Lib Tech Travis Rice Snowboard Review


The T.Rice is an awesome snowboard. I wanted a soft-flexing, freestyle board, that I would ride in the park and around the whole mountain. I was willing to compramise on out-right powder performance. The Lib Tech passed with ease.

My previous board was a Nitro T2 (review), which performed well in the role that I’ve stated above. However, after the board got banged up riding snowflex, and I suffered in the deep freshies provided by Fernie (trip diary), I decided that I’d opt for a slightly shorter, softer flexing freestyle board, with a view to add a powder stick to my collection.

I bought the 153cm, blunt T.Rice, with Banana Tech and Magne-Traction. After riding this Lib Tech for two weeks on a variety of conditions: park, rails, piste, some ice, soft snow and roughly 30cm pow, this is my review.

Jibbing & The Park.
The T.Rice is great for jibbing around the piste. It’s certainly not as stiff as I’d feared; a lot of the magazine gear reviews seem to rate this board as a fairly stiff freestyle board. I don’t think that’s the case. The bend-the-board-by-hand-in-the-shop test was the first clue. But after riding it, I’d say it has a lovely freestyle flex. It’s not as soft as something like a Kink, but it’s closer to a DH than it is the T2. It butters well, almost easily but not quite, it’s lively, producing nice ollies, and it’s easy to move around.

It’s got smooth pop. It’s not the type of board that you need to put a lot into before you go anywhere, but it doesn’t give it up freely either. It’s springy. I say smooth because the board seems to respond well no matter how much you put into your ollie.

I ride rails and boxes, but I don’t do big gaps/transfers on, so the rail lock that I’m sure is important to some people isn’t that much of a factor to me. It doesn’t feel much different to the other boards that I’ve hit rails on, but like I said, I don’t really push it that much. No problems here.

Directional Twin & Stance
Before buying the T.Rice I kind of had it my head that I wouldn’t compramise on a true twin setup. Obvisouly I did, as the T.Rice is a directional twin. Similar to the Rome Agent, I can’t say I ever noticed a difference in riding switch, and I’d say I spend almost as much time riding switch as I do regular. The stance is centered so there are no problems there, and on that note, there are a lot of holes to choose from. Max stance on the 153 is 25″, then 23.5″, 22″ and I guess 20.5″ (I didn’t bother measuring the narrowest, centered stance). It rides well in both directions and good stance options is a definite plus.

Banana Technology (BTX)
Compared with some of the other boards in the Lib Tech range, the amount of bend to the T.Rice banana is slight. Whilst it looks noticably different from a conventional camber, I can’t say I ever noticed the difference when riding it. That statement does come with a few caveats:

  • I thought the pressing the board/buttering felt nice. This could have been in part due to the banana tech
  • Despite being relatively short I didn’t have any problems with the nose diving into fresh stuff. This could have been helped by the reverse camber
  • It was the only board I rode for the two week stretch, so there were no immediate/direct comparisons with a regular board

Magne-Traction (MTX)
I had one or two doubts about the serrated edge design; I guess I wasn’t sure that I was going to like it. However, similar to the Banana Tech, I can’t say that I noticed that much difference. For example, lining up for jumps, gliding in a straight line, and, I’m fairly sure, riding down regular pistes, felt quite normal.

It seems kinda strange to me that such a different design wouldn’t feel any different? Well, I didn’t notice one difference. Towards the end of the two weeks the slopes started to get a little icy. As I mentioned above, I didn’t perform any kind of board comparison, but from memory, I’m confident in saying that the Magne-Traction helped with edge hold in the icy conditions. For example, it felt better than the T2. That was impressive.

On regular pistes, I didn’t really feel it. I’d say the T.Rice has good edge hold, but not fantastic. Similar to the T2, but not better.

Powder
Like any 153cm board (for me), the Lib Tech isn’t going to excel in freeride conditions. However, in the two weeks that this review is based on, I did have 3 or 4 powder days, so how did it perform?

First up, let’s talk about the pow itself. It wasn’t especially dry or especially deep. I’d say ranging between 20cm and 40cm. In these conditions the board did well. I was loving every turn and not digging in. Nothing like the problems I had in the deep Fernie snow with the T2. All’s good.



Was it because the snow wasn’t too deep. Am I a little better riding fresh than I was then? Does the nose profile have a better scoop? Does the slightly wider nose from a directional shape help? The Banana Tech? All of these little things contributed I’m sure. The board did well. I was still riding twin stance, 22.5″. I didn’t witness a huge dump of snow, but I sirfed the resort pow nicely.

If you’re packing a beeper, shovel and probe, and hiking for fresh lines, you’re probably not in the market for a short, twin tipped board…

Summary
I love this board. I’m sure I’d have been happy with a DH, which was probably what I would have bought, but I have no regrets. I would say that it’s the overall board that impresses me, the flex, the pop, the ride and the feel, and not something specific like the Banana Tech or the Magne-Traction, although those features obviously contribute. I was attracted to the board in the shop because of how it felt in the hand – it seemed to ooze quality. It’s exactly the same on the hill.

You can get all the new Travis Rice pro models, Blunt and Pointy, regular and horsepower, at dogfunk.com. If you enjoyed this review, check out some of the Top Articles, and consider subscribing (email or RSS) so you keep up to date with more good stuff. Cheers.

15 Comments

  • Reply April 13, 2010

    Gavin Hope

    Hi Iricky,I didn’t have any problems due to the lack of edges around the nose and tail, although once i started riding the board and it was picking up the usual knocks, I did wonder if indeed the nose and tail would be more fragile…If you’d like, I could take some photos of the nose/tail and add this into the review; I’m glad you mentioned it because I should have put it in there the first time πŸ™‚To speculate, perhaps the nose and tail are a little weaker? Yet, I hear Lib Tech do this on all of their boards, and I’m guessing they have a good reason for it. I’ll sort some photos. Thanks

  • Reply April 13, 2010

    lricky69

    hello, did you have any problem with the blunt shape, cause I heard that it’s fragile due to there’s no metalic edge at the nose and tail. waiting for your answer thanks

  • Reply April 13, 2010

    sewm

    I remember seeing ads way back, maybe 8-10 years ago, from GNU/Libtech making fun of boards with full tip and tail metal edges. Something about chopping people’s heads off (accidentally or not).But I can’t remember their technical reason for not doing it. Maybe it is to save weight or costs. I really can’t remember.

  • Reply April 13, 2010

    Gavin Hope

    Yeah, I’m still non the wiser as to why they have no metal edges around nose/tail – although that ad sounds pretty funny πŸ™‚ I kinda hope that’s the reason!Iricky, I took some photos of the nose and tail but non of them showed up that well. There has been no bad damage; only the usual bumps that occur all around the board. I guess only time will tell, with more knocks, if the lack of edges becomes a problem.Hope that helps.

  • Reply April 13, 2010

    Gavin Hope

    Cool, that does help, cheers!

  • Reply April 13, 2010

    Anonymous

    the reason for no metal edge at the front is because people were having problems with the metal edges digging into their boards and ruining the board after theyd hit somthing hard with their nose, hope tht helps.

  • Reply April 13, 2010

    Sam Smith

    The metal-less tip & tail are supposed to be to reduce rotational weight (i.e. anything that’s not in between your feet is extra weight your have to swing round).

    I got a Cygnus last year (08/09) and it had the naked nose & tail, which I was worried about as I ride mostly backcountry stuff.

    I find that metal nose & tail sections (like the full-on bash-guard of the burton custom and many other board besides) are much more confidence-inspiring than the Lib Tech design. I had a few hits which, without the metal edge on the nose, split the board along it’s laminations.

    My buddy was on a GNU Rider’s Choice, basically the same as your Travis, and he smashed a rock into the naked section right before where the metal edge starts, which resulted in delaminating the board and the start of the edge ripping out. We even had to pay for that repair…

    Still, IMHO a ‘nana board is a great tool to have. It’s like a Leatherman tool – no replacement for a real toolbox but you do get it all in one.

    I’m on a C2 next winter if that’s any indication

  • Reply April 13, 2010

    Gavin Hope

    Hey, cheers Sam.

    I haven’t had any problems yet, but it does seem like a nose/tail impact wold take more damage without the metal edges… I guess I’ll just hope I avoid any collisions for a good while.

    Thanks for commenting!

  • Reply April 13, 2010

    Snow Wizard

    Yes definately a nice board and useful write up on it.

  • Reply April 13, 2010

    Gavin Hope

    Thanks.

  • Reply April 13, 2010

    Anonymous

    yeah, i actually picked up a lib tech from http://www.solsticesupply.com … one of the first magna traction boards. used it on the east. sick.

    had to go back to pick up some new gear – holden jacket, grenade gloves, and some ashbury goggles πŸ˜‰

  • Reply April 13, 2010

    Gavin Hope

    Nice work on picking up the extra gear πŸ™‚

  • Reply September 8, 2010

    Anonymous

    not having a metal edge around the nose and tail is purely out of economic reasons. it’s easier to produce ‘single edges’ than punching a complete and seamless out of a sheet of metal, melt the offcuts and do the whole thing all over again.

    I’ve tested the board yesterday and had a blast on it. Only thing I picked up, the edge rips chunks of snow out of the slope on mid-speed but if you’re going fast it holds great.

    The Banana-stuff didn’t work for me, I just can assume it’s great in the pipe or ‘drifting’ of a ramp. Didn’t affect the riding, thou. Verdict: go for it – I told my mate it feels like a supercharged squirrel…

  • Reply September 9, 2010

    April

    Hey guys, I have had several Gnu and Lib Tech boards, and yes, they do appear to be more fragile than other boards. But, at the end of the day, I don’t need a board that will last forever anyways, because I like to try ride new and different boards-its like driving a new car…so fun!
    By the way, my Gnu BPro also delaminated after 2 years of riding. I sent it back to Gnu, and they replaced a new board for free!
    They sent me next year’s Gnu BPro C2! Been riding this really awesome board from Feb to June this year…I dont think I had been happier before.

    The magne traction in my experience really works in ice. I am CA so we got this one local mountain, Mt High, which is essentially a mountain of ice most of the time…when I go riding with my friends there, everyone is skipping out while I was still carving…In any other condition than ice, the magne traction is just dormant.

    I have tried several models of the BTX, as well as the Burton VRocker. I can’t believe that Gavin didnt feel the difference in the BTX. I like really felt the difference.
    The Banana technology is definitely better than the camber boards for most riding styles including my all mountain riding. When I first switched from Burton Feelgood 144 to Gnu BPro BTX 146, I was so much happier…before the switch I thought Burotn Feelgood was the best board I have ever ridden!
    As compared to the camber board, BTX boards makes me feel like my feet is not on the ground anymore…it feels to me that I am floating on top of the snow…or surfing on the top of the snow…my BTX boards just glide over everything and I barely have to carve at all…I just shift my weight from side to side at little bit and the board just turns…its a lot more effortless on a BTX board than the regular camber. BTX boards also seems to catch edges a lot less than camber boards.
    VRocker by Burton, makes the Feelgood board feel even more smoother, and responsive and also less edge catching than its feelgood camber version…as compared to the BTX, VRocker seems to be in between the camber and the BTX…it turns easy, smooth, but unlike the BTX, I can still feel the ground under my feet on the Feelgood VRocker.
    As I was bragging earlier, I had been ridding new Gnu BPRO 146 C2 this year…
    BTX feels like floating on stop of the snow, while VRocker feels likes a traditional board which you have both feet on the ground, now, the C2 is in between the BTX and the VRocker. When I ride it, I can definitely feel the ground a bit more than the BTX, but still not as solid as both feet on the ground like the VRocker.

    I can’t really say which reverse camber I like the best right now, because they are all really good…VRocker been so smooth and responsive, or the BTX gliding on snow feel…but having compared the Burton Feelgood regular camber to Feelgood VRocker version, I can definitely tell you that reverse camber is the way to go for all mountain, whatever riding.

    By the way, I can’t wait till the snow comes.

  • Reply September 9, 2010

    Gavin

    Hey April,

    Wow! you really like trying different boards πŸ™‚

    Yeah I agree about the extra edge hold in icy conditions. Have you noticed your lib tech/gnu boards being particularly fast?

    The T.Rice is awesomely quick.

    The rocker base – yeah I didn’t notice it too much, but on that first rocker model with T.Rice, the banana shape is very slight. I’d definitely like to try one with a bit more bend πŸ™‚

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