This is on the long side…. There’s not much information about these boards, so I wanted to post a thorough review.
Click on image to enlarge
The short version: I am very impressed with this board after several tours and cannot wait to ride it more. All the design features work together as a predictable whole, and I find that the very light weight has a significant positive effect on its riding performance. Obviously it is exceptional when skinning, even better than I hoped.
Background: Many of us seek out lighter boots, bindings, and gear, yet continue to ride 7 to 8+ pound splitboards. So many of our splitboards are still made with the same materials and techniques as solid resort boards, and the weights reflect that. It is nice to have some builders working with lighter materials and better construction techniques to reduce weight.
When I started researching lightweight splits last year, I realized that I could save a pound per foot (and all the swing weight associated with it). Most recently I had come from a 7.5 pound 158 G3 Blacksheep (non-carbon version) down to a roughly 6 1/2 pound 158 Jones Solution. I first noticed the Amplid’s super light Lab Carbon Split last year and this year’s Milligram looked even more promising to me.
I contacted Amplid with a lot of questions, and they were quick and responsive with their answers. I prefer to have a board in my hands before I commit to buying it, and it is not very easy to do this with Amplid boards in the US. Ordering and receiving one is simple and quick, but I was concerned about wanting to return it once I had seen it in person. Once I did see it, I definitely did not want to return it. At the moment, I think Bola at All Board Sports has some Milligrams in stock.
I am 5’9, 142 pounds and ride in the Eastern Sierra of California in the winter and on the Northwest Volcanoes during corn season. I chose the 158 Milligram. I have owned and ridden quite a few split boards including a Jones Solution, a G3 Blacksheep, Prior Spearhead, Khyber, and BC split, a Venture Storm, a couple of Voiles and a number of split related solid boards like Furberg, Gnu Billygoat, Venture Zephyr and Jones Hovercraft.
Construction: The construction of the Milligram is beautiful. The only flaw I have found so far is some of the Karakorum clip screws in the bottom of the board are a bit proud and at a bit of an angle. Everything else is great. The base edge bevel even came in at 0 to 1 degree instead of the mostly universal 1 to 2 degrees so I could file a consistent base edge bevel at 1 degree.
The Milligram’s camber runs from a bit behind the tail Karakorum clip to a point roughly in line with the nose Karakorum clip. This is more camber than I have ridden in quite a while, and I did not know what to expect. After the camber ends, the nose radius curve is relatively gentle, which I appreciate. The camber is not very high and presses out easily. It is a touch softer in the middle than the nose and the tail, but overall the flex pattern is very smooth, with no sudden kinks. This Milligram is softer than a Jones Carbon Solution or a G3 Blacksheep X3, both of which I consider very stiff.
Touring: The Milligram is really light! It is even lighter on my feet than I expected. I let my wife skin up with it once and the first words out of her mouth were “holy ****, holy ****, wow. She had just come off a rather light 154 Jones Solution which is a little over 6 pounds itself. After skinning the Amplid, her 154 Solution felt heavy to me. The Amplid website claims “with connector clips the 163cm board length weighs a mere 2.5 Kg [5.5 lb].” I don’t have a scale to weigh the 158 but I assume it is less.
It split skis very well. The low swing weight makes the “skis” nimble and maneuverable.
Ride: So far I have ridden it in medium density tree powder on various slope angles up to about 35 degrees, more open powder of various slope angles up to about 38 degrees and relatively firm, but edgeable, steep wind buff in the 40 to 42 degree range.
After several tours on this board, I have concluded that weight influences performance far more than I expected. I find it difficult to separate the effects of the light weight from the more typical parameters like camber/rocker, sidecut, or taper. Obviously it is amazing to skin, but when riding, the light weight allows it to be very agile: jump turns are so much easier than any board I have ridden, quick turns on steep, firm slopes come around extra fast, maneuvering though tight spaces seems easier, float in powder seems better and edge changes are quick.
On the snow the flex feels balanced and solid, but sufficiently forgiving. In medium density powder, the board rides centered (a requirement for me) and floats beautifully. It is really surfy at times and can put a huge smile on my face. Other times I have pushed on it aggressively and it just gives right back, no issues.
Tree riding the Milligram is fun. The camber keeps me just a touch more on my toes than a more rockered or tapered shape but it is plenty agile.
It surfs snow banks and wind lips really well. It has a clean bottom turn and a great release / slash off the top.
On steeper, firmer snow I have found it to be quick, predictable, and to hold a solid edge. The Milligram comes around very fast on jump turns and steeper pitch turns when you want to quickly reengage your edge. That quickness really helps keep speed under control when needed.
I have not ridden the board in teeth chattering conditions yet, but on the firmer wind board I have ridden I got much less feedback from the snow than I expected and I have not had any bounce or chatter. Almost certainly it will have more feedback than a heavy, dampened board, but thus far it is insignificant. This was one of my main concerns and I am happy so far.
Unknowns: I cannot yet answer durability questions (no problems so far). Topsheet shows very little wear after 4 tours. I have not had it out on very firm snow yet. I do not jump (bad front knee) so I cannot comment on this aspect of its ride. I will update this thread after I have had more time on the board.
Top half of the line. My tracks come from the summit. It was pretty firm at the top.
I have the regular Solution and not the Carbon Solution.
The Solution’s outline has stayed quite constant since it was introduced, but the rocker / camber and flex have varied a bit. My 158 Solution is last year’s model and its camber ends just in front of the front binding and just in front of the back Karakorum clip. It has about 9″ more nose rocker and about 2″ more tail rocker than the Milligram. If your Solution has a lot less rocker, it might ride more similar to the Milligram than mine.
Hand flexing the two boards, the Milligram is softer. I have always felt that rockered boards need to be stiffer, so the Jones being stiffer makes some sense to me. All boards get harder to bend the more they are bent, but on the snow, the Amplid really seems to stiffen up extra after it bends a certain distance. It might be a carbon thing, I am not sure.
When I put the boards on the ground, on edge just a bit, and push out the camber, the Amplid has a lot more contact length with the ground than the Solution. This would not matter in powder, but on firmer snow, the Solution’s short effective edge has felt twitchy to me in the past.
Overall, they are somewhat similar in ride. In open powder, they are very similar. Otherwise, the Milligram likes to be ridden a bit faster and you have to pay a bit more attention in tight trees or rocks. The flip side of that is that it is smoother at higher speeds and is more stable on firmer snow than the Jones. In tighter trees and at slower speeds, the Solution is a little easier to handle and a little more playful.
I would say that the Jones rides a bit shorter than its actual length and the Amplid feels about right. For perspective, my rather stiff 158 G3 Blacksheep rode bigger than its length.
The difference in weight is noticeable at times. Turns and line adjustments just happen that much quicker on the Amplid.
Float seems to be about the same between the boards. The Solution has a lot more rocker, but the Milligram’s widest point in the nose is a little further back and a little wider than on the Solution. The added surface area, shifted back a bit, helps explain why the Milligram floats so well for a mostly cambered board.
As far as I can tell so far, feedback from the snow is very similar between the two boards. I don’t think either board has added dampening, but it doesn’t seem to be an issue.
I just had my first day on my new Amplid Miligram 168 last weekend. I’ve been waiting for more days and more conditions before putting up a review. But with one day under my belt I am amazed by this board, it is kinda exactly perfect for what I was looking for.
It’s much more flexy than a typical carbon board. Rather than using the same construction and wrapping it in carbon instead of fiberglass, which produces an overall stiffer board, they mixed panels of lightweight balsa into the construction. Really smart! The board flexes really nicely, more like a Burton custom maybe than a typical stiff backcountry stick.
The weight difference is obvious from the second you touch it. I went from a circa 2007 Voile Mojo + 2nd generation sparks to the Milligram + Current Tesla Sparks and the setup must be more than 5 lbs lighter. I will measure it when I get a chance, but the difference is amazing.
Throughout my BC snowboarding career I have felt like I’ve been riding stiff, planky, lifeless boards. This thing came to life under my feet and felt playful and fun. I can’t wait to ride it more! I’ll give a real review after more time with it, but for first impressions I agree with Buell… this is a friggin’ sweet, fun ride!
I originally got my board in early October. It felt nice, but not as light weight as I had expected. Then Amplid reached out proactively to tell me that their first board run was out of spec due to a heavier-then-intended fiberglass used in the construction. I thought that was wonderful honestly and customer service. They offered to replace it, but the new board didn’t arrive until early January. Just as well since in the mean time I put some giant dings in my Voile from the early season snow sharks.
Great review Buell and Storn! Great to hear you guys are stoked on your Amplids! Although I have the older version I have similar experiences on my Lab Carbon split. I can’t wait to put mine to use again and finally give my old post a proper follow up!
That is indeed very cool customer support from Amplid. I also had a great experience with them!
And we gotta get out together so we can get an Amplid Group shot 😉
After much research, experimentation and consideration, I have decided adulthood is not for me. Thank you for the opportunity.
I bough one last year. On the first tour the carbon top sheet started to chip. It would chip in layers like broken bone. I went out probably 5 more times last year on the board. Every tour the carbon would chip more and more until it went all the way across the board in the binding area. The top sheen is also mangled. Every ding creates a carbon chip and every scratch is noticeable because the top sheet is not protected. At this point it sits in my garage because the core is now broken where the crack started, with 6 tours this board is done!
I splitboard every weekend and I own 10+ splits. I bought the amplid as a trophy board for long trips to save weight. In the end I don’t think this board should be released to the public. When touring in the backcountry you want a board that can get you up, down and back home. I believe this board is a liability. I reached out to amplid for warranty and was told the type of damage wasn’t covered? When the carbon cracks and breaks its a construction issue not a wear issue. For the price on this board I was expecting top notch engineering, instead it feels like the most expensive beta board on the market.
I apologize for the negative post but I don’t want people to be in the same situation as myself. If you want to save weight there are lots of other ways to do so, don’t sacrifice the tool that brings you home safely. Get a bomber board that can take some abuse.
Bummer, Makes me glad I veneered the light boards I made for this season. Matt, I can fix that board pretty easily so long as you don’t think the composite layer on the bottom-ptex side of the board is cracked. If you handle round trip shipping to SLC and a nominal amount like $50-75, I can probably bring it back and add maybe 3-4 ounces, done this before. pm me pictures if you are interested.
the more I think about it your board was probably a production problem where the carbon fibers got resin-starved, I’ve had a lot of raw fabric tops that didn’t progress apart from isolated chipping or damage. Also the cracking wouldn’t go through to the layers beneath the top exposed layer (which run in a different direction from the surface layer) that got the damage unless that area did not cure with enough resin.
Edited on 2/20/16, original post is at the bottom.
Matt’s story is concerning, so I looked into it through various channels. Unfortunately, I can’t find any evidence that it is true. There is, in fact, quite a bit that suggest it is fabricated, certainly an attempt to cast doubt on Amplid’s quality. I have my guess at his motivations.
Among other things, I learned that he still has not contacted Amplid about his supposed cracked board, even after Rich posted here on 2/4 telling him they will take care of it.
Matt, please post some images or correspondence with Amplid to back up your story and prove me wrong. I will happily apologize if I am wrong.
This is really unfortunate, because I personally know four riders, including myself, with Lab Carbon Splits or Milligrams. The story Matt describes does not resemble any of our experiences with Amplid. We have all found them to be very responsive, with top notch customer service. They would have taken care of Matt in a heartbeat if he had the issues he describes.
Original post: No doubt, that is a bummer.
While I don’t expect the lightest splitboard to be as durable as a Venture or Never Summer, I accept that for the rather tremendous weight savings. I certainly don’t expect it to fall apart quickly either.
I now have five tours on mine and it hardly shows a scratch.
WOW! That sounds very bad! Shocking in fact! Those are some very harsh claims. Do you have any pictures? It is very hard for me to believe that Amplid would just dismiss such an issue!? It almost sounds like you got a total lemon there.
And can you clarify which board you have? By last year, do you mean this season, but ridden in December or something? Because by last season the Milligram wasn’t available yet, that would have been the Lab Carbon Split.
After much research, experimentation and consideration, I have decided adulthood is not for me. Thank you for the opportunity.
Sorry to hear about your bad experience. Although chipping can happen, cracking absolutely shouldn’t. We’ve had a very few number of warranties and anything with a crack has been replaced. Features like the longer nose radius and glass impact pads on the Milligram have been really effective at eradicating fracture points. We’d be very happy to review your warranty case again. Please send photos and the serial number to team(at)Amplid.com. Cheers, Rich.
Here are close ups (in the sun for detail) of my topsheet after 5 tours. It is pretty much perfect except for minor marks under the Phantom bindings (they do that to all boards) and a few minor scratches where I hit the board with my pole unlocking the Dynafit toepieces. There are no dents or chipping.
One of my tours had very technical skinning and the base edge rails hit the topsheet at the nose and tail multiple times. It barely shows.
we really just want closeups of your view there Buell. 😉
awesome of Rich to step up and take care of his customers on the forum. Always cool to see that here.
thx for the reviews everybody. I’ve fondled Storn’s Amplid and really want the 164. I thought the milligram would flex like other carbon boards (ie. stiff), but it felt just right if not even a little bit soft for my taste (jones solution has the perfect flex for me IMO, but their carbon solution feels really stiff)
Nice review Buell, I always appreciate how thorough and detailed your board reviews are. Sounds like a board worth considering if weight shaving is a goal. I’m looking forward to your thoughts on how it rides on the spring volcanoes!
Thanks Matt. If my knee will heal up, it looks like we will be in a corn cycle by the end of next week down here and I can try it out in spring conditions. It certainly would be amazing on those 6000+ foot volcano days.
You will have to check it out when I get back to Oregon.
Thanks for the in-depth comparison to a Solution. I actually made up my mind based on Bauers suggestion not to spend too much time on a lift line due to the missing top sheet and also the local store had Solutions for a nice price. Though if I score a Milli for cheap, why not for the trips when there´s really no tempting liftriding around 😛 The flex seems what I want, which is a tad softer than a Solution. I have a 2012 164 Solution which I´m quite happy and now just bought a 2015 164, which seems a bit stiffer than the 2012 in my opinion. I prefer the 2012. I´m kind of thinking of selling the 2015 Solution and trying the Creamer (~ fiberglass mg) from Amplid then, as the flex seems more what I´d like, they state it´s a tad softer than the mg. I also bought a 2015 165 Storm early season, too stiff, sold it after 1 hour of riding. Pity, because the quality was nice.
The 2012 Solution is still running, but I cracked the nose pretty bad last season, bent it downwards and cracked the topsheet on the heelside half. I don´t kinda trust it too much anymore, got to seek something new before it gives up 🙂