K2 Recon 120 Review
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K2 Recon 120
|Price||$439.96 at Evo|
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|$799.95 at Backcountry|
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|$586.28 at Amazon|
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$749.99 at Amazon
|$559.99 at Backcountry|
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|Pros||Lightweight, comfortable last width, inexpensive||Easy to customize, stiff consistent flex, quick-release cam power strap, very warm||Comfortable walk mode, stiff consistent flex, sturdy construction||Comfortable, cork liner, Grip Walk outsoles||Comfortable, easy instep, variable last ideal for larger feet|
|Cons||Powerstrap is hard to operate with gloves, can be cold||Expensive, requires a strong, aggressive skier||Small switch on locking mechanism, heavy, expensive||Expensive, velcro power strap||Soft flex, low performance|
|Bottom Line||A great intermediate ski boot that is light on the feet and on the wallet||When you want a boot that can drive any ski in any condition, look no further||A comfortable medium-fit boot made from strong materials that can master the front and backcountry with smile-inducing control||Oustanding comfort supplied by a cork and EVA foam liner in a high-performing polyurethane shell makes this one of the most comfortable boots we've tested||This comfortable boot is easy to get on and off with plenty of room and variability for most foot shapes|
|Rating Categories||K2 Recon 120||Tecnica Mach1 MV 130||Tecnica Cochise 130...||Nordica Speedmachin...||Dalbello Panterra 1...|
|Materials & Durability (20%)|
|Specs||K2 Recon 120||Tecnica Mach1 MV 130||Tecnica Cochise 130...||Nordica Speedmachin...||Dalbello Panterra 1...|
|Available Widths||LV (98mm)
|99mm only||Promachine (98mm)
|Available Flexes||90, 100, 120, 130, 140||110, 120, 130||110, 120, 130||80, 90, 100, 110, 120, 130||90, 100, 120, 130|
|What We Tested||MV (100mm)
|Speedmachine (100 mm)
|Number of Buckles||4||4||4||4||4|
|Weight (per boot, size 27.5)||3 lb 12 oz||4 lb 3 oz||4 lb 2 oz||4 lb 2 oz||3 lb 12 oz|
|Boot Sole Length (size 27.5)||314 mm||315 mm||315 mm||315 mm||318 mm|
|Shell Material||POWERLITE TPU||PU||PU/PP||PU||DB Hyperlite|
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Recon 120 is a slightly softer boot than the expert-advanced oriented Recon 130. Our initial impressions putting the boots on out of the box were that they are quite comfortable, even verging on roomy. The Recon MV is a medium volume last, which, at 100 millimeters, felt wider than even some 102-millimeter boots in our review. This was especially apparent in the toe box area, where our lead tester, who typically wears a 100 to 101-millimeter last width boot, felt the excessive space the most.
This size 27.5 pair also felt slightly long for their size, leading to a roomier fit that we seek out in an alpine boot. An experienced boot fitter should be able to add padding or shims to take up the volume if you are between sizes like our lead tester is. Once properly fitted, this boot is easy to pull on and remove. Its shell overlap is less stiff than other models, making it easier to take off in cold temperatures. The included insole offered enough support for testers without pronounced arches, but our lead tester found the need for aftermarket insoles to make the boot supportive.
One of the most noticeable attributes of the Recon 120 is its light weight. With a single boot weight of only 3.8 pounds, it is nearly a pound lighter per foot than many other options on the market. While weight is certainly an issue when ski touring, it is not as much of a concern when riding lifts at the resort. That said, shaving a pound off each foot left us with noticeably more energy at the end of a long ski day. The lighter weight boot also allows for a more playful style of skiing. It allowed us to swing the skis around much more fluidly, especially in short-radius turns. This works because they weigh less, but do not suffer a dramatic loss of stiffness that can be associated with lighter boots.
The Recon 120 is stiff enough to compete with most of the other 120 flex boots in our review, but, in our tests, it was not as consistent as others. In heavy, off-piste crud, it did not have the predictable, steady flex that some other boots in the 120 flex range offer.
We think this boot is more appropriate for an intermediate skier because we can overpower them while driving a big ski in challenging conditions. This boot would not do well if competing against a proven big mountain charger like the Tecnica Mach1. But it doesn't need to. The Recon offers dependable performance in most on-piste conditions and can handle some off-piste conditions, making it suitable for many resort skiers.
Materials & Durability
It will take long-term testing to see whether or not the lighter weight Powerlite shell material will lose any stiffness over time. But, during our testing, we did not experience any noteworthy issues indicating that the Recon 120 will have significant durability issues. The Ultralon liners feel hearty and resistant to packing out quickly, and the materials used are high quality.
The Ultralon liner used in the Recon 120 is high quality, resistant to packing out, and warm in most cold conditions. We did notice our feet getting colder than in other boots on really chilly days riding the lifts, even though we had plenty of circulation. The thinner material in the shell and liner may have something to do with this, but it only happened a few times. It helped that our feet are not as crammed in as in other more performance-fitted boots and our toes have some wiggle room. The liners are ready to receive an aftermarket boot warmer such as Hotronics.
The Recon 120 has well-conceived features that allow for a customizable fit. The shell offers a canting adjustment to optimize lateral alignment, and a simple plastic wedge gives skiers the option to choose between a 12-degree and 14-degree forward lean. Four buckles with micro-adjustments secure the shell, and a 45-millimeter wide Power Cinch power strap provides additional stability around the cuff.
While the power strap is adequate, the buckle closure is difficult to operate with gloved hands. It's not nearly as user-friendly as straps that close with velcro. The included alpine soles are replaceable, and can also be interchanged with alpine rockered soles that are compatible with Marker Grip Walk type bindings.
This boot is a good bargain, especially considering its lightweight and reasonable features. Because the Recon 120 has an accommodating last width that can fit lots of foot types, and offers enough downhill performance that many resort skiers will find it appealing, we think it provides an excellent value.
It is not very often that an alpine ski boot, especially one in a moderate price range, makes a big leap forward. Cutting weight by nearly 25% when compared with other contenders in this flex category, the Recon is light on the feet as well as on the wallet. It is capable in many conditions but is outmatched by the most challenging inbounds conditions. This combination of factors makes it a perfect choice for the solid intermediate skier looking for a medium volume boot at a value price.
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