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On a scale of 1 to.... (Contra Softbooted)


JRAZZ
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On a scale of 1 to "please don't", place your bets on how a 24cm wide Contra will do with softboots.

 

With all the recent softboot converts and following a recommendation from @slopestar (yes, I'm blaming you) I'm trying to softboot my Contra. I took out my DO out on Copper and was reminded at just how much more I like softboots over hardboots. I like the challenge of HB but let's be honest, I suck at them. If this experiment works out there might be some very new narrower Coiler boards in the classifieds soon...

 

 

SBContra.JPG

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My freestyle to bx Conversion Board was a bamboo core hammerhead 165 Donek built for Big Canuck. 23.5 waist and built hard boot specific. I rode it in softies with power plates and loved it... there have been many alpine and bx specific boards from 159-185 in the last 8 years and I still ride mainly soft bx.

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2 hours ago, charliechocolate said:

Nice bindings.

How much steeper can you go with the angles? Looks like there's going to be a fair bit of overhang.

I don't know why it looks like that. There is overhang but it's not that much and it's fairly high up. Right now the back foot is at 30°. I can probably go to 40°-45° and that will eliminate bootout completely. There's definitely tinkering to be done but right now I just want to know if the boots are enough to turn the board or will I feel like I'm riding a plank.

 

Edit: I missed the snip about the bindings... They are my favorites! You wouldn’t happen to have any more of those? 😂

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I ride soft boots more often than I ride hard boots.  Mostly it's because I am with family and friends who want to be all over the mountain.  I don't love trees, powder, bumps or even black diamond trails when I'm in hard boots.  I love all of that sfuff when I'm in softies.  The couple times a year that I go snowboarding by myself I will be in hard boots.  Otherwise, I love the comfort and freedom I get from softies.  Don't get me wrong, I am a one trick pony.  I don't ride switch.  I don't get air.  If I go into a terrain park it's to ride the untouched groom on the side that @bigwavedave recently mentioned.  I'm a carving snowboarder through and through.  It's all I do.  So, even when I soft boots, riding my Donek Flux or my Coiler BXFR, all I do is ride the rails.

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On 1/23/2021 at 1:59 PM, JRAZZ said:

On a scale of 1 to "please don't", place your bets on how a 24cm wide Contra will do with softboots.

 

With all the recent softboot converts and following a recommendation from @slopestar (yes, I'm blaming you) I'm trying to softboot my Contra. I took out my DO out on Copper and was reminded at just how much more I like softboots over hardboots. I like the challenge of HB but let's be honest, I suck at them. If this experiment works out there might be some very new narrower Coiler boards in the classifieds soon...

 

 

SBContra.JPG

I can over power my Contra AT on firm groom with regular hardboots, and I don't like that much boot for soft snow, so I've been riding my Contra AT with softer hardboots, like Raichle 323's, or these nifty AT boots I picked up in the classifieds here. Pictured is a 165 Contra AT, 23 waist. Angles ~51° fr, ~45° rear, slight inward cant wedges with lifts, rear heel, and front toe. Backland boots with dgss springs. I tried soft boots way back when they were essentially glorified Sorrels, so I have no reference for how much support the new stuff has. I suspect they're comparable to soft hardboots.

364202088_IMG_5647(1).jpg.47528207b78a4c71eeef8a613e4b5d91.jpg

 

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15 hours ago, GeoffV said:

Bruce is shipping me next week his first ever built Contra Sotftboot board. He has not been able to test this build at all. 
Spec: 166, around 9m, 27cm waist. @AlexJand myself will be providing feedback to our Canadian builder. Cross your fingers we love it. 
 

James' @crackaddictJJA TCX 166 might lay claim to be the first softboot-specific Contra sold.  It was farmed out to Jasey Jay last spring because Bruce couldn't do 30cm wide, but it's got a Contra sidecut.  At least it does if Jasey used the CNC program we shared.  We're not 100% sure he used the program as he might have tried to reverse engineer from the provided graphs back into his CAD tool (Rhino?). 

The rabbits are breeding down in the SB rabbit hole.  Several softboot variations on the Contra sidecut profile have emerged for testing since classic Contra alpine.  BX, SB, and FR flavors.  They are all variations on the Contra theme, which could be described as a shortened VSR inside longer radius tip and tail.  The different variations play with where exactly the tighter and longer radii are positioned, the magnitude of the differences, and the amount of progression front to back.  There's also an new alpine variation that could debut at MCC, the KK.

Yours will be the first of the Contra SB built.  He built and tested a Contra BX before getting shut out.  No FR built yet; it's for a particular customer; might be eclipsed by the SB as they are close.  The SB is like a hybrid between BX and classic alpine.  More carving focused than BX, but shouldn't have to tilt as high as classic Contra to initiate.

It will be enlightening to get feedback on these softboot variations.  The differences are small.  They might not even be noticeable if it's mostly the cores accounting for the Contra feel.  My fingers are crossed.

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Well the experiment was conducted. The result? Interesting.

It felt exactly the same as riding it with hardboots except I had a bit less support when leaning into the tongues. It's interesting but I had the same issue when riding hardboots without any canting on my rear knee, that is that my knee gets tucked in and then I have no power rolling heel to toe. 

It's not all a wash though. The front boot had plenty of authority and I didn't feel the angles were wrong. I did feel that the board needs a lot of accuracy in turning. In comparison, my DO accepts weight shifts really well but this required me to be very accurate. Once I got the hang of it I managed some really nice heel-side turns that felt awesome. 

So interesting as an experiment and it might work really well with soft boots and some canting for me but for now I'll go back to HB on this one. 

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1 hour ago, JRAZZ said:

I did feel that the board needs a lot of accuracy in turning.

If you haven't, you might try shifting the bindings back. My big Contra felt a little nose grabby centered, but became much more balanced when I shifted back a touch.

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I think I shifted back maybe 20mm? Basically moved the back foot back one 2x2. I think I left the front foot as I wanted to widen the stance just a touch. In my case I found the board just as easy to turn, but less likely to dive once already on edge.

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You were exactly right!!!

I realized that in order to get the correct stance width I had to move the front binding forward. So I went back and tried the Contra AT with softboots again but this time I shifted my bindings back and relaxed the angles a bit (36/21).

Holy Canoly! This thing is great with softboots!!! The twichiness and desire to autorotate is gone. Instead it rolls easily and also holds an edge. I'm not 100% done with the setup but it's enough for me to realize that I am done with hardboots.

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Hardboots are dead! Long live Softboots!!!

 

I liked the Contra the moment I got it on snow but the boots were holding me back. I got out yesterday on some fairly hard groom (I think I even saw ice!! 🤯) I'm getting there with the setup but there's no doubt in my mind that it is an EXCELLENT softboot carving board. 

If I could carve on it anyone could 😄

 

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This Contra is wider than stock (24cm waist) and the flex is relatively soft. It's stiffer and less playful than the Alloy DO but it's also noticeably softer than the NFCB. I would say it's ever so slightly stiffer than the BXFRs that I've seen. I did ask Bruce to make it soft.

Don't know if that answers it... Stiffer than DO, very close but stiffer than BXFR, softer than NFCB.

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