I was trawling snowboard sites the other day making my wish list of boards I’d love to own in my quiver ready for the winter ahead (as you do at this time of year), when I came back to a firm favourite… the Lib Tech TRS!
This multi award winning snowboard has been on my radar for some time, while geeking out on the finer details I started to get carried away with the tech jargon on the website and especially the TNT Fluoro Infused Base. This sounded the business for high speed charging so I went to their tech section to get more information but this is where I started getting worried…..
“TNT BASE MATERIAL
From Lib Tech’s site it list this as “Fast and low maintenance dual layered fluoro base material. Wax it or maybe skip a day. Use Oneballjay snowboard wax.”
This is unusual as most snowboard manufacturers will list the grade and type of material used in the base.
It’s important to note that 2 main types of base exist, sintered and extruded. Both have their place and application, with sintered being a faster more expensive material with better wax retention and extruded being cheaper, slower but easier to repair.
This board retails for circa £450, so you’d expect some higher end materials for your hard earned money. So I started to dig further and discovered that its actually an EXTRUDED base! Which explains why when I’ve previously demo’d some Lib tech snowboards they have felt a bit slow and grabby on the snow. Looking at the Lib Tech range further, I noticed that the majority are sold with the TNT base and only the most expensive snowboards come with their excellent Sintered UHMW base.
This is far from a “Don’t buy Lib Tech” post, but intended to simply help you see through the marketing jargon and buzz words to be more discerning about the equipment you’ll be spending your hard earned pennies on. If a fast base is high on your list then don’t be caught out, as the other Mervin Brands like GNU utilise Sintered bases for nearly every snowboard in their respective ranges.
Still confused about sintered vs extruded bases? Check out this quick 2 min video by the guys at Sputnik to help out..
Hmmmm don’t find too many problems with my Lib Tech sk8 banana although I am on my 4th one. Would say it’s as fast as the previous 7200g Palmer honeycomb, and carbonX which I have ridden I the past!!! Top speed is maybe ultimately not as high but 58mph on gps on a sk8 banana is fast enough for me! And lots of fun when riding it ;-)))
You’ve kinda hit it on the head there that it all depends what you want the board to do as to whether the base material will ultimately influence its performance.
I dare say 58mph is fast enough for most people. Props for that by the way 🙂
What I know Luke was trying to highlight here was how marketing buzz words are sometimes used to disguise the use of ‘relatively’ lower end materials on boards billed as high performance or more prestige models.
My previous TNT was great but the 2018 model came with the TNT base, It is fine in average snow conditions but once you get a nice dry powder day the board sticks to the snow like shit to a blanket. I wont be buying another until they go back to a high end sintered base.
This is an over simplification, in my experience the TNT base is not the same as the majority of extruded bases used by other manufacturers. I own several Lib Tech snowboards with sintered and TNT bases and the TNT can actually be very quick and can react well to advanced waxing techniques. My newest board with TNT base is vey fast and absolutely smokes my friends boards from other manufacturers with sintered bases.
I do wish there were more Lib Tech boards with their sintered base though, it’s a good base material.
From Lib Tech themselves: “The TNT base is neither sintered or extruded”
Thanks for posting on the blog and you make some excellent points there.
As Luke said in his post it really does depend on what you want from a board as to whether the sintered/extruded debate is even something to worry about. But I do think the fact that we’ve had to search pretty hard to find out what the base is actually made from/how it differs shows how unclear marketing material can be in this case. You’ve rightly noted there that Lib state it is indeed neither, which again doesn’t really help us to make an easily informed decision lol 🙂
Luke’s main point wasn’t to knock the TNT base itself but more to highlight that at this price point most riders would expect a sintered base for their hard earned money, I know I would. As you also mention a proper wax and service will bring almost any board to life in a new way, now if only I could afford my own wax technician to travel with me 😀
In your opinion would you say on average sintered bases are faster than their extruded counterparts?
Cheers for the reply, sorry it’s taken me so long to check back on here.
In my experience sintered is faster and harder than extruded.
The reason why I posted is because if you search the forums for information on this subject there is no much nonsense around. For example it is common to read that there is no advantage to waxing an extruded base at all, which I believe to be false. According to sources that I trust the main difference between the speed of sintered and extruded is the proportion of the base that is amorphous (absorbent to wax), as opposed to crystalline (not so absorbent to wax). A sintered base is about 60% amorphous, whereas an extruded base is about 40% amorphous. I think this difference is a lot closer than a lot of posters on internet forums believe.
As you can probably tell I am very interested in waxing! Unfortunately for me Lib Tech appear to select their bases on the fact that most snowboarders don’t pay much attention to waxing. For snowboarders who don’t wax regularly the TNT base is a good choice as it is faster un-waxed than Lib Tech’s sintered bases that I have tried, also in my experience the TNT base ages better in storage so if you aren’t one to carefully storage wax this may be a benefit to you.
Thanks for giving me the opportunity to discuss this stuff!
Thanks for posting and my turn to apologise for the delayed reply.
We most certainly welcome everybody with open arms for a friendly snowboard geek-tech chat (over a beer is our preferred way lol) and it’s great to get knowledgable input.
I’m going to get Luke (OP for this thread) to reply as he’s our main man for this stuff, so feel free to get back in touch after that. As you mention there are a lot of very different opinions out there and overall it just makes life tough for any rider to get good information on the subject.
We actually partnered with Lib/GNU last season to offer the 2016-17 demo fleet to clients on our winter and summer camps (just to note we’re still impartial lol), so have spent around 6 weeks on the new 152cm GNU Forest Bailey Headspace. It was super fun but I did notice that the sintered base on it was a right pain for retaining wax, especially as I’d like to think I do a good job in that department. Although that said, and on the topic of unwaxed vs waxed, even 2 weeks after being waxing the Headspace was still faster than my Burton Antler (camber version) was freshly waxed.
I’m going to have a search next week to see if any empirical studies exist on the subject, that would be cool to see 🙂
sorry for not replying sooner the notifications were going to my spam folder. To add a little clarity and as a previous owner of a Lib Tech TRS and a current owner of the GNU Space Case among 9 other boards 🙂 what the TNT base is known by most people as is Sintruded similar to the Rome Gangplank or Yes Typo effectively its a middle ground between both Extruded and Sintered. Its made using an extruding method but retains a lot of the properties of a sintered base bear in mind the primary difference is in the production process as all bases are essentially just Ultra-High-Molecular-Weight Polyethylene with different molecular weights so in theory you could have an extruded 9000 base it would just be a waste of money though. It is most definitely worth waxing extruded boards, it’s just not retained in the pores of the base as long as the bases are a lot smoother. There are a lot of misconceptions about extruded bases for instance like sintered there are different grades and a high end extruded base will outperform a low end sintered upto around a 4000 from memory, so your statement “A sintered base is about 60% amorphous, whereas an extruded base is about 40% amorphous” is probably based upon the highest grade of extruded base and a low grade sintered also you now get Teflon and carbon infusions into sintered bases which also make a lot of difference. Lib Tech used to use very high end sintered bases but now they are around 5000 so don’t out perform the TNT by much at all, however if you want to try your TNT base against my Arbor or Bataleon bases then I can demonstrate how inferior a TNT base is and it comes on +500 pound boards which is naughty. For me some of the best bases are around Sintered 6-7000 its a very good molecular weight and seems to have great speed and resilience. Please don’t get me started on waxes as well as they make a huge difference to performance, having the right wax can change a boards performance entirely.
Definitely up for meeting up and trying different boards to help you see the difference.
I had an GNU with sintered base. What i’ve noticed it was that this base was very absorbant but in the same time it was so thin and soft, one stone opened it easy. Then I took Lib tech with TNT base, not really sure it was faster but for sure is harder base, better for rough terrain! Great thread btw
Great job for tackling this issue which is so carefully manicured by aggressive marketing that celebrates TNT bases. The crux of the matter is that we are talking about an extruded base (no matter what they have baptized it) at a high-price board. If it makes some sense on boards aimed at 15y-old freestylers who spend everyday in the park it makes NO sense for a freeride board made for steeps, powder and groomers (carving). Also, VERY important: what happens once the base is scratched (and thus loses its properties)? how are you supposed to maintain it after it loses slidability if it doesn’t absorb wax?