2015-2016 Fischer Motive 86 Ti

Jonathan Ellsworth reviews the Fischer Motive 86Ti for Blister Gear Review
15/16 Fischer Motive 86Ti

Ski: 2015-2016 Fischer Motive 86 Ti, 182cm

Stated Dimensions (mm): 128-86-116

Blister’s Measured Dimensions (mm): 127-85-115

Actual Tip-to-Tail Length (straight tape pull): 180.2cm

Blister’s Measured Weight per Ski: 1962 & 1974 grams

Stated Sidecut Radius: 18 meters

Mount Location: Facroty recommended line

Recommended Mount Point: 79.7cm from tail; -10.4cm from center

Available Lengths: 161, 168, 175, 182 cm

Boots / Bindings: Salomon X Pro 120 & Atomic Hawx 2.0 12o / Marker Jester (DIN at 11)

Test Location: Taos Ski Valley

Days Skied: 7

[Editor’s Note: Our review was conducted on the 14/15 Motive 86 Ti, which was not changed for 15/16, except for the graphics.]

We’ve reviewed several ~87mm underfoot skis, so it’s going to be most helpful to locate the Motive 86 Ti among them.

To get right to it, I’d group the 187cm Blizzard Brahma and the 184cm Salomon X-Drive 8.8 together on one side, and the 186cm Dynastar Powertrack 89 with the 182cm Fischer Motive 86 Ti on the other.

The 187 Brahma and the 184 X-Drive 8.8 are very powerful and will best serve those who want skis with high speed limits, and who don’t necessarily need a lot of forgiveness.

I’d say that the defining qualities of the Powertrack 89 are that it is a very quick ski that shines in more consistent conditions (more on that below).

Then there is the 182cm Motive 86 Ti, which offers a nice blend of power, stability, and quickness, while being more forgiving in general than the Brahma (both the 187cm and the 180cm Brahma) and the X-Drive 8.8.

The Motive 86 Ti is also a whole lot of fun to carve.

Flex Pattern & Shape

The Motive 86 Ti has a deeper tip rocker line and a bit more splay than the Salomon X-Drive 8.8.

The Motive 86’s tails are not as stiff as the X-Drive 8.8’s, but its tails are stout. Its shovels are a bit softer than the 8.8’s.

The Motive 86 has no tail rocker—just a small, slightly twinned up, a very wide tail, and I have come to really appreciate this tail profile.

The 186cm Dynastar Powertrack 89 (which is actually 87 millimeters wide) has a very similar flex pattern to the Motive 86 Ti. The tails of both skis have a stiff flex, while I would say that their shovels have a medium, maybe medium/stiff flex.

But while the Powertrack 89 and Motive 86 Ti have a very similar flex pattern, they have almost opposite tip and tail shapes, which make for some noticeable performance differences that I’ll get to below.

Smooth Groomers

I threw bindings on these and then skied them right out of the wrapper, and the Motive 86’s felt fast and the edges felt good to me. I didn’t detune at all.

On nice groomers, the Motive 86 Ti is very fun to carve, and the 182cm model is probably most at home making medium and larger turns. Particularly noteworthy is the wide, unrockered tail of this ski. That tail (in combination with the rest of the ski’s design elements) really digs in, and it was easy to achieve high edge angles without worrying about the ski’s tails washing out.

At my weight, part of the fun of this ski is that it is also easier to bend than the 184 X-Drive 8.8, a ski that I love for its incredible stability and very high top end. The 184cm X-Drive 8.8 requires more power and speed to bend than the 182cm Motive 86 Ti, so if you are high on edge on the 8.8, you are probably making big GS turns. The Motive 86 Ti offers a bit more versatility here, and requires a bit less speed than the 184cm X-Drive 8.8 to really come alive.

On smooth groomers, I think the 186cm Powertrack 89 had the most similar feel, in terms of turn shape, rebound out of a turn, and ratio of power vs. finesse.

The 180 Brahma and 182 Salomon X-Drive 8.0 are probably both quicker and may provide more power out of a loaded-up turn. So the Fischer is a bit more subtle in terms of energy returned, but its edge grip on good groomers isn’t subtle.

Icy Groomers / Edge Hold

On smoother, icy groomers, the tip and tail shape of the Motive 86 Ti give it an advantage over the Powertrack 89’s tapered tips and tails. The Powertrack’s don’t dig in as much. (But again, the Powertrack’s shape makes it very quick. So the less interested you are in carving turns at high edge angles and high speeds, the less important this will be.)

On ice, I still found the X-Drive 8.8 to offer better edge hold when carving (a combination of its heavier weight + greater dampness + more subtle tip rocker), than the Motive 86 Ti. And the Motive is better than the the Brahma and the Powertrack 89.

Roughed-Up Groomers

The 184cm X-Drive 8.8 continues to reign supreme here, and the 187 Brahma will take 2nd place honors. The Motive 86 Ti comes in next, and its performance at speed on end-of-the-day, beat-up groomers is still quite good given that it is a lighter ski than Brahma and X-Drive 8.8, requires less input than those skis, and is a bit more forgiving around the rest of the mountain.


On evenly spaced, pretty uniform mogul lines, the Powertrack 89 is the quickest ski in the group, and a ton of fun.

It’s then a little tricky to offer a clear ranking of the rest of the skis, but I can say that the tails of the Motive 86 Ti feel more forgiving than the 184cm X-Drive 8.8, the 182cm X-Drive 8.0, and the 187cm Brahma … and maybe even the 180cm Brahma (it’s close).

Mounted on the line, the Motive 86 Ti felt balanced and still pretty quick. For an advanced mogul skier who isn’t looking to simply pivot and slide through moguls, the tails of the Motive 86 Ti work great. They are fat—which enhances the ski’s edgehold and carving performance—but they are also twinned up just enough that I very rarely found the tails to feel grabby, even in huge, weirdly shaped bumps (top of Taos’s Reforma or Al’s Run) or in narrow chutes filled with deep snow (Taos’s Purgatory). It is a nice blend of stability, predictability, maneuverability, and edgehold / carveability.


Skiing some steeper trees in Taos’s Pollux, West Blitz Trees and Corner Chute, I’d wondered if I’d find the tails of the Motive 86 Ti to feel grabby. The answer is: no, really not at all.

Jonathan Ellsworth reviews the Fischer Motive 86 Ti for Blister Gear Review
Jonathan Ellsworth on the Fischer Motive 86 Ti, Taos Ski Valley.

If you’re looking to ski really tight trees at lower angles and at slower speeds, the Powertrack 89 is the most maneuverable option. But despite the lack of significant taper, the Motive 86’s tail profile still worked well. The big exception here would be if you were skiing trees in very dense, heavy snow, where some tail rocker (or a lot of tail rocker) could really help the cause.

But in shallower snow conditions—and especially in icier conditions where a traditional tail will be a benefit—I have no reservations recommending the Motive 86 Ti as a tree ski for advanced skiers.

NEXT: The Reforma Test


28 comments on “2015-2016 Fischer Motive 86 Ti”

  1. So curious what you think of the kassle mx88 compared to the rest of this group, I demoed the other day and way blow away. Thinking of getting them to replace my hell and back ans the extra grip would be welcome right about now with the dry spell we’ve had in Aspen. Just getting my sn108 mounted and thinking that my quiver would be fine going from 88 to 108 to 115. If it’s bones, the 88 would be great. If any snow left then 108. And the 115 for at least 8 inches.

  2. Did this ski change at all from 13/14 to 14/15, apart from the topsheet? Seeing some of these on EBay. Like Andrew, I’m also interested in a comparison with the MX88.

    • The wood core and the metal topsheet were lightened for 14/15 using Fischer’s Air Tec technology. I have the 13/14 version. Haven’t tried the 14/15 so I can’t say how the changes affected the performance, but I’m really happy with my 182s. I’m quite blown away with how versatile they are and how fun they are for pretty much anything you might want to do when there isn’t much fresh snow around. The only negative I have, is that they do have a speed limit – for me (6′, 185lbs) they start to get squirrelly around 50mph.

  3. Looking for a new telemark ski. Have relied on k2 tele skis over the last 15 years (k2 world piste and k2 work stinx). With my new boots (scarpa t-race) and bindings (22 designs vice), I overpower these older k2 tele skis. Based on your excellent website (of which I’m a proud member), I’ve been thinking about three skis for my new tele set-up: Fischer Motive 95 ti, Nordica Enforcer, Moment PB&J. I rarely telemark on a deep snow day (more than 6 inches) or in the backcountry. The most common terrain on which I tele is Colorado resort (groomers, bumps and trees). I want a ski that is directional, has a stiffer and snappier response in the middle, and is relatively softer in the tail For reference, my alpine skis are Moment Pro Bibby (thanks for the recommendation – they are the best but too much for my tele set-up) and Rossignol E88 (which I think could work well for my tele set up). Thanks for any insight.

    • Hi, Christian – couple of thoughts: we haven’t skied the Fischer Motive 95, unfortunately, but if you’re considering the Rossi E88, I would encourage you to at least consider the Motive 86Ti – it is such a good ski. I know many people are high on the Rossi E88, but there isn’t a single instance where I would take the E88 over the Fischer Motive 86Ti.

      But to stick to the 3 skis you’re considering, I think it primarily comes down to how much tail rocker you want – the PB&J has the most by far, the Motive 95 the least, and the Enforcer is in the middle. I know some tele skiers don’t like too much tail rocker – if that’s true of you, then I think the Enforcer would be a very safe bet – and it meets all of your stated criteria.
      Hope that helps a little.

      • Thanks a lot for your response. You guys are awesome. I’m leaning towards the Nordica Enforcer. But I’m going to demo the Icelantic Pioneer this weekend as one last reference point. I can’t find the Enforcer’s mounted with tele bindings to demo or I would. The Bent Gate in Golden, co does have the icelantic lineup mounted with tele bindings so I’m going to give ’em a shot. Thanks again and keep up the great work. Your buyer’s guide was the best such publication I’ve ever purchased in 20+ years following the industry.

  4. I just bought a pair of these to try as I ween myself back onto the snow following knee surgery. At 160lbs I purchased the 182’s but they review like they allow many options in how aggressive I can ski coming back into fitness. Still awaiting the review of the LaTigo but the deal on these was so deep I couldn’t let it pass.

    Love the Gear Guide, thank you Jonathan and crew!

      • Jonathan, you mentioned above that the Fischer Motive has a speed limit. Do you think it has a “weight limit” at 182 cm? The Motive sounds great from your Buying Guide, but at 6’5″ 235, do you think it might have a “size” limit as well? Loved your Buying Guide!

        • I am 6’2″ and 200lbs. I ski the Motive 95 in 180cm. I am not the fastest skier, but I haven’t found the speed limit. These things have a lot of effective edge relative to their length. A little less so than a true race ski, but much more so than a double rocker ski.

  5. Jonathan, love your new 2015/2016 Blister Buying Guide! It is extremely well written and organized. Your review of the Fischer Motive 86ti was so positive I had to pick up a pair. Fortunately, there were a still a couple pairs of last years ski available. Keep up the great reviews.

  6. Hi, I’ve been a long time watea fan, but have always wondered about the motive series of skis. Would you consider the motive ti’s a metaled out version of the watea’s? How would you compare the motives performance vs watea’s (now the rangers)? Thanks for any input on the differences of both.

  7. Jonathan,

    As you know I follow Blister, it’s my “one cook in the kitchen”, so to speak for gear reviews and most of the comments regarding skis revolve around size recommendations. Great with one caveat, I rarely read any follow up how it turns out for those of us who purchase what you test. Does this feedback rarely come in or am I missing it?

    P.S. Due to lack of overly extreme lines and helicopter access B.S. shots the Blister Guide is at the top of magazine pile.

    • Thanks for the kind words, Big K, and psyched you’re enjoying the Buyer’s Guide.

      As for follow up comments, we’re definitely not hording them. we do often get a ton of emails from readers saying that they bought a ski (or boot or bike, etc.) based on our reviews, and that they’re loving them), but they don’t often elaborate on the specific length they went with, and whether that length seemed to correspond well to whatever length we reviewed. But I agree with you, I’d love to see a lot more of that in the Comments Section. (There are some examples – the Rossi Soul 7, the Bibby / Blister Pro, etc., but would love to get more reader input on this.)

  8. Jonathan, My take on the Motive 86 is exactly the same as yours, one reason I trust Blister. For example I own the 185 Cochise, skis the same as your reviews as does the Atomic Automatic in a 192 at +2. I also have skied some of the other skis in your reviews and they skied as you guys reviewed. Back to the Motive 86. I owned the original Motive 88, I loved that ski and after more than 100 days on them they are now Rock skis. Last season I got to demo several of this years skis, the Shop I go to Is a Atomic, Fischer, Head, Dynastar and Stockli dealer plus they tune the reps skis for other brands, so I am fortunate to be able to ski several brands. At the end of last season the Dynastar rep made me an offer on some new Powertrac 89’s that was to hard to pass up. After 4 days on the demo Powertracs and 2 days on my new Powertracs I sold them and bought New Motive 86’s. I liked the Powertracs, did not love them. Like you I like a fat and almost flat tail, the taper on the Powertrac never gave me the confidence to stand on and power the tail on firm groomed snow, or any snow for that matter. The Powertrac’s were fine in 2-6 inches and variable snow if you skied in more of a finesse slarve way, plus they are quick and good in moguls as you wrote. So it does depend on your skiing style. I like to power my tail, stand on it and trust it. The Motive 86 allows me to do that, plus they are quicker than the side-cut due to the tip rocker, stable at speed and easy to ski, I love the ski. I also skied the X-Drive 8.8 in the 184, I also love that ski, the only challenge is the X-Drive is all power all of the time(just as your review states) whereas the Motive is more forgiving of my mistakes. I did not get a chance to ski the Brahmas. Fischer makes a high quality ski that in my opinion is highly underrated compared to other brands. I am 5’11, 183 LBS, 57 years old, expert level, very fit, loves speed, been skiing since the 5th grade, Ski at Stevens Pass and Crystal Mountain in Washington, I am old but I can still hammer it. Quiver is;15-16 Motive 86-182, 13-14 Cochise-185, 2013- Automatic-193, 2013-Dynastar Chrome 78 Pro-178(This is my hard snow ripper) and 2012 Salomon Sentinel 184, the Sentinel skis like a 95 version of the X-Drive 8.8. Conclusion: The Motive is easy to recommend to people who are on the fence about what to buy, you will not be disappointed. Of all of the skis I own the Motive will see the most days.

  9. OK, so I purchased these in 182cm. My other skis fall more on the “big gun” side of things – heavy, damp, large radius, low profile tip, etc… So coming back from an 8mo. injury I wanted something with a radius in the teens that maybe I could noodle around on, something I don’t have to drive so hard full time. Too weak to give a fair report I can tell you this, this ski has two parts, the Tail and then the rest of the ski, and the ski is no noodle. I’d forgotten what fun a full blown tail like this is. If this ski has a speed limit I doubt it’s because the tail has a load rating, geeze – if you don’t remember what it’s like to really step on it back there then you’ll have a lot of fun on this thing. You don’t get back more than you put in but it plays such a fair game it doesn’t leave you disappointed or feeling robbed. As Jonathan states, and there is no better word that comes to mind, this thing is smooth. Expecting some chatter on the stiff backside of what few bumps I did hit it was so damn smooth all I could think was how I want some more of those. Soon as the healing is done……..

  10. Length question for you. I’ve skied for a long time, but my technique isn’t where it needs to be. I’m on a pair of 188 Sin 7s, and I’m looking at the Fischer’s as a “technique ski” where I can really focus on short radius turns and bumps, with some carving thrown in. I’m ~175lbs and 5’10” and I’m trying to decide between the 175 and the 182. This might come down to what’s available but wondering whether you think the 182 might feel too long coming off a rockered ski like the Sin.

  11. Michael,

    If it helps I’m 5’11”, 160lbs. I purchased the 182cm length. I would consider myself at the low-end size-wise for the 182.
    (strength wise I consider myself in the hunt) Is it too long for me?, not usually and certainly not on groomers. Off-piste in sewage it gets deflected easier than I like and can quickly start it’s own agenda. De-tuned past the rocker point helps to a point. And while this ski is smooth, the review leaves nothing to read in between the lines. This ski is Not Damp.

  12. Hi Jonathan

    Just wondering if you’ve managed to ski the new Fischer Pro Mountain 86 Ti yet? Very keen for any thoughts and feedback on it.


  13. Is the Pro Mtn. 86 review included in the 2017 buyers guide? Is that a subscription only review? Thank you all for your incredibly helpful insight and Jonathan here’s to a quick and successful recovery from your accident.

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