Author Topic: Hart Pulse - Better late than never  (Read 2791 times)

HighAngles

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Re: Hart Pulse - Better late than never
« Reply #15 on: April 23, 2012, 09:44:12 pm »
With the recent snow we received in CO last week (LL got 16") I decided that the slopes were safe enough to take the new skis on their maiden voyage.

As I mentioned previously, I decided to go with the Tyrolia Speedplate Plus 13.  This is a new plate from Tyrolia that has been out now for 2 seasons, but is unfortunately really hard to get a hold of.  The design is quite a bit different than the older Carving Plates.  I would say that it's much closer now to the RDX race plate, but includes pre-drilled holes like the Carving Plates.  The Speedplate now has 7 sets of usable positions for the toe.  Thus if you setup your mount so that you use the middle position you'll have the ability to adjust your mount position further forward by 20mm or further back by 20mm (both directions have two 10mm increments).  Interestingly, the plate is 13mm tall right in the middle, but directly under the heel and toe of the boot the plates measures 12mm while out at near the ends of the plate it's about 14.5mm.

I decided to write in more detail about the plate I chose because I really think it adds something extra to the ski performance with its ability to provide a free flexing, vibration absorbing platform for your binding mount.  Using this plate my stand height ended up at 47mm at the heel and 42mm at the toe (a 5mm delta).  The Head/Tyrolia Tech manual shows this binding as having a 7mm delta, but I've never measured a single Head or Tyrolia binding having that much delta.  Most of my skis have a delta somewhere between 3-5mm so I felt right at home with this binding and plate setup.

I caught some of the fresh snow the weekend before, but warm weather has returned and the testing day was bright sunshine with the on-mountain temps in the 40s.  I purposely went out early unlike my normal mode during Spring skiing.  I normally hate skiing on Spring re-freeze - it's so much nastier than normal ice since it's generally not smooth ice and there can be lots of chunks due to the groomer cats.  However on this day I wanted to find some ice first thing in the morning to really test the edge hold and the ability of the skis to deal with severely crappy conditions.  As the day warmed the slope conditions continually improved until everything was turning to slop around noon at the lower elevations.  The snow conditions became fairly inconsistent, but more on the consequences of that later...

As I stated in my earlier post, my calculated mount position put me at 32mm forward of the factory line.  This was also 20mm forward of the position I was able to use when I tested the demo skis.  I triple checked my measurements after I tuned the skis and everything was still spot on for a 32mm forward mount position.  Since I mentioned tuning the skis I should say that the skis had fairly consistent geometry in their base and edge work straight out of the wrapper.  The bases were dead flat, but the base edge bevel bounced between 0.5mm to 1mm with most of the skis at 0.5mm.  I like a 0.5mm base bevel on ~65mm waist skis, but that's not what I wanted on a ski that's 77mm.  I reset the edge geometry to a consistent 3* side and 1* base bevel and kept them sharp tip to tail.  I also skyvered away the flange above the edges.  This exposes the edges so that they can bite into ice better.

On the early morning ice the Hart Pulse did not disappoint.  They have endless edge grip and are fairly strong torsionally.  I felt that I could totally trust the edges from my first turn.  However what really surprised me was that the tails of the skis felt much more compliant than the demo pair.  20mm further forward may not sound like much, but for me this difference really transformed the skis.  As the morning progressed I felt like the sweet spot on these skis just grew larger.  It seemed like I almost couldn't find a bad position where the ski edges would no longer hold.  On the demos I needed much more speed to really work the skis, not so with my own setup.  The tail didn't own me and the skis felt much quicker to initiate turns while I was able to get much more power into the skis at slower speeds.  I could actually bend them under 20 mph!  They weren't as damp and stable feeling as the Head Chip 78, but there are times when the Chip 78 can feel a bit like a battleship as they're not always responsive to skier input.  The Pulse gives up a little in that area, but gains the feeling of being more nimble and fun to drive.  I've found that it can be tough for some skis to equally handle different turn shapes (brushed round carves, edge-locked GS carves, short swing SL turns), but the Pulse was fairly adept at all of them.  The only thought I had as I was skiing some steeper terrain with a lot of softening chop was that I could have used a bit more length (the 176cm perhaps), but I think I would have that same feeling with any ski 170cm or less in dealing with those kinds of conditions.

On my last run of the day the snow was really starting to soften to the point of slush on the lower mountain.  On the upper mountain it depended on what aspect you were skiing, but it was still a crap shoot trying to guess what was coming next.  Coming down a fairly easy and wide open green at the top of the mountain I was laying over some high edge angle carves when near the end of the pitch, when I had a good amount of speed and angles, my stance ski dug into the snow more than I was expecting and I completed my binding check ;) (I released at the toe).  I flew through the air about 20-30' and landed on my left shoulder and back with the other ski still hanging on.  This was the biggest fall I've had since I was injured 5 years ago.  Luckily I was able to retrieve my ski and get to the bottom of the mountain without an injury.  I wasn't sure if anything was wrong so I decided to call it a day.  Too bad I didn't get any video of the fall because I'd love to see what it looked like.  It sure was a "heluva" release. ;)   In retrospect I remember really starting to get nice rebound out of the skis (with weightless float in the transitions) and working to stay on top of them.  Maybe I got a bit too aggressive in my re-centering foot pull backs or something.  Clearly I did something very wrong for the snow conditions I encountered.

Anyhow, as I expected the Hart Pulse is even better with my mount position and my tune.  I can't wait to get more time on these skis, but it looks like it may be next season before that happens.  I'd really like to get more time on them in off-piste terrain and moguls to really complete my assessment, but for now I'm resting easy with my investment in these skis.  Considering I didn't really need them I'm extremely happy that I pulled the trigger on a pair.  If you can find a pair at a reasonable price I wouldn't hesitate to give them a buy recommendation.  If this is the new Hart then they're clearly doing something right.