February 11, 2013

2014 Lib Tech Skate Banana Snowboard Review

One of the best overall boards I took for demo at the recent On Snow Demo and Trade Show at Stratton, Vermont, was a 156 Skate Banana by Lib Tech. This geometrically twin deck features Lib's BTX or Banana Technology for the base and core profile, and their patented Magne-traction (serrated in appearance) edges. This blend is meant to reverse the typical camber "pressure map" by shifting the rider's weight inward to the center of the board, thereby improving balance. The board features rocker between the feet, and flat-to-mild positive (traditional) camber to the contact points.

 

What all this technical jargon means is that this board kicks a$$ in just about every condition I tried. Now granted, while riding on the east coast, man-made hardpack, and loose granular with boilerplate is all too common, these conditions are often the most difficult to ride safely. The board handled the inconsistent hardpack and occasional hidden icy spots with ease. The increased efficiency and control during carves was due to the magne-traction edge shape. This technology increases the amount of contact points with the snow (or ice) surface allowing the board to bite down and hold the rider in their carve while on edge and while powering through uneven piles of loose granular snow.

     The flex of this board is considered a 6 from the manufacturer, and I have to agree with that number. The board was flexible enough to get around while messing about flatland style and just buttering for fun. The combination of the flex and rocker make it a high performer in the park and in freestyle situations. The amount of pop was definitely respectable considering the fact that there are no carbon rods in the core. While pointing and shooting down the trail, the chatter and vibration was sufficiently dampened such that I felt comfortable and confident in blasting straight down. Basically, this thing is a quiver-killer (no squirreliness) when flat-basing.

Best Terrain

     All mountain (with a freestyle and park focus for shorter lengths)

Rider Style

     Park, pipe, freestyle, freeride

Flexibility/Stiffness

     6 out of 10 (1 Softer--10 Stiffer). Boards shorter than 156 are a 5 out of 10.

Edge to Edge Performance

     Because of the magne-traction (serrated in appearance) edges, this board rips down the mountain while carving and flatbasing, so chatter and squirreliness are kept to a minimum.

Pop

     The pop on this board is respectable considering there are no pop rods or carbon within the layers of the deck.

Quality

     Lib Tech boards are very durable and well constructed in my opinion. They use high quality materials and handcraft all of their boards right here in the USA. Full disclosure, I do not own a Lib Tech board...yet, but my impression of the ones I have ridden is that they are well worth the money.

Features and Graphics

     This board features Lib's BTX banana tech and magne-traction edges, and the 2013 line have a flame looking graphic in several colors based on size and width selected.

Price/Value

     The 2014 Skate Banana will retail for around $500 (last years went for $489)...well worth the money in my humble opinion.

     The Union Contact bindings were a good match because they are light and more park oriented so the combination made a nice light and versatile set-up. I also really appreciate the fact that Lib-Tech handcrafts all of their boards in an environmentally sustainable and conservation-minded manufacturing process right here in the USA!

-Rob Adams

www.LFRUS.com


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