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The cold world of skimo & alpine climbing

The cold world of skimo & alpine climbing

Thursday, September 19, 2013

The Dynafit TLT6 ski boot, shake and rebake!

 
Lets see if I can sort through some of the early Internet misinformation and misrepresentation on the TLT6.  Admittedly some of it clearly my fault here @  C-T no matter how unintentional.

First up lets talk shells and add some definitive comparison numbers to the older TLT5.


My boots are 29s.  BSL are the same @ 317mm
Power strap is 30g with out hardware.  One rivet in the Mtn,  two bolts in the P version.  

Shells, no tongue but with power strap, one shell

TLT6 P CR 1050g

TLT5 P TF 1010g

TLT5 Mtn TFX 1000g

Liners: for one liner
TLT6 P CR 288g

TLT5 P TF 186g

TLT5 Mtn TFX 326g

*Intuition Pro Tour*  278g

Boots total weight, shell and liner, no insoles, one boot :

TLT6 P CR 1338g

TLT5 P TF 1196g

TLT5 Mtn TFX 1326g


All are actual weights as delivered by the factory in the US with the available liners.



Walking?  Yes there is a difference and you will feel it immediately between walking in a TLT5 and a TLT6.  One is a full on lwt ski boot as predicted previous.  The older boot is something special and "in between" a mtn boot and a full on ski boot.  Because the sole flexes even that tiny 5mm I get substantially less heel lift in the TLT5.  Less heel lift walking and skinning means you don't compact your liners as quickly in that same area. And you will have less heel lift on the down skiing I'd bet.  The longer you walk on a hard surface in a TLT6 the more you will notice the lack of flex at the metatarsal that the  earlier TLT5 boots has.  If you are use to walking in a rigid ski boot then the TLT6 will be of little notice, easy enough to walk in and likely lighter than anything you have experienced prior, short of a full on Rando race boot.  The shorter BSL will help as well for walking.  If you have a TLT5 and thought of replacing it with the "better" TLT6 you might want to rethink that.  Less difference between a Dynafit ONE and a TLT6 than the TLT5 and TLT6 series IMO.  TLT6 might as well be a ONE to walk in.  The slightly longer toe on the ONE makes it just that much more clumsy.

 


Skiing?  I don't claim to be any great skier just been doing it a long time now.  And to date the most difficult/steepest terrain I have ever skied has been on a TLT5.  (Ps and Mtn btw)  And I have been very happy with the TLT5 as a ski boot.  Only for durability and small fit issues have I slighted the TLT5 but never how the boots skied.

The TLT6 however is a step up on skiing performance.  The distinct lack of metatarsal flex which made walking and climbing more enjoyable in the 5s, is missing in the 6 and sucks by comparison. Please note I said "by comparison".  As in a comparison to of 5 to 6.    I am a 190# guy and more with kit on.   The 2nd turn on a TLT6 I noticed the lack of sole flex.  The TLT6 is a better ski boot because of the new lower shell and no toe bellows.

Snowboards?  Come on guys these are both rigid ski boots by a snow boarder's standards.  Both the Mtn and the P versions.  And either will rip on even a fat 110mm+ down hill ski.  If a ski boot is your thing on a snow board I suspect either version will work.  You have the option of removing the tongue of this boot in any version.  Same with the power strap.  Remove it and make the forward flex a little softer in either boot.  So there are options.  Laterally they are both stiff boots.  I don't see how the added metatarsal flex of the TLT 5 would add anything to a snowboard unless you actually do a lot of boot packing. 

 


Climbing?  I'll say it again.  In my experience the TLT5 is undoubtedly a better climbing boot.  If you are climbing in a ski boot now there is little incentive to change to the TLT6 IMO unless you are looking to drop weight or better your walk modestrike.   Harsh but the TLT6 is not the boot (or it's near cousin IMO) that so wowed me in Chamonix a few years ago.  But there it is.  I'm not being a hater here.  Just giving a honest commentary on the newest TLT6 as I see it.   The early boot I was more than willing to fork over a $1000 for.  So ya, I am still pissed the design effort went as it has.  No one gave me either of these boots.  I bought them with my hard earned cash.  Just to reinforce the fact on how the fit differs I am typing this with a TLT5 on one foot and a TLT6 on the other at this very moment.  When you can tell the difference walking down the drive way to the mail box in the boots you can only image how that will sort itself out in the hills.   It is not a good sign when a few hours in the boots one is beginning to be painful and one isn't.  

One of the things that the earlier TLT 5 series had for the moment was a bit of flex that not all AT boots have.  And now no ski boots use that I know of.    It isn't much (5mm?) but it is enough to notice after a long day in stiff boots. The newest DyNA version had already left the flex feature out. It is an advantage in a climbing boot imo. Disadvantage in a ski boot, plus the added weight is the reasoning behind that change in the new DyNA EVO and now the TLT6.  If you took note you saw that change coming.





The Dynafit toe flex design that allows for a rigid sole boot for skiing, but flexible boot for walking. And imo the missing link for plastic climbing boots Simply brilliant..



FIT?  Lots of Internet chatter on how wide and nasty the new last was going to be.  My first pair of 6s were not my exact size.  But I had the suspicion that even in my perfect 29 shell I wouldn't be able to tell the difference between 2mm in the arch/ ball of the foot and 1 mm on the outside ball of the of the foot.  And I speculated no one else could tell the difference either.  Liners will eat that all up and then some.  Nice fit aid though.  As are the same two extra insoles that still come in the boot box.

May be we need a world wide "Pepsi Challenge" to see what others come up with for "feel" on the new shell sizing internally? 

So I took both my old and worn TLTP TX Palau liners and my previously heat formed Mountain's TF, orthotics installed and slid them into the TLT6.  Amazing enough not only was the TLT6 not wider for my foot and fit but noticeably smaller!   Yes smaller!  Think not?  Well same liners, same Super feet and same 29 shells.  I have a TLT5 on my left foot and a TLT6 on my right.  Been typing for an hour or so and getting up to walk around some.   My arch is just starting to cramp and the outside ball of my foot is getting uncomfortably tight in the TLT6.  Same old liners TX Palau liner mind you.  Same result but a little more comfortable with the Mtn's TF-X.  And some how I am not noticing that extra, huge, addition of 3mm in the new TL6.   I think I know what they did to improve the fit on the TLT6 shell and the added insole might well be appreciated at some point.  But the 6's instep is really tight no matter what insole I am using.  Funny how I was just warned about that exact same issue this morning via email.  And that owner of a TLT6 hasn't even molded/used his boots yet.   For now at least I am not happy with dropping in my old inner boots and orthotic.  It is not "happily ever after".   The following day I spent a full 7 hours walking around and doing almost every thing you can do in a ski boot with out snow or skiing.  Some where along the way the older TF-X liner loosened up enough in the TLT6  shell that it at least felt very close to the TLT5 shell for sizing.  But the TLT6 always stayed a little tighter ...like one had added a mid sole to take up space in the TLT6.  Which is exactly what Dynafit did to add some warmth to the boot.  

A look at the bottom of the TLT5 boot shown above.
This always reminds me of a mid '80s boot maker's unfinished answer.

 

 
A look at the bottom of the TLT6 boot shown above..
I like the additional insole and certainly makes the boot appear more finished.
No question it has changed the fit for me.  I get a tighter boot despite the added volume internally. 


I also tried the unmolded CR liners for a little over a half day in both boot shells.  6 hrs total in that combo.  Again no skiing just trying to figure out what combo of what I have will fit me the best for the intended use.  For the third time I still give the nod to what feels like a smaller volume internally with the TLT6.  I'll repeat the the specifics of my observation.  I have less room in my TLT6 than I do in my TLT5s using the same minimalistic Palau/Dynafit TF foam liner or the TF-X and my cork Superfeet.   YMMV but that is my personal experience to date.  If I didn't know the inner volume had changed I would guess that Dynafit made no changes in the shell past adding the new, warmer insole.
 
left to right TLT5 and aTLT6

I have since heat molded the CR liner on a tower heater/blower.  I found the CR liner to mold much easier and quicker than the previous TF-X liner.  I also felt it compressed easier while molding.  And I'll need to qualify in more detail to be sure but suspect the additional boot shell insole has compressed as well with the little extra heat the "hot" liner transferred to the foot bed of the boot.  With my Super feet corks installed during fitting process by the time I was done it felt like I actually did indeed have more internal space compared to the TLT5.   The toe box seemed bigger as the end result.  Marginal at best but noticeable as well.

My next effort will be to reform my original TLT5P Palau liners to fit my TLT6 shells.

The fit is different enough between the 5 and 6 that I am currently entertaining the idea dropping a shell size (to a 28 from a 29).  I know that sounds weird after all the comments on "smaller" but after molding the CR liner it has me wondering if going down a shell size might actually be possible with a little work heat reforming the shell. 

I have no doubt that the TLT6 will be easier to fit customers in the store.  How all that will work out for a performance fit on the hill I have yet to see.

Bottom line on fit?    No matter how good you think your boots fit in the store.  Be sure to have them heat molded by a boot fitter you trust.  The difference is significant every time.  And seemingly always a better fit as the end result..


 and  
External volume?  The cross section of the TLT6 shell at the ball of the foot is 6 or 7mm less than the TLT5.  You can see it easily with your eye on a side by side comparison of shells, less so in a picture.   In the world of climbing, generally less volume is a good thing.   Not that it will matter from what I can see at this point but I'll take it.


Tongues?  Now you get a pair of tongues with the 6.  A black *stiff* and a lt green *soft*.   I thought I could tell the difference between a hand flex of the black P and the green Mtn tongues on the 5s.  You most certainly can tell the difference hand flexing the TLT6 tongues!  And as I had hoped softer and harder than the original TLT5 tongue of any color.  The newest TLT6 tongue is ever so slightly shorter in height but works just fine in the TLT5 for those that wondered.  I couldn't tell any difference rug flexing/testing the black tongue in my TLT5 Mtns compared to the standard green MTN tongue however.  Much as I wish it might be so. 

Power strap?  The TLT 6 has a new power strap.  Gone is the big bump that kept the strap caught by the metal loop.  I always just cut mine off.  Now they have two small bumps on the strap end and you can take it out of the loop easily if you want to and the bumps keep it retained if you would prefer that option.  Nice detail addressed from the previous boot.  The strap however is much longer now than previous. (at least mine are)  With ankles and the bottom of my calves the size of an 11 year old girl's it is now unworkable for sizing.  Way too big with the Velcro barely engaging on full wrap and no tongue installed.  It is slightly better with a tongue installed.   If anyone has a pair of TLT5 power straps in decent shape that are two small I'll trade you straight up!?? These (the new longer ones) are now virtually unusable for me.

Liners?

left to right, CL and CR liners
Photo courtesy of http://mountainski.eu/



TLT6 P CR 288g

TLT5 P TF 186g

TLT5 Mtn TFX 326g



On the left is the TLT6 CR liner.  Previous TF-X liner on the right.  Lower positioned sock "stop", fewer laces but covering more on the inner boot.  Almost a full inch taller and a much beefier tongue.  And still the new CR liner is 38g lighter.

That pretty much says it all.  Newest liner is not much lighter but it is some lighter.  Impressive with the added features and hight.  I don;t question it will be the most comfortable for skiing up hill or down.  I am a big fan of the last generation of TFX lines as well.  And as much as I like the original, the Palau  TF liner, it could be more comfortable.  I use an even lighter version in my PDGs and have similar issues on fit.  Good but they could both be better.  I have to use a custom orthotic in both shells to keep my feet happy for the day.  Easy enough to mix and match or add a after market liner.  Be sure to heat form your liners if you want the very best fit.  No matter what Dynafit suggests.  If they can be molded...mold them.  No one in their right mind would ski a Intuition without heat molding/forming them.  Get on that clue bus for all of Dynafit's liners as well.

Comparing the TF-X liner to the the newest CR liner?   Besides the drop in the weight on the CR you get a slightly taller inner boot, much more reinforcement in wear areas and a deeper throat for easier entry and exit.  The laces have eyelets higher on the inner boot and lower as  well.  The idea is a better fitting inner boot.  The tongue of the CR inner boot resembles a full blown ski boot now.  It is stiff and reinforced although you have to look closely if you don't have it at hand.

The flex portion of the cuff is more flexible going back wards and as rigid  or more going forward with a limiter strap on the back of the inner boot.  Not sure it works as they intended but no question Dynafit has made a real effort at having offering a much better all around inner boot.

Shell mods/boot fitting:  At least now folks will not be so hesitant about blowing out the boots for fit issues.  The metatarsal bellows made that all rather problematic on such a thin boot.  A good boot fitter should be able to do it with rather easily now by comparison.

Variations?  To date I have seen 5 versions of the TLT6.  and 3 models.  By levels of stiffness in the cuff material, more to less..  Carbon cuff, Fiberglass cuff and a Pebax cuff.  Two liners, (maybe even three) which are the CR or Comfort Ready and the CL or Comfort Light.  I am still a little unsure what we will see for actual liners but those are suppose to be their names with actual liners pictured below.

Photo courtesy of http://mountainski.eu/


TLT6 P CR
TLT6 P CL
TLT6 C-ONE CL
TLT Mtn CR
TLT Mtn CL





Durability?   Guy have been getting a couple of years from the boots generally.  Some are still on the same boots from Fall of 2010.   That amazes me.    I am gentle on my gear for the most part and was worried about my own TLT5s in either version from the ski cutting I experienced on the boot shell.   I have been reassured the Grilamid is more than up to the task.  But then I have neither the desire nor the pocket boot to test them to failure.  Seems a silly thing to worry about in a $1000 boot.  I have not had problems with the hinge rivet however.  Or the buckles for that matter other than not always wanting to stay shut.

The Buckles?  The new buckle system for the most part are a nice improvement.  More of them however.  Still only 2 but they have added more adjustments and hinge points on the buckles that are there and an extra latch over the instep.  Only a tiny gain in weight because of it.  I really like the "snap" of the lower buckle and it now dbl pegs to lock it down.  The first TLT had no peg on that buckle.  The 2nd gen boots offered a single peg in the same buckle which helped.  This new dbl peg buckle should have that issue sorted out.  So I am hoping the instep buckle now stays shut on the crusty boot packs.    The shell has a "dam" built around the lower instep buckle as well.  That will help keeping the buckle closed as well.




Last year, Dane's new G20s and a perfect fit!

Crampons?  Grivels seem to be made for this boot.  They fit like a glove out of the box.  The others?  Not so much.  I've use the G20 and G22 on different occasions and prefer the G20s.  Unusual as I am not generally a fan of  mono points.


A Better Comparison?
A better comparion now on ski boots instead of the TLT5 and 6 IMO is the TLT6 and the ONE PF-TX.  Just 5.5oz/156g between the two boots, and $450.

It has been nawing at me for a week or so.  I seem to rememebr Lou over at Wild snow "asking" for a TLT ONE at some point in the recent past.  Without a doubt that is exactly want the TLT6  is now.
Not sure what the weight is of the third buckle and two added Pbax straps are. The liners are off by  one ounce.  Add the spoiler, bigger power strap and extra sole lenght and the grams add up quickly.
Sometimes it is easier to just ignore the obvious in front of your eyes.




More?

I've written a lot on the TLT Series of boots over the last couple of  years.  If the TLT6 is your introduction to the TLT family you have some catching up to do.  I have no doubt the TLT5 Series of boots was a "game changer".  The TLT6 may well be yet as well.  The jury is still out.  More here:

http://coldthistle.blogspot.com/2011/06/part-2.html

Finally?
I am not a snow boarder but, I was directed to this comment and asked for a rebuttal if I thought it warranted.  I'll insert my comments into the body of the original message.

thread in part is here:
http://splitboard.com/talk/viewtopic.php?f=10&t=10958&st=0&sk=t&sd=a&start=234

barrows sez:
>In my opinion, the 6s are going to be better. The only drawback I see is the additional 1 ounce of weight in the shell of the 6 vs the 5.

Actual shell weights with power strap attached
TLT6 P CR 1050g
TLT5 P TF 1010g
TLT5 Mtn TFX 1000g

50g is 1.7637oz per boot 

>Personally, I would rather have the extra ounce of weight and the additional warmth and better buckles, both of which were weak points of the 5 which needed improving.

Buckles yes.  Warmth?...not if the boot was used as intended and NOT for riding a lift.  Classic case of using a piece of gear  for something it was not designed for and bitching about it.  It was originally designed as a Rando boot made for climbing and skinning UP and skiing DOWN.

>There is no need for the forefoot flex of the 5 in my opinion, in fact, the amount of flex was so miniscule (unlike the Scarpa) as to be almost non-existent anyway.

See my previous comments. Uneducated at best. 

> As far as the liners go, all the Dynafit liners are weak

Again uneducated at best and simply untrue no matter what liner you'd like to compare with.

>I use Intuition for more comfort, warmth, and weight savings.

You might gain some warmth although I don't find that to be true if the boot is fitted correctly.  No more comfort either if the liner is heat formed correctly.  And that weight savings?  Ya, not so much.

TLT6 P CR 288g
TLT5 P TF 186g
TLT5 Mtn TFX 326g
DYNA EVO/PDG liner 150g
*Intuition Pro Tour* 278g

weight is listed for ONE liner boot

49g savings at most or 1.72842oz in my size 29s or a 11.5US  with a Intuition.  Or using the lwt Dynafit liners as much as 123g saved on the Intuition or  4.3387oz.  And that is doubled counting both boots so just over 1/2#.  That kind of weight starts to really count on the up.

>The Dynafit Mountain was also never available in the US with the lighter (and better) Palau made TF liners

Until recently that is true but theTF  liners alone have been available on occasion as is the Palau DyNA/PDG liner that will work in the TLT Series as well and only 150g. 

>you could only get the heavy and less moldable TF-X liners

Ya, flatly untrue on "less moldable:  The TFX liner is very moldable and actually more comfortable for most than the TF liner was.  Which is the reason we have a new CR liner based on the TF-X liner in the new TLT6.  Spares are available as well from your Dynafit dealer.  See my previous comments on fit and liners above.

>As for riding performance: the 6 Mountain should be the same as the 5, as the cuff is the same plastic and mold, so will flex the same, and the no tongue option is still available.

Almost right :)  The TLT6 liner is beefed up in the tongue quite a bit.  Think more of a full on ski boot tongue in the 6.  My long time climbing partner and avid snowboarder for the past 30+ years (and in the TLT5 mtn as well for a hard boot which is not typically his fancy) says it won't change how the boot boards very much either way.

Given the choice for a hard shell on a split board boot I'd want the PDG.  2# even per boot in my size 29.  No tongue or power strap.   It is too thin to ride a lift with on a really cold day.  The PDG really is a "ski running boot".



7 comments:

Chris said...

Great comparison Dane, thanks! Putting my old, thin TLT5 liner in the TLT6, I'd have to concur that I couldn't feel much difference in volume. As you say, if anything they feel tighter. The power strap is indeed too long, and I have big calfs.

The new CR liner is so nice that I'm not too worried about the weight gain. But I do worry the fleecy material in the lower half of the liner will hold moisture like a sponge and be slow to dry. Mostly an issue for multiday trips...

I guess I'm one of the few people that actually liked the TLT5P liner. I got some Intuition Pro Tours a while back, and actually liked them less than the stock liner "socks".

I suspect there are very few people that do any real climbing in these boots. The rest of us that are primarily skies are psyched the toe flex is gone!

Poncho said...

Thanks Chris. I never know when I put this stuff out there how accurate it is (beyond my feet and perception) until there is some feed back.

Same here on the TF liner. Love hate relationship sometimes.

Climbing? In the States likely not. More a ski boot. less a Rando boot and even less a climbing boot. But if your local terrain is condusive they "rock". Which is why the boot is so popular for skiing and climbing in Chamonix, the Tetons or SLC.

Funny, I have lots of climbing boots...and now with the TLT6 another pair of ski boots. Nice ski boots at that!

Christian Strachan said...

Hi Dane,

Thinking of putting in some TLT CL liners in my Vulcans, mostly to be able to punch out the toe a little more in the liners, which I can't really do in the Vulcan liners. Anyway, just checking on what the weight of the CL liners are, and if you think using them in the Vulcans (for longer tours) would be a good idea. Thanks!

Poncho said...

Sorry Christian, can't tell you the weight as I ma limited on access right now. You should be able to find the old TLT5 CL liner weight on the blog if you dig around some though. Basically y the same liner as the current CL. But sounds reasonable to me if your feet can take less padding in the liner. Built for speed not for comfort for sure.

John said...

Any thoughts on comparing the fit and the skiing between the Vulcans and the TLT6

Anonymous said...

Is there any difference in warmth between the TLT 5 TF and TFX liners? Cheers,

Poncho said...

If there is it's not much. But the foam liners stay drier and don't absorb sweat or water. Best all they weigh less.