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Old 02-22-2010, 01:49 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Neversummer Raptor Review

Vince contacted me to see if I wanted to demo next years replacement for the Titan, the Raptor. I think my reply was "are the Kennedy's gun shy?"

So I picked up the 159 Raptor from the factory a couple of weeks ago. I had seen the board at SIA and it definitely had caught my eye. It looked like a an aggressive freeride board which is where my heart lies. As it turns out, that is exactly what it is.

The basics, the stance is set back with rocker in-between the feet. Then there is Neversummer's camber at the tail and tip. The camber on the nose is longer allowing for more stability at speeds. I normally ride in the mid 160-ish range, so this board was shorter than norm for me. It rode a lot longer for sure. I mounted my K2 formulas on it, normal stance +-15 angles, 22" stance.

The first day I took it out was at Loveland. Riding with my lady. I was planning on maching it down some groomers. The 6" of reported pow at Loveland turned out to be more like 20". It was ridiculous, especially over at chair 8. Thigh deep snow to ride through was not a problem to find. I was worried that with the elongated camber nose, the board would pearl under the snow, especially since the board was a little shorter than what I ride. No problems what so ever. With the rocker and set back, it popped right up on top of the snow. Even when I stopped in one of the deepest drifts possible, I was able to get her moving again, without much effort. I got bucked playing around trying nose butters (which I suck at) and on the tail. Typical rocker, very little effort needed to press onto either end. Overall a great day and was very happy with the performance.

The next day I took it out for a couple of runs at Berthoud Pass. I actually strapped on snowshoes and hiked out to Floral Park with it. For those not familiar, Floral Park is a steep 38-40 (depending on where you are at) degree shot in the trees. Nicely spaced trees, but not a gimme on spacing either. You have to hang some tight needle like turns in there. There was about a foot of fresh, which helped but also made it more of a challenge. Just about every turn you cut, you went into the white room. This board held an edge exactly where I wanted it too. I'd cut a turn aiming for an opening into the trees and dig the edge into the firm snow underneath the blower. At that point I'd be in the white room and not really seeing anything. Unnerving in the trees, but when I trusted my line I'd come out of the whiteroom and would be on my line every time. When I did slam on the brakes, it pulled up nicely and reliable fashion.

The final outing was last Friday at Winterpark. WP had gotten a foot in three days and it was a perfect excuse for me to play hooky. First thing I did was take the Raptor into the Mushroom patch. Basically a bunch of boulders stacked on top of each other covered with snow. I dropped a pillow and then went to ride off of a snow covered log that turned out to have some branches that snagged me and threw me right side up into a deep tree well. Oops. After taking the board off and climbing out, I rode the second set of boulders down to Corona Way. It tracked awesome and was super stable doing the multiple drops (at least one triple) on the way down. I finally got to open this board up on groomers and I can say it carved like a champ, didn't get the chatters and was much like it's predecessor the Titan. Only this board is a lot lighter. I also took this board out to the Cirque and rode some 45 degree chutes. Which was a mistake on my part, as ski patrol probably should not have had them open. I hit some rocks, sorry Vman, I didn't mean to do that! No core shots but some decent scratches. This is where my size 11 feet did give me some problems with the doing the steeper hard packed stuff. I got a bit of the chatters from my toes skipping out. I'd love to have the wide offering, the Raptor X for that type of terrain. I did take it down the pillow case line in the water fall area and had a blast. We wrapped up our day with a couple of runs out the 40 gate through the trees down to highway. This board just feels like it's meant for the steep tight tree runs of Colorado. I had a blast.

Overall impressions:

This would be a kick ass splitboard offering. This thing is a big mountain board that is also a pow board. The only thing it isn't is a freestyle offering. If you like back country riding, charging the hard technical lines at the resort, this is a great choice.

It's also a lot lighter than a lot of offerings we are used to from Neversummer. By a lot. I didn't weigh it, but I can tell you it's lighter than my Flow Solitude. The durability is still there. Proof by the rock shots it took in the cirque. I am sure those would have been core shots on any of my resort boards. The new top sheet (Carbon fiber I believe) is dope and from what I understand adds strength that also allows them to lighten up the board. The vario grip is great. Not as hooky as the magne. I didn't notice any weirdness with it. The board felt like how it should. It was a rockered board that felt like it had camber on the hard pack, yet floated in the pow.

Again, my apologies for hitting them rocks. I'm sure Vman will correct me on any misinformation I have about the specs on the board, and I welcome the correct info.

This board has definitely made the wish list for me.

Last edited by killclimbz; 02-22-2010 at 02:31 PM.
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Old 02-22-2010, 02:10 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Nice review. I'm curious to know how the Raptor and the F1-R differ. Have you ridden the F1-R before?
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Old 02-22-2010, 02:26 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I have not ridden the F1-R yet. If Neversummer chooses to let me demo one, I'll be sure to try it. I've heard nothing but good things about board.
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Old 02-22-2010, 02:48 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I find they both ride quite similiar, but the raptor is lighter and seems to move edge to edge easier. The raptor is also stiffer too longitidunially and torsionally. Both are hard charging decks. I definitely prefer the Raptor more.
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Old 02-22-2010, 08:28 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChuChu View Post
Nice review. I'm curious to know how the Raptor and the F1-R differ. Have you ridden the F1-R before?

Hey ChuChu, Good question one I'm sure will be asked a lot. The main difference in the two boards is in the profile. The Raptor features a new directional Rocker/Camber profile that extends the camber further out over the tip and shifts the rocker toward the tail. This longer front camber distributes more pressure over the tip of the board for optimum edge hold and stability. While shifting rocker toward the tail enhances floatation. The camber on the F1 extends to 2" shy of the end of the effective edge creating a flat spot making the board less edgy and more forgiving. Both feature our Vario Power Grip sidecut but the radius is actually deeper on the nose of the Raptor than it is on the tail. A deeper sidecut radius in the tip allows quick entry into a turn while enabling the board to flow downhill without hooking back upslope and skipping out in a hard heelside carve. Another main difference is in the core, on the Raptor we are modifying our traditional core with some lighter wood to give the board a light underfoot feel, like Killclimbz describes, without sacrificing the durability and solid feel our boards are noted for. The Raptor also is a little stiffer with extensive Carbon-Fiber X on the base of the core extending toward the ends of the effective edge on both the tip and tail. We didn't want to change the F1 as it is a great freeride board and wanted to differentiate the two models.

The Raptor also has our new Carbonium top-sheet, which is a textured material that has a really tech carbon-fiber look. It is very scratch and chip resistant and a bit lighter in weight.

Hope this helps.
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Old 02-22-2010, 08:39 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Making it sound like a good thing that I have to wait till next winter for new equipment
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Old 02-23-2010, 09:37 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I just got a F1 and love it for the dampening especially for Tahoe...
what would the difference be with the Raptor and the dampening?
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Old 02-23-2010, 11:03 PM   #8 (permalink)
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i find them both quite similar, they ride like cadillacs. I'll post my review of the Raptor in the coming days.
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Old 03-01-2010, 04:36 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Has anyone ridden it on groomers? I'm in the east so don't see any powder.
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Old 03-01-2010, 04:55 PM   #10 (permalink)
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I did get to mach the board down groomers at Winterpark, but keep in mind it had been snowing all week. So they weren't icy by any stretch. More of that perfect corduroy conditions. It felt super stable and responsive. Carved like a champ, holding an edge on tight arcing turns. Again though, this was not icy hard packed conditions either. My gut feeling is that the board would perform better than most in those conditions though.
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