Thursday, April 21, 2011

Review > Pusher > The Molecule


Ah "Big Black" as we call it... ah "BB" as it's known to us, to you it's called the Molecule and it's one of what we call classic holds from Pusher Gear. For those of you not versed in the language of Pusher, let us introduce your worst nightmare:

It's big and it sure is beautiful to look at, Noodles took some "artistic" shots of it whilst it was going through it's paces (you can find them amongst our usual Facebook updates). The Molecule is a shape by renowned climber and shaper Jason Kehl, this is probably one of the first large holds that Jason became known for, the first time this shape saw the light of day was back in 2001 at the first PCA competition (anyone remember those comps?) and it was well received. If you've climbed indoors at all you'll know the story of Pusher and that they stopped making holds for a good long while until they resurfaced last year... and the reemergence of Pusher meant that shapes like the Boss and Molecule came back for another generation of indoor monkeys

So it's big and it's black, what else is there to this thing? Well it's heavy as well, 26lbs is a lot of urethane to put up on the wall, even with it's new hollow back this thing is a two person job rather than the old days when it was a three person job; sure it's a pain to get up and move about but once it's up... well that's when the fun starts :)

Now it's going to look like we didn't rotate the hold from it's original position on the wall, or move it around. We did, but the other routes we set weren't anywhere near as enjoyable as the ones we filmed, the best of them is right at the end of the video and is the last two clips... let us explain:
Start on some Kando holds and then into the Molecule, set yourself up with the top sloper and then get your arm all the way underneath "BB" and then back step into a long move to another Kando hold... needless to say getting to the Kando hold was hard, getting out of "BB" is something we're still trying to work out as the move is just pure power. It's something that was set late one night and was worked on and off for a couple of weeks until we moved the Molecule... but it will come back.

We made the decision right from the get-go to put this beast of a hold on the 30 degree wall, it was going to be too easy on the vertical and a little trickier on the 45 (it makes any route a hoot on this angle)... we even put it on the 60 (talk about powerful moves!)  For instance when this hold was at the PCA comp it was used as a mantel on a V5 or V6 problem, it's just about big enough to do things like this with it. We wanted everyone to get onto the hold and to play around... the 30 degree wall seemed like the best option for all... and it was, anything less makes the features of this hold too easy and anything more makes them a little too hard (for some climbers)... and the 30 degree wall allows nearly all of the intricate sloper / undercut / pinch moves you could want. The amount of times we set a route that used this hold wasn't even funny; from three move, get on, get off the Molecule to routes where you had to position your body in the right place (at times it involved 3 or four hand movements just on the one shape) the Molecule took it all... even though she was injured before anyone climber on her :( This is pretty unusual for Pusher as they normally drill out the holes and we've never had a problem before... maybe because it was the first pour that came out of the mold they just over looked some of their usual steps

Injured, yup. Chris cracked the hold when he was putting in a set screw. A number 8 set tapper to be exact, with the drill on almost minimum torque. Noodles was not amused. It's not the first time we've cracked a hold and it sure as hell won't be the last... but something that is $200 and a classic... well that's something completely different!!! The are a number of reasons why the hold cracked, we had the drill angle right, and the correct sized screw AND the drill on super slow and easy... despite having placements for screws the holes aren't drilled all the way through so you either have to use a self taping screw (which we use a lot) or you have to pre-drill the hole. We took self taping and the hold cracked.


The only reason this hold doesn't get a roof rating is because we're not that evil :) You could put it up there but a) it'd be hard and b) it'd probably be a waste of a feature like this. If you have a gym or a wall with a lot of space (the middle of an 8ft by 8ft surface is good enough) then you're going to enjoy owning this hold; it's not for everyone and when it's down from the wall it does take up a bunch of space for storage but considering what you can do with this hold it's worth it, sure it's not cheap at $199 but it is a (as the Pusher Gear website classes it) a MONSTER hold.


  • Number of holds: 1
  • Type (Bolt / Screw Ons): Bolt
  • Price per hold (set price divided by number of holds): $199
  • Color: Black
  • Bolt placement: Off centered
  • Sanding: Awesome
  • Hollow backed: Yes
  • Soft back (Rubber backed): No
  • Texture: Good
  • Set size: Massive, they call it a monster
  • Versatility: Great
  • Pre-drilled screw holes: Yes but not drilled through
  • Shaper: Jason Kehl
  • Weight: 26lbs
  • Distribution:
Right it's heavy.. but it is bloody massive... sure compared to some of the stuff that Jason Kehl has shaped of late it's not actually that big :) But it is still massive, you do need some wall space for this puppy that's for sure.
The hollow back is perfect, the walls of the holds are nice and thick and give the shape a lot of structural strength.

The texture is grippy but not so grippy that you're going to walk away with flayed skin and sore tips, we spent many hours on the hold and never had a problem, from slapping it to pinching it the whole shape is well designed. If you over chalk then you will find yourself brushing the hold a bunch as chalk does build up quite quickly.

Our hold is called Big Black, guess what color it is... yup black. As the hold was the first out of the mold it did have some little bits of dust within the material, but considering it's now covered in chalk it's something that you don't notice at all.

The bolt hole has a good straight hole and wall placed washer. Considering this hold is so big the fact that the sanding is perfect is a feat in itself, the hold sits level on a wall with no little areas where you could sneak a finger tip for some extra purchase (aka: cheating)



Right, consider this statement: Jason Kehl shaped this hold back in 2001. For it's time it was probably the biggest bad ass piece of resin (now urethane!) piece that people could bolt onto a climbing wall... let's face it, it's pretty bloody impressive. This hold and the Boss started a revolution (ha!) within the industry, so this hold and the fact that it's back on the market means you're buying a piece of history.. consider the size of some of the holds that Jason has been putting out lately, they're not so much holds as art, the industry has moved on and so has his style but you can see and feel it with this monster.. you can feel the beginning of something much bigger (ha!)

Whenever a box arrives from Pusher or Revolution it's always an interesting time as you never quite know what is going to be inside, Clark likes to keep us on our toes that's for sure. This time we knew it was coming but we didn't quite realize how big the Molecule actually is. Again, considering when this hold was made it's impressive to say the least.

The stand out route using this hold was one that didn't get finished, I'm going to put it back up again soon. The back-step undercling on the Molecule with the pinch and then up into the roof... amazing movement, super hard but great fun. I must have hit that problem more than I care to think about and I never had a problem with the Molecule or my skin. It'll be back and we'll film it because it will be hard as all hell.

The Molecule (considering I don't think I'd ever seen or climbed on one ever) actually kind of blew my mind a little, I didn't know what to expect, apart from pictures I'd seen and now I have climbed on one I can say that I enjoyed the hell out of it, yes it's big, yes it's heavy but it sure as hell is a good addition for a gym...and then if you consider the price of it... and that it's actually a feature and from what I can work out considering the size it's about 1/2 the price of much of the stuff that's on the market


Look out plague, black death has a new contender and its name is the Molecule! Now if you're a fan of the Boss from Pusher Gear then you'll find a different kind of modular hold here. What we've got with this hold  are options and unlike the Boss, this big boy has pinches, incuts and slopers all in one. With the Boss its hard to get away from the open hand sloper and this has its limitations.

So I made a rookie mistake in not piloting a screw hole and on this first note, this hold need screws. I wouldn't trust a hold this size with just one bolt.

Whichever way you rotate this hold it has options... some are obviously better than others and it can take a little while for you to find out which way you want to grip the hold. We tried it every which way and then how and there's no mistaking that this is a hold that has a lot to give. On the downside it is still heavy and it will take two people to put up, but it's more than worth that hassle for the fun you can have playing with it.

  • Lots of grabbing options
  • New hollow back means it's lighter than the original
  • Heavy, needs two people to put up
  • Screw holes should be drilled out before sending
  • You do need a bunch of space to fully utilize this feature

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