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
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.
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…
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.