Review of the Trampa Speed Demon Brakeboard
Finally had a chance to ride the Trampa Speed Demon (as I’m calling it cos it’s black and red) with built-in go-faster stick (that’s a brake for the uninitiated).
My normal everyday freeride-in-the-woods board is a short Trampa, but I also ride a noSno brake board, so I was interested to see how this board fits in between the two. It didn’t disappoint. In fact it made me question what I thought I knew about brake riding.
Normal wisdom for riding with brakes is that you need nine inch tyres, you need to be going really fast down mountains to justify having them, and they need to be on the front. This board has eight inch tyres, I was jumping it around tight mountainbike singletrack in the woods in the dark, and it was set up for goofy which meant the brakes were on the back.
So, does size matter? The majority of mountainboarders ride with eight inch wheels. Having brakes that can be used with eights not only opens up a huge market for selling these boards/kits, but it also makes it an easier step for more mountainboarders to get into the kind of freeriding and downhilling that requires brakes. And with more downhill comps on the horizon, more people are going to want brakes. The other big advantage of riding with eights rather than nines is the weight. I ride my noSno with nines and brakes on the front and eights on the back so I can kick the back end around in tight turns. Riding eights all round makes that so much easier to get it into tight turns and the brakes didn’t add any noticeable weight.
Are brakes for going slower or going faster? There’s a reason we call them go-faster sticks. In fact there are two reasons; one, being able to slow when you need to means you can avoid sliding out, and two, they can give you a bit of confidence to ride a little faster knowing you can stop if you need to. So brakes aren’t just for riding long alpine passes, they can enable more mountainboarders to ride more terrain than they might otherwise. Whether that is mountainbike single track in the woods in the dark (which I can thoroughly recommend) or a middle-aged guy who wants to ride at centres with his son but doesn’t like to idea of getting down into powerslides. Riding with brakes doesn’t have to be all about going fast.
Brakes go on the front, right? The science says so. As you brake your weight goes forward onto the front wheels and so adds traction to the tyres increasing braking performance. But I had the brakes on the back. I rode some tight singletrack and tarmac and didn’t notice any real loss in performance. And maybe for my kind of riding having brakes on the back makes some sense. A lot of my speed control comes from scrubbing (which obviously I do with the back of the board) so adding another speed control technique to the back means I can work them together. If you’ve got brakes I recommend trying them on the front and the back, and seeing what works best for you.
Also, whilst I’m on the subject of traction, the Trampa Speed Demon has Primo Alpha tyres. I’m not usually a fan of these tyres. For my kind of riding I find that they have loads of traction up to a point, and then, when sliding, they lose it all at once with no warning. But when it comes to maximum traction for braking in a straight line I’m betting Alphas are the right choice. Set them up hard on the front and bit softer on the back and don’t slide them into corners (use the brake instead).
To sum up, I loved the Trampa Speed Demon! If you have a Trampa and want brakes, these are for you. If you’re thinking of getting a brakeboard, these are for you. If you want brakes but don’t want loads of extra weight, these are for you. If you’re getting your first proper mountainboard and want brakes for a bit more confidence, these are for you.