BLACK+GRAY Product Review
BLACK+GRAY Pit Boards
Communication with riders while they're screaming past the pits at over 150 miles per hour is never an easy task. Adding to this difficulty is the fact that there aren't too many companies that make quality pit boards. Black+Gray Design+Manufacturing has set out to make this crucial communication easier. We were able to test Black+Gray's pit system at Laguna Seca Raceway. We received the pit boards unassembled and began to work. They offer both a three- and four-line frame system, both of which took only minutes to piece together. The aluminum frames quickly screwed together to form the sturdy skeleton that would house one of two number systems.
Once the frames were completed, the plastic number plates slid easily into place. The numbers are large, 8-inch, white, die-cut stickers on black cards. The bold white letters could easily be seen from the track at speed. There is also a team header card, which you can personalize with a team or rider name. An optional message set (including "PIT", "IN", "? OK ? " and "faster/slower" boards) is available.
The unique aluminum rails are designed so that one side of the board can be used for numbers, while the opposite side is being used for messages. Another trick feature of the Black+Gray pit board is the digital numeral card system. This card system consists of metal two-sided segments (black on one side, white on the other) that flip to make desired, digital display-like numbers. This system is extremely useful: you don't have to search for the numbers needed to show a rider's time.
One dawback to the digital system, however, is the time it takes to assemble. Each segment must be attached with two rubber bands. The task is extremely time consuming and sometimes hard on the fingers, as the edges of the metal are very sharp. This led to some scratched fingers and many broken rubber bands.
But the trade-off is the ease and convenience of being able to quickly flip the segments over for the desired time. Another advantage is that the digital cards are set in the middle of the aluminum holders, allowing for the use of the message boards or regular number plates over the digital system itself.
At the track the board was extremely light, and easy to hoist over the pit wall. The four-line system weighed in at 8 pounds (with cards installed), and the three-line system was 5-1/2 pounds. The boards also feature a removable, adjustable handle for custom grip and ease of use. The adjustable knob mounts to the back of the board can be placed wherever the user finds it most advantageous. The boards also come with a convenient carrying case that has pouches to hold the number plates and/or spares for the digital system.
The four-line frame with the card system sells for $255, while the digital system in the same frame is $225. The three-line frame with the card system is $235, while it's counterpart in digital form is $195. The optional message set sells for $65.