Sunday, January 6, 2013

Review > Brewers Ledge > Boudlerboard

Some months ago, well when we say months we mean a year ago a young fellow called Garnet from Brewers Ledge was in Montreal from Boston filming for a Quebec TV segment with one of their Boulder Boards; since his was in town and we were up for a review he dropped past and he let us borrow the board for review.
Now some of you know Brewers Ledge, they’re the people that make the Treadwalls, you know the free standing walls that rotate when you climb on them they rotate when you climb on them; well they make a freestanding non-rotating wall called the Boulderboard, here’s what their site says about it:
  • Compact footprint
  • 175 Symmetrically placed t-nuts for tons of route setting fun
  • Sleek and attractive design with commercial grade silver paint
  • Collapsible frame constructed from welded steel
  • Packs down small allowing for no-hassle transport (when the rent is due)
  • 40 degree angle for all around strength, power, and endurance training 
If those details don’t ring any bells let’s look at this board and get to reviewing:
Now like we said we’ve had this for a year and we’ve used it for a number of things, from just setting some simple problems so we could see what review holds are like before we go and set with them at Shakti Rock Gym or more commonly in our case as a system board and that’s what’s we’ve been using it for.

What we did when the board was installed, and that was a fast endeavour for sure; Garnet after Noodles helped him pull the pieces from his car (and it wasn’t a huge car by any means) and we got them upstairs it took less than five minutes to have it erected and apart from holds it was ready to go!! It’s simple and none of the pieces are really that heavy. It’s a super simple design and if you look at the specs of the thing and the options you’ll understand why it was top on our list of things a climber should have, this goes especially if you move around a lot or have a land lord that doesn’t want you drilling holes everywhere. So you can decide what you want or need, lets look at the specs of what you can buy:

Boulderboard
  • Frame, wood panels and pre-installed t nuts
  • $899
  • 4.5' wide x 6.5' long x 8' tall
  • Wall angle - 40 degrees off vertical
  • Shipping weight: 221 lb.
  • Unassembled - fits through standard doors, unloads by hand
  • 1 year warranty 
  • Includes: Frame and coated hardwood plywood climbing surface with 175 pre-installed t-nuts

 Boulderboard Frame Kit
  • Frame, t nuts and assembly instructions’
  • $699
  • 4.5' wide x 6.5' long x 8' tall
  • Wall angle - 40 degrees off vertical
  • Shipping weight: 135 lb.
  • Unassembled - fits through standard doors, unloads by hand
  • 1 year warranty 
  • Includes: Frame, Hardware, 175 t-nuts, and assembly instructions
  • The Kit includes the complete Boulderboard frame, all hardware, t-nuts, and assembly instructions. You provide and cut the plywood, take the time to drill and place the t-nuts, and finish the wood prior to assembly. Shipping is just $200 in the lower 48 or you can pickup your Boulderboard at our factory in Boston, MA.

 Boulderboard Deluxe
  • Frame, wood panels with pre-installed Tnuts, choice of holds, and XL crashpad
  • $1490
  • 4.5' wide x 6.5' long x 8' tall
  • Wall angle - 40 degrees off vertical
  • Shipping weight: 221 lb.
  • Unassembled - fits through standard doors, unloads by hand
  • 1 year warranty 
  • Includes: Frame, coated hardwood plywood climbing surface with 175 pre-installed t-nuts, choice of holds, and an XL crash pad
  • The Boulderboard Deluxe gets you all of the great features of the Boulderboard plus the holds and padding you need to get climbing immediately. The large crash pad can be used indoors or out and you get your choice of 60 standard rock climbing holds or 6 system tiles with foot jibs. You can always add more holds later, you'll have 175 t-nuts to fill up! Shipping is just $285 in the lower 48 or you can pickup your Boulderboard at our factory in Boston MA.
  • There are also some extenders that our wall came with that are option (we didn’t get the support feet):
  • Train at different angles or just ease up the 50 degree angle on your Boulderboard with these angle adjusting extensions. This bolt on kit allows you to configure your Boulderboard to a 50, 40, 30, 20, and 10 degree angle. This is especially useful for specific training goals and smaller children.  The kit comes with extensions for the legs of the Boudlerboard, extra support feet for added stability, and all necessary hardware.
  • The Boudlerboard will not fit under an 8' ceiling with this kit however. Please make sure that you have at least 9.5' of ceiling height to accommodate the full angle range.




Extender Bars
The Boulderboard is easily erect able and when needed can be folded flat to put away (you’ll need to drop the holds off of it because it becomes a little heavy… and so begins a story of Bob and Noodles trying to put on the extenders… of course they didn’t measure the ceiling so that was a mistake so they took the tops off so that it would fit with the extenders. Then they unbolted the wall (with the holds (this is an important point as Noodles had loaded the wall with System Holds from Atomik and the DRCC)) and then as one of them held it the other one tried to get the bolts in…. BIG MISTAKE, with
the holds the wall was super heavy and there were some instances where someone was going to get flattened. Now if you have more than two people then putting the wall up and down will be no problem, there’s no way you’ll get it down by yourself, you could with two people but it’ll be tricky for sure… best be on the safe side for sure

Face attachment screws
What the board may lack when coming to be easy to put down (It’s so simple to put up it’s not even funny) it makes up for in build quality; that’s where this product really shines compared to something you could build yourself… there’s a quality and attention to detail that
puts it above and beyond anything else on the market. Look at the panels you get, they’re furniture quality both sides are finished beautifully and the frame is really well welded where needed and nicely powder coated in a nice shade of silver that makes it look super nice. Even with the extenders (and without the feet) the board is sturdy and doesn’t sway when in use which is something that we expected it to do slightly; if you’re a heavier climber then the feet will be something that you’ll want to use (They come with the extenders, Garnet didn’t have them in the car is all) All of the hardware is bombproof steel so you’ll not need to worry about a properly put together wall falling down on you; overall you’re getting a quality piece of kit

 SUGGESTED USES:
Anti flex plate
If you can’t get to the gym and you need to train and can’t drill holes in the wall and/or don’t have the skills to build a free standing wall of your own
then this is an awesome option to look at if you pair this with the Blank Slate for your hang boards as the Boulderboard is too steep even when its set at 10 degrees for effective use of a board then you’ve got about as much training as you can handle.



T Nuts
If you’ve got kids that are into training then this is a going to be an
easy sell to your partner because you can train and the kids can train on the same wall… it’s a win win J

We’ve used it for both setting short power problems and as a
system wall (which is it’s main use right now) and as either it has performed really well, it was a bit of a shame to put screw ons onto the superb finish of the wall but training is training and it had to be done. It doesn’t sway as much as you’d think when you’re hauling ass and when you’re running up and down killing you’re group sets to get stronger you’ll be thankful you don’t have to leave the house into the weather (right now it’s minus 20 out) to get your training on!!

 OVERALL SPECS AND BUILD:
  • 4.5' wide x 6.5' long x 8' tall 
  • Wall angle - 40 degrees off vertical 
  • Weight assembled: 320 lb. when assembled and loaded with average sized holds
  • Fully welded steel frame 
  • Coating: silver-gray commercial powder coat
  • Surface: 3/4" furniture-grade plywood using 100% sustainable hardwood with formaldehyde-free soy-based glue.
  • Ships unassembled by motor freight, all cartons can be hand carried. 
  • 1 year warranty
Extender Feet
Where to start when we’ve said most of it already?? We actually thought that the wood was 9 ply not seven ply because of the weight of it; it’s amazing quality plywood for a start. The steel frame is exceptionally well made and is welded in-house at Brewers Ledge and all of the parts fit perfectly together without too much Ikea hacking or jiggling around to get the bolts into their holes

All of the boards are held in place with screws on the front panels that don’t intrude onto the climbing surface and there are metal I pieces that fit between the boards to stop any flex when you’re climbing.

The bottom of the leg pieces have nice rubber feet on them to stop scuffing up your floors (this is helpful when pulling the wall around out of the way of doors etc)
The T nuts are all flat in the back of the boards and they’re covered with plastic sheeting in case you’re using this board outside at any point (something we’re waiting for the summer to do)

When that’s done blowing your mind add the pull up bar that’s nice and fat (fatter than their images show) that’s at the top of the wall and it has two attachment points that you can hang anything off of (we use D rings and we have a set of Atomik Bombs hanging off of them)

If you look at the downside of this wall then it’s the dead space that’s behind it; despite it’s compact footprint there’s a bunch of space that could be used better. If there was a shelving unit that could be bolted onto the back so you could store holds or whatever back there would be a nice option to have.

WHAT ARE THEY MADE FROM:
Powder coated steel frame and furniture grade plywood

PACKING / SHIPPING:
Ours were delivered but you can pick them up at the factory. Shipping to the lower 48 is $285

RATING:
Noodles:
Atomik and DRCC system holds
I guess this is where I weigh in more than everyone else because I’m the one that’s injured and has been using it more often than anyone else J

I’d spoken to Garnet about doing a review for a long time and when he blew into town to do a spot on a local French breakfast show it seemed like a good time to get the board in to start the review. He set it up and no time at all and then I ordered a bunch of holds from Atomik and the DRCC so I could system train between getting my ass handed to me by my trainer three nights a week.

Setting up the holds to a position where I was happy with them was the longest part of the entire endeavor. Also after Garnet left I decided to rotate the wall around 90 degrees to where we’d set it up so the doorway was clearer for taking the bikes in and out; it took no time with the rubber feet it just slid around easily. The feet slid but when you weight the wall and climb on it the wall doesn’t move at all… which is good.

Then six months later I took my ankle out… so the wall has been a god send because I can’t weight my foot and with the huge footholds on the wall I’m able to train without my physio going mental on me for using it :P

So the heaviest use the wall has seen is during two phases, when we set simple problems to find the optimal gripping position for holds before we commercially set with them at the gym and now I’ve destroyed my ankle; I’m on the wall training 5 nights a week and it’s getting a bunch of abuse… mind you before we extended the wall it would have been a really hard system wall, now that we’ve chopped down the extenders and put the wall up as far as it will go it’s comfortable to hang about on.

I guess when it comes down to brass tacks the Boulder Board is a simple solution to a complex problem, I’ve spent (and will do again) thousands building walls in the past, I’ve built walls like this for people and for myself and despite all the time and effort you put into them they’re never quite right, there is always something a little off square or something not right. This wall is a clean, simple and elegant solution for someone that’s too busy (or too broken) to get to the gym all the time… it works for me because I’m always reviewing, setting or writing about climbing holds. For me it’s perfect, I think that it’s right to be at the top of the list for a home climber despite the price… and even then if you can go and get your board then it’s a crap ton easier than building something like this yourself and even if you do get it shipped then the time you’d spend building a wall is less than the freight costs
It makes sense in a lot of ways

Chris:
The wall from the bottom
When Noodles mentioned that we were possibly reviewing a Boulder Board I laughed because I didn’t think it was true, then he opened the door to the office and pointed… it was there I just couldn’t believe it lol; I thought that it was one of those rotating walls that Brewers Ledge make and that’s why my mistake was so funny because I couldn’t figure out how they’d even get one of those up the stairs, I was kind of relieved to see a static wall in the office

Once my mistake had been cleared up we grabbed the system holds and went to work, actually we grabbed any holds we could put our hands on (and lets face it there are a few kicking about the place) and we set as much stuff as we could load onto the wall and we had a session. Between long throws from crap start holds to technical little crimp routes the wall didn’t budge an inch and I was surprised. Garnet (who is also the designer of the wall) has done his math because the wall is bombproof. I’d honestly thought that Noodles ass flying around from holds to holds should have made it sway around a little more than it did… sure it moved but never that much at all; if we added the extenders then there’s no way it would have moved at all

Would I own one? Yup, I would because I move around a bunch and it’s easy to move when I move. I’d probably go for the “no wood” option as I have a wood shop and I can cut my panels any size I really want. In fact I’d probably make it a little wider so making horizontal routes would be a little easier.

PROS:
  • Simple set up
  • Exceptionally well made
  • Cheap shipping
  • Compact footprint
 CONS:
  • Price could be an issue for some
  • Slight sway without the extender feet


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