The demo for the 2012 Line Sir Francis Bacon went a little like this….Last few runs of the day: “Hmm what should I ride. Damn, the suns gone behind the ridge and it’s gettin’ shady out. Probably start firming up and getting icy now. What about the Sir Francis Bacon?” Now if this would have been last year I’d have said PASS and grabbed some 90mm underfoot turn burner. And if you’ve ridden the 2010 or 2011 SFB’s you know why, they weren’t the most stable things on hard pack snow or icy conditions. I’m not trying to intentionally bad mouth them but unless you were skiing the deep stuff you were playing the “where’s my edges” game on previous versions of the SFB. But this is a new year and with that comes a completely redesigned ski from Line. This year Line and Eric Pollard have junked the old specs of the Sir Francis Bacon and come up with a completely new ski. According to Line…”…a narrower 108mm waist for increased versatility & quickness, while refining every detail of the construction and geometry for even better float and a smooth, solid feel that is fun everywhere on the mountain.” That narrower waist is sitting at 108mm by the way. So even though it’s gone and jumped on the medifast program, it’s still beefed up enough to handle itself in pow. However, the two words you should focus on from that little blurb line’s are “versatility & quickness”. These two adjectives are a great description of how the new Sir Francis Bacon performs. While the old ones seemed to struggle to an edge, the 2012′s were almost like a slalom ski. Especially on the groomers. Hard pack and ice the new Sir Francis Bacon’s held their edge and made quick little turns whenever called upon to do so. Bigger arcing turns in the crud weren’t quite as easy, but were still doable. They handled the off piste well and I was able to tackle some pretty chewed up stuff as well as some smoother untracked and felt confident in all of it. I also found them to be a stable ski at both high and low speeds. Meaning, when I was cruising the flats or a cat track I wasn’t getting any tweaky edging going on. They were easy to keep steady and straight. At high speeds they were solid as well. I could point and shoot them without being thrown around much at all. They were definitely easy to ski and didn’t create any worry as to what they were gonna do next. No they weren’t the bulldozers that the Atomic Bent Chetlers are, but they were enough to get me through some crud at high speeds.
In my opinion the 2012 Sir Francis Bacon’s are heads and tails above previous models. Being that it’s a completely new ski I think it’s important to take a look at the changes that lead to the improvement. I’ve already heard a few negative comments about the downsizing in the waist. Skiers are definitely in a present mindset of wider is better. Which I’m not totally against. But in this case I think it was a good move. In fact, if you check the specs on the new Mr. Pollard’s Opus you’ll notice Eric has taken a few mm’s off of what previously was the EP Pro. So while wider is better, there is also a point where an all mountain ski just doesn’t need to be HUGE. The new Sir Francis Bacon has dimensions of 140/108/136, the old were at 142/115/139. So the ski came down in width all over. But check the lengths: New SFB’s will come in 172, 178, and 184 while the old ones were available in 162, 172, and 182. AH HA! Well maybe an “ah ha” isn’t warranted but they are longer. So really there isn’t much surface area loss between the two models, and the longer length should on bigger mtn runs.
The last thing I’m going to bring up about the new Sir Francis Bacon is the graphics. The graphics on Eric’s skis have always been awesome but I’m this year’s I’m really into. To the point where even if I didn’t think they skis very well I’d probably still consider buying them just because they’re just that damn good looking. Same goes for the Mr. Pollard’s Opus by the way. I want to hang these skis on my wall as art because that’s exactly what they are.
So this is what I think you as a reader should take away from this review. The new Sir Francis Bacon from Line is just that…NEW. So don’t just say “I’m not going to buy them because they made them skinnier at the waist.” They’re a completely different ski and def. an all mountain ripper. I wouldn’t have given my blessing on them if they hadn’t gone through the make-over and still won’t with the older models. Pollard’s been doing amazing things on all of them but for me, the normal skier, they weren’t my cup-o-tea. The new SFB’s have me in they’re corner and I’d recommend them to anyone needing an everyday ski in the mid-fat range.
Oh yea, here’s a video on them…..in French. So if you can speak it, good for you. I can’t….