Ski: 2014-2015 Line Sir Francis Bacon, 190cm
Dimensions (mm): 140-108-136
Sidecut Radius: 20 meters
Actual Tip to Tail Length (straight tape pull): 187.7cm
Blister’s Measured Weight Per Ski: 2255 & 2280 grams
Mount Location: -2.5cm from true center
Boots / Bindings: Rossignol Alltrack Pro 130 / Marker Griffon (DIN 10)
Days Skied: 8
[Editor’s Note: Our review was conducted on the 13/14 Sir Francis Bacon, which is unchanged for 14/15, except for the graphics.]
In addition to my review of the 184cm LINE Sir Francis Bacon, the Bacon has made appearances in my One-Ski Quiver Selections, my Two-Ski Quiver Selections, and the 1st Blister “Best Of” Awards that debuted early this season. References to the Bacon can be found in countless other Blister reviews as well, even in Jonathan’s review of the metal laminated, 98mm underfoot, Volkl Mantra.
With all that we’ve written about the Sir Francis Bacon, it’s pretty obvious that the 184 Bacon left a favorable impression, and here’s why:
It’s incredibly versatile, much more so than anyone would expect from a ski designed to “jib,” with a mount point only a couple cm’s behind true center; it provides adequate edge hold and is incredibly energetic from edge to edge, making carving the ski an exciting experience; the ski’s flex is well balanced and progressive, allowing for easy butters and predictable takeoffs, while still being supportive enough to romp through Alta’s tracked up powder and stomp decent sized airs into variable conditions.
In all, the Sir Francis Bacon tackled nearly everything I threw at it while always seeming to elicit a big smile on my face: trees, jumps, bumps, pow, chop, soft, firm, whatever; always predictable, always fun.
There were only a couple small limitations of the 184 SFB. First and foremost, at the time the 184 (180.5cm straight-tape-pull) was the longest length available, which probably limited the fun to be had on the SFB to lighter/shorter skiers, or those at smaller resorts. Second, that enthusiastic rebound and short side-cut radius of the ski made it a little twitchy feeling when skiing fast in variable firm snow. So Line decided to produce a 190cm SFB (187.7cm straight-tape-pull) last season, and I’ve finally had some time to ride it.
Given that I reviewed the 184 Sir Francis Bacon not so long ago, I won’t add much general information. Line still calls the SFB, “Eric Pollard’s award winning quiver-of-one,” and claims that it is “as much fun throwing tricks into powder as laying down switch carves and butters on the hardpack.” These statements hold true for both the 184cm and the 190cm lengths.
LINE SFB: 184cm vs. 190cm
There are a couple distinct differences I felt between the 184 and the 190, but they are mostly good differences. These variances primarily address exactly what I had found to be the only shortcomings of the 184, and will likely impress those who were wishing for a longer SFB.
Where the 184 SFB is lightning fast due to an incredibly light swing weight and very energetic flex, the 190’s have a much lower key feel to them. Swing weight is not cumbersome by any means, but the difference is noticeable between the two lengths. For me, the 190 also behaves more like a GS ski while carving aggressively on groomers, while the 184 feels more like an energetic slalom ski. The sidecut radius of the 190 feels noticeably longer (20 meters vs. the 184’s 18 meters) and the ski doesn’t pounce from turn to turn.
The attributes responsible for these differences in on-snow feel can likely be found in the dimensions and flex. First, width dimensions remain the same for all lengths of the SFB; this translates to a longer sidecut radius than the stated 18 meters of the 184cm for the 190.
Second, the 190 SFB has a noticeably stouter flex pattern than the 184 SFB. The flex pattern does keep the favorable progressive nature of the 184, and that flex ramps up pretty substantially underfoot.
While these differences may make the 190 SFB a little less exciting at times for someone my size (6’, 160lbs), the longer ski definitely provides a larger sweet spot and calmer ride whether in powder, chopped up variable, or hardpack. For skiers like myself, the 190 SFB provides a better platform than the 184 for more aggressive off-piste skiing, while retaining most of the playfulness of the 184 in natural terrain.
More importantly, I am convinced the 190 SFB will certainly provide larger skiers a useful, intuitive, all-mountain, jib-friendly tool, that won’t fold up nearly as easily as the 184 SFB or many other playful skis in the upper 180cm length, and will provide a larger landing zone for bigger folks.
Shortcomings of the 190?
I would consider myself to be on the fence between the 190 and 184 lengths. Personally, I love the 184’s energetic feel, but also love the added bit of stability found in the 190. If it were up to me, I would love to see more energy out of the 190 SFB.
The 190 also seemed to lack a bit of torsional rigidity when pushed hard in steep, rough, firm conditions down Taos’s Zdarsky. My main complaint was the lack of crispness when I wanted a quick edge set and release in a tight spot. Here, the ski just felt a bit sluggish. I’m not an engineer, but both of these characteristics seemed to have been addressed in other skis with some strategically placed carbon.
Choosing the Right Length
Although the SFB isn’t as dead easy as the Rossignol Soul 7, it does provide a very easy, intuitive, and predictable ride. The near center suggested mounting location keeps the Bacon quick and balanced feeling, even in the 190cm length.
Because of these characteristics I wouldn’t be apprehensive of going with a longer length than you usually ride in a “traditional” non-rockered, directional ski. Also remember that the Bacon actually measures much shorter than the stated length. If you’re around “average” adult size (~145-175 lbs., 5’6”-5’10”) and an advance level skier, I would find it really hard to believe you would want to go shorter than the 184cm.
Intermediate level adults and smaller individuals should probably size down to the 178, or the smallest 172. Larger adults (roughly around 180 lbs. and up) looking for a playful ski, or advanced level averaged sized adults looking to ski aggressively in difficult terrain while also playing on certain terrain features, will love the 190cm option.
A Note re: Mount Location
For some reason, K2 / LINE decided to add another “recommended” line (at -6cm from center) to the SFB for 13/14. Having skied at that line, I would highly recommend not mounting at that location, or anywhere near it. In fact, I think we should all join forces and write on every SFB in every ski shop, “Do Not Mount Here”. There are absolutely no favorable attributes gained by mounting the SFB that far back. Tip dive is not substantially reduced, but all other qualities do take a serious nose-dive.
I settled in at 2.5cms behind true center, which is what the Line website calls “Pollard’s Choice,” but the actual “Pollard’s Choice” line on my ski is marked at -2cm…
At -2.5cm the ski flex felt perfectly balanced under my 328mm-boot-sole-length Rossignol Alltrack Pro 130’s, and this location provided the best mix of playfulness and all-mountain ski-ability.
If there is one ski I’m confident that everyone will feel best at this “progressive” of a mount, it is on the Bacon.
NEXT: Comparisons – Line SFB vs. Rossi Soul 7 vs. Salomon Rocker2 108 vs. Rossi Sickle