Salomon Quest Max BC 120
Size tested: 27.5 / Boot Sole Length: 315mm
Weight: (with DIN soles and stock liners)
- Right: 1990 grams
- Left: 1984 grams
Test Locations: New Zealand Canterbury club fields, Treble Cone, Mt. Hutt Heli Skiing
Days tested: 14
I spend most of my season ski touring in Alaska, and have used a lot of different alpine touring boots over the past few years. I also travel a good bit to ski, and when I do, I like to take just one pair of boots that I can use inbounds, but also for big touring days.
For our review trip to New Zealand I decided to test the new Salomon Quest Max BC 120.
Salomon has had boots featuring a walk mode for several years, but the Quest Max BC 120 seems to be the first boot with added emphasis on uphill performance.
In comparison to other boots in the “Walk and Ride” line, the Quest Max BC 120 has a pebax lower shell and a thermomoldable liner to save weight. And new this season, Salomon will also offer Walk to Ride (WTR) sole blocks with tech fittings.
I now have two weeks in the Quest Max BC 120, and I’ll start with initial observations and comment based on experience when pertinent.
Except for the Dynafit Vulcan and the Dynafit TLT5, I have not worn or tinkered with any AT boot that didn’t have at least some play in the walk mode in the “downhill” position—until the BC120.
When this boot is locked, there is zero discernible play when hand flexing or when flexing with the boot on my foot. The most comparable boots I’ve used recently include the Tecnica Cochise Pro 130 and the Dynafit Titan, and both had play in the cuff that was noticeable while skiing from day one. It will be interesting to see if the Salomon walk mode will remain tight after heavy use.
Range of motion is much less than the Vulcan or Scarpa Maestrale, and comparable to a Tecnica Cochise Pro 130. My initial impression is that the cuff will move about 10 degrees rearward of vertical. My suspicion is that it will be fine for my style of skinning, which does not typically involve long strides.
The oversize shell pivot seems like a good addition. I wore down the cuff articulation on my first pair of Dynafit TLT5’s to the point where the carbon was wallowed out and a lot of play developed, presumably from so much touring. Since then I’ve paid more attention to cuff rivets. The larger diameter pivot on the BC 120 is intended to increase lateral stiffness, but also to create more surface area to evenly distribute wear. Seems like a good idea to me.
So far I have not used the boots skinning, but I have taken quite a few hikes and ridge walks in them. The walk mode is effective and comfortable. It doesn’t provide enough range of motion for unimpeded downhill strides, but overall, it’s adequate.
The BC 120 has one of the most impressive liners I’ve ever seen on a touring boot. It felt thick enough to keep my foot warm, but it’s not so soft that it will get sloppy right away. On the one day that I skied with the stock liners, I found that the speed lacing system worked well without any slipping or loosening. My favorite feature is the true, alpine-like tongue that’s well padded, stiff, and comfortable.
Unfortunately, my relatively high instep caused a lot of pain that I couldn’t remedy with heat molding or insoles. I ended up swapping out the stock liners for a pair of Inuition Powerwrap Plug liners that were molded for me by the folks at Gnomes Alpine Sports in Darfield, NZ. I’ve had a snug and comfortable fit ever since.
At first glance this boot appears to have traditional alpine overlap construction. On closer inspection, however, the lower shell does not actually overlap across the foot, but rather relies on the black plastic tongue interfacing with the lower and upper shell.
The buckles function well—the single buckle on the cuff is adequate, and is a proven design on boots such as Salomon’s popular Ghost series. The powerstrap is functional but I miss the camming powerstrap system used on the Tecnica Cochise line and on the new K2 Pinnacle series—I’ve found that this system is significantly more powerful and much easier to unlatch for walking / skinning.
The attachment points feel very solid and are similar to those offered on the Cochise, albeit a bit easier to slide on and off. The tech compatible soles are also compatible with all of Salomon’s WTR bindings, which include the new STH2.
After four days of skiing, I noticed that the screws in the soles needed a little bit of tightening. I’ll keep a close eye on it but suspect it was more due to my severe jetlag when doing the sole swap rather than any issue with the boot. I have been on the boots another 10 days at least since tightening them and have not noticed any issues.
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