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Radar Vapor Review


Horton
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http://www.ballofspray.com/images/2013/vapor.jpg

The Radar Vapor is the 4th completely new ski from Radar Skis since the company was founded by Herb O’Brien in 2007. The color and graphic design cues for the Vapor invoke the image of a Lamborghini super car, which after considerable thought I believe is misguided.  The cars built by Lamborghini are known as overly aggressive machines with excessive horse power best driven by only the most skilled pilots. On the other hand the Vapor is one of the most refined and user friendly skis on the market.

The Vapor is an all new shape but the best elements of past Radars can be found in the ski. The consistency and speed of the Strada; the astounding on side turn of the RS-1; and the angle of the MPD can all be felt in the Vapor.

The widest spot of the Vapor’s silhouette  is farther forward than previous Radar’s making it appear wider, but this is an illusion. The new shape results in additional support under foot as the skier approaches the ball. As a result the skier feels comfortable moving their weight forward as they approach the apex.

http://www.ballofspray.com/images/2013/vapor-2.jpgFrom the wake to the ball

If the Vapor had to be described by only one attribute, it would be that the ski consistently puts the skier on a path that is wide and early. Poor handle control or other unfortunate technique by the skier is inexplicably forgiven on the way to the ball line. Somehow the ski just gets the skier in front of the ball.

The Vapor is a fast ski but the path to the ball line does not feel stressful or frantic as it might be on ski whose stability had been compromised for speed. To the contrary, the Vapor offers ample stability affording the skier a feeling of calm that is generally only found in slower, deeper riding skis.  

From the Ball to the Wake

The Vapor takes and holds a lot of angle from the ball to the wake. Should the skier do something silly at the ball, the Vapor can easily be repointed across the lake.

Off Side

For a skier who applies ample front foot pressure before the apex of the turn, the Vapor carves an aggressive but controlled off side turn. The radius is short but not so fast as to put the skier out of position. In this mode, the skier will exit the ball with substantial water speed and angle. The Vapor’s off side turns are not only the key to a big score, they are also pure slalom fun.

At longer line lengths or at slower speeds, skiers will find that they can ski with a more neutral weight distribution and still benefit from most of this skis off side attributes.

The design of this ski (and the settings used for this review) requires that the skier not approach the ball with a combination of low roll angle* and insufficient front foot pressure followed by an attempt to drive forward and turn all at once. This will cause the ski to stall. In other words, to turn off side smoothly on the Vapor the skier needs to drive forward and arc in early. The dynamics of short line skiing are such that this behavior is only a problem when the skier is early and drawing a path parallel to the boat.

http://www.ballofspray.com/images/2013/vapor-3.jpg
On Side

On side turns on the Vapor are incredibly dependable. The turn radius is tight and the rotation smooth. One way or another, the ski will exit the on side with buckets of angle. A wise and skilled skier will easily take substantial speed and angle back to the wakes. With less tact and more aggression, the Vapor can easily be made to turn very hard and point seemingly straight across the lake. It is pretty much idiot proof.

Conclusions

Provided that a skier is comfortable engaging the front of the ski early approaching the off side turn, the Vapor is perhaps the smoothest and most refined ski on the market today. It does not do anything particularly radical. It is not the fastest, nor the hardest turning, nor the most unforgiving or the most forgiving ski ever, but the Vapor simply makes it easy for the skier to link fast turns back and forth across the lake and around a great many balls.

Quirks

This review is based on my experience skiing on a 67” Vapor with bindings at 29 15/16 and the fin set at 2.47 /6.885 (tips)/ 0.765 (head of caliper)/ wing 8 degrees. I also took a few rides with the fin set at 2.451/6.895./ .730. This second setting eliminated the need to be as technical at the off side, but then on side was not as automatic. If I was to ski on Vapor for another few months I would certainly explore these alternative settings further.

*Low roll angle = ski riding flatter in the water and less of edge

http://www.ballofspray.com/images/2013/vapor-4.jpg

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So in line with the thread about new ideas I have about ski reviews:

 

Except for (off side) one ball at my hardest pass the Vapor does not seem to draw errors. When I am really thinking about it, that one ball is not a problem either. The problem with one ball @ 38 is partly caused by being extra wide and early. This makes it hard to convince myself to roll the ski over and arc in a little extra early.

 

Once I get past that one ball the ski does not draw errors at all.

 

If I do something stupid the ski is pretty forgiving and easy to get back in the game.

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@espnman I know this sort of sucks but I do not directly compare skis. It is a slippery slope. I will say that they have different strengths and weaknesses. Perhaps the Vapor is less quirky and will be preferred my more skiers.
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@ctsmith With Radars you can almost always use the top end skis at lower levels. I am sure your wife would love a Vapor.

 

I am sure she had the vapors the day she married you.

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I picked up a Vapor last Friday and I am impressed with how well I think Horton's review describes the ski.

I didn't have too much luck with the stock 68" stock numbers I was given: 30.25 6.870 2.480 .765 With those I found it difficult to run 28's and 32's and over all impression was "what a plank". Moved bindings up to 30.5 was much better but nasty bite and angle grab at the end of the turn both sides. Was kinda bummed as I liked the space, speed and "lightness" the ski had.

Went to 6.895 2.451 730 and Holy Crap! This thing is wicked! If I don't pull or add and do stay on my front foot all the time passes are stupid easy, even 35 (not easy for me). I do find if I get on my back foot at all in the pre-turn or turn it still wants to "plank" (go flat and head down course). Could be me, settings or both. The ski also really wants to be up on a good edge early and doesn't like the edge to be eased.

I've only been on it a week but with these settings I find it super responsive and can have as aggressive turns as I can handle. Definitely feels better the shorter I go.

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November 11 update!! not skiing much lately but need to share my last set with you. Conditions were perfect flat 55deg air 48water. On my 2nd set 22,28,28,32,32,32,32,32,32 and 3@32! If you count that is 6 passes back to back to @32off .......... This was a first! previous was 3 back to back passes. The Vapor makes skiing around bouys easier than ever!
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@brody you won't be disappointed! I also went from an A2 to a vapor this fall. It's a completely different ski, that's for sure. Easier to ride for sure, if nothing else. I only have 6 sets on the vapor, but I know it will take me places the A2 couldn't. Was on HO basically since I started skiing the course regularly 8 or so years ago. CDX - System 8 - A1 - A2 - VAPOR rocks! :P
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Thanks @markchilcutt for the advice on the Vapor.I like the input from skiers that ski close to my ability level.I still have a long way to go,but this ski is making it easier for me to learn proper handle control,which will get me to the next level.(Hopefully)The most - 32's in a row that I ever got is probably 3.The Vapor got me 12 in a row last week.(two sets) Coming off an S-2 and did try the XT,6.1,and Prophecy.The Radar fit me the best.I'm @34 mph,165 lbs and riding the 66".Thank you Radar!
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@Horton...Love my Strada (purchased after some great feed back on this site) and ski mostly at 15 off so this comment has me thinking??

Low roll angle...sounds like a situation I would be in more often than a short liner and therefore maybe not an ideal longline ski???

 

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The beauty of new skis is that the ones they replace become affordable to those of us who don't want to pay big $$$ for or can't afford to purchase new. You can buy nice low mileage Strada's now for $600 or less, half of what they sold for new a year or two ago. The Strada is still an awesome ski that the vast majority will never be able to out perform. The RS1 before it is still a great ski. As is the MPD . As is...
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I am playing with a new blue Vapor with the 2015 settings at the moment. I was lost for a few rides but I finally listened to Rossi and it is bueno
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@woolly110‌ technically the skis are the same

 

@Ilivetoski‌ all high end skis are relatively sensitive to settings. More so as the rope gets shorter.

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@MattP‌ front binding placement has moved back .25" from what they told me to do a year ago

 

I don't know if my old settings that were further forward were actually stock or if it was something they were experimenting with at the time.

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