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 Post subject: Sidecut: how it affects board ride characteristics
PostPosted: Tue Mar 29, 2011 3:14 pm 
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I wanted to start another conversation regarding sidecut, and how the different choices affect the ride and where the board might perform best. I've been riding over 20 years and largely feel I have an handle on how different board shapes will ride from the specs and come to my own conclusions on my preferences for shapes, length, flex, etc.

But when it comes to sidecut, the differences in radius have always been fairly small when it came to solid boards, always in the 8 meter range. In the past, I made some mistakes going with too short a sidecut, which made the board hook and turn too quickly for the speed, slope and conditions I found myself riding. In addition, the really short radius (<8 meter) boards tend to "skip" on both nose and tail on steeps and harder conditions. I've found that some of that is alleviated with some degree of taper, but not much.

On the opposite side of the spectrum, I've demo'd boards with really long sidecuts that felt incredible when blasting along at top speed, but lose a ton of maneuverability making slow, tight turns. I've shied away from these boards in the past, due to that effect.

Which brings me to my current dilemma, finding the Goldilocks of sidecut. My current solid is a 8.1 meter radius, on a 157cm board with 2mm of taper. This is my all-around go-to board for resort riding in almost all non-pow conditions. The board itself is a shape I've grown to love and the construction is bomber. My only complaint has been there are certain times when bombing a groomed run for instance that the board can become a smidge too hooky, but it is largely manageable. On steeps in hard conditions, I do get a fair amount of skipping, but I've learned to ride around the problem since the rest of the time I really enjoy the board. For powder days, I'm on a 62 Malolo I hate because of too much taper, which I've commented on in other threads before. But I really enjoy the size of the board for powder and until this year was what I also used in all of my backcountry ventures.

So when it came to buying a split, I felt I had a good idea of what I wanted from a board - A 161-162 with a classic freeride shape, a little more taper than my "short" board and a longer sidecut to minimize the feeling of hooking at speed and skipping on hard steeps. I also wanted rocker in the nose, as I saw the benefits in riding my wife's board which has nose rocker.

As many of you might know, I went with the Winterstick ST62.http://www.winterstick.com/product_info.php?cPath=18&products_id=7 From a specs page, it looks like exactly I what I wanted in a board and to be 100% clear, it is an incredible board. The shape, flex, and fit of the board is top notch. I've ridden it a handful of times and while I haven't experienced it in all the conditions, I'm starting to get a good feel for the board. In most aspects, it performs as advertised. The shape is great, the flex and rocker fantastic, edge hold on steeps - stellar.

But...

The sidecut at 10.4 meters is making me feel very very awkward on the board at slow speeds and tight turns. I guess awkward is the right word because I have to ride unnaturally until the board really gets going. It feels like I am struggling to get the board to initiate the turn until I point it downhill a decent ways. Either that or disengage the tail completely and swing it around on the short radius turns. I also am releasing tail pressure in order to finish the turn on medium radius turns. If I set the board up for deeper snow at 2" back rather than what I normally ride at 1" back, turn initiation is better, but I believe that is because I am effectively "creating" an effectively shorter radius that I am riding. I don't know how well that would work for me in a frozen crud springtime couloir.

I'm at a loss if this is a style issue on my part that either I will adjust to over time, or I really went "too long" on the sidecut and should be more comfortable on a high-8 - mid-9 meter radius sidecut, given my board shape, size and flex of choice.

I really really want to like the board, but I don't know if that is because I don't want to admit I might have wasted some money on a poor choice or poor research. I admittedly chose Winterstick over other brands because of the history and the quality construction that I knew was there, and is, but also want to understand where I might have gone wrong with the sidecut selection because every time I ride it, these thoughts are gnawing at the back of my head that another board might work better for me.

In any case I will ride it through the end of the season and reassess to see if it will work for me. If so, great. If not, I'm back to square one... And since I also hate my Malolo I've owned for more years than I care to admit ('05), I want to apply what I learn to whatever my next solid resort powder board will be as well.

Thanks in advance for any thoughts or advice. It's been a looooong time since I felt like a noob in snowboarding, but splitting has put me back there, mostly in a good way and this forum has been a wealth of information. :thatrocks:


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 Post subject: Re: Sidecut: how it affects board ride characteristics
PostPosted: Wed Mar 30, 2011 8:10 am 
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winterstick st is my favorite ride : ) Wish i would have picked it up in a split but went with the jones solution 61. Want to trade? : ) if so send a email!

gary begley
www.garybegleysports.com


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 Post subject: Re: Sidecut: how it affects board ride characteristics
PostPosted: Wed Mar 30, 2011 9:38 am 
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Location: Cupertino, CA
I had considered the Solution extensively. In the end, the stance width issues and first year quality issues shied me away. If I decide to sell it at the end of the season, I'll shoot you an email first. But I'm not ready to chance it on a Jones just yet.

This thread isn't really about being unhappy with the board. I'm not there yet. There are so many things about it I do like: the rocker, flex, shape, etc....the board just doesn't feel nimble to me.

I'm really just trying to understand the effects of varying sidecut radius' and where I would be most happy, or if I will just adjust to the 10.4 meter. I need to ride it a bit more to truely understand it, but I am looking for others opinions and experiences with different radius'.


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 Post subject: Re: Sidecut: how it affects board ride characteristics
PostPosted: Wed Mar 30, 2011 10:20 am 
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Location: Colorado
Deep sidecuts generally suck for experienced riders. A long radius sidecut can be made to make short radius turns as long as the board is not too stiff for the riders weight and strength. To make short radius turns with a long radius sidecut, initiate and then downweight the board to actively bend it. As long as the board is no too stiff for you, you should be able to make as short a turn as necessary.
One of the best boards I ever rode in the backcountry was an old Burton M6 alpine board. I still have it. The edge length on this board is about 135 cm, and the sidecut depth is 1.5 cm. Math folks could do the conversion to a radius from these specs, it is way above 11 m, probably more like 15 m or so. I am 6'1" and about 170 lbs. I could rip moguls, steeps, pow, corn, and ice on this board, at all speeds (OK maybe not going super slow, but that is not necessary for a good rider).
The re-introduction of rocker also makes quick turns easier, as many turning techniques (other than carving) are much easier with rocker: pivoting, smearing, slarving, etc. I would expect the Winterstick ST to be a great ride for you, as long as you are a strong and aggressive rider, and would suggest that you spend a little time learning to get the best out of the board. You might want to play around with your stance as well, I would ride that board with the center of the stance at 4 cm back of the center of the edge length.
The idea that deep sidecuts are necessary for making quick, short radius, turns is a myth. Skis turn by similar mechanics to snowboards, and they have way longer sidecuts than even the straightest snowboards, still, skiers manage to make short radius turns with no difficulties.

From your post it seems to me that you chose the ST 162 for all of the right reasons (especially what you say about the the nose and tail being over pressured on steeps with a deep sidecut). Get some more days on the ST to get your technique dialed to its design, and once you really get it dialed in, I expect you will be loving it. Maybe take it to the lifts for a day to really get a good feel for it.

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 Post subject: Re: Sidecut: how it affects board ride characteristics
PostPosted: Wed Mar 30, 2011 1:13 pm 
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These are great questions that I've wondered myself. I've never been the type to dork out on specs and over analyze things related to snowboarding. It just doesn't interest me all I want to do is ride and I find whatever board or binding or boot for that matter I ride I tend to adapt to it. However, that said I've noticed manufactured splitboards have moved away from the middle to pretty much quiver type boards. It's hard to find a board that really works well for all conditions. For example the new Mojo Rx has a big nose with tons of taper. This works well for shredding pow, in fact it would be hard to find a better pow board than it, but variable and hardpack conditions it becomes really hard to move edge to edge, I almost feel out of control at times. In addition I look at the Jones Solution it looks like a great board for steeps but looks like it would suck for pow. I just chose those two boards to compare but you can pretty much choose any two boards from any company and get my point.

So here's my perfect board. A directional twin with limited sidecut and a small amount of taper to help initiate turns and balance out the limited sidcut. My focus is on the shape of the nose. I've found noses with a penis head shape like the Venture Storm tend to be incredibly grabby in variable and breakable. I think a huge benefit with a blunted nose and tail (twin) not as grabby but also provide the two perfect contact point in the steeps. I'm not jumping on the magna, my guess is it would increase grabbiness. I think a blunted nose and tail with limited side cut and a little bit of taper would work better.

I wonder if weight is part of your issue with your new Winterstick. I love all the Colorado boards but the ones I've played around with all seem to be super heavy. Up until this year I've been all about promoting DIY splitties, purely for the fact that manufactured splitties were too damn heavy. I think some companies have improved in this area. I'm absolutely blown away by how light and poppy my Mojo Rx is, playing around with priors they seem to have improved dramatically in that category as well. Weight is the critical issue for me.

Thanks for the topic, you always seem to raise some good questions tilted.


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 Post subject: Re: Sidecut: how it affects board ride characteristics
PostPosted: Wed Mar 30, 2011 3:14 pm 
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Barrows,

Thanks for the thoughts. I did actually resort ride the board one day when I was back east on hardpack/ice and felt that it was really long in the radius then too. But get to warp speed and holy cow was the board damp and stable. Its making the very steep, slow, short radius turns that I am having issues mostly with. I simply need more time on it, but I want more to think about when doing so.

My inclination was the same as yours to pull the stance back some more, currently set up 1"/2.5cm to 2"/5cm. Not much option to play with it further, as the Karakoram's basically set you at where on the inserts are without any longitudinal adjustment. However, I made sure the inserts were where I wanted for stance widths when I got the board Anyway, this is something the brothers told me they are working on to get some additional adjustment in the interface connection.

With the 2.5cm offset, I currently "feel" like I need to increase the angle on my back foot (5deg) to drive the edge in and help decrease the radius. But that doesn't seem right either and would feel pretty unnatural.

Moving the stance to 5cm back would not only increase the nose, but it should also put me "further into" the stance, meaning when I engage the edge fully, the effective amount of edge used would be a smaller radius, which might work better. This should also help the board finish its carves better through the tail as well. My only worry with this is that on the steep, hard snow conditions, this may prove to be too much nose and might "skip out" from being further back, especially with rocker exacerbating the effect. I guess when we actually get some spring conditions in Tahoe that will be one to test.


Utah,

It's definitely not a lightweight board, but its not overly heavy either at ~14lbs w/K bindings, at least compared to my 6yo Malolo. But that is something to consider that I might not be used to yet.

Thanks guys, keep the ideas comin' :thumpsup:


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 Post subject: Re: Sidecut: how it affects board ride characteristics
PostPosted: Wed Mar 30, 2011 3:24 pm 
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Location: Colorado
UTAH:

"I've found noses with a penis head shape like the Venture Storm tend to be incredibly grabby in variable and breakable. I think a huge benefit with a blunted nose and tail (twin) not as grabby but also provide the two perfect contact point in the steeps."

Good observation on the Venture Storm nose shape, I would agree with you in general on this nose shape, but not about the Storm, as the generous rocker in the nose mitigates the potential grabbiness of the sharp entry point. In fact, the Storm is a very "free" feeling board, especially for a board with a fair amount of sidecut-the rocker really does loosen it up quite a bit.
The critical dimension here is the radius at what I call the "knuckle", where the sidecut ends and the nose starts. The Jones boards are really cool in this area, as there is a very gentle radius here, blending into the blunt nose. This gentle radius creates a really smooth entry point, and a nose which is less likely to plow, or catch suddenly. Rocker makes this effect even better, as does a longer sidecut radius. I am sure I would love my Storm even more if it had the nose shape of a Jones Solution. Of course, a board does not need to be a twin (which generally denotes a non-directional board) to have a nose shape like this. The Wintersticks, Mojos, and Priors (backcountry) actually have a pretty gentle "knuckle" as well, it just blends into a rounded, rather than blunted, nose.
Check out the preliminary shapes of the Chimera boards, they look like they might be pretty interesting, especially the Mace.
No one board can be ideally suited for bottomless blower powder, icy steeps, and whipping through low angle trees. Either one must choose to have a quiver, or to select a board which excels in their most frequent riding conditions, and is a little compromised in some conditions.

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Never Summer Prospector 167X, furberg 173 DIY, Dynafit TLT5/6 Mountain , Phantom Bindings, BD Glidelite Skins
Quiver Killer inserts

http://protectourwinters.org/
http://14ersnowboardproject.homestead.com/


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 Post subject: Re: Sidecut: how it affects board ride characteristics
PostPosted: Wed Mar 30, 2011 3:28 pm 
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Joined: Sat Jul 05, 2008 7:38 pm
Posts: 394
Location: Eugene and Coos Bay, Oregon.
I have not seen a new Winterstick split yet, but beyond the sidecut, board stiffness will play a role in how easily a board initiates a turn. Torsional stiffness is particularly important. At lower speeds, if the board twist a bit, it will be easier to initiate turns. However, the same board will be more difficult to control at higher speeds. Likewise, stiffer torsional flex leads to more stability at speed but more work to initiate turns a lower speed. Generally the stiffer the board (both torsional and longitudinal), the higher the speeds it wants or the heavier the rider should be.


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 Post subject: Re: Sidecut: how it affects board ride characteristics
PostPosted: Wed Mar 30, 2011 3:44 pm 
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Location: Colorado
tiltedworld wrote:
Barrows,

Thanks for the thoughts. I did actually resort ride the board one day when I was back east on hardpack/ice and felt that it was really long in the radius then too. But get to warp speed and holy cow was the board damp and stable. Its making the very steep, slow, short radius turns that I am having issues mostly with. I simply need more time on it, but I want more to think about when doing so.

I find most steep turns (on hard snow/corn) are skidded at intiation, followed by a carved finish across the fall line, and find long radius sidecuts are ideal for doing that. If its pow, well, no need to go all that slow then. I have a Tom Burt 172 that turns great on the steeps, and 11 m radius sidecut gives me a lot of control over the transition from skid to carve, without being grabby or unstable.

My inclination was the same as yours to pull the stance back some more, currently set up 1"/2.5cm to 2"/5cm. Not much option to play with it further, as the Karakoram's basically set you at where on the inserts are without any longitudinal adjustment. However, I made sure the inserts were where I wanted for stance widths when I got the board Anyway, this is something the brothers told me they are working on to get some additional adjustment in the interface connection.

With the 2.5cm offset, I currently "feel" like I need to increase the angle on my back foot (5deg) to drive the edge in and help decrease the radius. But that doesn't seem right either and would feel pretty unnatural.

Moving the stance to 5cm back would not only increase the nose, but it should also put me "further into" the stance, meaning when I engage the edge fully, the effective amount of edge used would be a smaller radius, which might work better. This should also help the board finish its carves better through the tail as well. My only worry with this is that on the steep, hard snow conditions, this may prove to be too much nose and might "skip out" from being further back, especially with rocker exacerbating the effect. I guess when we actually get some spring conditions in Tahoe that will be one to test.

I hear ya, the lack of stance choice is definately a weak point of the K system. I hope that Bryce/Tyler can address this in future versions. 2.5 cm back would not work for me, and 5 cm back might be too much, but it is worth a try. Being further back gives one more control over the tail, and more turn options when it comes to pivoting/smearing, etc. It also makes it easier to go from carve to skid and back through the tail during the turn-it is nice to have this versatility in steep technical spots.
I would not worry about the weight-unless board manufacturers adopt (very expensive) full carbon layups, there is no viable way to lighten boards up much and retain good damping properties. Typical lightweight construction (lightweight cores, and/or cap construction) always results in poor damping-fine for pure powder boards, but no good for versatile sticks (chattery and full of nasty vibration).


Utah,

It's definitely not a lightweight board, but its not overly heavy either at ~14lbs w/K bindings, at least compared to my 6yo Malolo. But that is something to consider that I might not be used to yet.

Thanks guys, keep the ideas comin' :thumpsup:

_________________
Never Summer Prospector 167X, furberg 173 DIY, Dynafit TLT5/6 Mountain , Phantom Bindings, BD Glidelite Skins
Quiver Killer inserts

http://protectourwinters.org/
http://14ersnowboardproject.homestead.com/


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 Post subject: Re: Sidecut: how it affects board ride characteristics
PostPosted: Wed Mar 30, 2011 5:12 pm 
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Posts: 394
Location: Eugene and Coos Bay, Oregon.
There may be a place you are happier on the board that is not centered on the inserts, but going too far back will cause issues.

Setting the stance back too far will limit your ability to pressure the nose. In most cases, turn initiation requires a little weight shift toward the nose.

Also, I have found that riding set back too far creates too big of a nose on boards that are not designed to have such a big nose. The longer nose can really start to push you around in less than perfect snow.


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 Post subject: Re: Sidecut: how it affects board ride characteristics
PostPosted: Wed Mar 30, 2011 5:20 pm 
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barrows wrote:
Being further back gives one more control over the tail, and more turn options when it comes to pivoting/smearing, etc. It also makes it easier to go from carve to skid and back through the tail during the turn-it is nice to have this versatility in steep technical spots.


Yep, pivot/smear are definitely improved with less tail, but you do lose some edge control over the front of the nose - a tough balance, but need to test.

barrows wrote:
I would not worry about the weight-unless board manufacturers adopt (very expensive) full carbon layups, there is no viable way to lighten boards up much and retain good damping properties. Typical lightweight construction (lightweight cores, and/or cap construction) always results in poor damping-fine for pure powder boards, but no good for versatile sticks (chattery and full of nasty vibration).


I tend to lean towards the middle or right on the chart of how I like my damping. Chattery with lots of vibration and harmonics when going fast suck, but also having too damp a ride doesn't let you feel the snow and subtle changes as much. Like everything else, its a balance. So far the ST feels like it falls on the more damp end of the range, but not overly so.

Buell - I reread your post on your Prior 58, seems like a lot of the characteristics and same comments made in that thread point to me just learning how to ride it an maximize it better.

I get what you are saying about nose pressure. I'm not looking to have a huuuge nose ala a Hovercraft, 2" back is what I will try next and is on the back end of normal for me. I think riding it like that for a bunch more days will help me make my mind up about the board/sidecut. If I were to consider something different it would probably be something like a Prior BC with a 9 meter cut.

Now I just gotta get out of this damn cube so I can go ride more!


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 Post subject: Re: Sidecut: how it affects board ride characteristics
PostPosted: Wed Mar 30, 2011 6:27 pm 
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Location: Eugene and Coos Bay, Oregon.
I have a feeling that my 158 Prior is softer both longitudinally and torsionally than your 162 Winterstick and therefore, easier to transition. It is also shorter, narrower, and lighter. I am a lightweight and it works well for me.

I love the numbers on the Wintersticks but I have not tried one. It does seem that they ride bigger than their length would indicate.

As you touch on, there are probably some new turn types that the Winterstick can teach you that are not needed on a more typical board.

Enjoy.


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 Post subject: Re: Sidecut: how it affects board ride characteristics
PostPosted: Wed Mar 30, 2011 6:43 pm 
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Location: powder central, bc, canuckistan
+1 on buells comment about the backseat. you mentioned that unweighting the tail helps bring it around.... when you get used to the board you'll probly learn to do that with more subtle control which wont feel so unnatural. if you havent detuned the tail it mite also help abit to do that.

it looks from the WS site that the stance is set pretty far back just how they build em... going even further back on the inserts sounds like serious backseat drivin.... i also dont see on their site anything about rocker, it says "camber: moderate"... but maybe you got em to tweak that? im not sure, if you got rocker, why youd want to be in the backseat with your stance? i could be missing something but i thought a set back stance was mostly for keepin the tip up in pow. im pretty sure a more centred stance would make it eezier to washout the tail on demand also, you might try a smaller board or wider stance if the length of the tail offsets the leverage from the centered stance.

i found, for myself, that centering and widening my stance has given me alot more control than the set back stance i used to ride on cambered sticks.

also i bet that with a some riding the stick will soften up abit and you'll like it more n more

im also not super sold the logik behind going very long on sidecut. i get that on icey steeps it can give you more consistant edging but if youre trying to link turns i think sidecut helps, even if alot of the turn is washed out.

with extreme sideslipping when only the tip n tail are in contact... i dont often think that a cm or so sidecut depth would make much diff.

sidecut and rocker makes a board turn easier.... i can see the point that less of either or both makes for a more stable ride... and that could be better for hi speed, aggressive riding... but on the other hand i think an advanced rider would have the skills to take an unstable board (rocker, deeper sidecut) and make it do exactly whats needed, at all speeds, even in challenging conditions.

great discussion all round tho, thanks yall for making me think abit bout the tecknical side of all this fun.

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