2018-2019 K2 Ikonic 84 Ti

Jonathan Ellsworth reviews the K2 Ikonic 84 Ti for Blister Review
K2 Ikonic 84 Ti

Ski: 2018-2019 K2 Ikonic 84 Ti, 177 cm

Available Lengths: 163, 170, 177, 184 cm

Blister’s Measured Tip-to-Tail Length: 177.4 cm

Blister’s Measured Weight per Ski: 2077 & 2092 g (with binding plates)

Stated Dimensions: 133-84-112 mm

Blister’s Measured Dimensions: 132.7-83.5-111.4 mm

Stated Sidecut Radius (177 cm): 17.5 meters

Measured Tip & Tail Splay (ski decambered): 50 mm / 5 mm

Measured Traditional Camber Underfoot: 3-4 mm

Core: Paulownia/Aspen + Carbon + Titanal (2 Layers) + Fiberglass Laminate

Factory Recommended Mount Point: -11.5 cm / 77.2 cm from tail

Blister’s Recommended Mount Point: Factory Line

Test Locations: Taos Ski Valley, NM; Arapahoe Basin, CO

Days Skied (total, so far): ~10

[Note: Our review was conducted on the 17/19 Ikonic 84 Ti, which was not changed for 18/19.]

Intro

We figured we’d end 2017 talking about one of the new 17/18 skis that has impressed us most, the K2 Ikonic 84 Ti. And there is a lot to talk about here, so let’s get started:

The Ikonic 84 Ti is a Blister Best-Of Award Winner

Reviewers Charlie Bradley, Brian Lindahl, and I have all spent time on this ski, and we are all in agreement about how good it is. Which is why we gave the Ikonic 84 Ti one of our very few “Best Of” awards in our 17/18 Winter Buyer’s Guide, and this is what we said about it in our Best Of section:

“We have been blown away by the power, stability, and versatility of this ski. You can read more about it in our Frontside section, but for those who prefer their “all-mountain skis” to give up nothing on piste, this is our current top pick.”

K2’s Description of the Ikonic 84 Ti

We tend to be pretty critical of a lot of the product copy we see about ski and snowboard gear, and so to give credit where credit is due, I’m giving a Best Of award to whoever at K2 wrote the product copy for the Ikonic 84 Ti:

“The redesigned Ikonic 84 Ti is a highly versatile ski capable of ripping groomers on any day and any condition the mountain calls for. Exo-Konic technology strategically places materials throughout the ski to produce a versatile piste thrill ride for the skilled skier’s daily driver.”

What do I love most about this description of this 84mm-wide ski? There is zero talk about how awesome it is in powder, or how it is equally comfortable off piste as it is on piste.

Even more, look at the nuance here; somebody realized that it makes perfect sense to talk about how “versatile” a ski is on-piste. Yes! If you don’t suck at reviewing or writing about skis, you are aware that on-piste-specific skis can be more or less versatile, and we completely agree with K2’s description here, that the Ikonic 84 Ti is “a highly versatile ski capable of ripping groomers on any day and any condition the mountain calls for.” We agree. Some piste-oriented skis really on shine on perfect corduroy. But we have skied the Ikonic 84 Ti on man-made snow, ice, deep slush, and really rutted-out, completely messed up groomers … and for handling all of the above — while also being willing to make a variety of turn shapes — we haven’t yet tested a ski that we would take over the 84 Ti.

So, seriously, I want to buy a beer for whoever at K2 wrote this product copy. Thanks for the accuracy, and for not treating potential customers like they’re idiots.

On-Snow Performance + Comparisons + More on the Ikonic 84 Ti’s Versatility

We are going to be spending a lot more time on the Ikonic 84 Ti, in large part because it is now a reference ski for us. But let’s talk more about how this ski performs, its on-piste vs. off-piste performance, how it compares to its non-Ti-having Ikonic 84 sibling, and how it compares against an old favorite of ours, the Fischer Motive 86 Ti, and the Motive 86 Ti’s replacement.

Here is what we wrote about the Ikonic 84 Ti in the Frontside section of our Buyer’s Guide (with just a couple of tiny tweaks):

“The Ikonic 84 Ti is heavier than the non-Ti version, has 10 mm less tip rocker, and is far more torsionally rigid (about 70% more). The result? A ski that we found to be as versatile as the Ikonic 84 in terms of on- and off-piste use, but the 84 Ti is definitely more composed at high speeds. Of the skis in this section, its top end would probably only be bested by the HEAD Monster 88, but in comparable lengths, the 84 Ti is a more compliant carver than the Monster 88. Like the narrower Fischer RC4 The Curv, the Ikonic 84 Ti is powerful and smooth, and its all-around performance is reminiscent of an old favorite of ours, the Fischer Motiv 86 Ti — which is very high praise.”

And here is what we wrote about the Ikonic 84 Ti in the “All-Mountain, More Stable” section of our Buyer’s Guide:

“For those of you who like your “all-mountain” skis to have more of the feel of a traditional carver, this is your ski. The Ikonic 84 Ti is an outstanding carver that works pretty well in moguls, but if you’ll be running zipperlines all day or want a ski that will shine in deeper powder or punchy snow, there are better options in this All-Mountain section. But definitely take a look at our writeup of this ski in our “Frontside” section, because this is a very good ski if your priorities line up with its strengths.”

Of course, our sharpest readers will recall that about 90 seconds ago, we were praising K2 for not even mentioning the off-piste performance of the Ikonic 84 Ti … yet here we are … talking about it as an All-Mountain ski. But hopefully everything I’ll say in this review spells out the ways in which the 84 Ti should and shouldn’t be viewed as an “all-mountain” ski.

But enough of all that, let’s now get to three big comparisons…

K2 Ikonic 84 Ti vs. Ikonic 84 (non-Ti)

The non-Ti Ikonic 84 is lighter (no “Ti”), and has a bit more tip and tail rocker — which we think makes sense.

Their flex patterns are basically identical, and hand flexing both, I would sum that flex pattern up like this:

Tips: 7-7.5
Shovels: 8-9
In Front of Toe Piece: 10
Underfoot: 10
Behind Heel Piece: 9
Tails: 9.5-10

This is particularly interesting given that (1) the Ikonic 84 and 84 Ti have different wood cores, (2) the non-Ti version is lighter, and (3) non Ti version … has no Ti (titanal). Often, one might assume that titanal version of a ski would make for a stiffer ski. But not in this case. Until we start talking about torsional rigidity, and then the difference is significant.

As we stated above, we measured the torsional rigidity of the Ikonic 84 Ti to be around 70% stiffer than that of the Ikonic 84. And that stiffness (coupled with the extra weight of the 84 Ti) gives the 84 Ti a noticeable additional amount of high-speed stability. The Ikonic 84 performs very well — and we’d say similar to — the 84 Ti at slow and moderate speeds. But the 84 Ti starts pulling away in terms of stability and composure as you really start skiing flat out, or as you are making bigger, faster turns on really roughed-up groomers.

So really, the decision of which to go for is pretty simple: if you just prefer to make more turns as opposed to fewer turns at moderate or slow speeds, you’ll probably never miss the top end of the Ikonic 84 Ti.

That said, if you always — or even just occasionally — like to rage down groomers, then the 84 Ti is the better choice. So, yep, this is another one of those Know Thyself moments.

Final thing to say here: I think those who prefer moderate speeds and staying in control will feel like the Ikonic 84 gives them all the stability they will want. But I also think that, for those who are on the fence, the 84 Ti is not a punishing, much-more-demanding ski than the non-Ti Ikonic 84. I will be very curious to hear from those of you who have spent time on one or both of these skis, but that’s my take — the 84 Ti gives you a bigger top end without being noticeably more punishing / less forgiving.

K2 Ikonic 84 Ti vs. Fischer Motiv 86 Ti

Alright, so let’s do this one. As I talked about on this podcast, the 177 cm Ikonic 84 Ti is my current favorite replacement for the incredibly good, now-discontinued 182 cm Fischer Motiv 86 Ti.

In terms of flex, the two skis are very similar, though the Ikonic 84 Ti is softer in flex underfoot, and is slightly less torsionally rigid.

About the 182 cm Motiv 86 Ti, I said that I’ve never skied anything of its width that felt quite as comfortable in 3 areas:

(1) On-Piste Carving
(2) Moguls
(3) Skiing Off-Piste

And in terms of the Motiv 86’s strengths, they are clearly (1) and (2), and I’m not even sure whether it’s a better on-piste carver or mogul ski (at least, on the feet of a strong skier; there are certainly more forgiving mogul skis out there.

As for the Ikonic 84 Ti, I would say that it is every bit as good — and possibly better than the Motive 86 Ti as an on-piste carver. Both skis are exceptional, and I’m not sure which is better.

Jonathan Ellsworth reviews the K2 Ikonic 84 Ti for Blister Review
Brian Lindahl on the K2 Ikonic 84 Ti, Arapahoe Basin, CO.

For moguls, I think the Motiv 86 Ti is the more versatile ski, primarily because the Motiv 86 Ti doesn’t have a hammerhead tip shape that many carvers have, a tip shape that tends to create a heavy swing weight in moguls. But on the Ikonic 84 Ti, if you are less of a zipper-liner in bumps and more of a carver, the 84 Ti is, I would say, totally fine. I just personally don’t love big shovels in moguls.

For off-piste use, I’d probably still give the Motiv 86 the nod in punchy, grabby snow, because I think its tip shape will be less prone to hooking up into a carve (when I don’t want it to) than the tip shape / sidecut of the Ikonic 84 Ti. But the firmer or smoother the snow, the less of a performance difference I think you’ll find between the two skis. And now would be a good time to go back to K2’s own description, where they aren’t even trying to talk you into using the Ikonic 84 Ti off-piste. I think that’s a smart move on their part, but I am here to say that the 84 Ti is better-than-manageable in moguls and off the groomers, but get something like the ON3P Wrenegade 88 if you want a sub-90mm-wide ski that is extremely at home off-piste. That make sense?

Pure Speculation: K2 Ikonic 84 Ti vs. Fischer Pro Mtn 86 Ti

So why do I think the Ikonic 84 Ti is the true successor of the Motiv 86 Ti — in terms of actual, similar, on-snow performance — and not the Fischer Pro Mtn 86 Ti? Here’s why, and again, please remember that we haven’t skied the Pro Mtn 86 Ti yet, so this really is speculation. (Though, I’d be willing to bet you a beer that this speculation isn’t wildly off base.)

The Pro Mtn 86 Ti is slightly stiffer and more torsionally rigid than the Motiv 86, and has a similar stated radius, weight, and camber profile.

The biggest differences are (1) the Pro Mtn 86 Ti has more forward mount (-7.6 cm vs. -10.6 cm) and (2) that tip shape — it’s a thinner, wider profile than the Motiv 86 Ti, and it’s a shape that looks like it would be more susceptible to hooky behavior in punchy, off-piste snow, and be less ideal in tight moguls.

Fischer is using an interesting (and truly beautiful) construction on their Ranger line of skis and their Pro Mtn skis. They have milled out / thinned out the tips. And while we haven’t skied the Pro Mtn 86 Ti, we have skied & tested Ranger 98, 108, and 115, as well as the Pro Mtn 95 Ti, which has the same milled / thinned out tips. And while this construction provides a reduced swing weight, that low swing weight comes at the cost of some stability at speed. If you tend to ski at slower, moderate speeds, there should be very little downside to the milled out tips. But if you are skiing hard and fast in variable conditions or on roughed up groomers, then those thin tips reduce stability in a way that I did not experience with the Motiv 86 Ti or the Ikonic 84 Ti.

So again, I think the important thing is to be clear about how and where you like to ski — on smooth, good groomers, those thin tips of the Pro Mtn 86 Ti will be less noticeable, especially the slower you tend to ski.

But for these reasons, I think the Ikonic 84 Ti is closer in feel to the Motiv 86. And I think the Ikonic 84 Ti is as good — just in slightly different ways. I’d say the 177 cm Ikonic 84 Ti is an even better carver than the Motiv 86, but equally powerful. I’d give the nod to the Motiv 86 in moguls (because it has less of a hammerhead tip shape than the Ikonic 84 Ti).

And for off-piste skiing, I still prefer the tip shape of the Motiv 86, but the Ikonic 84 Ti felt pretty at home off piste, so long as you are still primarily carving your way down the mountain, not smearing.

/endspeculation

Bottom Line

K2 is 100% correct to call the Ikonic 84 Ti a “highly versatile” on-piste ski. But for those who want a ski that is first and foremost a beautiful carver on piste regardless of the conditions — but who also would like a ski that won’t feel terrifying or wildly out of place for the occasional off-piste lap or mogul run, the Ikonic 84 Ti deserves an extremely close look.

And for those who don’t prioritize stability at high speeds (but prefer to ski at more moderate speeds), take a look at the K2 Ikonic 84.

NEXT: Rocker Profile Pictures

11 comments on “2018-2019 K2 Ikonic 84 Ti”

  1. One of the enjoyable traits of the Motive 86 Ti was its fantastic ability to slice thru on-piste crud. Does the tip shape of the Ikonic 84 Ti lessen some of this crud slicing potential or have you found it to be equally adept in those conditions?

    • On-piste, I didn’t feel like the 177 cm 84 Ti gave up anything to the 182 cm Motiv 86 Ti in this way. It’s *possible* (?) that if we’re talking about really firm ice chunks a difference would appear, but on softer, pushed-around snow on groomers, I don’t think the Motiv 86 Ti was any better. Both are very good. But the Monster 88 would still be best-in-category for this specific type of situation — really screwed up groomers with variable nastiness all over it.

  2. Read your comments on the new K-2 Iconic. Seems like the design guys took a look at the dated K-2 amp Rictor 82XTI
    and just “tweaked” it a bit to qualify as “all mountain.

  3. I would be interested to see a review of the Monster 83, and a comparison with the Ikonic 84 TI. From what I can find online, the 83 seems to share the same damp, stable properties as the rest of the Monster line, but would likely not be as versatile off-piste. You pointed me in the direction of the Monster 88s, and I picked up a used pair of demos. I only have 3 days on them so far, and I can’t get the term DAMP out of my head. Ripping high speed GS turns on the frontside is just so much fun. I need to work on my technique and strength, to get the most out of the 88s on the steep, variable, off-piste terrain. Im already eyeing the M98s, but I would be putting the cart before the horse, at this point – something to work towards.

    Does anyone at Blister have any experience or first-hand knowledge of the M83? I know it’s been out for awhile, and there are too many skis, and too little time to review them all. Having the same, or similar damp, smooth, powerful feel of the 88 in a narrower waist is appealing for me. I have plates and screws in one ankle, and a tricky knee on the same leg – using a narrower waist width on firm frontside conditions, seems to help keep that leg from complaining as much. 

    While I’m at it, huge props on the Blister Winter Buyers Guide – it’s a freaking work of art. I especially love the rankings for conditions and application, in each category – very cool. In addition to the 17/18 guide, it’s also nice having the previous season’s edition, as I often find myself looking at previous year models of skis, for the less than retail pricing. Looking forward to getting the hard copy in the mail.

    Great work Jonathan and the entire Blister crew!

    • Good news, chainus – we now have the 18/19 HEAD Monster 83 in hand, and will most definitely be A/B-ing it against the Ikonic 84 Ti. The only caveat is that the Monster 83 has been updated for 18/19, and we have not reviewed the previous iteration of the Monster 83. But stay tuned.

      And thanks so much for the kind words about the Buyer’s Guide!

  4. 8 months late.

    I have loads of time on the pre 18/19 83’s and 98’s.

    The 98’s are softer flexing than the 83’s and 88’s which I would call very stiff skis.

    I’ve not skied the 88, but I am guessing they are more similar than different but would hazard a guess that the 88’s turn into a carve faster based on the marginally fatter tip to waist relative to the 83. But we are splitting hairs here.

    The 83’s are not a slow speed carver: you really need to be moving on them. I love these skis. You ski them angry. I’m always angry. They can be absolutely railed. One might think they’d offer similar performance with a more firm snow bias over the 88 , but even not having skied the 88 I fail to see why Head made an 88 and 83. I just think they are too similar. Their construction is identical and hand flexing they feel the same to me. 5mm waist width with a slightly more pronounced variation in tip and tail widths but still similar radiuses in corresponding lengths = makes little sense to me.

    If I had to buy one knowing what I know and for how and where I ski I’d take the 88 over the 83. I think it is an ever so slightly better carver; would give up nothing on the top end; be more versatile in mode conditions based on the +5mm waist and +8mm tip widths.

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