The battle of the snowboard edge hold tech!
Magne traction vs Grip Tech.
Which is better?
Let’s find out!
MagneTraction and Grip Tech are two variations of snowboard edge hold technology. They both increase the number of contact points, increasing edge hold and grip. The best Magne-Traction snowboards are listed here.
What Is Magne Traction?
It involves strategically placed serrations or “bumps” along the edges of the board. These create extra contact points with the snow, providing increased edge hold and grip, especially in icy or hard-packed conditions.
What Is Grip Tech?
Grip Tech is Arbor Snowboard’s version of edge technology.
It features two additional, centered contact points on each edge of the snowboard, near the binding area. These extra contact points creates more grip and control, enhancing edge hold and stability.
Magne-Traction vs Grip Tech: The Review
It’s pretty difficult to directly test the two versions of edge hold tech against each other. They feature on different snowboard brands and therefore entirely different boards.
I therefore tested as many Magne-Traction and Grip Tech boards as possible over the course of the last season (100+ days of riding).
By the end I had a pretty good sense of how they both behaved and performed.
- Height: 5’9”
- Weight: 175 lbs
- Shoe size: 9 (US)
- Experience: 16+ years of snowboarding, including freestyle and backcountry.
- Season: October 2022 – April 2023
- Days Ridden: 100+
- Snowboards Tested: Gnu Rider’s Choice, Lib Tech Skate Banana, Lib Tech T. Rice Pro, Lib Tech Terrain Wrecker, Gnu Carbon Credit, Arbor Coda, Arbor Westmark, Arbor Formula, Arbor Bryan Iguchi Pro, Gnu Headspace, Arbor A-Frame,
- Bindings: Mainly the Rome Katana, Burton Malavita and Burton Cartel
- Testing Locations: USA, Japan, Canada, France
- Terrain: Everything! Plenty of ice.
At First Glance
Snowboards without edge hold tech have two contact points on each edge, one at the nose and one at the tail. These are in contact with the snow when the board is on it’s side.
Snowboard edge hold technologies aim to increase the number of contact points…
Magne Traction is extremely easy to identify. It’s is essentially a normal snowboard side-cut that was “scooped out” to create 7 contact points.
This forms a continuous wave along both edges of the board. You’ll see it on pretty much all Mervin Snowboards these days.
Grip Tech is slightly more subtle. It’s formed via two discrete bumps at the natural junctions along the tri-radial sidecut.
The edges therefore otherwise look pretty “normal” and unbroken in between.
Both edge tech’s work surprisingly well – it’s amazing how quickly you adapt and start taking it for granted. I switched back to my regular-edged Salomon Villain and washed out immediately (though admittedly it is a de-tuned park board!).
Magne-Traction was extremely easy to adapt to. It’s super reliable in most conditions and seemed to hold a firmer edge on hard pack. Particularly when combined with the C2x profiles.
I did find it a little sloppier on overly rockered profiles, like the Skate Banana – though this is an issue with those boards in general.
GripTech does feel slightly different. The contact points are literally right next to your bindings – as pictured above. You can feel them “lock in” fairly early on turns, without any threat of an edge catch (as they’re far enough away from the tips).
Once you get used to this, you can sort of imagine the contact points digging deeper into mounds and bumps, then use them to drive in and out of turns.
Both are awesome. If I had to declare a winner, it would be Magne-Traction. I felt immediately at home and my confidence really lifted on those sketchy, January mornings. I might even write a dedicated Magne-traction review in the coming weeks.
Best Magne-Traction Snowboards
This is tricky! Obviously it comes down to personal preference and riding style. However, these are the best Magne-traction snowboards for most conditions (and riders).
Profile: C2X Contour (Rocker-Camber-Rocker)
Shape: True Twin
Pairs With: Burton Cartels
Additional Features: ASYM Level 2,
- An unreal all-rounder
- The best magne-traction snowboard this season!
- Handled high-speed hard pack like a pro - even as a true twin.
- Loads of pop
- Huge range of sizes
✖️ Slightly heavier than some of the more freestyle focused boards
Profile: C2X (Hybrid Camber)
Shape: Directional Twin
Additional Features: Magne-traction
- Another C2X masterpiece
- Awesome edge hold - even on ice (within reason)
- Held up like a boss on cold East Coast mornings
- Little more free-ride than the Rider's Choice, though still slayed the park
✖️ Not as precise as pure camber options
Best Grip Tech Snowboard
We can’t let Magne-Traction have all the fun! This was the best Grip Tech snowboard I tested.
Profile: System Rocker
Base: Sintered Plus
Shape: Directional Twin
Pair With: Arbor Cypress
Additional Features: Double Barrel II Core, Grip Tech
- The Best Grip Tech snowboard I tested!
- Charges hard, charges fast
- Looks incredible
- The camber option is also amazing! I chose the Rocker for a little more versatility. But if edge hold on ice is your main priority, go with the camber.
✖️ A little too stiff for beginners
Edge hold technology is the real winner here!
If this review taught me anything, it’s that these things aren’t just marketing ploys. Sure, they have some crazy names, but they really do work.
I aim for some variety of edge hold tech in all of my daily drivers. This is a whole lot easier now that other brands have joined the party.
- Never Summer: Vario Power Grip
- Salomon: Equalizer
- Burton: Frostbite Edges
- Yes: Underbite
- CAPiTA: Death Grip
You’ll find these featured across most of the boards on this years all-mountain heroes list. Well worth checking out.