Sunday, February 13, 2011

Review > Motavation Volumes > James & Pele

Mot Volumes

This probably isn't going to be a typical review, well at least in the normal sense of a review, it's going to be a little retrospective... a little bit different. This week we're looking at some of Motavation Volumes shapes... generation three to be exact, they're called the Pele and the James:
James from Motavation Volumes

Pele from Motavation Volumes

Before we talk about these volumes lets take you back, to a not so distance past::

Some years ago a company called Motavation Volumes popped up and sent us some little volumes made of wood, you can read the original review (here) but here's a recap on what they were like...
Two Willys, Medium and Small from Motavation Volumes
They were a little rough and ready, there were screw heads everywhere, the sanding on the backs was slightly off and basically the idea was great but there needed to be some clean up done on the volumes. We'd have given them a 5/10 if we still ran our old scoring system

Wait some time and then another package arrives, that review in full is (here). This time there's a Waylon and two Billys arrived, one of the Billys was massive:
Waylon from Motavation Volumes

Billy from Motavation Volumes
HUGE Billy from Motavation Volumes

They'd done some work with these guys, the screw heads couldn't be seen, they were bright colors and they worked really well. We've had these guys for a long long long time and they're still going strong... the comments we made about the fact that any hold put on the volumes stuck to the texture they were using and was de-laminating the wood when you try to take them off still holds true and we've managed to destroy one of the screw in T-nuts... but there was massive improvements, they added a branded logo (They are from down South afterall), they're colored and they're made out of good quality plywood what more could you ask for??

Well if we remember correctly we mentioned that they should add set screw holes as the volumes are pretty heavy and hanging them off of a single bolt wasn't the best. Sure, sure, anyone can chuck a screw into these guys, they are wood after all, but a nice washered set screw hole would have taken these guys into a different realm of volumes.... in-fact Jeremy has had a number of drunk informative conversations with the boys at Motavation about improvements that we've thought of whilst moving and playing on these volumes

And this brings us to today... well, actually thats not quite true :) They did send us some more small Willys that had a new texture on them to see what we thought, THAT actually brings us upto date... now lets get this shindig rolling WOO!

So the James and the Pele, let's face it, they're pretty big volumes!

They're made of really good quality plywood and they now have a new texture that doesn't keep your holds stuck to it when you un-bolt them, so everythings looking pretty good so far! But there are a couple of downsides to these guys, they're minor things that you have to keep in mind:
  1. They are pretty heavy, so you might need more than one person to put them up
  2. You won't have bolts that are long enough so you will need to make some
  3. The texture is sprayed on after the bolt holes are drilled, so they holes are tight to begin with
Now these are minor problems considering what they bring to a blank wall, we bolt them to each other, we stick holds on them and we screw holds to them... as they're made from thick plywood it is actually pretty tough putting the screw ons onto them... you really need to press down on the drill to get any movement on the screws :)

Normally we'd show you a video of us climbing on them... but there's really not much point because you can pretty well see a volume in most of our videos... the only other volumes we have is a Nicros Jur-or-Not and their Infinity Board base everything else is a Motavation Volume... let's let Jeremy talk you through the volumes:

So there you have it, pretty short and sweet this week.... the volumes are huge and strong, they have a new texture... viva la generation three, we're looking forward to what they're going to come up with next... maybe a center column for the bolts would be a nice addition. Oh AND SCREW HOLES 


Put them wherever you want, adding volumes to a wall gives a blank wall a welcome change, we move them around a bunch whenever we set. A couple of them a permanently screwed in place on our flat walls to make transitions easier. Get these guys and do whatever you want with them because they're strong as hell and they make a plain wall much more interesting... did you ever see the box we built? We're not going to be doing that again, if you read our older reviews you can see some of the smaller volumes we've tested: here & here


  • Number of holds: 2
  • Type (Bolt / Screw Ons): Bolt ons
  • Price per hold (set price divided by number of holds): James is $140 upwards / Pele is $250 upwards
  • Color: Pele is yellow / James is Blue
  • Bolt placement: Center
  • Sanding: Great
  • Hollow backed: Yes
  • Soft back (Rubber backed): No
  • Texture: Good
  • Set size: Massive
  • Versatility: They are bolt on volumes
  • Pre-drilled screw holes: NO!
  • Shaper: Jared Stains
  • Weight: Heavy
 Motavation Volumes have come along way, the shapes are massive and super strong.. of course there are some problems which we'll repeat here: They are pretty heavy, so you might need more than one person to put them up, you won't have bolts that are long enough so you will need to make some, the texture is sprayed on after the bolt holes are drilled, so they holes are tight to begin with and of course THERE STILL AREN'T ANY SET SCREW HOLES.

One major problem is having to make your own bolts, because with a cap head what happens is because of the T nut placement you basically can only use a hollow backed hold as the cap protrudes out of the volume...  you can't use a normal hold. We're looking into different ways of using other bolts to get around this problem... right now we're thinking of threading some of the other bolts we have that are way too long and are un-threaded.

The texture is good enough that on some of the sharp angles you can get a grip, but it's not so good that you're totally bombproof on the move you're pulling. Construction is bombproof, these volumes are probably over constructed but that's not a bad thing unless you want light weight volumes, all of the shapes had a rough travel from Texas to here and they were totally fine on the pallet that they came in on.

One thing that can be said is that there could obviously have more t nuts on all of the climbing surfaces, but it's not hard to drill these yourself wherever you'd like them, you can always ask for more t nuts there will probably be a small cost for this service. Color-wise these things pop, the yellow is super bright, the blue is pretty standard, we've heard that there might be some neon colored volumes coming in the near future :P

Plywood, super thick stuff


Importing a pallet of volumes for a competition is always going to be an endeavor... but it was done for the Allez Up December Fest. Not long after they arrived we realized we needed to sort out some bolts for these monsters... once done up they went and then out came the drill. These holds really really really need set screw holes and Motavation know this, I've spoken to them about it but they've not got around to doing anything about it as of yet.... but they will I'm pretty sure of that fact.

Mark complains about me moving volumes about the place and he says we have too many, admittedly I did put every Motavation volume we have on the roof at one point because I was bored, but he never seems to complain about the variety it add to the wall, strange that :) We have volumes on top of volumes and sometimes we've have volumes on volumes on top of another volume, we have some fun with them that's for sure... it's testament to say that even the generation one volumes we have are still going strong and it's only the generation two volumes that de-laminate when the holds are stuck to them that are the only real building / design defects we've ever had.

Some people will complain about price, but when you look at them realistically (time and materials etc) then they're cheap and well worth it, some of their smaller volumes are way less that $100 btw, it comes down to what you want and whether you can be arsed to build it... me, I don't have time so I go Motavation volumes especially after the box we built that weighed in at about 2 tonnes and the hassle we had putting it up and down.

Base level, would I buy them (again)? Yes, because I'm lazy and I think that the build quality on these volumes is amazing... plus I love the fact that they add variety to our wall... go check them out.

I'm really impressed with how Motivation Volumes has risen through the climbing hold scene. We were the first to sample their product and every generation has something new to offer. So its a pain to find bolts long enough for the larger shapes and they are heavy and difficult to get onto the wall without an extra set of hands but god damn, they're really cool to have around. Now I would gather that unless you have a big fat wallet and can afford custom made boulder walls, your personal home wall built around your garage frame probably has a lot of flat uninteresting angles. Stick a Motivation volume on it and you've got something fresh. I liked the simplicity of the small pyramid shapes but these new ones are mind blowing. I wish only that they would have more bolt holes. There seems to be lacking a lot of bolt placements. The faces that do have t-nuts in them only have one and there are other faces that are missing bolt holes all together. What this does is limit where you can place the hold. It becomes very repetitive and you can easily anticipate where the hold is.

Of course, it all comes down to would I buy it or not. The answer would be yes. Motivation are making geometric volumes that will be a great addition for a home wall or gym. The lack of bolt holes isn't a big issue and you can always pick up a drill and add some more t-nuts or better yet, add some screw on holds.

  • Super strong they're very well built
  • Adds variety to flat panels of your wall
  • Heavy, you need two people to put them up
  • Bolt holes are tight to start with
  • Price for some people

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