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. 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.
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!
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!