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Fin stiffness and thickness


eleeski
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I am using a soft Horton fin and really like it. But it is getting tired. So I laid up some graphite in a sheet and cut out a fin. It is very thin and very soft. Skiing it felt like I had the fin too shallow. I need to do more testing.

 

But I will try to extract the conventional wisdom. What effects correlate to thin fins and soft fins?

 

Eric

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From Reflex's website advertising their carbon fin... "The carbon fins are more flexible and are more responsive than standard aluminium fins.

The Carbon fin makes the ski feel soft in the turn and gives a lot more control than an ordinary fin, without sacrificing speed and allows the skier to get more angle into the wake."

 

No idea on their thickness or if their statement is true but that's what they say.

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If you are a lightweight skier, the softer fin may make some sense. I think my 250lbs flexes a standard fin...... I tried a few carbons in the past, and felt more of a tank than I am...

 

That being said, I saw Warren Witherall run into 39 with a fiberglas fin with no holes or wings back in the late 80's...problem was that he kept breaking them.

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@Horton I think I understand the basic theory behind carbon fins in as much as you can engineer the flex to be stiff, soft, or even stiff on one side and soft on the other. It all seems to make good sense and I've wondered why they aren't more prevalent. I guess I was disappointed to not get the chance to learn more about them, or at least to learn what the issues surrounding them are. Your and @MattP's comment implies these issues have been beat to death.
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@SkiJay

Long story short. Horton took time off from skiing. Got back into it by starting a carbon fin venture. They worked, and broke the bank. Got him back skiing, made a website and tada fast forward some years and we are here.

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@MattP @Horton just doesn't want to acknowledge my crazy activities.

 

Thanks @AB for a tidbit of useful information.

 

Aren't the fin properties as important than .001 of movement? Don't any of you try different fins?

 

Eric

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Goode makes a standard black and thinner blue fin. Measure them with your caliper.

On my 9500, I like the black fin and large wing over blue and small wing. (tried both wings on blue).

On my Strada 55, I like the blue with smaller wingmover the stock Radar, which is like a standard Goode.

 

I think the thicker fin also provides a little more resistance in Straightline skiing so pulls the tip down. So to get them optimized, I could have added length to the blue on the 9500. Just a WAG.

 

Just go ski it and see what it does. That's my motto.

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Since the topic came up, the fin that came on my used CRX does not seem like a stock D3 fin. It does not appear to be aluminum, does not have the standard markings, and seems thicker than and alu fin. The ski came from the Redding area. I am curious if anyone has a guess about its origin. Anyone? I can take a quick pic if that would help.

 

 

I have to order replacement binding wraps from D3 and was thinking about asking them to put a fin in there too.

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This is kinda off topic but at my lake we have a lot of floating lumber from the cottonwoods that surround the lake, This year for some reason my fin really took a beating. I am wanting to replace it. I ski on a 2011 Elite. I was wondering if anyone had tried a carbon fin on an elite? That and if I did try it would the fin explode if I hit a larger piece of wood? I actually hit something hard enough it flattened and widened a spot on my aluminum fin this year.
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@Skier2788 The fin on your Elite is thinner than most. You might find that a carbon fin will not fit in the Elite's fin block without some modification. It may work, but double check any replacement fin's thickness and your fin block/ski slot tolerances before buying.
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Update: I'm kind of liking the thin flexible fin. My fin measures 1.5 mm vs 2mm for a stock fin thickness. It is quite flexible - way more than the thin Horton fin I like. The shape was copied from an old HO Pacman fin. The stock Pacman fin did not work as well for me when I tried it - the ski turned slower and held less angle. Buoy count was way down.

 

There are a couple of issues I am facing. One trivial one is that the ski walks around - a lot! - when running flat (I know, don't run flat). Another concern is with the falls I have been taking. The ski is skipping out on me too much. Typically on my offside when I'm a bit late. I suppose I could set the fin deeper. But would going a bit thicker and stiffer help? And would fewer holes (or none) on the blade help?

 

So many variables! Any chance for some insights on fin properties? @Horton promised a writeup?

 

Eric

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My experience with more flexible fins (read carbon) yeilds a less harsh transition from the completion of the turn to the pull across the wake, thus less of a waist bender/slack hitter. Different skis respond better/different to a carbon fin or a certain carbon fin than others and some skis like a particular carbon fin over another one with different characteristics. I am a light skier, so I don't put as much load on the line as a bigger skier. The one area I found some penalty with the softer carbon fin is the ability to keep angle across the wake. I theorized that the flex allows more slip with the ski, thus less angle to the buoy.

 

Might need to consider running through the fin testing exercise with a ventral . . . .

 

I simply used a fish scale and a dial indicator to measure the flex of a variety of fins, both aluminum and carbon.

 

@thager: have you tested your binding setup yet? What are you coming off of? Write up appreciated (in advance)!

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Am presently in RS-1s on a Razor. Still in testing on my old Elite. Have finally found the right amount of tru- loc to use via trial and error. Was pre-releasing at 1 ball. Am 6' 186lbs and ended up with 5 full rows of 250. I want to build some forward lean into the boots next which will probably mean using some 400 up front. Finding out how much will be fun. The boots are very comfortable and feel like the RS-1. Ski well now. A little twitchy at first. Just starting to trust the tape. Looking to sew some velcro on the liner tops to keep the top out of the water or else shorten the liner height. About $120 in plate boots and liners.

 

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