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Jack M

Fireside Contra Chat with Bruce

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Strap a club on the bike and come drive some balls. Pasture is still low enough they won't get lost. Bring a few spare helmets for the horses !

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Thanks @Jack M look forward to the K v C shootout. Perhaps we can get some Thirsts lined up for a 3 way? 

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Nice!  It's going to be a long wait...
Plan to throw plate into the equation?
K vs C. (K + P) vs C

Contra sounded like a winner.  1 board for "almost all" condition
Could be false memory but I seems to recall some thirst owner was hoping for metal dampness for very specific condition. 

Thirst <Player 3 have entered> would be amazing.

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No plate inserts on these bad boys. Which is fine for a comparo. I wouldn’t put a plate on one board and not on the other. I don’t even ride my K175 with a plate anyway. (It’s that good)

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Ugh. Can’t wait until the winter so I can take my contra out....

FWIW I’m a huge fan of the large-snall-large type sidecut format. The Alloy DO has this type of sc and I think it’s a large part of why I like it so much. 

My pet theory is that the nose and tail can exert a larger rotational moment on you. Having a larger radius there mellows this out. Having the small sidecut on center allows for a board that can still be nimble too. The overall effect of this is a board that is stable and predictable but still maneuverable. 
Does that make any sense or am I totally out of my depth here? 

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I believe the Contra sidecut is similar to a KST 168 sidecut, with the longest radius at the waist.  I measured my K168 and there is a span of about 15cm at the waist where the width of the board is *constant* - infinite radius.  A quick tape-measure of these seems to indicate something similar.  My pet theory is the shorter radii at the tip/tail are what bend the board into the arc, and the longer radius at the waist prevents the board from kinking in the middle.

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A Thirst with a plate?!? That would be heresy... 

IMG_3113.JPG.415035272b77aed0e525b6a84e1ff12a.JPG

While it wasn't bad, it just didn't belong.  But I'll take the long drive. I may have the only Thirsts on east coast.  Hope you ride goofy. 👍

 

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Librarians named Fiona dont need a plate.... 🙂

Edited by Lurch
@Kneel knows...

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8 hours ago, Kneel said:

Hope you ride goofy.

Why, is the board asym?  I am goofy.

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14 hours ago, Jack M said:

I believe the Contra sidecut is similar to a KST 168 sidecut, with the longest radius at the waist.  I measured my K168 and there is a span of about 15cm at the waist where the width of the board is *constant* - infinite radius.  A quick tape-measure of these seems to indicate something similar.  My pet theory is the shorter radii at the tip/tail are what bend the board into the arc, and the longer radius at the waist prevents the board from kinking in the middle.

I believe the Contra side cut is just the opposite of what KST is.  Kessler states on his website that the largest radius is in the middle of the board.  The radius then decreases in front and behind the inserts moving towards the tip and tail where the smallest radius resides.

In my text thread with Bruce he states the opposite.  Not exactly the opposite though.  It's not as straight forward as KST.  The following is from a post by RCrobar.  This was in his review of the Contra 166.

"Bruce sent these SCR numbers as a guideline for me: 15 nose - 9.5 front foot - 11 between the feet - 10 rear foot - 16 tail, done on a depth equal to approx 10.5m SCR."

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It's seems that Bruce (or johnasmo) has taken the recent Coiler sidecut from the last few years (10/12/11 for example) and shrunk that composite down to fit between the inserts.  Then they added much larger radii in the nose and tail.  Ingenious!

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Bruce is awesome and I love how he interacts with his customers. Yes we are in a niche sport and a small community if carvers,  a big plus thought is the access to builders at a personal level. Bruce goes above and beyond with his interactions with his customers. The new Contra lineup is another great example of Coiler magic. @Jack M I look forward to testing these bad boys out this coming season. I will be very interested to see how the Contra's compare to the Kessler 168 which for me is the holy grail of snowboards.  I am glad I am in the queue for a few Contra's before the word gets out 😉

 

 

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11 hours ago, Jack M said:

I believe the Contra sidecut is similar to a KST 168 sidecut, with the longest radius at the waist.  I measured my K168 and there is a span of about 15cm at the waist where the width of the board is *constant* - infinite radius.  A quick tape-measure of these seems to indicate something similar.  My pet theory is the shorter radii at the tip/tail are what bend the board into the arc, and the longer radius at the waist prevents the board from kinking in the middle.

 

The quote below is what I remember reading...

41 minutes ago, workshop7 said:

"Bruce sent these SCR numbers as a guideline for me: 15 nose - 9.5 front foot - 11 between the feet - 10 rear foot - 16 tail, done on a depth equal to approx 10.5m SCR."

 

I have no idea if it's really the sidecut. I wonder what others make of this...

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1 hour ago, workshop7 said:

I believe the Contra side cut is just the opposite of what KST is.  Kessler states on his website that the largest radius its in the middle of the board.  The radius then decreases in front and behind the inserts moving towards the tip and tail where the smallest radius resides.

In my text thread with Bruce he states the opposite.  Not exactly the opposite though.  It's not as straight forward as KST.  The following is from a post by RCrobar.  This was in his review of the Contra 166.

"Bruce sent these SCR numbers as a guideline for me: 15 nose - 9.5 front foot - 11 between the feet - 10 rear foot - 16 tail, done on a depth equal to approx 10.5m SCR."

Interesting, thanks.  I wouldn't call that opposite of KST though, as it is longer between the feet.  I wonder how long those 15 and 16m segments are.  I don't think they can be too long if the board averages 10.5m.  I've asked Bruce for some clarification.

1 hour ago, GeoffV said:

I will be very interested to  see how the Contra's compare to the Kessler 168 which for me is the holy grail of snowboards

I feel the same way.  My 175 is similarly perfect, just 2m longer for when conditions are better.  Will be very interesting to see how the Coilers do.

 

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I have 2 Contras, all mt, so softer and wider and not a fair comparison to a carving stick. Bruce described the new sidecut to me as "mid-tight, like a Thirst".

I think a few Thirst customers (johnasmo and crackaddict) were longing for an audibly quieter metal version of a Thirst. Maybe James can provide a comparison between his extra long (195-ish) Contra and Thirst 9SW?

The Thirsts have a more springy liveliness to the ride that I enjoy. While audibly noisy on hard snow and ice compared to a metal board, they still have a quiet smooth ride. Not quite the metal-damp ride of a Coiler or Kessler.

Regarding the asym sidecut, I don't really notice it, but I like the way it rides. Remember that the Thirst sidecut is set back and tighter on the toeside and apparently this makes sense to elite level racers. When I described it to Mark Fawcett, he said he had built some of his race boards with a similar offset sidecut. My daughter thought it made total sense too. What do I know? My first real carving board was a Hot Logical.

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So indeed Bruce confirmed they are tighter in the middle, which is the opposite of KST, hence the name Contra.  We shall see how it works!!

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7 hours ago, workshop7 said:

It's seems that Bruce (or johnasmo) has taken the recent Coiler sidecut from the last few years (10/12/11 for example) and shrunk that composite down to fit between the inserts.  Then they added much larger radii in the nose and tail. 

Not sure that is exactly where the idea came from

Edited by Lurch
Is that an elephant?

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I'll be the contrarian here.  I actually think that a lot of fine tuning of turn radius along the length of the board just ends up being a lot of noise in the turning equation.  The flex of the board and importantly how that flex varies tip to tail seems to have a much greater influence on turning characteristics.  Rants welcome.  :lurk:

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5 hours ago, Jack M said:

Why, is the board asym?  I am goofy.

Short answer, yes. Mark builds them stance specific as the side cut is asym. I’m sworn to secrecy on the exact build details. Which is a good thing as I’ve probably forgotten it all anyway. 👍

But if there is hope for a 20/21 riding season I’ll make the trip to the Loaf with the full goofy accoutrement of Thirst boards. These are my personal boards and  I’m no way involved with Thirst, other than perhaps contributing a mortgage payment or two by keeping him busy building boards.  

 

 

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9 hours ago, bigwavedave said:

I have 2 Contras, all mt, so softer and wider and not a fair comparison to a carving stick. Bruce described the new sidecut to me as "mid-tight, like a Thirst".

I think a few Thirst customers (johnasmo and crackaddict) were longing for an audibly quieter metal version of a Thirst. Maybe James can provide a comparison between his extra long (195-ish) Contra and Thirst 9SW?

The Thirsts have a more springy liveliness to the ride that I enjoy. While audibly noisy on hard snow and ice compared to a metal board, they still have a quiet smooth ride. Not quite the metal-damp ride of a Coiler or Kessler.

Regarding the asym sidecut, I don't really notice it, but I like the way it rides. Remember that the Thirst sidecut is set back and tighter on the toeside and apparently this makes sense to elite level racers. When I described it to Mark Fawcett, he said he had built some of his race boards with a similar offset sidecut. My daughter thought it made total sense too. What do I know? My first real carving board was a Hot Logical.


If the Contra is more of a response to the idea of a “metal Thirst” , then it just misses the point for me. I welcome the liveliness and noise. It’s feedback. It tells me where and when I suck. And somehow in the din of that feedback is one of the most predictable, relaxed and smooth transitioning boards I’ve ever ridden. They’re completely unlike any of the other boards I have. I’m not bashing other builders, but what @Freezer said makes a lot of sense to me and is the reason my son rides my hand-me-downs. And they are pretty spectacular hand me downs. But they all begin to feel the same after a while which is not the case for me and the Thirsts. FWIW...

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On 5/15/2020 at 7:09 AM, workshop7 said:

It's seems that Bruce (or johnasmo) has taken the recent Coiler sidecut from the last few years (10/12/11 for example) and shrunk that composite down to fit between the inserts.  Then they added much larger radii in the nose and tail.  Ingenious!

That's an apt description -- a tight-long-med VSR stuck between longer radi tip and tail.  A plot of curve's curvature over length looks like a flying W.  Such a graph looks more like a new camber profile than a sidecut, but that's really plotting the derivative of the curve, not the curve itself.

18 hours ago, Freezer said:

I'll be the contrarian here.  I actually think that a lot of fine tuning of turn radius along the length of the board just ends up being a lot of noise in the turning equation.  The flex of the board and importantly how that flex varies tip to tail seems to have a much greater influence on turning characteristics.  Rants welcome.  :lurk:

Agree and disagree here.  Core flex is #1.  But sidecut profile is a strong lever to control the shape your pushing the board to form, which is a lever to control distribution of load.  There's the shape the board wants to make based on deforming the sidecut curve to meet a plane, then there's the shape the core flex alone would want to form just bearing the load, then there's the shape of the carve in the snow itself.  The shape of the carve in the snow, oscillating between smoothly decreasing and increasing radius curves, is the shape the board is forced into.  The difference between that shape and the other two affects how much load different parts of the board are carrying to force it into that shape.  So tuning the curvature of the edge is a way of tuning where the forces flexing the core are distributed along the edge.

Whether turning a car or motorcycle on a road, or a snowboard carving snow, staying hooked up requires not exceeding the friction available where the rubber meets the road, so to speak.  For the snowbaord, that means distributing the flexing loads along the edge to not exceed the friction available at those points.  Which is uneven, as it is affected by the vertical downforce at each point and trench depth behind different parts of board.  We're playing with both core *and* sidecut design variables to distribute *both* flexing load and downforce, trying to match to available friction on icy runs.  Results have been promising so far.

I'll share more later, but now I want to go skin what's left of our mountain.  Day 150.  Might be last day, as no longer contiguous snow this week and the boot pack is getting longer each day.

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On 5/14/2020 at 7:26 PM, pow4ever said:

Could be false memory but I seems to recall some thirst owner was hoping for metal dampness for very specific condition.

Yup.

On 5/15/2020 at 10:20 AM, bigwavedave said:

I think a few Thirst customers (johnasmo and crackaddict) were longing for an audibly quieter metal version of a Thirst.

Yup again.  I'm a metal fan.  So far, I've not ridden anything that remains as composed and predictable as edge hold slips and regains as metal construction.  No muss, no fuss; just keep calm and carve on.

It's fair to say the Contra was inspired by Mark's boards, but they're not metal knock offs.  It was from trying to sort out what made Mark's edge hold behave differently that inspired applying some contrarian thinking to a Bruce build.  There's no asymmetry of sidecuts or difference in toe/heel offsets or any of that, unless you ask for it, but allowing for more center flex and switching to a long-short-long VSR was done in pursuit of better edge hold on ice.

Mark's boards proved to me that good edge hold wasn't from metal.  Metal was only contributing control and composure to otherwise chaotic, chattery situations.  The edge hold had to be from something else, like better distribution of turning loads against the available friction.  So back to flex and sidecut experiments.

On 5/15/2020 at 7:23 AM, GeoffV said:

Bruce is awesome and I love how he interacts with his customers. Yes we are in a niche sport and a small community if carvers,  a big plus thought is the access to builders at a personal level. Bruce goes above and beyond with his interactions with his customers. The new Contra lineup is another great example of Coiler magic. @Jack M I look forward to testing these bad boys out this coming season. I will be very interested to see how the Contra's compare to the Kessler 168 which for me is the holy grail of snowboards.  I am glad I am in the queue for a few Contra's before the word gets out 😉

This is so true.  Alpine might not be thriving and growing in numbers, but you wouldn't know it from the gear.  It's a really good time to be buying alpine gear because of the personal attention we get from quality builders.  Bruce was already dabbling with table-topping the core profiles of BX boards at the same time I wanted exactly that as well as a contrarian sidecut on an Alpine.  After a bit of back and forth over numbers, he was willing to share his milling CNC programs with me so I could mod them to my liking.  Can you imagine that happening at a big batch board company?

Being in alpine today is like being on a factory race team getting custom gear, even if you (like me) have never turned a gate in your life.  And it's not just Bruce.  We have Mark (Thirst), Rob Lu (Winterstick), Sean (Donek), Jasey-Jay (JJSB).  Lot of personal attention available from world class builders right here in North America.

As for K168 comparisons -- hearing so much about them, I acquired a used specimen from another member here right *after* the pandemic shutdown. Boot packed it up for a few tries on days old groom.  Not a true test, but enough to tell it was unflappably composed as expected.  Behavior consistent with a tight-long progression.  Confirmed later by at-home measurements to be a 8-12-10 VSR.  I'll save details for tomorrow.  Spoiler alert: "Clothoid my ass."

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I'll throw in my tarnished 2 cents.

I was lucky enough to ride the Contras at MCC.  They are fantastic boards but not my cup of tea. They felt like my Stubby and Thirst 8RW had a red headed step child. The contras rode like a Thirst that you have to drive more and actually pay attention rather than just ride and flow.   Personally I like my older Coilers for what they are and my Thirst for what it is.  The Contra just left me wanting for one or the other.  The metal didn't do anything for me at all.  I'm gonna have to side with Kneel on this one.  

It was interesting riding the chairlift with some extremely talented riders and getting their opinions on what constitutes a great snowboard for them.  Had some agreements, had some disagreements.  It almost seems like its not the gear that makes the rider! Go figure.

But like Johnasmo said, we are blessed with builders willing to innovate in our niche.  Different strokes for different folks and all that.

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