|Riding Style||All Mountain|
|Riding Level||Advanced - Expert|
|Fits Boot size (US)||8-10, 10-12, > 12|
|Manufactured in||USA by Mervin|
|Camber Profile||Mostly Camber|
|Approx. Weight||Feels Normal|
|On Snow Feel|
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Lib Tech Dark Knife 2016 Review by The Good Ride
The Lib Tech Dark Knife is the evolution of the Darker Series and it’s got a few changes that make the board a little more fun in all conditions but still makes it one of our top choices for aggressive riding harder snow.
Ethics Statement: We don’t get paid by the manufacturer to write these reviews. 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.
Differences Between the Dark Knife and Darker Series
- Shorter effective edge with the Dark Knife. This use to be more of a bigger deal back in the camber days but these days not so much.
- Longer Nose/Tail for a little better float in powder. I think that’s where some of the effective edge went and that’s a great thing. I would have been fine with an even less effective edge for a more floaty tip/tail. Also, it has that cool shape that the hot knife has.
- It used to be called a directional twin that we thought was more twinish and now it’s called a True Twin that we would call a directional twin due to the setback and different flex due to the set back 3D Bamboo Risers.
- It now has their Horse Power tech that generally makes the board a little lighter and a little more snappy.
So a good amount of improvements that don’t change the overall personality of the older Darker Series but instead improve/enhance it to make it a better ride.
Conditions: Hard shitty spring conditions that started to soften up as the day went on.
Boots: Burton Fiend LTD
Bindings: Burton Diode, Union Atla
Set Up: Close to Centered 15 front -15 back 23″ wide
Approximate Weight: Feels normal bordering on light.
On Snow Feel: Take the Hot Knife, Set it back 1/2″/-12.5mm give it some build in risers and you have the Dark Knife. It’s a pretty fast aggressive all mountain board that feels like a slightly mellower camber ride but mostly camber for sure. It’s not very forgiving and it’s for the old school camber lover.
Powder: One of the worst qualities of the Hot Knife. Where we ride (mainly the Sierras) it’s not going to cut it when there is a deep storm. It’s not the kind of board that wants to float but if you are a good rider it will plane well if you keep your speed and know how to make a camber board work in powder. It’s better than the old Dark Series when it was camber but not by too much.
Turn Initiation: Very quick edge to edge and the Dark Knife likes to turn quick. It’s great in tight spots and it really responds to riders who know how to turn well. If you are someone who occasionally skids your turns you will find this board catchy and difficult to handle. It’s a board for those who should be on their game at all times.
Carving: Such a fun carver and it can hold an edge in most conditions you want to carve. It’s pretty easy to carve a circle and it really springs well out of a turn.
Speed: It’s not a bulletproof bomber but it’s pretty fast and really takes some speed to make it feel inadequate. It’s about what you would expect from an all mountain board. It’s not s super stiff freeride board but it can handle big wide open runs no problem.
Uneven Terrain: Not as bad as you would think but not quite perfect. I find that the quick turn initiation could help me negotiate quick turns in bumpy sloppy snow rather well.
Edge Hold: Really grabs the snow and if you are looking for a board for hard to icy conditions this is a strong contender then. It’s not ideal in softer/wetter snow and one of the problems with aggressive MTX like this is it can feel a bit grabby in softer conditions. Some don’t care and others do.
Flex: Not super easy to butter or really play around on. The flex combined with the camber profile make it some work to bend the board but if you are a strong rider it’s doable. It’s got the right torsional flex for carving and it twists enough but not too much for you to play around with your feet on carves.
Switch: Not like the Hot Knife’s true twin set up but very doable with a centered stance on sidecut.
Jibbing: Not something I even considered taking into the jib park. A better jibber could but I’m not a good jibber.
Pipe: Great board for the accomplished pipe rider and really drives from wall to wall well. It’s got an amazing grip so its a top notch old school pipe ride. I would only say that it’s not ideal for someone who wants to learn the pipe though.
Jumps: It’s got really strong pop and springs well off the tip/tail from an ollie. Not bad for lapping the big roller coaster looking jumps in the park but it’s not going to be forgiving. Also, I’d prefer the Hot Knife over the Dark Knife because it’s a true twin so it’s a bit easier to land or take off switch.
So, all in all, it’s not for every all mountain rider but for those aggressive riders that like that old school camber feel and want tons of edge hold might like this mostly camber/C3 board a lot.
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