The Lib Tech Skate Banana is one of the boards that is so popular, so well known it would have to be up there with the Burton Custom. I’m not 100% who had it first, but I remember around 2008 when rocker boards were getting really popular, it was almost impossible to get yourself a Skate Banana. Although the rocker in the Skate Banana was pretty crazy back then, the current models have toned it down quite a bit. I don’t like the crazy marketing most snowboard brands use, and normally Lib Tech is no exception. When reading their description that the Skate Banana is good for riders everyone from first day riders to advanced, I definitely didn’t believe it, though after riding it that isn’t actually much of a stretch.
Features of the Lib Tech Skate Banana
- Original Banana Profile
In the past it has also been known as BTX – rocker between your feet, and mild camber out towards the nose and tail of the board.
75% aspen with 25% Paulownia. The majority of the core is strips of aspen, with two strips of Paulownia that run down the length of the board. End grain birch runs along the edges of the board (along the sidewalls).
Basically the sidecut has bumps along it, like a serrated knife, that gives you more edge hold when you are riding on tough snow.
A stronger textured topsheet, that is harder to scratch than a regular gloss topsheet.
ECO sublimated TNT base, which is a fancy way to pretty much say it is extruded.
How the 2019 Lib Tech Skate Banana Rides
Board size: 156cm
Boots: Salomon Launch Boa SJ
Bindings: Bent Metal Transfer, with a 22.5 inch stance and the bindings set to +15 -9.
This review is based on me riding the 2019 model. Before riding it I was definitely skeptical, looking at the specs on paper, it seems like it was almost the opposite of everything that I normally like in a board. In general I like medium flexing boards, that are either traditional camber, or majority camber. I was riding at Mt Hotham, Australia, fairly early in the season and the snow was quite firm (has frozen overnight) though it did soften up later in the day.
The Original Banana profile (new name for BTX) has rocker between your feet, and mild camber out towards the nose and tail of the board. The camber profile graphic that they use seems to exaggerate the amount of “mild camber” the Skate Banana has, on the board that I rode it looked almost completely flat.
Flex and Pop
It is rated somewhere in the range of “soft-medium”, and that seems spot on to me. For general riding, it holds up well, and feels solid through the middle of a turn. Landing bigger drops and jumps you need to make sure you are landing evenly on both feet, otherwise the softer flex (or rocker) makes it a bit easier to wash out if you are heavy on your back foot.
It doesn’t take much effort at to press and butter it, but it isn’t too soft, I wouldn’t describe it as a noodle.
As far as rocker/reverse camber boards go, they never have the same amount of edge hold as a camber board has, but the Skate Banana does still do a great job. I don’t know if it is a combination of the profile, Magne-Traction and sidecut, but the edge hold is very solid. Riding fast, really using the edges the board just grips and turns with no effort. As fast as I wanted to ride, even on very hard snow it had no problem holding a solid edge. It only took a couple of laps before my riding changed (considering the conditions) and I could ride harder than I normally would in those conditions.
The speed on the Skate Banana was fine, but nothing special. It didn’t seem overly slow but it was still a bit harder to keep up with friends riding on boards with sintered bases.
- Very fun all around board
- Great edge hold
- Not a fast base
- I’m never a fan of the graphics
Overall, the Skate Banana is a great board, that I would feel comfortable recommending to all kinds of riders and skill levels. The camber makes it easy enough for a beginner to ride and not have a huge learning curve while they are getting used to riding, but it isn’t so easy that you would grow out of it quickly. It would definitely suit someone looking to get their first board, but aren’t worried about spending a little more to get something good quality that they will be able to stick with for a few years.
That being said, hopefully it doesn’t make it sounds like if you are an intermediate or more experienced rider that it won’t be any good, with the Magne-Traction and a nice sidecut, you can ride it hard, and still get smooth fast turns with really good grip – on snow that you would normally expect to be hard work. The flex is soft enough that you can press and butter without too much work, but will still stand up to decent jumps without feeling too loose. If you were wanting to ride more jumps, I would look at one of the Lib Tech/GNU’s that have the C3 camber, for some better pop and stability.
Lib Tech Skate Banana 2020 Technical Specs
|Size||Contact Length||Side Cut||Nose/Tail Width||Waist Width||Stance|