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KV+ Tornado Blue Clip Ski Pole

$375.00

Product Description

The KV+ Tornado Blue poles are the exciting new poles on the market. Used by a majority of the top Norwegian men including Martin Sundby. 
 
 
material: 100% carbon
weight: 54 g/m
handle: 5P102.OR Power Clip
strap: 6P200, Elite Clip
 
We are selling them as kits. The poles tend to ski a little longer than their advertised length. Call us or leave us a message if you want us to cut them for you or need guidance on proper sizing.
 

Amy’s Version of the new poles:

Last winter Zach picked up a pair of the blue KV+ Tornado poles from one of the Canadian distributors. We were really interested in testing them after seeing a large number of the best Norwegian men, including Martin Sundby, use them with great success in the World Cup. We have tried a lot of different poles over the years and have found a lot of them to do a pretty decent job. We were expecting the Tornadoes to be on par with most of the other top brands. To our surprise, they worked even better than we imagined. We both felt that the swing weight and stiffness was better than what we were currently using. As Zach put it, the KV+ Tornado poles “really encouraged me to push on the poles for a change”. So, we spent the rest of the winter fighting over who got to use the poles when we went out skiing.

In the spring, I decided to contact the company to see if we could bring some in for this winter. I was hoping to get my own set of poles and resolve the issue of only having 1 set in the house. I was happy that KV+ agreed.

We now have a large shipment being sent next week. It has been interesting to see all the interest building around these poles. We haven’t even listed the item on our e-commerce site yet, but we already have a handful of people who have placed orders for the poles through us. I guess the word has gotten out that these are really good poles.

What makes them so good? They are 100% Carbon and weigh 54g/meter. They taper down to 8.5mm at the bottom of the shaft. They also come with a clip grip which we have never been a fan of until we started using the KV+ Tornado poles. The Tornado poles seem to get the weight, stiffness and swing weight just right. We are excited to carry these poles this winter and I am sure you will be too!

 

One of the occasions on which I won the fight for the blue poles.

One of the occasions on which I won the fight for the blue poles.

 

Zach’s Version

We didn’t set-out to get into the ski pole business. Our business plan is really focused on areas where we can add value to existing products, and charge a fair but premium price. This helps us build a niche in the marketplace where we enjoy a competitive advantage. We pick our battles.

We didn’t want to get into poles because, basically, poles are a commodity. Each pair of poles is just like the next pair of poles (unlike skis), and nobody needs help deciding when to use them (unlike wax). Going further, we’ve always felt that poles were basically “sticks to push on”, offering extremely little competitive advantage. All of the top of the line poles from every brand are good enough to win World Cups. I mean, who, really, in the history of ski racing, has lost a race because of poles?

So, no competitive advantage on the snow, and no competitive advantage in the business; easy call. We weren’t looking to get into the pole business. But then we started skiing with these KV+ poles that Pavol Skvaridlo (veresport.ca – a Canadian importer) gave us to try last winter. And we started fighting over who got to use them.

I think Amy has looked up the specs on these things. I did a bit of weighing, and found that the shafts are just about the same weight (within a gram) as other top-end expensive poles, while the straps are a few grams heavier. But that’s not important, and I didn’t even get the weights before we placed our order. To be very clear: don’t buy these poles because anybody claims that they’re the lightest.

The reason to be interested in these poles is that they feel totally direct and solid. Our friend Rick Dickey, the head coach of the Highland Trail Blazers up in Duntroon, tried the poles when he visited last spring, and his description was that they felt like using a really good piece of free-weight equipment in a gym. That’s exactly it. You can lift exactly the same amount of weight using cheap equipment and good equipment, but the good stuff gets better efforts out of you. You just want to push on it. It’s not that the KV+ poles made me push on my arms; they made me want to push on my arms. I skied faster with them, making more powerful and precise motions because the motions and power felt really effective.

KV+GripI think a lot of this has to do with the grips and straps. This is worth noting because of something else we didn’t want to get into: clip-on straps. We’ve tried tons of different clip-on straps in the last decade and a half, and they universally sucked. The idea is elegant, but the poles always felt disconnected – they just weren’t good to use. So we really weren’t too excited about the clip-on straps when we first got these poles, but we ended up ordering 100% of our inventory with these straps.

KV+-002I think the big deal here is that the position in which the strap clips onto the handle is centered on the shaft, instead of hanging off the back. When I pull on the strap of my other poles, the shaft flexes a noticeable amount. When I pull on the strap of the KV+ poles the shaft doesn’t flex a noticeable amount. So, whatever combination of handle/grip geometry and shaft stiffness is at play here, it make my other poles feel like cheap toys by comparison.

All the regular boxes get ticked by these poles. They’re light and stiff – at least comparable with any other top model pole from other companies. Comfortable grips and straps with good size adjustability (no big deal using bare hands one day and super heavy gloves the next; this is New England). The baskets are simple, tough, and functional, and not stupidly tiny (even most of the World Cups don’t have “world cup” conditions to support miniscule baskets).

 

This was one of the first images the popped up on a google search for KV+ Tornado, and I promptly stole it.

This was one of the first images that popped up on a google search for KV+ Tornado, and I promptly stole it.

 

One of the big benefit that come with the KV+ poles is the international marketing investment that’s been made in signing a huge portion of the Norwegian National Team. Somebody must have spent a lot of money on this, and the roster of big names on the World Cup circuit is expanding this season. The distinctive blue color shows up well on TV, and the ubiquitous availability of recorded Eurosport coverage has ensured that a lot of people recognize and want these poles. That makes marketing a slam dunk – we don’t really have to worry about it much.

One of the lesser benefits is that the poles are fairly costly, and we get no warranty support from the manufacturer. Customers expect warranty support, and we’ll provide industry-standard one-year replacement on manufacturer defects. Fair warning – we know what it looks like when you shut poles in the stationwagon door. Please don’t take advantage of us – if you break your poles doing something dumb, just own up to it and we’ll make it as painless for you as we can.

We ordered a lot of these poles in kits. The KV+ poles seem to build-up a couple of cm longer than our other poles (when we cut them to the factory marks). There is no fixed standard for measuring pole length, which makes it tricky to compare things. I believe that the most helpful measurement is from the base of the basket (where the pole will rest on the track surface) to the insertion point of the strap on the handle. We’ll be putting together a comparison chart to help people determine the correct cut length for these poles. We’ll be able to deliver them either as kits, or are pre-cut and built poles, using your measurements (no backsies if you ask for the wrong size).

The last reason to buy these poles is that they have miraculous curative properties. I have terrible shoulders – blown rotator cuffs and almost no bicep tendons left. The KV+ poles build up a bit longer than what I’m used to, and when I first started skiing with them I thought my shoulders wouldn’t be able to handle the range of motion. But within a week my arms felt stronger – great biomechanics on the forward swing (I’ll credit the grips and straps, and the swing weight) reduced stress there, and the poles made me push on my arms, actually engaging muscles in the task of poling. Imagine! Within two weeks I could actually lift my arms over my head to take items off of high shelves, and I could sleep with my arms over my head without my whole body going into spasms. Soon I was able to do basic pushing exercises (burpees, dips) at Todd Miller’s exercise class for the first time in two years, and it all started with those poles. I can’t wait to see what they can do for the common cold. Still waiting on that though – I also haven’t been sick since I started using them. And my hair seems to be getting less gray. And I’ve lost weight. I’m telling you… (Amy says please note that these last claims have not been verified in independent third party tests, or subject to peer-review. Ski poles are sold under the category of “sports equipment” and are not subject to FDA regulation.)

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