Friday, January 22, 2010

Review > Teknik > Aphids

Teknik Handholds
Aphids are tiny little bugs. To put their size in context, they fall prey to lady bugs and this weeks featured holds are from Teknik and are the Aphids of the climbing hold world. Ten hot yellow crimps for us to play on:) 
Alright, you might be thinking: "What? is he color blind?" but our holds came in fluorescent yellow. We went to the Mountain Equipment Co-op on boxing day to get some presents that Santa failed to bring us (we were good this year Santa, why didn't you give us a hang board?) While looking around, something caught our eyes. The bright yellow Aphid holds were like a beacon that guided us and there are very similar to some Teknik crimps our local gym has recently bought. The Aphids look much like other crimps that Teknik makes, for example the Scarabs or the Crickets, but have a shape of their own. We climbed the crimps at the gym and realized that they didn't have this set so we bought them, when we got back to the wall we opened the package and realized the extent of pain we were about to endure. Now Teknik has named this set appropriately, taking into account their small stature, but "geometry" would also be a good way of designating the holds, each one of these heinous crimps has a geometric shape that results in some pretty sharp, incut edges.

Our biggest problem with these holds was to create problems that we could all work on, so we made a traverse from the vertical wall to the 30 degree wall. The holds should be set on vertical terrain and the since the holds are incut, they were really solid. In our case, we had the choice of any footholds on the wall so the sequence through the vertical wall ended up being a balancing act between footholds. The second we got onto the 30 degree wall, we really had to rely on brute strength. These holds will make you work! As with any kind of crimping on overhanging walls, your core strength and foot work will be put to the test....and don't forget to breath. Yes, there were times when we were climbing and holding our breath, just praying to get to the next move.

So we accomplished our first task of setting up a problem that we could all feasibly send and we were onto bigger and harder problems. Since the roof was out of the question, the next best thing to test our holds/strength/ignorance was to get them on the 45 degree wall. The original idea was to get to the top of the wall. We quickly realized this was a feat for Superman, so we worked on a short four move sequence. We ended up putting in very large holds for the feet, swapped some holds around and worked the beta and we still couldn't manage to stick the holds.

We played our version of the one hold game for our next set. The set has ten holds and we were three climbers so we each set three holds, with one extra hold for the start, setting like this always creates a fun and interesting problem. The early stages of solving the problem has us scratching our heads but we worked out the beta and it turned out to be a good session.

We climbed on these crimps for two weeks. We set three problems and had some friends over to climb with us. In total, there were six who tried the problems in which only two couldn't send because of bad footwork.....I mean sore fingers;) These holds aren't for the faint at heart, as the Teknik website states: "Heinous crimps reminiscent of the type of hateful little holds you’d normally only find on real rock. Fun!"



We tried these on the 45 wall, we really did... and Noodles just dropped to the floor and was straight out "I don't want to climb this", Chris on the other hand is a little daft and went at the route he set harder than expected. These holds could be used on a 45 degree wall.... as feet, we'd not use them for hands

For most people these holds are going to be hard and painful on a 30 degree wall and normally we'd complain about them being painful... but Teknik stated that these holds are heinous on their site so we're not really surprised that they have some bite to them. The bite is the only thing that is going to keep you on the wall, that much is clear as the holds are thinner than a high school math teachers comb over (and that's pretty thin)

If you don't mind some sharp edges and some finger pain, look at these holds, but keep the angle shallow and your fingers taped... digression from this formula will leave you in pain. Remember variety is the spice of life, and these holds do fit into a category that allows you to have what you want on your wall

  • Number of holds: 10
  • Type (Bolt / Screw Ons): Bolt on... Martini headed bolts only
  • Price per hold (set price divided by number of holds): $27 USD / 10 = $2.70 per hold
  • Color: Ours are yellow
  • Bolt placement: Centered
  • Sanding: 50-50
  • Texture: Good
  • Set size: Small, crimps
  • Versatility: Limited
  • Pre-drilled screw holes: Nope
The one big fault with these holds is the sanding, holds this small shouldn't need a set screw to stop them from spinning... but we turned these holds more than we expected and had to really crank them down HARD on the wall. It's kind of a surprise, sure small thin holds like these are going to be hard to sand, but some of the holds just hadn't be near a sander and that for us was a surprise! So the holds not being sanded resulted in some spinners, slightly moving holds.

Other than the iffy sanding, the holds are pretty well made. They're light and have good texture that's more aggressive than what you'd normally get on a Teknik hold, and it's needed to keep you on the wall. There aren't any inset washers, these holds are actually too thin to have them in the hold but the martini headed bolts that these holds take will spread the force of the hold being tightened down pretty well. (Update: All small holds now have inset washers)

Our holds are nice and bright yellow, there were some other colors that we could have picked out, but this was the option that we went with. The color is nice and even through the set and despite their small stature all the holds have the little Teknik star on them

Urethane, and they're pretty strong despite being thin

We brought these holds from a store, they were well packed, they come in a bag with bolts

Now I love Teknik, 80% of their holds are sublime sometimes there's something out of the ordinary... this time not so much. Why as I hate crimps so much did I buy them? Because being known for hating crimps Teknik were never going to send us a set. Now I see the reasoning for a hold company having a diverse mix of holds, every company should... and not all companies do!

I'm going to state flat out that I don't like Tekniks small stuff. No sir, I'm sorry to say. Anything that's a set of holds that is 1/4 crimp all the way if just plain evil... Actually let me contradict myself... The Crickets and the Spikes are small holds and are good small holds; I'd even say that the Runners are better crimps... mainly because they're open handed crimps, not full on crimps

There are two sides of the coin, I don't like these crimps, either at the gym or at home. Although I hate crimps, I seem to climb well upon them; don't ask me why, I just do. On a 5.11 set at the gym with a bunch of these holds I breezed through the sequence on these, straight out killed it, I was smooth, I was solid and I could cling on.... I almost flashed a couple of the routes that we set here... self preservation and finger pain made me stop

These holds are sharp, and that's where my problem lies. If these holds had a little.... and I mean tiny tiny more meat on them... they could be the same depth but if the edges were rounder then I'd be fine with them. Svelt Pinches... amazing, Spanky... sorry I mean the Arnold is great, it never leaves the wall... I just prefer the Runners as small small holds to hang on to. So these holds come down to personal opinion, some people love the pain of crimps and will always buy something like this... sure I grabbed these to see what they were like...

"Crimps are meant to be sharp, outside
Inside I prefer them lessened, so I crimp but I don't get the pain from sharp edges
I also take my scotch straight up with a two cubes of ice... inside or out!"

I'm going to take this time to comment on something that we've noticed about the holds that we receive. Companies tend to send us the best holds and we are given the best service, knowing that they will be scrutinized. We've come across some disgruntled customers who have been unhappy with a product, or problems with communications or shipping of holds. Some want to give in their two cents but fall on deaf ears. Without naming any one company in particular, they must come to the realization that their customers are climbers, driven, as they are, for the love of the sport. We are all part of that community and it is the community that keeps these companies alive. We've had a lot of beef from people who claim that we don't hear the complaints, well we do. To act on them is a touchy subject to embark on in a review and we try to stay as unbiased as possible. In our reviews we comment on our own experiences with the holds/companies.

Teknik is one of the big players in the climbing hold world and if they had sent us this set, they probably would have come in with a high degree of quality control. The set was bought from Mountain Equipment Co-op and they weren't all made to the same standard. The shapes are nice, the texture even but when it came to flat sanded backs, the holds are not consistent. One out of the ten was completely flat and you can hear me crank down the holds with the wrench because the uneven backs made some of the holds spin.

So despite all that, I like the holds. The in cut crimps give more grip than say a flat or slopey crimp so at least I could pull myself off the ground on the 45 degree wall. We've had a shot at climbing a lot of Tekniks crimp line, thanks to Allez Up, and they're all pretty nasty, but...ahh, yes...there is always a but...they're much better than you would expect. The holds were reserved for the harder climbs, 5.10 and up, and I wouldn't want to be on them if I wasn't capable of climbing at this level. There were some people working on the sequence, but most had to put it to rest before they got to the top.

  • Great color, these small holds stand out
  • Came with bolts included
  • Sanding was off
  • Painful and thin holds


Anonymous said...

No Pain , No Gain... Pussies.

Anonymous said...

We have these at our gym in Newfoundland, and I am the head setter there.

We got these and they are amazing. I have used them on everything from 5.9 - V8.

The only place i disagree is that these holds are painful?!? I am sorry but for crimps that small these holds are super super comfy. Like super super comfy! and that is the comment i get from everyone. they see the holds and think they will be super painful but they are super cush!

Maybe if you a V2 climber and these are on a 30 degree wall, and you've never climbed outside they would hurt. But as far as crimps that size come these are the comfiest on the market.

Kaleb Thomas