Garmont Masterlite Boots — Adding Cuff Alignment

Post by blogger | December 21, 2010      

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Reviewing ski boots isn’t the easiest task in the world. That is unless you just slap the shoe on your foot, ski it for an hour, then regurgitate the press release you got blasted with the week before. We don’t mind press releases around here, but when we review boots we try to enjoy more than a quickie. Problem is, how do you form an opinion of a boot if it’s not fitted? More, what if you need cuff alignment like ol’ twisted leg Lou? Some boots can be retrofitted with a cuff alignment (canting) rivet. Turns out the Masterlite is in that class, so to begin the review process, here is how I installed an alignment rivet so I could actually ski in the things like a normal human.

Garmont Masterlite backcountry skiing boots.

The existing rivet is drilled out. Trick is to use plenty of spray water to keep it cool, and drill slowly. Important to center the drill bit, so I start with a small one and step up through several sizes. When done correctly, the rivet easily pops out while you're drilling.

Garmont Masterlite backcountry skiing boots.

Scarpa cant cuff-pivot screw rivets work well for retrofitting, so that's what we started with. This version is part aluminum, quite light, so we're not messing up this fine lightweight boot.

Garmont Masterlite backcountry skiing boots.

Rivet head popped off, revealing exterior hole that'll need enlargement, but is almost good.

Garmont Masterlite backcountry skiing boots.

Careful measurement revealed which level of step bit would boor a hole of sufficient size for the exterior part of the cant pivot. This doesn't have to be perfect, just close and tight, not loose.

Garmont Masterlite backcountry skiing boots.

Step bit at the ready. These things are a blessing as they drill neat round holes in just about any thin material.

Garmont Masterlite backcountry skiing boots.

Exterior portion of cant rivet installed, looking from inside boot cuff.

Garmont Masterlite backcountry skiing boots.

Interior rivet has to be heated and seated so it won't rotate. I hold it with a bolt, as pictured, and heat briefly with torch or heat gun. Easy to blow this by making it too hot, in which case the rivet will melt right through the boot before you can react. So be careful.

Garmont Masterlite backcountry skiing boots.

Installed. Next, rig some footbeds and mold liners. Oh, and perhaps blow out the shell toe-box so my feet stay warm.

Shop for Garmont ski boots here.


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20 Responses to “Garmont Masterlite Boots — Adding Cuff Alignment”

  1. Tyler December 21st, 2010 10:48 am

    Thanks for this Lou. This is one of my main complaints with my Zzero’s. Have you looked at the possibilities on those?

  2. Lou December 21st, 2010 10:59 am

    Easily done, Tyler.

  3. John December 21st, 2010 11:00 am

    I had to machine my own cants for Dynafits.

  4. John December 21st, 2010 11:01 am

    Which cant fits the Dynafits?

  5. Lou December 21st, 2010 11:08 am

    I had them apart last year and aligned the cuff by drilling a new hole, but recalled that I could have made the Scarpa cant work, but perhaps I’m wrong? I’ve got some old ZZeros here, would be happy to drill out the rivet and see what fits, later today after doing some slidin’. Back later…

  6. Tuck December 21st, 2010 11:48 am

    I visited my local boot-fitter last weekend, and he gave me quite the earful on the problems with modifying pebax boots with heat. Any thoughts on how to be successful in blowing out the toes?

  7. Tom Gos December 21st, 2010 3:40 pm

    I’ll the second the request for a DIY tutorial on adding a cuff adjustment rivet to the Zzeros, or at least a run down on how you managed to drill a new hole and re-insert the stock rivet.

  8. Lou December 21st, 2010 4:18 pm

    Tuck, I don’t have any problems. I guess some walk and some talk…

  9. Mike December 21st, 2010 5:20 pm

    Lou, I know you haven’t custom fit these yet, but can you comment on the general sizing vs. Scarpa and Dynafit. I have Garmont tele boots that I love, and all other boots have been too narrow for me. Currently I have Scarpa F3 which are too narrow (and I don’t dare blow them out because of the bellows). I am really interested in the Masterlite, and am hoping it will have some of the fit characteristics of my tried and true Garmont tele boots.

  10. Lou December 21st, 2010 6:56 pm

    Mike, I doubt the Masterlite last has any similarity whatsoever to a telemark boot, but I’ll indeed communicate some impressions, soon.

  11. Lou December 21st, 2010 7:04 pm

    Tom, I’ll get it done in the next few days. Luckily I have some Green Machines to work on. Thanks, Lou

  12. Jon Moceri December 21st, 2010 7:35 pm

    Mike, I tried the Masterlite at the same time I purchased the Dynafit TLT 5 Mountain.

    I think the Masterlite has a wider forefoot and a very much tighter instep than the Dynafits. In addition, I think the Masterlite is a stiffer boot. I also found the buckles to be a little too quirky for me.


  13. Mark December 22nd, 2010 9:20 am

    “boor a hole” – sounds like a conversation between congressmen.

  14. andrew January 5th, 2011 7:38 pm

    I live in the bc backcountry,Tried the masterlights this dec of 2010,sent them back.They dont stay in the dynafits in climb mode.Ripped the left liner after touring for 10km.The ski/walk mode clicks back too walk mode well sking.Softshell pants grab the lever mech,well sking.Thats why they clicked back into walk mode.They also need some heat molding to fit(narrow profile at of the box)Just a note,they came out of the dynafits speeds,before the bootfitting.I thought it might have just been the binding.So tried them with my bd primes,no problems in climb mode.They are light,but sticking to my leather 3 pins for marathons.Everyone have safe winter,and fun adventures

  15. tOM March 14th, 2011 2:47 pm

    Lou, are you going to get around to giving any feedback on the garmont masterlite or what? Tons of blogging on d-fit & scarpa, we know you added a cuff cant, how about an impression at the least. Or is the boot so poorly made that you’re going to let it slip from memory since they pay for ad space? I’m sure other besides me want to know how it compares to the other latests in the light crowd.

    curious, tOM

  16. Lou March 14th, 2011 3:18 pm

    Tom, appreciate the curiosity but not the cynicism. Yes, Anton Sponar used those for the Power of Four race and associate training, and is working on a review which I’ll contribute to and edit.

    By the way, to all of you, I appreciate and thank you for your confidence in my gear reviews, but you have to realize I’m only one guy and have no obligation nor personal commitment to review any given number or mix of products. I review what is convenient and getting used, as well as generally sticking to stuff I like. Ditto for our guest bloggers.

    Apologies if I give the impression this is a gear review website. Yes, we do lots of gear reviews, but we go through phases with more or less gear reviews, and more things such as trip reports, news, and opinion.

    We are working on some other Garmont stuff as well… but another thing everyone has to realize is that since we’re not a gear review publication with a cast of thousands, no way we can calculate and perfectly balance our editorial coverage. Fact also is that super innovative gear such as TLT5 will receive more coverage simply due to the fact that such stuff provides more to write about…

    Lecture over (grin).

    And just to whet your hunger, we’re doing a comparo of old and new Garmont Radium fit, as well as having Lisa play around with some women’s Garmonts…

  17. tOM March 15th, 2011 6:28 pm

    Sorry for the cynical outlook. It was sparked in part by the post from “Andrew” on Jan. 5th. Since the mode lever of the Masterlite is flipped upward to go into ski mode and down to free the cuff I find it really hard to believe any pants, softshell or otherwise could somehow grab the lever and flip it into walk mode while skiing,( esp. given the spring tension on the lever). Maybe you’re slippin’ for not catching that,(grin back at ya!). More than likely you’re busy doin’ the rest of what you do 🙂 Lucy you! Reading what I could find on the web leads me to believe there are some bogus reports on these boots & Andrew might be one of them.

    I’ve a real interest in the Masterlite since my superior stature also requires a goodly amount of canting on the cuff. I did look over a friends performance TLT5’s and feel it might be possible to do some ankle padding/shimming or some such fitting to get what I need with them. In the end though I think I’ve settled on the Garmonts, simpler boot , available at a discount, way stiffer than my F3’s I’ve been doing most of my bc skiin’ on and since they fit my skrawny feet so snug with my other intuitions in them, I figure I can have warm feet and a good fit. The pair I ordered showed up today, but have not cooked the liners much less skied them & won’t unitl I’m purdy dern shore they’ll give me what I’m lookin’ fer. Around the house they feel like they’ll do just fine. We’ll see.

    Apologies & best wishes, tOM

  18. Lou March 15th, 2011 10:05 pm

    Hey Tom, thanks for the words. Yeah, I’ll get those boots back and get on the case. Hopefully Anton will have an interesting take.

  19. Willis Richardson May 24th, 2011 9:29 am

    I have the orange Masterlite version of this boot and have been very disappointed. The first day I wore them they filled up with water because of the gaps in the cuff and the lock/unlock mechanism. The buckles are more than squirrelly. I had to get a Scarpa lining that completely fills the boot. In addition, as you have shown there is no cant mechanism. I liked the way the boot fit when I first put it on but have been very disappointed on a product that is expensive. Why should I have to buy a $200 liner in addition to the cost of the boot. Garmont needs to fix the liner, cant, buckles and place a barrier in the rear cuff. Too bad the boot is very light, stiff and can let you go for miles. Great design but poor follow through on Garmont’s part. I am buying Dynafits if the problems are not fixed. I returning the boots after the season. There is no reason for the problems with the boot as it is currently constructed.

  20. Ralf April 9th, 2012 2:07 pm

    I rented the TLT5 for one day and learned that the fit is too narrow for my broad feet.

    I got one pair of the Masterlite about one month ago and encounter the following problem: The liner seems to get thinner when getting wet. This means that I have a very close fit in the beginning of the up and poor control in the down, as the boot is wet and therefore at least two sizes larger. The effect is so dramatic, that closing the instep fully to the closest fit does not solve the problem. The next morning, the (dry) boot fits very well again. I tried a stack of three insoles to get a tigther fit, but the problem persists.

    Thus, to my opinion, the TLT5 has a much better downhill performance and I agree with tOM: the liner is poor.

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