2014-2015 Burton Custom X

Colin Boyd reviews the Burton Custom X, Blister Gear Review.
Burton Custom X

2014-2015 Burton Custom X, 164cm

MSRP: $670

Dimensions & Specs:

  • Waist Width: 252mm
  • Nose Width: 297.5mm
  • Tail Width: 297.5 mm
  • Stance Width: 560mm
  • Stance Location: -25mm
  • Sidecut Radius: 8.5m
  • Effective Edge: 1,285mm

Boots / Bindings: Burton Ion / Burton Diode

Test Locations: Chamonix, Courmeyer, Snowbird, Jackson, Big Sky, Revelstoke, Telluride, Squaw and Alpine

Days Ridden: 40+

There are many different rocker profiles available on boards these days, but despite the variety of rocker/camber profiles out there, I feel strongly that there is still a place for a traditionally cambered board.

In short, many of the rockered boards I’ve ridden don’t handle firm conditions as well as I’d like.

I travel a lot, so I prefer to have a board that I know will perform well at high speeds in all snow conditions, and especially on very firm, icy lines.

The Burton Custom X fits this criteria very well; it’s a demanding, fully cambered board that Burton accurately describes as the “hardest charging board [they] make.”

Shape & Flex

As mentioned above, the Custom X has a traditional profile, with no rocker in the tip or tail. The board’s flex is symmetrical – equal in the tip and tail – with a slightly softer feel in between the feet.

Burton rates this flex a 7 out of 10 overall, but for my 175 lbs self, the 164cm Custom X feels more like an 8. You need to be a big or a powerful person to flex the 164 and load up its camber properly in a turn. So when choosing a size for the Custom X, I’d place far more emphasis on your weight than your height given the board’s stiffer flex.

Mounting System

“The Channel” mounting system is now a staple in Burton’s quiver of boards, and it allows for more precise stance-width and angle adjustments compared to conventional inserts.

I’m a fan of Burton’s system, as I like to be able to move my stance around, depending on conditions, without much of a hassle. I can easily slide my bindings an inch or two up or down the channel in under a couple of minutes, and it’s nice to be able to keep the bindings flat on the board (without having to remove four screws and a disc out), particularly in snowy conditions.

Colin Boyd reviews the Burton Custom X, Blister Gear Review.
Colin Boyd on the Burton Custom X, Big Sky, Montana. (photo by Sofia Aldinio)

Carving / Groomer Performance

With it’s full cambered profile, the Custom X snaps into and out of carves with a nice amount of pop, providing great snow-feel and feedback on edge. The Custom X is not likely to wash out in a turn, even in very firm conditions, so it’s a board that I really enjoy riding on groomers.

However, it can still serve as a great freeride board, too, as the traditional profile and stiff flex make the Custom X very powerful and precise.

Freeride Performance: Firm and Variable Conditions

The Custom X’s cambered profile helps give it a precise, responsive feel, and its stout, lively flex makes it easy to ollie and maneuver in technical terrain.

In chopped up, cruddy conditions, I’ve found that the Custom X is still quite damp for a fully cambered board considering how snappy and responsive it is and how much edge hold it provides. In fact, the Custom X is on the top of my list for freeriding in any sort of conditions. But to be clear, the board needs to be ridden fast, especially when conditions are soft (in order to get the board to plane), and it isn’t very forgiving.

Colin Boyd reviews the Burton Custom X, Blister Gear Review.
Colin Boyd competing on the Burton Custom X in the Subaru Freeride Series, Big Sky, Montana.

Powder / Soft Snow Performance

In flatter terrain and deep snow, the Custom X’s fully cambered profile and stiff flex won’t do you many favors. It’s not a board I would take to Japan, for example, as it can feel like a bit of a submarine in deep powder in low angle terrain. At slower speeds, it takes a lot more leg and body work to get the Custom X to stay afloat in powder than a board with a rockered profile.

But if you’re riding steep terrain, the Custom X performs well in powder. With speed, the board planes up well and has the same snappy, powerful feel and the ability to drive big, powerful turns that it does on firm snow and groomers. For fast, aggressive lines in the Alps or AK, I think the Custom X is right at home.

The board’s stiff profile inspires confidence on big airs, but again, it requires you to be on on your game. I need to ride fast and stay balanced over the board on landings, as leaning too far forward or back will likely result in a fall. Unlike some rockered boards, the Custom X won’t let you save off-kilter landings very easily

Freestyle Performance

Given its flex and directional shape, the Custom X isn’t much of a freestyle board. Riding switch is still possible, even though the board has a longer nose and slightly shorter tail, but pressing rails and butters can be a real challenge.

Colin Boyd competing on the Burton Custom X in the Subaru Freeride Series, Big Sky, Montana.
Colin Boyd on the Burton Custom X, Subaru Freeride Series, Big Sky, Montana.

If I sized down to a 160cm length, the Custom X might be a bit easier on jibs, but it’s still not a board that’s particularly well suited for a jibby, playful style of riding. The Custom X is very poppy, but not very playful.

Having said that, most of Burton’s pipe team rides the Custom X, given it’s precision, edge hold, snap and pop.

Some Comparisons

If you don’t think the Custom X will suit your riding style, and you want something a bit more forgiving and playful, I would check out the Burton Custom. The Custom is similar to the Custom X in many respects (it’s also fully cambered), but it has a softer flex pattern that’s more freestyle-focused.

I would also check out Jed Doane’s review of the Burton Antler. I have yet to ride the Antler myself, but I believe it would perform better in lower angle pow and be better suited for jibbing/spinning around the mountain than the Custom X.

The Antler Features Burton’s more playful “Flying V” rocker/camber profile, has a softer flex overall, and as Jed says in his review, is still “capable of riding steep, technical terrain, as long as the rider looks at that terrain as a playground rather than a freeway.”

Bottom Line

If you’re looking for a powerful board for riding big lines at high speeds, and also want a board that offers great edge hold and snap in firm conditions, I’d give some serious consideration to the Burton Custom X. And if you are an aspiring pipe jockey, the board could help you take your game to the next level, too.


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