2018-2019 Volkl Mantra M5

Jonathan Ellsworth reviews the Volkl Mantra M5

Volkl Mantra M5

2018-2019 Volkl Mantra M5, 177 cm

Available Lengths: 170, 177, 184, 191 cm

Blister’s Measured Tip-to-Tail Length: 178.2 cm

Blister’s Measured Weight per Ski (177 cm): 2049 & 2065 grams

Stated Dimensions: 134-96-117 mm

Blister’s Measured Dimensions: 133.9-95.9-116.8 mm

Stated Sidecut Radius (for each available length): 17.9, 19.8, 21.2, 23.3 m

Measured Tip & Tail Splay (ski decambered): 55 mm / 18 mm

Measured Traditional Camber Underfoot: ~3 mm

Core Construction: poplar + beech (binding mounting area) / fiberglass / titanal / carbon

Base: P-Tex 2100

Factory Recommended Mount Point: -11.5 cm from center; 77.6 cm from tail
(There is also a +1 cm and +2 cm mount mark on the ski)

2018-2019 Volkl Secret

Available Lengths: 149, 156, 163, 170 cm

Stated Sidecut Radius (for each available length): 12.6, 14.2, 16.0, 17.9 m

Stated Dimensions: 130-92-113 mm

Traditional Camber Underfoot: ~2 mm

Stated Weight: TBA

Core Construction: poplar + beech (binding mounting area) / fiberglass / titanal / carbon

Base: P-Tex 2100

Intro

For the 2018-2019 season, Volkl is introducing the 5th generation of their popular all-mountain ski, the Mantra, calling it the “Mantra M5.” They’re also introducing a women’s version of the Mantra M5 called the Secret. If you haven’t already, you should definitely check out our Gear:30 podcast with Volkl’s lead engineers behind the new Mantra M5 and Secret. They go into great detail about the skis’ evolution, and what makes these newest versions so interesting.

Now that we have the skis in hand, we can share our initial impressions, as well as Sam Shaheen’s comments on the 177 cm Mantra M5’s on-snow performance.

Length

Just a heads up: our “177 cm” M5 is measuring long, coming in at 178.2 cm, which actually makes them 1 or 2 cm longer than many other 177 cm skis, and putting them more in line with 180 and 181 cm skis.

Shape and Rocker Profile

The new Mantra M5 features a rocker-camber-rocker profile, which is a significant departure from the current, full reverse camber version. The new Mantra M5 has about 3 mm of camber underfoot and it’s tip and tail rocker lines are actually quite deep — they start far deeper into the ski than the last cambered version of the Mantra (2013-2014). However, the tip and tail splay on the Mantra M5 is pretty subtle. Of the skis we’re going to be mentioning here, the most similar rocker profile is the 17/18 – 18/19 Blizzard Bonafide.

The Mantra M5 is also narrower than the last version — 96 mm underfoot (as opposed to the current 100 mm), and has a tighter sidecut radius (19.8 m vs 23.7 m in a 177 cm).

Mount Point

The mount point of the new Mantra M5 is more than 2 cm further back than the mount point on the 17/18 Mantra, though Volkl does include marks for +1 cm and +2 cm in front of that mark. So we’ll be sure to weigh in on how the ski feels on snow at these different mount points (and how sensitive / not sensitive the ski feels to these different mount positions).

Flex Pattern

Hand flexing the ski, we’d sum up the flex pattern like this:

Tips: 8 or 8.5
Shovels: 8.5-9
In Front of Toe Piece: 9-9.5
Underfoot: 10
Behind Heel Piece: 9.5-9
Tails: 9-8.5

I like this flex pattern quite a bit. It’s solid. But it’s not over-the-top burly. I.e., I’d say that the M5 feels like a Mantra should.

Flex Pattern (and Length) Comparisons

177 cm Head Monster 98

Compared to the 177 cm HEAD Monster 98, the tails of the Mantra M5 are quite similar and the shovels of the Mantra M5 are noticeably softer. It’s not a massive difference, but the M5 is definitely softer. (And FWIW, the 177 cm Monster 98 is also a couple cm shorter.)

180 cm Blizzard Bonafide

The Bonafide’s tail is slightly stiffer than the M5’s. And the Bonafide’s shovels are slightly softer than the M5’s..

Also, the 180 cm Bonafide actually measures at 177.6 cm, so the “177 cm” M5 is actually longer.

181 cm J Skis Masterblaster

The Masterblaster has softer tips & tails than the M5.

And at a length of 178.25 cm, the 181 cm Masterblaster is almost the identical length as 177 cm M5.

185 cm Nordica Enforcer 100

The Enforcer 100 has slightly softer tails than the M5, but there is not much difference here. The Enforcer also has slightly softer tips — but I was actually expecting the Enforcer 100’s tips to feel softer (compared to the M5’s) than they actually do.

Point is, there is less difference between the flex pattern of the two skis than I was expecting, but do keep in mind that we’re comparing the 177 cm M5 to the 185 cm Enforcer 100.

Weight

For reference, here are our measured weights (per ski in grams) for some other notable skis in this category, including some previous iterations of the Mantra:

1894 & 1980 Black Crows Daemon, 183.6 cm
1985 & 2006 Parlor Skis Cardinal 100, 185 cm
2024 & 2029 Salomon QST 99, 188 cm
2049 & 2065 Volkl Mantra M5, 177 cm (2018-2019)
2054 & 2059 ON3P Wrenegade 98, 184 cm
2058 & 2071 Volkl Mantra, 184 cm (2013-2014)
2078 & 2092 Volkl Mantra, 177 cm (2017-2018)
2145 & 2165 Volkl Mantra, 184 cm (2017-2018)
2115 & 2149 J Skis Masterblaster, 181 cm
2124 & 2137 Blizzard Bonafide, 180 cm
2131 & 2189 Nordica Enforcer 100, 185 cm
2373 & 2397 Head Monster 98, 184 cm

So, while Volkl does talk about the weight savings of the new Mantra M5, it’s not coming in drastically lighter than our 17/18 pair — though it’s important to note the M5 is ~4 mm narrower underfoot. The new Mantra M5 weighs in right around the middle of the pack for the 95-100 mm all-mountain category.

NEXT: Initial On-Snow Review

2 Comments

  1. Blister Member
    Randy February 7, 2018 Reply

    We “all” look forward to you putting the new M5 up against the 17/18 Mantra, the Blizzard Bonafide, the Nordica Enforcer 100 & Enforcer 93, and the HEAD Kore 93 and new Kore 99.

  2. david vanderlinden February 17, 2018 Reply

    Hi, I’m looking for a new pair of skis.
    I want a pair of skis that handles well on piste (I’m still 40-50% of my time on piste) but I’m more and more going off piste and on steeper, more difficult terrain so I was thinking about a a wider ski that excels in chopped, variable conditions. I’m also a pretty playful playful skier that likes to jump of little drops, do 360’s/180’s of little jumps and do some park from time to time. I only ski 2 weeks a year so I don’t have the luxury to pick my skiing days depending on the weather. I’m also a very lightweight skier, being 5’11 and weighing 135 lbs.
    Right now I’m skiing the Volkl Kink 16’s at 171 (who are 89mm width) and although I love them on piste and in the air, I find them a little to narrow/ difficult off piste.
    Do you think the Volkl Mantra’s would be a good ski for me? And what other ski’s would you recommend?
    Hope you can help, thanks!

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