Tecnica has been remarkably consistent in developing compelling products for the skiing public over the years. Like any good boot maker, Tecnica ski boot designs take into consideration the biomechanical requirements of the sport as it evolves.
Tecnica was amongst the first to create two completely different shell molds at a very high performance level; the Tecnus Comp which became the TX and the TNT RS. At the time the TX was for a weighted foot and the TNT for an unweighted foot. Simply put the TX was wider than the TNT. In that era there were neither width measurements nor flex ratings…now they’d be labeled 98 mm and 100 mm boots and probably 120-130 flex. Both the TX and TNT were very good ski boots.
Tecnica has maintained a solid place at the top of the Footloose boot lineup by continuing to make relevant gear at a high quality…at times perhaps at the high end of the price spectrum but always well thought out and well executed.
Nothing has changed!
The R 98-formerly the Inferno and before that the Diablo Race Pro-we carry in both a 130 and 110 flex. Although the name R98 is not particularly imaginative it is logical because the R 98 is a 98 mm boot (in a 26.5-common practice for all boot company’s to call out the width numbers for a 26.5 shell size).
The R 98 is a clean, simple ski boot; four buckles, dual cuff alignment (careful with these adjustment rivets-very soft aluminum), power strap and “Quick Instep”…a softer plastic insert at the front of the ankle joint of the shell that allows easier access into and out of the boots.
The single complaint with the R 98 is the replaceable toe and heel. They are indeed replaceable but they are also recessed into the sole of the boots. The entire perimeter of the soles is exposed to wear long before the replaceable parts need replacing...this creates excessive wear on the shells and, even if the replacement soles a get installed, the wear is on the actual shell. A silly thing but…why? They can be replaced with 3mm or 5mm lifted sole that covers the entire toe and heel lug including the perimeter, but there are a lot of people who neither want nor need lifters.
The R 98 is medium volume…nebulous terminology again…but wide, high volume feet won’t fit into the R 98. The rear-foot has the requisite, well-defined contour for the heels. The mid-foot features the medial buttress and intimate proximity one should expect from a ski boot of this caliber and from Tecnica. Instep is fairly low, high arch and instep and feet with big cuneiform bumps need not apply. Forefoot width @ 98 mm is sufficient and the toe box has good up’n’down and radius.
The R 98 has a confident presence on snow-a rock solid performer that’s safe at any speed. From short to long, slow to fast, the R 98 does not play favorites.
As with all boots in this class, there isn’t a ton of material in the R 98 liners-just enough padding to provide the necessary individualized support and to cushion the feet from the shell plastic.
Not having a ton of padding is a good thing-no disguising the fit and also energy transmission through the boots is direct and feedback is crisp.
There are two Ladies models of the R series- the Crush and Fling. The shell configuration is the same between the two but the Crush has a 100 flex and the Fling is rated at an 80 flex. Also the Fling has a shorter cuff height than the Crush. There are the usual adjustments to the liner support in the Achilles/rear-foot for female feet.
Both the Crush and Fling have been exceedingly popular-testimony to good fit and the very same functionality as the R 98’s.
New Tecnica entries into the 100 mm domain is the Mach 1 series: the Mach 1 130, Mach 1 120 and Mach 1 95 Ladies.
No more Demon.
The Mach 1 has a completely new last and the graphic treatment of the 130 flex harkens to a long-established Tecnica orange.
The shell has relief contours for the traditional fit problem zones; 5th metatarsal head, big toe, navicular and ankles. The toe box of the Mach 1 has been shaped to let the toes spread out and there’s enough wiggle room to keep’em warm. The instep height is commensurate to the volume of the boots-not excessive but certainly not too low. Mid-foot is supported by a plumb media wall (a little navicular bump here) and the heel pocket is tenacious.
The Mach 1 95 L is modified in the usual areas for the lower extremities of a woman-lower and scalloped rear spoiler and slightly augmented padding for the Achilles.
The 95 flex in this boot is fairly stout, no compromise here. Lateral strength and power is incisive and very self assured.
In addition to a revamped last, the Mach 1 feature that may well distinguish it from all other 100 mm ski boots is the C.A.S. liner.
C.A.S. is an acronym for Custom Adaptive Shape. A mouthful to be sure but it describes a rigid “shell” incorporated onto the mid- and rear-foot of the Mach 1 liners. The liner shell is shaped exactly to the contours of the inside of the shell and provides a firm backing to the anatomical padding against the feet.
This accomplishes a couple things; a firmer layer between the liner and shell enhance energy transmission, reduce the long-term effects of liner attrition and ups the performance.
The C.A.S. material can be manipulated with a heat gun for shaping and, for the occasional bony prominences, can be ground if need be.
Other than the C.A.S. liner…the out-of-the-box fit is unreal…features are standard; dual cuff alignment (again, really soft metal-exercise care when adjusting), flex adjustment by way of a 90 degree turn of a bolt at the rear of the boots- “Sport” (a wee bit softer) or “Performance” (a wee bit stiffer)-no increments and replaceable toe and heel.
The Mach 1 sets a very high standard for performance. Finesse skiers need only a deft touch and power riders can push as hard as they want. Setting and holding an edge at any turn shape or radius and at any speed is akin to thinking turn and done.
The supplemental support offered by the C.A.S. liner does as advertised-additional stability and increased precision merge with a uniform, second-skin proximity that brings an intuitive feel to the boots.
The C.A.S. liner is a feature of the Mach 1 models we carry.
In the interests of “transparency” I am proud to have a proprietary interest in the Mach 1. I, along with three top bootfitters from around the US, and a couple from Canada, were invited by Tecnica Group to help with designing the Mach 1. It has been educational, enlightening and rewarding. And, yeah, the boot has come out really well.
Since the Tecnus Comp of the early ‘80’s, Tecnica has created simple, powerful ski boots at the top end and a diverse offering throughout. Despite not having the name recognition of some other ski boot makers, Tecnica has maintained a high status at the elite levels of racing and continued bringing popular and successful ski boots to market.
They continue to do so.
More recently a trend has developed in “crossover” type Alpine/AT boots as more skiers venture off piste into front-‐ and side-‐country terrain that is accessible from lift serviced ski areas. Tecnica has jumped on this trend with a lineup of “Freemountain” boots named after PBR (no, not Pabst Blue Ribbon-‐Professional Bull Riders) bulls…go figure. I don’t know how this came about-‐it doesn’t matter-‐the boots work well.
Top of the heap is the Cochise 130 Pro. Tecnica has prioritized the downhill performance rather than hiking or touring. The Cochise 130 Pro exemplifies that commitment. The Cochise 130 Pro has all the features one would expect to find on AT/Touring boots; a hike/ski mechanism they term “Cuff Mobility System”, interchangeable soles-‐out of the box they have DIN soles (conventional configuration for alpine bindings) but soles for AT can be ordered, “Arch Grip” inserts…these are under the shell between the toe and heel lugs-‐essentially an additional mid-‐sole for hiking, and the top or fourth buckle is actually a burly 45mm Velcro strap attached to a conventional buckle that can be flipped open for hiking then closed for downhill.
But wait! There’s more! A small innovation on the Cochise 130 Pro that makes a large performance difference is the i-‐Rebound. Small only in terms of it not being a blatant gimmick affixed to the shell, the i-‐ Rebound is a metal interface between the Cuff Mobility System and the shell lower. It functionally enhances the response through the boots in downhill mode creating much more of a traditional alpine ski boot flex pattern.
The Cochise 130 Pro is 98mm at the forefoot. The toe box is roomy up and down as is the instep height.
The medial wall is pretty upright and the heel cup is well sculpted though not as aggressive as in the Inferno’s. It is a feat making boots that balance uphill with downhill-‐too tenacious a hold on the heels for hiking/touring can create problems; too loose a grip for downhill creates problems also. The Cochise 130 Pro has achieved a good equilibrium between the two disciplines. Indeed the Cochise 130 Pro’s skis really well, there is no compromise in skiability. And it is versatile. This boot could easily be a go-‐to boot for all terrain and all conditions and on any ski width.
The ROM at the ankles is well defined and there is no give at the rear spoiler.
Engaging the skis, holding and refining edges is no different than what one would expect from any well made high end ski boot. The Cochise 130 Pro is the Audi Allroad with a Cadillac ride.
To reiterate comments from earlier reviews; back country was virtually nonexistent last season so the hiking/touring aspect has not been experienced in any meaningful way.
The attributes of the 130 Pro can be applied to the Cochise 120. A bit softer and a bit wider @ 100mm, the Cochise 120 comes out of the box with “Tech” soles-‐ Dynafit compatible-‐and DIN soles and the same features as the 130 Pro; cuff alignment, shock absorbing zeppa, i-‐ Rebound, Arch Grip inserts and 3-‐buckle-‐45mm Velcro power strap w/integrated buckle.
The Cochise 120 has more internal volume than the 130 but the rear half of the shell still maintains the mid-‐foot and heel necessary to give it good performance traits.
The Cochise 130 Pro, Cochise 120, and the ladies Cochise 100 W are fairly lightweight which should serve to make hiking/touring a little easier and makes turn-‐to-‐turn a bit more effortless. The soles and shock absorbing zeppas tend to mute the feedback from underfoot but snow feel is still accurate.
The Cochise lineup is well thought out and well executed.
New last season was the Inferno, which includes the Inferno 130, Inferno 110, Inferno 90, Inferno Crush and Inferno Fling. All the Inferno ski boots are 98mm.
The Inferno 130 is a rock…the whole of the Inferno line is super solid. Replacing the Diablo Race Pro series, the Inferno has better balance for the present crop of skis; neutral stance, forward lean set up for contemporary skis and a good 98mm last.
There is a small technology story here; the Inferno 150 R (not on our shelves), Inferno 130 R (also not on our shelves) and Inferno 130 have a “Power Chassis”. The power strap on the 130 is a “Power Lock”-‐not Velcro. The strap can be cinched as tight as needed and will not release unless the skier does so. It acts as a fifth buckle and is one more way to augment performance.
The Power Chassis is a carbon steel frame that is integrated into the soles of the previously mentioned boots. It is there to minimize the torsion inherent in most if not all ski boots. Like the Nordica EDT, it is effective. Unlike the EDT of two seasons ago, the Power chassis is external and does not transfer cold to the feet. It is fixed through the replaceable toe and heel plates.
The whole of the series have very stout spoilers enhanced with a burly spine molded into the cuff plastic and an added alloy spoiler frame through which the upper strap is attached.
The Power Chassis is the tech story in the 130 flex, otherwise the Infernos are clean and simple.
The Inferno 130 is a formidable ski boot. Like any of the ski boots at this level the shells are very precise. The ankle flex is fairly restricted and, although with some progressiveness is rather abrupt. This is not a detriment; it’s a component of the precise nature of the boot.
The Inferno 130 is potent laterally…on any width ski, any terrain or snow.
As one goes down in flex from the Inferno 130 to the Inferno 110 there is plenty lateral strength and the ankle flex is a bit more open and less abrupt than the 130.
The liners are the same in both the 130 and 110. Typically one finds softer material in liners for softer flexing boots. With denser liner materials the longevity is enhanced and the boots will feel much more like the flex they were intended to be.
The Inferno Crush and Inferno Fling you might guess are the woman’s boots. The Crush is given a 100 flex, the Fling 90. The ratings throughout the Inferno line seem accurate.
Though the flex difference is minimal the Inferno Fling has a lower cuff thus there is a bit of a mechanical advantage so it will feel a bit softer.
Both the Inferno Crush and Inferno Fling have a really plush velvet fur lining…great put-‐of-‐the-‐box feel without detracting from the life of the liners.
We will also have the Inferno 90 in the mix. Typically we stock this as a kid’s race but the flex and proportions are well suited for small women up to 120 pounds. This is a simple no-‐bells, no-‐whistles ski boot with the bearing of the stiffer shells-‐no concessions in performance here.
There is no Power Frame in any of the Inferno models from the 110 down…making them a little less forgiving. All have replaceable toe and heel.
The boots that take the place of the Dragon is the Demon-‐the Demon 120 and Demon 100 L. They are 100mm shells.
The Demon is knocked off from the Inferno last and given a couple millimeters more width all ’round. This increases the internal volume somewhat but have no fear…the rear-‐foot retains tenacious heel hold and the mid-‐foot is structured with a well-‐fortified medial wall.
The instep has a bit more room than did the Dragon and the toe box has ample wiggle room.
The Dragon 120 features the Power Chassis, adding torsional stiffness to the shells, and the i-‐ Rebound, which makes the flex very positive and accurate. The Dragon 100 L does not have the Power Chassis but does include the i-‐Rebound. Both the Demon 120 and Demon 100 L have replaceable toe and heel. The ladies have lower rear spoilers and liners scalloped for the calf.
The i-‐Rebound actually has two discernable effects; metal-‐to-‐metal is a positive interface and creates a noticeably decisive interaction when the boot flexes and, because it is fixed through the spoiler reinforced by an aluminum frame, the support at the turn completion is terrific…you can really load the tails of the skis-‐good or bad depending on where you are when that happens!
The Demon 120 and 100 L presents no surprise on snow-‐it is a versatile all-‐mountain, all terrain ski boot. It is at home on anything from groomers to big days, carving skis to wide rocker boards. It is not as precise as the Infernos and it shouldn’t be…for all mountain skiing it is critical to adapt to different snow conditions and terrain variations…too precise a boot tends to buck the skier around a bit. There is enough exactitude in the Demon series to make it a very capable and creditable ski boot.
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