Mountain boards are certainly hardy pieces of equipment. They have to be, given the job they do and the terrain they are ridden on. Mountain boarders perform fast, tight carves, big air jumps and very heavy landings on sometimes uneven ground. All of this means that modern mountain boards are designed to be pushed hard, and this is great news for second hand buyers as used mountain boards very rarely have any serious damage. Also, almost all superficial damage to mountain boards doesn’t affect performance in the same way that it might on a snowboard, therefore a beaten up mountain board probably rides just fine. Lastly, another benefit of mountain boards is that apart from the deck, the other individual pieces are easily and relatively cheaply replaced. Thus, any damage can be sorted out without too much effort or money.
Outlined here are some of the key points to look out for when inspecting a second hand board, just to get an indication of the standard of the board, and therefore how much it is worth.
Almost all mountain board decks have a wooden core. This gives a great mix of strength and flexibility and allows the board to be responsive yet forgiving. Older boards tend to have layered wood around the wooded core and these boards can suffer more from wear and tear than those more modern boards that use fibreglass as a layered surround. The completely wooden decks should be inspected all around for cracks and big chips, but most importantly water penetration. If any areas of the board look different in colour or the wood is softer, there is a chance that water may have penetrated through the protective layer. This is not a huge problem but left untreated this can cause the wood to swell and weaken the deck. Fibreglass boards are much less prone to this, but can still suffer from delamination, so still check all around.
As with almost all other boards and extreme sports equipment, it is vital that you ask for any stickers or grips to be removed from the board during inspection. It is so easy for imperfections or more serious damage to be hidden quickly using this trick, and it’s only when you get the board home and decide to re-decorate that you realise you’ve been sold a dog. Any serious seller will happily remove any additional coverings for you, after all if they are selling it, why do they care what it looks like?
Make sure you inspect all the wheels and tires on the board. First give them a spin to see that they run true and without resistance or noise. If the bearings have been damaged then the wheels will not spin as well and this could affect the speed and cornering of the mountain board. Some boards have alloy wheels and these are stronger than the standard plastic ones, but can still crack under large pressure so look carefully. Check the sidewalls of the tires for damage and take a look how much grip is left on the contact surface. The grip is very important on mountain boards and if it’s low you’ll be needing some new tires pronto.
Take a good look around the base of the board for damage. All used boards will have cosmetic scrapes and scratches, but you’re looking for any long fractures in either the deck or trucks that could be made worse by riding. On MBS boards pay special attention to the area around the central bearings on the base, as the hangers are plastic and prone to cracking
Some mountain boards have brakes on them so make sure these work before buying. Give the board a quick ride and just check that the mechanism works fine and if there are brake pads, do they need replacing?
If you’re buying bindings as well then make sure they are taken off the board to be inspected as they can sometimes have damage on their underside. Bindings are often subject to just as much strain as the deck so it’s worth your while giving them the once over. The ratchet mechanism is likely to begin malfunctioning over time, and this is a natural occurrence simply caused by general usage. However, if you don’t want be buying a new one straight away, strap in and out of the board a couple of times to check that they work smoothly and hold the feet in place tightly. Also, inspect the teeth on the binding straps as these will naturally wear down as well.
All in all, you can’t go too far wrong with a second hand mountain board and most cosmetic damage is easy and cheap to rectify.