Burton Cruzer: an excellent beginner's snowboard.
Feb 20, 2002 (Updated Mar 4, 2002)
Review by herjazz
Rated a Very Helpful Review
Pros:Price, Quality, Made for beginners, Light
Cons:Made for beginners (if you learn fast, you'll grow out of them fast)
The Bottom Line: If you're a beginner committed to the sport and are looking to buy your first board, this is an excellent choice.
Seeing how Epinions is so slow in updating their site with new products, and considering that some products (e.g. ski/snowboard products) change yearly, I see that the Cruzer board pictured here is not the current 2001-2002 season model. Nevertheless, here's my review of the 2001-2002 Burton Cruzer snowboard 155cm size (Green base side, Blue top side).
Recommend this product?
First of all, if you've come this far, you have probably decided to buy a board. You are most likely a beginner or intermediate boarder on a budget, otherwise you'd be browsing the $400+ boards... When starting off, it's good to buy from a big, well-established company such as Burton, and to get a non-specialized board for general all-mountain use. That usually means, get a freeride board. The Burton Cruzer is both: a freeride board that you can use all over the mountain, and it's specificially made for beginner snowboarders. It is a directional board, meaning that the tail is heavier than the front, designed for freeriding. And the price is reasonable as well. You can pick one up from eBay (brand new ones) for around $200 or less, and around $150 for a good used board.
My advice for beginners to to invest money on the best boots and bindings you can buy, and then get a reasonably-priced board. This is because good boots will last you years and good bindings will do the same, and they are the factors that most affect your feeling of connection with the board and thus your snowboarding experience. The board, however, will sooner or later break and you'll probably want to "upgrade" to specialized models when you get better or as you decide to switch your riding style. So if you had $500 budgeted for a package, spend $300 of it on boots and bindings and $200 on the board; don't spend $400 on a nice-looking "pro" board and $100 on bad boots and cheap bindings!
Consider the advice of the salespeople at the snowboard/ski shop, but only consider it as one of many sources of information. Board sizes are based mainly on your weight, not height. The Burton guidelines for their board sizes are fairly accurate for most people. You an use the "B.U.R.T." tool on their website (www.burton.com) to narrow down board choices by inputting your weight, shoe size, height, sex, etc. I'm 5"4' 125lbs. and I chose the 155cm version of the Cruzer (suggested weight range is 110-160lbs). It feels just right for me. Other boards I've rented were 150, 149, 146cm and they seem right to me as well, so there is no hard-and-fast rule for sizes. The waist width of the board is normal, maybe slightly on the narrow side for me (I have size 10 boots). I set up my bindings so that I have an even amount of toe and heel overhang (about 1.5"), and doing a test, the boots don't touch the ground even at angles of more than 60 degrees, so I do not drag my boots in the snow. This is mostly because my bindings' height is fairly high. I'd say size 10 boots are the maximum for this board. If you have larger boots, a wider board may be needed (wide beginner boards are rare, and Burton doesn't make one-- you'll have to spend more money for an intermediate/advanced board if you need go wide). Always make sure to try on the boards with your bindings and boots to check the overhang!
The Cruzer (and the LTR, which I think they only rent as part of their Learn-To-Ride Program) both are designed for beginners in that their steel edge is "beveled" 3 degrees on the bottom. This is to lessen the chance of the edge catching and making you fall. A subtle but nice feature. The steel edge wraps around the entire board and not just the sides; all Burton boards have this, fortuantely. The board has a good amount of flex, but it's slightly on the stiff side. It's fairly light, though (compared to the rentals I've been riding). The stance is set up for 25mm towards the back (for freeriding), and employs Burton's 3D binding mounting hole pattern. This system allows for 6 different positions each for front and back for binding mount configurations to adjust your stance. By default it is set at 20" which works fine for me. I'm currently experimenting with binding angles, but I'm somewhere around 24 degrees in the front and 12 degrees in the back for easy turns and natural feel. General rule is 15-30 in the front and 0-15 in the back for beginners and adjust from there.
And despite what idiotic salespeople will tell you, you can use non-Burton bindings with Burton boards. I have a Drake F-60 (very nice bindings at a good price), and the baseplate disc has the extra hole in it to be able to mount in the Burton 3D pattern. Other bindings also have the ability to mount on Burton boards, either with an adapter disc, or straight from the factory. So you are not restricted to Burton bindings.
The board rides very nicely and starting turns are pretty easy. It's a good solid beginner board for those of us that mastered our first lessons and have gone a few times and are committed to riding a few times a year. I go every weekend, so financially it makes sense for me. :) And to top it all off, the graphics on it are pretty nice too. The graphics is silk-screened on the top, and has a nice matte finish. The graphics are not too flashy, but not tacky either, and it doesn't scream "rental board" or "beginner board" which is a good thing; Much better than the beat-up, scratched-up rentals they have at the resorts! The base graphic has a simple multi-tone wavy theme, and the board comes from the factory waxed and ready to go.
And once you grow out of these, you can sell them to another beginner for a good price, since Burtons are popular and their resale values are pretty good. If you are a beginner, try to get them used or considering getting brand new ones for cheap on eBay (after trying them out at your local ski shop, of course).
As someone said: Don't worry too much about equipment and features and brand names, etc. The most important part of snowboarding is...well, snowboarding! Go ride and have fun!
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