2013 Niche KNEW 152 Review
Niche Snowboards launched out of Utah this past season and the brand has already turned a lot of heads. Their goal of making environmentally friendlier snowboards has an obvious appeal but to be honest we didn’t know what to expect in terms of either finish or ride quality. With recycled plastics, plant-based resins and soy-based inks the boards sounded great on paper. Niche went ahead and provided us with a KNEW 152 for a long term test and it exceeded expectations through everything we’ve thrown at it.
Flex: Niche calls it soft, but I would definitely call it at least a medium. Flat camber offers a continuous flex along the length of the board. Stiffer torsional flex lets it hold an edge through whatever you ask of it.
Pop: Decent. I liked how it popped off rollers more than how it ollied, but it still ollied decently.
Stability: Good, fairly stable at speed but still a park deck with a mellow sidecut. The Knew is certainly not a damp ride, you do feel what’s going on under your feet and the board transmits some bumps and chatter up to you. The plus side is a solid feel of what’s going on underfoot when jibbing. The board handles it all pretty well though and I’ve had no problem cruising the the whole mountain on it including bump runs and steep terrain.
Edge Hold: VERY good. This board can hold a much better edge than expected. no problem carving high edge angle turns even at higher speeds. I had no problem riding this board on very steep terrain.
Butters/Presses: Good. The Knew presses fine but its not a noodle by any means. Flat camber is nice, but still not the same as pressing a rockered deck. I would have preferred a slightly softer flex, hinge point, or early rise rocker for big presses.
Float: I got the opportunity to take it through the woods at Heavenly after a 24” dump of heavy snow. The Knew performed well, especially for a 152. It obviously didn’t float as well as a rockered board, but held its own nonetheless especially if I kept some speed up.
Who I’d recommend it to: The all mountain freestyle rider who wants to make an environmentally conscious purchase. The Knew gets a high recommendation from me.
For the Ladies: The Minx is the women’s version of the Knew. Same shape and camber profile, but sized down and built with a softer flex.
Their Description: This thing seeks out handrails like the elderly in an ice storm. The poplar core and HempHop™ stringers made with Zelfo® provide plenty of pop while the flat camber and soft flex are perfect for pressing rails. Unlike the carbon used in conventional stringers, our HempHop™ made with Zelfo® is a renewable resource and requires minimal energy to be incorporated into a shredstick. The Knew’s extruded base is more durable than your neighbor’s monster truck and much easier to repair. Although its radial sidecut manhandles switch landings, the Knew’s future-friendly technology makes a minimal impact on the environment—and your wallet. If snow is little more than the white stuff you hit to 5-0 a ledge, the Knew is what you need.
Conclusion: The Knew surprised me…in a good way. Based on their description I expected a softer/noodly jib stick. I couldn’t have been more wrong. The Knew holds up to all mountain on-edge riding just fine. I’ve ridden it through a wide range of conditions and terrain and it hasn’t disappointed anywhere. Honestly calling it a jib deck sells it short. This is a very capable all mountain ride that is much more versatile than its description.
Riding around the resort attracted a fair amount of attention and I have to say that its felt good riding a “greener” deck. Finish quality is very high, there is a lot of attention to detail in these boards. The people at Niche have been very accessible online and at demos to answer questions. They definitely deserve a serious look.
Big thanks to Niche Northeast Rep Kayli Currier for hooking us up with a fresh out of the wrapper deck and instructions to shred the hell out of it. Mission accomplished.