Wednesday, September 26, 2012

the Reckless Vandal -- Rayne Vandal Review

Hey Party People,
I recently got my hands on a Rayne Vandal a board so ready for steeze that it may make you feel like going way bigger and harder than normal... one might even say it makes you feel like a reckless vandal. (see what I did there?) The Vandal really is an awesome board for both freeride and downhill and it has all sorts of nooks and crannies to keep your feet nice and comfy no matter what type of situation you might find you and  your board in.

However, per usual, before we get into how the Vandal handles on the ol' black top let's get into the technical specifications of the board.
Rayne Vandal
25.75, 26.5, or 27.25in
Special Features
Tub Concave, 3D Wheel Wells, 3D Gas Pedals, Mounting Options
The Vandal is a direction topmount board with everything you need to go fast and go sideways and even some surprising attributes to make it pretty fun in other applications.
This board is a pretty dope board to cruise through town on. It is small enough to be nimble on sidewalks but has more than enough room to steeze things out with. Something I really like about Rayne construction is the use of bamboo and pre-tensioned fiberglass. This combination makes their boards both strong as an ox and light as a feather. Being so light is really what makes this board so nice to commute on because it takes like no energy to get moving.
The Vandal also has some nice adjustable wheelbase options, so if you know that you are going to be riding through some close quarters pretty frequently you can dial the wheelbase in nice and tight. This allows you the ability to whip 180 and check slides with little no effort.
Most people would be kind of surprised to know that the Vandal, although definitely not intended to be a freestyle board, has some nice traits for tricks. You can reel the wheelbase down real low to give your Vandal a little tail. Now the tail is not kicked but it is super functional. you can boneless, tigerclaw, shove, and manual with this little tail all day long. In addition something one of my buddies did that was kind of cool is put a footstop on his vandal. This footstop was meant for intense freeride/downhill time but it doubled as an "ollie block." He would pop an ollie and then slide his foot up against that footstop to get a little more leverage on the board and add height to his jump. There's a little pro-tip if you're ever trying to take you Vandal up curbs, haha.
The Vandal is fast. There are no "ifs," "ands," or "buts" about it. This board was built for speed and lots and lots and lots of it. Having never actually ridden a Rayne before this Vandal when I heard that it was made of bamboo and fiberglass I immediately thought of more flexy cruiser type boards and couldn't picture it being stiff. However, the second I stepped on the board all my thoughts of flex dissolved. The Vandal is nice and stiff and has super comfy foot pockets. The board was molded with such thought and foresight that I felt very comfortable going at about my max speed on this board the day I got it.
Where does a Vandal truly shine? Well, to be perfectly honest it was quite a close call between downhill and freeride, but in the end I think the Vandal's true forte is going sideways (and feel free to disagree with me). The platform on this board is something else, the wheels wells form awesome 3D gas pedals that you can really dig your feet into for slides. They feel great for spinning around and transitioning between heel and toeside slides and also make you feel really confident when leaning into bigger slides. The shape of the wheel wells is so intuitive and natural that you don't find yourself needing to monkey foot (when you wrap your toes or heel on the rail of a board to get more leverage) hardly at all. I still do it out of habit when I am going slow (check out some of my pictures), but at high speeds my feet stay on my platform at all times even when switching my slide direction.
Let's Get to that Bottom Line:
Who would I recommend the Rayne Vandal to? I think that this board is great for all those folks out there who are looking to go fast and go sideways. While the Vandal is pretty good for commuting and even has some nice feature for some light freestyle, it is really all about speed. Speed while downhilling and speed while pulling off impossibly large powerslides. The Vandal is currently my topmount of choice because I know when I step on the board I am going to be locked in for any speed I might hit and ready to hit a slide at a moment's notice.

If you are looking for a directional topmount board that can do a little bit of everything but really excels at downhill and freeride then I would humbly recommend the Vandal. It has everything you need to go super fast and slideways. Plus, to top all of that off the construction on the board is great and I know that my Vandal will last me a long long time.
Photo Cred: Flerine!
Any Questions, Comments, Concerns, Loveletters, or Memes???
Hit me up!
Stay Awesome,

My Current Favorite Setup:
-Surf-Rodz 176mm RKP Trucks
-Orangatang Baluts 80a
-Venom SHR Bushings
-Daddies Board Shop Bearings