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After riding a Titan TX 169 for the last 3 seasons and having been throughly impressed with my Revolver 159 RC, I decided to give the Raptor X 169 a try. My thoughts so far...
The flex is noticeably softer than the Titan, with the flex coming from the center like the other RC NS boards. The Titan was just a little on the stiff side, so the flex of the Raptor is just about right. Overall the ride is intuitive and composed while being very versitile for a big board. In fact a shorter version could be a nice quiver killer. Torsional flex is still pretty firm. Adjustment to this board was minimal but having some experience with other RC boards probably helped.
Stability is exceptional in most riding situations, especially is the chop. I've made a number of high speed passes averaging almost 60mph and never felt unnerved. I think the Titan is a little more stable but the Raptor feels faster (and is by a few mph according to my GPS). Carving is near that of a freecarve board however I think heelside turns on the Titan were slightly deeper and more stable. I prefer a toe side carve on the Raptor as it seems to be smoother and deeper than the Titan. The Raptor arcs better down the hill whereas the Titan turns better across and up; mainly a difference in the vario vs tri-radial sidecut. I'd prefer a little more snap out of a turn like the Titan but I don't feel like I'm being held up. Traditional camberd boards just seem to snap out of turns better. Overall though, the board makes smooth turns with no noticalbe quirks.Riding switch is doable but the board tends to want to revert around.
Powder riding is also very good. Minimal leg burn, and quick turns make it a great choice for a pow stick. I sold my powder board and see no reason to buy another one with boards like this on the market. I've been caught by suprise a couple of times by how fast the board is in the powder. Only a few jumps on the board. Take off is very clean and it doesn't "skate out" like my revolver can. Landings seem to be good as well. Pop is decent but I honestly expeted a little more.Overall a very, very good board (and work of art).
I can only think of two "cons". I've put several dents and scratches in the base of the Raptor over a few days of riding and none on my Titan after three years of riding (mostly the same terrain and conditions) There seems to be less core material or some other aspect of the board that makes it less bombproof than the Titan. Obviously this results in weight savings which is a plus. I'll be curious to see how the board holds up in the long run. I don't think there'll be any problems with delams or edges pulling out as the quaility is still there but I think I'll need to be more aware of snow conditions when charging like I did on the Titan.The only other issue or adjustment is the tendency to be put in the back seat when I get knocked off line. It takes longer for the back of the board to build support compared to a cambered board. And takes more of a conscious effort to stay centered. Because of this I might lean towards the Titan in really aggressive terrain.Overall the Raptor is a board that offers versatility which I didn't think would be possible. A board that has good stability, can carve, and blast through powder all in the same run is a big win. I like the weight savings but I'm not convinced a new paradigm of light and durable exists. I'd like to see NS fine tune this a little. Overall though, the positives far outweigh the negatives, and I highly recommend this board.