Lange XT 130 LV

Lange XT 130 LV, Blister Gear ReviewBoot: Lange XT 130 LV

Stated Last: 97mm

Flex Rating: 130

Boot Sole Length: 285mm at 24.5

Skier: 5’10”, 145 lbs., athletic, aggressive, ex racer

Foot: size 8 street shoe; D width; medium arch; low volume heel, ankle and instep

Regular Ski Boots: Lange RX 130

Days Skied: 6

Testing Location: Las Leñas

Preface

I spent six days in the new Lange XT 130 during our trip to Las Leñas. This initial review will highlight what I learned about the XT.

I spent quite a bit of time in Las Leñas in my regular boots—the Lange RX 130s—in order to accurately test the skis we had brought with us, but I have been told of a modification to the walk mode of the XT 130 that involves adding a small shim to minimize some play that was present around the upper cuff, and I am curious whether this will increase the precision and allow the boot ski more like the RX 130. BLISTER reviewer and Taos Boot Doctor boot fitter Charlie Bradley has had some very positive results with this mod.

So this report is how I found the Lange XT 130 to ski without this mod, and with merely the addition of a booster strap.

[Editor’s note: For the Lange XT boots that were shipped this fall, Lange has lengthened the metal tab of the walk mode by a couple of millimeters which, according to Lange, has alleviated the need for the shim mod. We expect to be receiving the tweaked XT soon, and you can now read Marshal Olson’s review of the Lange XT 130.]

My History

I grew up racing, and therefore spent about eight years skiing in narrow-lasted 150-flex boots, namely the Nordica Doberman, (one of my all-time favorite boots) and the Tecnica Diablo.

When my focus shifted to freeskiing, I opted for a more forgiving flex and slightly more spacious fit, which I found in the Lange RX 130. I prefer to have a boot that makes no compromise for the down, and for the past two seasons, I have absolutely loved my Lange RX 130s.

At Jackson Hole, I frequently hike in search of fresh snow. Hiking options for sidecountry travel at Jackson Hole involve fifteen- to twenty-minute boot packs up the Headwall, Cody Peak, or out to Four Pines. So when I heard about the XT 130, I was psyched; with the same lower as the RX 130 and a walk mode, this sounded like something well suited for my needs, especially given Lange’s own description of the XT 130 LV:

The new Lange XT 130 boot delivers the performance of a competition boot with the functionalities needed to enjoy All Mountain/Freeride skiing. Thanks to the Ski/Hike function, the Arch Pad and the extra light liner, the Lange XT 130 is the perfect boot for adventure skiing. Available in 97 and 100 mm last.

A comp boot with a walk mode. Sounds perfect.

Initial Inspection

Lange XT 130 Bottom, Blister Gear Review

Ultragrip toe, heel, and arch pad.

When I got the boots a few days before boarding the plane for Argentina, I put them on and did a side by side comparison with the RX 130. The XT was noticeably softer than the RX, even with the addition of a Booster strap, in the 90-degree mid-August heat in Jackson. Initial thought: This is not the same boot. I am bringing both my RXs and the XTs to Las Leñas.

In case you missed our preview of Lange the XT 130 LV, I will sum up some of the highlights. The XT 130 LV has a 97mm last. The bottom of the boot is covered from toe to heel in Ultragrip rubber. The Ultralight liner, is a thin, light, foam lace-up liner with a plastic tongue.

The lower shell shape, as I mentioned earlier, is identical to the RX line. The upper cuff is attached to the lower shell by only two rivets at the ankle, the back spine is free floating to allow for full range of motion in walk mode.

The walk mode, which Lange calls the Power V-lock, consists of a Ski / Hike switch on the outside and a flexible piece of the lower cuff that extends up where the RX would be riveted. The Ski / Hike switch is comprised of a tab that rests on a ledge on the outside of the lower shell. Pulling up on the tab releases it from the ledge and allows increased range of motion for hiking. Flipping the switch down into ski mode and flexing forward resets the tab on the ledge to lock it for descending. The issue with this system, which is immediately obvious upon inspection of the walk mode, is that there are several millimeters of back-and-forth play when the tab is resting on the ledge. And this is when the boot is in ski mode.

Lange XT 130 Power V-Lock, Blister Gear Review

The Power V-Lock switch in ski mode, with several millimeters of back-and-forth play.

(Again, it’s important to note that Lange has modified this tab and they state that there is no longer any play. See Marshal Olson’s Update.) 

Time to see how this walk mode affects the performance for the down.

17 Comments

  1. Al Bruin October 10, 2012 Reply

    This isn’t a review of the XT, it’s a “how an XT compares to an RX” rant. Come on guys, how does it compare to a Black D factor, dynafit Titan, scarpa mobe, technical Cochise lite, etc? I found that this boot is the best for me for a alpine feel with a walk mode.

    • Given the claims that Lange has made about the XT, a review of how the XT skis compared to the exact alpine boot it is based upon – the RX – is the first step. There is no rant here, just some pretty solid analysis.

      As he says at the top of the review, Ryan has avoided AT boots because of the performance compromise. With some mods, we’ll see if he can reduce that performance gap and bring the XT closer to an alpine boot.

      Lange has actually avoided calling this an AT boot (after all, it doesn’t have tech inserts). They have positioned it as an alpine boot with a walk mode, hence the angle of our initial review. But we’ll hope to make some comparisons to the AT field this season.

      • mikep October 14, 2012 Reply

        Honestly Jonathan this review sucked. No shit a boot with a walk doesn’t perform as well as a 130 free ride boot, literally everyone knows that. You say that the reviewer didn’t compare the boot to other AT boots because he hasn’t used them, well why the hell was he chosen to do the review? All he can tell is that it didn’t live up to an RX.
        Also, it doesn’t matter that Lange has avoided calling this an AT boot because it obviously is one. IMO avoiding the term AT is just some marketing BS.

        • (#1) Lange has stated time and time again that the XT skis the same as the RS/RX. That is very much the presentation Lange has made about the boot. So our initial write up reviewed the XT according to these claims. It’s an alpine boot with a walk mode. Ryan reviewed it as such.

          (#2) I assure you you’re wrong that “literally everyone knows” that this boot won’t ski like a 130 freeride boot, and I know this because we have received a ton of emails asking us if the XT really skis like a 130 freeride boot. Also, read #1 again.

          (#3) As we’ve already mentioned, we will be following up with other comparisons when we get more time in the XTs, but for now, you might want to read Marshal Olson’s comments posted directly below your rant.

          • Zak October 15, 2012 Reply

            I agree wholehearted with Jonathan here. This was a great review, particularly because Ryan skied them back to back with the RX130. Comparisons to the Cochise would be nice, but I think there’s been enough reviews of the Cochise to assume it will ski better than the XT.

            And like he said, no tech fittings means it’s not a real touring boot. Not sure what you’re looking for here, but if it doesn’t have tech fittings, I want it to ski as well as my alpine boots. Otherwise, I might as well just use an alpine boot.

  2. Marshal Olson October 10, 2012 Reply

    interesting read ryan. i only had a handful of runs, not a bunch of days, but I felt the same thing about the boot… it just gave up performance against, well basically every alpine boot, and basically every top-end AT boot, for 2 specific reasons:

    1. the upper cuff does not lock to the lower cuff. it skis like a boot with the rivets pulled. this makes it softer and less precise.
    2. in order to add the walk mode, Lange whacked off the spine of the lower cuff with basically a massive pie cut right were the need for the stiffest part of the shell ought to be. more lower shell deformation = softer and less precise.

    lange (and every BS magazine review out there that fluffs this boot) claims this thing is the exact same, skiing, as an RX/RS boot. It simply isn’t. not even close… which seems to be the point of ryan’s review, which my limited experience totally agrees with.

    just my opinion but the XT simply isn’t a touring boot. no tech fittings = alpine boot. sure maybe it has a walk mode, but you need to understand the cost of that tacked-on walk mode is a real performance drop on snow, unlike basically every new real AT boot out there (vulcan, titan, maestrale RS, cochise, etc) which actually do create locked cuffs and rigid spines, and frankly ski much much better (again, just limited on-snow experience on my end).

    cheers!

  3. Aaron October 11, 2012 Reply

    I know they aren’t the performance machine the rx are, but do you think they will be a solid boot for slackcountry and people who like the neutral stance who generally ski a 110ish flex?

    • Ryan October 14, 2012 Reply

      Aaron,
      If the shim alleviates the play in the walk mode, I believe this boot will work for someone who is not looking for the absolute highest level of performance.

      I am still hesitant to recommend it to someone looking to replace a stiff, high end alpine boot until I can test the necessary mods.

  4. Bob October 15, 2012 Reply

    Our Lange rep said don’t buy the boot. It’s a poor offering. He was very disappointed in how it skied. Will stay in my Titans for now. Still ski lange 130’s on resort days.

  5. Josh Petersen October 17, 2012 Reply

    Sounds like Lange made the exact same mistake that Atomic made on the 2010 and 2011 Tracker 130, which have been a huge letdown for me. I understand Atomic got it fixed with the 2012; hopefully Lange will do the same next year and put in a mechanism to lock the cuff down like a rivet.

  6. Steve November 7, 2012 Reply

    Hey Ryan,

    I’d really like to know what this mod is that your doing to the boot. I got a pair at the end of last year after my BD Factors broke and I could really use a little more stiffness. For resort days I ski on the RS 130s but they’re old and beat up. I’m almost considering riviting the boot down at this point and just using them for rock scrambling. If you have pictures of the mod, I’d love to see them before I go and hack these things up.

    • Author
      Ryan November 20, 2012 Reply

      Steve,

      I have not yet performed the modification that we have been referring to, this was something that Charlie Bradley at the Boot Doctors shop in Taos discussed with us.

      What I do know is that Lange will be adding a metal piece to the walk mode for all production models for this coming season. I have not seen exactly what this looks like, but you can look forward to a review from Marshal Olson in the coming months.

  7. Peter Gallant November 17, 2012 Reply

    Maybe the different liner has an impact on the way the boot skis. I’ve skied many “touring” boots, and have frequently replaced the light weight touring liners with alpine liners. It almost makes a touring boot ski well….almost. Would like to see a review of the xt 130 with real alpine boot liners.

    • Author
      Ryan November 20, 2012 Reply

      Peter,

      The liner is definitely not substantial, thus my reasoning for trying the boot with a Zipfit.

      I did ski the XT for a day with my old RX liner in it and did not notice significant improvements. Although that liner is close to the end of its life, I still feel that the performance deficits are due to the walk mode rather than the liner.

      Marshal Olson will be reviewing the new production model of the XT that now includes an additional metal piece to alleviate some of the play in the walk mode. Marshal is typically very diligent about using an array of liners when he tests boots, so you can look forward to his insight regarding the liner question.

      • Gio November 20, 2012 Reply

        Hi Ryan,
        Thanks for the review. I bought the XT 130 and experienced the same issue with the ski/walk system. Indeed there are several millimeters of back-and-forth play when on ski mode which kills the performance of the boots. I am using an injected liner (Comform’able ) which is stiffer than the RX liner. The issue is definitely with the ski/walk mode not with the liner.
        My shop is checking with Lange (I bought them in Chamonix, France) but seemed unaware of the issue until I raised it. Given the size (25.5), I don’t think my boot is a pre series.
        You mentioned that Lange will be adding a metal piece to the walk mode for all production models for this coming season. Do you know where this piece of metal will fit? Is your info coming directly from Lange?
        Thanks

  8. Mike Dembek December 9, 2012 Reply

    I’ve been skiing these so far this winter. 15-20 days on them so far. Size 25.5, riding FKS140’s on MFD plates mounted to this year’s 190 Bibby Pro and last year’s 196 Bibby Specials. Skied the stock liner for the first 10 days or so, then molded some power wraps into them. My thoughts, briefly:

    There is play in the ski/walk mode UNTIL I buckle them up. I find it slightly disconcerting conceptually but I don’t feel like there is any play when I’m actually skiing; now that I have some time in them I don’t really think about it.

    The stock liners are terrible. Plan on replacing them.

    On walk mode: you need to unbuckle the upper cuff and undo or loosen your strap. Even then, the range of motion is pretty poor. I find that it’s more trouble than it’s worth for me most of the time.

    Skiing performance: I’m pleased. That said, I was on full-tilts last year to it’s difficult to make a meaningful comparison. My edge control is notably better.

    All-in-all: I like them. Reasonably warm, surprisingly comfortable, happy with performance (all of these were improved considerably when I put some intuitions in, would highly suggest liner replacement). But one of the main selling points, in my mind anyway, is the no-compromise walk-mode; if I were back in time this May deciding what boots I wanted to order I’d go with the RX. But there are probably plenty of people who find the walk mode to be good enough for what they want to do, and for those people this could be a great boot.

    I’ll be very interested to read about the shim mod, if you have any info on how to do that I’d love to see it.

  9. Chris December 16, 2012 Reply

    This was an outstanding review. I’m not the best of backcountry skiers – I’m an ex racer seeking a daily driver boot. XT sounded too good to be true (vs RX) and this was a superb article to shore up that assumption. Big thanks!

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