Test Report 10/11 – Poles

by Don Portman

October 12, 2010 – Here’s a look at some of the new hot ski poles available this season that we were able to test. We looked at the Swix Triac, Fischer’s RCS Carbonlite and Yoko’s 4200 ski poles.

Swix Triac
There were no Triacs available to test on this continent so we relied on friends in Norway to test the poles for us. Here is what they said: super-light and super-stiff. These were the stiffest poles ever used, except for Swix’s old Force 10 poles. Happily, the Triacs are not deflected by the wind, as the Force 10’s were. The simple no-glue basket attachment made switching baskets a snap. The testers also liked the little release button on the strap chock, which made adjusting the straps much more convenient.

Fischer RCS Carbonlite
At first glance, the new Quick Fit strap makes no sense — an easy-to-adjust strap with an extra zipper? But as soon as we used the pole, we were convinced of Fischer’s wisdom. Once you find that perfect adjustment, leave it there and take the straps on and off with the zipper — quick, easy, perfect fit retained. Like most top-end poles today, the shaft on the RCS is super-stiff and ultralight. These poles were a joy to ski with.

Yoko 4200
Yoko is back and imported by Alpina. Five models of carbon-fibre poles are in the line, leading with the 8100, a 100% carbon race pole that retails for $200. We tested the 4200, which is 20% carbon and costs only $75. The pole felt great in the hand, with a comfortable grip and strap — as it should, since it is the same as on the top-end pole. The shaft was remarkably stiff and light for having only 20% carbon content. Testers all agreed that the 4200 is a great pole at a great price.

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