This year Ultratune has the new Madshus RedLine 2.0 in the shop. There has been a bit of un-official writing about the new skis, but very little descriptive info directly from Madshus.
I thought I’d share some data and observations. I’m omitting graphs and keeping numbers to a minimum….
This info is from a pair of the RL2.0 (2019/2020 year) skate skis that are pretty close in flex to a pair of the regular production RedLine skis (2018/2019 year), which I’ll refer to as the RL2 and the RL.
The sizing has changed from a break on the 5cm in the past (thus 180, 185, 190, 195), to the new sizing of 182, 187, 192. This more closely aligns with the other ski makers, and cuts one size from the catalog. Not a big deal in my opinion.
The specific skis I’m looking at are a 185 RedLine Cold and a 187 RL2 “Regular”. These skis have nearly identical running length. You can see in the picture that the RL2 is a pointy tip, and the old RedLine is a rounded off shovel. If you trimmed the point off of the 187 RL2, you’d line up pretty well with the older rounded tip of the RedLine 185.
Weight-wise, the new RL2 is 19 grams per ski heavier than the older RedLine (570g vs 551g) or about 1.5 ounces per pair heavier for the new skis. For comparison, the Atomic S9 Redster is 493g per ski (measured) for a 186cm. That’s a pretty significant difference between the Atomic and the Madshus (15% heavier, or more than a quarter pound per pair), but not so much difference between the new vs old RedLine.
Where’s the beef? Handling the skis, it seems clear that the new RL2 has a bit more meat in the front of the ski. It’s torsionally stiffer and a bit stiffer in tip (and tail) flex, and just seems to have more material in the forward section. I’d say that the front 40cm are noticeably more firm, and the back 15cm (tail) as well.
The new RedLine 2.0 is similar in tip stiffness (torsional and forward flex) to the Atomic S9 Carbon Redster. Not super stiff, but noticeably more supportive than the original RedLine skate ski.
As far as camber style and characteristics, the new vs old RedLine skis are pretty similar. Both of these particular skis closed (to 0.05mm) at about 83-84 kg, so it was a pretty good “apples vs apples” comparison. Both skis have about 0.2mm camber at 10kg under closing force. Both skis are about 16mm open camber (with no force) on the bench. And running length at half-weight and full skier weight is close enough to consider then to be in the same family.
In comparison to other brands, this is a little lower camber than an Atomic S9 Carbon Redster (in a 186cm, they’re typically around 20mm open camber, and also a bit more camber height with full skier weight), and the RedLine is much lower than the big springy Rossignol S2 Premium (in a 187 they’re around 27mm open camber).
So really what’s changed? The front of the RL2 ski is firmer than the old RL. Stability on medium to firm track is improved (though the RedLine has always been a terrific ski in terms of stability and control).
Additionally, and this is a subtle thing, Madshus is using a new base material that they claim is faster in both warm and cold conditions. So Madshus won’t be using different bases on Warm/Cold models for production skis. The bases on the skis that Ultratune has received have been very nice. As they should be – these skis have been coming straight from the race room stock, and have gotten a bit more attention.
Overall? What’s my opinion? The new RedLine 2.0 is an evolution of the species. The new mold and the new graphics are strikingly different in appearance, but the camber style remains distinctly Madshus RedLine. The added tip and tail strength should provide more composure on firm tracks, which is a plus.
Availability of the RedLine 2.0 may be a bit limited this season, but there are still quite a few available at Nordic Ultratune.