As you know, the snowboard industry has seen a great deal of brand consolidation over the last few years. As such, you now have previously solo companies like K2, 5150, Ride, Morrow, etc all operating under the management of one larger company. Lib/Gnu/Bent have always been one. Burton/Forum/Anon/Red/Channel Islands/ etc are also one.
But the question remains, what effect does that have on the brands? Are they really unique or do they essentially become one with different names and topsheets?
Burton has recently moved Forum and Anon to Vermont with the stated reason being that savings could be recognized.
With manufacturing largely in China now, the lines between brands, materials and technologies are pretty obscured.
Minimum wage in China is $120.00 a month. I mention that because labor is by far the largest expense in manufacturing a snowboard (far more than even the most exotic materials). That means that in the last few years, making boards has become very inexpensive. That has allowed everyone to put great materials into their boards. It has also made distinguishing between brands far more difficult. This has put a lot of pressure on the brands that had purchased other brands in an effort to expand their base.
I would suggest checking out the specs on the manufacturer pages on the models you are interested in. Specifically the dimensions, the construction elements and the technologies that are used. You may well find that strikingly similar boards are being offered at significantly different prices.
Last edited by Wiredsport; 11-01-2009 at 01:46 PM.