Kästle LX 85 Review

August 31, 2018
Kästle LX 85
GEAR INSTITUTE RATINGS
86
Flotation
5
Stability
8
Edge Hold
9
Carving Pleasure
8
Turn Variability
6

The Good

  • Smooth & stable, particularly at speed
  • Predictable & confidence inspiring
  • Long effective edge

The Bad

  • Lacks versatility
  • Not easy to release edges or shut down at speed
  • Beefy & stiff; burly for lighter skiers
THE VERDICT
The Kästle LX 85 is a beefy front ski with a penchant for arcing up the groomers. Though testers said the 85-mm-waisted ski could handle soft or cut up snow, the ski’s happy place is on the frontside, on edge, with the gas pedal down, Testers gave the LX 85 its highest scores for Stability, Carving and Edge-hold, and lower scores for Turn Shape Variability and Flotation. Don’t expect versatility in terms of all-mountain performance; instead expect a smooth, stable and predictable ride—and the wind in your face.
FULL REVIEW

The Kästle LX 85 is a resort-cruiser’s ski, ideal for skiers most comfortable arcing up the groomers, but occasionally skiing in soft or cut up snow. “This ski performs best with muscle,” says one tester. “It’s ready to carve and push obstacles out of the way.” Testers scored the 85-mm-waisted ski high scores for Stability, Carving and Edge-hold, with lower scores for Turn Shape Variability and Flotation. “Not super versatile,” says one tester. “Too burly for beginners or hard bumps,” says another.

There are two models in Kästle’s LX or light all-mountain piste category, the LX 85 and narrower LX 73. According to Kastle, the two models are “all-mountain frontside oriented and light and easy.” Testers agreed with the first part, however, not the second part. Consensus was the LX 85 is a great cruising ski for frontside conditions, with enough girth to handle crud or some amount of soft snow. The LX 85 has a smooth, yet moderate flex, reliable edge grip and strong torsional rigidity. That strong wood/Titanal construction, however, may be overpowering for light or finesse skiers. “These are beefy!” says one tester. “Newer skiers might find it hard to stay centered.”

Kästle doesn’t differentiate between men’s and women’s skis, however the LX line is a close to a women’s line as the Austrian company gets. (Note to Kästle: Why not bring back the woman-oriented pink powder BMX 118?) Though the sidecut, semi-cap sandwich sidewall and rounded tail add an all-mountain flair and maneuverability (as opposed to the classic sidewall construction and flat SL-type tail of the comparable MX line), the construction is substantial as it is with all Kästle models. The skis are made with a silver fir/beech wood core, fiberglass and Titanal. The Hollowtech 2.0 technology in the tip removes some weight there and the early rise tip is designed to improve float and handling.

The wood and metal construction felt flat to some of the ex-racers in the tester group, though they realize the dampness is a tradeoff for smoothness and predictability, two traits they praised in the LX 85. “If you want a ski with a gas pedal, here you go,” says one tester. “But know it doesn’t shut down on a dime.” Testers recommend the ski to women who are looking for vertical while charging on the frontside. It’s not as versatile as other skis in the category: it doesn’t butter, it’s not the best in hard bumps and it demands something of the driver. All in all, intermediate to advanced skiers who love to carve on a smooth, stable ride will find those qualities in the LX 85.

Stability

The LX 85 may be a “light and easy” ski by Kästle standards, testers agreed that it felt “beefy and stable.” The construction includes a silver fir/beech wood core, fiberglass and Titanal. The wood and metal construction felt flat to some of the ex-racers in the tester group, though they realize the dampness is a tradeoff for smoothness and predictability—which contribute to stability. For the really aggressive skier, the semi-cap sandwich sidewall and rounded tail might feel easy. However, testers said the LX 85 wants muscle to control it, a trait that would inhibit the beginner or light skier. The flex is moderately stiff and takes some strength to find the center stance and work the tip. With sufficient tip pressure, the ski’s stability kicks in. “I felt confident at speed on edge,” said one tester. “If you want a ski with a gas pedal, here you go.”

Edge-hold

Testers gave high scores for Edge-hold, noting that the LX 85 favors long turns. “It has a long running effective edge, fierce torsion and a powerful fore/aft flex,” says one tester. The ski seems ready to carve, able to move quickly edge-to-edge. Conversely, testers felt that the ski isn’t fully versatile in terms of turn shape and turn type. Though able to make short turns, it favors long turns. The slightly rockered tips add maneuverability but it doesn’t impede on the long effective edge. However, the long effective edge keeps the ski from playful moves such as buttering or smearing. It’s a directional ski that favors being on edge at speed.

Resort Flotation

The LX 85 is a resort-oriented carver with an 85-mm waist and therefore not designed for flotation in big dumps. However, the Hollowtech 2.0 technology—the colorful, lightweight material inserted into the oval in a hollowed out tip—lightens the tip and along with the early tip rise, improves float and handling. Ultimately, the LX 85 is the ski to grab for frontside conditions.

Carving Pleasure

Testers agree the LX 85 is a great cruising ski for frontside conditions, with enough girth to handle crud or some amount of soft snow. The LX 85 has a smooth, yet moderate flex, reliable edge grip and strong torsional rigidity. “It’s a true frontside carver,” said one tester. The skis prefer long turns at speed and stability increases along with mph. The LX 85 has a 16.5 m turn radius (at 168 cm length), so no surprise that testers felt it gravitated toward longer turns. The pleasure of the LX 85 is finding the center of the ski, pressing down the gas pedal and cruising down groomed slopes. Less pleasurable is trying to smear or butter, which goes against the LX 85’s directional nature.

Turn Shape Variability

Testers gave lower scores for Turn Shape Variability in terms of turn size as well as turn type. It’s a directional ski, designed to snake across the fall line, edge to edge, holding throughout the turn from tip to tail. “It’s not super versatile in terms of turns or turn shapes,” says one tester. “It’s not easy to shut down on a dime or butter or smear.” Other testers felt the LX 85 could handle small, soft bumps, but felt too stiff and unforgiving in hard bumps. “It’s ready to carve and push obstacles out of the way, but it feels flat in short turns,” says one tester.

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MSRP
$999.00
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