Jones Solution Splitboard Review
Cons: Expensive, narrow waist width, shallow nose rise
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Our Analysis and Test Results
Jones revised the Solution splitboard for 2020. In addition to new graphics (seen in the first image below), the updated board also boasts Jones's FSC Ultra Core (their lightest split wood core yet) and Power Stringers made of natural fibers, flax, and basalt, which help aid in response and power transfer. The new board also features rounded, recycled ABS sidewalls, which are designed to improve the durability of the topsheet. Below, the first image shows the 2020 board, and the second image reflects the version we've previously tested.
The Solution is ideal for big mountain chargers who love riding fast and hard and want a stiff, reliable board that can handle these objectives. When the couloir walls close in tight, and the speed slows, the light weight of the Solution allows it to be moved easily. In mellower environments, such as hippy trees or low angle pow fields, it feels equally at home.
One of the most exciting features in the Jones premium split line up is the addition of bolt-less bridge technology. Historically, splitboard clips required holes to be drilled thoroughly through the board, with bolts visible on the base side of the board. Jones has added a small amount of material to the top of the Solution, which allows them to use clips that are not drilled all the way through. The absence of holes in the base significantly improves the appearance of the Solution, while also improving the speed of the base. Additional performance components include a better connection for a stiffer and more responsive ride. Bolt-less bridge tech represents an incremental but significant step forward in splitboard design.
The powder performance is excellent for a general directional snowboard. If you imagine the ultimate quiver, the Solution floats significantly better than the twin tip or fully cambered board but less then a powder centric shape. It has a long nose that works to provide plenty of surface area, which is a critical component for flotation; the rocker in the nose keeps the board above the snow. The Solution isn't the floatiest splitboard ever made but offers plenty of flotation with limited trade-offs.
If we were looking for one board and we primarily wanted to ride powder, we would enjoy the Solution. Powder days would be epic, and it will perform well when conditions change.
If you only ride firm snow, you should probably consider moving or at least splurging on a trip to Japan. If you can't do those things, buy this splitboard.
The Solution is designed to perform in any condition, and handles firm snow very well. The relatively stiff flex can maintain an edge in the firm snow, and the Traction Tech (imagine a mellow Magne-traction) helps edge hold. In the spring, the Solution is an excellent choice for days that might include hard, refrozen surfaces and, hopefully, some perfectly ripe corn. The Solution is capable of surviving in the frozen conditions and has the will to play in the ripe corn. Conditions are always changing in the backcountry, and this splitboard finds a solution to this reality. It's a solid option for those looking to make casual corn turns on lower angles or hop turn down icy couloirs.
The lightweight, stiffness, and Traction Tech helps the Solution be one of the best climbing splitboards. A light splitboard comes from its materials and shape; the weight of a splitboard is easy to overlook, yet it has the most direct impact on the climbing experience.
The Solution is one of the lighter and more capable splitboards on the market. The weight to stiffness is impressive, which contributes energy savings and a boost in your confidence. The 2020 model has the lightest splitboard wood core profile yet.
Skinning through challenging and firm sidehill sections is always hard, and the board shouldn't make it any harder. The Solution offers secure performance in challenging sidehilling conditions. Both edges feature Jones Traction-Tech which is essential a mellow and more forgiving magne-traction, which creates more edge contact when sidehilling. The stiffer flex also helps to prevent slipping downhill in those critical moments. The early rise nose assists in keeping the nose from diving under powder when breaking trail skinning, and the flex is stiff enough to prevent the board from dishing out the skin track.
The Solution has small notches cut out to accommodate the Jones Skins and their Quick Tip Tension Tail Clip system. Pairing a Jones splitboard with their skins and Quick Tip Tensions Tail clip system will reduce bulk and weight, thereby improving packability; this is an option worth considering. These types of skin connection systems have been employed on backcountry skis for many years, and the brand compatibility increases simplicity and security.
This splitboard has the standard insert pattern. To switch your stance requires you to reinstall the pucks or ride plates.
The Solution can have a freestyle approach, but that is not its first design priority. The playful characteristics are guarded by its stiffness, which inserts a skill, strength, and weight barrier to access it. The stiffness of the board (which has many significant benefits) presents a challenge for lighter weight riders who may find it tough to flex and bend. Fortunately, the stiffness doesn't make the board challenging to turn; it remains nimble and agile because of its narrow waist width.
We reviewed the 158, and our lead tester weighs 150 pounds. With the right rider, this board is certainly capable of spinning and playing. The playfulness of this board will vary depending on a rider's height/weight and the size of their board.
Jones Snowboards holds themselves to the highest environmental standards in their company's manufacturing and ethics. Jones has an Ethics tab on their website, which is not something you will see on every snowboard company's site. The company supports 1% for the planet, and Jeremy Jones founded POW (Protect Our Winters) in 2007. This splitboard also features an eco-plastic top sheet made from castor beans, water-based ink, FSC certified wood core, and recycled ABS sidewalls. All this is held together by a Super Sap biodegradable resin. Environmental impact is on a sliding scale, and the Solution is on the lower end of that scale.
The Solution is on the higher pricing end of the market. It's also one of the best boards. Its performance is exceptional, and its features are high end touches like the bolt-less bridge technology that lends a high-end appearance.
The Jones Solution wins our Editors' Choice Award for its performance capable and predictable ride. It has high-performance design qualities that allows it function well on the up and the down. Regardless of the conditions, this splitboard seemed like the Solution; this board can ride everything on the mountain. It's tilted towards big mountain riding and is also a better match for stronger riders, but is still fun for everyday use on all terrain types.
— Isaac Laredo