Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Review > Atomik > Fonts (Various sizes)


Atomik sent us a whole bunch of holds.. when we say a whole bunch we mean it... two boxes arrived and a couple of hours later 169 new holds were sitting on the floor, we marked each one and then in a stroke of genius this happened...
There were just so many holds that we decided to make a quick Police style body outline on the floor.

What was pretty impressive from the get go was that even though these holds came all the way from Utah to Montreal, which is a distance of 2276.46 miles and the fact that UPS normally play touch football with some of our parcels was the fact that there wasn't one single, dink, scratch or bump mark on ANY of the holds! Not one! And this was from two boxes that we're pretty full to the brim, there wasn't one defect on anything. Now that tells you something about Atomiks shipping department, they actually pack the holds really well.

Right enough about us playing with the holds in the living room, lets look at the holds:
Mini Font Roof JugsFont JugsLarge Font JugsXl Font Roof JugsXXL Font Sloper

What the above photos don't show is the color of the holds we received, most of the Fonts are yellow, but not your normal run of the mill yellow, oh no, these are the brightest yellow that I've ever seen in a hold! The largest Font the XXL sloper is blue, and again it has a kind of stopping power that when you have a pile of holds on the floor you're drawn to and just want to touch! The final holds we have are some of the pinches from the site, they're green. (You can see one of them by Chris' head)

All the shapes are split across Atomik's site by size, and rather run reviews for some holds we decided to do it by shape... we grabbed the holds (easy to find because of the color) and we got to setting..

As usual I'm looking confused :P I decided as most of the holds we're jugs of one kind or another to set across the roof and then onto our overhanging wall, to the flat where the slopes and pinches would end up.. oh we were in for a treat with these, Font is one of my favorite places to climb so I was looking forward to getting onto some of the shapes!

In the below video you can see what happened, I think I got a little carried away with the roof sequence and made the route a little harder than expected, but as we like a challenge we left it as was and went at it in our usual fashion :)

What you're going to notice about the video is that neither of us got around the route! Well actually I did after the camera that we were using to video was turned off and we switched to the stills...The roof was the trickiest part, but thankfully even the mini jugs that we're up there were pretty bomber! But even after the first attempt, we noticed one very important thing about the holds... here are some stills from the video, can you guess (if you've not watched the video) what I'm going to talk about?? Yup texture! It's fierce, really really fierce. The molds from Atomik are still first generation so the texture is crazy, it'll be super good for a commercial gym as the texture will get worn down by all of the traffic but for a home wall it was a bit OTT! So here's what we suggest, you should try them and then if needed get a rubber sanding sponge or some sandpaper and then take the texture down a little so it suits your preference.


We suggest the above angles for the jugs, which as you can see is everything from slabs to roofs. Most of the shapes lend themselves to roofs when we look at any of the jugs, from the minis to the larges. They are really positive to pull on, what isn't so nice is the texture which is very much like 120 grade sand paper, like Chris says in the video you want that if you're hauling long sketchy moves across a roof, I'd agree, but for a home wall you're going to want to comfortize the holds a little with some sandpaper. In a commercial setting where there are lots of sweaty hands and street shoes hitting them the texture seems like it will hold out and becomes a big positive.

Bomber jugs, each size is large enough and deep enough that you can hang off of them without worrying too much, the larger ones can be matched if you can bump your hands. What I like is what they say on the website under the large climbing hold section... and I'll quote "Large does not mean easy to hang on to"


The pinches again are very positive, they've got a nice shape to them and when they're on steep or very overhung terrain the texture helps them out a lot. There's nothing super bad to say about them, they remind me of Font, which was the purpose behind the shapes.
If I can haul a long move on a roof with them then they're pretty damn good, you just need to find the sweet spot.

The slopers again are pretty damn good and are some of the best representations of font shapes that I've seen in a long while, big and open handed, they're tricky to hold on the vertical and crazy hard on anything that starts to run into an overhang, which is the way we like it. As usual with Font style holds its always where you place your hands and fingers on these holds that determines how easy or hard they are to stick.

Both sets of holds are pretty positive even though they are slopes and pinches, but they're harder than they look, terrain aside. It depends upon your strength and climbing style that will determine how well you're going to go on these. Foot work is going to be key as is good core strength.

I could have sworn that these holds were resin, but after checking with the site and Kenny over at Atomik he confirmed that they are urethane. My bad :P The colors are vibrant to say the least, they're some of the brightest hues that we've seen for a long long time, there is no doubt that these holds will stand out on your wall whether it be the gym or at home.

The backs of the holds are flat and there were no surprises in 169 holds, the bolt holes are clean, so clean in fact that there isn't any urethane in them. On the material side you're going to notice that there are very few bubbles in the urethane, less so than most holds so the mix is good and consistent. The smalls holds from Atomik have been tested to destruction at around 1100+ lbs, the mediums to 1800 lbs, so the mix is good and strong!!

We'll talk texture a little bit more, what Atomik say about the texture is this:
"If you want texture, here it is. If you would prefer a slightly smoother hold with less texture, simply rub the hold a little with some sand paper or a sanding sponge", simple enough! Atomik aren't the only company that makes holds with an aggressive texture out there and it's probably for the best that they know this and tell the end user to drop the texture if it's too much, it's pretty much pimping your holds to make them totally custom

Yowser... texture, texture and once again texture! I wasn't expecting that, even when we were feeling the holds on the floor it was kind of hard to tell what they're going to be like until you climb on them, and they do grip a lot! But this is not like the Asana Joes, they just ripped your skin off, these you'll notice is more like climbing on emery boards so they sand down the rough patches of your skin :)

I set quickly on these holds, put some thought into it and just let rip and somehow it came out alright (I suppose 20 odd years climbing helps as well!), apart from one move that stopped me on the roof it was all good and when I did make the move the route went. Getting onto the overhang onto the pinches was nice as the pinches and then the large font sloper are amazing to grab onto, you fingers just get sucked onto them. The sloper on the vertical was good enough that if you kept low you can get a little rest, but as soon as you move it to anything overhanging you're going to have to stick it and then move off quite quickly.

Overall I'm impressed with the holds apart from the overly aggressive texture, but it's one of those things, it's not like I'm not going to climb on the holds, I'll just sand down the worst ones a little and keep them up. Some I will leave as is and then see how the texture wears over a period of time. One of the final points I'd like to make is that these are some of the best Font holds that I've seen in a long time, they may have even topped some of the Sloperz from Holdz that I've had for years that are similar, and that's a hard thing to do!
Next up we'll look at the sandstone shapes, that's going to be a longer review because that's the bulk of the shapes... did I mention that my local crag in the UK in sandstone?? Excellent!

Yup. I agree. The texture is pretty agressive although it was a nice relief when I got onto the big blue slope on our newly built box:) The slopes and pinches seemed to soak up the chalk more so then the jugs on the roof.

As you can tell by the video the first green pinch is tricky to get onto and I was able to get low on it to push out to the jugs sequence. Out of all the pinches that we received the best one was on the roof....obviously! The jugs is that they are big enough for one hand and they can be a real challenge to match on the roof. The problem got a facelift after we bolted the box onto the wall so the big blue slope got put onto the face of the box and the small slopes got put around the sides. In our original sequence we needed to match on the last jug but now I can forget about the match and Big Blue as a foot (much to noodles disaproval LoL) and I'm away with completing the problem.


  • The fierce texture works well on the slopers, on the jugs it's so-so, it's a little bit much. But you can comfortize the holds with some sandpaper to make it to your liking. Commercial gyms WON'T have a problem as traffic will do the work for you!
  • Nice shapes with no burrs, other than the obvious Font shapes
  • Good for any angle...
    • Jugs are good every where
    • Slopes and pinches will be good up to 30 or 45 (strength depending)
  • Packing was second to none!, no breaks or burrs
  • The texture will need some time to wear down or you'll have to lessen it on some holds
  • The texture does take shoe rubber really well, so hard to clean off
5xl Fontainbleau Roof Jugs: $47.49
XXl Fontainbleau Sloper: $19.50
6 Large Font Jugs: $41.49
7 Font Jugs: $38.49
5 Mini Font Jugs: $36.99
The pinches weren't a full set, so you'd have to ask for a price on those

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