Dalbello Quantum Asolo Factory Review
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Dalbello Quantum Asolo Factory
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|Pros||Light, neutral fit, balanced uphill and downhill performance||Light, free-pivot cuff, appropriate stiffness and flex||Excellent downhill performance, lightweight, proven style||Balanced up and down performance, wide/high volume fit||Light, nimble, great range of motion, one move transition|
|Cons||Questionable closures, flimsy liner||Cold, finicky transitions||Moderate insulation, hard to get in and out of||Ski/walk mode prone to issues, recall to past versions||Thin liner is cold, limited downhill ski performance, closure string degrades|
|Bottom Line||Lightweight touring ski boots that are worthy of your consideration for all sorts of expert-level backcountry skiing||Balanced, all-around ski touring boots that lean in the light-and-fast direction; these are optimized, probably, for what you like about the mountains||Whether a newcomer adjusting from the resort or a seasoned expert gunning for 100+ backcountry days a season, here is a top of the line contender||Proven ski boots with modern updates and an overall performance profile that is optimized for the majority of backcountry skiers||This is the "speed touring" boot that many have been looking for for a few years|
|Rating Categories||Dalbello Quantum As...||Scarpa F1 LT||Tecnica Zero G Tour...||Scarpa Maestrale RS||Dynafit Mezzalama|
|Downhill Performance (35%)|
|Uphill Performance (20%)|
|Comfort and Fit (10%)|
|Ease of Use (5%)|
|Specs||Dalbello Quantum As...||Scarpa F1 LT||Tecnica Zero G Tour...||Scarpa Maestrale RS||Dynafit Mezzalama|
|Weight size 26.5, pair||4 lbs 3 oz||4 lbs 7 oz||6 lbs 0 oz||6 lbs 5 oz||4 lbs 8 oz|
|Weight of one boot shell||0771 g||0809 g||1119 g||1180 g||0772 g|
|Weight of one stock liner, no footbed||188 g||214 g||204 g||252 g||244 g|
|Weight of one complete boot, no insole||0959 g||1023 g||1323 g||1432 g||1016 g|
|Range of Motion; degrees||49||72||55||60||65|
|Binding Compatibility? Tech only, or Tech and DIN AT standard, or Tech, DIN AT and DIN Alpine/WTR||Tech only||Tech only||Tech and DIN AT||Tech and DIN AT||Tech only|
|Stated Flex Index||Not reported||95||130||125||Not reported|
|Stated Last width||99 mm||102 mm||99 mm||101 mm||99 mm|
|Alpine wrap or Tongue||Tongue||Tongue||Wrap||Tongue||Tongue|
|Shell material||Polyamide composite carbon||Grilamid, Carbon Core||Grilamid||Carbon Grilamid||Grilamid with carbon fibers|
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Dalbello Quantum Asolo Factory is a "one kilo" class shoe for all-around, fast-paced human-powered backcountry skiing. We found it to work really well, up and down. Our testers took it on powder days and huge ski mountaineering endeavors alike.
The free pivoting cuff and extensive range of motion make these boots tour uphill like a dream. They are very similar to other boots in the weight class and much better than anything 200 grams or more heavier. You choose these boots for their uphill performance. And they are a wise choice. The two-part cuff seems to make the ankle range of motion more free-flowing than other products in the category. Our only touring performance complaint is a minor one. The crampon-ready toe welt of the Quantum Asolo is relatively large, forcing the toe pivot point just a touch forward of what other boots are doing. Our high-volume, experienced testers could notice this subtle difference. The minor to major measures that manufacturers are taking to move the toe pivot point back make a tiny difference that adds up with each step. It's enough of a difference that the otherwise-competitive Dalbello Quantum stands out for slight loss of touring efficiency.
We weighed a complete pair of Quantum Asolo Factory boots, in size 26.5, at four pounds, three ounces. These days, it is more conventional to report and compare ski boots (and all backcountry ski gear, for that matter) in weight per foot and in metric units. Circa "one kilo" is a benchmark for both boots and skis. One kilogram is the weight at which uphill and downhill performance can perfectly balance out, for boots and skis both. These Dalbello boots weigh 959 grams on our scale. This is great. You'll notice the weight savings as compared to those that weigh 1200g and above. The liner of the Dalbello Quantum Asolo Factory is nothing special. We tested with it and didn't suffer too much, but we can see how you might want to swap it out. In that case, you'll be comparing boot shell weights more than the weight of the entire boot. The Dalbello Quantum shell weighs 771g in size 26.5.
For the weight, and given the touring performance, these boots go downhill quite well. On our testing team, we tried lots of different downhill experiences. We had testers on the steep and serious terrain of the Grand Teton and with 110mm+ powder skis in deep and fast conditions. And everything in between. The Dalbello Quantum Asolo Factory not only "kept up", but largely excelled. Again, qualify our downhill observations with the weight and uphill criteria. This is a well-balanced boot. Fit will inform your downhill experience in the Quantum Asolo. The heel pocket is voluminous. The pair of tester boots we passed around did not get any customized boot fitting. You can fill in some of the heel pocket space in your own boots and reap even better downhill performance.
Comfort and Fit
The Quantum Asolo Factory largely fits very neutrally. None of our testers couldn't "make it work" and none found it to fit perfectly, out of the box. The experience is consistent with many other touring boots; most wished it were a little roomier in the toe-box and a little snugger in the heel pocket. Given the common occurrence of these complaints, boot fitters are pretty familiar with making effective adjustments for you. The Quantum Asolo Factory shell materials are not super conducive to adjustments, but they can be done with care and professional level attention.
The roomy, neutral fit and relatively thick liner (especially around your ankle and lower leg) make for reasonably insulated boots. Our lead tester made a January ascent and ski descent of the Grand Teton in wicked-cold conditions. His feet stayed warm the entire time, with careful layering and perpetual motion. Thicker, more robust touring boots will definitely be warmer than these. As compared, though, to boots of similar weight, the Quantum Asolo is relatively insulating. Fit them correctly, and you could readily press these into high-altitude, cold-weather function.
Ease of Use
The unique and innovative construction attributes of the Dalbello Quantum Asolo make it a little quirky to use. Some of those quirks are good, and some are more questionable. First, the cuff tightens and locks with one motion. Race-class ski mountaineering boots have long integrated this feature. Touring boots dabble with it without uniform adoption. We're glad for the Dalbello's one-move transition capability. To save weight (presumably…) Dalbello equips both the lower and upper closures with cord tensioners. They both stayed intact through the entirety of a fairly robust testing season. But they are both exposed, soft, and seemingly vulnerable.
The lower cuff closes with a dial to tighten the narrow cordage. It looks sort of like the more familiar Boa brand closure but isn't the same. The dial is harder to turn than the dials on other boots, and the dial needs to be cranked both closed and opened. The soft and flexible cordage, when loose, catches and snags more frequently than the cable on other boots. The upper cuff closes with thicker cordage secured by a ridged cam lock buckle and tensioned by a rear-of-boot lever. You need to adjust and tension the front, ridged, cam-lock every time you put the boots on.
If that cam lock is not fully closed (and it is easy to fail to close it all the way), the cord will slide, under a great deal of tension, through the ridged feature. Our cord shows signs of wear from this sort of rough (but not uncommon or abusive) use. We have to assume that more incidences of such abrasion could compromise the integrity of this cord. Field repair would be possible, but it would be difficult to generate the same sort of closure force with a field repair. The large crampon toe welt is secure and versatile. We've experienced or heard of no complaints about crampon security or compatibility.
They aren't the cheapest boots in this class but aren't super expensive either. If it turns out that the corded closures hold up (and we'll keep testing to be sure) better than we anticipate, these will prove to be quite robust boots. For the weight. All lightweight gear breaks down faster than its heavier counterparts. This is simple physics. When we make comparisons of value, we generally compare to products with similar performance. We think these are a good value overall.
We love that more and more offerings are emerging in the lightweight backcountry ski gear category. Dalbello's Quantum Asolo is worthy of consideration and will be workable for a broad spectrum of human-powered skiers.
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