Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Review > DRCC > D Balls > Entire Range


Are you a baller? Do you like balls? Well this week it's a treat for you... the word BALLS is going to be used a lot over the course of this review. Why? Mainly because of these:
D Balls
D Ball Halves

Big D Balls

The DRCC as you're probably well versed by now have been making some of the best holds that are out on the market right now; but this time if we're honest they may have done messed up :( Opinions over here at climbingholdreview are split. There's the Noodles camp that's "they're rubbish" and then there's the Everybody else camp and that's "they're awesome!" One thing has to be stated these holds are the second set that Allison shaped and that's a thing to be very proud of, the shaping on the Big D Balls is great... well great until you look closely at the above image. Do you see what we see? No? Let's look closer:
You think you're getting four different holds, but you're not, you're actually getting the same shape four times... just they're poured shallow. Ok? That's fine you're thinking, I get four slopers of differing depths. Yup you do, but you're throwing close to $200 at these four holds alone. Sure the biggest guy is pretty damn big, but all the DRCC has done is make a mold and then pour to different depths; when you think about it they're either being genius' or they're being cheap. If you look closely at the backs of the holds you can tell that they're actually coming out of two different molds... they hollow backs are different (at least the bracing inside) So what they've done is make the master, cast it twice for the different depth pours and bobs your uncle... four new holds. It does kind of sound like we're bitching here (mainly because we are), $199.95 for four holds, that's nigh on $50 per hold and they're not technically that big, the price seems a little steep.
The Big D Balls when it comes to the three sets of holds are the ones we really liked, despite the fact that no matter how many times you start the same problem you always seem to grab them in a different way (see Noodles comments below for a video)

And then you get to the smaller holds, there are 10 more to look at. If you look closely they've done the same thing again. Both sets are just shallow pours of each other, so again you're getting two not identical sets of holds. Genius or madness, you tell us! When it comes to the smaller holds they're a major point of contention around here, normally there would only be a few people commenting but this review has generated comments from pretty well everyone that came and climbed on them. The D Ball Halves and the D Balls all climb pretty well and even though you are climbing on duplicate holds you don't really notice too much, if at all.

One thing that has to be noted is that every when we did the walk through we didn't notice that the holds were just smaller versions of each other, it was when we were playing with the holds on the wall that we noticed this we should have figured it out from the names :P

 We've had them all over the wall in most scenarios that we could think of and they're a hoot to set and play with (once you get over the same shape different depth stuff), the larger D Balls are the ones you really want the rest... well go and read the comments for what we think of those, there's not really any reading between the lines for pretty much the entire team


With some of the holds you can go steep, hell, we had some of the larger more incut balls up on the roof and it made for some stiff climbing and some interesting hand matches. The D Ball Halves and D Balls are pretty well door knobs so you can wrap your hand around them and just crank, the Big D Balls end up being huge slap happy slopers or technical balance monsters depending upon where you place them.

Normally we'd suggest that home wall owners go and grab the smaller versions for their walls, this time we're going the other way as the Big D Balls are the most fun and are quite versatile for their size and shape. It is kind of a shame that you can't buy them as singles as well as a four hold set.


  • Number of holds:
    • Big D Balls:$199.95
    • D Ball Halves: $44.99
    • D Balls: $54.99
  • Type (Bolt / Screw Ons): Bolt on
  • Price per hold (set price divided by number of holds):
    • Big D Balls:199.95 / 4 = $49.98 USD
    • D Ball Halves: 44.99 / 6 = $7.50 per USD
    • D Balls: 54.99 / 6 = $9.16 USD
  • Color:
    • Big D Balls: Ours are mixed, green, pink, dark green and bluw
    • D Ball Halves: Yellow
    • D Balls: Pink / peach
  • Bolt placement: Middle
  • Sanding: Bang on
  • Hollow backed: Yes, some of the time
  • Soft back (Rubber backed): Yes
  • Texture: Great
  • Set size: Small to large
  • Versatility: Ok
  • Pre-drilled screw holes: No
  • Shaper: Allison O
  • Weight: Some holds are hollow backed, others aren't

We're going to sound like a broken record on the hollow backs... some of these holds (The Big D Balls aside) are hollow backed and some aren't, the shapes are very similarly sized so there really seems to rhyme or reason to why this has been done.

As usual there is little to complain about with the DRCC and their quality, all of the holds are very well built and there aren't any real blemishes to even mention. From the DRCC logo to the rubber back as usual they've done a superb job. Well til you realize you've just brought the same set a couple of times :)

There aren't any set screw holes in the big guys, they would have been hard to add to the larger shapes but it's something that could have been added. Unless of course the set comes with the rubber back as standard (and included within the price), not that we had any problems with the holds spinning when we were using them but mainly because some gyms will want to put a screw in to be safe.

Our colors were a mixed bag with these guys, each set was a different color (not that we specified (but we did pay for these holds)) and the colors are all nice and even without any problems anywhere, same for the sanding which was perfect



Hate is a harsh word, balls is seemingly a funny word. Balls is something that I'd use a lot to explain the smaller sets of holds, they just (for me) don't work very well, they seem tacked on, an after thought as this is where the fun and genius of the Big D Balls begins. Grabbing Allisons balls is a treat, even if they are just different pours of the same shape. The biggest shape of the lot is the one where you'll probably have the most fun, but I have a small problem with the slot that's on the side, it's not really needed... well it's kind of needed when it's on the roof... other than that it means people will just monkey through the move and stop using the shape for it's intended purpose... pock marked fun.

Did I say fun? I meant pain. I'm going to get down to base facts, I love the large holds, the smaller ones are rubbish and they're all painful for me to hold

Painful for me. Not for anyone else. There's a set of holds from Sequence Climbing that if their website was actually working then I'd not have to go and get my camera and have to take a picture... give me a sec:
Sequence Climbing's Moon Rock??
This hold (above) hurts my hands and fingers, it's the same as the balls, they hurt my hands... pure and simple :) There's nothing wrong with the way they're shaped or made, either for the Sequence shapes or the Balls they just hurt me... the wide pinching moves just for some reason just give me a bunch of pain. For the review I didn't really notice but when I stopped the next day my fingers hurt; no one else had that problem so it's just a me problem. As soon as I stopped playing with them then the pain went away.
I'd have had no problems if the holds were a bunch of slopers of different shapes and sizes, the dimples just simply fuck me up.

Wrapping up: half the shapes are hollow backed some aren't, what up with that? Also whilst I'm on a rant about these holds I'm not sure that having the same hold repeated through out a set multiple times is cheap or genius...

The bottom line is I like the Big D Balls, I wish I could climb on them more. The smaller versions should be binned. Sorry, hard to read and pretty hard to write but sometimes life jumps up and bites you on the ass.
Now if you want to see myself and Bobby slinging ourselves at a problem then watch the below video, if you notice when we start sometimes even though we're on the same problem with the same start we use different hand positions, we had so much footage of this one problem we decided to edit it and put it out... the problem is called Allisons Balls and it only uses the Big D Balls, the ones we liked playing with the most:

We've had our fair share of DRCC holds come through our door and the D Balls are of a different flavor. We've had holds like the duo texture slots or the setters delight, but the balls are much larger and friendlier than what I'm used to seeing from DRCC.

The set ranges in difficulty, where the smaller holds are much easier to grip. The holds have large dimples on them and are a breeze to pinch. As for the larger guys, well they're of a slightly different flavor in that they act more like a sloper and are harder to grip.

This set is pretty generic and you can find these kinds of spherical shapes from other hold suppliers but as usual, the DRCC has taken a classic design and made it better. The hold that stands out for me is the largest hold that we received, the large green guy we stuck on the roof. There is a small jug hidden in the back and it can be strategically placed to force moves. The dimply texture of these holds make all the difference. It makes for plenty of options, no matter the size of the hold but it is also its Achilles heel. The dimples are pronounced and give you plenty to hold onto and although they're really positive and easy to grip, they're small enough that you could feel some finger strain when you put a lot of weight on your fingers.

This set of holds I found had it`s ups and it`s downs. For sure not to get me wrong, they were professionally manufactured, don`t weigh much and have prefect texture. I suppose my perception of the downs comes from the fact that all the holds are very similar. There are big slopping balls and there are fist sized balls. The big ones definitely stick out as different and can be fun but I find that they all grab the same way and feel the same. As for the small balls, they have edges and you can pinch or crimp them and it`s really challenging to have a small sloper since they`re just too positive.

The plus side of being that positive is that you can play with the small sizes on overhangs and vertical walls and don`t have to be some sort of god-child to climb them. The big slopers are definitely workable in almost all angles; can be used for knee jams sometimes, and there is one that is really shallow to the wall and you are stuck working a open handed sloper pinch off of all the little indentations. 
Overall a good set of holds but I think they could of passed and not made the smaller holds altogether. 

If it wasn't for the nauseating amount of ball jokes that these holds inspired out of our jolly bunch of idiots, these slopers, no wait crimps, no wait...  well whatever they are, the D Balls sure are entertaining!  The colours are the usual DRCC unusual and the texture is comfortable.  The holds were slippery at first but the chalk and climbing fixed that.  They are amazingly fun climbing holds but they are hard to understand.  It's as if there is no actual way to hold them comfortably.  They are definitely slopers but hurt your fingers like they were crimps.  I have to mention at this point that while reviewing these holds, I have only been talking about the large D Balls since the small ones I quickly ignored after trying. You can pretty much only grab the smaller holds like a door knob - whatever wall angle they are set on and whatever your hand size - making them boring at best.  I don't think they should even be used by beginners because they don't encourage good hand and finger technique.  Conclusion, big balls are versatile, fun and challenging, little balls I can do without...  That's what she said!   ;)

I generally like these holds. We set a bunch of fun balance problems with the four large holds. Unfortunately not as much with the smaller ones. I guess this derives from the fact that they are all too similar to each other.  They all come from the same  mold, more or less, just poured at different depths, they just got boring fast.

As for the four large ones, they are also repeats of each other but get a way with it. These holds did offer some inspiration when setting, balance was definitely  the theme of most the problems we managed to set with them, and they almost always end up as a match, but I still liked them. Of the four, the largest was the only one that was really easy or could be used on a ceiling comfortably.

These are holds I would like to see on the wall again...    maybe just the big balls.

  • Large set sizes
  • Interesting take on shaping / pouring
  • The Big D Balls are fun on steep terrain
  • All of the holds are different depth of other shapes
  • Prices seem steep
  • Some holds are hollow backed others aren't and the shapes are very similar sizes

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