The Arbor A-Frame is an old school aggressive Freeride board that is all about carving, speed and it makes morning groomers exceptionally fun.
2014-2016 Arbor A-Frame Review
The 2016 and 2015 Arbor A-Frame is pretty much the same as the 2014 which had a lot of changes to the look as well as a little change to the ride. The only difference is that the A-Frame now comes in Wide.
Conditions: Perfect Groomers with a bit of soft snow off piste.
Riders: James, Peter, Jimbo
Boots:Burton Imperial, Burton Ion, Burton SLX, Nike Lunarendor, Nike Kaiju,
Bindings: Burton Genesis, Burton Diode, Flux SF,
Stance Width: 22.5 to 23
Stance Angles: 18 front -3 back, 18 front 3 back
The Arbor 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.
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 2015 and 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 and 2015 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 and 2015 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.
The 2014 Arbor A-Frame Review
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.
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