Choosing the right mountainboard
Choosing the right mountainboard for you will make learning easier and mean you are more likely to enjoy it and stick with it.
Mountainboards come in range of different shapes and sizes, from little kids beginner boards from Toys’R’Us for about seventy five pounds, to top-of-the-range, all-singing-and-dancing proper-mountain-conquering boards at over a thousand pounds. You may have spent some time on the web searching for mountainboards, and might have checked ebay, so you’re probably familiar with brand names like Exit, Scrub, Trampa, MBS, and maybe even noSno. All of these boards are fundamentally the same in that they all have four wheels with pneumatic tyres, trucks for steering, a deck, and bindings to hold you on to the deck. So, with such a wide range of boards available, how do you choose the right one for you?
Let’s start by looking at each of the parts and explaining how they differ, and which will work best for you.
For beginners the main consideration with decks is going to be length. The basic rule is little boards for little people, big boards for big people. An 80cm deck is perfect for a small child but if you’re a six-feet tall adult you’ll probably be better off with a deck of 100cm in length. Longer decks are more stable than shorter decks so getting the right size deck will making learning easier.
The other consideration for decks is how they are constructed. It’s not really anything for a beginner to worry about, but as you get more into mountainboarding you might want a higher performance deck which means choosing one that is made of more than just wood. Such decks will have a Reverse Cap Construction like a snowboard, or be made from woven kevlar. If you’re serious about mountainboarding it might be worth spending a bit more money getting a mountainboard with one of these decks rather than having to upgrade a wooden deck after a couple of months.
The two main different truck types you are likely to find on a beginners mountainboard are skate trucks and channel trucks.
Skate trucks, as the name suggests, are like the trucks used on skateboards but have been beefed up to cope with the rough terrain and have longer axles for the bigger wheels. Skate trucks are generally found on smaller, lighter boards at the cheaper end of the market. They are the easiest of trucks to make a turn with which is why lots of mountainboarders start with them.
Channel Trucks consist of a channel-shaped axle which is bolted horizontally into a hanger, and springs and dampers which control the amount movement the truck can make. With some channel trucks you can adjust this movement to get more or less turn. Channel trucks are probably the most widely used trucks because of their stability and adjustability.
Bindings range from simple velcro straps, to more adjustable ratchet straps, to snowboard bindings. Bindings all work in a very similar way, and while bindings like noSno Softs will be more secure than velcro bindings, which binding you have is most likely going to be down to which board you’ve bought. Bindings can be easily upgraded and as you get more into mountainboarding you can choose bindings that fit the type of riding you want to do.
Most wheels on mountainboards are 20cm (8 inches) in diameter. There are different hubs and tyres available, such as metal hubs and 9 inch tyres, but for a beginner standard plastic hubs with 8 inch tyres will be fine, and you’ll most likely get whatever comes with the board.