Lib Tech MC Kink BTX Snowboard: Review

This is a guest review, written by a friend, Jonathan Dicks. Jon’s been shredding for a good while now and the review below gives good insight into the MC Kink. You can check out a short “bio” of Jon in the Friends section above. Here’s the review…

Trying out the “Rocker” technology

Having ridden cambered boards for years, enjoyed everything I have ridden thoroughly and never had any complaints, I decided to check out what all the fuss was about with this new snowboard design – the rocker/negative camber/banana/early rise, or whatever you choose to call this technology, that 99% of board manufacturers are now converting to.

I had spoken to a number of people who had ridden such boards and the feedback I got was phenomenal. Competent riders couldn’t say enough about how the board rode through powder yet was perfect for nose and tail presses in the park. Surely these people who could shred as good as the rest couldn’t be wrong?



I decided to opt for the Lib-Tech MC Kink BTX, a derivative of the popular Skate Banana, also by Lib-Tech, with a few extra features. As Lib-Tech was one of the first manufacturers to introduce the rocker (or banana) technology, I figured there was no better place to start than with the company that had been refining this feature for a few years. Not only does the board feature Banana Technology, but the patented Lib-Tech Magna-Traction edges, which I will go into later.

Unveiling the MC Kink

So the moment arrived when I unwrapped the Kink for the first time, and what a lovely, understated board she was. Instantly I laid it down on my lounge carpet to examine and admire the banana shape, which made the nose and tail rise and hover above the carpet, something you don’t get with a cambered board. The very tips of the nose and tail rise even higher due to the style of the board and the feature that gives the board its name, the “Kink”, allowing it to float effortlessly through powder without that nose sinking and going under.

The name does indeed refer to the nose and tail kinks. However, these are not sharp angles, the tips simply rise higher than normal, “curling up” with a smooth transition. According to Lib-Tech this is to allow easier transitions onto obstacles without getting hung up or catching the nose (or tail). I personally think that the extra height in tip and tail also aids in the riding of powder without making you concentrate on keeping that “nose out”.

Strapping my Rome Targa bindings to the board and taking it out on the snow for the first time was a mixture of excitement and nerves. How will this thing perform? How will it ride? Will it send me back to “beginnersdom”?

Riding the MC Kink

I can honestly say I was over the moon; the board lived up to the hype.

Instantly I could feel the difference the rocker gave. The board felt lighter under foot, a little skittish you might say, but getting used to the feeling of the new ride was easy and before I knew it was nose and tail pressing down the slopes with ease. Buttering was a cinch too as only a little weight shifting back and forth would cause the nose and tail to naturally lift from the snow, doing some of the work for me.

Having the nose and tail naturally lift from the snow also eases rotation off kickers and features; the edges are released sooner allowing you to initiate spins quicker in your approach to the lip of a jump.

The flex of the board is lovely: plenty of bendiness to get you pressing and buttering down the hill, but loads of pop and snap in the nose and tail to get you ollying and popping jumps all over the place.

Magne-Traction?

Now, onto the aforementioned Magne-Traction, the name given by Lib-Tech to the profile of their board edges – they are wavy! At first I was dubious of their effectiveness, of what the brochures and industry people claimed they could do… but I can tell you now, they do work.

The Magne-Traction edges work in two distinct ways, firstly to assist your edge-hold across ice patches, and secondly to provide a more effective edge.

Think of it like this: imagine using a butter knife to cut through a crusty loaf of bread. You might make a mark, but getting through will take some work as the knife slides from side to side. Now try cutting that bread with a serrated knife. The blade cuts directly into the crust, there’s no sliding the blade from side to side.

Apply the same theory to the Magne-Traction (wavy!) edges on ice – the rails cut in ever so slightly stopping that dreaded slide or release, which causes you to put your hands, knees and face down in the icy snow. The usefulness of these edge came into play one time when I was traversing a blue run that crossed over a red. Due to the heavy traffic throughout the day, the sun in the afternoon and the freezing temperatures at night, a perfect patch of translucent blue ice had formed. I suddenly realised I’d already crossed over half of the ice without giving it a thought; I turned around to my comrades to warn them of their impending doom just as they hit the ice… and inevitably slid down the slope with that almighty “ice scraping” sound.

Needless to say I felt smug, and for the rest of the day treasured and boasted about my new Magna-Traction edges.

The second distinct feature of the Magna-traction is to give a more effective edge, meaning that it will hold a carve more easily when turning. Throughout the length of the board there are 7 high points and 6 low points (including the nose and the tail). When turning on snow, a board flexes and moves, meaning some parts of the edge can lose contact with the surface. The less edge you have in contact with the snow, the less hold your board has.

With the Magna-Traction, if any one of the 7 high points raises from the snow, you still have 6 other points that can hold the board in.

Shorter board length

Having this additional level of hold on the snow allows for a shorter board, as you effectively have more rail in contact with the snow. The benefit of this is a lighter, more responsive board, which is easier to maneuver in the park, on rails or off kickers.

In my case I usually ride a 157cm snowboard, but I made the choice to go for a 153cm based on the level of hold this board gives, and I also wanted something shorter to do more freestyle riding.

Whilst a shorter board is great for freestyle and messing around the mountain, I did find that at Mach 4 speed, the ride was a little skittish and the board tended to chatter around some, compared to slightly longer, cambered boards. I guess you can’t have everything!

Summary

In a nutshell, the Lib-Tech MC Kink BTX is a great board. Fantastic for riding powder (due to the kinked nose, tail and banana rocker), a great park, jib and freestyle board (again, due to banana, flex and pop) and finally a good all round freeride board that performs well in all areas of the mountain.

It is not a big mountain board that you would expect to be super stiff and super stable, but you can enjoy the speedier runs – if you don’t mind “feeling on the edge”.

I would seriously recommend giving one of these snowboards a go for all you intermediate to advanced riders, or alternatively, those who want to progress into more freestyle. This is where I am at and I love the board. It is not so highly tuned to be a park or pipe only board that you can’t ride anywhere else. It simply has everything!

Whether you’re a park rat or simply want to cruise round the mountains hopping and jibbing off the sides, it will change your riding style, for the better!

– Jon

Looking to get hooked up? You can get the Lib Tech MC Kink from dogfunk.com

10 Comments

  • Reply September 23, 2010

    Snowboarding World

    Nice review on the Rocker technology – Awesome read 🙂

  • Reply September 29, 2010

    John

    Just had 155 Mc Kink delivered and am heading to Niseko early 2011. Thanks for the review – board should be perfect in the powder filled back bowls. Your review seemed to solve problems I’ve had in deep powder – concentrating on keeping nose up. Steepness not really a problem in Niseko so I’m leaving my old stiff board in the shed. Thanks again.

  • Reply September 29, 2010

    Gavin

    No worries, I’m glad the review has been helpful. I’ll let Jon know too, seems as though it was his guest review 🙂

    Cheers, Gavin

  • Reply October 1, 2010

    volcomjon

    Glad to have been some help! let us know how you get on, or should I say…. how much you love your new board!

  • Reply February 18, 2011

    john

    Just returned from Niseko and am so pleased with the Mc Kink!!!! Despite less powder days than previous years. I did get some knee deep in the out of bounds areas and some of the usual spots. The board delivered on groomed, on the chopped up and was a delight in the fresh. No fighting to keep nose up. I even rode powder with bindings set for groomed and was able to turn in knee deep powder. Even in trees less than steep lines were easy as board doesn’t use the litte forward energy to dig in.
    Even the crustiest bit of scoured off ice, and I found some, was no match for the mighty Mc Kink. It felt very short on the groomed and this took a couple of days to sort

    So is it reverse camber or the wavey edges or the pronounced Kink at nose and tail – I don’t know -read the review – but I read review bought and agree. So thanks again for the advice

  • Reply February 24, 2011

    Gavin

    Hey John,

    first of all, please that you had a good trip to Niseko. Second, pleased that you like the Kink and found the review useful 😉 It seems that it’s working out for you on both the groomers and the pow, without needing to set back. Do you do much jibbing? If so, how’d you find it for that?

    Thanks again for your input,
    Gavin

  • Reply February 27, 2011

    John

    No not into jibbing – knees getting a little old. But the odd bounce over rocks or any other launch site in back country is okay – powder softens the landing on the knees. Worked fine. My son took a stepchild jib stick and spent mornings in powder and afternoons in park and says reverse camber seems better on box and rail. We swapped boards for a couple of hours and he hates my bindings but loved the feel of the Mc kink in tree runs and on groomed. He rated the boards even. He did feel that Mckink seemed to need less pressure to hold an edge and I think I’d agree. A great free riding board for all the moutains – it’s a pity I won’t ride Aussie “snow”(ICE) anymore as that would test the magna traction.
    My advice reverse camber – it seems logical from a surfing background but then we surfers all tend to overuse the back foot on the slopes. So does the board pander to me and my stance and weight distribution or does this benefit translate to more technically correct boarders. All I know is it worked a lot (not a little) a whole lot better once I backed off the pressure I applied to edges.

  • Reply February 27, 2011

    Gavin

    Cool – thanks again for the insight. Sounds like the MC Kink is defo a decent board. Did you surf before you snowboarded? It sounds like you did… do you think it helped out with the learning curve? Are you getting much surf in these days?

    Cheers, Gav

  • Reply February 28, 2011

    John

    Yes surfed all life since 5. Skiing from 16 to about 23. then mortgages, kids. Snowboarding started when son was 5. Never wanted to ski again.
    Surfing is a hinderance until you realise that the balance is opposite in terms of weight distribution until deep in powder when back foot comes into play. So you board fakie well but you brain says it is wrong! hence most Aussie snowboarder instructors can spot surfers a mile away by stance. Weight on front knee pushed out or in then the back foot pushes the tail as your weight goes back. It drives them crazy! It works but not efficient or stylish riding.
    Surfing gives you balance and the desire to break a straight fall line. Trying to point board back up hill then re-enter fall line. Re-entry on wave – smacking a berm or bank in snow. Cutting back from heel to toe sides – cut back on wave just a magic feeling at speed on mountain or wave. Surfers see the slope as a giant frozen wave – something we dreamed of as grommits.
    I surf everyday on a very well know break in eastern Australia and love it BUT the powder in northern Japan is far better and I wish that my knees were still teenaged.
    A mate described the powder in northern Japan as being like 6 to 8 foot waves, offshore and no-one out ie PERFECTION everyday. I agree!!!!!!!!
    Surfing one wave one rider no room for two – mountains at the moment still uncrowded and when tracked out hit the groomed.
    See you in the powder and please all readers look after the places! John.

  • Reply March 1, 2011

    Gavin

    Hey John, that’s a good message, and a good setup with the waves and shredding you’ve got going 😉 thanks for the comments,

    take it easy mate.

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