Thursday, July 15, 2010

The Best Snowboard Technology of 2011 by Snowboard-Review.com


Every year tons of new technology hits the board racks; some of it is good, and to be frank, some of it isn’t. After a week of heavy testing, the Snowboard-Review test team have compiled a short list of technology which is head and shoulders above the rest, the goods you should be investing your hard earned cash in this coming season.   

Bamboo Cores

There’s no denying that standard rockered snowboards have a place in snowboarding, forgiving landings, buttery smooth takeoffs, catch free run-ins, extra float in powder and lightening quick turn initiation. The problem is, there’s just something missing from rockered boards, namely that juicy pop you get from camber… well that was until some clever fellow decided to trade the standard Poplar / Aspen wood core for Bamboo. Bamboo livens up the ride a treat, ollie pop is increased significantly and you even get tons of feedback and recoil from snappy short radius carves. Not only is Bamboo killer for the ride characteristics of snowboards it’s also incredibly sustainable, a member of the grass family of plants, some varieties can grow by up to 60cm in a day and harvesting does not kill the plant!

We rated the K2 Fastplant, featuring k2’s Bambooyah core. Unlike traditional laminated cores, the Fastplant uses bamboo laminates layered one on top of each other much like a skate deck with a fibreglass torsion box wrap. Even with K2’s jib rocker, tail heavy wash-outs are a thing of the past; the Fastplant has unbelievable pop and flexibility. K2 was so blown-away by the durability of their Bambooyah core, that they’ve slapped a 5 year warranty on it. We’re also digging the Stepchild Headless Horseman, with a board graphic that doesn’t half resemble the storyboard from Tim Burton’s Sleepy Hollow this board doesn’t just look cool it dominates the park. Our head of testing liked it so much, he was on the phone to the distributor pre-ordering his Headless Horseman for next season as soon as we stepped off the plane, back in Blighty.

Hybrid Rocker Profiles

Last season there were a few manufacturers experimenting with camber and rocker hybrids. Never Summer and Mervin chose rocker between the bindings and camber at the tip and tail, whilst the Nidecker and Rossignol factories went for camber between the feet and rocker at the tip and tail. The most obvious differences between the two schools of thought are that when rocker is used between the feet the majority of the flex comes from between the bindings, meaning that carves can really be worked through the flex of the board and the tail pops you out of carves; where as the Nidecker / Rossi version flexes more at the nose and tail and is more rigid between the feet, meaning that carves feel more like railing turns on a cambered board.

Other brands are now choosing their side. Burton has chosen to follow Never Summer and Mervin and has created the Flying V profile. Jones, Capita, APO and Salomon are backing Rossignol’s and Nidecker’s technology. We were really impressed with the Rossignol One which now combines Amptek with Magne-traction, and APO’s BC Powder Rocker, which held a perfect edge on the morning ice. One thing is for sure, if you want rocker but you don’t want to constrict yourself to the park, you should be looking at a hybrid. All you have to work out now is which side of the fence you’re going to sit on.

Bataleon Triple Base Technology

Bataleon’s Triple Base Technology is a freestyle phenomenon, but have you tried TBT on a stiff freeride gun? I thought not. With stiff boards initiating carves can sometimes be a bit of a chore and working the board into anything other than huge radius carves is impossible. Freeride specific TBT has a narrower flat section under the broadest part of the nose and the tail. The Bataleon Undisputed is as stable as an oil tanker, and almost entirely catch-free. A board that puts you at ease at radical speed, but that also rolls effortlessly into turns, darts between edges in the blink of an eye and works in tighter turns than you’d expect from a board which plainly put is stiff. I’d go as far as to say that Triple Base Technology is even better for freeride boards than it is for park rides. Now put that in your pipe and smoke it.

Atomic’s Pop Rocker Profile

Pop Rocker isn’t confined to Atomic snowboards, but Atomic are certainly pioneering this technology. This year Atomic are expanding their Pop Rocker technology from the Axum into pretty much the remainder of their range. The idea behind Pop Rocker is; when loaded, the point at which the nose and tail start kicking up, moves towards the bindings. This moves steering towards the feet, increases the ease at which turns can be initiated and improves float in un-pisted snow, whilst retaining the majority of pop associated with camber.

One board that certainly benefits from Pop Rocker is the Banger. The Banger literally dives into turns, the nose rides up in anything that resembles deep snow and I was riding a 158 my normal all mountain board size. Because the nose is naturally softer because of the pop rocker profile, heavier glass laminate can be used through the rest of the boards. By using Quadraxial glass, a thin core profile and retaining standard camber in the tail, the Banger works in tight turns but stomps tail skipping pillow lines and slashes powder laden burms with the best of them.

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