Swoard generation 1, 2, 3 and 3D vs 2D questions and answers

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Swoard founder
Swoard founder
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Swoard generation 1, 2, 3 and 3D vs 2D questions and answers

Post by nils » Monday 20 July 2009, 19:36

Hi all,
We hope you are having a good summer.
Lately we have had a few questions from customers new to the EC world, that wanted to have explainations about the history and generations of the boards... we also had questions regarding the core we are using, so here is a few answers:

Board generations:

Gen1: 3D made by Duret in France ( 2003-2005)
Gen2: 2D made by Virus in Germany ( 2005-2007)
Gen3: 2D second generation made for us by Nidecker in Switzerland ( 2007-2010...)

The first generation of Swoards, directly copied from the custom prototypes Jacques and Patrice were riding at the time, was basically made with custom 3D shaped carbon fiber parts that were embeded inside the core at various positions. Each board had 3 different parts, that were jet cut at a Pilatus ( aeroplane manufacturer ) subcontractor factory for us: it was a very very efficient solution for torsion and flex distribution, but the cost of carbon itself was 125 euros in each board!

The 3D was too expensive to build, making it too expensive to sale ( we did not believe you can justify building a board above 1000 euros, so we decided to change this).

After Duret factory shut down, we went to see Virus and in order to simplify construction process in a remote factory, Jacques worked on various prototypes to simplify the way the torsion distribution would work, and found out what we call the 2D ( the carbon is no longer inside the core). The 2D then lost a bit of its very smooth distribution, but gained dampening in the process.

After leaving Virus for Nidecker factory, we improved the 2D system and fine tuned it to the point where it has reached the performance of the 3D without the hassling of producing aerospace parts ( 3 different part on 9 models : 27 different carbon parts to produce, stock etc..). Now, contrary to the alpine almanach, there is no difference in riding between the 3D and the 2D. Precision is back, but we also gained smoothness and more dampening, making the 2D an easier performance ride.

This is about the generation question: so No there is no more 3D, we are actually prototyping different options with titanal beeing among them ( for now titanal is very bad for EC because it locks torsion distribution...its good only on race or narrower boards in our EC opinion..) so in the future there could be a 3D again...but for now, we, our riders, everyone rides a 2D, and some people still ride their 3D with pride . Basically making a new 3D could increase performance, but at a more expensive production cost, so it would have to justify itself on the snow...which it has not done yet.

As for cores:

We are confident our products are still way ahead in terms of performance for EC ( we have yet so see other riders do the same on other brands), and we are also confident that our material choice is the best compromise for EC. It means we chose the actual core ( the same since the very first board generation ) for very precise reasons, not because of economical points.

It means we have tested ash cores and other cores, and they are too heavy and stiff for our concept: We were among the first to introduce soft flex in performance alpine boards in 2002, and claimed it was important to have a soft flex with a high torsion resistance AND distribution. With a too stiff core as ash, you tend to loose the springy feel as well as torsion distribution ability . You also gain weight with ash (spruce is 30% lighter than ash) and this also one of the very big reasons of the choice, we try to keep ash where its absolutely needed ( inserts area).

So ash and spruce is not a cheap solution, costing the same price as full ash almost ( 1st grade spruce is expensive).Its just the best core we have found for a good light EC board.

As for strength, since some wonder if spruce boards can break more easily than ash or other woods:

Gen1 3D: not a single broken board
Gen2 2D: undisclosed number of broken boards ( same core)
Gen3 2D: not a single broken board with same core ( and let me tell you we produce boards in hundreds of figures...), only one broken board after 5 min of use due to manufacturing defect, was replaced instantly almost for free.

Simply said: it means there is no relation between core and strength if the data is right, it is more a building issue: how the manufacturing process is masterized and replicated that influences the strengh of a board, especially when you are working with thinner, softer flexes boards. This also explains why we went to see Nidecker: for the reliability and production eveness: every board of the same mold and flex has the same performance / strength as the next board: this is an important thing and lead to zero seasons breakage, even in the softer flex !

Last good news, we will try to reduce the price of the Extremecarver next season, having the cost of molds recouped by now: we feel its important to reduce what can be reduced ( we are also working to lower shipping costs which should be ready for september). This with the new board is a good summer news :).