2023 Volkl Kendo 88 Skis
Volkl Kendo 88 Skis
The Volkl Kendo 88 Skis have always been a Ski Essentials tester favorite and have been on the top of list in the all-mountain 88 underfoot category. New for this year, the Kendo has undergone three significant changes. First is Tailored Titanal Frame which has altered shaping of the upper metal laminate compared to the previous Kendo. Instead of a consistent width through the entire ski, the Titanal Frame is thicker, or rather wider, closer to your foot, then tapers to a thinner layer of metal as it wraps around the tip and tail. This allows Volkl to custom tailor the performance of each length to match the skier who's going to be choosing it and it's very noticeable. Second is the Tailor Carbon Tip. This specifically engineered grid of carbon in the tip of the ski provides increasing torsional stiffness and responsiveness in the tip of the ski as well as making it lighter. There is noticeably more energy in this ski compared to the previous version. Lastly, this Kendo's turn radius has been tweaked. You still get the 3D Radius, which was featured in the previous ski, but Volkl has dropped 1 meter out of the center radius of the ski. The 177 centimeters, for example, now has a 16 meter turn radius underfoot, down from 17 meters in the previous ski. It might not seem like much, but you sure can feel it. The Volkl Kendo 88 has improved responsiveness, accessibility, and ups the fun-factor, which makes it an ideal one ski quiver for many advanced and expert skiers across the board.
- Sidecut: 129/88/113 mm at 177 cm length
- Turn Radius: 16 meters at 177 cm length
- Tailored Titanal Frame
- Tailored Carbon Tips
- Multi-Layer Woodcore
- Tip and Tail Rocker
- Ability Level: Advanced and Expert Skiers
All-Mountain • Groomers • Powder
Thanks for doing these Q&As, which are super helpful.
Weight, stiffness, and responsiveness are the big differences, all leaning to the Kendo. The shovel of the Ripstick is quite a bit more flexible than the Kendo, so it's way easier to initiate a turn. The Kendo requires more input from the skier, so be prepared for that if you go that route. I'd go with the 170 or 172 in either of those skis. Have fun!
I’m considering the Stockl Stormrider 88, but your review of the new Kendo 88 has me interested. Would like your opinion.
Stormrider has greater range than the Kendo in terms of speed. It has more flex and a quieter sound to it than the metallic Kendo. Some people like the ping of the Volkl while others prefer the quieter Stockli. I'd pretty much take the Stockli over anything, for what it's worth. Have fun!
The new Kendo is quite a bit more energetic and turny than the 2017 version, and I think that works quite well here at Stowe. The deacon is awesome, but doesn't quite have the same versatility as the Kendo. That said, it's considerably more race-like in a carved turn, so if you are 90% groomers, I think that's a worthy consideration for sure. I'd say 172 in Deacon or 177 in Kendo, with the Kendo being a slightly more complete ski. Have fun!
The ski is innately stable, so it's okay to not size up to obtain power. I'd think you'll get what you need out of the 170, unless you know you prefer longer skis!
Me: 165 pound, 5'10", Idaho/Oregon/Wyoming. My current daily is the QST 99 which I REALLY like, but am looking for more of a frontside ski, not a true carver, but something more advanced for hardpack and occasional icy crud than my first frontside skis (2019 Dynastar Speed 10 ti....which are now my rock skis). I'm pretty set on the new Kendo 88 in a 175. The season is almost over for me, and I'll have the next 7 months to OCD bargain hunt.
Seems the 2023 Kendo 88 reviews are almost hyperbolic. Can they come close to the uber-expensive SR88s for my needs?
You're paying for the sound, or lack thereof, with the Stockli. The performance of the skis is pretty similar, actually, with the Stockli being a bit more forgiving. The money goes towards making the ski silent. While the Kendo has a pingy timbre to it, the Stockli is dead quiet. I do not think there's enough difference in actual performance, in fact, the Kendo has a higher-end. The Stockli has the range and the silence that give it the top-end feel and price.
If you're looking for more control and maneuverability, then there's nothing wrong with the 170 in that ski, mostly because it's so naturally stable. You may find that the turn radius is on the short side for you, but if you're splitting time between skiing with kids and versatility, I see no reason why the 170 won't work, especially since you seem to be gravitating towards those attributes of a shorter ski. Have fun!
We currently have that ski paired with a Tyrolia Attack 14 binding. If you're interested in a swap, please call 877/812/6710 because there will be a slight price difference.
I don't think you need to size up to the 184, especially since your language states that you favor control and maneuverability over speed, and didn't have a nice time on the Vantage 90's in that size. The Kendo's are heavier than the Vantage, so I don't think you need to go up to the bigger length unless you know you prefer the longer ski. They're stable skis, naturally.
2023 gets some updates including tailored titanal frame, tailored carbon tips, and a bit shorter of a turn radius. This makes the 2023 Kendo more refined, but it's a slight difference rather than a wholesale one.
This year, we are unlikely to see more of those sizes this winter. They'll be included in our normal pre-season order which usually shows up in mid-summer sometime. I'd look to the 163 in that ski unless you know you prefer longer skis. They're pretty stable and strong, so there's no real reason to upsize unless you really want to. Have fun!
It's a modern version of that ski, so expect strong edge grip, precise turn initiation, and now with way more versatility. I'd stick to the same sizes if you are cool with those current lengths. If you're looking for something that does everything, the Kendo is a fantastic choice, with a high-end carving capability. Have fun!
If you're dealing with "relatively" narrow skis like Kendo or Deacon, width doesn't have a huge influence on sizing--it's more that fat ones that you have to think about more. If you feel the 177 is on the short side, I'd go 184 in the Kendo. Have fun!
The Kendo 92 is a more freeride focused variant of the Kendo 88 which is more race inspired. The Kendo 92 is going to be more for splitting time between groomers and the rest of the mountain. The Kendo 88 is more focused on groomer and frontside performance so its easier to see this ski as an all mountain frontside ski.
The new Bonafide is just as burly and hard charging as in the past so no changes there. The new Kendo would be a great way to get that same on edge performance but out of a slightly more forgiving body. The new tip design and general construction make the ski extremely versatile and easy to release from a turn, which lets you spend more time having fun and less time fighting your ski.
The Kendo would be a great ski to help pick up the pace. It's got a pretty robust build and really likes to be driven hard. The 3D radius also gives you a smooth skiing experience and really does a lot to reduce the amount of edge catch you feel. It's a really balanced ski and really feels like you can take it anywhere. On the other hand if you wanted an even more aggressive ski the Enforcer 88 would be another great on trail focused all mountain ski to check out.
Have fun out there!
One day last year in NH, I demoed the Volkl Deacon 79 (170cm) and loved them - every turn in icy conditions was like going through butter. Sole gripe was I would have liked a bit more stability at higher speeds.
Different day, I planned on demoing the Kendo 88’s but they screwed up my reservation and were all taken. The shop’s staff suggested the K2 Disruption 82Ti (172cm) saying they were the closest in comparison. I liked them ok, but felt like I really had to work to gain control and stability.
Question: I’m really interested in purchasing the Kendo 88 @ (170cm?) but given the K2 experience, I’m wondering if I should expect to work them in a similar fashion as the Disruptions? Or is it more likely that the width was too much for me and I should stick with Deacons? Sorry for the long note but greatly appreciate any thoughts you might have! Thank you!
The Kendo 88 is more maneuverable than the 82Ti in my opinion. Volkl really worked their magic when it comes to that new tailored carbon tip design and these skis feel like they can turn on a dime when needed. There's also very little edge catch thanks in part to the 3D radius construction. I think it would still be worth it to give the Kendo a chance, especially with the new construction for the 22-23 season.