Sunday, January 30, 2011

Review > Morganics > Sandstone / Granite / Joes / Simples & Limestone


So this is the second part of our look at Morganics Starter set... a couple of weeks ago we looked at the screw ons from the set, you can read that review here, this time we're looking at the bolt on segments of this set.

This is what the Morganics site says about their starter set:
This kit is hands down the best deal around for getting the most usable climbing holds while spending the least money. This kit comes with Bolts and a wrench and is an ideal gift for anyone starting a wall. If you have a wall and are looking for more holds then look no further. This Kit contains a variety of holds in the following sizes with assorted colors:
  • 5 Large holds
  • 5 Large Jugs
  • 10 medium holds
  • 10 Medium mini jugs
  • 5 Small holds
  • 10 small screw on holds
  • 15 screw on-feet
  • Wrench
  • All bolts and screws included
  • T-nuts not included 
The first thing that is obvious when you look at these holds is the fact that there is a large range of sets included and most of them are pretty positive... we'd go as far to say that this set (the screw ons not being included in this statement) that it's more of a beginner friendly set than some of the others we've looked at.
Hell they're roof friendly, the only set you can't use is the Granites on the roof, we've had these holds for a long while and we've had them all over the place, high routes, low traverses, hard moves all over the 45 and then into the 60 degree wall... basically as we've been training for the Tour De Bloc competitions of late we've really used them to train upon.

Training... yeah, we've been training, and it's a good thing that most of the holds are incut and friendly on the hands. There were some really interesting routes that were group set, we'd have all of the holds on the floor and then we'd take turns setting a couple of moves and then go around the group, this makes for some really fun climbing because when you look at the difference in say Dora whose just about 5ft and then you look at Mark whose 6'7 there end up being some really strange short low moves and then you're off into a long move (and as is the case with Mark) that will probably be into the roof.

One thing that no one complained about was skin, that's until we hit the Granites, we looked at some Grantie holds from Project a while back (here) we found those guys to be super painful and just not fun to climb on, it's pretty well the same with these guys.... for a home wall and with people wanting to train for long periods of time these holds just aren't going to allow you to do that and realistically for a starter set they really don't have a place. Basically they should be removed and maybe switched to something like the Simples.


If you're building a wall or have just started climbing and have a wall then it's probably a good idea to have a look at these holds, they're mainly incut or jugs, there a few edges in there but not that many. We've had them all over the place, every wall and up on the roof in various guises; we find them nice to pull on no matter where they are placed. The only holds that aren't incut are the granites and they're pretty good on the 45 but you're going to be working hard to stay on them and you might need some new skin if you go steep with them and fall off; those holds have a real bite to them. Although these holds aren't the most inspiring to look at for the price they're pretty good filler for a new wall, some of the sets that are included feel similar to each other despite looking different.

The Simples are a fun set of holds, and it's kind of a shame that there's not more of them in this package! They're just as their name says just smooth ergonomic and nice to climb on....

  • Number of holds: 60 total (35 bolt ons)
  • Type (Bolt / Screw Ons): Bolt on
  • Price per hold (set price divided by number of holds): $159.99 / 60 = $2.67 each
  • Color: Mixed, green and brown
  • Bolt placement: Good
  • Sanding: Ok
  • Hollow backed: No
  • Soft back (Rubber backed): No
  • Texture: Good
  • Set size: Medium
  • Versatility: Good
  • Pre-drilled screw holes: No
  • Shaper: TBD
  • Weight: Light
The build overall is pretty good, there are some bubbles on the backs of some of the holds and some of the sanding is a little off. Other than that Morganic have ticked all of the boxes when it comes to manufacturing, all of the holds are marked with a little 'M', pretty much like the way Revolution mark their holds so they're easy to find when you're searching through boxes.

There are a lot of styles of holds within what you receive, but they do err on being pretty well incut across the board except for some of the screw ons and the Granite holds, they're grippy edges that if you take a fall from you're going to be leaving skin behind. There are a couple of holds that make nice incut pinches (The Limestones and the Sandstones) but most of the time you can stick most of the holds on the roof and if you're half way strong then there's no problem whatsoever. The shaping style has a little to really be desired, the Joes and Limestones despite looking different aesthetically feel pretty well the same, it's the Sandstones and the Granites that really add any character to what you're getting. The texture of the holds across the board is even, it's not super grippy once it gets chalked up, unless you're on the Granites which are always grippy even when they chalked to all hell.

Color-wise they're a dark lime green and the simples came in a brown, it was a little surprising that 95% of the bolt ons were one color and then one set of five holds was another... and then the screw ons were blue. Really they should all be different colors for each set or they should just be one color across the board.

There aren't any set screw holes as most of the holds, even the larger ones aren't really going to be taking enough force to cause them to spin. The holds do feel quite light and a little fragile when you're handling them so it's probably a good idea to not drop them from a massive height as they're going to break.

Also included in the set is an Allen wrench, which is way better than the shocking welded nightmare that Metolius sent us (here), all of the bolts are good quality. The only problem is the screws, they're not that good and we ended up using some of them but once we realized they weren't good we switched to our normal self tapping deck screws.

Overall when you look at the entire set then there isn't really enough variations on the shapes, where are the slopers and where are the pockets? Thankfully Morganics have some different variations on this starter set that you can check out

Rigid Urethane


I'll get this one off of my chest right out of the gate, I think these holds feel very very similar to Revolution.
Let that sink in.

Which would you buy?

It's an interesting thing to think about, there's nothing wrong with the holds, they're all comfortable and they all function really well. The holds feel lighter than you'd expect, there are a few minor bubbles and some of the holds could do with a second run over the belt sander...

Morganics aren't a brand that most people have heard of, hell they're a brand that most gyms don't have on their walls, why? Because they've been quiet for a long time, they don't have the biggest range, they don't have the smallest range... they have an interesting range of holds.

I'd like Granites to be take out of this set and be replaced with some more Simples, why? Skin wear and because they're all way flatter than the rest. I see this set as a beginner set, rather than a starter set, mainly because most of the holds are incut and slightly juggy.... what's cool with this set is the fact that you can use them all over the wall, roof, sure... steep angles, sure... ain't going to be a worry that's for sure. Even though we used these holds a lot across the wall we did make some interesting routes but they were mainly warm ups... fun warm ups that's for sure.

but this is just the bolt ons... let's talk about the WHOLE SET!!

This set for me is something that is a beginner set, because the holds are juggy overall, they miss pockets, slopers and some other holds that should really be included, and it's strange because it's not like Morganics don't have these styles of holds within their line up... it kind of makes you wonder why they didn't include them. I think that this set is a good filler for a wall or a great set for a beginner that wants to get stronger on their new wall. It's all a little samey for me, if they mixed it up a little more then they'd have a banger of a Starter set, especially when you look at the price

This set of holds ended up being a lot of fun. Able to be used at pretty much any angle on any wall for the most part and not at all harsh to grip and pull on. These holds tended to not spin and we often used them as part of our warm up`s before we got down to the more challenging things. Easy to work with, easy to identify and generally easy to hold. There were of course a few exceptions that weren`t jugs anymore and required a certain amount of concentration or you`d eat the pads, making for some pleasant crux`s along our  meandering climbs around and across our little gym.
Everything in this set would fall under a jug, crimp, edge or pinch, the only thing missing being tricky slopers and some pockets.  It is cool how this kit gave us a taste of varying sets coming out of the Morganic production line, so if ever inclined to get more, you have already  held onto a large assortment of their holds and styles. Overall a good kit, fine handholds that definitely work as great footholds if inclined to use them that way. The key to this one is it`s versatility, an excellent beginner choice or for someone just wanting to fill in some holes on their wall.

  • Lots of juggy holds within the range
  • Good for steep walls
  • Good price point
  • No pockets or slopers :(
  • Some holds needed some more sanding

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