Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Board Exam: 2009 Burton Supermodel X

While I was at the Baker Banked Slalom, I got a chance to demo some boards. The first one was this pretty little thing from Burton. I had it set up with Burton Triad EST Bindings. This was my first real try with the EST system. I took a lap on my friend's board with it once, but it wasn't set up for me, so it wasn't exactly a fair shake. This time I had the stance width and angles dialed in, so everything was comfy. Without turning this into a binding review, the system was good, but not amazing. I thought the straps were the best part. They seem to have gotten that part just right. I'd like to try it baseless or with the thinner Shredbeds. Preferably in powder.

Moving on to the board, my demo was a 164. Combine that length with a 10mm taper and that's a whole lotta board. Nevertheless my first impression with the thing dangling from my left foot on the lift was that it was quite light. Then I remembered what the rep said, " The 'X' means more stiff, more damp and more expensive." The price I can't change ($700), but I'll put the rest to the test. The runs at Baker that day were groomed and anywhere from soft to icy depending on the light. I was hoping for powder, which I think this board would excel at, but it wasn't happening in bounds that day.

Lightweight hanging from my foot, lighter weight wallet and a lightweight on the mountain

The Supermodel X is nothing if not stiff. All the way around, it's the stiffest board I've ever ridden. Not that I've ridden that many boards to this point, but still. This lends to a responsive board, quick edge to edge, but not the most comfortable or forgiving on off-center landings. For all that stiffness, you might expect a lot of pop, but it was average at best.

Stability at speed is where this board shines. It tore through chop and bumps without hesitation. When it came time to turn, though, the edges weren't what I hoped for. Burton's edge technology is the pressure distribution edge. I gotta say, I didn't notice any benefit over a regular edge. It got into the turn quickly, but couldn't hold on. Granted, this was hardpack and ice, but the same conditions with Mervin's Magne-Traction or Never Summer's Vario Power Grip were far more manageable. Something to keep in mind.

In the end, I'll admit I rode the wrong size board. I would have like to ride the 156 in those conditions. Keep that in mind when I say this board just wasn't for me. I'm not sure where this board is supposed to fit in when Burton already has the Malolo and Fish that are tapered powder sticks. This board is less tapered and stiffer. It would probably do well in pow, but not as good as the other two. Maybe it's made for speedy, straight-line racing. Until I figure out where I would want to ride this 700-dollar board, I'm staying away. For all the gory details check out Burton's website.

9 comments:

  1. dude you really suck as a rider if you say you can't hold an edge with a Supermodel X... best you stay on the green runs... and why would you expect pop from a total freeride board? if you want pop get a Custom or an Un..Inc

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  2. Easy now, I just said I didn't notice any benefit over a regular sidecut. . . on hardpack and ice. If you don't ride hard conditions, it might be the board for you. I overheard one of the guides at Baldface saying he liked Supermodels. It's definitely not an all-around board, but it has its moments.

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  3. I own an 08 Supermodel X and I can tell you that it's a sick board in the pow (ridiculously awesome in the pow actually). It's also insanely stable when you wanna fly down that black with the 40 degree pitch. It lends you so much confidence when you wanna fly down the trail. But I completely agree with you that it sucks on hard pack and ice, which I have to deal with a lot here in the Northeast. It doesn't hold an edge very well at allwhen your cruising at medium to low-speeds on hard stuff and even blue groomers. it's a very surgical board. In hindsight, I would have preferred the regular Supermodel, and not the X, which has a little more flex, and can handle the hard pack and groomers better.

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  4. Thanks for that insight. That makes a lot of sense with what I was feeling with the board.

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  5. I know it has been a while, but what size are you? I am thinking of grabing a 156 Supermodel X, but I want to be able to ovecome the stiffness and make the thing carve on hardpack. What do you think prevented it from grabbing a line when you rode the 164? Thanks for your help.

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  6. Louis, the 160 would have been my size in that board. At a demo, I should do a better job of making sure the board has sharp, clean edges. That board could have just had dull edges. If you're mainly riding hardpack and ice, though, check out some of the alternative sidecuts out there. I've ridden Lib Tech (with Magne-traction) and Never Summer (with Vario Power Grip) boards and they feel more secure on the hard stuff. If you get the chance, demo one of these boards.

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  7. no disrespect son, but the Super X is waaaay too much board for you? stiff??? Can't hold edge? No pop...LOL stick to noodley skateboard sized park decks boy.

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  8. I am 74kg 180cm and own Supermodel X 160 cm now. I am likely far too inexperienced to comment here (I ski 60-70% of my snow time), but I will give it a try. For me Supermodel X is very stable at speed and holds edge very well on steep icy terrain. Off-piste or powder are both excellent. For me this board rocks. It may not be perfect if you want to go slow on icy terrain, but it is the same with top slalom skies - they are not designed for slow motion.

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  9. Krzystof is right. You need speed to make the board flex. If you're going slow, the board will be too stiff, and turns will be nothing but skids.

    In short, if it's too stiff, and doesn't hold an edge...you're not riding fast enough, and the Supermodel X is indeed too much board for you.

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