Hello and welcome to my Arbor Formula snowboard review battle and this week’s review compares the Formula against the Rome Brigade.
This is a comparison of Men’s Freestyle-All Mountain boards in the under $400 price division. To be eligible for the battle the board’s had to be:
- Men’s Freestyle-All Mountain style boards
- Costing less than $400
- With a centred stance
First of all let’s check some general specs of the board to ensure that we are dealing with boards in the same category. There’s no sense in comparing boards that were designed to do something different on the mountain.
|Arbor Formula||Rome Brigade|
|Price||$345 (USD)||$370 (USD)|
|Weight||Feels Heavy||Feels Normal|
|Style||Freestyle-All Mountain||Freestyle-All Mountain|
|Ability Level||Beginner to Intermediate||Intermediate to Expert|
|Shape||Directional Twin||“Almost” True Twin|
|Camber Profile||Continuous Rocker||Hybrid Camber|
I am satisfied that these boards are similar enough to compare so let’s move onto their performance ratings.
O.k. now let’s take a look at how these boards did in 8 different performance categories. The table below rates each board’s performance out of 5 for each of the categories.
Because we are determining how well these boards perform as Freestyle-All Mountain boards we need to add more importance to the performance categories that are more crucial to what a freestyle-all mountain board is designed to do.
So I have put the boards through my smart rating system to find an overall score. The table below show the results based on the freestyle-all mountain scale.
|Formula Ratings||Formula Points||Brigade Ratings||Brigade Points|
|TOTAL after normalizing||71.8/100||65.9/100|
A Closer Look at the Results
To give reference to the scores, the average score of 11 boards that I analysed in this category (freestyle-all mountain under $400):
- The average score was 78/100
- The highest score was 87.1/100
- The Formula ranked 10th out of the 11 boards
- The Brigade ranked 11th out of the 11 boards
Both the Formula and the Brigade were well under the average for the boards in this category. In fact these two boards were the two lowest of the 11 boards that I looked at.
The Formula outdoes the Brigade in Powder, Switch and Jibbing and the Brigade performed better in the Speed and Uneven Terrain but doesn’t do enough in those factors to catch up to the Arbor board.
The Formula scored a total of 71.8 points, 5.9 points above the Brigade’s 65.9 points.
The Formula is talked up as a great entry level board and the general consensus is that it’s a great board…. for its price, which I don’t necessarily agree with given that there are much better options in the under $400 category.
Check out the link below to see some user reviews on it. For some reason each review has been replicated 5 times so there are actually 4 reviews in there – not 20!
- User Reviews for the Formula (scroll down to see reviews)
For the Brigade some of the user reviews defy the points it scored above (why it’s always good to get a second opinion!) and just shows that personal preference has a lot to do with it. I think what this also says is that even the lower performance boards by good brands will still do a good job for you on the mountain – compared to non-performance rentals and really budget brands.
- Brigade User Review 1 (scroll down to see review)
This one particularly talks up the jibbing (butterability) of the Brigade which was surprising given the score above and given Rome’s own rating of the Brigade’s jibbing ability – the manufacturers ratings are naturally going to be higher than others so if they are giving a lowish rating it is probably not expected to jib that well.
- Brigade User Review 2 (scroll down to see review)
In this review they mention a setback stance – but this board has a centred stance so maybe they set it up with a setback stance hence why they thought it was better in powder than would otherwise be suggested. Though it does have that Rocker in the tip and tail which may help it in powder – more so if you were to set your stance back a bit.
Whilst these boards are at the lower end of performance compared to others I analysed, I don’t tend to analyse the really low budget end of snowboards – and anything I look at is always going to be a step above standard rental boards which are mostly designed for durability above performance.
So these boards will do a good job at a reasonable price. That said, there are better options in the same price range.
But this is a battle and a winner must be awarded! And this one goes to the Arbor Formula.
The Formula scored more points in the smart rating system, and though the reviews were positive for the Brigade it wasn’t enough for it to make a come back. The Formula is also $25 cheaper.
Keep in mind that if you are looking for something beyond the beginner/intermediate level then the Formula probably won’t be suitable.
To be blunt – I wouldn’t go with either of these if I was looking for an all-mountain-freestyle board for less than $400. There are better options for under $400 and if you’re willing to spend just a little extra you should also check out the best all-mountain-freestyle board I’ve rated – the Burton Parkitect.
Below are some more specs for the boards which are mostly depend on personal preferences and physical characteristics of the rider – these should be helpful in determing if either of these boards are right for you.
|Formula by Arbor||Brigade by Rome|
|Available lengths/(widths)||148 (248), 152 (249), 155 (251), 158 (252), 159MW (261), 161 (254), 162MW (263)||151 (252), 155 (254), 159 (256)|
|Recommended Weight Range||148 (48-84kg, 106-186lbs), 152 (51-87kg, 112-192lbs), 155 (54-90kg, 118-198lbs), 158 (56-93kg, 124-204lbs), 159 (57-93kgs, 126-206lbs), 161(59-95+kgs, 130-210+lbs), 162(60-96+kgs, 132-212+lbs)||151 (52-77kgs, 115-170lbs), 155 (57-84kgs, 125-185lbs), 159 (68-98+kgs, 150-215+lbs)|
|Edge-hold||Hard Snow||Hard Snow|
Any Experience Riding these Boards?
If you’ve ridden either of these boards it would be awesome to hear what you thought of them. Also if you have an opinion on what you think the best Freestyle-All Mountain board is, just leave a comment below. Any other comments, feedback and questions also very welcome.