A tale of 3 rockers: Ride Dh2.4 vs Arbor Coda vs. Lib Attack Banana`
So yeah. I got to ride all 3 boards last weekend in some pretty hard and choppy conditions at mammoth, and overall I could say I tried 3 good boards, but they're really different. All of these boards are pretty much going after the same rider, they're all mountain freestyle decks.
Attack banana 159 started out the weekend. This is a board anybody can jump on and have a good time. Standing on this board and pressing it, I was a little worried, I thought it was going to be way too soft and fold. It wasn't so bad on the hill. I could press it easily all over the hill (5'10, 185) and it was easy to butter, and pop was fine.
Honestly, it felt kind of similar to my sl-r from last year and had it been a little stiffer I think it could have been love. But more on that later. The magne traction was very mellow, to the point that i didn't notice it at all. If you're not a fan of magne but are curious about lib, it's not a factor on this board.
On the groomers, it felt very stable. The side cut and possibly the camber just let you bomb it without any hint of catching. Flat basing was great as well.
Any normal chop you find on the hill was a non- issue, i could just go right through/over it. There was some sun baked goodness on one area of the hill where there was a nice little natural kicker, and the board was fine there, no sketchiness to speak of on landing.
The last part of the test circuit had some shitty icy steeps followed by a super chopy runout. This is where the board showed some weakness finally. For my weight, I need a bit stiffer flex to hold speed and keep those tip and tail edges engaged in that stuff. Mind you, NO board short of a 165 would kick ass in that stuff, but I could feel the nose starting to get slapped around and i really had to put on the brakes. Oh. A word on the base, as there's some discussion as to what it's made of. It doesn't matter. I didn't do anything to prep this base, and it was FAST. Faster than I ever got my never summer base last season, and up there with the nitro bases, which are the fastest I've ridden. I honestly think its some sort of sinter, it looked less porous than some sintered bases, but more porous than an ext. base.
#2 of the weekend was the Arbor coda in 157. What can i say? It's a fun board. Seeing as I had a good routine for seeing what a board could do on a typical day, I took the coda through the same thing for a bunch of laps. It's light and playful, and makes you want to hop all over the place.
On groomers it was a good time, and felt really stable at speed most of the time. You could really feel their ice claws or whatever you want to call them kicking in when you needed it which was a relief. For a rocker board, I was very pleasantly surprised at how well it handled moderate crud and texture.
No need to talk about presses, but I felt i got about the same pop out of this board as the attack banana, maybe a little less. That lifted tail let me down in a couple of places though. On slushy kickers, wall hits, etc, I could feel the tail start to wash out on me.
Also, I wasn't going as fast as my buddy (who was my reference point for speed all day) and once I got it onto the super steep ice bump wall with the choppy runout, the board really disintegrated. In the super chop, you just weren't using the full edge at all, and the board was basically as long as your stance. The lifted nose and tail weren't doing anything and the board lost a lot of directional stability as well. So you basically claw your way through that stuff.
I wish I got to take this board in some powder. You can tell it would kill it there, but overall, i feel it's A) The one that holds up the least in the really crappy terrain. For me this is important, as I want to be able to carry speed through technical sections without winding up on my ass.
And b) The most fun and playful board just about everywhere else.
And Finally, Ride DH2.4 (159). This board is basically a cambered deck with a slight rise before the last couple of CMS of edge contact.
First, a note on flex. If the Attack Banana is a 6.5, then the ride is an 8 (it's listed at 7). It just felt stiffer than the others, and not just because of the camber.
This board is hard to categorize. It's got the most pop by far out of all 3 decks, yet felt the least playful/throwaround of the three as well. It hauled ass and ate up the junk that the other decks folded over, but it also felt like it had more side slip on the groomers. On the other hand, in the steeps, you could really feel that nose and tail gripping and keeping you in control. It was crazy. I was going noticeably faster on this deck in all conditions than on the others, that was for sure.
It's been a full season since I've been on a cambered deck, but one thing I noticed is how committed you are to a turn on this. It's just not as easy to up and change directions as the others. I also noticed that the nose and tail on this board are a bit wider than the other two, maybe that had something to do with it. On paper, it looked like it would have a pretty mellow side cut, but that didn't bare out in the real world. Laid on top of the attack banana, the sidecut was noticeably more aggressive, and this was obvious on the snow as well. Even with the lifted contact points, this board wanted a bit of detuning to lose a little bit of hookiness.
Jumps were great on this board, no folding and it was easy to recover from off balance landings. Also, all that pop really helped you to spin around and I always felt very solid landing blind.
So overall, this was the rhino of the bunch. It goes about kicking ass in its own determined way. I could probably size down to a 157 in this deck based solely on how powerful it is, and then I would probably get that playfulness back.
So in retrospect, in terms of fun and playfulness (high to low) it went Coda -> Attack Banana -> DH2.4.
But in terms of ass kicking, it went DH2.4 -> Attack Banana -> Coda.
In retrospect this shouldn't be surprising as youre basically on a sliding scale from rocker to camber, but with all the hype out there, it's easy to get lost sometimes. For me personally, If I had to pick from these three, I'd go with the DH2.4 just because I know it will get the job done, but really, I'd like a slightly stiffer version of the Lib Tech, as it was the best combo of fun and ass kickery.
Oh that reminds me.. Anybody looking for an attack banana 159, only used once?