Have you ever looked up at a grassy hill and think that’d be perfect to board down? Or do you ever simply get tired of staying on the sidewalk and roads with a traditional skateboard? Enter the mountain board.
Overview of Mountain Boarding
Mountain boards are designed to allow riders to conquer all types of terrains. Using a mountainboard, riders can go down grass hills, gravel tracks, mountain bike trails and more. The sky is the limit with a mountain board.
Mountain boarding originated from snowboarders looking for a way to shred during the summer. # snowboarders in particular, Jason Lee, Patrick Mcconnell, and Joel Lee, took action and created a company called MBS or MountainBoardSports in 1993.
Today MBS is still around in the market and produces some of the top mountain boards in the market.
The Mountainboard Examined: Part by Part
Mountain board decks are made out of two main types of materials mostly depending on price and quality. High quality decks are made out of composite carbon and plastic with a wooden board, much the same material that snowboards are made out of.
However, this material and manufacturing process can create larger prices for mountainboards. Usually entry level boards, priced around $100-120 are made out of laminated wood similar to a longboard deck.
One important thing to note about mountainboards is the size of the deck. You want a size that fits your body. The main way to determine if a board will fit you is your height.
For kids, a deck length of around 31-33 inches is perfect. A 6’ adult on the other hand most likely needs a deck length around 39 – 41 inches.
There are two main types of trucks: skate and channel. Each of these trucks have their individual advantages and disadvantages. Channel trucks are generally more expensive but also higher quality
Do you own a longboard or a skateboard already? Look at the truck. The only difference between skateboard trucks and skate trucks on a mountainboard is that the trucks on the mountainboard are longer and more robust. This is because these trucks have to take way more stress than the average skateboard.
Channel trucks feature a channel in the middle of the truck(hence the name) which allows the axle more flexibility during turning.
Typically these trucks are more responsive than skate trucks. These trucks also feature springs inside of them that can be switched out to affect the stiffness of the board during turns.
While everything else we have discussed so far has more or less been seen on longboards and skateboards, this has not. Bindings on a board you say? Why?
Well, with skateboards you can expect a reasonably flat surface to ride on. With mountainboarding you can’t do that at all. One second you could be riding fast down a mountain when you go over a root. Without those bindings you would be thrown instantly off the board!
Below shows a picture of the various types of bindings. They range from typical stiff snowboard bindings, to simple loops in the board that you can stick your feet into easily.
The wheels are another big difference between longboards and mountainboards. While most longboard wheels are made out of polyurethane, most wheels on mountainboards are actually inflatable pneumatic tires.
The wheel hub is mainly the only thing that changes and the two main materials for it are plastic and metal.
There a number of wheel sizes ranging from 8” to 13”. The 8” wheel is most useful to the majority of riders as it provides the right mix between carving capability and speed.
For riders who want to go down mountains and go really fast, the 9” and 10” wheels may be better as the bigger wheel sizes will give you more stability and allow you to traverse over bigger obstacles.
But wait you say. When going down a mountain, I can’t footbrake or slide to slow down. Have no fear because companies have already come up with a very popular solution to this common problem.
Brakes are installed on almost all mountainboards sold now a days and are mostly a simple system which involves pressing a hand held lever in order to slow down. They are usually super simple to operate and help out greatly when going down hills.
On any of MBS’ mountainboards, the x in MBS Atom 90x indicates that the board comes with brakes.
Types of Mountain boarding:
There are a number of different types of mountain boarding and competitions to enter in. If you are considering buying a board, look into each of these types and see if you would be interested. The type that you choose will greatly influence your search for a board.
Downhill Mountain boarding
Downhill mountainboarding, also called big mountain, is exactly what it sounds like. It usually involves long courses( >1/2 mile) down a big mountain. The objective is to get to the bottom the quickest. One person rides at a time.
Brakes are essential in this category to allow you to control your board and prevent you from tumbling down a mountain.
Remember how earlier I stated that mountainboarding was created from some snowboarders. This is essentially the same as Snowboard cross except with mountainboards.
Typically 2-4 riders go at the same time and race to get to the finish line over a variety of specifically designed obstacles.
Despite these competitions available for mountain boarding, often times the most fun thing to do is simply cruise around and test out your mountain board’s capabilities. Free riding just describes riding your mountainboard around without any specific purpose.
You would be very surprised at the number of tricks that you can do with a mountainboard versus a regular skateboard. The bindings that keep your feet on the board allow you to throw some insane tricks.
Some examples to get your excited about grabbing your first mountainboard are shown below in the video. Look for 8 to 9 inch wheels for this category. Braking is not essential.
Top 4 Mountain Boards
I know this article is a lot of information to take in so I wanted to conclude with our recommendations for mountain boards. For beginners going out with their newfound knowledge, it can be hard to find the right mountain board for their needs.
To help with this, we found our top picks for mountain boards and are going to give you what we think the ideal rider is for each. If this ideal rider sounds like you, then perfect! Take a look at the board.
Atom 95X mountain board
The Atom 95X mountainboard is a best seller in the marketplace because of its low cost and ease of use for beginners. As the X in the name indicates, this board comes with a hand brake system allowing the rider to easily control their speed. This board is about as simple as it gets in terms of mountain boarding. The ideal rider would be somebody who wants to experience all of mountainboarding at an entry level price. This is one of the best buys in this entry level market.
Mbs Colt 90 mountainboard
With vast improvements from year to year, the MBS Colt 90 is faster than its counterparts in the entry level arena. The deck is made out of maple laminate and it comes with 8” tires. This board does not come with a brake system but one can be installed in the future. The ideal rider would be somebody who wants to go fast on all terrains. With 8” tires, this mountainboard is also a carving monster and allow you to feel the board instantly respond to your commands.
Atom 90 mountain board
The Atom 90 is a variant of the 90X without the brake system. This mountain board comes with all terrain skate trucks and F1 bindings which are perfect for smaller feet. The deck measures 36 inches making this ideal for young adult riders. The ideal rider would be somebody who looking for a cheap mountain board to ride everywhere. Without a brake system, this board is mainly made for flat terrain.
San Diego speed Mountain Board
The beauty of the San Diego speed mountain board is it’s price. Dropping in at the lowest price on our list, the San Diego speed is the value buy if you’re looking for the cheapest introduction to mountain boarding possible. Made out of maple laminated wood, the bindings are simple hooks made out of fabric to slide your feet into. This board is ideal for kids/young adults who are just getting a feel for bigger boards.
MBS All terrain Longboard
Initially I was hesistant to put this on a top mountain boards list but this longboard has been making so much noise lately that we had to do an entire review on it.
The MBS all terrain is not a full mountain board as it does not have bindings but this longboard can be taken off road. The need that the MBS All terrain longboard tries to hit is a hybrid between longboarding and mountain boarding.
The ideal rider would be somebody who isn’t sure if they want to buy an entirely separate board for mountain boarding when they already know how to longboard. The beauty of the MBS All terrain is that it functions just as well as a longboard on pavement and a mountain board on other terrain.