Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Review > Teknik Handholds > NKR1 & Talons

Teknik Handholds

NOTE: There are some "editors" notes in Dustins comments because he felt that the NKR1 was reshaped... it's not been so please keep that in mind
In this review you`re probably going to see a few words like ``pure``, ``simple``; you`re probably also going to see a number of shorter more offensive words as well... because the holds we`re looking at this time will probably cause you to drop the odd F Bomb.

Let`s see the holds and lets talk about what we did:
Teknik Handholds: NKR1

Teknik Handholds: Talons

Firstly we need to explain the videos, as the Talons and the NKR1 are just three holds we wanted to set problems with just them and some foot holds, nothing else, as the holds are so clean looking we wanted to make simple pure problems. But three holds isn`t a lot, so we made a thing we call the TMP or Three Move Problem! Now lets face it, a three move problem isn`t going to really stress you out when you`re climbing... or is it?? There's one thing we didn't really take into account, that was a) the holds themselves and b) the angle of what we were climbing on... and here begins a tale of semi-epic proportions.

Ever since the Talons were set on a finals problem at The Spot a few years back, Jeremy was wanted to have a set... the NKR1, well since climbing on the original version of this hold we all kind of wanted to have it on the wall. Unfortunately the NKR1 went out of production for a while, and then it came back... tweaked and ready to kick some ass. As soon as Teknik brought this back the discussion started up again about grabbing the holds. Thankfully Jeremy's birthday was around the corner and he decided to gift himself some toys. Those toys were the NKR1, Talons, Half Fat Slopers and the Hard Mathematics. Money well spent he thought.... and then a email from Zoe over at Teknik HQ, the molds had to be remade so the holds were going to be late (Great customer service!) So the wait was extended a little, but in way of compensation she sent us a bucket of chalk stating "with what you brought you're going to want this!"

The holds arrived... oh what a day :)
They sat in their bags for about 5 seconds before they were being fondled by the crew. One thing that came out of the initial contact with the holds was this: "The Talons are bigger than I thought!" it's true the Talons are a couple of big old holds, and the NRK1 wasn't far behind them that was for sure :)

As soon as they were out of the bags, bolts were found and routes were set. In the videos you'll see the two initial routes that we played around on (there have been many more) and you're going to hear some beeping where we've taken out the language that was being thrown around the wall when we climbed... there was some contention on the first route, and well the second route... that one kind of speaks for itself.

So Route One:
Someone (Jeremy) had the bright idea of pulling from the floor on one of the Talons on a 30 degree wall, to top it off you then had to hit and match the second Talon and then move up to the NRK1. Jeremy set the first move and left the rest up to Bobby and Mark. What turned up was a pretty hard three move problem that had a few arguments attached to it! The argument was that Jeremy was able to pull off of the ground using a foothold and by smearing his other foot just underneath it and then basically pull / hop off of the floor, kick his smearing foot up and get to the next move.... everyone else was kind of stumped for a bit. Therefore he must be cheating because he was able to do the move, it even came down to Mark laying on the floor watching Jeremy's feet to make sure he wasn't cheating!

Needless to say once you have the moves it's easier than it looks. Jacky once he saw someone climb it got it on the second go and Chris managed to work out the moves within three attempts.

Route Two:
If you were to coin a phrase for this route it'd come from Monty Python... "And now for something completely different" :) Pull off of the NRK1 on a flat wall (use a back step) and then go and hit the not positively incut Talon on the 45 degree wall which is upside down and then move out to the final Talon on the 30 degree wall. Did someone say wedge yourself in the corner backwards and then try to move UNDER the Talon to be able to get to the final hold? Lets face it, pulling off the the NKR1 is hard enough already, hitting a Talon on a 45 even when it is set nicely is brutal and then matching from an awkward angle was the easiest it of it. We didn't film too much on this route, the main session was Mark and Jeremy just playing around one night.

Oh this route is a $5 and a hug route, whoever gets it first gets $5 and a hug from everyone else :)
So what do we think of the holds? These holds are more competition holds than anything else, but even thou the Talons have only been out for a short time both sets fall into the classic holds category from the get-go. Teknik always have nice shapes, they`re always friendly to hold onto and they will always put a smile upon whoever is climbing the routes face, ok that`s a lie, once the person has been brutally spat off of the wall a million times and then manages to get the route done they`ll have a smile on their face

The reason Jeremy grabbed these holds is because when you see them in a competition setting you know it`s going to be hard. Most of the climbers here climb in the Tour De Bloc on and off and at some point we know that these holds will turn up so it`s better to be armed with what you`re up against than to not kind of a ``know your enemy`` kind of deal :D Plus lets face it, why would you not want these holds, the only factor that we can think of is space, maybe your wall is too small to really have any fun with these holds; well what we suggest is you strip the wall get these holds and make a Three Move Problem out of them, you`ll not be sorry and you`ll know your enemy and that enemy is some serious sloper pinchy fun


We would say ``hey put these on a 60 degree wall`` but you`d just end up on the floor looking up at the holds. The Teknik site actually suggests that the NRK1 is best used on vertical to slightly overhanging walls and we`d agree, this hold is hard on vertical and brutal on anything over a 15 degree wall (although we did have some fun on the 30 degree) and the Talons well they`re in different league of their own, you can get these guys on some steep stuff and the roof if you`re REALLY strong, like REALLY REALLY strong but on a 45 they`re a bunch of fun. If you have a big enough 45 degree wall then the moves and problems you can set with just these three holds are going to range from hard to really hard, the holds even though you know where exactly to grab them will always surprise you... a slight turn one way or another makes your problems harder.


  • Number of holds: Talons are a two hold set the NRK1 is a single hold
  • Type (Bolt / Screw Ons): Bolt
  • Price per hold (set price divided by number of holds):
    • Talons: $90/2 = $45 per hold
    • NRK1:  $60
  • Color: Our NRK1 is a awesome deep purple and the Talons are green
  • Bolt placement: Good
  • Sanding: Perfect
  • Hollow backed: Yes
  • Soft back (Rubber backed): No
  • Texture: Classic Teknik, just enough for long sessions
  • Set size: These are XL
  • Versatility: Great
  • Pre-drilled screw holes: No, and they really want them
  • Shaper: Seth  Zoe for the Talons, Nels for the NKR1
  • Weight: TBC
Teknik Handholds: Talons
TALONS: What the Teknik site says about the Talons: "A deadly cool pair of slopers/pinches. Each has a subtle incut along one side of the pinch claw feature, the other side is slopey. Turn them vertically for long tufa like features crowned by a sick sloper." For once that description is bang on!! To say that the incut is subtle is so correct, you have to be in the right position on these holds or you're heading to the mats very quickly

These holds are hollow backed and at first glance you think that they're opposites of each other, but they're not, they are slightly different from each other with one hold being slightly more incut than the other and we mean slightly more incut. The shaping as per usual with Teknik is sublime, these holds have been on some many finals problems since they first came out it's not even funny. If you look at the finer details of the holds the bolt placement is good and square, the sanding is awesome and the texture allow you to grab all day long, well until your pinch strength gives up. You do need to find that fine line of how much chalk is enough (case in point watch Jeremy when he completes the first route where he chalks one hand) and you will find that they do suck chalk up... so then you brush them and then realize you need more chalk on them again :) It's a funny little circle of brush, chalk, brush, chalk with these guys.

Teknik Handholds: NKR1
NKR1: "This is Nels Kristoff Rosaasen's pro-model hold. It has been a fixture at many comp finals since 2003 filtering out the best of the best climbers over and over again." Again another succinct description of this hold, it will spit off the best climbers in the World who don't take it seriously.

This hold has a really well made hollow back that makes it much lighter than you'd at first think but doesn't compromise it's strength at all. We know this hold from various gyms and as it's been climbed on a lot every time the texture has been ragged to all hell... this time it's new and you can find the good spots pretty easily and the texture is just enough to let you pull, but if you pull in the wrong direction then again it's a trip to mat land :)

Again the shaping is great, even with the slightly sharp lip (which you'll never notice) anyone can haul on this hold all day without wearing out their skin. The bolt hole is again placed well and is square, the sanding is perfect and the color is a really nice purple

BOTH HOLDS OVERALL: The one downside of these holds for home climbers is their size, some peoples walls may just be a little too small to really be able to get the best out of these holds. One other point is set screw holes. These holds, especially the Talons, need set screw holes to be pre drilled and when we say pre drilled we mean when the customer gets the holds there should be a screw hole in the hold. Teknik have a bomb proof mix and they say you can put a screw anywhere you want because their material will take it, and it will, but we'd still like to see these little details to be included. Yes we pre drilled our screw holes, we always do because no matter how strong a material is we don't like cracking holds, we'd rather be safe than sorry :)

Super strong urethane

Great, the box was bigger than it needed to be. All of the sets we ordered we bagged separately and no damage / scuff marks were present

Noodles: Which name am I going under today? Noodles for Jeremy? So I Jeranoodle brought these holds and a bunch of others. Why you may ask! Because I've wanted the NKR1 since I saw it and the Talons, well I just wanted the Talons because they look awesome. Was it money well spent? Yes it was. I have a running list of holds that I want to get from Teknik and if you like you can read between the lines of that comment and if you so do you'll find that that list is everything on their website. Slowly but surely I'm getting there, as a self confessed hold whore there are holds that to me should be coveted. Lets run through some of that list:
  • The Boss: because it's the Boss!
  • NKR1: because it's evil
  • Some Etch holds... (their website is down again): UFO and the Egg
  • The NKR1: it is that good
The list does go on and on, I have an excel file of stuff to buy so we can review it and that list gets longer and longer every month.

So the NKR1, I was once spat off of this hold on a comp problem, I was also thrown to the ground by this hold at the gym when it was the starting hold on a route. Never again, I am going to master every which way you can hold this hold so I will be triumphant. It's a subtle beast this one, one minute its smiling at you the next it's punching you in the face and laughing at you... base line is it's hard to master this hold, subtle movement is key and rock solid body tension is what you need to be able to play. It's a bastard of a hold but in a good way. One thing I'd like to see is the NKR2, the same hold but the opposite can you imagine trying to hold onto two of these things at the same time on an arete or a steep wall? It'd be wicked

The Talons, I did actually think these holds were opposites, but they're not, they're slightly different from each other and thank god for that! If they were both the harder one of grab then they'd be so hard to use, but as they are they're just hard to use rather than so hard. And it is hard in a good way, again it's the subtle body placement and grip that allows you use these holds... crank the angle and work your pinch strength because that's what they really work out. Double heel hooks on these on a steep angle is fun and just playing with movement on these holds is one of those things that  enjoy about climbing and especially about climbing on Teknik's holds, it is always a pleasure and never a chore

Final note: I agree with the group consensus about having pre drilled set screw holes included on these holds, I spun the starting Talon on the first route twice and that hold was bolted to the wall as tight as a wrench could make it.

Chris: I only climbed the first route, and I have to admit that it took me longer than I wanted to pull the first move... once off of the floor the rest of the problem was simple and just a matter of putting yourself into the correct position to be able to hang on.

I've run across the NRK1 at the gym numerous times and as it's an old version (old material) the texture has gone completely and it's like glass making it super hard to pull on. We showed Fred the new NKR1 (he's the head setter at our local gym) and it's not going to be long before he orders up a new one. To say that people like the NKR1 is an understatement, Jody Miall has an original MINT NRK1 that he only uses a couple of times a year for competitions... after that it goes back into it's hiding place and the setters at his gym know to never touch it under pain of death; yup people take that hold pretty damn seriously!

The Talons, man those guys are big, I didn't think that they were actually that long. You can probably put six hands onto the pinching area of these guys and still have room left over for some sloping action. Once I finished the first route Noodles and I played about with these guys, changed the angles on them, put them upside down, tried hanging on the slopers and generally seeing what you can do. The down low for me is this: If you're on an angled wall it's pinch time, if you're on a flat wall you can use the slopers. These holds are more technical than I expected and will make you think and work your hand placements... I love em.

Mark R: The first route kicked my ass pure and simple, the second route I was getting and then I just ran out of steam. What kind of gets my goat is that I'm away for the next two weeks and I know that the second route isn't going to be there when I get back, I will have to reset it when I return and see if Jeremy will post another video.

It's hard for me to judge these holds because I'm new to climbing, I went to my first competition a few weeks ago and when these boys are playing nice the routes for me are still hard. I'm getting there slowly but surely, I liked the pinchy holds more than the purple one as I could grab them and could just about hang on. Mind you the purple one on the second route I did manage to get off of the floor it's all about leverage

Martin: Really cool holds. The texture was just grippy enough. It really depends on which angle you set the route on. The force you need to pinch them exponentially increase with each degree the wall gets steeper! You can also set them without the pinching option and ask for the climber a really good body tension mastery.

We would have appreciated a pre-drilled set screw as it was obvious these big 1 bolt holds would spin. They do make a classic 2 or 3 holds bouldering PROBLEM for a comp, as the problem is really figuring out a way to maximize each chance you grab it to find THE sweet spot, because yeah, there's always a spot better the the others and by 1 or 2 inches you can miss it pretty easily

Mark D: These holds were really nice, granted the large purple (NKR1) is just a size up from its former self, it still has the nice texture and style of its former self, just bigger and better. The two grade A pinching sloping green holds had the same quality to their make, with plently of possibilities of how to place them on the wall. You could put them vertical to horizontal to upside down and depending on which angle you were using them on they can always be a riot. Friendly texture, not too much bend or give considering their sizable length and girth.

The only thing as already noted is their lack of a set screw hold, which they really needed as soon as you put any weight on them. We tried once without and then right away pulled out the drill and put some holes in since it was quite simply impossible not to turn these.

They feel great though, and were a pleasure to use, able to pull out great hand to heel moves or just swing around on. I wouldn't go and rate these holds as beginner holds unless you put them on a slab, but I don't think beginners were in their intentions when they built these. These are classic holds that every gym should have, they look good, feel good and have plenty of potential for any gym or cave.

Revolution ClimbingDustin Curtis: So the NKR1 and the Talons. I should start by saying that I've always been a fan of Teknik. They came on the scene about 12 years ago, more correctly exploding on to the scene with fat pinches. Lots and lots and lots of fat pinches. Yes yes, I know, there were some edges and maybe a couple of crimps but I'm sure that everyone remembers the PCAs and Tour De Bloc finals consisting solely of those white and one colored fat pinches. They've come a long way since those days and the NKR1 is probably the most recognizable of their entire line. Although this isn't the original , the original was a little bigger and far less positive, this is still one of the coolest holds in their line up. (Note from the editor: it is actually the same hold you just got stronger, we checked with Teknik) Nothing says "I love you" more to competitors than a big sloping rail. Granted there are a couple of wraps, and I have seen Tonde do some pretty amazing things at the world cups with the NKR1 but when you boil it down, the thing is just one evil.

We've had these holds from the day one of the gym, and I can't keep my setters grubby mits off of them. The Talons, the NKR1, they're calssic holds from a classic hold company. These things come off one wall and before I've changed the battery in my drill, I turn around and the monkeys have the things back on the wall. The talons a find work best together, although good seprately, the blocs that I think turn out the best usually include both of them, close to each other, usually involving some sort of stemming knee drop shanannigan or the ever classic double clutch dyno.

One thing I will warn to all those wrench warriors out there that are eager to get their mits on these holds, all three these holds are the biggest spinners you will ever curse night and day. As soon as they get out of the packing, get your drill and add a set screw hole otherwise you will be cursing these holds everytime some big oaf puts his hoof down on these holds.

Aside from that, these holds are sick. The texture is that super friendly, low friction texture that has become the staple of Teknik's line, making these holds hard, but letting you climb on them for hours without trashing your tips. I have to give it up to Teknik, still makin dope, simple shapes that are a staple for gyms. If you're the head route setter of any gym, anywhere, and you don't have these holds, what are you doing?

  • Awesome comp holds
  • Amazing quality, with great hollow backs
  • The texture won't destroy your skin
  • No set screw holes
  • Maybe a little big for some peoples walls

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