The biggest reason that going smaller in the Tx Comp isn’t a great idea is the placement of the bellows. Going smaller moves the bellows forward the to the knuckles of the toes in between the phalanges and the metatarsals, rather than staying placed over the cuneiforms, where the toes meet your foot. If the rest of the boot feels too big, I encourage you to seek out other options to make that boot smaller, because you will be hating your tele turns with the bellows too far forward.
After getting the sizing right, there really isn’t a difference in the bellows between the T-Race and the Tx Comp. They are both stiff and responsive. I’ve never felt under supported or restricted. For an aggressive tele skier on any terrain, these are the best bellows I’ve ridden.
As for durability of bellow, while I punched through the bellows on Garmonts and BD 75 mm boots, Scarpa’s bellows have lasted with no noticeable increase in elasticity, and the rubber/plastic is showing no signs of wear or cracking. And I’ve beat these to hell. No rock, stick, ski edge, or pole has been able to punch through them yet, on either the T-Race or the Tx Comp.
The forward lean on the Tx Comp runs 10-15 degrees, and the T-Race runs 9-12 degrees. I’ve ridden both boots at 12 degrees. This position places my ankle at a natural angle that keeps my knee right over the ball of the foot. In the Tx Comp, this is where I find the most power for free riding, basically putting a straight line right through the NTN’s center, up the middle of the reversed duckbill.
The current designs of the T-Race and the Tx Comp both employ the same walk mode, but they didn’t always. When the T-Race and the Tx Comp were first released, switching the boot into tour mode required removing a metal rod with an allen wrench. This was a pain in the backcountry, and quite honestly I never did it. I just toured in a stiff boot.
My first season in the Tx Comp (2010-2011) was in this non-functional design, and was I stoked when Scapra added the walk mode to the Tx Comp in 2011-2012 . By this time, the T-Race had already been updated as well. The present tour setting in both boots is completely functional, works great, and adds to the versatility of the boots. It brings the aggressive downhill / resort stability to the backcountry.
When in tour mode, my ankles can breathe and have ample amounts of blood flow and flex. When in ski mode, the boot locks solidly translating into a stable, stiff, and responsive boot.
The power straps on each boot are now the same lightweight, velcro straps that Scarpa employs on every other boot. When first introduced, the Tx Comp had a metal synch on the powerstrap that was heavy. I’ve found the Velcro to work just as well, while also reducing weight. I’ve never had an issue with my power straps on either boot, they hold tight throughout the day, and work great for slinging your boots over your shoulder in the airport or on the way to the car.
The buckles in both models, in all honesty, get beat to hell. This may be the weakest part of the boots. After about 50 days my buckles become bent and don’t completely line up anymore. The boot must be manipulated in order to get the buckles to fully line up, and when storing the boots it takes a minute to make sure the boots are fully buckled so they hold their form through the off season. They are also easily bent.
Some of the other brands (e.g., BD and Garmont) seem to have better designs for their standard 75 mm buckles, and I would like to see Scarpa go this route.
The Scarpa Tx Comp is a good boot for aggressive teleskiers who are ready to make the jump from 75mm to NTN, and who want to stay with a Scarpa boot. While it could use some tweaks in terms of buckle design and toe box fit, it is a light, durable, versatile boot that is consistent with it’s 75mm’s counterpart, the T-Race. And you might also want to check out the Tx Pro if you want to own an NTN and Dynafit compatible set up.