In Depth Review
Travis Rice Pro Horespower Series Review
Recently, I got a chance to take out the new 2013 T. Rice HP. I had the deck for about 7 riding days to give her the beans and maybe attain 15% of what its purposed owner (Travis Rice) could achieve.
Riding the 2010 TR HP for 2 years, I was eager to see what was new. Immediately, huge differences just strapped into the 2013 at the top while developing the hot lap plan with the hombres. The board was flexible, FAR more flexible than the 2010 exploring that feeling a little more, the board flexed really well torsionally and almost stopped at a certain point, sort of locking. I looked up and the guys were bailing out, and I was still standing there. Looking at my feet, like I have never seen them move before it was pretty funny.
The first session (high speed groomer/roller boosting) I am doing tricks on this board (Day 1) that I never attempted or could nail down on my 2010 T Rice HP. You know a lot of people say: Oh things dont really change all that much in 2 years and this statement may be true. However, that statement is merely a proponent of what company you are with cause the changes I noticed from Lib Tech, were considerable.
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The longitudinal flex on the 2013 TR HP is great, the nose and tail are WAY softer than the 2010 but its not a noodle. The 2010 just felt like a rock solid deck. You couldnt feel the snow or receive input coming through the board, bindings, and into the boots. Some boards have a very dominant terrain feedback that transfer into the boot (Burton Channel System), but the 2013 just feels smooth. Not enough to feel everything, but enough so you arent feeling like riding on a thick plank, like the 2010. The softer longitudinal flex pattern makes it easier to crank sharper turns (makes a tighter arc) and skates through the pitted out chop .bonus.
The 2013 also incorporates what seems to be a progressional flex pattern .getting stiffer as you get closer to the binding off the tip and tail. Crazy I know. On that nice groomed surface doing presses was awesome, not even really possible before with the 2010. Tail press to backside 180, front side 180 with a nose press slide halfway to switch, wheelies over rollers, surface backside 180 nose slide to 360 finish (normally powder trick) ..I wont lie, as a rider I was reborn, re-energized. All this used to just be ideas, thoughts, ambitions, and now I was nailing them down the first day out on the 2013. Crazy thing is the softer nose/tail still has snap/pop to it. You can flex it to a point (loading) and there is stored energy there to pop you up after. Same goes for airing into a press, it lets you down easy on contact, holds, and then waits till you are ready POP!
Torsionally its a mad man. I mean for hard charging, torsion stiffness it is a must. The board allows for great torsional flex up to a certain point and again locks down, preventing further flex. My 2010 felt rigid, you knew it was a stiffy when you rode it. It really did not do much unless you brought it up to speed and really worked it. The 2013 doesnt behave that way, its friendlier at lower speeds, and great on surface tricks, but has no sacrifice of rigidity and strength when you want/need it. Hard charging is where its at, and to have a board which responds so well to true big mountain freestyle minds and supports that hard free riding addiction is .. Well its a quiver killer.
All this sounds good right, but what about the float, what about the white room? First off, I am rocking this board with a size 13 hoof, experiencing zero toe drag on the 164.5 cm. So for the general public the deck platform is wide enough for anyone. I can only think back to riding the Burton Joystick in Utah last year, I rode it centered on a 20″ dump day and swamped the nose constantly. Riding a lot of switch I want my board stance centered and riding the same either direction. Fully geared up (back pack included) I stand 64″ tall and weigh 250 ..and with a centered stance (set at the widest distance apart) with this board shape (C2 BTX) I never swamped the nose, once. The rocker in the center provides a swimming capability to the nose, making it easy to break to the surface and plain out in deep snow. What does Travis ride? His board excels in deep snow.
The boards are handmade and the HP is out of all sustainable materials lacking fiberglass, resins, etc. With this design, the 2010 HP was extremely susceptible to temperature change. At 8 degrees the board was FAR stiffer (even more than usual) than say at 25 degrees. I mean all boards change a little with the temperature variation, but I experienced some pretty dramatic differences in flex with the 2010. Well the 2013, I did not experience anything out of the ordinary, not sure what changed, how they did it, and I actually shot them an email asking: Howd you do that?!?! If I hear back, I will certainly update it out here for you all.
In summary: If your attitude and aspirations are that of a freerider, big mountain freestyle assaulter, who likes to be 18 and jib a little scoop this thing up. There will be zero disappointment. If you are a street, rail, jibbanator ..go with something else that is more defined for you riding style, you will perform better.
Stay safe out there, be with your friends, and keep up progression.