Mainly out East, at Hunter, Windham, Stratton or Killington.
First, the goggles:
The goggles are great. Comfy enough that you barely notice they're there. The anti-fog features really do work. I've been able to fog the goggles slightly on a few occasions, but it was mainly user-error. My other goggles (Smith) fogged under the same conditions, but the fog persisted longer and was quicker to form.
I picked the Hi-Intensity Yellow lenses. Mainly because I go night riding some times, and some of the mountains I go to suffer from some major shade in the afternoon. My previous goggles (a low quality persimmon equivalent) made it very difficult to see gradients and little bumps. Using these was a world of difference. Worth every penny of the purchase price, and made night riding even more enjoyable.
I have a big head for my height (I'm 6', 200lbs). The Crowbars fit my face, but just barely. I've heard the splice is better for those with bigger faces, so I think I'm one of those big heads. My girlfriend has a *tiny* face (5'4", will kill you if you ask her weight), and the crowbar was just a little bigger than she wanted.
I'm not really sure what GangstaGangsta245 is trying to say about the Machete. It is not all that much softer than a Palmer Honeycomb 4 - which is itself a *super* rigid board. I've been using it as my all mountain board all season, and by all mountain, I mean, anything *but* the park. I hit up the park maybe 2 runs in a given day, but most of the time is spent carving down anything and everything. The machete has kept up with all other boards I ride with, and it does it much more comfortably than most.
Gear Tested With: Ride RFLs, Ride Nitrane (9-11), Ride Delta (9-11)Gear Compared to: Palmer Honeycomb 4 with Forum bindings (not sure the name, but with the hilarious "Happy Boarding" painting on the back), Burton Custom 2010 (not sure on the bindings - Ride brand though)Conditions ridden in: Full range, from thin, icy, sketch, up to a good amount of powder (6-10")Days ridden: 12+Impressions: I really, really love this board. I was expecting to have some trouble on steeper/thinner conditions, but honestly, this board slayed everything I could possibly ride through. After I got used to the board (turning is a little different than a camber board, but not any more or less difficult, just a few slight muscle shifts that need to be relearned), I spent a day at Stratton VT switching boards with 2 friends.Compared to a Palmer Honeycomb 4, this board has more flex, more pop, and is a bit less stable at super high speeds. All of these are *slight* differences - honestly, I personally felt more comfortable on the Machete because I felt more maneuverable and agile. It was only very slightly slower when we both pointed and bombed. It might not have even been slower, due to the fact that I am much less experienced than the rider on the HC4.The Burton Custom. Honestly, I did not enjoy riding the Custom at all. I could see how it would be a fun park board, but it didn't have enough firmness for my liking. Too much flex, in my mind, for thin conditions. It was also noticeably slower - I was similar in skill level to the rider on the Custom, and I regularly beat him when we both pointed.Verdict: Sick board. Buy this thing with confidence. It handled all kinds of conditions, let me carve like crazy, yet was still fun to throw around in the park.Lo-Rize Rocker is no joke.
*Obviously, your definition of "best" may differ from mine. I think that Ride's set of compromises for this board really make it a stellar all-mountain stick worthy of purchase from anyone at any skill level. Easily the most fun I've had on a board, period.
Initial Impressions: I got these bindings as a replacement for my Nitranes. They have a very similar feel to the Nitranes, although they have a touch more heft.
Gear tested with: Ride RFL size 11.5 boots, Machete 162
Conditions ridden in: Light powder, packed powder, *thin* cover
Verdict: These are super comfortable. I barely notice I have them on. I like the wedgie footbeds - you don't really notice it while you're riding them, but if you switch to a friend's board, suddenly you don't feel right anymore. I find that I can ride longer, harder, with less fatigue or discomfort. This is helpful to me because I have a bum knee.
At the same time, I feel highly connected to my board. Anything I want to do, I can do, and I never felt limited by my gear. Even in some real sketch conditions, I still had edge to edge carving and overall edge control. Great bindings, A+.
Days Ridden with this gear: 4 Days on Mountain
Conditions: Varied, from ice/low coverage to a foot of powder
Where: Hunter Mt., NY - Stratton Mt., VT
Other Relavent Gear: Nitrane (9-11), Machete (162)
Gear Specific: I wear an 11.5 boot. This boot *might* be a touch smaller than other boots - the 11.5 FUL felt a bit less snug initially than the RFL did. Still, the RFL is packing out to be perfect.
Flex: I've only gotten 4 days on the mountain with them so far, so I don't think it's broken in completely. I'd rate them currently at an 8, out of box around 8.5-9, and if I have the final point correct in my head, probably finish breaking in around 7-7.5.
-These boots are *LIGHT*. Just walking around feels like you're wearing a sneaker. Hardly notice they're there.
-Supportive. Even though they're comfy and light, they're still stiff around the ankle and calf to give you loads of support.
-Smaller shell. This might not matter to many people, but if you're an 11.5 like me, that means you're stuck getting XL Ride bindings (11-13), and wide boards. This boot is at *least* a half size smaller in outer profile than other boots, if not a full size. So I fit it into a 9-11 Nitrane and a 9-11 Delta just fine.
-Not as warm. It's slight, but with my old boots (some burton shaun white ones I got when I was learning), I never had cold feet (even in -20 degree weather). With these, my feet are cold for the first run or two, which is a new feeling for me. Very very minor concern. Granted, this is in 0-5 degree(F) weather (with 15-20 degrees of wind chill).
-Smaller shell. I can imagine someone out there that's a size 9, with a binding that just shrinks down enough to fit their size 9 boot, but would be too big of a binding with the RFL. For me, this is a positive, but it's something to be aware of.
I have to echo everyone else and say that these bindings absolutely rock. I have nothing different in the positive sense than to agree with Mr. TidBit's review, as he covered it all.The big problem, though, is that I'm another guy that had their bindings break. I had them on mountain for 4 days, and those 4 days were absolutely awesome. At the end of 4 days though, the binding broke exactly in the same spot as everyone else - right at the base of the webbing on the outer strap.Clearly this is a manufacturing defect, but you can still buy with confidence - Dogfunk will take care of you (and they took care of me), and so will Ride, if you're one of the unfortunate ones to get a weak strap.If you want, if your V-Grip breaks, you can have Dogfunk send you a V-Strap (the contraband strap), which will fit in the Nitrane, if you really want to keep them.All in all, great binding, but I wish it was a bit more rugged. For my riding style, there's no way I can deal with constant replacements, so I switched up to the Delta.
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