Flouro for dummies

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Flouro for dummies

Postby Greggb » Wed Dec 13, 2006 8:15 pm

Ok, help a dummy out here. Now I am not a competition skier, but I like to go fast and like anyone else, leave me buddies in O2 debt. I usually wax with just the run of the mill el cheapo wax and wax for whatever the temp is. I was reading through some of the posts on fluro waxing and I have a few questions.

Does fluro make that big a difference?

When do you use fluros?

I heard once that if you put fluro wax on skis you must always use those skis as fluro skis because you can never completely rid your bases of it. True or False?

I also heard that you should have separate irons, brushes and scrapers when using fluro. True?

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Postby Alpinord » Wed Dec 13, 2006 8:58 pm

Flouros work best in the presence of moisture or humidity. In cold dry snow static electricity and flouros aren't a good mix. As a rec skier (as I am), low flouros definitely make a noticeable difference for me at the warmer and wetter temps, coupled with aggressive structuring. You can incrementally step it up and experiment with a universal low flouro or a higher grade at not a huge difference in cost compared to paraffins/hydro carbons, versus a high flouro or perflourinated.

With a flouro cleaner, followed by a base cleaner you can remove all traces of flouro on skis, irons and scrapers. But you should definitely have different brushes. I'm uncertain as whether it really is an issue with low flouros and have been thinking that the transition is more between low and high flouros. I'm sure others will have an opinion and better insights.
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Postby Montana » Thu Dec 14, 2006 9:14 am

Alpinord is right about the fluoros working best in more moist snows. When the snow is very cold and dry I use Toko Blue (no fluoro). But as the snow temp warms I always use the Toko Low fluoro waxes. They provide outstanding performance (IMHO) at a reasonable price.

I'm using the blue-red-gray-yellow Toko waxes. At warmer temps a mix of low fluoro red and gray seems super. Yellow is for the warmest wetest snow. I ski a lot at Izaak Walton Inn where the snow is isually fairly moist but have found this combination works well in the Midwest as well.

I'm not a racer (except for the Birkie) so don't spend the money on the higher fluoro products (again except for the Birkie). At my level I do not find it necessary to use separate scrapers, brushes or irons. I know Toko recommends this for their very high fluoro products but that's the high performance end.
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Postby ADS » Tue Dec 19, 2006 11:01 pm

From my racing background, my team has always used the Swix line on hot waxes. The line is pretty simple...
CH=Hydrocarbon, no fluorocarbons in the wax. Used as a training and travel wax.
LF=Low fluorocarbons, used as base layers if using Cera F as a final layer for racing.
HF=High fluorocarbons, excellent race wax and are optimal for high humidity conditions.
Cera F Solid Turbo=Used in short races ranging from sprints up to 5km because they are used as a final layer on top of HF or LF waxes, so they don't soak into the base, but as corked into the glide zone such as a kick wax would be corked into a kick zone. After the Cera F is corked into a glide zone, it will be brushed (polished) with a specific brush used only for Cera F waxing.

I'm not to familiar with Toko's high performance waxes, but hopefully this helps a little bit.

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Postby MN Hoser » Thu Dec 21, 2006 8:45 am

As I talk with various people who should be in the know, it seems that pure fluoros as a final layer test fastest for basically all conditions. Part of this may be that the pure fluoros wear away in sharp crystal conditions, so it's unclear if they'd still be fastest after say 15 km at 0F.

If you're not racing, I think it certainly isn't worth buying or using pure flouros. They make the biggest difference when the snow is wet enough to make snowballs, but HF waxes are still very good. The pure fluoros require a good iron and some skill to apply properly, and there's always the urge to skimp on wax since it's expense. If you skimp, there's more risk of damaging the skis. It's not particularly difficult to rewax to remove the fluoro. (It may take a number of layers.)

I think a good wax kit would be (in Swix) CH4, LF6, LF7, HFBD 7 and 8, and HF10. Toko, Solda, Star, etc have equivalents. The biggest advantage for Cera would be in combination with the HF8 and 10. Some advantage with 7, and bascially no advantage with 4.

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Postby faber » Thu Dec 21, 2006 11:49 am

The "bare minimum wax box" is always an interesting discussion. As much as I am a gear freak, I am also sort of a minimalist. For the serious, non-racing amateur, I'd take the bare minimum wax box a notch lower.

(Using Swix)
CH4, CH6, CH7, CH8, CH10
I think that really does it for 90% of what most people would need. If one waxes, scrapes, brushes, etc. with skill, these waxes can do a lot for the average skier. CH10 of course does double duty as a base cleaning wax.

For people who want to dip their toe into the fluoro world, I'd suggest supplementing the CH range with LF6, LF7 and LF8.

And that's it.

The Toko system is even simpler. If I didn't already have a season's supply of Swix, I'd probably switch.

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Postby MN Hoser » Thu Dec 21, 2006 12:20 pm

Agreed, the waxes I listed are essentially what I'd choose for race waxes without the pure fluoro. The LF waxes are not too expensive (180 g block of 4, 6, 7, 8, and 10--a kit, for $140 or so), and most skiers could split an order with a friend and ski on that wax for years. I ski quite often on the LF waxes. If you want to add a high fluoro wax, the place to start is an HF wax for something for upper 20s F.

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Postby Alpinord » Thu Dec 21, 2006 6:16 pm

The 'bare, bare minimalist' approach from Maplus is their Rec/Leisure/Training Universals. For both CH & LF there is a Universal (-15°C to -5°C) & Universal Hot (-5°C to 0°C). The Uni Liquids range from -15° to °C. For Performance & Racing with a harder wax they offer P1 cold, med & hot, CH & P2 cold, med & hot, LH. The P3 is HF & P4 is perfluoro in the same temps. Maplus sees 0°C & above as the same in the form of water or simply wet and no reason to set a temp above 0°C.

For a leisure to performance rec skier, what tends a person towards HF & Perfluoros? It seems that a huge majority of skiers as a whole would be perfectly content with using a universal. Many with temperature specific and harder performance waxes, and the fewest using HF & Perfluoro.

I guess I need to produce a cross reference wax chart. Is there a good source of existing cross reference charts with the other waxes already out there or do I have to reinvent the wheel?

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Postby Camilo » Fri Dec 22, 2006 12:19 pm

Do you guys really think that Swix LF waxes are really a worthwhile improvement over CH waxes? I've just never seen any reason to spend the money. If fluoro is not called for, I use CH. If fluoro is called for, I use HF waxes, but ignore the LF waxes as being a price increase for no functional difference over CH, and also not doing what a fluoro wax is supposed to do. My personal opinion is that it is just a marketing strategy by swix to get some extra bucks out of folks who just can't stand the thought of using plain old CH waxes when conditions warrant.

But then again, I'm just a casual racer (shoot for one or two "marathons" a year), but I ski a lot of hours each week.

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Postby Montana » Fri Dec 22, 2006 12:35 pm

I generally use Toko glide waxes so can't comment about Swix specifically. Toko has the same kind of glide wax system, i.e. a hydrocarbon line, a low fluoro line and a high fluro line along with other verious products.

I do believe that when fluoros are called for the low fluoro products provide an improvement over the hydrocarbon versions. High fluoros would work even better in these instances but cost substantially more. So I generally use the low fluoro versions as a compromise between the budget hydrocarbons and the high end fluoros.
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Postby faber » Fri Dec 22, 2006 6:54 pm

I second the use of low-fluoro wax. There is a difference in performance. Most of the time, good ol' CH works pretty darn good, too. But, when conditions warrant, LF is just right.

To be sure, it is easy to spend a lot of money on wax. I don't race, so I don't need to. HF wax, and better, is good stuff, but for what I do on skis, unnecessary. By sticking to CH and LF, I certainly don't feel that I'm missing anything.

FWIW, I used to race alpine and spent a fortune on waxes, and even used some of that on my XC skis. I know what I'm missing now --a hole in my wallet;)


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