Cardiff Bonsai 2021-2023 Snowboard Review
|Riding Level||Advanced - Expert|
|Fits Boot size (US)||8-10|
|Camber Profile||Directional Camber|
|Stance||Setback over 20mm|
|Approx. Weight||Feels Normal|
|Split||Comes in split|
|On Snow Feel|
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Cardiff Bonsai 2023 - 2021 Review by The Good Ride
Update 2023: The Cardiff Bonsai has not changed since we reviewed it so the 2021 review still stands.
Turn Ons/Swipe Right: Fast base. Damp board. Really fun for speed and big powerful turns.
Turn Offs/Swipe Left: Slow Edge to edge and not for those that like quick slashy turns.
The Cardiff Bonsai is fast and incredibly fun for high speed turns but it is also forgiving and more well rounded than it appears.
Ethics Statement: We don’t get paid by the manufacturer to write these reviews and this is our unfiltered opinion. We do make money from the “Where To Buy” links, but this is our best attempt at an honest and objective review from an average riders’ perspective.
Cardiff Bonsai Review- How it rides and who it is for
How This Review Happened:
We borrowed this for an extended demo and sent it back.
Conditions: Mainly firm but fair to excellent groomers. Only a little uneven terrain.
Riders: James (Size 9, 5’10” 185-190lbs), Mason at Gravity Sports (Size 10.5, 160lbs 5’8”)
Boots: Burton Kendo, Burton Ion, Burton Tourist,
Insoles: Sandsole Custom Insoles, F.I.T. Gamechangers, F.I.T. Gameghangers LP
Bindings: Union Atlas
Jacket: Burton AK Gore-Tex Pro 3L Tusk Jacket, Volcom TDF Infuse 3L Gore-Tex Jacket, Burton Banshee Gore-Tex Jacket
Pant: Burton AK Gore-Tex Pro 3L Hover Pant, Burton AK Gore-Tex 2L Swash Pant, Burton Gore-Tex Ballast Pant
Helmet: Smith Maze, Smith Vantage
Goggle: Smith IO Mag, Smith 4D Mag
Gloves: Burton AK Guide Glove, Burton AK Clutch Mitt, Burton AK Clutch Glove, Burton AK Tech Leather Glove, Burton AK Tech Glove, CG Habitats Glove, CG Habitats Work Glove, Drop Tahoma Mitt, Drop Cascade Glove, Drop Web Glove,
Similar Boards (but not the same):
Burton Flight Attendant, Jones Flagship
Set-Up: 21.5”, 22” Wide. 21 front +3 back, 24 front +6 back. Close to Reference
(We don’t put in the exact weight because with wood cores there is no consistency in a boards weight)
The Cardiff Bonsai felt on the heavy side of medium but that is good as it is damp and fast.
Here are some ideal US boot sizes for these boards. You can of course go bigger or smaller but these work best for not turning the board slower than it should be and not having the dreaded Toe & Heel Drag.
Shape/Camber/On Snow Feel/Ability Level
There isn’t a lot of taper but the Cardiff Bonsai is a pretty set back directional board. The 60% camber is mainly from the front insert to just before the tail. It gives you a lot of rocker before the nose and makes it a lot more forgiving than you would think for all this effective edge. Especially in comparison to many of it’s peers. It just isn’t easy to get this to skid a turn at slow to moderate speeds. Once you do it skids well enough but it is still for advanced to expert riders.
The Cardiff Bonsai is really stiff between the bindings but has a much softer nose. The Tail is even stiffer than the middle. It is not for buttering and it takes some work to get this flex to pop easy on an ollie.
The Cardiff Bonsai is super-fast. There is a very smooth gliding base that is as fast as the fastest bases we tried. Then, other than the nose, the rest of the board is super damp and it just bombs for a 158. It is there with the Jones Flagship and Hovercraft in terms of bomber speed.
When it comes to slow speed turning the Cardiff Bonsai won’t be easy. However, it powers over things really well and absorbs hard micro bumpy snow really well.
Very competent grip that works in firm to hard snow pretty well.
The Cardiff Bonsai is medium to slow when it comes to initiating a turn at moderate to slower speeds. The board feels like a hung over buddy who just won’t wake up on a pow day. Once you pick up a little speed the Bonsai wakes up and starts responding.
Like I said above, the more speed you have before a turn, the more it comes alive. I am not normally into this kind of board but it converted me. The faster I went the better the turn was. It really likes long drawn out high speed turns. It has such a powerful spring out of the turn at high speeds. The Cardiff Bonsai took me out of my tighter radius turning comfort zone and made me love high speed down the line turns. Circle carves are doable and so are tighter radius turns but this isn’t it’s strong point.
So the Cardiff Bonsai is no Powgoda but it floats in powder really well. We didn’t get powder with the solid but Clint did with the Split. It floated way better than expected. All that early rise and set back on board work with the moderate taper to make it pretty floaty. With a 22” stance width you can get 4” back from center of board on reference and with a 22” stance width 5” set all the way back. That is a lot of set back on board compared to the 30mm set back on sidecut. So you have a pretty easy floater if you like bombing wide open runs. It isn’t ideal for tight tree riding.
Boards like the Cardiff Bonsai are generally not my style but this won me over. I loved this board, Clint loved this board, Mason loved this board and Peter would love this board if he got to try it. So will any rider that wants a fast, forgiving bomber that can also competently float in powder.
Cardiff Bonsai Specs
Cardiff Bonsai Images
Cardiff Bonsai User Reviews
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