, sometimes feels soft||Vibrates at high speeds, overly soft tip|
|Bottom Line||Let this super predictable beast take the decision-making out of the equation as you explore the whole mountain||With these on your feet, you'll be ready for anything the mountain has coming at you||A combination of raw explosive power and stability puts this ski well ahead of the competition for carving and is ideal for even the firmest snow days||The unique rocker/camber profile and wider 102-millimeter waist width promote versatile performance wherever your powder stash may be||Playful and adventurous, this ski is also manageable and forgiving. It encouraged us to explore the changing terrain over the whole mountain|
|Rating Categories||Kastle FX96 Ti||Volkl M6 Mantra||Nordica Enforcer 94||Blizzard Rustler 10||Faction Dictator 2.0|
|Stability at Speed (20%)|
|Carving Ability (20%)|
|Powder Performance (20%)|
|Crud Performance (20%)|
|Terrain Playfulness (20%)|
|Specs||Kastle FX96 Ti||Volkl M6 Mantra||Nordica Enforcer 94||Blizzard Rustler 10||Faction Dictator 2.0|
|Waist Width||96 mm||96 mm||94 mm||104 mm||96 mm|
|Sidecut (Tip-Waist-Tail width)||133-96-119 mm||135-96-119 mm||127-94-115.5 mm||133-104-122.5 mm||127-96-117 mm|
|Available Lengths||164, 172, 180, 188 cm||163, 170, 177, 184, 191 cm||165, 172, 179, 186,191 cm||164, 172, 180, 188 cm||163, 171, 179, 187 cm|
|Length Tested||180 cm||177 cm||179 cm||180 cm||179 cm|
|Turn Radius||18.1 m||18 m||17.1 m||17.5 m||19 m|
|Camber Profile||Rocker/Camber/Rocker||Tip-Tail Rocker||Rocker/Camber/Rocker||Tip-Tail Rocker||Tip Rocker/Freeride Flat Tail|
|Manufacturer Claimed Weight||8.6 lbs||9.0 lbs||8.9 lbs||8.9 lbs||8.2 lbs|
|Core Material||Paulownia/Beech/Poplar||Poplar/Beech/Double Titanal||Wood/Double Titanium/ GR400 Carbon Glass||Multi-layer Woodcore/Carbon /Fiberglass/Titanal||Poplar Woodcore/Double Titanal|
Our Analysis and Test Results
Kastle's latest creation of the FX96 Ti contains components of titanal, poplar wood, and fiberglass for a traditional GS ski overall feel. This translates into a strong advanced-expert ski with a magnetic-feeling edge grip, stability at speed, and a satisfyingly predictable snap; quality features that we expect from such a renowned brand. We found the FX96 Ti to be particularly demanding when forcing it into narrower spaces and shorter turns. If you're ok being the co-pilot, this ski will take you all over the mountain.
Stability at Speed
The Kastle FX96 Ti is among our strongest-scoring skis when it comes to feeling secure at any speed. Even with Kastle's blend of Dual Rise (their version of early rise tips) this ski dampens the terrain and kept us feeling confident throughout all conditions. We were pleasantly surprised to feel no chatter from the FX96 Ti (despite its width) in icy spring conditions.
The predictable snap and magnetic edge feel of the FX96 Ti help it to obtain strong scores for carving. While other skis are quicker edge-to-edge, once on edge, this ski offers quite a fun experience. We've mentioned before that this ski will "ski you" and by that we mean the FX96 Ti truly prefers a medium-long radius type turn.
We tested the FX96 Ti in late spring 2022 and were unable to get the mileage we require in true mid-winter powder conditions. Kastle says this ski has "uncompromising performance" and we can't wait to push its limits in all conditions ourselves. We've given a rough score for this metric based on skiing some soft spring snow and will update this review with a complete powder portfolio once we've tested again in the deep stuff.
Kastle's attention to detail really shines while skiing crud. While the FX96 Ti isn't particularly damp, the combination of paulownia, beech, and poplar wood in this ski helps it to absorb extra-firm terrain. Kastle calls their ski tip technology Hollowtech 3.0. This tech helps the FX96 Ti's tip regain composure more quickly through rattles and chatter and still reinforces a strong grip while on edge. With these construction features at play, the FX96 Ti is well-equipped to move you through refrozen suncups and the like.
The FX96 Ti can take you anywhere and show you a good time, but it falls short of others in this category. It can still be powerful and sharp at times, but also hard to make quick adjustments in tight mogul troughs (preferring the round line). We enjoyed skiing variable terrain on this ski through long days with no lunch but opted for other skis for more mogul-focused days.
Should You Buy the FX96 Ti?
Kastle is a brand revered by many for making higher quality products that last. As one of the most expensive skis in our lineup, the FX96 Ti lives up to its well-made heritage for us. The predictable response from every turn is truly a testament to its build quality. However, there are other skis in our lineup that have scored higher in our performance tests leaving the question to you; can you compromise on some versatility for more ski life?
What Other Skis Should You Consider?
At a hefty price compared to the rest of our lineup, Kastle still delivers stability, power, and overall quality. Ultimately this ski is going to do things the way it wants to; if you're a strong advanced-expert skier you may enjoy figuring out how to keep up with the FX96 Ti. If you're looking for something with a more balanced all-around performance, check out our Editors' Choice Award-winning Volkl M6 Mantra. If you're wanting a versatile ski that excels in soft, deep snow, check out the Blizzard Rustler 10.
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