The MX line has gone through a little bit of a makeover for 2016/2017, changing from 83 to 84, and from 88 to 89. That being the case, the Kastle MX89 is still a fantastic all-mountain frontside ski with a lot of power and energy, and that smooth and precise Kastle feel. The MX89 is one of our favorite all-mountain frontside skis for 16/17. We just wish we had an unlimited budget for skis.
Kastle MX89 On-Mountain Video Ski Review
Jacket: Trew Cosmic Pants: The North Face Sickline Goggle: Smith Squad
Boots: Rossignol Alias Sensor 120
Bindings: Tyrolia Aaattack 13
Riders: Matt and Brian
Conditions: Soft Chop, Groomed, Hard Pack
Ski Personality: The Kastle MX89 felt like a smooth and precise all-mountain carver with a lot of energy.
On the Snow Feel: The Kastle MX89 definitely leans towards locked in. On edge it’s stable, precise, and unshakable. However, Brian did mention a bit of a playful feel when flat, and I would say that it’s not overly hard to disengage the ski when needed. Personally, I wouldn’t call it playful, but I think it at least goes to show that although the ski is very locked in on edge, it’s not difficult to release the tails and slide a turn every now and then.
Turn Initiation and Carving: I think we were both a bit surprised at how easy this ski feels. Maybe it’s the Hollowtech tip, but the ski has a light swing weight and feels easy to initiate. Brian even thought it felt playful to an extent. While I didn’t get the same playful feel, I can see where is is coming from. The light-weight tip makes it easy to swing the ski, and getting it on edge wasn’t overly difficult. At the same time I found it really easy to unlock the tails when I needed to, allowing me to slash a few turns from time to time. That being said, I still feel like this is a ski that is going to cater to advanced and expert skiers that love to really drive the skis and carve hard. The tip is easy to engage, but responds so much more when driving the ski down the fall-line. It took me work to bend the 180cm, but I was rewarded with a lot of power and energy. The ski is quick from edge to edge, and that beautiful flat tail shoots you out with a lot of power. This was one of the more energetic all-mountain skis I was on the entire season. The only downside for me was that I felt like I had to be in a good rhythm and form at all times. If I got lazy at all, the ski was quick to let you know. I wouldn’t necessarily say that it was punishing, but rather that it just lost all of its energy and life when I slowed down and stopped driving the ski. Thankfully, the ski was still maneuverable and easy to pivot, so even when being lazy I could still get the ski to do what I wanted. I guess the bottom line is that if you put the effort in, the reward is huge. The ski is so much fun when working it, and if you’re feeling lazy, the ski is still capable.
Speed: I think what I like about most of the Kastles that I have skied is that they just feel so smooth and stable. The Kastle MX89 is no exception. The ski feels smooth and easy to engage. On edge, the ski has a ton of stability, and even when the bases were flat, the ski doesn’t feel washy or loose. I really liked this ski at speed. Now, it does have a tighter 19m turn radius, so I’m not going to just straight line everything in sight, but when carving hard and fast, I never felt unstable. This ski rewards effort and speed. If you like to carve fast short to medium radius turns, the MX89 is worth the look.
Uneven/Variable Terrain: The day we tested the Kastle MX89 we had about 5 inches of tracked out snow on the side of groomers. This was perfect for testing out how well I performed in shallow chop and crud. While the ski feels smooth and damp, it’s not the best for deeper variable snow. For the most part, I found the MX89 to be able to cut through softer snow, but it does feel a bit locked in when trying to transition from edge to edge. When taking a bases flat approach, the ski remains fairly stable, but it can get a bit overwhelmed in deeper chop. I think if I was looking for an all-mountain frontside ski that is better in variable I’d look to the Brahma.
Edge Hold: The Kastle MX89 feels precise, edgy, and knifelike on groomed terrain. Even as things get a bit hard packed and firm, edge hold was very solid. I never worried about the edges washing out, even as the runs got steeper. It may not be my go-to for ice, but for anything up until then I’d feel fine on the MX89.
Bottom Line: The Kastle MX89 has the typical smooth, precise, and luxury feel of other Kastles. It just feels nice on snow. But at the same time it performs at a very high level. The ski is responsive, energetic, powerful, stable, and very fun carving short to medium radius turns at speed. It holds up really well at speed, and does an okay job in tracked out snow. I think it would be a really fun ski for those who will spend most of their time on groomed terrain, but don’t want to feel out of place as runs get tracked out. This ski is definitely one of our favorites for 16/17. But how does it compare to the Brahma and the Experience 88 HD? I’d say the MX89 feels more smooth and precise than either ski. It’s more energetic than the Brahma, but less capable in variable snow. The Brahma doesn’t feel quite as locked in either. The MX89 also has the slight edge in power over the Experience 88, but both are quite energetic and lively. I think if you prefer the smooth, precise feel of the Kastle, that might be the way to go, but the Experience 88 and Brahma are also very solid.
This review reflects the OPINION of our testers based on their personal experience with a particular product. We do not guarantee that you will have the same experience with, or opinion of, a product as our testers did. This review
should only be used as a general guide.