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new for 2016Worldcup Rebels i.SL RD  ?

traditional  ?

Power:  A+  ?

Finesse:  A  ?

Sidecut:  121/66/99 @ 165cm
Radius:  13.1m @ 165cm
Lengths:  156,158,165,16
Weight:  n.a.
MSRP: $1175

isl rd

If you follow the fortunes of Head-sponsored athletes on the World Cup circuit, you know that they own a lease on the podium in every event but slalom. Curiously, our testers, who of course aren’t wearing WC start bibs on the weekends and who struggle to bend the Rebels i.Speed and would probably wake up in the clinic if they ever essayed a true World Cup DH or SG ski, positively adore the Head Rebels i.SL RD. Just goes to show, as if any further proof were needed, how deep and un-bridgeable is the gulf between the planet’s best skiers and the rest of us. 

The point of this intro, aside from administering a dose of humility, is that Head keeps tinkering with this model even though what they had was already perfect from our panelists’ point of view.  The latest tweaks do nothing to dull its performance attributes, but the latest i.SL RD requires the full attention of its pilot if it’s to be fully appreciated. 

“Very sturdy, powerful machine,” assessed Footloose’s Corty Lawrence, “Push as hard as you want, go as fast as you want.  Have to be a tad careful at high speed not to pressure the tip too quickly, but rebound is symmetrical.”  Other testers concurred with Corty that the i.SL RD skied its best when tilted at a steep enough angle to allow the whole ski to bend.  “What a beautiful, balanced feel throughout the turn,” agreed one of The Sport Loft contingent who regularly rates race skis. 

Performance Scores

       
Early to edge:  9.80   Low speed turning:  7.60
Continuous accurate carve: 10.00   Forgiveness/ease:   7.20
Rebound/turn finish:   10.00   Drift/scrub:   7.80
Stable/accurate @ speed:    9.60   Finesse/power balance:  7.20
Short radius turns: 9.80      
Off-piste performance:   6.20   Overall 85.20
Power score (out of 10.00)

One doesn’t have to be an excellent skier to appreciate any of these skis, but it doesn’t hurt.  Frankly, if you can’t tip a ski on edge and hold it, there’s little reason to spend heavily on ski technology— spend the money you save on lessons—but if you do know what edges are meant for, one of the Power skis probably should be in your collection.

If you live where trees are tight, runs are short and snow is hard, a Power Pick is probably your everyday ski.If a ski in either Power or Finesse camps is especially suited—or not suited—to a particular level of skier, style of technique or condition or terrrain, you will find that mentioned in the narrative.
Finesse score (out of 10.00)

Our on-snow evaluations capture several “soft” behaviors that favor skiers who want to make their lives on snow easier. Often, this means a ski that bows under minimal pressure so lower-energy skiers don’t have to labor to bend it.

To achieve this docility at lower speeds, most of the Finesse Fraternity sacrifice some stability at speeds outside the range of most recreational skiers. These models are well adapted to skiers who either have been away from the sport a long time or have resisted upgrading for more than a decade.
Camber profiles are designated; this indicates a ski with some flavor of full rocker profile.
Skis that perform exceptionally well can earn Realskiers Recommended status
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