Vault is a new name within the longboard market to us. They seem to offer a widely diverse selection of longboards and today we have a review of one of their newer releases, the Smart Bomb. It's a board that's entirely focused on downhill performance. We've been riding it for a considerable chunk of time and have concluded what we think.
The shape of the board allows for a rather spacious foot platform as the deck is so wide against its medium length within the longboard spectrum. At 92.7cm/ 36.5 inches in length and 25.4cm/ 10 inches in width at the thickest point. The top of the deck is coated entirely in black shredder grip tape, the tape is ultra grippy which combined with a deep progressive or parabolic concave and width, will all compliment downhill riding.
The bottom of the deck has a very vibrant cartoon styled WWII bomb graphic, following the board's Smart Bomb name. The maple peaks through slightly to help depict the graphic. On top of the graphic the Vault brand and longboard name is written in a font that's very well suited to the WWII era. The board's cutout shape is that of a WWII bomb, a shape that isn't new to the longboard kingdom but is carried out with a few twists. And, of course, it's an aerodynamic shape. We think the Smart Bomb is quite a refreshing design, it definitely has its own unique playful character.
The deck is constructed from 9ply canadian maple. It's very thick, heavy, ultra rigid and stable, with conservative flex that are the ideal characteristics for bombing hills. The 7" 50 Degree Reverse Kingpin Black Aluminium Trucks appear to be an in-house Vault creation, these are absolutely brilliant trucks for downhill usage and are superbly made. They are quick in response and very predictable, these trucks also defer the wheel bite in conjunction with the boards shaved down wheel arches. Speaking of wheels the Smart Bomb packs Vault's 70mm x 51mm 82A Durometer Orange Booster Wheels. 82A is perfect hardness for urethane wheels on a downhill board if you weigh under around 200 Ibs like us. They're a great all-rounder set of wheels for downhill riding and convey excellent grip and will last a good while too. The red Vault Abec-7 Bearings and Nylon cage should also be appropriate for downhill usage and guarantee consistent momentous smooth speed.
So how does it ride? Well it's an adequate carver but that's firmly secondary to its main requirement of being a downhill bomber. Downhill performance is gifted and quick witted. The Smart Bomb feels tight and locked when bombing substantially steep hills. We've thoroughly tested the downhill performance and have enjoyed what we've presented with. Palpable speeds measured of around the 35 MPH mark were stable, confident and controlled. The spacious very grippy deck, responsive predictable trucks and comfortable wheels make for a longboard that we're able to bomb hills with, slide aggressively upon and rely on it not misbehaving with erratic feedback. Vault have additionally included three easily changeable wheelbase options for more technicality. These options include 26 3/4" 680mm, 28 3/8" 721mm and finally 29 1/4" 743mm. This added functionality was ideal for fine tuning of the sliding capabilities, another area where the board handles itself very graciously and controllably.
General free riding has been enjoyable but tricks such as flips aren't easily achievable due to the thickness, weight and shape of the deck. But this isn't meant to be an insane freestyle trick deck. A sphere where this board does play nicely within is commuting/ cruising. The board is smooth and zippy on the flat but the sheer size and weight makes the Smart Bomb mildly impractical for lugging around on public transport or to somewhere like school or work.
Don't let us mislead you though, at the £149 price mark this is a firm mid level downhill longboard entry, if you're prepared to pay double or more than this amount for a downhill board from some of the very mainstream longboard brands, you're going to experience something that's most likely better. But if you're not willing to do that, this is a brilliant bang for buck conversion. Vault have put together a more affordable downhill board that does more than just dip its toe into some of the thrills that can be experienced from higher end offerings.
But many will ask whether this is a good downhill longboard for a beginner looking within this price range? We'd answer that with a firm yes, but it's definitely going to be slightly harder to master downhill styled riding on a top mounted board in comparison to a drop through (thru). But because this board is so wide and stable, it's an ideal beginner's board. Once this is mastered you'll have the advantage of knowing how to handle top mount boards and we know from a lot of experience that they offer up better downhill performance compared to drop thru's.
Overall this quirky longboard hosts a package that is unquestionably brilliant for downhill bombing at £149.