Best mountain boards for beginners in 2020
Board sports have evolved a lot over the years. People can now travel over snow, tarmac, earth, over mountains, lakes all on different types of boards.
Its quite interesting and each of them has their own unique feel, challenges, and rewards. Today I will be talking about mountain boards. This sport was invented due to the lack of snow in summer. Snowboarders wanted a way to ride down the mountain and bomb hills. The took ideas from skateboarding and made a bigger board, with huuuge wheels, trucks, and straps.
Just like skateboarding, there are a lot of nuances to the right mountainboard. You can’t simply go out and pick one, it might not be the right fit for you. In this article, I write about what you need to look for in a mountainboard and how to get the right one for yourself. Check it out.
MBS Colt 90 Mountain Board
This is an entry level mountain board. It has a maple-laminate deck. Using wood keeps costs down and makes it affordable.The trucks are ATS.12 (all-terrain skate) trucks. They have 12mm axles. These trucks are appropriate for beginners. They are similar to skate trucks and are just as easily adjustable. It uses velcro bindings to keep you locked in. They aren’t the highest quality on the market but they get the job done.
It comes with 8in tires. The tires themselves have been made from specially formulated high-rebound rubber. The dense rubber will allow you to roll pretty fast and it will go over gravel easily. The tires are also specially made to never get flats or lose air. The setup is a bit heavy so those looking to do jumps and other tricks should look elsewhere (or get stronger).
Atom 95X Mountain Board
Note: If there is an X in the name it means it has brakes.
This board comes in at 7kg/15.5lbs in weight, with deck 38in in length and a truck width of 15.5in. The deck is made from maple laminate and is paired with aluminum oxide grip tape. It uses ATS trucks, paired with wheels 8inches tall. The wheels have a tri-spoke hub to maintain rigidity and the shape of the rubber as you go fast. They have a diamond tread to give you extra grip too.
The ATS trucks are easy to use and maintain. It has F1 bindings which are velcro to help keep you locked in and finally it has a pre-installed v-brake system operated by a handle with a trigger.
This board is setup to last for years and years. The brake may not be ideal for a beginner but you can definitely work your way up and learn to use it. The weight plus length of this deck makes it ideal for taller and heavier beginners. Basically adults and big kids. It also great for those wanting to try out free carving.
Nonetheless its a good beginner board at a decent price. If you want a shorter board, the San Diego speed offers a decent price and a decent size, appropriate for kids.
Coming in at a short 32in. This mountain board is well suited for smaller riders and those wanting to do jumps and tricks. Its short standing platform will allow for a comfortable standing space for small riders. The short wheelbase is more appropriate too. Riders will not feel like they are not in control.
It also only weighs 9lbs! That is super light, even when considering that the board is made from wood. The deck is alright, it doesn’t use any fancy composites. It will not last as long as the composite decks, but the affordability of this option makes it easy to upgrade in future.
The bindings are easy to use as you simply slide your feet into them. They don’t have any way of tightening or keeping you locked in, so I don’t recommend these if you are going to be doing extreme mountain boarding. Your foot could slip out of place by mistake.
It has ATS trucks for easy turning and maintenance. Finally, the wheels are big pneumatic rubber ones, with a diamond tread pattern. It is very affordable and is one of the cheaper options on our list. However, the straps leave something to be desired but they are good enough for someone learning to board. It is recommended you upgrade to better straps in the future. I would not recommend this for heavier and tall riders they should go for the Atom or MBS.
This unique take on off-road skating is facilitated by a skateboard that is paired up with 4 tank-like treads. That’s right! A tank skateboard. This board works by having 4 heavy duty triple set wheels (per tread) surrounded by rubber. Basically 12 total wheels.
It allows you to skate on grassy slopes, pavement, wooded paths and on snow. And you could do anything you can as you would on a normal skateboard. You can ollie, kickflip and even the flip … (probably).
The four tank treads make the board heavier than the normal skateboard. You’ll need more input and strength to control it. It weighs a heavy 12lbs whilst a normal skateboard weighs 7.5lbs. Its main use is cruising around.
It uses normal traditional kingpin trucks, so it will be easy to maintain. This board is more of a fun toy than something to be heavily used. I recommend it for small kids and would be great as a fun present/gift.
If the tread was taller it would work super well over all terrain, but tall grass and tall objects will slow it down/stop it from gaining momentum.A better offroad skateboard would be the MBS All-terrain one.
MBS All-Terrain Longboard
This is an off-road skateboard. It has huge 100mm, 78a wheels which have a special tread that allows it to go offroad.
The deck is a drop down. The lowered platform makes it easier to push and slow down. You have a lower center of g and are directly behind the wheels making it easier to push. Especially necessary with wheels this big. The lowered platform also provides more stability.
The trucks are wide at 190mm. Providing extra stability and balance. With all this stability, the setup won’t be very maneuverable.
The deck is sturdy and is made form 10 plys of maple.
With wheels, this big and trucks that wide, the setup will roll and turn really smoothly. Perfect for beginner and people looking to commute. Especially if your commuting path is filled with dirt, rocks and you don’t know what obstacles to expect. The ride will be ultra smooth and unlike anything you’ve ridden before.
I would say if a teenager or adult wants an offroad skateboard, this is the one or them. The tall wheels allow it to go over objects and it will carry momentum better than the Rockboard.
How to pick the right mountain board?
So to get you the perfect mountain board, we need to tailor it to your needs in terms of weight, height and the riding style you would prefer. Getting the right size will make learning a whole lot easier. Inappropriate equipment will simply frustrate you and provide a bad experience.
Weight & Height
The rule of the thumb is that big people get bigger decks and small people get smaller decks.
A small person won’t have enough weight to turn a big/longboard properly and they won’t have enough leverage to control it. It will probably be too heavy for them to even jump with.
On the other side, a big person may not be able to control a small board effectively. Each input to turn or move is significantly amplified. Because of their height and weight, they will have excess leverage and control. Plus the small size of the deck won’t be stable at high speeds.
There are two different types of boards available. Composite boards (think carbon fiber, fiber glass, kevlar etc) or plain wood decks. The composite decks are lighter so they are recommended for people who want to do jumps and do tricks. They are also stronger so they will last a lot longer and take more abuse than the wood decks. This style of riding is called “freestyling”.
The wood decks are more cost-effective, are heavier and would suit riders who want to go downhill at fast speeds. This style is called “free carving”.
A freestyler would also benefit from a board that is also short. This will make it easier to control the board and thusly easier when doing tricks.
Longer boards are more stable so freecarvers can benefit from this. There are also boards that are the best of both worlds. These are called all-rounders so if you are a beginner or can’t decide, they are the best option.
There are two main types of mountain board trucks; skate and channel trucks. Skate trucks simply borrow the construction and geometry of normal skate trucks, but they have wider axles and meatier hangers so they can take all the abuse of mountain boarding. They are great for beginners. They are cheap, easy to turn, easy to adjust and light. Most advanced boarders would recommend these for lighter riders.
Channel trucks are different. They have springers and dampers than control how the trucks move. They are very popular and offer a lot of stability. However, the trade off is that they don’t turn that great, but if you are going fast you’d rather have something stable.
These are what hold your feet to the board. They vary between boards, riding styles and personal preference. You could have simple velcro straps or bindings like you get on a snowboard. It’s up to you. It’s easy to upgrade these, so finding what you like is a piece of cake.
All wheels are pneumatic and made of rubber. The average height is 8in butattachyou can get taller ones. The taller they are, the harder they will be to get rolling but they will produce a smoother ride and have more momentum. So an inch makes a bit of a difference hehe.
They are different hubs (or wheel cores). These support the wheel so the harder they are (like metal) the, more durable and stiffer your wheel will feel.
Beginner mountain boarding tips
Best places to ride boards
A lot of people walk their dogs and create impromptu mountain board – dog sleds haha. A lot of people also attatch engines but I simply recommend you off road electric skateboard. Beaches, mountain trails, the park etc. These are all good locations to use your board and practice.
If you are a beginner, I would recommend enrolling in classes. Most ski resorts offer them during the summer seasons. You could also watch youtube videos and learn that way, both ways work well.
How to stop?
Some boards come with brakes built in (or you can put some yourself). However, for beginners, you can either carve up hill or slide to take off some speed. In the beginning, you won’t be going fast enough that brakes would be needed. They are intermediate-advanced gear.
Which one is right for you?
Finding the right board simply comes with experience. The best thing you can do is get yourself a neutral board to start with. For heavier riders, I recommend the Atom 95x and for lighter, smaller riders the San Diego speed board. Both these boards are really good for beginners and should be taking you down mountain and forest trails in no time.