Snowboard Review: 11-12 Lib Tech Banana Magic

11 Jun, 2011


Location: Mammoth, CA

Snow Conditions: Hardpacked to softpacked groomed runs.

Setup: I rode the Lib Tech Magic Banana with my Union Team bindings and Vans Veil Boots size 8.

Size: 157cm.

First Impression: It rips up the mountain with all mountain freestyle flare to it.

Weight: average

Flex: The Banana Magic is that all mountain freestyle board that is on the stiffer side for freestyle but that’s what makes it handle the whole mountain and take on the park.  Lib Tech rates it as a 6-7 on their scale.  Both longitudinally and torsional it’s about the same in flex but BTX on the board makes those butters/presses still doable.  The stability allowed it to ride the mountain comfortably but also good pop for taking into the park.  The Banana Magic is enhanced BTX which means banana rocker between your feet and flat from beginning of inserts to contact points with a numerically enhanced sidecut.

Turning: The Banana Magic doesn’t ride like your typical BTX snowboard, it actually handles carving and turns better with the enhanced sidecut.  Very quick to turn and fast riding on edge, it could rally through carves on the mountain on short and long radius turns.  Heelside turns are easer with the sidecut.  Even on my notes, I raved about the quick responsive edge to edge control it delivered.  It had no problems holding an edge.

Stable: On the mountain, the Banana Magic doesn’t waiver when it comes to freeriding.  It delivers a stable ride, absorbs bumpy terrain and gives you an all mountain snowboard wherever you ride.  It gripped the conditions and held an edge through the riding I took it through.

Pop: Really easy for popping ollies and playing around with despite being on the stiffer flex side.  It’s still very much a playful board.  More playful than the attack banana but less playful than the skate banana.  It’s that board that freeriders can use in park but also cruise the mountain with.  I found it great on the jumps in Forest Trail and just a blast to ride.

Switch: The magic banana is a true twin and this time when I rode it, it rode like a true twin and felt the same regular or switch.

Overall Impression: The Magic Banana can handle it all.  If you freeride but want a park board too, this board can ride the whole mountain without feeling like it can’t handle it.  The cruising and freeriding, it feels stable and handles carving.  Then in the park, it offers up good pop and the BTX gives it playfulness on the nose/tail.

Shay’s Honesty Box: The first time I rode the Magic Banana, I liked that it was a freerider’s skate banana.  The playfulness and freestyle flavor on a board that can handle the mountain without being loose and squirrely.  It’s still that board that I rode the first time and just as fun to keep riding.

Ready to buy? Head over to evo for the Lib Tech Banana Magic or shop their full line of Lib Tech snowboards

On Snow Photo

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Lib Tech Attack Banana description

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Review Disclosure: I rode this board at the WWSRA Mammoth on-snow.  Please be aware boards may change, this review was done in February 2011.

About the author

Shay

From the beginning of time, I was Shannon. From the beginning of snowboarding, I was Shay. From the beginning of online communities, I was Shayboarder. In the end, I’m the writer, photographer, editor, publisher, guru of sorts, product tester, curvy girl, and most importantly the snowboarder behind it all. Follow me on this journey through snowboarding, mountain biking, traveling and fun experiences!

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39 Comments

  1. lando
    June 11, 2011

    any idea on the price range for the banana magic? and how would you compare it to rome’s reverb rocker?

  2. Fes
    June 11, 2011

    Woah! They’ll have a 154 next year. That’s awesome!

  3. Francis
    June 12, 2011

    Cool review sounds a fun board for everything… Do you know what are the waist of the new size 161cm? thanks

  4. Peterborough
    June 13, 2011

    Sounds good to me! Great review.

    I just stumbled across an opportunity to sell my 156 skate banana to a friend, and to buy an 11/12 157 Magic, which I seized, but was concerned that I would miss my Skate Banana.

    I’m about 6 foot 2, and weigh nearly 200 lbs, my banana was a 156 (short for playfulness and trees), which seemed fine, but I did find that it washed out at speed and on hard carves, which I felt had more to do with sidecut and stiffness than length (like tapered pow boards, bananas really are designed to be ridden short, whether the stubborn customers accept it or not). As reference, my hard-carving, fresh groom, all mountain board is a Never Summer Titan 59 (I’m on the East Coast, so I kept it short).

    Shay’s description sounds completely bang-on. I can’t shake that this is going to be my everyday board (ice, old powder, spring conditions, man-made), and that my Titan and pow boards will only come out for very specific conditions (fresh groom and highspeed, and fresh pow, respectively), particularly because my skate banana was becoming my everyday board, despite the wash out.

    Just thought the info above would be useful for anyone considering the Magic, or coming off a Skate Banana, thinking it was too unpredictable for all mountain.

    In my mind, a Magic and a powder board could be all anyone would really need (I think there is nothing like a heavily-tapered directional board for surfy, non-exhausting pow riding, and for me (no matter what Mervin says), the best are the pre-S camber Butron Fish (I know, I hate to admit that Burton has something right, but just like their bindings, they have nailed something there).

    Shay – any thoughts on the price? I think it’s worth it. Premium price for a premium board – tons of R&D and unique/expenisive, environmentally-friendlier ingredients.

    Trust Mervin!

  5. Francis
    June 13, 2011

    Hi Peterborough,
    I mostly agree of what you wrote… I do have a 2008 Lando Lib Tech 160 (BTX version).
    I used to have an Fish 156, 2005-2006 , that was pretty good at that time …
    But like you, I am in the East Coast (Icy slopes) and to me, even if S camper classic Fish looks good for powder, it is still not as good as Magne-Traction (BTX, C2)… in my opinion for our condition…
    Shay since you rode the Lando 2008 (BTX) 160 how will you compare to the Magic Banana 157? ( I know better base (Sintered) and more Banana) but both are BTX and have the same waist 254mm but completely different sidecut (8.75m for Lando vs around 7m I think)… What is your opinion on this, if you do remember? thanks

  6. June 13, 2011

    Francis, no word on specs yet but I’ll see what I can find out. I’d have to ride the lando again, that’s a bit ago for sure and a lot of boards in between.

    Peter, price is $696.96. Great to hear your experience with the boards as well!

  7. Peterborough
    June 15, 2011

    Hey Francis,

    Yeah, don’t get me wrong, a Fish is a dedicated pow board, they do ok on non-deep, fresh snow, but far from great. If I had to go multi-purpose pow board to compliment a banana (which undeniably is the all-conditions killer, IMO), I would think Rome Notch (pre-S camber) or Malolo. Just more opinions, you never know, someone might find them helpful.

    Thanks for the details on price Shay, wow, that is a lot of money. They (Mervinc people I have spoken to) have said the Magic is the poor man’s Cygnus X-1 (poor just meaning non-rich, in this case) – this might be true. If I think of it, I will post some on-hill thoughts in December or January.

  8. js
    October 12, 2011

    Anything change from last year to this year? This year on their website they are saying it is a c2 board and a 7 side cut radius. Last year they didn’t list the radius or the board profile.

    I am wondering if things changed or if they just happened to show it this year.

  9. October 13, 2011

    JS, good question. I asked a friend at Mervin about the change in titles/descriptions. According to them the board is still enhanced banana so more liked a rockered out camber. The catalog says BTX, the board said Banana Technology so it’s weird the website now says C2BTX. It could have a tinge of C2 and that’s why Mervin changed it up. Who knows, Mervin tends to play around with board technology a lot.

  10. js
    October 14, 2011

    Thanks for asking! But that just made my decision that much harder. I can get the 2011 magic and 2012 TRS for the same price. I have been back and forth a million times and can’t decide which to get. I mostly just free ride so the magic sounds better, but I am worried it will be too aggressive of a board. There are times where I just want to relax down the mountain.

  11. Frank
    October 14, 2011

    JS go than for Magic… better base (sintered) and construction (Balsac) damping , light… plus on both you can Relaxe too in my opinion but Magic will be more playfull… It is on my list for 2012 too

  12. Juanjo
    October 17, 2011

    ¡Great review! Thanks. Im thinking on getting a Banana Magic this winter but I cant decide which size. Im 170 pounds and ride mostly groomers and some freeride, I never do park. Any help? Thanks!

  13. Peterborough
    November 10, 2011

    JS, my understanding is that the Magic is the board for you. I ride like you most of the time, and chose this board for just that. The confusion around what type of banana may be related to patent issues, I’m not sure. My understanding is that this board sits right between btx and C2btx. My board says enhanced BTX, I believe. I have still yet to figure out the sidecut (and I physically posses the board, it’s just that the mtx edges make it hard to discern).

    Frank, I weigh 195, am pretty tall, and went with the 157. Yes, that’s a short board, but I think this is a situation like Burton’s Fish – they really are meant to be sized down. I will say, though, this is not my charger board, I have a longer board for those sorts of days. When the board first came out, I believe the 157 was the biggest (or at least biggest non-wide) they had, I think perhaps there are more (and larger) sizes now just to satisfy people’s habit – many of us never ride anything outside of a 2-3 cm window, which if you think about it, is really limiting.

  14. Peterborough
    November 10, 2011

    JS, my understanding is that the Magic is the board for you. I ride like you most of the time, and chose this board for just that. The confusion around what type of banana may be related to patent issues, I’m not sure. My understanding is that this board sits right between btx and C2btx. My board says enhanced BTX, I believe. I have still yet to figure out the sidecut (and I physically posses the board, it’s just that the mtx edges make it hard to discern).

    Juanjo/Frank, I weigh 195, am pretty tall, and went with the 157. Yes, that’s a short board, but I think this is a situation like Burton’s Fish – they really are meant to be sized down. I will say, though, this is not my charger board, I have a longer board for those sorts of days. When the board first came out, I believe the 157 was the biggest (or at least biggest non-wide) they had, I think perhaps there are more (and larger) sizes now just to satisfy people’s habit – many of us never ride anything outside of a 2-3 cm window, which if you think about it, is really limiting.

  15. Peterborough
    November 10, 2011

    Oops, sorry for the duplicate post, I editted last minute.

  16. Pikz
    December 01, 2011

    Hello all,
    big thanks for your review you’ve push to buy a magic she’s in the plane actually!
    I’ve few questions about which bindings are better for this board.
    I’ve buy the Northwave Decade SL boots, but i can’t make a choice for which bindings to take. I hesitate between Rome targa, Union Force, K2 Cinch CTS and Drake (dunno wich model its just because that’s the same brand of my boots)but dunno wich one to choose.
    So what do you think about these bindings, because i’ve take the magic for her polyvalence freeride/freestyle to enjoy and play on backcountry, flat and pist.

    Thanks in advance and sorry if i’ve a bad grammar (from france).

    Best regards

  17. December 03, 2011

    Pik, really depends on your personal preference for binding response/flex. The Targa is stiffer more freeriding specific but has adjustable ankle flex straps, Force is more all mountain freestyle, Cinch gives you quick entry. So depends on your preferences.

  18. Pikz
    December 05, 2011

    I’m looking for a mid/stiff flex qui a good response, i final focus on Flux Sf45 Rome Targa and Union Force SL but i can’t take a decision kinda boring. i plan to ride 50% on pist 30% backcountry 20% flat but no park, si it’s for that i focus on freeride to all montain bindings but what do you think about the flux SF45 Union Force SL and rome targa, any preferences?

  19. Frank
    December 05, 2011

    Pikz,
    If I can put comments… all 3 bindings are on my list too with the addition of K2 Company maybe too… Basically what I found in 2011-2012… a bit like all the choices of reverse camber and camber tech on the market, binding also have an evolution… regard as the weights differences between some companies also is about now more focus on Footbed… where Flux and Union go for natural auto canted style feeling (Burton do it too) underfoot (softer footbed in some area) so you control the pressing by your body… other goes like Rome, Ride, K2 with some canted footbed from 1.5 to even 4 degrees… Personally I do ride crazy duck style (24 stance and over with -9 to 18 front) so I do like canted so far it is less pressing on my older knees now ;) but all of the bindings you mention above are good, my feeling is Union is a tad lighter (just a tad like less than 90gr a pair) where Flux got better cushing pading for comfy… Bindings are getting like boots now… it is all about fits, comfy and preference ;)

  20. Mark
    December 14, 2011

    I’m looking at the 2012 Magic Banana as my only all-mountain board. I’m 5’9 and 170lbs. Most of my riding is in Japan so need something that floats well. I’m sold on this board, but can’t decide on 157 or dropping down to 154, any thoughts?

  21. December 14, 2011

    Mark, sweet on getting the banana magic! I would definitely stick with the 157, 154 is small for your weight and won’t float as well as the 157.

  22. Frank
    December 14, 2011

    Yes Mark
    go for 157 … with 7 Meters of radius, it will be very agile and more float and better carving… even me and also depending of weight and boot size I am sometimes considering 161 ;) but this is me, I do like longer snowboard for fast carving and float…
    Fun thing with Banana Magic is that all size does have 7 meters of radius….

  23. Peterborough
    January 02, 2012

    Finally Rode the Magic! As promised, my thoughts:

    First day on my Magic in Montana (Big Sky). I’m just over 6 feet tall, and weigh around 200 lb. As mentioned above, I ride in the East most of the time (esp. in the trees), and am coming from a skate banana 156, so I chose a 157. Today’s conditions were packed and fresh powder. An important thing to note in my mind – this board when originally released had very few size options, I don’t even know if it went bigger than 157, my understanding is that the folks at Mervin really feel that banana and magnetraction allow riders to undersize their boards (though customers are hard to convince, after years of being told that only long boards provide control at speed and float).

    My opinion is that this board can be ridden shorter than what most of us are accustomed to riding (bear in mind that when the powder is deeper than 6 inches, I switch to a powder board).

    The bottom line – I feel like this is a more responsive, predictable and versatile skate banana (which is just what I was looking for). I did not suffer the washout that my skate banana often presented while riding the magic today (to be honest, I had to relearn my heel-carves, as they were so much more in control than what the banana could provide). This board sits somewhere between standard banana and c2, I could not make it catch, but it was easier to hold an edge than my old skate banana. If I am not mistaken, this board is also a bit stiffer than an equivalent banana.

    If you can afford it, and it suits you, it’s a real doozy!

  24. Frank
    January 03, 2012

    Thanks Peterborough,
    And Shay, very appreciated your reviews…
    I am now more and more interested about Banana Magic 157… Since I do have Phoenix Lando 160, 2008…. Looking for something more playful, but capable to charge once a while and a good all around (and not loose to remplace the Lando)… What will be the competitor of Banana Magic in case I want to look outside of Mervin product? Do you think NS Heritage 158? Any other snowboard model in your opinion that will be competitor? Thanks

  25. January 03, 2012

    Peter, awesome feedback! Thanks for sharing your experience!

    Frank, Heritage would be a good choice. Have you tried TBT yet?

  26. Frank
    January 04, 2012

    Hi Shay,
    No I been curious about TBT but never tried… are you thinking about The Jam as a competitor of Banana Magic?

  27. January 09, 2012

    Frank, you should definitely try it. Really handles on carving for the mountain but still pretty playful boards.

  28. brrt
    February 03, 2012

    Bought this board in December. fucking slays everything in its path. ice, hard pack, trees, deep pow, mogles, jumps, doesn’t matter. even did alright on the jibber jabbers. Hold on cause this puppy has some serious NOS. it likes to go fast, really fast. Way more stable than most
    boards out there, especially when you get a wide (158 wide for me). I highly recommend getting this stick for anyone looking for one ride to do it all. P.s. Stiff bindings will make this thing go anywhere you want it. Zigs and zags everywhere.

  29. js
    February 12, 2012

    Shay which board is stiffer the magic or coda? I want a do it all board, but mostly freeride. I cant decide between the magic and coda.

  30. Francis
    February 13, 2012

    Peterborough:
    I am agree for havier pow… specific pow board like taper board allways no brainer or maybe BTX (like Gnu Dirty Pillow) or La Nina C1…
    How do you like carving fast with the Magic? did you found any trade off with your NS titan?
    Shay:
    I am getting interesting about TBT … I can see that in 2013, even other company like Elan or Rome (Crossfit) will have a variation of TBT… What do you thing about Rome Cross Fit with Quick Rip for 2013? I do not like the grafic but technology seem to be there… thanks

  31. Pete
    February 16, 2012

    I own a T Rice. Love the board, but want a more all mountain board. Is there a large enough difference between the Magic and Rice to add to the quiver?

  32. Francis
    February 21, 2012

    I mean the new Rome Crossrocket 2013 not Crossfit sorry ;) instead of TBT?

  33. February 21, 2012

    Francis, I haven’t tried it yet unfortunately. But definitely will try to get on it.

    Pete, do you think you want more playful or more mountain?

  34. Pete
    February 22, 2012

    I guess just slightly more play in the deck. I still like a stiffer board, but want more play than the T Rice. Rode the TRS and thought it was way too soft.

  35. March 06, 2012

    Pete, magic might be the option. It’s hard to say until you try it and decide if it works for you. I’d see if you could demo it.

  36. CG
    March 18, 2012

    Shay,

    I am looking to get a Banana Magic, they’re on sale now. I’m 5’8″ around 190, All Mountain rider. Would the 154 be OK? The guy at the shop said I could even go with the 152. Thanks, and great job on the reviews.

  37. Peterborough
    March 22, 2012

    Hello Francis,

    As a matter of fact, I picked up a Dirty Pillows this season (found a price I couldn’t resist), and I picked up a new rock board – a Signal prototype that is sort of TBT (has Park Rocker camber and is bevelled like the Burton LTR and kids’ boards along the edges). The Dirty Pillows is exactly what it claims to be – a resort powder board. I would go even one step further and suggest the D.P. for any fresh or used powder over 10 cm with an uneven base below, as the banana and mild magnetraction compensate beautifully. I will add that the D.P. doesn’t really sink in the tail the way a tapered board would (hence, it’s for powder shallow enough that you sometimes hit the base).

    My Signal is a great board (though it is soft), and if it’s anything like a TBT, which I think it likely is, I would say that a stiffer (not super stiff) TBT board will likely handle like the Magic.

    I also ran into a lad on the mountain with a 2012 T. Rice this season who was willing to switch for a run. After one ride on the T. Rice, I felt like the board, perhaps because of the more pronounced C2 camber, lacked the playful feel of the Magic. It reminded me of a more forgiving version of my Titan, while my Magic, as mentioned before, is more like a versatile, stiffer, less likely to wash out, Skate Banana.

    The Magic can go fast, and feels more secure in chop, but no matter what, in perfect conditions (which don’t come along often), nothing beats a cambered board like my Titan (or maybe even a C2 board like the Rice). I actually split the Titan this year and set the stance way back for pow. I think it and I will be much happier on virgin snow than we were on worked-over resort snow.

    Oh, and I hear the La Nina might be a bit too aggressive for my tastes. I really want a tapered Mervin deck, but I don’t think this is the board for me. Maybe some day. Now if Mervin would just make a pow board with BTX in my wife’s size.

  38. Frank
    March 24, 2012

    Hi Peterborough,
    Thanks for you input on Magic and DP….
    well now for 2013… will be hard to decide between:
    Magic 157,
    iders Choice 161.5,
    illyGoat 162,
    or event the new Flow Maverick 160…
    I figure out that I prefer C2, RC or any other double camber since I want pop and good control…. coming from BTX that will be my next steps… plus I am impress of the Flow NX2 SE for 2013… Maverick looks good too with double camber …
    Also NOW bindings and Ride Capo against Flow NX2-SE
    Not easy decision but a lot of choices for 2103 ;)

  39. March 24, 2012

    CG, Yeah you’d be fine on the 154. The 152 would be on the small size.

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