People all over the world enjoy extreme sports. These sports give them a rush of adrenaline, which we usually call a thrill. One such sport is mountain boarding. Evolved from snowboarding, this sport may not be very popular, but it has loyal fans all over the world. This action sport had originated from snowboarding. It involved riding a mountainboard on various kinds of off-road tracks.
Mountain boarding is called Offroad Boarding, All-Terrain Boarding (ATB), and Dirtboarding. Players would utilize specially designed boards with four wheels and tires, breaks, and shocks. Interestingly, the mountain board also has rear and front straps that are used to fasten the rider to the board.
Considering that this type of sport is prone to injuries and falls, players have to wear different protective gear, such as knee pads, helmets, padded shorts, body armor, wrist guards, and above all, helmets.
What Is Mountain Boarding?
Mountain boarding began when James Stanley traveled to Matterhorn to snowboard and found there was no snow there. Instead of returning, Stanley made a few changes to his board and raced down the ground.
Since his initial attempt at mountain boarding, the sport has evolved a lot over the years. While he once modified his snowboard, companies are manufacturing purpose-built mountain boards today. Jason Lee, Patrick McConnell, and Joel Lee were the first to name the sport mountain boarding when they formed their company in 1993 called Mountain Board Sports.
Mountain boards are made up of a deck, wheels, bindings to strap the rider in, and pneumatic tires. The boards are controlled by two navigation mechanisms known as trucks. Usually, a shock absorber and a motor are also attached.
People enjoy mountain boarding everywhere. You can go to public parks, bike trails, hike trails, and even the grassy unkempt land of the hills. The terrain is not a limitation to a mountain boarder. The boards are made to withstand pressure and shock, and the wheels can move on jagged terrain very easily.
Things to Consider When Buying a Mountain Board
1. The Material of the Deck
A deck needs to be sturdy to bear your weight. Not just that, but it also has to bear the force of any obstacle you might encounter. A board deck snapping midway can seriously injure the rider. For people just introduced to mountain boarding, cheap boards are their equipment of choice. These boards are usually made of laminated wood. This is quite strong and can withstand the difficulties that come with all types of terrains.
For experienced mountain boarding fans, composite carbon and plastic with wooden boards are the deck of choice. Maple wood is also one of the most recognized choices for mountain board decks. These come with a hefty price tag. However, they are also very durable. Since mountain boarding is an extreme sport, the material of the deck is something you should never compromise on.
2. The Size of the Deck
The size of the board is also very important. There are two size brackets available in the market. For children, a deck can be anywhere from 31-33 inches, depending on their height. For adults, the deck should be somewhere from 39-41 inches. This estimate is for an adult that is an average of 6 feet or somewhere close.
Your height is the primary way to choose the right board for your body. A very short board will be uncomfortable, and your body will be imbalanced. This means even if you were to use a small board, you’d probably fall over. A very long board will be difficult to manage, especially once it starts to gain speed. The binding won’t fit you right, and you might get hurt.
The size of the board holds special importance if you want to perform tricks on it. It is directly linked to the balance of your body. Therefore, the size of the board is one of the most important things to consider when buying a mountain board.
3. Channel or Skate Trucks
Channel trucks are the choice of many experienced mountain boarding enthusiasts. They are costly when compared to skate trucks, and yet they offer so many advantages. The channel trucks have a channel between the two wheels, which gives them their name. This channel provides them with more agility and allows them to make smoother turns. However, these require a lot of input from the rider.
For beginners, skate trucks are the best. These require very minimal effort, and you can get used to them very easily. We recommend you go for skate trucks when you begin mountain boarding. They make for a cheaper mountain board and are easy to control. Switch to channel trucks if you want to perform tricks, or want to mountain board on irregular terrain.
If you don’t find them in the description, the default skate trucks are most likely being used.
4. The Bindings
Mountain board bindings are important because of the unpredictable terrain the boards are used on. Unlike skateboards, mountain boards don’t just cater to smooth streets. If you get a bump in the road while mountain boarding, you need your board to stay firmly beneath your feet. If you are knocked off your board at every thud, you would get seriously injured. Bindings are there to ensure you don’t.
There are three types of bindings when it comes to mountain boards. Velcro straps, ratchet bindings, and snowboard bindings. The right type of binding is an extremely important thing to consider when buying a mountain board.
Velcro straps are perfect for beginners. They are cheap and uncomplicated. Ratchet bindings aren’t very hard either and are popular with people that want their feet secured. These are downhill mountain borders mostly at the intermediate stage.
Snowboard bindings are also used. These are extremely secure and don’t come loose. This is exactly why these bindings should be worn with protective boots. Since they don’t come loose, when they encounter a disturbance, the pressure can damage your foot.
5. Wheels, Hubs, and Bearings
The wheels of the mountain board are very important. These are bigger than the wheels of a skateboard because they need to work over more obstacles. There are two common sizes of wheels in mountain boards, 8 inches, and 13 inches. 8” inches are standard and work well in all situations. Nonetheless, for people wanting more speed, wheels about 9”, 10” or 11” may be better. A larger wheel covers more ground thus generates more speed.
The tires are also something important to consider when buying a mountain board. Every mountain board uses pneumatic tires, and beginner boards come with a basic set. As your skill and difficulty level increase, you can have these tires replaced with new ones or buy a board with better tires. Some tires come especially modified for speed and others come especially modified for harsh terrains.
A hub is the center of the wheels. Plastic hubs are cheaper and are usually used in beginner boards. However, professionals prefer aluminum hubs because they are lighter, even though they are comparatively costly. Bearings are little metal balls held together by metal rings. These are found between the axle and the wheels. This allows the wheels to rotate freely, by reducing friction between them and the axle. ABEC-7 Bearings are one of the most popular ones used in mountain boards.
The smaller the bearings are, the smoother the wheels work. These bearings are sealed off to prevent mud and dirt from getting to them. However, water is always a risk. Stainless steel bearings are also available, although they are pricey. These are perfect if you want to mountain board in places like the beach and fear rust.
Leashes are supposed to attach the rider to his board, so the board doesn’t go flying off. The leash is connected to the board at one end. The other end is tied to the rider’s leg, above the knee. The chosen leg is always on the same side as where the leash is tied to the board, so the rider doesn’t trip over it.
The safest leashes on the market are coil leashes, as they don’t get in the way. In some mountain boards, leashes may not come with the package.
7. Heel Straps
Heel straps are attached to the bindings of the board near the heel of the foot. These make sure you cannot come off the board, and even if you do, the board stays with you. While most professionals prefer heel straps, we recommend against their use for beginners. Even professionals should always wear heel straps with protective footwear.
Learning how to brake is essential when you are mountain boarding. In the city, cars, pedestrians, bikers, and other issues mean you have to be ready to stop at any minute. In the wild, you could encounter a hidden obstacle anywhere. Most mountain boarding fans learn how to slide, and skid to a stop. Hover, when going downhill at a very fast speed, or when needing to brake urgently, this isn’t enough.
Don’t worry because most expensive mountain boards come with built-in brakes. These are hand-held levers you can press anytime you want to brake. You should always invest in a good braking system when you buy a mountain board.
Helpful Ideas for Best Mountain Boards
It may be a little more expensive than other similar mountain boards, but there are quite a few extras that justify the price when you are looking for the best mountain boards.
First off, we have a great maple-lam deck in this. Maple is considered to be one of the strongest woods when it comes to making mountain boards. Specifically, maple has been used because this is a board for beginners. Beginners tend to have a higher number of crashes which is why a sturdy and durable deck is essential.
As kids are one of the biggest fans of mountain boarding, there are very few reliable ones in the market that can be purchased for the kids. Thus, you can check the marker for the latest models that have already been selling like hotcakes.
As far as the technical aspects are concerned, pick a mountain board that has been made of industrial plastic.
Many might feel that plastic is a bit low-quality material, but that is not the case over here because industrial-grade plastic is always an edge better than regular plastic. The primary reason for using industrial plastic is that the mountain board becomes lightweight, so the children can easily move around and make turns without feeling any resistance, unlike metal or wood mountain boards.
For adults and teenagers, you can pick the deck made of Maple, and has been laminated as well for maximum durability and appeal at the same time.
Make sure the base has been made of diecast aluminum with a Chromoly axle. Aluminum helps in cutting down the extra weight of the board, while the chrome axle is what gives it a durability factor.
For professionals, it is ideal to pick a mountain board that is a high-precision one with accuracy and high-impact resistance as well.
A high-impact mountain board can allow you to do all stunts at high speeds along with greater control and maneuverability factor of this mountain board, too.
As far as the frame specifications, choose a mountain board that has a 10-inch Aluminum Alloy frame and has a carbon steel axle which brings the maximum capability to withstand damage. Coupled with top-of-the-line shock absorbers, you always have a smooth ride while having better control over the steering management system as well.
Make sure that the mountain board comes with all the necessary equipment you would need while riding, such as hand protectors, knee pads, and elbow pads. Since professionals ride at high speeds, this equipment would be necessary for a safe mountain boarding experience.
In addition to that, you also get a black carry bag to take your mountain board anywhere, along with the equipment that comes with it.
Finally, as a reminder, we recommend you get a protection plan for the mountain board, especially if you have no prior experience in using one. This would help you out in having it protected from damages.
Mountain boarding is a thrilling sport. However, to avoid any potential injury, you must make sure you have all the protective equipment you need. Although cycle helmets are perfectly fine during the learning phase, we recommend you switch them out for proper mountain boarding helmets as soon as possible. When mountain boarding, the first thing to do is to learn to slide to a break. If you cannot do that, be sure to buy boards that come with installed breaks. While these are a little expensive, safety always comes first.