T-factor: First impression and question

Than_BoganThan_Bogan Posts: 5,621 Mega Baller
edited August 2011 in Skis Fins Bindings
Got on my new D3 T-factors that I picked up at Nationals. Although my first pass was totally horrible, I got into the groove very quickly thereafter and my first impression was extremely positive. Details below.

But first: What do people do with all that excess bungie? There's enough there to pose a small risk of getting something caught in it, although I suppose it would probably break before the point of causing any serious injury. I have a few ideas to tie it off or otherwise modify it, but I am figuring that probably somebody else already found the ideal solution. If so, please share.

The interesting thing about these boots was that they didn't feel much like I expected. The "marketing story" on the T-factor is that it's similar in concept to the Leverage (the one I've been using for years), except that the stiffer sides give you increased edge control. This actually worried me a little, because overly sensitive edges were a huge problem for me the one season I tried hard shells.

But I didn't have any sense of increase "edge control" (neither for better nor worse). What I felt instead was like the ski was on rails and that it was almost impossible to stand in the wrong place on it. As fate would have it, I skied my first set on these new boots in near darkness with very bad backwash (apparently it poured at home just as much as it did in IL!). For the ski to track like it did in such conditions and for me run multiple -32s wide and very early, seemed like a great sign.

I'm at a loss to explain this, though. My only guess is that the front and back flex that they purposely designed into the binding allows is to absorb a lot of rocking without messing with the ski's attitude, and then the stiffer sides allow you to keep on steering the ski exactly where you want to go?

In any case, I sure hope this impression will carry over to -35 and -38 (oh, and -39!) when I can actually see where I'm going and the water is calm!
Nathaniel Bogan -- GUT Padawan
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Comments

  • WishWish Posts: 6,753 Mega Baller
    How about comfert?? Do your feet fall asleep?? Do they feel like they would release in a crash?
    >>> 11.25..a different kettle of fish. <<<
  • Than_BoganThan_Bogan Posts: 5,621 Mega Baller
    Comfort level was "very good" but not quite "excellent." In particular the front boot felt a little too tight around the ball of my foot even with the front laces as loose as possible (and even though my foot is VERY narrow). However, I would expect this to improve a little as I break them in. Also, there are screws underneath that can be used to adjust the width at different spots if you need to.

    I run my bindings looser than most and have almost never had an issue with feet falling asleep. These were no exception.

    I'm pretty confident about a release. It was VERY easy to take them off at the end of my set, although I loosened the bungie before that, so that doesn't necessarily dictate the releasability. But in any case I definitely didn't have a feeling of being "dangerously locked in."

    On minor negative I didn't mention is that it's a little awkward to put them on, because the tongue portion moves around a little and you have to have it in just the right place before tightening up the bungie. My bet is that this will become unconscious after doing it a few times, but for the moment it's a slight distraction.
    Nathaniel Bogan -- GUT Padawan
  • Chef23Chef23 Posts: 4,844 Mega Baller
    The water needs to go down a foot at least before we get away from the backwash. I would say our water level came up 2-3 feet over the last week.
    Mark Shaffer
  • Than_BoganThan_Bogan Posts: 5,621 Mega Baller
    Yeah, that is wacky. Don't think I've ever seen an August water level anywhere CLOSE to this. Conceivably it might go down pretty fast, but not if more rain comes. Wish we could send this to all those poor folks facing droughts this summer!!
    Nathaniel Bogan -- GUT Padawan
  • ShortenitShortenit Posts: 114 Baller
    Than,
    I have had the T-Factors since April and also loved them till my season ended 7/10 with my injury (non waterski).

    I too have a very narrow foot and also found that they run a little small and were tight at first, but they stretched out a little after a few sets and were great and very comfortable without any adjusting.

    Good point on the flex, I tested the prototypes last Fall and the front to rear stiffness was crazy hard, very difficult to find the sweet spot and maintain it. Same feed back came from the others that tried it, so they were changed for production to be softer flexing front/back and now ski great. I also noticed the same thing with the tongue putting them on, you are correct, it will be second nature in a set or two.

    As for the long bungees, here's what I did. I first reversed them, so the knot was on the top rather than the bottom, and kept playing with them and trimming them back till they were just long enough for me to loosen and get my foot out comfortably, but not longer. Removing this excess alone made a big difference. Then I used a lace end/keeper with a small hook like many bindings have, (mine were from O'Brien), at the top over the knot and used the hook to hold it under the laces below. Works great.

    BTW, I agree that they will release, but on mine I replaced the heavier stock shock cord with a smaller diameter one since I broke my foot, (not with a D3 binding, and with regular laces, not shock cord), a few years ago when my front foot got stuck half way out during a crash. Rear released fine but the front did not, hung up right at the tightest point. (Of course I was holding on when brains would have dictated tossing the handle. Older and wiser now.) The smaller diameter shock cord has less tension on it and I think will stretch more easily when really needed to allow an easier release. At least it seemed to release easier during dry land testing. I tighten them no more than with the heavier cord and have found no difference in the feel or skiability of the binding. Probably overkill on my part, but don't see any downside and really don't want to repeat that again.
  • Than_BoganThan_Bogan Posts: 5,621 Mega Baller
    edited August 2011
    Funny how easy it is to miss something obvious. I kept thinking "How can I shorten this without totally messing it up" and I was completely ignoring the fact that it's knotted together on one end. So I can cut it shorter on THAT end and then just re-knot it. DUH!

    Thanks!

    Interesting to hear about the flex history, since my first impression is that the *difference* between front-back flex (very soft) and left-right flex (very hard) may be the "breakthrough" associated with this binding. Having experienced it, it suddenly seems kind of obvious: Raising or lowering the tip is usually the result of an error, so damping that out is a great. Edging is arguably the fundamental technique of the sport, so making that really solid is also great.

    At least it *sounds* good! :)
    Nathaniel Bogan -- GUT Padawan
  • gregygregy Posts: 2,362 Mega Baller
    What size bindings and feet do you guys have? I have a 13B foot - narrow and flat. I'm using some older HO bindings that are larges. I looked at some of my older skis and they all were Larges. D3 recommending XL for a 13 on the chart.
  • ShortenitShortenit Posts: 114 Baller
    I have mediums and wear a 9 1/2B shoe.
  • skibrainskibrain Posts: 856 Crazy Baller
    Is the weight on the T-factors about like Leverage?
  • Ham_WallaceHam_Wallace Posts: 534 Solid Baller
    I have been on mine since the end of March and love them. I pulled the bungee out the front of the laces and tied a knot, reducing the excess amount that protrudes from the top. I never adjust them and Love them. They will loosen up a bit. The cinches that D-3 provide suck. Just tie a knot in the top bungee.
    Am I a jumper that wants to be a slalom skier? Or a slalom skier that wants to be a jumper?
  • Than_BoganThan_Bogan Posts: 5,621 Mega Baller
    I'm wearing a L at 11B (leaning A). And it leans tight. I'd say XL is the right guess unless you like unusually tight boots.
    Nathaniel Bogan -- GUT Padawan
  • 6balls6balls Posts: 4,471 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    Do they still sell the leverage bindings, or full switch to T-factor?
    Dave Ross--die cancer die
  • skibrainskibrain Posts: 856 Crazy Baller
    yes Leverage still available.

    www.d3skis.com
  • BoneHeadBoneHead Posts: 5,807
    I've skied in TFactors the last couple of weeks on a borrowed ski. They make the balls of my feet cramp big time after 3 passes. I wear a 10 1/2 shoe and these are large.
    Shane "Crash" Hill

  • Than_BoganThan_Bogan Posts: 5,621 Mega Baller
    @skibrain I'd say they weigh about the same but I've never put them on a scale. (I don't really care what my bindings weigh, since that barely affects the angular moment [aka "swing weight"] of the ski.)
    Nathaniel Bogan -- GUT Padawan
  • skibrainskibrain Posts: 856 Crazy Baller
    @Than Bogan Thx.
  • Than_BoganThan_Bogan Posts: 5,621 Mega Baller
    Well darn: Now I'm REALLY confused. Second set on these boots seemed pretty awful at first. Took me 3 attempts to get through my opener (-28) and then I was really struggling at -32, especially on my off-side turn. I actually failed to complete it 3 times in a row, mostly falling in stupid ways but also seeming a little narrow.

    Just for the heck of it, I decided to try a -35 to kind of feel out how the edging felt there. And of course, I ran it.

    So what in the world does that mean? Just need a few more sets, I guess. I was hoping this would be really obvious as really awesome or really horrible. No such luck. :)
    Nathaniel Bogan -- GUT Padawan
  • Old MS AccoutOld MS Accout Posts: 2,117 Baller
    PJ got a brand new set in the spring and they already wore through the inner rubber and now he has a hard piece of plastic rubbing his foot inside. D3 is sending him a new boot but it has already been 3 weeks and he has not recieved it yet.
  • skibrainskibrain Posts: 856 Crazy Baller
    I'm going to give them a try. I've been happy with the Wileys but would like to try something with more edge control.
  • kristakrista Posts: 26 Baller
    Just my two-cents...I havent tried t-factor yet but just jumped on a pair of 2012 Connelly talons and am in love. They are so comfortable and I have so much more control. I feel really connected to my ski---especially laterally. They are stiff side-to-side without losing any of the forward/back movement i like with my rubber bindings. I highly recommend them. I switched from 2004 animals to 2010 ones last year and it took me a few sets to adjust. My first set on the Connellys I skied my best I had skied all year...
    customski
  • Than_BoganThan_Bogan Posts: 5,621 Mega Baller
    edited August 2011
    Interesting. Didn't you have to play with all sorts of setup parameters to tune them? Or was there some magic method to get them in roughly the right place and orientiations right off?

    (You're talking about the partially hard shell ones that were officially introduced at Nationals, right?)
    Nathaniel Bogan -- GUT Padawan
  • kristakrista Posts: 26 Baller
    Didn't do anything to them...just put them on my ski...laced the front one down as much as I could and left a little room for movement on my back one and then skied. It went really well. And I'm talking about the 2012 Talons...they are different than the hardshells with the fogman system --those are called the Stealth. They have this cool little achilles tendon holder thing inside the boots and are like a cross over between a hardshell and a rubber. They lace up the foot and a separate lace up the front of the leg. They don't have that hinge tech stuff on them though. I'm trying to find a pic and can't find one. I'll take one of my ski and post in a bit. I really like them. :)
  • Jean BJean B Posts: 83 New Baller
    Since D3 made a xs binding, I decided to try the T-Factor. Yes even for my size 6 it is narrow where the flat of my foot is, can feel the side seams slightly, however doesn't bother me. Had issues with the front tongue not staying in the center, solved that problem, put a couple holes in the center top to line up with the last cross over on the bungie ties, put a loop made with a piece of lace in there, then ran my ties through the loop. Now my tongue stays put. Being only 5'1" the xs bindings were way to tall, (D3 would save on material on the xs if they made the whole binding an 1 1/2' shorter) I trimmed the front and back rubber part down by at least an 1 1/2". Had to cut and resew the pull on straps back on with a hand sewing awl. Now I have a pair of custom fit bindings, that I like. I said good bye to my old approach bindings. The true test was yesterday, for the first time in a long time, I crashed out the front and the bindings did what they were suppose to do, no damage to the extremities, after getting ejected out of the bindings. Only thing is haveing to deal with a sore neck today.
  • Than_BoganThan_Bogan Posts: 5,621 Mega Baller
    edited August 2011
    So I guess I might as well continue to document my experiences with these.

    Tadd (I think it was Tadd anyhow) over at H20smosis reminded me yesterday that I should really do some open water with new boots. (Strange how easy it is to forget that.) So I ripped back and forth at -32 for a bit, and at first I was getting a bad tip rise exiting my off (1/3/5) side turn. Although I'm not sure I can explain *exactly* why, I usually find that symptom is caused by not staying back and open in the pre-turn. Or put another way, rushing the finish of my turn.

    I put some mental focus on holding my body position there and things started to feel real good (again).

    So I jumped into the course and ran reasonably clean -28 and -32. I didn't want to ski too hard because I'm planning two sets tomorrow*, so I left it at that.

    *Trying to pack in lots of time on these before a Sat tournament, but I want to take Friday off to rest.

    Seems like I learned something about how to use these. There are definitely glimmers of awesomeness on these, but it's probably going to be a tough decision after completing the best "ski year" of my life on my old Leverages. (One way or another I need new boots -- it's just a question of these or new Leverages. And now Krista is confusing me with the Connelly's... but thankfully I don't have time to try them!)

    If I do keep these, I need to make some modifications similar to what some folks have described above. But I don't want to mess with something that I might return!!
    Nathaniel Bogan -- GUT Padawan
  • D-LawD-Law Posts: 51 Baller
    Hey Krista I would love to see those pics!
  • Than_BoganThan_Bogan Posts: 5,621 Mega Baller
    edited August 2011
    Ok, definitely getting more comfortable.

    At this point I may "have" to stick with these because what they are doing behind the boat is so amazing. I have a little more to figure out in the turn, but the way I am ripping across is awesome. I ran a -28 so ridiculously early that the whole way I was convinced the Perfect Pass had never kicked in. Felt like 32 or maybe 33. 16.96.

    I didn't miss any -28s or -32s (3 for 3 on each length), and some of those were Crazy Early. In the set where I went on down the line I got 3 @ -38 (would have been scored 3.5 at Nationals... sorry couldn't resist). That's a slightly above average practice score for me on any day, and with some not-quite-as-bad-as-Nationals backwash still around, I found myself pretty impressed.

    The one thing I'm still not doing correctly with these boots is my pull-out and initial turn for the gate. I don't feel like I'm getting to where I want at the time I want, and I'm also having a lot of trouble with edge-hunting and getting sucked back in. This is most likely just a case of finding the right way to stand on the ski, but if anybody has any advice for that, I'm all ears.

    One minor note: I'm finding myself running these really loose. They almost feel like they could just fall right off when I'm in the water, but they are performing great in the course. When I tighten them to feel "snug," they seem to feel worse in the buoys. But that could just be that I'm not yet accustomed to the finer control they offer.

    Next up: 3 round tournament in VT. I won't put too much stock in what happens there (unless I ski fantastically), because I'm still in an adjustment period and tournament skiing sometimes causes my instincts to revert.
    Nathaniel Bogan -- GUT Padawan
  • trs1trs1 Posts: 85
    Than

    Yes, it was me who emailed you back.
    Been following you along on here.
    Sounds like its been more positive than negative so far.
    Glad you went and free skied. I think that will help you "feel" the boots moreso, than just slamming buoys and not really knowing what may be going on with the ski in relation to your movements. Hope it helped.
    Stay in touch and let me know how it goes.
    Thanks
    Tadd

    sales at h2oproshop dot com
  • Than_BoganThan_Bogan Posts: 5,621 Mega Baller
    edited August 2011
    Thanks, Tadd. Yeah, definitely more positive than negative. I'd say I'm up around 75% to keep these now. It's a bit of a high bar to get over because my "old" equipment has been performing brilliantly, so I really have to see "amazing" rather than just "good." But, so far, these boots look on track to clear that bar. What I was getting behind the boat at every line length was sweeet. And that was extra noticeable at -38, where I almost felt like I could have "makeup speed" available once I get a touch more comfortable in the turns. If these were to turn -38 into a regularly runnable pass, you wouldn't be able to get 'em back from me if you sent an army... :)

    I think next week will be extremely informative. I should be basically comfortable at that point and the backwash *should* be gone (KNOCK ON WOOD). So if I'm getting deep -38s a lot, it'll be a no-brainer. What's going to be really hard is if I'm seeing the *same* top end of 3s with a rare 4. At that point it would become a tough call because I've posted the best tournament scores and placements of my life this year on my Leverages. Do I chase the "potential" or go with proven success!? Here's hoping I'll crush a -38 or two in the next few days and I won't have to figure that out!
    Nathaniel Bogan -- GUT Padawan
  • LakeOneSkierLakeOneSkier Posts: 218 Baller
    I've been on Animals for 10 years, currently on a set of '09's. Been thinking about trying the T-Factors, great info in this thread. Thanks.

    I regularly ski with two guys, also on Animals. One tried to switch to Strada's a few years ago, the other tried to switch to HO Exo Pro's this year. Each struggled and switched back to the Animals fairly quickly. (one too quick in my opinion)

    Not to hijack the thread, but when switching bindings is the transition period noted above normal?
    Baller Index: -31.67
  • Than_BoganThan_Bogan Posts: 5,621 Mega Baller
    Transition period: Yes. It's pretty amazing how big a difference there can be between bindings. In my opinion, it's almost as large of a transition as a new ski (assuming you transfer your old bindings so only the ski is different). And this is even more true with boots that employ some "new concept," like hard shells, or the T-factor very-assymetric flex, or the Radar "sneaker-like" boot.
    Nathaniel Bogan -- GUT Padawan
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