Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Review > Rock Candy > Hoodlums Large

Rock Candy
Sometimes it takes some time to get holds, Rock Candy is a company that's been pretty prolific with their hold shaping and pouring of late with new sets hitting the market more often than not. When we talked to Nathan about getting stickers for our comp he wanted to put up a set of holds for the prize draw, so he sent us a set over so we can give them away... in fact he didn't send just one set, he sent two... one for a winner and a set for us to play with, what did we choose? We chose the Hoodlums as they looked like a good set of holds with a variety of grip positions
There was a down side to this deal dear reader, team Rock Candy didn't want us to review the holds! They believe that they make some of the best shapes out there... but they didn't want a review; so cue Noodles on the phone... and some time later we had the OK to go ahead

Looking at the RC site you notice one thing very quickly, they really like their colors to be bright or of a hue you don't see very often on the market. The images on the site (Ours or theirs!) don't actually do the colors justice, the set we're giving away is blue, the set were reviewing is green; in both cases it's not just blue or just green... it's neon(ish), really really bright green and blue; these things when you open the box are just bright! OK, we know that color is a personal / professional preference, we do prefer a bright color as they're better in photos and when we set at the gym to see how the holds fare we do like our routes to stand out... some people don't like that, and that's fine

From the box we sat down and looked at both sets and decided upon the Hoodlums because they looked like we'd get more use out of them than the other set, The Scabs, and as we'd been playing on crimps for a few reviews and we'd had the Tour De Bloc comps we decided to be nice to our hands for once :P Shape wise the set is an interesting mix of different hand positions, from incut matchable edges / single hand edges and one of the holds you can match on either side, there's a lot of variety, nothing that's massively bomber but nothing that's so small you want to tape all of your joints; for once we knew these holds were going to be very doable on the 45 degree wall.

Jacky had the holds first, as he was going to be missing from the crew for a while due to his exams, and he set an interesting route with a cross over on the face of the box that looked like it wasn't going to be very easy to get across, but the holds inspire confidence in your hand placement and it turned out to not be so bad
On the 45 degree wall is where most of the video takes place, but the holds went everywhere. These holds are best suited to steepish terrain as you'll get a good workout without stressing your hands too much, of course this depends upon how you set and what you want to do. We set easy and super hard problems on the steep walls and although the hard routes took a few times to get done but they did get done. Bear in mind the texture on the holds is pretty aggressive but no so much that you're going to get a serious burn, add chalk and once the holds have bedded in they become much much better, and as the texture is so grippy it means getting the chalk off of the holds isn't a problem

This is a tricky one, the holds are suited to a myriad of uses! We had them on the 45 and once you get the sequence correct the route was easy enough, but some people have had problems with the moves we set. On the 30 they were just too easy, but pushed some of the beginner climbers pretty hard... like we say it's a tricky one to pin down.

Slabs? Nah, waaay too easy! 45, sure they're positive enough that you can push it pretty far with the moves and the distance between hand placements before it becomes a full on dyno situation. It really depends upon your ability, if we look at say the Metolius Cobblestones... it's easy, you're going to have a tough time on a 45, same with say the DRCC ESC/DSC's... these holds are hard enough that beginners will feel like they have the route but will have to work it to get the send, whereas experienced climbers will have a much easier time on the same route (Ain't it always the way?)

It depends upon what your needs are, we love them on the 45, on a 60 we'd have to work pretty hard, but due to the shape and the nature of the holds (you can pinch them) it'd be more than doable, past that you're going to be spending some time with your close friend the mats!

It's our first time touching holds from this fairly new company: Rock Candy. It's a sweet hobby to get to test new holds before most gyms have them in their collection! Indeed, these holds are definelty candy colored... so success on the look! The shape of the holds are well done, resembling something you'd find outdoors. They are nice little pinches, where you're supposed to place your fingers are obvious and yet don't give that easy a grip. These cracks are small and well guaged, leaving enough space for your fingers to find a good grip, but not making it that easy for an experienced climber, but these holds could also be used in childrens routes since their tiny fingers will fit comfortably, deep into the cracks. The surface finish is also nice, mixing smooth areas with rough areas. As Noodles noticed, there are fine lines in the depth of the cracks that should have been paid more attention to, but you won't loose fingernails or tips when you slip off of the hold. Despite this, I would catergorize these holds as some, where the shapers have clearly spent alot of time and effort to make them what they are. Now if only the collection was large enough to set a full route at the local gym, we could see what long term exposure would do to them...

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