Sunday, December 18, 2016

Review > Metolius Climbing Holds > Mini Tech Feet, Morphology, Basic Pockets, Splines and Rimple Volume

Last time we looked at Metolius climbing holds it was because they had released a new line of urethane holds. Where they were one of the innovators of things to bolt onto walls they were soon surpassed by new materials that was better than their resin offerings.

Controversial statement?

Probably! Actually a fact the industry did leave them behind for a great number of years but now they produce urethane and resin

Resin DOES have a place in the market because it lasts a long time and if you don't throw your holds onto a hard surface then they do basically outlast urethane. But Metolius did shape a new line of climbing holds that we looked at (you can read that review: here) last time we looked at Orbs. Cobbles, New Wave, Mud and the Sunspots... not the full ranges but a sample offering of what they had at the time. This time it's pretty much the same, except we're kicking it with some Basic Pockets, Morphology, some Splines and a Rimple volume

As usual there is going to be a bunch of information, so lets get kicking with the holds, actually lets do two things.. lets look at the holds and look at Metolius' own walk through on some of these holds :)
Metolius Climbing Basic Pockets
Metolius Climbing Splines


Metolius Climbing Morphology

Metolius Climbing Rimples
Metolius Mini Tech Feet


You can watch their videos... so you can see the holds from their perspective:




So that's the holds from their perspective... we didn't get full sets but lets see what the Grand Master has to say...

That is a lot of holds, that is a lot of different styles but one thing stays exactly the same the quality that Metolius is delivering is great; you all know them from their resin shapes but now it seems that more and more people are getting into this new line of urethane climbing holds.

We didn't receive full lines because they'd be a years worth of reviews for us but we received some of their newer offerings. We'll break it down below; but the suggested uses and the overall build for each set will be together to save some confusion :)

SUGGESTED USES / BUILD BASIC POCKETS:






Pockets are pockets right? Nope that's not the case at all; pockets when you're climbing indoors really want to be as smooth and as comfortable as possible, some of the only pockets that we've been happy to suggest to people for home wall use have been the Guppies from Rock Candy (link) and some Dual Texture Pockets from Holdz (link) Yes the pockets from Holdz don't look that friendly but they're not really full on sink your fingers in pockets they're more small edges and crimps but because of the gripping surface it makes it super hard for your feet when you're tracking!!

The Metolius pockets are full on sink your fingers in pockets; which means that they want to be comfortable and these are really really comfortable there isn't a sharp edge on them which is really nice to see. Thankfully a local gym ordered the entire line so we managed to sneak in and have a play whilst no one was looking, all of the holds have a logo and a set screw hole that's been pre-drilled and the color (ours were yellow and the gyms were orange) has no fade is big and bright making these holds look great then they're on the wall

Some of the larger holds can actually be used as a match because there is so much material on the outside that you can monkey wrap your hand over the top and get some extra traction. Where needed the larger shapes have some nice hollow backs.
  • Number of holds: 10
  • Type (Bolt / Screw Ons): Bolt
  • Price per hold (set price divided by number of holds): $177 / 10 = $17.70 USD per hold
  • Color: Yellow
  • Bolt placement: Great for pockets
  • Sanding: Awesome
  • Hollow backed: Yes in the larger sizes
  • Soft back (Rubber backed): No
  • Texture: Great, you can pull all day
  • Set size: Large and XL
  • Versatility: Good as they can go quite steep
  • Pre-drilled screw holes: Yes
  • Shaper: Jim Karn
  • Weight: TBC
  • Where can you get them: Metolius Climbing 
SUGGESTED USES / BUILD MORPHOLOGY:






Steep is where you want these climbing holds... on the STEEEEEEEEEP! These holds have so many thumb catch opportunity's its not even funny, even the largest to smallest hands are going to find somewhere that's comfortable to grab. We have a few of these and they went straight onto one of the steep walls for the usual competition madness, even though these holds to tend to be incuts some of the smaller ones are just enough for someone that's climbing V2-ish to grab onto, what makes them so good on the steep-steep is if you use your thumb and actually engage upon the hold it opens up so much more power and use

These holds are very well shaped, even with all of the options for grabbing and thumb catches they're very comfortable and they look way more interesting that just your standard jug line up (although Metolius of course have that in their line up as well :P)

On the build front these things are pretty meaty; they have a good weight and the same great texture that all of the holds we've received have, there's grip but not so much that your fingertips are going to be left burning after a long session hauling on the 45 degree wall. All of the holds are sanded laser straight with a logo and set screw hole in good places (out of the gripping area).

Because of the mix being new we were our serious selves and we hammered the holds with a 20v impact driver a number of times on a metal bench to see if anything would budge, good news even with us being totally heavy handed (on purpose) the washers stayed exactly where you'd want them to be... flat and straight
  • Number of holds: 62
  • Type (Bolt / Screw Ons): Bolt
  • Price per hold (set price divided by number of holds): $833 / 62 = $13.43 USD per hold
  • Color: Yellow
  • Bolt placement: Centered
  • Sanding: Awesome
  • Hollow backed: Yes 
  • Soft back (Rubber backed): No
  • Texture: Great, you can pull all day
  • Set size: XS to 2XL
  • Versatility: Good as they can go quite steep
  • Pre-drilled screw holes: Yes
  • Shaper: Jim Karn
  • Weight: TBC
  • Where can you get them: Metolius Climbing 
SUGGESTED USES / BUILD SPLINES:





Now for holds goodness we normally preach that simple is better and to be honest you can't actually get more simple than these holds... they're basically pinches with slight grooves and bumps added to them which helps with the gripping area. These holds are awesome, just simply fun to grab onto... despite there being some sharp edges on the shapes on the outer edges they don't get in the way and the gripping area where ever you grab them and some of them you're going to need more hands for.

We did set an intermediate route with these holds and we pretty much spat everyone off of it, you can see even when we're fore running it that it's hard and if you get the wrong sequence you're just hitting the mats (see the video section below)

These holds are good enough for some serious get horizontal roof action

From really good hollow backs to the usual stuff that we want to see from a climbing hold... set screw holes, a logo and just simple clean shapes these do tick all of the boxes. The only thing is we did receive one brown hold, if this was Metolius showing us that they do pour more than the standard colors (they do, 12 different ones actually) and it was a meh kind of brown.
  • Number of holds: 33
  • Type (Bolt / Screw Ons): Bolt
  • Price per hold (set price divided by number of holds): $540 / 33 = $16.35 USD per hold
  • Color: Orange and one brown
  • Bolt placement: Centered
  • Sanding: Awesome
  • Hollow backed: Yes 
  • Soft back (Rubber backed): No
  • Texture: Great, you can pull all day
  • Set size: XS to 3XLSmall to super big
  • Versatility: Awesome
  • Pre-drilled screw holes: Yes
  • Shaper: Joey Jansen
  • Weight: TBC
  • Where can you get them: Metolius Climbing 
SUGGESTED USES / BUILD RIMPLE VOLUME:







We only got one of these holds but Zero Gravite in Montreal let us play with their holds :)
The 3XL we have is huge and there is only one area that's super good to grab on... it's a small-ish jug right up in the thickest part of the hold, the rest of it is rippled craziness that will make anyone think on any wall other than flat. These holds are hard, they're technical and they're a welcome change to the other simple shapes that we love (yes we know we love simple shapes a lot)

What is nice is that every ripple, sorry Rimple... well the ripples in these holds are all nice and smooth and give some nice variation to the shape and it will make you think about your hand placement before you try to move

These holds in the most part are big slopers that are technical and will make you work

This hold is probably the biggest version of what they're selling and it has a huge hollow back... it's huge. There is a void in the back of this hold you could probably park a small car in if you had to; there's a massive center brace to keep everything in check and as usual it ticks all of the boxes. What we don't like is that right on the outside edge, right right on the edge where you're gripping is that the color fades from the BLACK you want your hold to be to just being black :(

Given it's size and the size of most of these holds the hollow backs loose some weight but the holds are still pretty heavy, which is good because they'll see a lot of traffic
  • Number of holds: 35
  • Type (Bolt / Screw Ons): Bolt
  • Price per hold (set price divided by number of holds): 742 / 35 = $21.20 USD per hold
  • Color: Black; faded out towards the edge on the gripping surface
  • Bolt placement: Centered
  • Sanding: Awesome
  • Hollow backed: Yes 
  • Soft back (Rubber backed): No
  • Texture: Great, you can pull all day
  • Set size: XS to 5XL
  • Versatility: Awesome
  • Pre-drilled screw holes: Yes
  • Shaper: Jim Karn
  • Weight: TBC
  • Where can you get them: Metolius Climbing 
SUGGESTED USES / BUILD MINI TECH FEET :







Are we allowed to swear? Probably not!
We thought about this a few years ago, we really did but we didn't have the time to pursue this the way we wanted so we put it onto the back burner... well I guess we done missed out on the boat and we're swimming in the ocean :(

These holds are UNBREAKABLE, we tried and only the test of time will actually tell to see what happens because aluminum does have a tendency to stress fracture over time, but something like this rather than an plane will probably last a life time

Oh did we mention?

These five holds are metal?

One thing we'll point out is that it's a shame that there are only five holds in the set, that sucks, we guess Metolius is testing the waters (that we're swimming in still) to see if these will sell; for competitions sure these will sell. Limited colors will cause problems and limited sizes will also cause some issues... but they're out there on the market and we guess as we're the first ones to play with them we should weigh in, which is funny because they're light as hell
So these are metal footholds that take a martini bolt and that's where the thickest part of the hold lies, the thin parts are as thin as a set screw head... yup these holds are mental. They really test your footwork on steep terrain as you have to really get your weight onto them to make them work, if you're not using your feet you're going to be swinging around. Even on flat terrain these holds are hard, you need to be really precise with your feet to make them work in your favor (see what we're saying about comps) there is no "stick my foot on and go" with these guys. You get it right or you don't

Think of them as the ultimate dual texture foothold where the entire thing is slick and the only part that's holding you on the wall is the machined part of the hold that gives "some texture"

They're made very well, we have two sets and we pulled out our micro meter (yes it's not just power tools and saws) and the two sets we received are exactly the depth hold to hold which is awesome. All of the holds come with a counter sunk martini head placement and a set screw hole, yes even these guys have set screw holes in them!!

Our gripes with these are as follows; not may color options (we're sure anodizing is going to be hard), we'd like more sizes and well this is us being us... they could just be screw ons; and Metolius have confirmed that they are making just screw on versions!!!

These holds are all one off's from a c'n'c machine so they're all hand made one by one which is why the price tag is a little high
  • Number of holds: 35
  • Type (Bolt / Screw Ons): Bolt
  • Price per hold (set price divided by number of holds): #39.95 / 5 = $7.99 USD per hold
  • Color: Yellow
  • Bolt placement: Centered
  • Sanding: Awesome
  • Hollow backed: Yes 
  • Soft back (Rubber backed): No
  • Texture: Great, you can pull all day
  • Set size: Large
  • Versatility: Awesome
  • Pre-drilled screw holes: Yes
  • Shaper: Jim Karn
  • Weight: TBC
  • Where can you get them: Metolius Climbing 
WHAT ARE THEY MADE FROM:
Urethane for the holds and aluminum for the feet

PACKING / SHIPPING:
Good

SUPER BONUS VIDEOS!!:
We've got two extra videos for you (as if there wasn't enough already) one is of the comp footage and the other is the setters fore running the problems and a little bit of comp footage. They're both worth a watch as you'll see the routes actually getting sent :)




RATING:
Noodles:
Right; that is a lot of ground to cover and I've been busy making videos games and building climbing walls...

I'm going to pick what I like and Chris will do the same (spoiler alert it's different stuff) and go from there!

Pockets... ugh when Metolius sent us pockets I was straight out sod this put them in a box and leave them to decompose, thankfully I played around and wow these are some sweet, simple, clean pockets that even I want to climb on!

That is a big thing; I love climbing and I love climbing holds but pockets are generally badly designed and just suck. These holds do not and I'm asking for a couple of sets for the new wall so we can train on some. They are sweet and the last pockets we liked was in Sept 2011... maybe we should review some more pockets.

Do I recommend them yes I do!

Now for my second pick... Oooo it's tricky very tricky, do I go with the metal feet or do I go with something else?....

Splines, Ha! There's a reason I skipped the metal feet (read Chris' comments)

The Splines are my favorite holds out of what we have, they're simple, wide ass pinches that will really kick your ass. See the 2.30 mark with Chris and his ape call and then see 2.50 with me just getting locked up in the move that was the crux. I'll be honest these holds burnt and they burnt the skin a lot when they're new but they were new and I'd been setting and climbing for two days straight. Everyone else loves them, and now that they're chalked up I'm enjoying them as well

They're clean simple climbing holds, actually both sets are and I'm glad that they're around because although Metolius refreshed their hold line this year it was lacking something... that was the basics and now they have those it s pretty awesome

NOW

Let me put a slight spanner in the works... a slight pooper if you will

There is a minimum order price and that price is $250 because Metolius don't make these holds EP does so they have to pay the piper (much like the rest of the industry these days (don't get me started it will take days to explain)) so that's why. If you're a small home wall then maybe you can mix and match sets to get what you want but you'll have to pay to play; it sucks but that's the nature of the game these days, trust me I, yes I just ordered holds from some companies that don't want to be reviewed or *ahem* cannot afford to be reviewed because I want to review their holds and because they are getting bent over from the people that actually make the holds

Metolius, great work... more shapes please

Chris:
So I get to pick two sets from all of the above that I like... hmm I wonder why Noodles skipped the metal holds... let me think. I'm a machinist for the plane industry and despite his wisdom (and I've seen him weld aircraft under carriages perfectly) he's leaving this one to me. So lets get to it:

The Mini Tech Feet are right now a novelty; they're a great addition but they're a novelty nonetheless because of a number of factors for me.
1) the colors don't match what Metolius can produce, if for some reason you want brown you're not likely to be able to get a bunch of these holds in brown or say neon pink which they also pour. That sucks but that is also life
2) there is a limited depth that they make right now, this will come in time but I (we) feel that they're testing the water right now so the range is going to be limited
3) there could be screw on and just bolt on versions of these holds, again in time we may see it but this is totally new to the market and people may not like them... but if you were going to test the market wouldn't you make more shapes to give setters more options?
Now are they good feet? I think we covered that but I will rephrase in my own words, these are HARD footholds and you could take any route from 5.10 to 5.12 just by using these feet! They are THAT HARD that you get a +2 route bonus for even using them and it will take a normal climber some time to adjust

Climbers; especially indoor climbers want to turn up and have fun. There are those of us that want to get better and will welcome the challenge, but even in this bracket of climbers it will be limited... comps, oh yeah, make them work. On volumes to a degree then even work (if you're not being brutal) but what is needed is some planning and some more sizes and shapes. Do these work? YES, are they awesome and tricky, YES, are they something we'd say buy for a gym... no. The range is too limited and the colors (apart from base colors) aren't available.

Noodles took the pockets so I'm left with what?

I'm going Splines again, for once and this is rare there is a set of holds that we can both agree are great. The Splines are those holds and it's not what most people would have picked when they saw what we were reviewing.

Why?

Because they will work everywhere, yes you can go full horizontal on these guys and you'll be fine and then you can go the other way and have ledges for kids to basically stand on if that's what you need. They tick every box from hollow backs to set screw holes to texture. These holds are probably the best holds from Metolius to date (and please don't get me wrong the pockets are amazing and so are the Rumples and Morphology) BUT I'm being forced to pick so pick I have

PROS:
  • New material... its solid
  • Metal footholds, something new to the market
  • Clean simple lines on many of the holds we're talking about
  • Tick all the boxes; set screw holes, bomber sanding, great texture, color and shaping is off the chart 
CONS:
  • $250 minimum order
  • Mini Tech Feet only have 5 shapes... and limited colors
  • We need more to complain about

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