2010 rockered Radair Tanker 172 review
Context: I love riding powder and am always after a better powder board. I get to ride a lot of inbounds powder here in Utah. I weigh 145 pounds. I typically ride softies in inbounds powder. I love to make high speed, hard powder turns. I also ride a lot in the trees. Any powder board I own needs to be able to ride open powder and trees extremely well. I tested the 172 rockered Tanker against the 168 rockered K2 Gyrator and the 166 Prior Spearhead in powder (the two favorite powder boards I have ridden to date). I also rode it back to back with a 165 Prior MFR on soft groom and hero groom in softboots and in hardboots with F2 bindings. I also rode it back to back on hero groom against a new Coiler metal, but that was not really fair to the Tanker.
For powder related board comparison, I have owned (all but the 182, 192 Tankers, and 157 Volkl Cashew) and ridden:
07 - 200 Tanker, 05 - 192 Tanker, 08 - 182 Tanker
08 - 167 Never Summer Summit.
07 - 164 Steepwater Steep
06 - 156 Burton Fish, 07 - 156 Burton Fish, 08 - 160 Burton Fish
07 - 165 Prior MFR, 07 - 160 Prior Khyber, 07 - 176 Prior Powstick, 08 - 176 Prior Powstick, 08 - 166 Prior Spearhead
07 - 180 Pogo Longboard
06 - 6' Dupraz
07 - 185 Rossi Undertaker
178 Voile Swallowtail splitboard
04 - 178 Nitro Swallowtail
09 - 162 and 168 rockered K2 Gyrators
09 - 165 rockered Libtech Snowmullet
10 - 162 Venture Storm rockered splitboard
11 - 156 Hovercraft
11 - 160 Prior Khyber hybrid rocker splitboard
11 - 162 Prior MFR hybrid rocker
11 - 157 Volkl Cashew
12 - 148 Burton Nug Directional (a little small for me)
12 - 162 Furberg
12 - 159 Venture Zephyr
12 - 159 K2 Turbo Dream
12 - 159 GNU Billy Goat
Impressions: The 172 Tanker is a beautiful board. The topsheet is a matte dark blue (snow sticking is a bit of problem). It is very light for its size. It has a full rocker curve from tip to tail. The amount of rocker is such that when the board is put on edge, full contact is made alone the entire effective edge (unlike the K2 Gyrators which still have the nose and tail off the snow on a groomer). This is the only board that I know of with a smooth continuous rocker (except for the Lib Tech Banana Hammock). Other rockered boards have some combination of flat or camber mixed with the rocker in different locations on the board. It is stiff, proportionally quite a bit stiffer than the rockered Tanker 200, and also stiffer than other cambered boards of this size and type I have ridden or hand flexed. It has a large sidecut radius of 10.75m, an effective edge of 134 cm, 18 mm of taper, and is 258 mm wide.
Ride: Extremely Impressive across a variety of conditions.
Powder: Outstanding. The one of the best boards I have ridden in powder. The ride is fairly centered and the nose and tail feel very balanced (the nose does not push you around like on some tapered, set back boards). The float is incredible, better than both the 168 K2 and the 166 Spearhead. The rockered turn is so smooth and effortless. It must be experienced to be believed. The closest powder turn to a carved turn on a groomer I have experienced. You can also make a tapered board quick turn by pushing hard on the tail. It can be turned tighter than a comparable cambered board, or just as big, but much less speed is lost during the turn due to the lack of camber pushing against the powder. The Tanker's stiffness holds up extremely well to a really hard, nose driving turn in deeper snow. The Tanker turns bigger than both the K2 and the SH with its much bigger sidecut and longer effective edge but can be forced into a really quick change of direction. I expect it has a higher top end than the 166 SH and it definitely has a much higher top end than the 168 Gyrator. This board handles open bowls extremely well! It works in fairly tight trees, but I would choose the 166 SH or the 168 Gyrator if I were going to be riding in lots of really tight trees. I did not ride it on plates in the powder, but from my testing with hardboots on groom and in some crud, I certainly expect it would perform extremely well with plates in powder due to its stiffness (better than other powder boards I have ridden).
Chopped powder / Crud: Again, one of the best. The rockered K2 is similar in the crud and bumps. The rockered boards have a way of smoothly slicing through the crud compared to cambered boards. After riding a rocked board in chopped up snow, you realize that a cambered board's nose gets a noticeable bounce off the chop that makes it more difficult to ride. Additionally, rockered boards have a turn in which you weight the front foot and easily pivot the board through bumps and crud that is different than a cambered board. The 168 Gyrator is quicker at this pivot turn than the Tanker, I expect due to its additional rocker, shorter effective edge and tighter sidecut.
Powder day soft groom: Best board I have carved on super soft and choppy powder day groom!
Hero groom: I rode the Tanker in softboots back to back with my 165 Prior MFR. It definitely out carves the MFR. It carves extremely well. A 10.75 m sidecut is bigger than I like for softboots, but it will turn tighter than the sidecut suggest. The Tanker is not damp, but it is smooth. The rocker just runs over grooming imperfections that I must absorb on the Prior. As I have mentioned, it is longitudinally stiff. It is also very torsionally stiff and this really helps a board of this width carve without the nose or tail twisting off as much. The board tracks straight at high speeds on cat tracks and it traverses as well as a cambered board. It is absurdly quick and easy edge to edge. My theory is that the nose and tail are off the ground until you put it on edge. This means that the width of the board you must put up on edge is the width at the center of the board. On a cambered board, that width is the width at the nose and the tail since they are pressing into the snow.
It also carves very well on hardboots. It would hold carves up to a steep blue run that was pretty torn up by the time I got on it with the Tanker. It will likely ride steeper if the run is cleaner, but good groom is what alpine boards are for anyway. It will turn tighter with plates than with softboots and hold an edge better. On the hero groom and hardboots, I was sure happy to get back on my Coiler metal but the Tanker will be a huge asset for carving on days that are too soft or slushy to ride the alpine deck. I would suggest softer hardboot bindings for the Tankers to avoid damaging them.
Conclusion: Buy one! I have tested so many boards and not only is this the best powder board I have ridden, it is also the best all around freeride board I have ridden (great powder boards are not often worthy freeride boards). This Tanker is an aggressive powder board that will also turn tight enough to ride trees, even for a rider my weight. It will carve and it is great in cut up snow. It is my new go to powder board.
I expect the 172 would work well for riders who weigh more than me, especially if you want to ride it in tighter trees. Otherwise there is also a 182 and 200. The 200 is proportionally softer, hopefully we can get a review of those as well.