The Lib Tech Travis Rice Horsepower Blunt is pretty much the Travis Rice Pro Blunt but a little lighter and a little more snappy. Both ride about the same but this just has a slightly different feel for the better that could make it worth it for some to go with this. The 2013-2015 models aren’t that different from one another. The ride is pretty much the same.
Conditions: Hard pack with a little new snow on top.
Riders: James and Lee
Boots: Burton Ion, Burton Ruler
Bindings: Flux DM
Set Up: Centered 23″ Wide 15 front -15 back
Before we get started I just want to say that this is mainly for a Mid/Wide rider that has 10.5-12 US size feet but if you can ride the 153 or 155 if you have smaller than 10.5 feet. These boards are made to ride much bigger than their size and they only like to go straight. They get cranky if you try to turn them. I keep getting stuck riding the 157 but I would of been much happier on a 153. Normally I’m most comfortable on a 157 but with the Travis Rice Pro Horsepower Blunt and the standard model I’d be much happier with the 153 for my size 9 boots. So if you are like me and you must have a Travis rice size it down a bit and you will be much happier.
On Snow Feel: The Travis Rice Pro Horsepower Blunt has the same great stable feel for a hybrid rocker board except it just feels a little lighter and snappier. It’s got a strong rider feel that likes to go fast in and out of the park. It’s a very aggressive freestyle ride that lives for the pipe, big jumps and taking on the mountain regular or switch at higher speeds. It’s sizing runs a little smaller but don’t let that fool you. If this was a C3 BTX profile (Might be for 2015) this board would be very unforgiving but thanks to the hybrid rocker profile it makes the ride doable for even a strong intermediate rider. It also allows an aggressive rider have a more forgiving ride.
Powder: The powder feel isn’t great for a hybrid rocker board but if you are a camber rider who is trying something new you will find this an easy float. If you compare it to other Lib Tech boards with Rocker or Hybrid Rocker that come in longer sizing then you will find this not that great. I didn’t have powder with this but based on the Travis Rice Pro Blunt’s performance it will be almost exactly the same since there is only a little difference in weight. It planes well and wants to stay up but it’s just not an easy float. The freestye rider who knows how to keep speed and plane will be ok with this board. If you like directional set back riding you will find the float inadequate.
Turn Initiation and Carving: Lee, an 11 US boot which is perfect for this board, found the edge to edge transitioning a bit more work to get it edge to edge quickly. We had on some pretty responsive bindings on too. I feel this too but I’m a size 9 riding a 25.9cm waist so that is expected. So even if you are a bigger size foot like Lee the shallow side cut makes it less easy to turn than you would think for a hybrid rocker shape. When laying into a carve it had a fun feel but the carve was wider than the average board for the effort/lean put into it. It’s still very rewarding for a hybrid rocker board. The Horsepower had a slightly more lively feel that made the ride a little more fun. Both Blunts like to go straight more than they like to turn. This might be in my head or it could be true but I enjoyed turning this board just a little more than the regular model. Both have the same ratings for turning and carving but the T.Rice felt a little more lively. I guess that’s the best way to describe it.
Speed: Both Blunt models have good speed and are just a bit shy from being excellent. They both keep their speed well in the flats and both feel pretty stable for a hybrid rocker twin. You can bomb on this board and it’s got Mountain speed as well as park speed.
Uneven Terrain: Both models feel the same when you come into tracked up bumpy snow in a congested spot on the mountain. It’s not bad for it’s medium/stiff flex but you can feel some slow speed chatter in bumpy snow.
Edge Hold: Excellent gripping skills and it’s a great board for those that have to ride in harder to icy conditions. Like all the Travis Rice boards it can be a little grippy in softer snow so it’s not ideal if you ride in softer conditions.
Flex: The Medium/Stiff Flex isn’t very playful. It likes to go straight and isn’t about slowing down to butter unless you are pretty strong. I know some people who ride this board that can bend it past it’s hybrid camber profile but most might be happier on something a lot more playful if you want to butter and such.
Switch: Very easy each direction.
Jibbing: I have some friends that own this board and can jib with it very well but for the average rider this is pretty stiff and bucky. Even with it’s smaller sizing I wouldn’t be to comfortable taking on a more technical jib.
Pipe: Excellent Pipe board. I didn’t have the joy that most did on the 157 but I bet I’d love it if I was on a 153 as much as my 11-12 boot friends who own this do on the 157.
Jumps: Both boards feel pretty much the same except the Horsepower feels a little more snappy. Same great stable approach for kickers of all size. This is best in big man made park jumps but its also pretty springy when it comes to an ollie off a natural feature in the park. Pretty easy to spin because of the smaller size.
All in all this is a good board that could make many riders happy and really happy if you have a dedicated powder board to go with this. I don’t know what it is but if it was up to me I’d buy the Horsepower for no logical reason other than the board looks better than the Pro. It also has a lighter snappier feel that doesn’t really translate to the rating system. It’s just a little fun to have under your feet than the regular model. On paper though it’s hard to justify the $140 more for this board because they are pretty close but the irrational side says go with this one.