Völkl 2019/20 season ski kit; Reviewed and tested | SkiKitInfo.com (2023)

For winter 19/20, German technophiles Völkl introduce a wider Mantra and Secret, Kendo/Kenja get upgrades, there’s a new Deacon all-mountain line-up, the Women’s Flair piste ski range expands and the Racetiger RC and SC models change.

FREERIDE SKIS

For 18-19 Völkl made a bold move and changed the legendary Mantra ski, releasing the Mantra M5 (96mm underfoot) and lady’s Secret ski (92mm). It was a wise move though as both models smashed it, winning a host of awards.

Mantra 102 and Secret 102
Völkl 2019/20 season ski kit; Reviewed and tested | SkiKitInfo.com (1)

For winter 19-20 they’ve added to these with a new Mantra 102 (£625) and Secret 102 (£650), both with a 102mm waist width.

Völkl 2019/20 season ski kit; Reviewed and tested | SkiKitInfo.com (2)

These wider skis feature Völkl’s new 3 Radius sidecut, which has been applied to a few skis this season. This is where you have a long radius in the front and rear of the ski with a tighter radius underfoot. There’s also some interesting shaping at the very front of the ski. See the graphic and explanation at the bottom of this post.

TESTED: Völkl Mantra 102
Völkl 2019/20 season ski kit; Reviewed and tested | SkiKitInfo.com (3)
Shape and construction

The new Mantra 102 is a lovely, smooth ski. It has a sidecut of 140/102/123 and is available in 170cm (R18.1m), 177cm (20.1m), 184cm (21.4m) and R191cm (R23.5m) lengths.

It has tip and tail rocker with standard camber underfoot. The wood core is bolstered by a Titanal frame and a carbon tip inlay. The Titanal frame drives power to the perimeter of the ski and as the metal doesn’t go right across the centre you save weight. There’s a full width layer of Titanal under the binding to add strength there. The Mantra 102 was tested in the 184cm length.

Performance

It has a similar feel to the M5 Mantra, which Völkl unveiled last season, but it has a wider footprint. The M5 Mantra is 96mm underfoot and the Mantra 102 is, as the name suggests, 102mm.

Even though it’s wider you don’t loose out in terms of on-piste performance. There’s plenty of grip due to the Titanal frame delivering power across the ski to the full sidewall. Standard camber underfoot also helps out in this department.

Even though the ski I was on has quite a long radius of 21.4m, it was surprisingly easy to vary the turn shape. It really felt like the triple radius sidecut of this ski does it’s job of catering for varying turn shapes.

Normally you’d have to significantly increase the edge angle and pressure to get a ski like this to form tighter turn shapes, but it felt easy on the Mantra 102. Don’t get me wrong, this ski isn’t about ripping slalom style turns down the piste, but you can make it do medium turns quite easily for a ski of this size.

Who’s this ski for?

The Völkl Mantra 102 is an excellent freeride ski for an advanced or expert skier wanting a ski that’ll enhance their powder riding as well as making easy work of more challenging off-piste conditions . You never know for certain what the snow’ll be like, and this ski easily handles crud, breakable crust, hard pack, bumps, powder and all types in between. The fact that you can have such a great time blasting home on-piste at the end of the day is an added bonus.

TESTED: Völkl Secret 102
Völkl 2019/20 season ski kit; Reviewed and tested | SkiKitInfo.com (4)

Although, on paper, this ski appears the same as the Mantra 102, the core’s a bit thinner making it more appropriate for the slighter female frame (men are heavy devils, after all).

Shape and construction

It has a sidecut of 140/102/123 and is available in 156cm (R14.5m), 163cm (16.3m) and 170cm (R18.1m) lengths. As with the Mantra 102, it has a Titanal frame over the woodcore, 3 Radius sidecut, full sidewall and a carbon inlay at the tip. The Secret 102 was tested in the 170cm length.

Standard camber underfoot aids grip while front and back rocker makes the ski really easy to manoeuvre while aiding pick-up when skiing variable and powder conditions off-piste.

Performance

The Secret 102 is such a superbly stable ski. It gives you masses of confidence at higher speeds and is excellent in helping to step your speed up a notch.

Sometimes you expect a ski like this to be a lot of work when skiing slowly. However, the tip and tail rocker, softer flex and 3 Radius Sidecut allow you to ski short turns far easier than you first expect.

Who’s this ski for?

The Völkl Secret 102 is an incredible freeride ski for a strong female skier who wants to ski on and off piste. It’s ideally matched for skiing 50% of your time, or more, off piste. The Secret 102 easily deals with the variety of snow conditions you can encounter when venturing away from the groomers. It’s eminently manageable at slower speeds and in shorter turns but when you open the throttle this ski can set your world alight; it’s awesome.

Mantra 102 and Secret 102 weight

The Mantra 102 and Secret 102 aren’t the lightest skis at 2,140g for the 177cm Mantra 102 and 1,968g for the 163cm Secret 102. This isn’t an issue when skiing them as the power, stability and performance of these skis is key.

If you did want something lighter in Völkl’s freeride line then the 90 Eight, men’s and women’s, are great places to start. At 1,780g for the 177cm men’s and 1,550g for the 163cm women’s ski they pair well with a freeride touring binding. They’re both fantastic freeride skis and easily compete with skis over 100mm wide.

Kendo
Völkl 2019/20 season ski kit; Reviewed and tested | SkiKitInfo.com (5)

The narrower Kendo has changed for 19-20, following the construction developed for the M5 Mantra. The Kendo is available in two widths, 88mm and 92mm, rather than the 90mm version or 18/19. The Kendo 88 will also feature Völkl’s new 3 Radius sidecut.

Kenja
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The lady’s Kenja ski follows the pattern set with the Kendo, dropping from 90mm to 88mm underfoot and again with the 3 Radius sidecut. There’s no 92mm Kenja though.

DEACON ALL-MOUNTAIN SKIS

Völkl 2019/20 season ski kit; Reviewed and tested | SkiKitInfo.com (7)

RTM’s are replaced by an expansion of the awesome Deacon piste ski range, with Völkl adding some wider Deacon models for 19/20.

The Deacon piste skis offer fantastic performance with their powerful cores paired with tip and tail rocker. People are sometimes nervous of tip and tail rocker in a piste ski, but in the Deacon skis the rocker enhances their performance rather than hindering it. This profile carries over into most of the new Deacon skis too.

There are seven new Deacon models for 19-20 season:

  • Deacon 75
  • Deacon75 Black
  • Deacon 84
  • Deacon 80
  • Deacon XTD (76mm)
  • Deacon XT (76mm)
  • Deacon X (72mm)
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The three Deacon X skis have a composite core, rather than wood. They’ve tip rocker with standard camber through the rest of the ski.

All of the other Deacon skis, including the narrower piste models, have rocker at the front and back of the ski.

The majority of the Deacon skis will come with GripWalk bindings as standard; a theme mirrored across the Völkl range for the 19/20 season, including many of the Racetiger range of race skis.

Deacon 76 and 74 Pro Black editions
Völkl 2019/20 season ski kit; Reviewed and tested | SkiKitInfo.com (9)

For the Deacon 76 Pro Black and Deacon 74 Pro Black, they come with Marker‘s World Cup plate. Most retailers will select a binding for this, so it depends on their binding choice whether this is a GripWalk binding or not.

Deacon 84 and 80

The headline skis in the expanded Deacon range are the Deacon 84 and the Deacon 80, which both have 3D Glass and 3D Ridge. These 3D structures increase ski performance while keeping weight as low as possible.

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The Deacon 84 (£775) is aimed at slightly higher performance skiers as it has a Titanal frame. The Deacon 80 (£675) has a fibreglass frame, which Völkl say makes it more ‘pingy’ in the tip and tail.

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Both of these skis come with a new Low Ride binding, meaning you sit 10mm closer to the ski. They also both benefit from Völkl’s 3 Radius sidecut shape.

FLAIR WOMEN’S PISTE SKIS

In the women’s award-winning Flair range of skis there are three new models for this season. These include the new version of the Flair SC Carbon and new widths in the Flair 75 and Flair 72.

Flair SC Carbon
Völkl 2019/20 season ski kit; Reviewed and tested | SkiKitInfo.com (12)

The new Flair SC Carbon (70mm) is 2mm narrower underfoot than 18/19. This Flair has a sidecut of 123/70/103 and the lengths have changed to 150cm (R10.5m), 155cm (R11.3m), 160cm (12.1m) and 165cm (R13.0m). It also has 3D Glass or this season.

TESTED: Völkl Flair SC
Völkl 2019/20 season ski kit; Reviewed and tested | SkiKitInfo.com (13)
Shape & construction

Available in 3 lengths: 153, 158 and 163cm. We tested this in the 163cm option, and the sidecut in all lengths is 122/73/103mm. It retails at £600, which includes the V-Motion binding. The radius in the 163cm Flair SC is 14.3m, while you get 13.4m and 12.4m in the two shorter lengths.

The Flair SC doesn’t have the 3D glass of the SC Carbon, but you do get metal in this ski. This helps the dampening, energy and power. The SC also has a different wood core, featuring Völkl’s Wood Core Light, again aiding energy in this ski without being overly heavy. Rocker in the shovel improves feel and ease into the turn, as well as making the ski a little more versatile if you’re on soft or variable snow.

Performance

The Flair SC delivers masses of grip and you can feel the performance pedigree when you’re pushing hard. If you lay down big edge angles and carve at high speed the energy and drive is exhilarating. The really pleasing thing is when you rein things in and want to take it easy. Then the ski is really manageable, aided by the slight tip rocker.

Who’s this ski for?

A stellar ski for advanced and expert skiers that stick to the groomers and want something to perform across various turn shapes.

Flair 75
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The Flair 75 is a woodcore ski aimed at intermediate to advanced level skiers. It has tip and tail rocker and a layer of steel. The sidecut is 126/75/105 and it comes comes in a 147cm (R11.3m), 154cm (R12.2m) and 161cm (R13.5m).

Flair 72
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The Flair 72 replaces the Flair 73 of last season. The composite core, with tip rocker, really suits those just getting into skiing, offering a more forgiving ride. It has a sidecut of 123/72/104 and is available in 137cm (R9.4m), 144cm (R10.1m), 151cm (R11.4m), 158cm (R12.7m) and 165cm (R14.0m).

RACETIGER

Völkl has made graphic changes to all of their Racetiger race skis. The Racetiger GS and SL skis, as last season, will come with GripWalk bindings as standard, as will the RC and SC models.

The RC and SC models have received some development love too with a change in construction and shape.

Völkl 2019/20 season ski kit; Reviewed and tested | SkiKitInfo.com (16)

As last year, the Racetiger RC Black, RC Red, SC Black and SC Yellow all have a steel layer, and the SC Carbon has carbon instead. However, they’ve had their cores bolstered with 3D glass for this season and the higher spec UVO 3D, along with a change in geometry for all 5 models.

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The RC models have a sidecut of 123/70/103 in the 165cm (R13.0m) length, and 119/71/100 in the 170cm (R15.6m), 175cm, (R16.6m) and 180cm (R17.7m) lengths.

Völkl 2019/20 season ski kit; Reviewed and tested | SkiKitInfo.com (18)

The SC Black and Yellow models are 123/70/103 in the 150cm (R10.5m), 155cm (R11.3m), 160cm (R12.1m), 165cm (R13.0) and 170cm (R13.9m) lengths. They were both originally planned to have a 175cm length for 19/20 but only the Yellow version is offered this long now. It has a sidecut of 119/71/100 and a stated radius of 16.6m.

Völkl 2019/20 season ski kit; Reviewed and tested | SkiKitInfo.com (19)

The Racetiger SC Carbon is more forgiving, but it still has the same sidecut of 123/70/103 as the Yellow and Black versions. It also shares the same turn radius in each length from 150cm to 165cm.

Völkl 2019/20 season ski kit; Reviewed and tested | SkiKitInfo.com (20)
3D Glass
Völkl 2019/20 season ski kit; Reviewed and tested | SkiKitInfo.com (21)

Normally fibreglass layer(s) in skis sit flat, but Völkl 3D shapes the glass in the ski to give more support at the edge for grip, power and energy. This 3D shape is at the front and rear of the ski, yet underfoot the fibreglass mat remains flat which allows for easier variation of turn shape and maintains the skis flex.

3D Ridge
Völkl 2019/20 season ski kit; Reviewed and tested | SkiKitInfo.com (22)

3D Ridge is where the core of the ski is thicker in the centre, so you see a raised ridge that runs forward and backwards from the binding. This allows Völkl to control the flex of the ski along it’s length and enhance power whilst keeping weight down. It’s been used to great effect in their freeride and all-mountain skis.

3 Radius Sidecut
Völkl 2019/20 season ski kit; Reviewed and tested | SkiKitInfo.com (23)

The first 10mm in the contact area has the same radius as underfoot then it gets gradually longer over the next 100mm to match the longer radius of around 30m through the front portion of the ski. The radius then tightens up again underfoot to around 17m before relaxing again at the rear portion of the ski, where the radius is around 28.5m.

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