In the ride qaulity no. I'm having boat loads of fun on my current deck, one of next years Signals. But even me, who used to make them, will say they fall to some of the same longevity issues as the other US made brands. One thing that does help them is they do not finger join their cores. Every length of core glued together is one solid piece tip to tail. And that matters. It means a more consitent break in. And for quality control I see things in my shop from Ride, Burton, Salomon, etc. that very well might have been pulled aside as B's at Signal. That comes down to a numbers game though. Signal does maybe a third at best of what Ride does. And the factory Ride is coming out of is also doing many other brands. Less boards through QC means they can spend a little more time on the board and catch more minor details like that.
As far as selecting quality people for the factory, meh. I ended up being one of the best grinders Signal has had, but they hired an 140lbs kid with little upper body strength to do the hardest physical job in the factory. Granted I think they wanted me to quit since they really didn't NEED me at the time, but yeah. And they've had enough turn around in the 9 or so years Dave and Marc have been running Signal that the crew they have right now is stellar. Amazing people and I dont think twice about riding what comes from their hands. Anyway, the job doesnt take a lot of technical skill. All that needs to be assessed is if the person can handle hard labour, deadlines, and repetetive work. That fits a lot of people. And the culture in China caters to that type of worker. Second to costs of operation, that's why most product manufacturing is out of China.
Just to clarify - where you think US-made boards fail in comparison to Chinese made boards is in longevity and that's down to what exactly in the process (if it's not to do with materials etc.)?
As an aside, I'm really interested in trying a signal board. They get good reviews all round. And I like the design aesthetic...what do you think of their new custom option a la the nike id system? I think it's pretty cool...I'm surprised they can do this profitably given the size of their operation.