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MBS Pro 100 Mountainboard with noSno soft bindings
MBS Pro 100 Mountainboard with noSno soft bindings
Mountainboarding

Mountainboarding, also known as Dirtboarding, Offroad Boarding, and All-Terrain Boarding (ATB), is a well established[1] if little-known action sport, derived from snowboarding. This was initially pioneered by James Stanley during a visit in the 1900s to the Matterhorn where snow was not available. A mountainboard is made up of components including a deck, bindings to secure the rider to the deck, four wheels with pneumatic tires, and two steering mechanisms known as trucks. Mountainboarders, also known as riders, ride specifically designed boardercross tracks, slopestyle parks, grass hills, woodlands, gravel tracks, streets, skateparks, ski resorts, BMX courses and mountain bike trails. It is this ability to ride such a variety of terrain that makes mountainboarding different from other board sports.

History

Origins

Morton Hellig's 'Supercruiser Inc.' was the first company to manufacture and retail the 'All Terrain Dirtboard', patented in 1989.[citation needed] Mountainboarding (name coined by Jason Lee) began in the UK, the United States and Australia in 1992. Unknown to each other, riders from other boardsports started to design and build, and eventually manufacture boards that could be ridden off-road. This desire to expand the possible terrain that a boarder can ride created the sport of Mountainboarding.[2]

United Kingdom

Dave and Pete Tatham, Joe Inglis and Jim Aveline, whilst looking for an off-season alternative to surfing and snowboarding, began designing boards that could be ridden down hills. Inglis developed initial prototypes, and in 1992 noSno was started. Extensive research and development produced the noSno truck system which enabled the boards to be steered and remain stable at high speeds.[citation needed] NoSno boards utilised snowboard bindings and boots, with large tyres for rough ground, and the option for a hand-operated hydraulic disc brake.[3][better source needed]

United States

In 1992, after having snowboarded at Heavenly Valley Resort in Northern California, friends Jason Lee, Patrick McConnell and Joel Lee went looking for an alternative for the summer season. Not finding anything suitable they co-founded MountainBoardSports (MBS) in 1993 to build boards that they could use to carve down hills. The original MBS boards, known as 'Frame Boards' had a small wooden deck metal posts to hold the rider's feet, a tubular metal frame connecting trucks which used springs to enable steering and thus create the carving sensation that the MBS co-founders were looking for.[4][better source needed] The first recorded mountainboarding act occurred in the summer of 1978, when local skateboarder Mike Motta residing in Medford Massachusetts navigated down a hill known as Seven Bumps in Malden Massachusetts on a bet, using a standard Franklin skateboard.

Australia

John Milne developed a three-wheeled version of a mountainboard in 1992 in his spare time during periods of very poor surf. It used a unique steering system to emulate surfing on land. It had three wheels and a skate-style deck with no bindings.[5]

Mid-to-late nineties

From the early days of invention there has always been a competitive element in mountainboarding. Encompassing racing, freestyle and downhill, competitions have been organised in the USA since 1993 and in the UK since 1997. In the same year the ATBA-UK (All Terrain Boarding Association), the national governing body for mountainboarding in the UK was born.[6] As a non-profit making organisation it represented and promoted the sport by putting riders interests first, promoting safety, sanctioning events, providing training, and sourcing funding to put on the ATBA-UK National Series, an annual series of competitions. The competitions did much to promote the sport and in 1998 mountainboarding had an estimated participation of over 1 million athletes worldwide.[1] The components evolved, and the sport continued to grow. MBS developed the open heel binding, the channel truck, the "eggshock" and the reverse V Brake system and sold boards in around 30 countries worldwide. In 1998 Maxtrack started distributing MBS mountainboards in the UK and Europe.

Future

As of recent there have been some powered mountain boards gaining traction in the board enthusiast world. Small gas or electric motors attached to allow for mountainboarding to be done on flat ground or to climb hills rather than just going downhill. Many DIY electric mountainboard builders are constantly developing new drivetrains for their boards with electric motors, rivaling the power of small motorcycles, becoming the norm.

Equipment

Board components

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Deck

Mountainboard decks are the part that most of the components are attached to, and provide the base for the rider to stand on. They are generally from 90–110 cm in length, and can be made from a range of construction methods and materials. For example, high specification boards may be made from composite carbon and glass reinforced plastics, possibly with a wooden core, similarly made to a snowboard deck. Basic decks are generally made using laminated wood pressed into shape, comparable to a longboard deck with larger dimensions and a different shape. There are variable characteristics such as flex, weight, shape, length and tip angle that can be catered for in custom or stock boards from a variety of manufacturers.

Trucks

Trucks are the components made up of a hanger, damping and/or spring system, and axles which attach the wheels to the deck. They also have the mechanisms required to allow the board to turn.

Skate trucks
Skate truck
Skate truck

Skate trucks have a rigid axle and a top hanger, with a single bolt and bushings, also called rubbers or grommets, that provide the cushion mechanism for turning the mountainboard. The bushings cushion the truck when it turns. The stiffer the bushings, the more resistant the mountainboard is to turning. The softer the bushings, the easier it is to turn. A bolt called a kingpin holds these parts together and fits inside the bushings. Thus by tightening or loosening the kingpin nut, the trucks can be adjusted loosely for better turning and tighter for more control. Skate-style mountainboard trucks are similar to skateboard trucks but more robust and with a longer axle.

Channel trucks
Channel truck
Channel truck

Channel trucks are common on mountainboards, and are made up of an axles mounted to the truck bottom piece, which is suspended from a top hanger by a kingpin. They are mounted to the deck using nuts and bolts through the hanger part, on an angle, (usually 35°). When the board is tilted laterally the axles turn together to angle the wheels in the direction of the turn. Two polyurethane dampers sometimes known as "egg shocks" are mounted between the hanger and the axle housing on each truck to provide resistance to the lean of the rider during turning. Springs are mounted in the same place with the dampers inside them.

Shock and spring arrangement
Shock and spring arrangement

The 'shocks' present in channel trucks are there to dampen the turning system, and help reduce the oscillations of the trucks on the board commonly described as speed wobble. The springs are there to return the deck to centre after a turn has been performed, neither are there to provide suspension between the deck and axles. They have a kingpin that can't move vertically which prevents this.

Also, the effectiveness of springs as employed in current (2009) channel truck designs is open to debate. In a "Coil over Oil" shock, the extension of the spring is dampened as well as contraction. In a channel truck design, this is not the case as the damper sits freely inside the spring—therefore only contraction is dampened, not extension. This means that when a spring ceases to be under load and extends, it can extend past the equilibrium point.

NoSno trucks

NoSno trucks use two 'kingpin'-type bolts to create a floating pivot, an axle with a plate into which the bolts go, an angled base plate that attaches to the deck, and polyurethane bushings to dampen the turn. The amount of turn available in the trucks can be adjusted by tightening the bolts or by using bushings of different hardness. A similar design was adopted by Howla Mountainboards for the limited time that they manufactured boards.

Bindings

Snowboard binding
Snowboard binding
Ratchet-strap binding with heelstrap
Ratchet-strap binding with heelstrap
Velcro binding with heelstrap
Velcro binding with heelstrap

Bindings involve adjustable straps that hold the rider on to the board while allowing room to move their feet.

Wheels

MBS wheel made up of an aluminium hub and 8" tire
MBS wheel made up of an aluminium hub and 8" tire

Wheels are made up of plastic or metal hubs and pneumatic tires ranging in size of 8–13 inches. The 8" wheel has evolved into the best choice for freestyle riding, and also an all purpose wheel for general riding. Larger wheels (generally 9" and 10") are more useful to the downhill rider; granting the rider access to high-speed runs and more stability when travelling at speed.

Tyres

Various tyres have been made available by different mountainboard manufacturers, giving riders a choice of tire specifications. For example, the thickness of the tyre is variable between tyres, usually either 2 or 4 ply. 2 ply tyres are lighter, but more susceptible to punctures than 4 ply tyres. There is a variety of tread patterns available, ranging from street slicks to deep tread designed for maximum grip with split center beads to channel water away. Width and diameter is also variable.

Brakes

Brakes are generally reserved for big mountain riding where riders need an increased ability to control their speed over long runs. The brakes are most usually attached to both front wheels of the mountainboard rather than the rear to give greater braking efficiency and reduce the chances of the rear wheels locking up and skidding. They are operated via a hand-held lever which when pulled causes both brake mechanisms to work simultaneously. There are four types of brakes used on mountainboards:

Mechanical drum brakes
Those brakes use brake drums attached to the wheel with the 5 wheel-screws (Scrub). They are cheap and brake rigidly but get extremely hot and tend to melt the plastic hub. Good emergency brakes only, not any good for long steep hills. There is currently no heat resistant hub where they would attach to, which could however be easily made of e.g. alloy.
Hydraulic Disc Brakes
Hydraulic disc brakes use rotors attached to the hubs with hydraulically operated brake mechanisms that force ceramic pads against the rotors to effect braking. Advantages include high braking power and reliability. Disadvantages include cost, vulnerability of the discs, heat build up, and weight.
Hydraulic Rim Brakes
Hydraulic Rim Brakes use the hub, or preferably, a bolt on metal disc as the braking surface for hydraulically operated brake mechanisms that push polyurethane blocks against the braking surface. Advantages include good braking power, and good modulation. Disadvantages include possible damage to bearings.
Cable-pull 'V' Brakes
Cable-pull 'V' Brakes also use the hub or metal discs as a braking surface. The hand operated lever pulls a metal cable to push polyurethane blocks against the braking surface. Advantages include low cost, low weight, and easy installation and maintenance. Disadvantages include low braking power, and the need to be regularly adjusted.

Protections

Mountainboarders wear a range of protective equipment while riding.

Disciplines

Mountainboarding consists of four main disciplines:

Downhill (DH)

Timed one-man descents. Usually relatively long courses (1 km+) in the mountains. Sometimes referred to as big mountain.

Boardercross (BoarderX, BX)

Two to four-man racing on a specifically designed track.

Freestyle (FS)

Freeriding (FR)

Non-competitive riding over a range of natural terrain including woodland.

Similar Sports

Similar all terrain boardsports include Dirtsurfing and Kiteboarding.

Crossover Sports

Media

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The following are some of the numerous publications Mountain Boarding has had in various news media outlets and other media, including for the annual Mountain Board US Open in Snowmass and the Twighlight Showdown Mountainboard Championships.[7]

Historical Magazines

Movies

TV

Newspapers & Magazines

Chad Harding features in Stroud news and journal about his win in the under 14s UK championship freestyle.

Public service/Community (online)

Competitions

World Freestyle Championships

From 2005 to 2008 was named Fat Face Night Air WFC

From 2009 to 2010 was named Battle of Bugs

World Downhill Championships

World Boardercross Championships

Overall World Champions

European Downhill Championships

European Mountainboard Tour

European Mountainboard Challenge

See also

References

  1. ^ a b Wall Street Journal, April 16th 1998
  2. ^ "Remolition's history of Mountainboarding Article". Archived from the original on 2011-07-15. Retrieved 2009-03-03.
  3. ^ noSno Off-Road Boards Archived 2009-03-21 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ MBS History Timeline Archived 2009-04-25 at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ Outback Mountainboards
  6. ^ About the ATBA-UK Archived 2016-01-08 at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ Alexa Konstand ( More Posts) (2009-09-02). "Twighlight Showdown Mountainboard Championships Were a Success". The Ski Channel. Retrieved 2012-08-17.
  8. ^ Johnny Kapahala: Back on Board 1/10
  9. ^ Dailymotion video of TV coverage of world downhill championships 2009
  10. ^ YouTube video of History Channel Mountainboarding segment
  11. ^ YouTube video of They think it's all over segment
  12. ^ YouTube video of Park City TV segment
  13. ^ YouTube video of Good Morning Utah segment
  14. ^ YouTube video of JSP TV segment
  15. ^ YouTube video of Toasted TV segment
  16. ^ YouTube video of Domino's Pizza advert
  17. ^ YouTube video of Horizon TV segment
  18. ^ YouTube video of WDR segment
  19. ^ YouTube video of the Utah DirtStar Army team
  20. ^ "Skater boy vs Mitsubishi Evo - Top Gear - BBC"
  21. ^ [1] Archived March 18, 2012, at the Wayback Machine
  22. ^ Guardian Article
  23. ^ Telegraph Article
  24. ^ Men's Health Article Archived 2012-09-06 at archive.today
  25. ^ "ATBoarders.com - Always Fresh...Always A Ting". www.atboarders.com.
  26. ^ "Mountainboard News You Need". The Dirt. Retrieved 2012-08-17.
  27. ^ "Surfing Dirt Mountainboarding Community". Surfingdirt.com. Retrieved 2012-08-17.
  28. ^ "Remolition Mountainboarding | Mountainboarding at its best". Remolition.com. Archived from the original on 2010-02-16. Retrieved 2012-08-17.
  29. ^ "Mountainboarding - The Beginners Guide". Mountainboarding.uk.com. Retrieved 2012-08-17.