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