Monday, May 21, 2012

Review > Figure Four > Lines One

figure 4

We added Figure 4 to our listing of climbing hold company's a while back and eventually we knew we wanted to play with some of their line up. Now they don't have many holds right now (9 sets) but from what we can see they do have some nice simple shapes up there at a price that is pretty damn reasonable, FYI the highest priced set on there is $49.

It's always nice to read a description from a company's website that is just pure ans simple... "One handed incuts with a dish on the back to keep your thumb happy.", why does a description like that make us happy? Because it's simple and it states what the holds are like without confusing the customer, add the product shots and then you'd pretty much think the job would be done right? Nah, that's not the way we roll and you know full well that when someone sends us something this simple and incut that we're going to nuts with them

From the get-go we didn't know what Figure 4 were sending us, we looked at their line up and saw that most of the shapes have clean simple lines that don't look tweaky, that's always a good thing when we look at a company's holds because tweaky means that we're going to end up in pain!! What arrived were two sets, this one and a review that will be coming up shortly; what we did after we got them was get them onto the wall, none of the usual fondling we just bolted them up and went at it and we weren't unhappy about the way they climbed they were fun and easy to haul on. Then as we have a new toy in the office we took some "glamor" shots of the holds one by one just for fun and mainly so you can see some more details that may get left out when we video the walk through:
Figure Four: Lines One (Hold 1)

Figure Four: Lines One (Hold 1 logo)

Figure Four: Lines One (Hold 2)
Figure Four: Lines One (Hold 3)

Figure Four: Lines One (Hold 4)
Figure Four: Lines One (Hold 4 Close)

Figure Four: Lines One (Hold 5)
 See what we mean by simple clean lines and that really sums up Figure 4's approach to climbing holds, simple and clean. Now simple and clean can also make a bad climbing hold but in this case you're looking at a bunch of holds that on the whole are easy to grip and apart from hold 3 easy to get a match on, so their description is pretty much spot on when it comes to the shapes!! We took these holds from flat to the roof and as you know us by now you know that we'll try something stupid! When we set on the flat wall we have to admit that these wasn't much there for us, these holds are incut in such a way that even when you put them at a crazy angle they're still super easy to grab, you can just shuffle your feet get your body where it needs to be and then just pull through the move, where these holds get really interesting (for anyone that's not a beginner) is when you put them onto an angle where the incut is negated (therefore they become more of an edge) once this is done the gripping surface gets less and your thumb comes more into play, unless you grab deep and then you're just on your fingers... this is the way we like em that's for sure and it takes a simple set of holds that will suit any home wall that has beginners / kids bouncing around on it to something that people who have climbed a bunch can play with.

Now where they REALLY GET INTERESTING is when you go a little mad and stick them onto the roof, either on volumes or just up there and away you go. You can set all kinds of interesting opposing moves with these holds that will have you falling on your ass and wondering what you did wrong! One sequence involved a bicycle move that kept us amused for a long time because by the time your feet were in position your hand was loosing it's grip slightly and it was just a race for time to get to the next move before you fell.

We guess base case this set of holds holds a little for everyone, we'd err more on suggesting towards beginners as the holds are easy to grab but with a little creativity you can really have some fun with these... the one downside of these holds is the lack of set screw holes (Do we really need to start hammering people with this again?) because these holds will spin if you put too much weight on one side despite their diminutive size... c'mon people, set screw holes!!!

When you look at the Figure 4 site you're going to notice one thing... 99% of the holds are "easy" except the Mini Geos which are rated as "hard", and when you look at their current line up you can see that they're actually rating their holds correctly, well we look at the Mini Geos and we'd say "medium" because they're still pretty damn big ol edges as far as we can tell :) and their rating is a good thing and a nice thing to run by because of the two sets we're playing with so far their ratings are pretty well hit the nail on the head, we're wondering how they're going to make "hard" holds that are finger friendly and we guess only time will tell on that one


Feeling strong?? Roof! Beginner, easy angles and you'll be fine! That pretty much sums up this set, their incut enough for kids to haul on and when the angle gets steep their still comfortable and fun to play with, if you're daft and feeling strong put them on the roof and set a hand bump sequence that will have you gasping for air and time before you slip and fall... it's totally doable and fun at the same time, if the texture was any less then it'd be super hard.

These holds will stand up to lots of abuse before having to brush or clean them!

  • Number of holds: 5
  • Type (Bolt / Screw Ons): Bolt
  • Price per hold (set price divided by number of holds): $37/5 = $7.40 per hold
  • Color: Bright orange
  • Bolt placement: Middle
  • Sanding: Great
  • Hollow backed: No
  • Soft back (Rubber backed): No
  • Texture: Very grippy
  • Set size: Medium
  • Versatility: Good
  • Pre-drilled screw holes: No
  • Shaper: George Reynolds
  • Weight: 2lbs

Lets roll with whats missing first... set screw holes because we made these holds spin a bunch despite how tight we did them up... it's a little thing and the one thing we can (and will) complain about, we really thought that people had got the message already!!

Simple and clean with a texture that has a good bite to it, it gets better over time and with lots of chalk and maybe that's a complaint as well, straight out of the box these holds will take skin off, but once we'd run a lap or two we added more chalk and then the texture is just fine. Of course there is a fine line between a chalked up (slippery) hold and one that's just right, so far we've not brushed them and they're super comfortable

On the color front we're rolling a bright orange on these guys, it's not quite floro but they do seem to stand out on the wall more than most people normal orange color. If you hold the shapes up to the light you can see that the urethane mixture has been mixed really well as the color doesn't fade towards the edge of the holds.

All of the holds have a QA stamp on the back of them, and you can see that they've all been sanded totally flat, we tested this on your bench and they're all perfect. Some of the bolt holes seem a little tight but not so much as you'd think that they're crooked, all of the washers it perfectly to the backs of the holds which is something bigger company's seem to not be able to do consistently these days

The shaping is clean and simple, giving you ample space for matches on all of the holds (except one) with no sharp edges in places that would cause concern, the price isn't bad either as these holds are a medium sized set the pricing is right on the nose. We cranked up one of the holds (as we normally do) to see if we could sink the washer and we're glad to say that we stopped before we got hurt in the process, we took them up pretty damn high and the washer was still in the same place as when we started.

Overall, strong mix, clean simple lines and great colors



Right, technical problems aside the site is back up and running :)

What you'll notice about the video from this review is a) we have a tripod again and b) the holds are being used at a commercial gym! Yup we're working with Shakti Roc Gym in Montreal for some of our reviews, Phil and Lacey are kind enough to let us set and film in there so we can get higher and have more fun with the hold we review... and then we take them back to CHR HQ :)

So lets talk about what we did at the gym, Phil set the route at lunch and then in my 5.10 Warhawks and without a warmup I killed it apart from the last move; so in my mind a V3ish route for the masses. Later that day we rolled in with Bob and Mark, set up the camera and went at the route, having beta I killed it pretty easily but everyone else seemed to have trouble at the start... I think as it was a quiet night only three people made it up the problem but others were happy to work it (Bob is blaming the PL glue on his hands as his excuse for not climbing it)

One thing I noticed about the holds from the lunchtime fore-running to the evening is that the holds when throwing hard at them have a real bite to the texture but later in the day as the chalk got into the pores they became more mellow and a little tricky to hang... and then once a bunch of people had hit them they needed a little brush

Overall like I say these holds are like couscous salad, a little plain but there's something there that makes you want to play with them time and again, maybe because they're matchable, maybe because putting them upside down makes them way harder to climb on or maybe it's because they're cheap. What I know now is that Figure 4 has put out a good product, set screw holes would be a nice addition but other than being a little bitey to start with I've had a blast with them here and at the gym.
Also I'd like to apologize to George because this review has taken far longer than needed to be finished

I ended up at the gym on these holds... I wanted to see the new gym and Noodles wanted to watch me fall; the gyms great and I flashed the route despite the fact that I've not climbed in months :P I used these holds in a number of warmup routes as I just played about on the wall and they're super comfy, the holds were pretty chalked up by the time I got near them but you can see what the texture is like, it comes through the chalk and gives a good grip, god knows how they were when they were clean! I guess that's a good thing for a home and commercial gym setting you don't need to chalk or clean them too much because they seem to be ok when they're caked in magnesium.

Despite not spending a bunch of time on these holds they're pretty sweet, super incut even on steep terrain and I liked em

  • Solid simple shapes
  • Great price
  • No set screw holes
  • Texture is a little rough to begin with

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