The Gnu Rider’s Choice is a higher end all mountain board. I know a few people who rave about this board so it will be good to finally try it out and see what all the hype is about.
Shape: true twin/asym twin shape, C2BTX; banana with camber & Magnetraction
Bindings: some crazy neon-leopard-printed Bent Metal bindings did the trick
Stats: Dave 6′ 210 lbs stance, Leo 5’9″ 180lbs stance at 23.5″ regs 18/-12 degrees
Conditions: hardpack, semi-firm groomers not a patch of ice to be found anywhere, well groomed boarder-x course, beginner park features about 30 degrees.
First impressions: It’s got hatchets on it.
Dave: The Gnu Rider’s choice is a relatively firm all-mountain board, consistent flex on the nose & tail, torsionally stiff enough to be ultra-responsive but not so stiff it’s like trying to steer a 2×4.
Leo: The Rider’s Choice was about mid-stiff throughout the length of the board. I was expecting it to be a little softer between the feet, but it wasn’t. Don’t quote me on this, but I believe the GNU RC does not have carbon in the tips so that might be the reason why. They use this “quasi glass” construction for its pop. Torsionally, I found the RC to be a bit softer than it’s mid-stiff flex.
Dave: The C2 shape consistently delivered loads of pop, absolutely no complaints this board surprised me here!
Leo: I agree with Dave on this. Consistent pop either direction. The camber underfoot allows you to preload so go about with your ollie shenanigans.
Dave: With a medium-firm flex the Rider’s Choice is definitely not the most playful board around. Although it’s still butter- and press-able advanced riders will get more “play” out of this board than novice/intermediates. The Rider’s Choice is really more at home outside the terrain park, rocks, pillows, stumps, natural terrain.
Leo: “Medium-firm” sounds like tofu Dave. Is Tofu playful? At any rate, the RC is not the most playful board on the block. However, the previous RCs had varying flex depending on the size. So the lower sizes will be more flexy if they keep with this tradition. As for the 157.5 we demoed, I echo Dave’s thought that the RC is at home more with the all-mountain side of all-mountain freestyle.
Dave: The Rider’s Choice was very responsive, quick edge to edge transitions on the groomers, and held an excellent edge. Where sometimes the MTX is “grabby” it felt effortless on the Rider’s Choice and really let you lay in to drawn out carves. It is damp enough and stable enough to ride through even unforgiving terrain/conditions with confidence.
Leo: Phenomenal edge-to-edge. Not sure where to give the credit here… quasi glass or the torsional give. The RC was pretty stable although I found it to be a little noisy underfoot on longer drawn out carves. Didn’t ever come close to washing out though thanks to the grippy Magnetraction. Stable without feeling dead as it’s actually pretty lively underfoot. I just had a blast making turns on this thing. The RC also features an Asymmetrical sidecut to give you more power on your heelside. I always found this to be more marketing than anything. Perhaps it’s because I always have a moderate forward lean on my bindings anyway.
Pricing: The Gnu Riders Choice goes for about $550
Summing it Up
Dave: The Rider’s Choice was a blast to ride and probably one of my favorite Mervin boards. Although it’s lacking a little bit for park/jib the Rider’s Choice is still pretty versatile and the sort of board that will grow with you as a rider. Intermediate riders can definitely progress on this board, and advanced riders should enjoy it’s all-mountain versatility.