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Thread: BD Factor review
01-07-2009, 10:12 AM #1
BD Factor review
Me: 6'1", 185 lbs.
Skis: 190 Volkl Gotama w/ Solly DIN 12, 183 Atomic Janak w/ Vertical ST, 174 K2 Sahale w/ Tri-step
Boots: Salomon X-Wave 10, Lasers-->Megarides-->Frankenrides
Skier type: Been skiing for 6 years in NW Montana, fairly aggressive, not a hucker, variable conditions
Inbounds Days in the Factors: 2
BC Days in the Factors: 5
Background: I started looking at these boots earlier this fall when people started talking about them and writing mini reviews from trying them on in shops. I was pretty happy with my Solly X-Wave 10s for inbounds skiing in terms of fit and function, but the liners were getting a little sloppy from 3 seasons worth of use. My current backcountry boots were modified Megarides with a stiffer tongue, bigger spoiler and bigger powerstrap taken from a different pair of boots. I was planning on buying one or two pairs of Intuition liners to try to continue stiffening up the Megarides and improve the fit as I couldn't quite get them stiff enough and possibly for the Sollys also, as those lines are really starting to go. Long story short, I sold a car that I've been trying to sell for a while and decided to use a bit of that money for a new pair of AT boots instead of throwing a liner in a pair of boots that would probably never be stiff enough.
I had previously tried the Factors on in a shop and was amazed (like others) by their fit (great heel pocket!) and seemingly amazing walk mode. It was just about as stiff as my Sollys in the store. The interchangeable soles made me think that maybe I could ski this boot with both setups and sell my other boots. I don't have much of the quiver mentality, and in many ways, I love the idea of simplifying to the point of only having one or two pairs of skis/boots for most/all conditions. Obviously there are limits to this, but I like the idea. Another JONG (other than myself) showed up on Gear Swap trying to sell a pair of 28.5s and we struck a deal. I put my money down about 2 days before I saw the first reports of buckles and walk modes breaking on these boots. Needless to say, these reports worried me.
Boot fit dialing: When the boots arrived, the liners had been baked once and I could barely wear them without my entire foot falling asleep. Shell fit was fine (1.5 fingers on the right, 2 fingers on the left), so I decided to bite the bullet and bake them hoping that it worked out. After baking, they lost a lot of volume inside. I ended up having to add a thin shim under a pair of superfeet to get them to fit right. FWIW, I didn't end up molding and using the BD footbed. I am still planning on trying this, but haven't put in the time to make them fit right (yet). With the Superfeet and shim, the fit was great. The BC soles arrived the same day that boots came, so I played around with swapping the soles. I'm still not a huge fan of screwing the heel screws into plastic. The toe piece is much easier to swap (don't have to pull out the liner and you screw into metal) than the heel piece (have to pull liner and screw into plastic). Seems to me that similar metal inserts could have been used with the heel pieces, and BD could have chosen to go with one type of screw or allen to minimize the number of tools needed to swap soles which would have also been nice. Currently I need the allen wrench, phillips head screw driver, and a small hammer to knock off the heel pieces when swapping soles. Not terrible, but not super user friendly. That said, I'd rather have these pieces be tight than loose. The other thing that I noticed right away was that for my style of skiing, body type, whatever, there is no way that I could ski these boots in the upright or furthest back forward lean position. I HAVE to be in the most forward position for the boots to feel right to me. Otherwise, I find myself in the back seat no matter what skis I'm on. My first two tests on these boots were on the Sahales and the Janaks and I felt terribly unbalanced the entire time. After adjusting the forward lean, this felt much more natural. A lot of people have complained about the BOA. I have not had any problems getting into or out of the liners. I have to be a little more careful that I don't snag a wire on the overlapping cuff, but it really isn't that big of a deal for me and probably takes an additional 10 seconds each time I get in/out of the boots. I like the ability to tighten up or loosen the liner around my foot before and after skinning. Because of it's location, I can actually access the dial without having to pull my pant cuffs up.
Inbounds Skiing: I put the DIN soles back on and went up to the ski resort with the Gotamas to test them against the Sollys. Suprisingly, they seemed to drive the skis as well as the Solly's, albeit just a tad bit less stiff. I read another review saying that they were stiffer than the X-Wave 10s, but I'd have to disagree. Mine seem to be less stiff by just a little bit than the X-Waves. Based on the flex rating of the Sollys (110), I'd put the Factors at a 100-105. I was able to ski fresh powder, hard pack, crud, soft groomers, and moguls. Obviously, the Gots are not a mogul ski, but the Factors drove my Gotamas as well as my Sollys and were more comfortable. Flipping the boots into walk mode and walking from/to the car and around the lodge was awesome. There is a really fun series of side country runs that are out of bounds from the resort that have a boot pack at the end. This boot will be perfect for that.
BC Skinning/skiing: The boots actually make my BC skis more fun on the downhill (which is what I was expecting). The boots are no longer the limiting factor and I can ski faster, harder, and in more variable conditions with greater confidence than before. I am very happy with the increase in downhill performance that these boots gave me. The first time skinning in these boots, I felt the weight right away. This is not a light boot. Over the last few days of skinning, however, I have sort of forgotten about how much the boot weighs. I love the downhill performance so much, the extra weight on the uphills is worth it. I did some calculations before buying these boots, and my boot/binding setup is still lighter than a pair of light boots (i.e. Megarides) paired with Fristchis (much less dukes) so I really have nothing to complain about. I will simply have to be stronger than last year. On long flat skins, I definitely notice the lack of rearward motion. I went on a longer flat skin yesterday. When you reach the end of the rearward motion, the momentum sort of levers your toes up into the top of the liner/shell. Both of my big toes' toenails hurt quite a bit at the end of the skin. This could be annoying on something longer and flatter, but I'm sure that with a shorter stride, I could probably account for this. This is one of my only complaints about this boot.
Summary: I'm not sure whether to sell the other boots or not. I will continue to ski this as my one-boot quiver, but am a little worried that I could break something (walk mode, buckle, etc.). When I go to SLC next month for a ski trip, I'll likely take my other boots (Sollys and Megas) just in case I have an equipment failure. That's a bummer. Until that happens, though, I will continue to use this boot every day that I'm on skis. I wish they were lighter, but an Intuition liner can help with that and I'd rather have the stiff boot than the weight savings for the type of skiing I do. I'm very happy with the purchase. These boots do everything that I do very well.
Pros: Customizability, downhill performance, very close to a one-boot quiver
Cons: Swapping soles can be a pain, lack of rearward motion in walk mode, weight
If anybody has been looking to buy this boot and has any specific questions, let me know.
01-07-2009, 12:32 PM #2
Good luck with the boots, but I think you'll like them. Did BDEL offer up any "advance replacement" parts? Maybe I'll give them a call, but it would be great to have a couple of spare parts to throw in a pack when I'm going into the backcountry.
01-07-2009, 04:53 PM #3
01-08-2009, 11:28 AM #4
Bullet, that is really good info on the aggressive warranty philosophy. Hopefully I won't need it, but history tells me I'm gonna break something on the boots.
01-08-2009, 02:36 PM #5
Mi esposa and I went to winthrop to do some mtb'ing last may. We next went to ride galbraith in bellingham and I had the bright idea to ride my road bike over from winthrop to diablo lake over washington and rainy passes. The pass had just opened for the season two days before. I left winthrop in fairly warm and dry conditions. Up top everybody was unloading skis to go touring, and I'm thinking, "what the hell am I doing up here on a bicycle?"
01-08-2009, 04:37 PM #6
Just got an e-mail from BDEL's warranty department and they are going to send me out a bunch of parts to stick in my pack when heading out in the backcountry. I reread a few posts on here talking about what was failing, and someone nailed it when they said that although super annoying, at least we aren't seeing any catastrophic failures that would leave somebody totally stranded. You can still ski in walk mode or with 3/4 buckles buckled. That said, I'm still going to figure out how to replace a buckle and/or the walk mode piece in the event that it happens. Thanks for the suggestion Bullet.
01-20-2009, 04:59 PM #7
Just a quick update as I've spent a few more days in them both inbounds and touring.
This past weekend, I spent Saturday skiing inbounds on my bc setup. It consists of a pair of 183 Janaks, Dynafit ST, and the Factors. I had noticed the past few times of skiing the factors that the liners seem to be packing out more than I would like (not nearly as bad as the Garmont liners that came in my Megarides which packed out within 2-3 days), so I put my alpine liner in there from my X-Wave 10s. The first thing that I noticed was that these liners really stiffened up the boots! The felt very much on par with the X-Wave 10s with these liners in them, and I can only guess that they'd be even better with a pair of the Intuitions in them. We haven't gotten much snow in NW Montana in the past few weeks, so we skied groomers and hardpack for the majority of the day. My edges definitely need a sharpening, but I was amazed at how much fun I was having on this setup. There was no hint of weakness from the boots, bindings, or skis except that the setup is light so it would get tossed around in the bumps a bit more than I suspect they would with heavier boots and bindings. I really feel like these boots have made backcountry skiing way more fun because I am in much better control overall.
I have a couple of bone spurs on the outside of each foot from abot 8 years worth of work and play in different low volume whitewater kayaks, and this was the other thing that I noticed right way. The Factor shells (28.5) are lower volume than my X-Wave 10s (28.5). These bone spurs were killing me for the entire day. However. . . I'm really tempted to remold the alpine liners for the Factors because of how well they performed even on Groomers and icy hardpack.
We ended the day with a skin up the mountain (~2000') because there was an amazing inversion and the sunset above the clouds was incredible. The next thing that I noticed was that in normal skin mode (top buckles on first buckle, not skin loop), these boots were much harder to walk in. When I released the power strap and put the buckles on the skinning loop, they walked well, but not nearly as easily as the BD liners do. That makes me wonder whether I'd want two liners for this boot if I were going to be using it as a one boot quiver.
Sunday we did about a 2500-3000' day. Pretty relaxed, with a couple of shorters skins (400-500') and one longer skin (1600'). I used the BD liners for this day and was stoked with the walk mode once again. One thing that I will mention, as it's been commented on before, is that the lack of rearward movement wasn't really apparent to me. There was probably about 1 mile of flat skinning where I was taking pretty big strides (toe of forward boot at or in front of other ski tip) and trying to determine if the rearward motion thing bothered me. To be honest, I didn't noticed it until I started thinking about it, and even when I did, it didn't bother me. I didn't really feel the limitation like I mentioned in the thread above. I'm not sure if I, 1. am getting used to the skinning motion, 2. have a longer femur than other testers and therefore don't lever my foot as much on flatter skins, or 3. was actually skinning slightly downhill on the initial review post above. This would might create more of that levering that I was feeling at that time. The flat skin from Sunday was very flat with a very slight uphill and I felt no limit in motion.
Lastly, BD sent me replacement buckles and walk mode to throw in my pack. I havne't had any problems up to this point, but I'm currently carrying replacement screws for sole blocks and an allen wrench. Nothing has come loose or caused me any reason to worry, but it gives me a little peace of mind. Again, if there are any specific questions, feel free to post here or PM me.
01-20-2009, 05:27 PM #8
thanks for all the detailed info. intuitions+factors sound like a $$$ setup to me...
01-20-2009, 05:52 PM #9
01-20-2009, 06:08 PM #10
Are you finding that the walk motion is limited by the Intuitions? Which intuitions do you have in there? I couldn't believe how bomber the setup felt with the alpine liners on the down. I had to remind myself that I was skiing my dynafits very aggressively. I wasn't a huge fan on the way up, though.
01-20-2009, 06:39 PM #11
Anyone have sizing recommendations for intuitions and factors? I've got 25.5 Factors arriving tomorrow, which is according to the BD chart an 8 (or 7.5.) Are people going same size, one up, one down in the intuitions? Wrap or tongue?
01-20-2009, 09:20 PM #12
I did not feel any walk-mode limitation due to the intuitions, and they probably stick a good 4-5" out the top of the shell (power wraps). I've only skinned them one day with a few short laps (maybe 1000') but I was plenty fast, using dukes, and felt no limitations at all in terms of skinning. Maybe it's easier with the boa liners, they crushed my toes so I pulled them before I got a chance to skin with them.
01-21-2009, 09:08 AM #13u
- Join Date
- Oct 2004
I have the Orange Dalbello Intuition ID liners in my Factors and I've been really happy with them. I've had two pairs of Power wraps (which would really make the factors stiff) but for some reason I've always had shin pain problems in the Power Wraps, and I previously had some Gold ID liners that gave me no shin pain. Thats why I went with the ID liners again. They dont limit the rearward travel in tour mode and they are lighter than the stock liners. This is the first AT boot I've had (and I've had about 6 pairs) that skis like an alpine boot. Yes they are a bit heavy, but they are no heavier than Axons, and I skied in them last year for a bit but couldnt justify the weight because I didn't think they skied all that great. I havent had any parts break yet, luckily I live about a mile from BD in case it ever happens.
01-21-2009, 09:32 AM #14serial lurker
- Join Date
- Feb 2006
01-21-2009, 11:45 AM #15
I'll add my 2 cents here, since I finally was able to get out on my Factors.
Me: 5'11" 160lbs
Skis: 190 Verdict
Boots: Alpine - Full Tilt camos / AT - Factors
Bindings: Dynafit TLT Vertical FT 12
Skier type: Aggressive, fast, not jibby anymore, big turns and the occasional 10-20' drop, ex-freeski competitor defines my style.
Inbounds Days in the Factors: 0 - I will probably never use these inbounds unless it is to access a sidecountry gate. But that is mostly b/c I'm too lazy to change soles.
BC Days in the Factors: 2
Finally got out on my boots and new Dynafit setup for two tours this week. One 3,000' skin to Upper Maybird, and one 3000' multi-stage tour of Mt. Aire. Stoked! Aside from being blown away by how much better Dynafits are than Fritchis in every way - skiing to skinning to weight - I really dug these boots. They were everything I was hoping for.
Not super light, but light enough for me. I have a B-C width foot, so fairly narrow. As I age my feet are spreading out a bit and I can ski a C-ish Salomon comfortably. But the Full Tilts are perfect. The Factors are higher volume than the FT's, but they fit my foot MUCH better than any other AT boot I've ever tried - including Garmont, Scarpa, and Crispi. I have tried on the Dynafit Zzeus and I think I could've gone that route and been happy as well, but I went BD and am glad I chose these.
Walk mode, as expected with just trying the boots on, was AWESOME. The flex is so smooth and natural I am just amazed by it. Did not notice any problem with rearward movement. It's just such a better walk mode than I had on my Crispi Diablos or Garmont Adrenalins. I accidentally left the boots in ski mode on one flat traverse, and got all pissy that they weren't flexing rearwards, but yeah. Once I figured it out it was just smooth and plenty of flex.
Liners felt good; I am getting one hot spot on my right heel I think due to the super tight heel pocket, but by the second tour I could tell it was already getting better. I opted not to thermomold these liners as they felt snug and good out of the box; didn't want to give them any excuse to pack out prematurely. Getting out of the boots at the end of the day is a bit of a pain, but I found if I stuck my hand into the back of the boot and pressed between the liner and my heel, they released my foot without too much trouble.
Skiing: no discernible difference between real live alpine boots! Woohoo! These made bc ski descents so much more fun and comfortable. And I wasn't swimming in the boot, worried about slop and banging my toes and all that crap that came with previous AT boots. The solid boot feel with the solid no-slop connection to the ski the Dynafits provided just instantly changed my bc skiing for the better.
I'm a VERY happy camper with the Factors. And the FT12's.
Last edited by Particle; 01-21-2009 at 12:03 PM.I'm so hardcore, I'm gnarcore.
04-08-2009, 03:44 PM #16
By now I've had around 25 days inbound on the Factors and an additional 15-20 skinning.
I still really like the boot, but have had a couple of frustrating things going on. While on a ski trip in SLC, I noticed that I stripped one of my buckles' micro-adjustment. I thought it sort of wierd and headed into the BD shop to get a replacement buckle put on there. Unfortunately the warranty department is only open during normal ski hours, so I wasn't able to actually get the buckle replaced. A day later, I buckled said buckle only to have it break apart. I was forced to ski the rest of the week without a buckle on that particular boot. Not a huge deal, but could definitely notice the difference.
Toward the end of the trip, I began feeling like my upper cuff was flexing a bit too far forward and backward and it was really bothering me. I couldn't figure it out, as the walk/ski mode still seemed to be working properly (i.e. not cracked). I did a little searching on here and found that others have had a similar problem. I realized a few days again on my last day inbounds that I had stripped another micro adjust on the top buckle, and the sloppiness that I felt was due to this micro adjust being stripped. When I buckled it down on the next buckle, the sloppiness went away. I probably should have seen this coming, but I skinned the local ski resort last night and when tightening the buckle down for the trip down, it came apart in my hands.
The Factor buckles are pretty crappy, in my opinion. I think that they need to be replaced with better buckles all around. I have no idea what this will cost me. I'm going to see if BDEL would be willing to do it - but not with their standard Factor buckles as I don't want to deal with this again throughout next season.
I'm also going to add a pair of Intuitions as the Boas are pretty much useless to me right now. I've been skinning and skiing in my Solomon X-Wave liners which are really painful even after a bake, but much stiffer and I like the boot better. As a last point of contention, I think the spoiler is also crap. I can't get it to stay up in the back. My Solly's don't have any problems here, so I may look for additional options elsewhere on replacing this with something a little more beefy.
If anybody has had any luck solving these issues, please let me know. Aside from this, I love the boot. It does everything that I want it to do and aside from a few QC problems, has given me a lot of great days on the snow this year. I'd still recommend it to others, as long as they understood the potential downsides.
04-09-2009, 01:17 AM #17
I´ll chime in with my 20 days with factors experiences as well..
- First noticed the dreaded "buckle bang" i.a. the lower cuff and upper foot buckles hitting each other when flexing. Seems to be problem with ALL small sized rando boots...Zzeus,Factors,Megarides...
-The liners packed out after 5 days.Replaced with intuitions.
-Walk mode started to act up on day 10.Didnt break though..
-Weird flex in the cuff after 10 days. There were this 2cm slop when moving your leg on the right boot.Didnt find a reason or remedy.
-Plastic in the toebox broke. Developed a 3cm crack originating from the darker green plastic..
In the end BD gave the money back,so whooppee.
Liked the boot though,will definately look into it after couple of more seasons when they have remedied the blatant fuckups.
The floggings will continue until morale improves.