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2014-2015 Kastle BMX108

Matt Pincus reviews the Kastle BMX108, Blister Gear Review

Kastle BMX108

Ski: 2014-2015 Kastle BMX108, 188cm

Dimensions (mm): 132-108-122

Turn Radius: 32 meters

Actual Tip-to-Tail Length (Straight Tape Pull): 185.5cm

Boots / Bindings: SCARPA T-Race / 22 Design Axls

Mount Location: Factory line

Test Locations: Jackson Hole Mountain Resort and side country

Days Skied: 20+

[Editor’s Note: Our test was conducted on the 12/13 BMX 108, which is unchanged for 13/14 & 14/15.]

About a month and a half into this season, I purchased the Kastle BMX108 to round out my quiver. I already owned the 2010 188cm Black Diamond Megawatt for deep days and backcountry powder riding, and a great everyday resort ski (the Kastle FX104) that performs well on groomers and in chalk, chop, bumps, variable snow, and inbounds powder.

But I was looking for a hard-charging, big-mountain ski that could provide stability on bigger lines in the backcountry, and, with a smaller waist, serve as a more versatile tool than the Megawatt on the less-than-epic powder days.

With a subtle amount of early rise in the tip, a traditional camber profile underfoot, and a slightly up-turned tail, the BMX108 appeared to be a good choice for a ski that could handle the wide variety of conditions and terrain that Jackson Hole serves up.

Groomers

In the 188 length, the BMX108 has a fairly long turning radius at 32 meters. This long radius combined with the 108mm waist really prevents the BMX108 from performing like a true carving ski. This is not to say that the BMX108 can’t handle a groomer, as the camber underfoot and the lack of any rocker in the tail ensures that it can hold an edge on hard pack. Ultimately, it’s a ski that definitely carves more than it slarves.

Compared to the Kastle FX104 on groomed snow, the BMX108 feels much damper and does not provide as much rebound out of each turn. Instead, the BMX108 feels glued to the snow and more at home going straight, making large GS turns with the fall line than really carving turns across it.

The lack of rocker in the tails is also an important attribute for me as a tele-skier, as it ensures that I do not feel my lead ski running out from under me. Ultimately, however, they are clearly designed more for off-piste charging and making much-longer-radius turns than ripping up a groomer.

Chalk / Moguls

I’ve had the BMX108 on a lot of smooth chalk this season, and during a recent chalky run through Jackson Hole’s Tower 3 Chute, the wind had completely buffed out the run, making it smooth and fast. The BMX108 shone in these conditions. I was able to stay on top of the ski and drive it through turns.

Additionally, their length and stiffness kept them very stable at high speeds once I had made it through the choke and was able to open it up on the apron.

Matt Pincus, Kastle BMX108, Blister Gear Review

Matt Pincus on the Kastle BMX 108, Four Pines, JHMR sidecountry. (Photo by Elliot Morgan)

When skiing the BMX108 in chalky moguls on runs like Cheyenne Bowl, however, the added length, width, and larger sidecut radius (compared to the Kastle FX104, which has a 26m radius) made them feel fairly slow edge to edge, and this lack of maneuverability and quickness in moguls would often kick me into the backseat.

When I am really feeling on it and am able to stay centered over the skis and drive them, I am able to ski the BMX108s in chalky and even firm bumps, but they require making rounded, directional turns and are not open to be being slarved around. Ultimately, on days where I know that’s what I will be skiing, I always opt for the FX104 instead.

Chop

The BMX108 absolutely dominates in chop and crud. Their stiffness and early rise profile allow me to power through variable conditions. Ultimately, this ski is a big-mountain charger designed to crush variable conditions. Where more powder-specific skis like the Megawatt often deflect and get knocked around, the BMX108 is not fazed and is capable of blowing through chop even when the snow becomes heavier and more set up. In this respect, the BMX108 is comparable to skis like the 193 Blizzard Cochise, as they are designed for busting through variable conditions and do so with ease so long as you stay on top of and drive the ski.

Additionally, while the Kastle FX104 (which has sheets of metal that the BMX108 does not) is also able to power through crud, the early rise tips of the BMX108 makes doing so from a balanced stance far easier. However, this is not to say that the BMX108 is easier to ski than the FX104. It isn’t.

While the Kastle FX104 is actually stiffer throughout, they are far more nimble than the BMX108. As Ryan Caspar notes in his review of the Kastle FX104, the FX104 is manageable because of its short length and light swing weight. The BMX108, on the other hand, is heavy, demanding, and always requires you to be on top of your game to drive the ski. Ultimately, the 188 BMX108 does not let you get away with slarving your turns or skiing lazily. However, they do deliver the performance of a hard-charging ski in variable conditions as long as you stay on top of them and power them through your turns.

 

12 Comments

  1. MG March 12, 2013 Reply

    Nice review of the BMX108’s. It’s very interesting to read your perspective of the 188cm length. I’d be very curious to read your review if you went out on the 178cm length.

    I have the 108’s in the 178cm length, and it’s funny how many of the characteristics you described about the 188cm I feel can be turned on it’s head compared to the 178. I find the 178’s to be extremely playful, poppy, light and quick edge-to-edge. They can still charge, and also seem to have no speed limit, but they definitely don’t have the stability or confidence-inspiring ‘no speed limit’ big mountain beast type of feel that the 188s have. It’s almost like a different ski. I invariably choose the 178 BMX108 when I’m skiing chutes or trees because I find them so playful and light with very moderate swing weight, but still with enough width underfoot and tip rocker to be a lot of fun in semi-deep pow. Compared to metal laminated skis, I find these much easier to maneuver. But in deeper pow, this isn’t the ski.

    Like any 10x ski, they’re just okay on hardpack, but that’s not what they’re for. The traditional camber does make it a lot more enjoyable getting back to the lift. I actually don’t mind them in the bumps either, but they are a handful and you have to really stay on top of them. Like your experience, regardless of length, if you don’t stay on top of these skis, have fun in the backseat. For sidecounty or in-bounds non-groomer forays, I’d absolutely recommend the 178cms. For backcountry and big mountain charging, I’d agree that the 188 is a great time and the way to go.

    Either way, and typical with Kastle in general, these skis are top notch. Another great Blister review – looking forward to maybe seeing a 178cm review :).

  2. Blister Member
    HB March 14, 2013 Reply

    Nice review. I currently have the BMX 98 in 178 and ski mostly Vermont, but recently demoed the 108 in 178 while at JH. At 5’10’ and 155 the 188 length is just too much for me. But the 108 in 178 is really nice, and I have to agree with just about everything MG said about the ski in that length. It handles groomers ok though it’s not going to snap you back and forth across the fall line. And bumps, as long as they aren’t those big frozen over kind are ok. But get it into some chopped up freshies, crud, new snow, etc., and the ski really comes alive. And at 178 (while I am sure no where near as stable or powerful as the 188), it both plows thorugh everything and still smears fairly easily and quickly even though it’s not fully rockered. This is a ski I realy like being on when sking variable chopped up and new snow.

  3. CJ April 7, 2013 Reply

    Matt excellent review and I was pleased to see this review after the excellent Fx104 and XX110 reviews earlier. Rounds out three of Kastle big mountain skis, all uniquely different both from each other and much of what popular on the market..
    Form my own experience with the BMX108 in 178 & 188 looking at Matt’s stats and reading MG & HB comments that this ski’s character is closely dependant on the size and weight of the skier. For me I am 6’1″ 185, altheltic level 8 skier and for me the 188 is a fun and playful ski as much as it is big mountain iron.
    Outstanding ski.

  4. Carlos Danger April 7, 2014 Reply

    Hey matt,

    Love the review of the BMX and also really appreciate CJ’s comments above as we are closer in height and weight. I’m 6’3 185lbs and an advanced skier. I’m trying to decide between the 185 cochise and the bmx 188. I’ve heard the 2015 cochise will incorporate a little bit of camber underneath making it more like the bmx in design but some say a tad softer. Both skis seem to be the same weight and semi close in turn radius.

    Just wondering what your thoughts are on the two skis for a guy my height (knowing you haven’t skied the cochise ’15). I ski mostly snowbird (off the cirque and baldy), will ski the tree when vis is bad, dropping cliffs, and am looking to use this new ski for resort and sidecountry/backcountry.

    My current ski is the ’13 bibby pro 190. I am looking to use this other ski as a daily driver in between storms when its crud, choppy, corn and for bumbs, trees, big mountain, back/sidecountry, etc. Looking for something that rips through $hit no prob when conditions are not ideal but is also fun for my size–which is why i think 185 or the 188 is the right size. I am a directional skier looking for features to drop, not looking for spinny but can spin.

    It’s been a tough call knowing the glowing remarks of the cochise on this site, but I’m leaning towards the BMX… All insight is much appreciated

    • Hi, Carlos – at the risk of being really unhelpful, I wanted to chime in here even though I’ve yet to ski the BMX. I do, however, love the 190 Bibby, and I know the Cochise well, and will be skiing the 14/15 this spring or summer. So I’m going to ask more of a question than make a statement – and I hope to hear from some people who have skied both the current 185cm Cochise and the 188 BMX 108 – but everything I’ve ever heard is that the BMX is a LOT more ski than the Cochise, and I’m prepared to believe this. (CJ does call the 108 ‘fun and playful’ – but I wonder how many folks would agree? Anyway, I have no pony in this race, and hope to ski the 188 BMX at some point. But we called the Cochise a ‘forgiving charger,’ the 190 Bibby a ‘playful charger,’ and I’m inclined to call the 188 BMX more “serious” than “fun.” (And for the record, I like ‘serious’, so that is no knock in my book against a ski; just depends on what you’re looking for.) Alright, I’ll step aside and look forward to hearing from others…

  5. Gary April 16, 2014 Reply

    Thanks for all the great reviews. I’m 5’5 inches and 135 lbs. Do you think the BMX 168 would be more finesse oriented. I definitely prefer a more traditional ski with out metal. Maybe I should be looking more towards the BMX 98 168cm. Have you skied it? I’m thinking that might be a more finesse oriented everyday off piste, backcountry powder and all conditions ski for my size and more finesse that power style? I have a Kastle TX 97 for touring and love the way it skis in an out of area. Just want something that will handle more variable conditions better for the ski area. Any other suggestions?

  6. CJ May 2, 2014 Reply

    Hey Gary,
    I own a bmx108 as per an earlier post above. I also have skied the bmx98 and just skied a tx107 last week in whistler. That tx was a great ski and I was surprised by how well it handled within the resort in some pretty challenging conditions. Imagine the tx97 is similar. For everyday resort I like you would want a bit more bite and beef.
    The 168 bmx108 should fit the bill pretty well but I suspect the slightly softer and more forgiving bmx98 is the better call of the two or a new fx104 in 164. Both the fx104 and 98 are more finesse oriented than the 108’s particularly at your weight. If you were 15-20lbs heavier I wouldn’t worry but I’d be concerned that you had to work them pretty hard at low speeds. If you were willing to go a few mm narrower the fx94 is probably the best off piste variable condition ski In the line up. It has a leg up on thebmx98 in edge hold and quickness but isn’t quite as good in softer snow. Check dawgcatching’s reviews for a more detailed summary of the kastle’s, his feedback is spot on IMHO.

  7. Gary August 1, 2014 Reply

    CJ, thanks for your comments. Got a mid summer deal and went with the FX 94 as I do have another ski I can use for the big dumps.

  8. Picasso February 19, 2015 Reply

    Just wondering if you guys are getting a chance to ride the new BMX 105 HP or fibroglass version (or 115) this coming summer… With their new tail and and shovel, I’m quite interested to know how they ride. They do look utterly scrumptious , just wish they weren’t so expensive.

    If I can recommend a size: 189.

    Found a TGR forum post with a video that got me super pumped about them: http://www.tetongravity.com/forums/showthread.php/287959-New-K%C3%A4stle-BMX-range-for-1516

  9. Blister Member
    Tyson Anskaitis May 18, 2015 Reply

    I would love it if you guys could shed some light on the new Bmx 105 HP! Keep up the good work.

  10. Erin July 20, 2015 Reply

    Hi!
    I’m just debating b/w the fx104 and bmx108. I’m 5’8 and 135 female, aggressive skier. These would be for backcountry and maybe a bit of sidecountry with variable conditions. I’m worried a bit about the lenght of the bmx at 178 given that they are not the most forgiving ski. The fx104 lenght seem great but not sure they’re the best for the conditions i’m looking to ski this ski in. Any help would be appreciated. Off to escape summer and ski chile in 3 weeks so need to decide asap woohoo!

    • CJ July 22, 2015 Reply

      Hello Erin,
      I’ve posted earlier and own and love the bmx108, TX97,MX98 and skied the FX 104 a few times. FX 104 is easier to ski than the 108 and more versatile in mixed conditions you’ll find in the bc. One of the best fatter 1 ski quiver skis if you fit the sizes it come in. The 174 lenght is a much better fit at your weight and height to. Suspect the 178 BMX would be a handful at 135lbs and 168 maybe a tad short or perfect!?
      If its for backcountry I would also seriously consider the tx107 in 167. Its a solid ski for rippin and a full pound lighter. the TX 97 I own has really surprised me and I don’t find myself having to hold back when skiing aggressively on them like do on other typical touring skis.
      All great choices. Have a great trip!
      CG

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