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  • Softening bellows

    I talked my girlfriend into making the switch to NTN but on getting her (tiny size 23.5) TX pro boots they are ridiculously stiff in the bellows - way stiffer than mine at size 26. This is not a difference due to a breaking period - I can barely flex them taking the boot and driving the toe into the floor with all my weight. It just looks like scarpa didn't scale the feel of the bellows right at all on the smaller boots (or at least our pair).

    Anyone else have this problem? Any good fixes (tried the boiling water trick which made no difference).

    Ta,

    Ben

  • #2
    The problem is not the bellows so much as the distance between the bellows and the second heel, which creates a sole that remains thicker (or is reinforced to be stiffer) behind the bellows - effectively making the sole in the flex zone a whole lot stiffer. 75mm doesn't have this issue because the sole thickness is more uniform around the bellows.

    You may recall I was asking for NTN testers with a size 26 foot. At that size, depending on the brand/model you have, you will either have a boot with a small NTN sole, or a large. The 26.5 sized boots (Crispi & Garmont) have a large NTN sole and definitely have a stiffer flex, whereas the TX from Scarpa is a size 26.0 and uses the small NTN sole. It flexes beautifully.

    I think the NTN system screwed up by 1) changing the NTN sole size at roughly the center of the bell shaped curve for boot size distribution and 2) for not making more different sole sizes to account for how the position of the duckbutt affects the flex of the bellows based on the size of the boot. More on that when I have more input.

    Feel free to provide your own input (based on experience), especially if you're a size 26 or 27 with the large NTN sole, or a small sized foot (< 24) with the small NTN sole.

    ain't no turn like tele!

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    • #3
      This may be a dumb question, but have you put them in the bindings? I only ask because when I got my TX Comps I was astonished how stiff they felt. Thought for sure I'd made a mistake. Once they were in the bindings, however, nice smooth bellows flex. Out of the binders, could stand on my toes and jump and barely have them flex. I have several seasons on the boots now, and the bellows have softened quite a bit since new.

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      • #4
        Ben, hope I can help. I ski the W's TxPro in a 22.5 and could not buy a tele turn the first half-dozen runs. It took a couple of days of skiing before I felt like I could
        make the boots flex at all. I tried all manner of "fixes" including skiing with the cuff unlocked, even skiing with the top two buckles only very loosely buckled. Honestly what helped the most was just skiing the danged things, although it was half a season before I could muster the courage to engage the cuff lock mechanism.

        If your GF is very petite and/or a less aggressive skier, it might be awhile before she feels at home in the boots. I am not petite, I ski alot, and it still took the better part of the first season to feel comfortable. There were some (now lost?) threads in Telemarktips on various ways to soften a too-stiff flex when the first NTN boots came out - perhaps someone here can remember the tricks, and I think boiling water was one. Wearing them around might have been another?

        I have a friend, also with 22.5's, that is going through the exact same thing as your GF and as I did. She has skied in them 8 times now and is just starting to feel a bit
        more confident.

        If it's some small consolation, it might take some time but will hopefully be worth it. My boots are very comfortable now and I am the boss of them. Have her shoot me a P.M. if that might be helpful, and good luck to her.

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        • #5
          This is definitely not a breaking in period for either her or the boots. She has done about 50 days on them and, while she is petite, she charges hard skiing big (for her) skis - typically 175 in length.

          Also I do not think that it is an issue with the location of the second heel - the boots are just plain rock solid, binding or no binding. My size 26's will flex easily when hand flexed against the floor. I can barely get any flex in the toe of her boots

          That said I did a longer session of boiling water and flexing for about 15 minutes per boot and do seem to have made some marginal improvement, but it is not much.

          Any other tips?

          (P.S. thanks for moving the thread Craig)

          Comment


          • #6
            Well, I suppose there's always the possibility that she got a boot from a batch of plastic that wasn't quite the right spec, but I'm not sure that can even happen. It sounds very frustrating, hope someone else has some ideas for you.

            After another few days of skiing, having the liners molded, and inserting an after-market footbed, my friend is feeling a bit more comfortable. She is also skiing with the cuff lever up to help with range of motion in the upper part of the boot. I had to do that for the first bit also, but am now able to ski with it down. Your GF might try that.

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            • #7
              The first production run of the orange evo boots had a very stiff forefoot, including their bellows. As a larger sized person, they worked for me without any modification, especially since it was a dedicated resort boot so I wasn't striding in the boot on a skin track and needing it to flex under gentle pressure. I am pretty sure "lonetelemarker" (who I have skied with) made a latteral cut, or a few cuts, in his boot sole to make his boot flex easier. I am not sure in the longterm effects of doing that, but I know that he had an improvement in the flex of his boots immediately and was pleased with the result.

              He is registered here. You could pm him and see how that worked out for him in the long term....
              Last edited by tele.skier; 2 January 2014, 07:56 AM.
              the fall line is your friend.... resistance is futile

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              • #8
                What you are talking about is real. But it's not the bellows, it's the sole. It's not easy for an adult male to bend a sizze 26 Tx Pro with his hands. But the amount of leverage the same man can exert on a size 22 Tx Pro is far less and he really can't bend it. Give him a size 30 and he can bend it. I agree manufacturers of tele boots should (if they don't already) consider the foot and the leg as the lever arm that causes the boot to bend. And someone who is 130 pounds or less with size 22 feet can't generate near the amount of leverage as a 160 pounder with size 26 feet.

                Of course the choice of springs and preload play into this too, but the basic mechanics are what they are. This is why I still maintain that the duckbill matters--maybe more for some--because it adds leverage.

                Edit to add: I congratulate the boot makers on building boots for people with small feet. It's a complex mechanical problem. But I do wonder if the current solution addresses the challenges in making the shells scale to the weight and size of lever arm the small skier can produce.
                Last edited by cesare; 2 January 2014, 08:57 AM.

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                • #9
                  Cesare - my thoughts are similar to yours.

                  As you say, the lever lengths have a significant impact - the deflection of a beam goes with the length ^3 so a sole of the same stiffness at half the length will deflect only 1/8th the amount! Couple that with the fact that people wearing smaller boots will generally be lighter and you find that you need to soften the sole stiffness on smaller boots by a surprising amount to make them 'equivalent' in flex to larger boots . My suspicion is that in designing the smaller sizes there are either constraints that limit what they can do, or they have simply not compensated enough for this.

                  ... then again, maybe I have a duff pair - QQ you seem to get on fine with yours - have you flexed them side by side with a larger boot of the same make?

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                  • #10
                    My 5' 2" tall light weight wife has no trouble flexing her 22.5 Scarpa TX-Pro boots, they are softer now after 2+ seasons of use but she said there was no problem right from the start. It really seems like you must have a boot that for some reason is extra stiff, I would contact Scarpa about it and see what they have to say. My wife did try the Garmont Priestess and hated them, although the bellows would flex, she couldn't flex the cuff at all, I felt the same about the Prophet, felt like an alpine boot with a flexy toe.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by ben_a View Post
                      Cesare - my thoughts are similar to yours.

                      As you say, the lever lengths have a significant impact - the deflection of a beam goes with the length ^3 so a sole of the same stiffness at half the length will deflect only 1/8th the amount! Couple that with the fact that people wearing smaller boots will generally be lighter and you find that you need to soften the sole stiffness on smaller boots by a surprising amount to make them 'equivalent' in flex to larger boots . My suspicion is that in designing the smaller sizes there are either constraints that limit what they can do, or they have simply not compensated enough for this.

                      ... then again, maybe I have a duff pair - QQ you seem to get on fine with yours - have you flexed them side by side with a larger boot of the same make?
                      I have not had the opportunity to directly compare my boots with a larger size - never needed to.

                      What was your GF's boot/binding before moving to NTN? Did she have a proper mold (and I do mean an oven bake!) done on the liners?

                      The only other thing that occurs to me is that you say your GF is a hard-charging skier, petite and on 175's: is the combination of a relatively long ski, petite gal, stiff boot, and perhaps technique the problem? If she is not used to really driving the cuff of the boot, then she will probably continue to struggle with NTN.

                      If there is not a problem with the boot, then perhaps it would pay to examine the other elements. Much as I would love to blame my gear for my flaws, it's not yet been honestly possible. Not criticizing, just trying to help troubleshoot.

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                      • #12
                        The hardest thing to get used to for me is new boots, especially if they are stiffer. It may take an adjustment in her stance or style to get the boots to work, like a higher tighter stance where you don't need to lift your heel so high. Give it some time.

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