Over the last few months, I have been spending quite a bit of time skiing and touring on next year’s Black Diamond Efficient Series ski boots. I have been on the 4-buckle Quadrants since November, and more recently I got my hands on some 3-buckle Primes about a month ago. I’ve been able to get the 27 sample size to work with some extra “shimmage”, even though I’m a true 26.5…which is the next shell size smaller.
First off, I must say that the downhill performance of these boots is mind-blowing…especially with the 3-buckle Prime, rated at 110 flex, compared to the 120 flex of the Quadrants. I can easily see the Prime replacing some 4-buckle boots out there next year since it skis so well, and with a projected weight of 7lb 4oz (27), it will sure make the gram counters happy as well. The Quadrant comes in 6oz heavier at 7lbs 10oz. and feels just about as stiff as the Factor. Both have a more voluminous fit than the Factor/Method as well.
Overall, the shells of both the Quadrant and Prime are made out of Pebax, and are the same dimensions and height. While the Quadrant and Prime don’t have a rando-racing amount of rearward travel when in walk-mode, I’ve found them to have about as much as other comparable boots out there (if not more), and plenty to make touring on the flats comfortable. What is amazing is the amount of forward travel they have and 40 degrees of travel in all, due to the Triax Pivot on the cuff. Black Diamond calls the Prime a 3.5 buckle boot, since the single buckle on the lower cuff attaches and clamps down from two separate points.
One of the simplest new designs I like about these boots is the mechanics of the second buckle, which locks wide-open, while staying in the slot you want it to with the help of some hooked teeth. I’ve been told that production models will have this buckle on both the 1st and 2nd buckle…instead of just the second buckle like these test boots. Gone are those pesky tabs that hold your buckle when they are unbuckled, and always seem to break after a month or two out on the skin track.
Both the Prime and the Quadrant have thermo-moldable tongue style liners and are lasted to provide a good out-of-the-box fit, as well as having very prominent Achilles pads that really help to hold your heel down when skinning and skiing. While the Prime’s that I’ve been using don’t have the BOA system like the Quadrant, I’ve been told the production model will indeed come with a new light weight BOA system…like the Quadrants. The new BOA tightens with less twists and uses a lightweight spectra-like cable instead of a metal cable. Both boots have a new and improved liner construction, are warmer and provide more padding than past BD liners…a nice improvement.
With the construction of the Quadrant and Prime, BD has been able to shave weight, yet keep performance at a premium. BD doesn’t skimp on the soles however (often a frequent, yet poor place to save weight) and both boots have a thick amount of rubber. Although I had to send back my original pair of Quadrants that I abused on Aconcagua (so I don’t have a photo), the soles held up well to lots of walking and scrambling on rocks and boulders….more than I can say for other lightweight boots out there. Another place BD has saved weight is with the buckle design. Made with geometrically shaped cages and swedged buckles, these micro adjustable Quickwire buckles are ultra-light…even compared to magnesium buckles. In addition, all of BD boots come with a boot-board to help with custom fitting. The ones in the Prime and Quadrant are made out of hard foam, which is much different and lighter than the rubbery style ones that come in their Power Series boots.
I’ve had no problems with the ski/walk modes, and the forward lean adjustment has two settings which I believe are at 18/14 degrees. Both the Prime and Quadrant have a nice gusset that seals out snow, wind and the cold from creeping into the spaces in the overlapping cuff down by the lower two buckles.
It’s always interesting to see what products I’m am excited about for next year and even though I’ve been skiing these boots for a while now, I’m still really psyched for more time on them next year. Especially in a pair in my proper size. Check them out for next year at SkiBD.com!
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