Radar’s Floating Sequence Plate vs. Double Plates

SkiJaySkiJay Posts: 2,302 Mega Baller
edited October 2014 in Skis Fins Bindings
I’ve made references in the past to how much the ski’s flex is affected by binding stiffness. Recently, I repeated the experiment with a different ski, and was shocked by how dramatic that difference can be.

Over the past two months, I've had the opportunity to long-term test D3’s Helix back-to-back with their new Quest 45. Both are fine skis, but they are not the subject of this post beyond the way they turn. By design, the Helix is noticeably more nimble around the ball than the Quest, but the Quest, with its big deep-riding bevels, is more stable. I love the Quest’s stability, but also the Helix’s ability to crank a quick nimble turn to backside a ball—so I set out to see how nimble I could make the Quest.

It turned out that the Quest could be made surprisingly nimble, just not quite as nimble as the Helix, so I thought I would try going back to the Sequence plate mounted with the floating inserts at both ends. My thinking was that if the Quest could be allowed to flex more, maybe I could get it to turn even tighter.

The Sequence plate mounted on the Helix

The full-floating Sequence worked like magic on my Nano One and Nano One XT because Goodes are designed and built around a Dual Lock binding plate, and both of these systems allow for unrestricted ski flex and twist. But I struggled with the Helix when I first got it because the Sequence let it flex too much. No matter what I did with the fin and binding locations, there was always too much tip pressure. It turns out that D3 skis are laid up to work best with firmly-mounted double binding plates, so I mounted dual plates on my Radar Strada bindings, fastened them firmly to the ski, and all the tip-bite instantly disappeared.

Dual Radar plates mounted on the Quest 45

Fast forward to the Quest 45; last week I put my Stradas back on the Sequence plate and put it on the Quest using the floating inserts at both ends. Wholly crap, did the Sequence ever change the personality of the Q45, and not in a good way. It made the otherwise consistent solid-turning Q45 nearly unskiable. It generated more tip pressure than I could physically withstand, crushing me into the front of the ski ball after ball, especially on the off-side. I sort of started to adapt by the end of the day, but it was just too much. I couldn’t let the front of the ski touch the water at all or CRUNCH—my poor back!

This experiment has reaffirmed what I’d learned with the Helix. A full floating plate allows a LOT more ski flex than two solidly mounted binding plates—not just a little, but a lot, and probably too much for some skis. It’s not a subtle nuance either; it’s a really big difference. So if you are using a Sequence plate on something other than a Goode, which is designed around Dual Lock, take out the floating spacers and bolt that thing down. Even Radar skis don’t like the spacers on a Sequence plate according to Matt Rini, and he should know! Matt removes the floating inserts from every Sequence plate he encounters.

Removing one of the four floating spacers

Similarly, if you are using Goode bindings with Dual Lock on a ski other than a Goode. Your ski may be over-flexing, making it difficult for you to use much if any of your ski’s tip. Sure you can adapt and ski around this compromise, but how much are you undermining the potential performance of your ski if you’re not using it as it was designed to be used?

If you have a Sequence plate, and are still using the spacers so it can float at both ends on anything other than a Goode, you owe it to yourself to at least try either bolting the thing down, or getting double plates for your bindings. You might just find your ski can deliver a kinder, more forgiving, and consistent ride.

If choosing between bolting down a Sequence plate or using two single plates, my recommendation is to use the single plates. Bolting the long Sequence plate firmly to a ski using only six screws puts an enormous amount of shear pressure on the screws and the ski's inserts. Two separate plates, besides being a lot thinner and lighter, have a gap between them to reduce some of this compressive shear pressure. Double plates also use 10 screws instead of asking six to handle the loads—and there is a lot of load.

I recently replaced this rear plate because it broke under these loads. I thought it would be lighter (eyeball roll) if I just used screws and washers at the back instead of the rear stiffening plate supplied by Radar—my bad. Apparently they supply that little black horseshoe for a reason . . . .

Here's Wakeye footage of the Quest nearly dialed in with the double Strada binding plates. It's plenty nimble enough with no sign of tip-bite—and it's oh so forgiving of my work-in-progress inputs.

www.FinWhispering.com ... Your ski should be your dance partner, not a wrestling opponent


  • ToddLToddL Posts: 2,744 Mega Baller
    Interesting... I demo-ed the 2013 Quest last season. I already was using the sequence plate for my binding setup. I found the Quest to be a bit unpredictable in the turns, especially for my offside. Just as you described, if I got just slightly forward, the tip would dig hard. I wish I had known then and tried it without the spacers.

    I am currently on the 2013 Vapor and am still using the spacers. I like the way it turns, but I may give it a try without them for fun.
    -- The future of skiing depends upon welcoming novice skiers regardless of age to our sport.
  • jipster43jipster43 Posts: 1,414 Crazy Baller
    Thanks @SkiJay‌ ! I've been bolting my Sequence plate down to my Mapple 6.0 using washers and the rear horseshoe. I don't use the special "floating" washers, so I always wondered if I was compromising the performance design. I met @eddie_robberts_jr at a Broho tournament and asked him to take a look at my setup and he said it should work just fine, but I still have the two single plates that the Stradas came with, so I may switch them out.

    Unfortunately the only skiing remaining in my season is a week on Kauaii at the end of the month, and I'm planning on switching to my GatorMod Fogmans next season. I'll certainly remember this if the Fogmans don't work out.

    As a sidebar - someone on this forum flex tested skis with dual locked binders vs plate binders and found the dual lock to be stiffer. I don't know the parameters of the flex test, but he's a well respected Mega Baller.
  • SkiJaySkiJay Posts: 2,302 Mega Baller
    Your comment on the Dual Lock flex is really interesting @jipster43‌. I wonder if it has something to do with dual plates allowing some flex in the gap between them and where the flex measurements are taken.

    This is actually the forth time I've done this experiment. I also did it the other way around with the Nano One. I started on that ski with dual plates and all seemed fine. As a lark, I put the Sequence plate with spacers on it and the Nano One came alive. It turned noticeably tighter with the floating Sequence than with the dual plates, and so did the XT. I just assumed it was probably because the Sequence let the Goodes flex more like the Dual Lock they were designed for. It would be interesting to put hard numbers to all of this.
    www.FinWhispering.com ... Your ski should be your dance partner, not a wrestling opponent
  • jipster43jipster43 Posts: 1,414 Crazy Baller
    @SkiJay I'd be interested to know how the Fogman/Stealths affect the new Mapple T1 & T2 also. I'll find out first hand how they affect my 6.0 in the spring.
  • gator1gator1 Posts: 591 Crazy Baller
    @jipster43‌ be sure you check with Mapple on the fogman/T combo. I'm not sure you can mate them.

    I'm pretty sure the binding stiffness progression goes: two floating plates, single floating plate, single Velcro plate, single clamped plate. I think the big jump in added stiffness is the clamped single plate.

    Some folks were surprised the Velcro added ANY stiffness whatsoever. @SkiJay‌ it is freaky that you can ruin a skis perf with a binding switch. But very believable based on mechanics. Clamped plate turns it into a big I-beam.
  • ozskiozski Posts: 1,621
    Makes me wonder about double boots vs kicker in terms of flex... A full boot would be stiffer so we have another variable for you skijay.
    'Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better.'' Boat 2005 Nautique 196 6L ZO - Ski: KD Platinum

  • A_BA_B Posts: 4,023 Mega Baller
    edited October 2014
    @SkiJay‌ great info. I have learned the hard way on "lighter" back plate setup as well.
    I use the Sequence as well, and have played with the floating inserts on just the back or front, and they do make a difference.

    One of these days when I have absolutely nothing better to do, I want to flex test a ski with the
    Sequence floating and non-floating, G10, and dual plates. Sounds like a lot of work though. I don't use G10 any more, but have one and dual lock. The cleanup has been my sticking point, pun intended.

    A strategy to try if you are getting too much front load is to back off fin length, or add depth, which might help runout and edge hold. Could be beneficial to not need the added fin length due to the floaters. Just a thought.
  • ZmanZman Posts: 1,325 Crazy Baller
    This all makes me wonder how my old set up might have impacted my ski. I had HO Animals, single plates screwed to G10 plate, dual locked to Goode 9800SL. When I got on that set up from my old Monza, my skiing definitely improved and skiing felt much easier. Oh well, all in the past now.
  • A_BA_B Posts: 4,023 Mega Baller
    That would have been a pretty stiff setup with plates not letting G10 flex like normal. I ran animals on G10 but took them off their plates and mounted on the G10. Went to Stradas a few years ago and have run them on plates and Sequemce plate. My Strada 55 was pretty stiff flex so liked the floating Sequence plate on it. The new Vapor isn't as stiff so will be trying separate plates next Spring.
  • SkiJaySkiJay Posts: 2,302 Mega Baller
    You are absolutely right @AB‌. I went to extremes with short and deep setups and had the bindings all over the place too. Short and deep helped, but only so long as I skied smoothly and consistently--a tall order for me.

    As soon as I'd get late, or frantic, or pulled too long, then jumped on the ski a little harder than usual at the ball, it would flex more than expected, making it carve harder, which loaded it even more, flexed it more, turned it harder, loaded it more, etc., all in a nanosecond and ending with me crushing into the front to of the ski as it slammed on the brakes seemingly out of nowhere.

    There's nothing you can do with a fin that will fix too much ski flex beyond making it easier to avoid good solid tip-engagement; which is kind of counter-productive. The outer limits of tip-engagement is where the gods live.
    www.FinWhispering.com ... Your ski should be your dance partner, not a wrestling opponent
  • alex38alex38 Posts: 459 Baller
    I'm on a 66.5 A2 with sequence and beat up RS-1s. I had tip issues early in season so I tried removing spacers but then couldn't turn, put spacers back in, put a little space between boots and moved them back and I was golden

    Only other factors are I'm about 5 pounds heavier than normal and when I did this our water was super warm which always gives me trouble
  • SkiJaySkiJay Posts: 2,302 Mega Baller
    You bring up a good point @alex38. None of this is in any way meant to suggest that the Sequence plate doesn't work. Think of the Sequence plate as a ski tuning option. I think @gator1's ranking of stiffness above is probably right on. It could be perfect in full floating mode for a light skier who needs their plus-sized ski to flex easier. And as @AB pointed out, letting just one end of the plate float can even locate where you want the ski to flex more.
    www.FinWhispering.com ... Your ski should be your dance partner, not a wrestling opponent
  • JWebSkiJWebSki Posts: 90 Baller
    @SkiJay‌ I did the same thing taking off the rear horseshoe thinking it would be lighter
  • DanEDanE Posts: 849 Crazy Baller
    Controlling flex by removing spacers from a sequence plate seems very difficult to control.
    How many turns do you have before the tension in the screws is gone and the plate starts to float anyway?
  • SkiJaySkiJay Posts: 2,302 Mega Baller
    I don't think you can count on consistent screw tension. They have to be screwed down tight whether using the inserts or not. The inserts let the plate float freely at the front and back despite the screws being fasten tightly. Without the inserts, the screws still need to be fully torqued down. So it's binary, either full floating or clamped down tightly--nothing in between. However, you can choose to float or fix either end independently.
    www.FinWhispering.com ... Your ski should be your dance partner, not a wrestling opponent
  • DanEDanE Posts: 849 Crazy Baller
    @‌ My point exactly, so are you going to bring a screwdriver an tighten the screws after every pass just to be sure?
  • alex38alex38 Posts: 459 Baller
    @SkiJay‌, what if I only went directly to ski with plate (no Floaties) in rear? But kept them up front.
  • DanEDanE Posts: 849 Crazy Baller
    edited October 2014
    @scotchipman‌ I know, it's when you don't use the t-washers that you will get inconsistent results.
    You start the set with the plate screwed down tight= stiffer ski, after a few turns the screws will work themselves looser and the plate will start to float freely even if you don't use the t-washers=softer ski.
    Do you find the possibility of randomly changing ski flex within the same set desireable?
  • SkiJaySkiJay Posts: 2,302 Mega Baller
    edited October 2014
    @DanE‌ I check my screws after every ski day and I keep them pretty tight. I've found that after having the bindings off the ski, two or three of them may have come a tiny bit loose after a day of skiing so I retighten them. After a few days of this, they stop coming loose at all--but I keep checking them every day.

    @alex38‌ You can do that. It will stiffen the back of the ski and let the front flex all it wants. I found the opposite worked better on these D3s. The front of the ski is where there was too much flex causing excessive tip pressure. With the inserts out of the front but left in the back, most of the excessive tip pressure was gone, and the ski carved a little bit tighter radius as the tail was freed up to flex a bit more.

    In reality, I think the stiffening plate provided by Radar allows the tail to flex a bit even without the inserts as evidenced by these wear marks below. But it's probably less flex than with the floating inserts installed.

    These wear marks weren't made while the plates were mounted in the position shown in the photo. They were made with the binding plate mounted a hole forward of where it is for this picture. They were all concealed by the stiffening plate until the move, so there may not be a lot of flex, but clearly there is some movement there.
    www.FinWhispering.com ... Your ski should be your dance partner, not a wrestling opponent
  • Steven_HainesSteven_Haines Posts: 995 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    Maybe an easy fix to this would be to use Teflon type spacers in the slots to stop the movement completely where desired. Someone posted this idea in the thread about the Mikro-just where they heated and formed they're own spacers. Or maybe just buy 2 Mikro-just?
  • SkiJaySkiJay Posts: 2,302 Mega Baller
    I'm not sure I'd want to totally restrict all ability of the back of a Sequence plate to move as the ski's tail flexes. I'd worry that damage may be done to the inserts over time. Besides, there needs to be some flex.
    www.FinWhispering.com ... Your ski should be your dance partner, not a wrestling opponent
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