In line with all the improvements, redesigns, reintroductions, etc… Burton added their own version of the reverse camber technology to their most popular snowboard and I finally got a chance to try it out over the weekend. Here’s my review:
Conditions: Very cold and icy.
Setup: Burton Mission Bindings.
Technology Worth Mentioning
- V-rocker: A three-stage rocker that features a center rocker between your feet, with additional rockers outside each foot that lift the tip and tail completely off the snow. This thing can definitely rock!
- Directional Shape: The classic, most versatile snowboard shape, designed to be ridden with a slightly longer nose than tail to concentrate pop in the tail while still giving you plenty of float and control to rip any terrain or snow condition.
- Pressure Distribution Edges: The edges beneath the binding area extend out slightly for tremendous edge hold on hard, icy conditions, while remaining ever playful in soft snow. Honestly, I wonder how much of a difference this actually made, because the board did not hold its edge on ice.
- Feel Level 4: The board’s stiffness level is set at roughly 40%, where Feel Level 1 is least stiff, and Feel Level 10 is most stiff.
Expectations - Given Burton’s Custom snowboard great track record, the rocker design, and more importantly the hype I’ve heard and read, I was expecting this thing to rock the mountain.
First Impression - Burton’s Custom V-rocker is a fun board to muck about and butter the snow with as the rocker shape nicely lifts up the tips and gives you a center base to pivot on. Unfortunately this meant the board did not hold any edge on icy/somewhat icy surfaces. I felt uncomfortable bombing down the mountain, and the V-rocker does take some getting used to. But boy did I have a blast switching and doing spins with the board.
Flex – The Custom V-rocker is a truly flexible board and you’ll feel it right away under your feet. Obviously this is where the rocker design comes in play.
Feel/Turning – The board feels light and steady through straight lines, but it’s when you start going faster that things get ‘iffy’. Although the board is stable under higher speeds, making turns is not the most natural thing with the Custom V-rocker. My guess is that the lifted tips make it extra hard to grab an edge if there isn’t enough snow on the surface. You’ll find yourself feeling somewhat off balance when making turns, so make sure you have enough space.
Park Riding - Naturally this board would fare well in the park and the reality is very close to that. Although I’m not a park person, I found myself wanting to spend more time in the park, because it’s a fun board for the park. Once again, the rocker design really helps as it softens the landings and makes spins easier to pull off. I highly recommend that you take this on boxes, but be careful with rails. The rocker shape will take some getting used to, but once you settle into it, you’ll enjoy the park very much. Unfortunately the half pipe was in bad shape so I couldn’t test this thing properly, but I felt a lot potential fun to be had from the few half pipe runs I got.
Stopping/Switching – Stopping with the Burton Custom V-rocker required more effort and space than expected. Like I said, the rocker design lifts up the tips so much that, unless there’s enough snow, holding an edge was more frustrating than expected. Switching on the other hand was SO MUCH fun. Given my disappointment with the turns and stops, I was stoked at how much fun this board was at switches. If it means anything to anyone, I’ve (un)officially renamed this board the Burton Buttertom V-rocker.
- Rocker design is a lot of fun
- Fun in the park
- Amazing for buttering/switching and overall mucking about
- Does not hold or grab as much edge as advertised/hyped
Overall Impression – Despite what Burton says about the Custom V-rocker being a “mountain monopolizer”, I regret to inform you that it isn’t. Unless snow conditions are great all over, you’ll find yourself frustrated with its stopping/turning abilities. Admittedly, snow conditions were (annoyingly) mostly icy, I still don’t think this stick is meant for all-mountain freestylers. But at the same time, if you’re going to stick around the park, you’re better off getting a park board. I feel the biggest culprit behind this is the imbalance between the traditional Custom feel and the V-rocker design. Needless to say, I’ve changed my mind about buying this board.
Who is this board for? If I really had to describe the ideal rider for this board, I’d say it’s for the intermediate freestyle rider that wants a bit more speed and more mountain ride time without sacrificing the goodness of effortless buttering, switching, and spinning.