Arbor A-Frame 2014 - 2010 Review by The Good Ride
The Arbor A-Frame is the closest you can get to making a euro carve without buying hard boots. A long narrow waisted fast tight turning all around fun freeride board like this is hard to find. The A-Frame is made for hauling ass and locking into a hard carving turn. It has a true camber shape but a massive 2″ set back for powder along with a very minor taper. Its one of the better camber freeride boards out there. The 2014 Arbor A-Frame has a bit of a design change this year.
The 2014 Arbor A-Frame Review
Conditions: Perfect Groomers with a bit of soft snow off piste.
Riders: James, Peter, Jimbo
Boots:Burton SLX, Nike Kaiju, Burton Ion
Bindings: Burton Genesis, Flux SF
Stance Width: 23
Stance Angles: 18 front -3 back
So Arbor added a little switch to the design between the production model and the demo model we tried. The specs are the same but the nose/tail are different. The board now looks more like it rides and that is a directional carving freeride bomber instead of a double ender all mountain kind of look with the past model.
On Snow Feel: This is all about a locked in feel for advanced to expert mountain carvers and bombers. It’s not for intermediates or people who skid their turns. It’s all about giving a rider that knows how to carve well get the most out of the carve. Each year has the same great feel. The 2014 seems to give a much more directional feel despite it really being the same ride as the past years..
Powder: Same massive 2 inch set back as the older model and the same minor taper as before too. Its about as good as a camber freeride board can get in powder. With the new tip and tail their might be a slight improvement in the deep stuff giving it a little more of a mostly hybrid camber feel. We had no pow but that’s how it seems now with the new nose/tail.
Turn Initiation and Carving: The same great deep side cut that allows quick turning for those that know how to turn. It’s not easy but if you know how to turn it’s really quick edge to edge compared to most freeride boards. Especially for an all camber board. Short radius to wide radius turns are fun and the A-Frame has some nice pop out of almost any radius turn. The 2014 Arbor A-Frame is still one of the best carving boards we came across. It really springs well out of a turn and seems to pick up speed (in a fun way) out of it. If carving is most important to you then it’s hard to do better here. If you aren’t convinced let me put it this way. This is a board that we compare all other boards to when we rate boards on carving.
Speed: This bombs and it’s very fast. There are some boards that offer up a little more of a bomber feel like the new Arbor Steepwater but this will more than satisfy most riders. I’d say 95% of the riders out there will feel they have met their match when it comes to speed. If you are that 5% that want more speed and are willing to sacrafice a perfect carver you have boards like the Steepwater.
Uneven Terrain: So even though this bombs it doesn’t suck when conditions get bumpy like on a crowded Saturday at the end of the day. If you are expecting an easy board in bumpy terrain this isn’t but it’s about as good as it gets for a board of this shape, flex and riding style.
Edge Hold: Borderline excellent edge hold that can allow you to carve hard in most conditions that you want to ride. It’s not really an ice specialist but it grips pretty well when it gets hard. It doesn’t have that washy in the tail feel that many tapered boards have.
Flex: Should be the same flex but Arbor changed facilities this year because Elan (makes many US boards) went under. You can get the details at another place because I’m not really about industry reporting. What is important to us is how will the flex will change. One of the guys who was heavily involved in production at Elan started a new company SWS and he was very involved with Arbor’s line. Because of this my guess is that the production models flex should be about the same as the demo we tried.
Switch: The older model used to be better than the 2014 model switch but my guess is we are some of the only people who ride this switch. The new model has a flattened tail so it would make it rather sketchy.
Jibbing: No way.
Pipe: If you got the 158 it probably wouldn’t be too bad but still nah…
Jumps: There is a lot of spring in this board so if you want to ollie off a roller at high speed or a cliff it will spring well.
So all in all the A-Frame is one of those traditional camber boards that is all about carving and also a lot about speed. It’s a very fun old school aggressive surfy carver that the right rider will absolutely fall in love with.
2013 and Below Arbor A-Frame Review
Size: 166, 152 and 158
Conditions:Light thick powder, perfect groomers, choppy afternoon groomers, firm, hard and borderline icy snow
Riders: James, Peter, Kyle, Jimbo
Boots: Celsius Opus, Burton SLX, Nike Kaiju, Burton Ion, Nike Zoom Ites
Bindings: Flux SF45, Union SL, Burton Diode, Union Charger
Stance Width: 22.5 and 23
Stance Angles: 18 front -3 back, -18 front 0 back
There are only a few other long but narrow waisted boards like the Arbor A-Frame out there you can ride. If you live for high speed directional carves on morning groomers but still find yourself on the hill when it’s all rutted up like it gets on a Saturday the Arbor A-Frame is going to be one of the top choices in this category. The fun part of the A-Frame is going fast and making high speed carves on well groomed runs. It’s the perfect board for expert riders who want to have speed and control. It’s also good for advanced but technical riders trying to really understand speed and hard carving. Very little has changed between the 2011 Arbor A-Frame to the 2013 Arbor A-Frame models. We weren’t sure we could tell you which was which if you covered the top with tape.
On Snow Feel: The Arbor A-Frame has a super locked in feel that wants you to carve as much as you can and be on your game almost all the time. Flat basing and one footing with camber is an easy thing too with the big camber profile.
Powder: The A-Frame is not a powder specific board but it’s sheer size, slight taper and massive set back keep it afloat even in the deep stuff. These days most of us enjoy something with some rocker when dealing with a directional board in powder but it still floats very well for a camber board. It’s like going out with a modern shaped long board because it’s big but easy to throw around.
Turn Initiation and Carving: This is not easy to throw around but we have to say that this turns very well for it’s size and flex if you know how to make technical turns. All three sizes felt like smaller aggressive camber boards when getting from edge to edge. If you compare this to other stiff camber boards in its class and size it turns the easiest. If you compare this to hybrid rocker or hybrid camber boards out of its class it is more difficult. We had a lot of fun making deep carves on fresh morning groomers and felt this is what the Arbor A-Frame is made to do. It really springs out of a turn and helps you build speed into the next turn while still maintaining control. Even though there is a little taper it isn’t washy. Short radius turns are easy if you are a good technical rider and you won’t have a problem in a tight place. Medium radius turns are fun and you start to feel the spring out of a turn but big hard carves are where the A-Frame really shines. It was not easy but much easier than any board of this size we rode to make tight turns in rutted or mogul conditions. Basically you are getting this board to carve or straight line but if you are in places that require shorter radius turns it will be easier to manage than you might expect due to its deep side cut and narrow waist.
Speed: The Arbor A-Frame is really fast but probably not the fastest board in its class. However we liked more the all condition balance that the A-Frame had. The Arbor A-Frame you can keep around after things get a little rough. So for speed the A-Frame is really fast compared to many boards but not the fastest in its class.
Uneven Terrain: The good thing about the A-Frame is that it can handle chopped up groomers a lot better than most boards in its class and riding style. We are not saying it’s going to be easy but it will be easier than most Freeride boards with this camber and flex. It’s even better than a lot of hybrid freeride shapes out there. The design team at Arbor understands that many of you who want to own this board have to ride all day and not just in the morning when all is perfect. It’s a big long board so it’s not going to be easy to negotiate bumps but it does absorb shock very well for it’s size. If you size down on this board it can do fine. For example the 166 would be more my preference for the A-Frame but if I went 162 I could handle rutted up groomed runs and almost moguled out powder.
Edge Hold: We never felt the edge on the A-Frame give out and we rode this in all conditions except for ice. A carving board should have a lot of grip so you can ride in all conditions and the A-Frame does a great job here. It’s not an ice specialist but can keep it’s edge in harder conditions.
Flex: This is a stiff flex but it’s more on the medium side of stiff. The Arbor A-Frame is a lot easier to bend and twist than many other boards in its category.
Switch: There wasn’t much switch riding but when we did it wasn’t bad for a big slightly tapered directional board with a decent set back.
Rails/Jibbing: Don’t bother
Jumps: There is some spring on this board that is more rewarding on a carve but you can ollie off natural terain here and there without it being to weird.
Pipe: The Arbor A-Frame has the edge hold to climb any pipe wall but it’s a big board so everything else isn’t so great.
All in all we found this to be a very fun aggressive carving/freeride board. All who tried it liked it and no one had any complaints. If you like to keep your board transitioning from one carve to another on wide open groomers or pick up some solid speed then the Arbor A-Frame is great choice. It doesn’t have that hybrid shape appeal like many freeride boards do these days but It’s a beautiful looking old school board that could appeal to many freeriders out there.
2013 Arbor A-Frame
Advanced - Expert
Dubai by SWS
Setback over 20mm
On Snow Feel
User Reviews of the Arbor A-Frame
It has been my dream board since I saw it on Arbor web-site. I finally rode it yesterday.
It wasn't a typical powder day...quite a few powder hounds in line for the first chair. I was nervous riding my brand new Arbor while in line....
Once on top I was a bit intimidated by the new setup, mostly worried about the new board, a bit longer and advanced that my trusty "Ride Control 155" I manage to scratch my base over a small rock almost immediaterly out of the lift, on the wind battered top of Chair 6.."there you go" first scratch done...good to go.
The board feels WAY lighter than my old one. let's see how it performs...Conditions were 3 feet of powder, 12F, sunny. (First day of the season)
The first thing I notice is how the board easies you into a turn, must be the beautiful sidecut that initiates the turn just when you want it to and keeps it, until you push out with your back foot, never turning out of your carve (A thing I noticed on my brother's Ride Prophecy last winter, where the board would keep turning like on a rail, on its own) stable yet very quick from edge to edge, the board rides like a dream. Serpentine is very fast, hig speed carving is powerful and dramatic, flat runs are fast and stable, never had the feeling I had to worry yabout my edges...
Its a great powder board, with the original set back. VERY surfy if you go even further back. Responsive, floaty and with a great accelleration.
It felt obviously light years ahead of my previous stick. So much easier to ride , faster, more precise. No feeling at all to "catch an edge", the board does what you want, until you respect her. I found myself riding tired at the end of the day, a bit too casually maybe, you can't do that on a board like this, like a motorbike or a sport car, it demands attention and direction, otherwise you will find yourself face down on the snow.
On slashed pow the board went really well...cutting trough bumps and absorbing most of the terrain features easily, later in the day, with just 12deg the snow hardened up as soon as the shade hit the mountain side. Very good edge control and direction, the board falls down the most logic line and keeps it until you input a new direction. Very docile yet very decise once pointed down. Very good "pop" if I am using the term right....coming out of turns the boards propels you back up, after your compression and if that happens to be over a bump, it will "pop" you up in the middle of a turn, to land and grab the snowpack a second later...keeping the same line...depending on your legs stamina.
I didn't notice particular speed improvement over my old one, I was expacting it to just slid off from under my feet and speed up, it didn't happen, but I have the feeling that she needed a new wax job over the original one she got when I bought the board in August. i left the wax on until 3 days ago to protect the base, but it's ok, yesterday I weasn't looking for speed...yet.
Carving will take a different meaning for me on this board, especially with the stiff boots I got too. It looks fantastic and feels as easy to drive as say an "Audi-S4" but at the same time it demands the same attention...and it will give you the same reward...while propelling you put of a carve with a giant grin on your face
Carving with your body completely extended, (Opposed to a knee bent posture) flexing your ankles and using a lot of compression and extension before and after the turns was a great way to appreciate the elegance of how this board rides. I felt like I was exaggerating my compression and extensions, but that actually made for a very solid ride. You need to push on this board with decision, if you want some G's it's also a bit longer (158) than my 155, and I could feel that.
All in all a fantastic board.
Rode it one hole set setback, on one foot plus of wind blown powder...amazing. the A-Frame floats easily and feels like a really mellow forgiving ride, always ready to take your input but never unpredictable, little back leg fatigue and really fun to carve in less deep snow.
Later in the day the temp went up, and the snow got heavy, the board still floated or cut trough it with little change, besides speed. Always precise, and docile IF you are paying attention. A board to ride determined always, but that still hasn't given even a hint of edge catch, even at the end of the day under my wobbly legs. I feel I am improving and connecting with it more at every run.
Fantastic, fast, precise, and beautiful.
Update at day 19 of the season.
Mono-rail 6G carves are so much fun with this stick...it just stays there until you extend and dive in another turn. Unbelievably stable. Holds an edge with rage.
FAST. I have to check speed sometimes...the board keeps accellerating...Amazing base. Very fast...
Beautiful...When 2 people out of 3 feel the need to say something about your board at every chair....