2017 Radar Senate Lithium - Review

HortonHorton Posts: 23,018 Administrator

SenateRevew1

The 2017 Radar Senate Lithium is an easy to ride mid-range ski with all the technical prowess of an elite high end ski. Radar took their top of the line Vapor and widened it two tenths of an inch to make the Senate. The result is a ski with the technical wizardry of the Vapor but even more forgiving and better suited for slower boat speeds.

During the review period I rode the Senate at 30, 32 and 34 MPH. At 34 MPH, I was able to run 32 and 35 off, but when I slowed the boat down to 32 and 30 MPH, I discovered this ski’s sweet spot.

The Senate is a surprisingly fast ski. In this case “Fast” means that the ski makes speed without a lot of effort by the skier and it also means the the ski carries that speed through the the turn.  The result is more skiing with less muscle fatigue.

The Senate turns very well on both sides, and the off side turns are remarkably fun. The Senate delivers long flowing pre-turns followed by snappy turns without requiring perfect technical skills from the skier. The extra width of this ski just makes everything easier.

For a day on open water or casual buoy chasing, there is no better ski on the market then the Radar Lithium Senate

SenateReview2

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Dacon62art90notchBill22gsm_peterSkiJay
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Comments

  • Youd270Youd270 Posts: 26 Baller
    @Horton nice review. How did you find the new shape compared with the 15/16 shape.
  • Dacon62Dacon62 Posts: 394 Solid Baller
    Thanks for the review...good to know I should be very happy with this ski. Hope to get it wet sometime in the next week or so.
    Bill22
  • HortonHorton Posts: 23,018 Administrator
    @Youd270 Hard to say. I have not ridden the previous version in a few years. Faster I am sure.

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    Youd270
  • TallSkinnyGuyTallSkinnyGuy Posts: 460 Solid Baller
    @Horton So who would you say this ski is for in terms of hardest pass?
  • bojansbojans Posts: 152 Baller
    edited May 4
    Not sure this is an easy question to answer, but how many more buoys do you think you could get on a Vapor vs the Senate?
  • John BrooksJohn Brooks Posts: 250 Solid Baller
    @Horton what does "but when I slowed the boat down to 32 and 30 MPH, I discovered this ski’s sweet spot." mean as far as rope and buoy count? Thanks
  • gmutgmut Posts: 187 Baller
    @Horton can you share your fin and binding settings please?
  • Dacon62Dacon62 Posts: 394 Solid Baller
    edited May 5
    First ride on it tonight. Not great water but confirming what Horton said...easier get up, fast, less tiring and turns well. Last ski was the green Vapor. Am a 34 mph 15-22 off skier, 54 years young. Very happy with my Lithium Senate choice.
    Bill22
  • StickmanStickman Posts: 25 Baller
    @Dacon62, Do you mind if I ask your height and weight. I am a light skier, and am wondering if the additional width will benefit me over a Vapor. I'm noticing some shops are not stocking the 65", so I'm wondering if the target market is "larger" skiers (I'm 160 lbs.) Thanks for your previous post. Thanks to @Horton as well for the review.
  • Dacon62Dacon62 Posts: 394 Solid Baller
    @Stickman...am 5'11" and 185.
    Guessing of the three sizes offered 65,67,69 that they sell the 67" most often and therefore don't always stock the sizes that don't move as well??
  • HortonHorton Posts: 23,018 Administrator
    @gmut bone stock except bindings back 1/4"

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  • TallSkinnyGuyTallSkinnyGuy Posts: 460 Solid Baller
    @Horton There are a few questions above directed at you. Are you purposely not answering these questions or did they just slip through the cracks?
  • HortonHorton Posts: 23,018 Administrator
    @TallSkinnyGuy just have a full plate.

    Your question about the level of the ski.... As I said in the review the ski comes to life at 32mph or less. I actually like the ski a lot at 34mph and 32 off. Beyond that a Vapor would work better for me.

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  • TallSkinnyGuyTallSkinnyGuy Posts: 460 Solid Baller
    Sorry @Horton -- we are probably just used to being spoon fed. "Comes to life" and "casual buoy chasing" and even "sweet spot" may have a very clear meaning to you, but seem vague to me and apparently John Brooks. Your Connelly Carbon V review was quite precise and clear compared to this review, but perhaps the writer in you may be trying to find new ways of describing skis that are very similar. I don't mean to hassle -- I greatly appreciate your reviews (and the difficulty of reviewing products from companies who are also advertisers). Most of us don't have the opportunity to try out a lot of different skis, so your insights are certainly valuable to us.
  • HortonHorton Posts: 23,018 Administrator
    I confess writing mid range reviews is sort of perplexing. When I do high end skis I judge them on how I ski at MY limit. Mid range skis do not have a clear or pre-described limit. A heavier or lighter skier might find a different limit.

    If you are running 28 off at 34 mph or more chances are you should move to a high end ski. I can run 35 off at 34 on skis like the Senate but I can run it a lot easier on a Vapor.

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  • jetpilotg4jetpilotg4 Posts: 206 Baller
    @Horton awesome as always!! I always make it a point to read your ski reviews. Whats your height and weight? Not sure if you mentioned it here before or not. Also do you find yourself on similar ski setups when go from ski to ski? Binding positions, fin settings etc? And whats your ski length on your Saturday tournament ski?
    Thanks
  • gsm_petergsm_peter Posts: 610 Solid Baller
    Thanks for the revew Horton.

    It would be super if you could (in the future) comment on the added value of the Lithium compared to the Graphite?
    Maybe in terms of when you prefere to change to the more advanced ski?

    Life is too short not to enjoy every day!
    escmanaze
  • TallSkinnyGuyTallSkinnyGuy Posts: 460 Solid Baller
    @gsm_peter This is what Eddie Roberts said in another thread about the Senates when asked to define the target markets for each version in terms of slalom course performance:

    "The target markets for the 3 constructions of the 2017 Senates definitely are different. The Alloy would be for the less advanced skier who mostly skis open water conditions. That skier will appreciate the dampening effect of the wood stringers in the core to keep the tip from chattering and will not be as inclined to be a "Fin Whisperer." Although Alloy has an all carbon construction, the damper ride due to the hybrid core will favor the skier who needs a touch more time at the turn finish to get their act together. The Graphite comes standard with an adjustable fin and will have quicker reaction/acceleration response than the Alloy. The Lithium with its PVC core and all carbon layup will obviously be the lightest and fastest of the 3 and will favor the more advanced skiers who are already running the course yet still like to get out and rip on the open water from time to time as well. All 3 skis are very stable, turn smooth and easy and feel remarkably similar on the water."

    It appears to be very difficult to get clarity on the target markets in terms of PBs. I wish someone who has no particular bias but good ski difference sensitivity would do a review and comparison of all three versions -- maybe someone who works for a retail store who carries all three and wants to be able to better help their customers pick the right model for them.
  • HortonHorton Posts: 23,018 Administrator
    @jetpilotg4 I am 5'9 (actually 5'8 7/8") and 185

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  • matt_bmatt_b Posts: 53 Baller
    Nice review Horton, That being said, Horton is only a human! He can only describe things that he feels and notices, Each of us may have a totally different opinion. I am 5'8, 175, start at 32-15 and work my way up. It is my belief that until you are a really good skier, with consistently good position, the way your ski feels can be different day to day. I just started on the Senate, went with the Lithium on advice from Trent F. and so far it feels really comfortable, and I really like it, most of the time. The times it doesn't, I attribute that to me and my ability. Go out and try the different models. Most expensive isn't always best! Have fun trying them all out!
  • escmanazeescmanaze Posts: 389 Solid Baller
    Ha ha ha!! I totally agree with many of the comments trying to get more detailed target levels for the various skis. But then I realize that we are asking @Horton to do the job that really the manufacturer is supposed to do. Why is it so hard for the manufacturer to say "This ski was designed around an optimum range of 30 mph -15 up to 32 mph -28" or something like that. Do they even have any clue who their target market is as they are designing and developing a ski? Or are they just kind of building whatever they think of and then throwing it at us to see if we like it at all? If it's the former, please, let us in on the secret!!
    BrennanKMNTallSkinnyGuyObrienslalom
  • HortonHorton Posts: 23,018 Administrator
    @escmanaze If you think you many try to run 38 off get a high end ski. If you are more likely to run a bunch of longer line passes and then go cruse the lake get a mid range ski. It is really not rocket science unless you want a hard and fast rule about when what ski is best.

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  • dchristmandchristman Posts: 787 Crazy Baller
    edited May 9
    @escmanaze You mean something like this?

    Take a look at each manufacturer's website and you may find what you're looking for. This chart is an older one, but I'm sure @eddie_roberts_jr can point you in the right direction if you're looking for a current Radar chart.


    Patience is the key to Joy.
    gt2003SkiJay
  • TallSkinnyGuyTallSkinnyGuy Posts: 460 Solid Baller
    @dchristman The problem is the definitions of "Aspiring, Intermediate, Advanced, Expert." Everyone who skis a course knows where they start a set and their hardest pass, but few know if they would be considered "Advanced" or one of these other terms.
    escmanaze
  • HortonHorton Posts: 23,018 Administrator
    Ok @TallSkinnyGuy tell me about your skiing and i will tell you what ski to get.

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  • TallSkinnyGuyTallSkinnyGuy Posts: 460 Solid Baller
    @Horton You already did, thanks.
    You have complained about ski manufacturers showing their pro skiers running short-line passes on mid-range skis because it is misleading (I remember you saying something to that effect in a recent video post). I and others complain that they don't get more specific in defining the best range of their skis when there is a perfectly good measurement system they could use that we all understand. All valid complaints in my opinion.
    BrennanKMNescmanazewtrskior
  • gsm_petergsm_peter Posts: 610 Solid Baller
    @TallSkinnyGuy
    Thanks. Yes I have read that thread.

    I have skied the Orange strada Senate (2012) a lot.
    Only tried the 2016 Senate Lithium a bit.
    At my level I can feel a much better acceleration and easier to complete the turn with full carbon.

    Life is too short not to enjoy every day!
  • eddie_roberts_jreddie_roberts_jr Posts: 412 Water Ski Industry Professional
    TallSkinnyGuy What exactly is this "perfectly good measurement system" of which you speak? We have a chart in our brochure and online and we would hate to pigeonhole anyone into thinking there is a hard line to the skis performance. We sell thousands of skis worldwide both high end and mid range and if a skier has their heart set on a Senate Lithium and they are not, let's say, a 35 off skier that ski will not be too much for them and may even help them to attain that level of skiing. The Graphite Senate is the same exact ski but has the slightly heavier P.U. core and won't have quite as much acceleration so it should be easier to slow down for the skiers still working on that skill. The 2107 Lyrics are built from the same mold and I have a friend who gets well into 38 off at 34 M.P.H. on his 65" Lyric.The Senates are definitely not shortline 36 M.P.H. skis. Doesn't seem confusing to me. If you have a very specific question - we'd like to hear it. I hope you get a chance to try one out!
    Chef23dchristmanwtrskiorMS
  • TallSkinnyGuyTallSkinnyGuy Posts: 460 Solid Baller
    @eddie_roberts_jr As I mentioned in an earlier post in this thread, the problem is the definitions of "Aspiring, Intermediate, Advanced, Expert." Everyone who skis a course knows where they start a set and their hardest pass, but few know if they would be considered "Advanced" or one of these other terms.

    The "confusion" you mentioned that is being discussed in this thread is the different target markets for the different versions of the Senate. I think it is clear to everyone that the Senates are not shortline 36mph skis, but it is not clear if there are specific targeted slalom course skill levels for the different versions of the Senate.

    For example, it would add significant clarity if Radar said something like: the Alloy Senate is designed for optimum performance at 30mph open water up to 22off/34mph in the course, the Graphite Senate is best for up to 28off/34mph and the Lithium Senate should be your choice if you are usually skiing in a course at 34mph and your hardest pass is 32off/34mph. I obviously just made these ranges up because I don't know the actual optimum ranges, but that would be referencing the "perfectly good measurement system" I mentioned. @escmanaze also mentioned this type of description in an earlier post above.

    Horton is really helpful when he makes comments like the one above, "If you are running 28 off at 34 mph or more, chances are you should move to a high end ski. I can run 35 off at 34 on skis like the Senate but I can run it a lot easier on a Vapor." Maybe it is not possible, but getting this type of clarity regarding the different skis within the Senate line would be great.

    So I suppose the very specific question you asked for is: Can you provide clarity on the "optimum range" of the different Senate versions in terms of course skiing (understanding that a ski can also work outside of its optimum range)?
  • Bill22Bill22 Posts: 1,083 Crazy Baller
    @TallSkinnyGuy my friend, Radar has spoken, I would drop it.

    Just pick up the phone and call them, that's what I did. I wanted to know if the Graphite Vapor was a good fit for me. In ten minutes Brooks answered all my questions and at 15 off the ski is awesome. I am sure the Graphite Senate is a sweet ride too!
    HortonMattPskibrainThomas_Gustafson
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