Best mountain board

by Kevin Stard

Best mountain board for extreme

If you’re a downhill adrenaline junkie, but you don’t wish to give up the thrill of high speeds every time the snow melts, then consider the use of a mountain board as an alternative during the warmer months. It offers the versatility needed to continue shredding down slopes and inclines on a wide variety of terrains, and gives you additional opportunities to enjoy the wind on your face as you ride.

Designed as a visual mash-up of both the snowboard and skateboard, the mountain board allows its rider to conquer almost any type of rough terrain, including grassy hills, gravel tracks, mountain bike trails, and steep downhill slopes. A typical mountain board consists of a deck, trucks, bindings, wheels, tires, and brakes. The deck is the surface on which a rider stands for stability. Depending on the height and size of a rider, the deck can range between 31 and 41 inches in length. High-quality decks resemble those of most snowboards and are fashioned from carbon, composite plastic, and wood, while more inexpensive boards feature decks constructed from laminated wood.

The trucks allow the mountain board to turn and consist of a hanger, damping system, and axles that attach the wheels to the deck. Mountain board trucks come in either skate or channel types. Skate trucks are equipped with a long, rigid axle, a top hanger, and a single bolt with bushings that provide the cushioning mechanism responsible for turning the mountain board itself. The bolt can be tightened or loosened to change the degree of stiffness as the board turns. Channel trucks are mounted to the deck by nuts and bolts through the hanger at a 35-degree angle. This allows the axles to turn together when a rider tilts the board laterally, ultimately angling the wheels in the same direction as the turn. Channel trucks also pivot on a central pin and essentially work like a see-saw, which offers a large range of motion. Mounted between the hanger and the axle housings of channel trucks are polyurethane “egg shocks”. These shocks are responsible for reducing the occurrence of speed wobble. Springs are also present to help the board return to center after a turn has been executed.

Commonly made with Velcro fasteners, bindings keep a rider attached to the deck. The board’s wheels consist of either plastic or metal hubs with pneumatic tires ranging in size between eight and 13 inches in diameter. The brakes are attached to a board’s front wheels and operate by use of a hand lever. They are normally reserved for extended runs when additional speed control is needed.

Friction and gravity are the main forces driving the successful use of a mountain board. As gravity pulls the board down a slope at a certain rate of acceleration, the board’s thick rubber tires provide the necessary friction and traction needed to successfully execute turns, slow the board down, and come to a complete stop, especially on uneven surfaces. Furthermore, a rider must ensure superior balance during the trip to remain upright while riding. This is accomplished with a slight bend of the knees and outstretched arms, allowing him to maintain a proper center of gravity at the waist.

Cruising Down The Mountain In Style

The benefit of the mountain board is that even though you’re strapped to a large deck with wheels, your activities aren’t quite as limited to certain venues as they are with a snowboard. Thanks to its hybrid construction, the mountain board helps to minimize some of the frustrations associated with determining appropriate surfaces on which to ride. Its versatility allows you to satisfy the adrenaline junkie from within, regardless of whether that involves sliding down a slope or doing tricks at a skate park.

That said, you’ll want to make sure that your board of choice has the components needed to withstand your environment and the terrain on which you wish to ride. Several styles of mountain boarding include downhill, boardercross, freeriding, and freestyle. Downhill boarding is typically performed solo and involves a one-half mile course down a large hill or mountain. The object is to be the fastest rider to reach the bottom. Boardercross involves a race between two and four riders over a series of obstacles. Freeriding is a non-competitive style without any specific purpose other than to cruise around town and over various terrains. Freestyle mountain boarding involves the performance of spins, stunts, and tricks, ideal for a public skating park.

If your purpose is freestyling, consider a board with a lightweight composite deck, as it can withstand heavy abuse when riding over obstacles and it will hold up well over time. By contrast, a heavier wood deck is ideal for ensuring superior stability when racing downhill.

Deck size is also important when considering a rider’s height. The shorter the deck, the easier it is for a younger child to control, whereas a longer deck close to 41 inches is best for an adult-sized rider.

A Brief History Of Mountain Boards

Mountain boarding is a relatively modern sport that began in the early 1990s. It was originally inspired by a group of snowboarders looking for a way to ride in a similar fashion during the summer months. Friends Patrick McConnell and Jason Lee developed the first three mountain board prototypes in California by 1993. The following year, they moved to Colorado and founded the MBS mountain boarding company.

The first mountain board prototype consisted of a deck, look-a-like mountain bike tires, and a suspension system. Many snowboard enthusiasts began to show an interest in these new hybrid boards, inspiring MBS to manufacture the first 35 practical mountain boards in 1994.

The early 2000s saw the growth of media attention around the sport, including one of the first mountain boarding road tours to United States schools in order to demonstrate the board’s benefits.

Today, mountain boarding has become a socially contagious pastime that continues to be introduced to large masses of young and old riders as an exciting alternative to snow-based sports that are forced into annual hibernation.

Kevin Stard - professional sportsman in category MTB. Participant of the Downhill World Cup #1