Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Review > Rock Candy Holds > Trilobytes

Rock Candy

Three people, one full time and the others are part time... how do they do it? How in hells name do Rock Candy pull off top class climbing holds time and time again? We know how they do it, attention to detail, they have an almost obsessive obsession with sending out a quality product time and time again. Knowing that we're reviewing their holds means that we know that they know that we know that they're not going to be  sending us a bunch of crap, so of course we check through our little network of spies placed all over the World that have Rock Candy holds to make sure that what we say is correct :)

We do this for most holds we get, bar a few that we know aren't big enough brands yet, to make sure that when we say Rock Candy is a brand you can depend upon that we're factually correct . Right enough waxing lyrical, this week can you tell what we're looking at (if the post title wasn't enough)...

Trilobyte: Strangely is a fossil, a particular fossil that looks like this:
and then you look at the holds themselves:

So the name is pretty apt, the holds do actually have a "Trilobyte" feel to them, what do you think came first the shaped hold and then they found a name? Or the shaper saw a trilobyte and then shaped from there?

What you're getting is a set of holds that are going to work well all the way to 60 degrees; they're sublime on a 45, easy enough on a 30 and just plain easy on anything less than that. They're mainly crimps and edges, edges on the shallower angles and as you crank up the angle they get a little more crimp... but super friendly crimpy because the grabbing area is big enough that you're never really full on bearing down like you would on thin holds, in fact you could almost almost call these holds mini jugs because although they're not full on roof ready they do feel juggy on the shallow angles

So we set, and the video mainly consists of a route that we set that never was finished, after the holds were moved and used on different problems they went straight back on the wall in their original position and they'll stay there until the problem gets done. It's not that it's a hard route, it's not, there is just one move where you come from the 30 to the 45 that involves what Bobby calls a Ninja Kick move, you need to settle yourself and then you have to let loose and NINJA KICK the crap out of the flat wall (preferably on a hold) to stop yourself from swinging back, the swing back is the killer because that's when you're going to hit the floor...

Why? because where we set the hold (its the first one on the left hand side profile image above) as a side pull it is a) hard to match and b) on such an angle that it pretty well dictates that you only have a very very short amount of time holding on to it before you just fall off any way :) Big or small, wide span or short everyone got kicked off of this move... the Trilobytes didn't take any sides, it's neutral (in a political sense) it's not racist, it's Belgium, Switzerland even, it doesn't take part in any conflict, doesn't care who you are it will kick everyone's ass. It is it's job, to be an incut climbing hold on a wall and to be impartial to who grips it. Judge for yourself:

These holds are so friendly that we ran laps one afternoon just cranking this route, trying and trying and trying to get the last two moves and we all walked away with no injuries and no complaints about the holds. We ended up on that day in the wall for four or five hours, at least two of them was spent chucking ourselves at that one route and the cross move on the 30 degree wall, then there's that long move that stopped Bobby a few times... poor little bugger he doesn't quite have the length to make that move statically but he tried and tried and still didn't complain about the holds. In fact he liked them so much that he has reset with these holds more than once because he likes climbing on them (normally he's particular about what he sets with)

Now at the same time as climbing on these we have another set that are in for review at the same time, they're called Cellulite and when you get both sets together they you're in for a whole lot of fun... but more about that in the next Rock Candy review!


$7.80 per hold is a little on the steep side for these holds and that's on the steep side of steep but this is where the holds shine. Shallow walls, pah!, waste of time unless you're being devious and setting where you have to grab the little ribs on the outside of the hold, at that point you're making some very very interesting routes trust us, we know how devious you can be on a vertical wall with these holds.

If you're needing something to beef up your shallow angle walls then you can probably look away now, if you're looking at a set of holds for 30+ degree walls then grab a set of these (and maybe the Cellulites) because you're in for a good solid burn on these holds, if we can run hours on the same route on BOTH sets then chances are you can as well, the only finger friendly holds that allow you to do that are some of the DRCC's, Tekniks (most of them) some of the Climb Its (Tufas and Ribbed Slopers) and a bunch of others when you look at the set specifically. Rock Candy are playing with the big boys some real big boys and doing a bloody good job of it.


  • Number of holds: 5
  • Type (Bolt / Screw Ons): Bolt
  • Price per hold (set price divided by number of holds): 39/5 = $7.80 per hold
  • Color:Orange
  • Bolt placement: Middle
  • Sanding: Awesome
  • Hollow backed: No
  • Soft back (Rubber backed): No
  • Texture: Light, it's the shape that gives the grip
  • Set size: Medium
  • Versatility: Very good
  • Pre-drilled screw holes: No
  • Shaper: Tony Reynaldo
  • Weight: 2.5lbs
Tony Reynaldo's principle of life is "give back more than you take"... amen. He's giving back  through So Ill and Rock Candy , he had (or has) a blog on Dead Point Magazine and he runs a gym called Kinetic. He's been around in "the game" for a while, what we know him for is shaping... and he's a good shaper that's for sure.

He's done a bunch of holds for Rock Candy and he's one of those shapers that means you won't see a different version of the same hold for a different company down the line, he keeps it fresh which is a good thing

Rock Candy, let's roll through the list:
  • Great color as always, no fade out to the edges
  • Bomber sanding, it's probably your wall that's not flat because the holds are smooth and level
  • Washers are all well set
  • Logo, yup it's on there
  • Texture, it's light but the shapes allow you more grip than you'd expect
  • Screw holes: we missed them because they're not pre drilled, they kind of got lost in with the shaping of the hold a little. 
So far so good! So what can we complain about? What can we mention that takes these holds down a notch or two?

Nothing, there's nothing wrong with these holds. There are thumb catches a-plenty and we've hauled on them for hours on end, on overhangs, trying the same move time and again and haven't worried about it in the slightest. We won't say that they're perfect holds because everyone has a different style. Sure these holds may not be to your style but they fit in and are great to climb on.

The only problem (we may have lied slightly above) is maybe the price, $7.80 for a hold this size does start sounding a little steep and people may baulk at that price per hold. Mediums when they're around $5.50 each is kind of reasonable... but that's the price a medium hold goes for these days and even though we're complaining this price is still better than most other company's pouring urethane...



Wow reading the introduction to this (which I wrote) makes me think I'm reading too much Hunter S Thompson, I got off on a weird old track, sorry about that. But I think the point is well made, these holds are unbiased; they're neutral holds, nicely incut holds that are easy to pull on, they're flattish so pretty neutral... it probably would have been easier to just write that, but hell I was off on a track and rather than just write "these holds are incut and flat" I wrote something a little more poetic :D

These holds allow you to take huge liberties with moves, huge moves with little worry for skin. We took these holds too far with the one move that we keep talking about but we all still kept hitting it time and time again and no one complained about "burning" of their hands... nuff said really.

As I'm the one that runs the site and it means I'm the one that talks to the people Nathan who owns Rock Candy and I talk from time to time... he's had a new addition to his family of late (congrats again) and yet he's still managing to pull of great holds. That is part and parcel of someone that knows how to manage their time and from their shaper and molding process.... crap shapes = crap holds. My hat is taken off to the entire team because since 2009 (I think) when we first reviewed some of their holds to now there's been nothing but up and up in quality of what we see and what you see in gyms and on home walls.

Ok so base line, would I suggest you the home wall owner get these holds, invest in these holds as it were. Are these holds worthy of your money or are they going to be thrown away after a few weeks like a childs once loved toy?

I love them, I think the outer texture is a little OTT, but that does allow for some interesting thumb catches and some interesting matches. Like we said, these holds are more versatile than you think and you need to think a little outdoors to get the most from them because to bring the beauty out of them you need to be able to set and to be able to set subtle, but if you're the other way inclined then you can go big, but no too big with these guys

I missed the ninja kick incident, but I tried that route a bunch of times and it was... and still is beyond us. Rock Candy again have made a great set of holds, I've enjoyed climbing on them and will continue to enjoy them for years to come (or until Jeremy takes them down)

My only issue with them is the texture from the shaping that goes into the gripping areas, I have slightly larger hands and I found that my tips got a little worked; but I've not been climbing as much as usual and my skin is a little girly these days :P

If you want hard with these holds use them as undercuts because they're super hard to hold when they're like this... not super super hard but they definitely make you work for the send, overall these are a good set of holds... if I had to choose between these and say the other holds we've reviewed from Rock Candy it'd be a hard choice between these, the Cellulite and the Ruffles

  • More versatile than you think
  • Good size, don't clutter your wall
  • As always a great color
  • Screw holes aren't pre-drilled

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