2013 Lib Tech Banana Magic impressions / review
I really like what I see here on these forums and thought I would chime in.
I'm stoked about getting a new board after many years of riding one that I thought I loved, and wanted to share my findings in the hope someone else gets value from my opinions. The Banana Magic is a very expensive deck and I wanted to share my thoughts so anyone considering one would have more information. While there are a few good (and positive) reviews of the Banana Magic online, there aren't a ton of reviews on the Magic relative to other Libs and wanted to post my thoughts in case someone else found some value here.
I'm 41 and I've ridden hard carving snowboards for more than 20 years. Typing that made me just feel old! God.
I grew up on Mt. Hood and gravitated towards alpine with the amount of wet snow and ice that we would receive there. Way back in the ancient past, I used to run alpine boards exclusively with hard boots on Mt. Hood year round. I love to use a boards tail to pop out of fast high speed carves.
For what it's worth, I've never ridden a rockered or "Banana" snowboard before riding the Banana Magic. Nor have I ever ridden a board with a wavy edge, aka "Magnetraction" or "Frostbite" what have you. Also, for what it's worth, before riding the magic I heard about rocker, wavy edges and hybrid camber and thought they were all complete and utter bullshit. I dismissed all of it. I stand corrected.
It should also be noted that I wasn't a Lib Tech fan in general. Having an alpine discipline background I tended to dislike the marketing the company used and having owned and utterly destroying two of their boards in the 90's I never considered getting one again until a couple weeks ago. they are made completely different now, and while I am impressed with Burton and Never Summer's build quality, Mervin MFG's stuff isn't shabby.
What I was looking for:
Since I was changing it up and thought I would need to give up the carve. I decided I wanted a twin tip this time. The last true twin I owned was the original Craig Kelly Air and thought it would be fun to go back to something like that. Something I could play around on at slow speeds and had easy turn initiation and could practice riding switch when goofing around on blue groomers with the kids.
Ideally this same board would still be able haul the mail with stability and carve linked crescent arcs but thought there was no way I could keep that trait.
Heck, while I'm at it I'd like the same board to also float powder well with out requiring me to stand on the tail all day and bomb straight down the bowl. The past couple years we have had some pretty decent powder days at Crystal, at least compared to what I grew up with. I was willing to go with a softer and wider board to get more float since I was willing to give up the carvyness and high speed stability to get the easy turn initiation and "playfulness" of a freestyle twin.
I didn't think such a board existed though, and expected to need to give up on one area to get more in another and expected to need to demo a handful of boards to find the one I liked. According to my local shop owner, the Banana Magic was this board. I took his word on faith and pulled the trigger and bought the thing.
I've never done anything this impulsive before. My last board a 2001 Tom Sims Signature Model 159 I demoed for two days before buying it. On the way up to Crystal Mt. after buying it, I was having some serious buyers remorse and wondered what I just done...
I am blown away by this deck. I've gotten 3 days on my Banana Magic this season since buying it and each time I ride it I like it more. I would not label it a park board, as it is fairly stiff. However, the stiffness makes it VERY stable on hard pack, groomers and in broken crud snow/shopped heavy powder. It's a very stable, damped feeling and confidence inspiring board. In fact this stability is what I consider it's defining trait.
It's surprisingly playful despite it's high speed stability. It carves very well, yet floats in powder. It holds on ice better than anything with a kicked up tail I've ever ridden yet feels quick to flip around and land jumps switch.
At 165-170 lbs with out gear I might be too light to butter around and jib on the 157 Magic, but I would wager a shorter one would be more playful - but then I'd be giving up some of the great float and stability. I'm not a park rider though so can't speak to that, but I'd probably want a softer more forgiving board to play around on in the park. I don't think I would ever be buttering around on any board anyway unless I was goofing off with my kid and for that the Magic will do it in a pinch.
At first, I was afraid it would be too playful as it would spin to switch with a thought ... but it felt stout and planted underfoot inspiring confidence. It feels skatey to me going slow.... and I was hesitant to point it down hill. But the faster I let it run, the more stable it felt. It feel like two boards in one. It's a little weird at first, playful slow, yet stable while fast. Crazy.
If you want a fast, stable and carvy twin tip board that is still surprisingly playful and powder friendly board the Banana Magic is amazing. Before riding one, I didn't think that a board that could do all of these things this well existed. I expected a much bigger trade off in the powder to have a board this stable and carvy all while being a true twin tip non-directional board.
Definitely go out of your way to demo one. I can't recommend a Magic highly enough for someone looking for a great all mountain free ride deck.
I am now a massive Lib Tech fan. I'm so stoked on this board that I actually ordered a t-shirt with the Lib logo on it. I've never done that before and normally am against wearing logo's and buying shirts and stickers. I'm so geeked on Lib that I'm laughing at myself.
I'm sure this is years old news to most of you, but I stand corrected on all the rocker/camber/banana bullshit. It's not B.S. It's completely amazing. This tech allows a freestyle 'play' board to have a performance envelope that it frankly shouldn't.
Same with the the Magnatraction edges. You can't feel it when you ride like I would have thought. It's great. It actually does work and will give you more ice grip. Nothing is fun on ice, but I haven't felt this kind of planted on ice hold since riding hard boots on a dedicated alpine board.
Do yourself a favor and demo one of these Banana Magics.
Playful at slow speeds: Check.
Confidence inspiring at high speeds: Check
Hold on ice like an alpine race board: Check
Floats in Pow: Check
Handles heavy and broken high speed chunder and crud: Check
Does this all riding regular AND switch: Check
Awesome review dude, thanks for writing it. Reading this gives me confidence that I purchased the right thing when I decided to upgrade my deck this season. I wound up going with the Lib Tech TRS to give me better stability on the fucking ice that defines East Coast hills. One of the gents at my local shop that really knows his shit was totally stoked about magne-traction in Lib boards. Others on here said the same thing so I decided to pull the trigger. Looks like I made the right decision:D
I was going to get the TRS, and decided at the last moment to just jump in with both feet and get the Magic due to what Lib calls "Horsepower" which is a basalt fabric weave that is both more damp and lighter.
The TRS looks great too, in fact I thought I would like it more in the shop do it having a more "C2" camber hybrid shape. I definitely liked it's price tag relative to the Magic too!
You made a great choice. :thumbsup:
Your enthusiasm for this board sounds pretty much like I felt when I got one last year. It was my first try at "gullwing" design, having already ridden camber, then rocker, then camrock. This thing blows all of the others away! And it is the best board I've ridden in the pipe.
Apparently, my one mistake was getting it too large. I got a 161, while I weigh 175 with a size 9 boot. So I sold my 161 and bought this year's 157. An expensive switch, but I think it's the right move. I'll be riding the same board as you Brainwashed.
Just curious which bindings you put on yours. I'm gonna start with Burton Malavitas. If they are too soft, I'll move on to Cartels.
BTW, the C2 design in the TRS is noticeably different than the Enhanced BTX in the Magic imo. C2 is a more stable, less playful ride. I also ride a TRice with C2.
Anyone I've talked to who's ridden the Magic absolutely loves it btw.
I damn near got the 161 also. I should I would need it for the float, but the shop owner told my Lib's get stiffer as they longer (that's what she said!). Stiffer than the 157 didn't sound so appealing to me, because hand flexing in the shop gave me the impression that the Magic was stiff and damp in a 157. Now, hand flexing can be misleading however, but that was my impression in the shop and it has proven true on the hill.
The Lib's also run long per my experience. They say it's a 157, but the 157 Magic is longer than my old Tom Sims 159. In my experience it's more like a 162+. It definitely does ride 'long' too. It is a stout feeling 157.
As for bindings, I'm running 2011/12 Burton Cartel's. As an old plate binding curmudgeon I can't speak to how stiff one binding is to another one. They all feel soft to me... I'd love to try other bindings to see if I can tell the differences. I know I tend to cinch those Cartel's down until my toes are blue though. I can't get over my OCD for board control (I'm sure to my detriment) and cinch the binders down really almost too tight.
For what it's worth, I do think boot stiffness matters a great deal. I run Burton Ion's. They seem like a medium stiff boot. If I could I would go for a stiffer boot than even the Ion. I think I would give up a little playfulness and slow speed flexibility, but for the bomber runs when I'm alone or hitting a icey double black diamond or a chundery skied out bowl I would appreciate the added stiffness.
Hope that response helps, Dragon!
I read your review and it's VERY interesting for me because I tend to buy a LibTech board, but I still don't know which one to get.
Usually I'm rinding 70% of my time on piste/groomers, 20% Offpiste/Frontcountry, 10% Park. I'm 1,82m tall and weigh 70kg. I am able to ride quite OK, which means: Normal pistes (all difficulties) are no problem, except for steep mogul slopes. Until now I haven't spent so much time in the park (i.e <<10% of my time, but I want to spend more time in the park in the future and come to the abovementioned 10% then). My park skills are modest therefore, i.e. flat boxes and small kickers are OK and I'm not doing any rails yet. I always try to catch powder if possible. Deep snow isn't a problem usually, except for when the ground and weather conditions are very bad.
At the moment I'm riding an Atom (not Atomic) Royality 159 Allmountain-Board with a Burton Cartel 09/10 binding and I use Salomon Maori in 42 (9).
What I am looking for:
I'm looking for a board that suits best for the abovementioned riding style. I looked around in german and english forums, at snowboard magazines' reviews, at blogs (angrysnowboarder, shayboarder, etc.) and in reviews in Youtube.
From what I heard, these boards would be my favorites at the moment (order: 1 = preferred, 8 = not preferred):
1.) LibTech TRS 157/159 (still undecided regarding the length)
2.) LibTech Banana Magic 157
3.) LibTech Attack Banana 156/159 (still undecided regarding the length)
4.) GNU Riders Choice 157
5.) Capita Black Snowboard Of Death 156/159 (still undecided regarding the length)
6.) LibTech Jamie Lynn Phoenix 157/160 (still undecided regarding the length)
7.) Ride Machete GT 157/160 (still undecided regarding the length)
8.) Rome Mod Rocker 156/159 (still undecided regarding the length)
I think the Neversumme boards (for example SL and Proto) are fine boards too, but I think they won't fit to my requirements so well.
Most important questions:
What do you think which LibTech Board fits best to me and which size would you recommed for me? I heard positive reviews about all of the boards, which makes the decision quite hard. I want to go for some buttering too and I thought that the Magic is too stiff for that and that I might be happier with a TRS, for example. An experienced guy from a german forum strongly recommended that I should prefer the Attack Banana over the Banana Magic, but I also heard that the EC2 is not so matured in comparison to the C2BTX or the shape of the Banana Magic (I forgot the name).
In this review they (just like you) prefer the Banana Magic more than the Attack Banana.
Also the guy in this video doesn't look so euphoric when he speaks about the Attack Banana.
I also tend to switch to Rome 390 Boss bindings (I like the idea of these canting pads because I have some knee issues) and Burton Ion boots (size 9). Do you think that's a fine combination together with some LibTech board?
I ride the Attack Banana 159 (mostly in icy East Coast conditions) and I couldn't be happier with it. It loves ice, and it's playful at slower speeds. I absolutely love the attack Naner.
Can you please shortly explain why you chose the Attack Banana and not for example another LibTech board? Did you ride other LibTech boards?
The only Lib Tech boards I demo'ed were the TRS, the Skate Banana and the Attack Banana.
- The Skate Banana was really not for me. I could tell that in 1 run.
- The TRS is an awesome board. I loved it right away and thought I was going to buy it. I could have, and I probably would have been just as happy with it.
- The last board I demo'd was the Attack Banana, and I just liked the feel a little better at speed. For me, the TRS held its edge the same as the AB, but I just thought the AB was a little more buttery. Turn initiation just seemed so effortless. I liked the looks of it - and I got one for about $75 less than the TRS.
I can't speak to the Banana Magic. It's the clear-cut favorite of a very knowledgeable local shop guy, but that's all I know about it.
Wish I could offer more.
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