Deeluxe stays true to the hardbooter July 10th, 2004 Billy Bordy

Deeluxe stays true to the hardbooter, bringing some cosmetic upgrades into the tried and true Speed line.
A quick glance at next year’s action shows the same line-up coming out of the Deeluxe camp as last year. The Indy (AF-700) is the flagship, full race boot providing the experienced carver with the ride they expect from Deeluxe.
The Suzuka (AF-600) keeps the lighter racer or recreational carver in the trench with a bit softer flex and feel. Deeluxe also keeps its Raichle inspired roots with the Le Mans; which is a performance freecarve boot based on Raichle’s first series, the SB, dating back to the late eighties.
Deeluxe is still looking to the future, with their entire line remaining Intec compatable. The trick, semi-moldable Thermo Fit bladders remain the stock option for those with a Deeluxe friendly foot shape. The Speed Thermo full customization light weight liner is, of course, available as an option for the entire line.
Deeluxe has provided hardbooters with a snowboard specific product for so long that almost every seasoned rider has, or has had, a set in their quiver.
The renaming of the hardboot line from Raichle to the softboot banner Deeluxe may have come to improve sales as Raichle’s own softboot line surpassed the hardboots in sales.
In a heroic attempt to maintain the line, Raichle’s name has gone to the wayside in favor of the hip Deeluxe image. The name change’s only effect was some small confusion to the intimate and growing hardboot community, accustomed to searching the Internet for the key word, Raichle.
Deeluxe again provides a product for every rider next year.
The Indy gets a faster race car red paint job with a matching tongue and spoiler, completing the exterior.
The remainder of the boot looks unchanged, featuring the Indy specific, Power Flex Asym shell providing the stiffest ride of the line.
The forward lean continues to be controlled by the questionable spring-load forward lean mechanism. While the mechanism works well for the majority of the carvers the boot is designed for, heavy and powerful expert trenchers may find the weak upper junction of the shaft and upper cuff pin are prone to bending, and although very rare, possible failure.
The solution is a switch to the 5-step forward lean mechanism, providing a stiffer and often more desirable ride for the hard core rider. Unfortunately, removing the damper ride of the spring can also have a negative impact to some.
Unless Deeluxe offers a replacement kit with a better junction and cuff pin system, the benefits of the spring-load forward lean will involve a pre and post ride check for bending, and replacement when needed to avoid failure.
This comes at the cost of the consumer, who must hammer out the pin to check it, which may possibly elongate the pin hole with repeated removal and reassembly. Indy riders will still receive the stock Full fit liner with thermo zones in key comfort and hold down areas, providing a slightly stiffer ride and semi-adjustable fit. The bladder uses the same powerstrap design as last year’s boot, providing a firmer bladder-to-tongue interface than the Le Mans boot, but still lacking the clamping power of a full wrap strap.
Deeluxe believes the current design provides ample power while reducing the amount of shin bang in the stock liner.
This will probably be the most modified part of the boot thanks to the Booster Strap, however, if you choose the full customization Speed Thermo liner it may be your only option due to the lack of any power strap.
The Suzuka again shares the same overlap tongue shape and shell with the Indy, providing a slightly more flexible boot with lots of free-carving and racing potential and has found its way onto 2002 silver medalist Richard Richardson’s feet.
This is a full- blown carver’s boot with a softer Carve Flex Asym shell, more durable, but fixed 5-step forward lean mechanism.
Only 3 of the positions are truly usable, and the coarseness of the positioning determining your forward lean forcing you to look to canting to offset the fact you would like to be between positions 2 and 3.
The Semi- Fit, semi moldable liner, provides just a little less support than the Full Fit semi-moldable liner.
The reduction in moldable zones separates the Suzuka from its bastard, hardcore cousin, the Indy. It also will change colors into a pleasing navy with black tongue and spoiler highlights.
This boot rips all by itself and is on par with many Race Boots from other manufacturers, allowing it to be the recreational carvers’ boot of choice in 2005.
The Le Mans maintains its roots by allowing an economical option for the hardboot enthusiast who enjoys a softer flexing supportive boot to ride all conditions all the time. While it maintains the soft flexing outdated Flexon Comp tongue design it remains a favorite to some. Attempting to stay true to the fit and performance of a full tongue boot, Deeluxe has maintained the Le Mans nicely.
It features the Ride Flex Asym shell, 5-step forward lean mechanism, and Core Fit non-moldable liner.
This boot surely fills a niche but has all the weaknesses that the SB line had when the AF line went into production.
The cant adjuster is still weak and prone to breakage even though it went through a semi successful although not bombproof upgrade in the AF series.
The lack of a usable power strap and poor drive through the diagonal plane are still the boot’s major flaws.
Perhaps a better marketing campaign would be to drop the aging, substandard Le Mans and refine the flaws in the Indy and Suzuka which would provide Deeluxe with a firm foundation to continue their contribution to the hard boot community.
Deeluxe continues to make an outstanding product next year; with very few contributors to the market, it is hard to find flaw in any hard boot that is snowboard specific.
Deeluxe continues to be the hard boot of choice for most riders because of their commitment to the sport, and their long lasting history of quality and performance. Next year’s line offers all of the same thrills as last year’s line.
The only noticeable upgrades being a flashy new paint job, leaving many riders in the same boot for the 3rd or 4th season fulfilled or perhaps looking to E-Bay closeouts for a deal on last years colors at a fraction of the price.’
–Billy Bordy
 
http://hardbooter.net

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