The Techno name has been around for a long time and is synonymous with some class leading shapes from the past decade. The modern Techno family is presented in four sizes; 118, 133, 148 and 160 litres. All boards are produced in BIC’s unique and durable Thermoform construction.
Shaped by Fabien Vollenweider, we have tested the Techno 118. Unfortunately there was a mix up with delivery and we received a 2006 model board for this test rather than 2008. The shape and fittings are unchanged, so the test remains valid, but the graphics have changed slightly (see bottom pic), so please bear in mind that all of our pictures are of the 2006 graphics.
"Techno 118 : Downwind speed with a dash of freeride! The Techno 118 is the most slalom-oriented board in the Techno range. That doesn’t mean it lacks versatility. In fact it’s the ideal choice if you just want one board to ride in a maximum variety of conditions. It has just enough volume to allow you to carry larger sails up to 8.5 m2, but is really at home in medium to strong winds and sails between 5.5 and 6.5m.”– BIC website
The BIC achieved a BRONZE Quality rating with the following scores:
The board comes standard with a Select 38cm fin which suits the board well. Its a shame that the fittings are let down mainly by 2 things: firstly the tuttle box fin is attached with 2 Allen Key bolts (which is bound to cause numerous headaches when you forget your Allen Key en route to the beach) and secondly the footstraps (like the starboards) are almost impossible to make big enough. Once they are big enough, they have a tendency to reduce in size every time you take your foot out.
Half a point was awarded for the ‘Other Extras’ category because a centre rear strap is offered for novice planers. Only half a point was awarded as the strap position is a little too far forward due to the space that the tuttle box takes up.
At 118 litres, the BIC is the second lowest volume board in the group and also the narrowest. Compared with the other boards, the BIC is noticeably more parallel sided and its relatively wide 30cm tail width is testament to this.
For those of you who perceive the BIC construction to be heavy, please stand by to be corrected. The Techno weighs in at 7.85kg putting it in the lightest half of this group.
With its relatively wide tail width, the BIC is a very good early planer. Remembering that it is one of the smallest boards in this group, it does well to achieve this result.
Technique wise, it’s pretty straight forward and doesn’t require any subtleties in technique to get going.
With its long gunny shape, and low nose, the BIC not only feels fast, but it is fast. It is noticeably quicker than the more manoeuvre orientated boards in this test such as the AHD, Goya, Drops and Exocet and pretty closely matched to the speed merchants such as the RRD and Naish. The advantage is more pronounced on flatter water. In chop, the low nose starts to become a bit of a problem at speed.
On flat water, control is excellent. Gusts hit and the board never unsettles. The nose stays low and the board simply accelerates. There is a drawback however. That low nose starts to cause problems in rougher conditions. In mild chop you get wet as the nose splashes you. In moderate chop, you get very wet as the nose splashes you even more and in big chop you get soaked as the nose buries you and catapults you over the front. Whilst swimming back to the board, you start to realise what inspired the extra chine around the nose (see pics)!
In a traditional slalom board manner, the BIC is a great, fun board to gybe. Its not the kind of board that you can gybe tightly off your back foot, but driven hard off the rail with full commitment, the board cuts a secure and rewarding line, giving a great sensation as it exits at full speed in true slalom gybe fashion.
This all or nothing gybe technique doesn’t lend itself so well to early gybers. The board can be gybed with less commitment and learners will progress amicably with the board, but compared with the other offerings in this group it doesn’t deliver the same level of forgiveness or stability.
BIC claim the Techno 118 to be the most slalom orientated board in the techno range and they are not wrong. It feels like a rocket ship with its lean gunny profile. The nose tracks low and even the biggest gusts don’t have an impact on the boards poise – it just accelerates.
Unfortunately, as mentioned within ‘control’ (above), the nose is low and on flat water doesn’t pose a problem. But the choppier the water gets, the more of an issue it becomes.
Foot comfort is good with the nicely domed deck and the outboard straps feel very slalom orientated, but not too extreme.
The standard Select 38cm, does the job well. It’s quite a full-on shape and a more forgiving fin may make the board even more user friendly.
BIC claim the Techno 118 can handle rigs of up to 8.5m but is most at home with sails of between 5.5 and 6.5m. Bearing in mind that this board is best suited to flat water, we would agree that the board would be comfortable with 6.5m down to 5.5m rigs. At the top end, an 8.5m will work, but if you plan using this size of sail regularly, you would probably be better with a bigger model.
We found the mast track position was best at about 1cm behind mid-track position on our 6.2m sails and approx 2-3cm further forward than this with our 7.7m’s.
The BIC worked well with both inboard and outboard strap positions, although its slalom orientation does lend itself more to the outboard positions.
The Techno would be best for riders sailing predominantly at sheltered/flat water venues looking for a fast, exciting feeling board at a great price. It should also be remembered that the ASA construction is likely to prove more durable than the sandwich construction found on most of the other boards.
Some new fin bolts!!