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What angle to sharpen snowboard edges?

When it comes to maximizing the performance of your snowboard, one crucial aspect to consider is the angle at which you sharpen the edges. Achieving the perfect edge angles can greatly impact your control, grip, and overall riding experience on various snow conditions. 


 What angle to sharpen snowboard edges?

In this article, we will delve into the different factors to consider when sharpening your snowboard edges, including the base and side edge angles. By understanding the significance of each angle and selecting the optimal combination, you can enhance your snowboarding skills and get the most out of your equipment.

All About Edge Angles:

First, it's essential to distinguish between the base edge angle and the side edge angle. These angles are determined by the manufacturer but may not always be exact due to the mass production process. Variations can occur during production, so it's important to be aware that the factory-set angles are only approximate. Typically, most snowboards come with a 1° base edge angle and an 89° side edge angle. However, these angles can be fine-tuned to suit your specific riding style and preferences.

The Base Edge:

Both the base edge and side edge play a significant role in your snowboard's performance. While the base edge angle requires less attention, it still deserves proper maintenance. Initially, the base edge should be set correctly, and afterwards, regular maintenance can be done to remove burrs and nicks using a DMT diamond file. Setting the base edge angle accurately is crucial as having a zero angle can lead to the snowboard catching on the snow, resulting in difficulties and potential falls.

To set the base edge angle, you will need a reliable base bevel guide and a new file. Investing in quality tools is a worthwhile decision. By setting the base edge correctly, you will only need to reset it after a base grind or an extended season. Removing any burrs and nicks using a DMT diamond file will ensure a smooth transition to working on the side edge.

Setting Your Base Angle:

When it comes to sharpening your snowboard edges, it's crucial to sharpen the base edge before the side edge. Manufacturing processes can result in variations in the base angle, and it's essential to fine-tune it for optimal performance. Start by checking if the base of your snowboard is truly flat using a "true bar" or a metal scraper. This step will help identify railings with higher edges than the base, which can impact your riding experience.

After ensuring a flat base, you can proceed to set your base bevel angle. It is advisable to start with a small angle and gradually increase it if needed. Using a sharp file inserted into the Base Bevel tool, gently run it along the edge. Some riders find it helpful to color the edge with a permanent marker to track progress. Once the marker is gone, the entire edge has been sharpened evenly. Finally, use a DMT diamond file or a Gummy Stone to eliminate any remaining burrs.

Filing Tips:

When using hand files, paying attention to the cutting action is crucial. A clean cutting sound indicates proper file usage. A grinding noise indicates one of three problems: a blunt file, incorrect file orientation, or hardened bits of the edge from hitting rocks. For hardened sections, use a DMT diamond file to remove them before continuing. Additionally, if you find yourself cutting plastic from the sidewall along with the metal, it's crucial to trim the sidewall before proceeding to ensure a good edge.

 What angle to sharpen snowboard edges?


The Side Edge:

The side edge angle is the primary focus during snowboard edge tuning and sharpening. Selecting the appropriate angle for your side edge is crucial in achieving optimal grip, especially on hard snow and ice. The ideal side edge angle depends on your skill level and riding style.

90° Edge (1° base edge and 89° side edge):

90° is the strongest and most durable, suitable for a wide range of snow conditions. It works well for beginners and intermediate snowboarders who prefer less tilting to engage the edge. Commonly referred to as a neutral edge, it is almost popular among snowboarders. However, it may not perform as effectively on hard or icy conditions.

89° Edge (1° base edge and 88° side edge):

This is the most popular edge profile, striking a balance for most riders. It provides an improved grip on harder slopes and offers better stability at high speeds. This edge is ideal for those who enjoy the sensation of carving by transitioning smoothly from one edge to the other. Beginners might find this angle more challenging to handle, as it requires more maintenance and control. Another option to consider is a 0.5° base edge angle combined with an 88° side edge angle, which provides even better performance on ice but may result in a slightly more reactive snowboard.

88° Edge (1° base edge and 87° side edge):

This edge profile is suitable for advanced aggressive riders and excels on icy slopes. It is not recommended for leisurely cruising on beginner-friendly slopes.

Sharper than 87°:

Edges sharper than 87° are primarily used by racers who seek excellent grip. Some racers may opt for a 2° base angle combined with an 85° side edge angle for maximum performance. However, skiing with sharp edges requires dynamic movements, exceptional skiing skills, and professional maintenance.

Choose the Best Edge Angle for Your Snowboard:

It's essential to remember that each edge of your snowboard has two sides: the base edge and the side edge. To find the optimal combination, consider the specific characteristics of your riding style. In addition to base edge angles, you must also determine the appropriate side edge angle for your snowboard.

Choosing a Base Edge Angle (Base Bevel):

The base bevel angle affects how easily your snowboard initiates turns, especially when beveling the tip and tail. A base bevel also lifts more of the edge off the snow, resulting in a smoother and faster glide. Moreover, a properly set base edge helps prevent unexpected catches, reducing the risk of falls. The recommended base bevel angles vary depending on the skier's or snowboarder's skill level and discipline.

Choosing a Side Edge Angle:

The side edge angle significantly impacts your ability to grip the snow, particularly on hard-packed and icy conditions. Snowboarders typically opt for a 90° angle, which is suitable for most riders, including beginners. However, more advanced riders, especially racers, may prefer sharper angles. It's important to find a balance that allows for easy turn initiation without compromising grip.

Conclusion

Sharpening the edges of your snowboard is vital to maintaining peak performance on the slopes. By understanding the base edge and side edge angles, you can fine-tune your snowboard to suit your riding style and the specific snow conditions you encounter. Remember to invest in quality tools, listen and feel for a clean-cutting action when filing, and be mindful of the recommended angles for your skill level. You can enhance your control, grip, and overall enjoyment while snowboarding with the right edge angles.

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