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Old 03-27-2008, 04:51 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Help sorting through the tech

OK, I've done a lot of reading since my first post on here asking for help, but I can't say I still quite "get" what I should be looking at or looking for in my first board. I've been boarding a couple times, ridden the Burton LTR, Cruzer and some Rossignol board with step ins that made me cringe. There was broad differences in how each performed (techniques I learned on one were all but useless on another), but I really don't understand why, or how to get what I want in my first board purchase. Let me outline what I *do* know:

*Brands to look at: Ride, Rome, Atomic, Burton, Never Summer (not heard much on Gnu, Lib Tech, Forum, K2, Salomon, Rossignol. Told to avoid Lamar, LTD and some others)
*Look for an all mountain board, since I'm still finding my way (found at least 3 or 4 models from each brand, so not really narrowing the playing field)
*Sintered base will be faster than extruded (I don't think "too slow" will be an issue for me for a little while)
*Torsional flex is good for easier turn initiation, unstable at high speeds. Mid trending towards soft flex board is a good beginner choice.
*2-3 degree bevel on base edge will help prevent catching an edge but be enough to hold on icier conditions
*At 6'2" 205 lbs, I want to look for something in the 160-164 length
*With size 11 boots (got a great deal on super comfy Hails), I want to look for a mid-wide to wide board (min 254 Waist)

There's still a lot about sidecuts and board shape that I don't quite get (and wish I did get while riding to better understand what my boards were/were not able to do).

Not sure what to look for in bindings (but I know my left foot was numb from the Burton Progression bindings my last day out).....

So there's what I know. I would love to get a board/binding set up to go with my Hails for <$250 (looking at 40-50% off end of season sales) but want something that I won't outgrow in a couple years (call it 15-20 actual days on the slopes) Is a true "entry level" board like the K2 Illusion paired with decent bindings (though I don't quite yet know what those are) a mistake?
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Old 03-28-2008, 01:08 AM   #2 (permalink)
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you're pretty on point on most of this information.
as for as sintered and extruded bases, you probably
wont need to really worry about it since you're just
getting started and you're not a racer. an all mountain
board is perfect for people looking to advance in riding.
most all mountain boards have a mid ranged flex, so dont
worry too much about that. as far as edge bevel i wouldnt
go anything past 2 because then you're really getting into
a park bevel. you're right on sizing but personally i ride
all my boards a few CM shorter because i have more control
on over my board. on the sidecuts thing i cant tell you
much, i dont know much about that stuff. for bindings, you
have alot of choices. burton makes some really nice bindings
but theres controversy over their durability. i ride the
burton P1s and they're great, although a bit pricy. rome makes
some top bindings and are pretty cheap(in price). i have the
Targas and the 390s and they're amazing. also Rome customer
service is outstanding. ride makes some awesome bindings as well,
but of course there are tons more choices. a few pretty common
boards are the burton custom, ride havoc, ride agenda, rome
solution, Lib tech TRS and tons more. just pick a board you like
google "__________ review" and you should get tons of information.
same with bindings. good luck. and to everyone: feel free to
correct me on any of this.
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Old 03-28-2008, 10:39 AM   #3 (permalink)
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(on the above post)


Like what already said, your pretty on-point with almost all of it. There is one thing I will take a little issue with though, and that is board size. Don't assume becuase you weigh 200 that you need a 160-164cm deck. Boards are designed to flex/perform within certain weight ranges. They vary from one compnay to the next, and can be all over the place. For instance, the K2 WWW (a pure freetsyle deck) lists that someone up to 200lbs can ride a 153cm! Never Summer has stated that any of their boards can handle any weight. Meanwhile, if you look at Burton specs, you won't see any board under 155 that is listed for anyone over 160lbs-ish. Also, a shorter board will more agile, which is good when your learning. So, just be mindful of that when looking at your different options.

As to your specific question about the K2 Illusion, I don't know much about that deck, so I can't answer that one. I'm sure someone with more knowledge than I have will be able to...

Oh, Never Summer decks tend to run on the stiff side. Stiffer boards are usually considered a little more "advanced" than softer decks. This is not to say a new rider could not handle a stiff board, just that it will take them a bit longer to get the hang of it. So, if your really looking at Never Summer boards, I'd say lean towards the "softer" ones they make. They do make great stuff, and 3-year warranty! No one else in the industry does that.

And here are three helpful links:
SnowBoard Reviews - "Where The Riders Write The Reviews"
The Snowboard Buying Guide at CJU.com
Everything about snowboard stance
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Last edited by sedition; 03-28-2008 at 10:41 AM.
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Old 03-28-2008, 12:00 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Thanks guys. Good info. Board length is a starting point, but I have been trying to be mindful of weight ranges from the manufacturer, and leaning towards the shorter end of what I can get away with (finding some 158's/156's that look interesting)

Thanks for the links, sedition. I've actually read most of it (reviews are spotty at best, simply because they are often written from a different perspective than my riding, but a good read). Unfortunately, the CJU took down the page I'm most confused about-- sidecut radius, core material, etc. I think this is where my shopping falls short of knowing what I'm getting.

I guess the core question is: What does the tech mean, and what are recommendations for a beginner rider? What will I outgrow in a "beginner" board as my skills progress? What in an "intermediate" board will make it harder for me to learn (and easier for me to hurt myself.:P)? (and what's the real difference between beginner and intermediate boards)

I'm willing to do my own research from manufacturers sites and other reviews, but I need to know what I can sort through in their propaganda to get to a sense of how the board will perform for me if I buy it.
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Old 03-28-2008, 12:22 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Nice work doing all the research! Much better than buying a board because some guy on this forum raves about his own board for no other reason than it's HIS. I'm no expert, but just bought a new board myself so I know where you are comming from. I've ridden for a long time, but I was pretty unfamiliar with the recent board tech. I'll try to help by addressing a few things:

GNU and Libtech are both great brands made by the same companay, Mervin. Definately include them in your search. Forum is also very good as well from what I've read.

I wouln't worry much about the base. Sintered is better, but nothing a begginer would notice and my understanding is it needs to be waxed a little more. I got a sintered based and learned to wax myself so I don't have to go to the shop...pretty easy and kinda fun is a sick, obsessive sort of way.

As for size, the range you mentioned is about right, but could go up or down depending on preference and comfort. I'm 6'4'' 200 and ride a 167 freestyle/all mountain board and it works great. I learned on a 165 so that's what I am comfortable with. If I ever get another board for more park stuff, I'll go down to 158ish.

For a lot of the other tech stuff...honestly, I'd say don't worry about it too much. The size and stiffness are probably the mian things you will notice so focus on that. The rest of the stuff you won't notice once you adjust to your new board....which will take time no matter what board you get.

Have fun!
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Old 03-28-2008, 12:44 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fostpaint View Post
What will I outgrow in a "beginner" board as my skills progress? What in an "intermediate" board will make it harder for me to learn (and easier for me to hurt myself.:P)? (and what's the real difference between beginner and intermediate boards)
IMHO, the major difference between a beginner board and a intermediate board is stiffness and quality. However, is you stick the brands that have been mentioned, you'll be all set for quality. Even their "low end" boards are great rides. As to stiffness...new riders don't go that fast. Hence, a soft board that turns easy makes learning much quicker. However, soft boards can be rather unstable at speed. Hence, once you are able to go a lot faster, you might want a board that is more stable (i.e. stiffer) at speed. Also, a longer board will go faster than a shorter one, but is a bit hard to meanuver. That said, often people start out on a shorter, softer board and move up to one that is a bit longer and stiffer. Therein, is the difference between a beginner board, and an intermediate/advanced board.

However, these are only guidelines. Many people, including myself, deviate from them. Most of the time I ride a short, soft pure-freestyle board all over the mountain. No question, it is a bit shaky at speed, but I've been riding a long time and no how to make the best of that. The compromise is also something I am willing to live with. My housemate hates my board for the exact reasons I love it. He rides a much longer and stiffer board. Also, most new riders are not able to grasp the nuances of the various tech stuff that goes into a board. I know for me it was a few seasons before I was able to really tap into that stuff in a real way. My guess is that that holds true for most new riders.

So, what can you take away from all this? The truth is, you wont really know what board is "perfect" for you until you have both been riding for awhile, and have ridden a number of different boards. I've been riding for 20 years, and I still don't know what board is "perfect." Do some research (and you clearly have), use some common sense, but don't worry about getting too hung up on tech specs at this point.

Hope this helps somewhat
-Chris
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Old 03-28-2008, 01:11 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Excellent advice here... just to add, I think you'd be fine on a 252 waist width or possibly a 250 depending on your stance as I've used a 252 width with size 11.5 boots and a 21" stance with 15, -6 angles with no problems. At your height you'd probably be using at least a 22" stance.

The difference between intermediate boards and beginner boards that would hinder your learning would be stiffness/flex (where the board be alot more sensitive to every input you give it) & bevel (a 90, or 0 bevel would also be more sensitive). At this point you don't need to worry about sidecut, shape (twin, directional), base.

In summary, if you're looking for a board RIGHT NOW I'd suggest:
- AT LEAST something 40% off, in the $150-$300 range
- 158-164 in length
- 252 waist or bigger
- mid-level flex (check the websites and compare boards), which usually means an all-mountain or park board

Specific suggestions off the top of my head are 159 Atomic Pivots and Axums on Ebay right now that are going for around $180 shipped.
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Old 03-28-2008, 01:42 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fostpaint View Post
, but I can't say I still quite "get" what I should be looking at or looking for in my first board. I've been boarding a couple times, ridden the Burton LTR, Cruzer and some Rossignol board
You've obviously done your research and you've ridden a few boards. Kudos, you're way ahead of the curve.

If you can tell the difference between the boards you've ridden, but find that you can't do some things on one that you can do on another, I'd really suggest you invest some moeny in lessons. No offense, but no board will "prevent" you doing anything (except maybe catching an edge on rails/boxes)

I know that sounds pretty pompous, but think of it as research. You're prepared to drop a lot of coin on a setup, make sure that you don't buy a board that merely compensates for today's riding style but not next year's. I've got a friend who rides totally counter-rotated and always skids his turns. You can't tell him anything and he spends money on boards like it's going out of style. Always looking for that perfect combination of edge bevel, sidecut radius and flex that will allow him to carve prefect turns. Well, duh...it's not the board!

Without anything to compare it to, it's going to be hard to make the choice on spec's alone. I have no idea what the flex rating of my board is, I'd have to look it up and even then, I won't know if that number is comparable from brand to brand. But I can tell that this board is softer or that board is stiffer when I ride it.

Maybe buy a cheap board (or rent something you can get spec's on) and learn what you hate/like about it? Then you'll know that you want something longer than this, stiffer that that, wider than this, etc.

You're obviously prepared to invest time and money and getting the perfect setup probably isn't going to happen on your first purchase. You'll probably be buying another in a few seasons.
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Old 03-28-2008, 02:15 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bones View Post
You've obviously done your research and you've ridden a few boards. Kudos, you're way ahead of the curve.
Thanks. Hands on research is the only way I'd want to drop money on something like this.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bones View Post
If you can tell the difference between the boards you've ridden, but find that you can't do some things on one that you can do on another, I'd really suggest you invest some moeny in lessons. No offense, but no board will "prevent" you doing anything (except maybe catching an edge on rails/boxes)
Actually, I've been doing lessons. The big thing I noticed between one board to the other was that the Rossignol was really easy to drop from a "stop" position into a line by shifting weight, whereas the Cruzer was not at all easy to do that with, and required me to work on my torsional flex technique (not a bad thing, since it's good technique but noticeably different). Both were similar length boards, so I assumed it had something to do with either the width of my stance or sidecut, but really don't know.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bones View Post
I know that sounds pretty pompous, but think of it as research. You're prepared to drop a lot of coin on a setup, make sure that you don't buy a board that merely compensates for today's riding style but not next year's. I've got a friend who rides totally counter-rotated and always skids his turns. You can't tell him anything and he spends money on boards like it's going out of style. Always looking for that perfect combination of edge bevel, sidecut radius and flex that will allow him to carve prefect turns. Well, duh...it's not the board!
I'm trying to look a couple years down the road without killing myself today, so you're on the money with my dilemma.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bones View Post
Without anything to compare it to, it's going to be hard to make the choice on spec's alone. I have no idea what the flex rating of my board is, I'd have to look it up and even then, I won't know if that number is comparable from brand to brand. But I can tell that this board is softer or that board is stiffer when I ride it.
::nod:: Stiffness I figure I'll have to handle and test in a board shop. Just trying to make sure there's no other tech I should be worried about. I mean, I can grab a K2 illusion for $100 right now, and a Never Summer System or Burton Custom for $300+. I want to make sure I'm not missing anything on the "cheap" board.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bones View Post
Maybe buy a cheap board (or rent something you can get spec's on) and learn what you hate/like about it? Then you'll know that you want something longer than this, stiffer that that, wider than this, etc.
Trying, my friend. It seems my options are rent SUPER entry level boards or demo a mid-to-advanced level board. The "decent" beginner to intermediate boards don't really seem to be hitting the rental/demo counters.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bones View Post
You're obviously prepared to invest time and money and getting the perfect setup probably isn't going to happen on your first purchase. You'll probably be buying another in a few seasons.
Absolutely something I'm ok with, as long as I get more than, say, 10 days out of my "beginner" set up. If I spend less on my board set up than the rentals for the same time period costs me, then I'm fine with it (my wife might be another story, but I'll cross *that* bridge when I get there. :P).

Last edited by fostpaint; 03-28-2008 at 02:28 PM.
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Old 03-28-2008, 02:22 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 604al View Post
Excellent advice here... just to add, I think you'd be fine on a 252 waist width or possibly a 250 depending on your stance as I've used a 252 width with size 11.5 boots and a 21" stance with 15, -6 angles with no problems. At your height you'd probably be using at least a 22" stance.

The difference between intermediate boards and beginner boards that would hinder your learning would be stiffness/flex (where the board be alot more sensitive to every input you give it) & bevel (a 90, or 0 bevel would also be more sensitive). At this point you don't need to worry about sidecut, shape (twin, directional), base.

In summary, if you're looking for a board RIGHT NOW I'd suggest:
- AT LEAST something 40% off, in the $150-$300 range
- 158-164 in length
- 252 waist or bigger
- mid-level flex (check the websites and compare boards), which usually means an all-mountain or park board

Specific suggestions off the top of my head are 159 Atomic Pivots and Axums on Ebay right now that are going for around $180 shipped.
Thanks for the advice. I'm going to take my boots down to the board shop and find out how various widths set up with them, just to get a sense. As to the buying a board "RIGHT NOW", I think it's more like "by next season." I've seen a lot of 40-50% off, and some 60%. I don't know how much more sellers are going to come down on the 07/08 stuff, but don't want to wait so long that everything is sold out, you know? I've got an August birthday, so I might be able to weasel some gear in then.
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