In 2021, Volkl’s M6 Mantra would be the most enjoyable ski on the mountain

Volkl’s freeride mantra has been an integral part of his line since 2005. The brand tweaks it almost every year, but the changes to the mantra are big for 2021.

Each generation of mantra has been a versatile performer in a variety of snow conditions. There was always a lot of metal to edge in hard snow. And weight and stiffness have historically positioned the mantra as an all-mountain ski for aggressive skiers who can put enough load on the ski to bend it.

The M6 ​​mantra, Volkl’s sixth iteration of the model, is a ski that appeals to advanced and experienced skiers looking for something that they can safely carve on the front and that is fun in the woods too. It is a true all-mountain ski that invites the skier to ski in different ways and in different terrains.

In summary: The 2021 M6 Mantra Ski is just as capable as previous models in almost any terrain. But thanks to some improvements to the construction of the ski, it will feel very different (in a good way).

Volkl M6 mantra: first look

For 2021, Volkl hasn’t changed what the ski can do, but the brand has changed the feel. With the M6, Volkl has “tailor-made” the top metal layer of the ski and realigned the carbon fiber in the tips. As a result, the M6 ​​has more stability while also feeling lively and easy to maneuver, which was not a feature of the mantra before.

In order to make this ski, Volkl cut out a significant part of the top layer from Titanal. The width of the Titanal frame changes with the length of the ski. For tailor-made sections, a 0.7mm thick titanal frame is used over the side walls, as well as in the top and rear, instead of full sheet metal. By adapting the frame to each ski size and the expected size and weight of the skier, the damping and torsional flex of the ski change.

With longer skis, more metal increases the torsional stiffness, power transfer, and cushioning of the ski for taller, heavier skiers. With shorter skis, less titanal makes the ski softer and more agile. All along the line, Volkl uses 0.3 mm thick Titanal under the feet for reliable binding retention. It also gives the ski a softer flex in the middle of the body that is tied to the 3D curve radius of this ski that we will be able to achieve in a second.

M6 Mantra New Carbon Stringers

In addition to switching to a metal frame, Volkl changed the way carbon fiber is used in the top of the M6. In previous mantras, a carbon plate made the tip stiff. The M6 ​​tips use specially inserted, directed carbon strands that are visible in the tip of the ski.

According to Volkl, the directional carbon increases the torsional stiffness of the ski at the front contact point. On snow, that meant the ski shovel slid smoothly and instantly into every turn, no matter how fast or how far I’d made it.

This was particularly noticeable when skiing, when the snow was compacted and driven off. I slid through corners I didn’t expect to carve it that hard. When I wasn’t intimidated by the ice, the ski initiated a curve and held an edge.

Volkl explained that the torsional stiffness of the front body of the ski immediately shifted to a softer flex. So I could flow through the curve and playfully carve down the mountain despite the shitty snow.

Mantra m6

Another update: The 3D Radius Sidecut

The third big change in the M6 ​​is that Volkl built the ski with its characteristic 3D radius sidecut. By installing three radii in a ski edge, Volkl was able to make this ski easy to handle with absolutely stable stability. The narrowest radius is in the middle of the ski, where it helps, for example, when a snow groomer descends. But it also added liveliness to short turns. Longer radii in the tip and tail give the ski stability.

In combination with the directional carbon stringers, the longer radii from above and behind enabled ski laser-focused tracking. I was not thrown off my leash in changing snow. And Volkl said that in soft or windblown snow, the ski is less likely to be distracted due to the sidecut of the tip and the directional carbon combined with the tip rocker.

voelkl mantra m6

Our conclusion: Great stability & feedback

Previous mantras were heavy, aggressive skis for experienced skiers. You needed strength and power to perform. The M6 ​​gave me back everything I put in it. Volkl’s “tailoring” and innovations didn’t surprise: the brand made this ski one that I don’t have to drive hard all the time to have fun.

Even if you’re a skier who loves to cruise, this ski offers stability and confidence. Even if I didn’t scold it, it held an edge on icy hardpack.

Due to the small amount of snow, I was unable to put the M6 ​​through its paces in powder foam, bumps or other conditions that are surrounded by “all-mountain”. However, I expect this new, user-friendly mantra to work under all conditions.

Mantra m6

Choose the correct length of your M6 mantra

Depending on which length you choose, the same ski offers you different rides. If you want to rip up snow groomers and turn your turns and consider yourself a tough charger, then go for a larger size. You can go at top speed if you want a ski, but it is also fun to wiggle around in the trees. Buy the size you would normally ride. (The M6 ​​mantra will be available in lengths of 170, 177, 184, and 191. For more options for women, see below.)

It’s a subtle difference. In most all-mountain skis, I ski 177-180 cm. When I get a lot taller, I feel like the ski is driving me. I jumped straight out of the gates onto the 184 cm long M6 and it tore. The ski was fast, stable and I could carve it any way I wanted. I could bend it appropriately. It didn’t annoy or frighten me. I could control it and it was a great time.

Then I jumped on 177. I never thought about the ski or what it could do. Focusing on what I could do, I pushed myself down a slope, then put one hip on the snow that GS bent onto another. Then I cranked the boathers along the way. I went from top speed to smooth cruising. It was intuitive and powerful and playful.

Not to be a cliché, but I was one with the ski. The shorter ski was as stable as the longest ski and bit the snow so hard that I would call it ice if I wasn’t from Vermont. I had just as much fun with the larger version. Because the 184 has more metal, it felt more like the 177 when skiing Mantra Volkl M5.

The M6 ​​is an all-mountain ski in the truest sense of the word. It can handle all conditions on the mountain. And by choosing to stick to my normal size or height, I could tweak my preferences for all-mountain rippers and all-mountain dancers.

m6 skiing

Volkl M6 mantra for women: The secret 96

The women’s version of the M6 ​​mantra is the secret. It’s the same ski with the same materials and construction. The only difference between the M6 ​​Mantra and the Secret is that the Secret is available in smaller sizes – 149 cm and 156 cm in addition to 163 cm and 170 cm. The 163 cm and 170 cm are identical to the men’s M6 in 163 cm and 170 cm, with the exception of the cover sheet, which has a different color.

The M6 ​​and Secret 96 offer the largest range of all models in the Volkl All-Mountain Freeride series – forgiving on one end and powerful on the other. It’s a combination that allows most skiers to spend most days on the mountain with a full grin. We can’t wait to spend more days on these skis.

Mantra m6 & secret 96

M6 mantra specs

  • Lengths: 163, 170, 177, 184, 191
  • Dimensions: 135-96-119
  • Weight: 1,940 to 2,150 g
  • 3D radius sidecut:
    • 163 [R1(24.1), R2(14.2), R3(20)]
    • 170 [R1(26.9), R2(15.8), R3(22.1)]
    • 177 [R1(29.8), R2(17.5), R3(24.3)]
    • 184 [R1(31.8), R2(18.7), R3(25.9)]
    • 191 [R1(35), R2(20.5), R3(28.3)]
  • R1: Tail radius, R2: Mean main radius, R3: Tip radius
  • Price: $ 825

Secret 96 Specifications

  • Lengths: 149, 156, 163, 170
  • D.imensions: 135-96-119
  • Weight: 1,940 g (170 cm)
  • 3D radius sidecut:
    • 149 [R1(19), R2(11.2), R3(16.1)]
    • 156 [R1(21.4), R2(12.7), R3(18)]
    • 163 [R1(24.1), R2(14.2), R3(20)]
    • 170[R1(26.9), R2(15.8), R3(22.1)]
  • R1: Tail radius, R2: Mean main radius, R3: Tip radius
  • Price: $ 825

Volkl’s M6 Mantra and Secret 96 Skis will be available at select retailers later in 2021.

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