Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Review > StickyRock.com > 15 Incut Pinch Set

Lets get this one out quickly; yes there is a Synrock logo but these holds are from StickyRock whose website isn't ready yet. But you know Synrock, that's owned by Mr Jim Bowers and this is his new company... we've reviewed his holds many many times and sometimes the reviews are good sometimes and this is way in the past, way way in the past before he perfected his products they have been so-so

Now we'll say this is a different company and a different type of product that's has similar design calls to his older products but at the same time its different... so lets get rolling and see what we're talking about

A 15 incut pinches, fairly normal.... bolt hole in the middle and you know you bolt them to a wall and away you go; again nothing strange going on here. It seems that this is just a normal set of climbing holds, pretty much the same as what Jim has made before, but if you assumed that then you'd be wrong. Very wrong; lets take a closer look:
Do you see it?

No neither do we! Apparently these holds are carbon-ceramic composite which makes them stronger, no we don't understand it either... Chris was the first one to call BS on that so we did some research and you can buy this stuff easily and cheaply to add to pretty much anything that you can mix it into. We wonder at what made StickyRock think about even trying this...

But it is a new mix and it is better than what has come before. So lets talk about the holds themselves...

Like anything Synrock / Petrogrips that came before these holds when you touch them on a wall (we have one here) they actually feel cooler then the other holds you have, we'd say probably around 5 degrees cooler and they do feel like rock, in-fact the texture of these holds is probably the most sandstone like texture out there; which means your skin doesn't get nailed as much as you'd think it would which is a huge plus

Let look at something else...

This new mix for StickyRock is actually stronger than before, this is also true, Jim's holds in the past had to be handled like a prized religious relic because if you dropped them they would chip quite badly. These holds don't! They're actually really really strong
They're so good that they don't even seem to take chalk or rubber, and Noodles points this out in the review video, its actually surprising how much some of the footholds got used and didn't actually take rubber. Lets put this into context, we (everyone that climbs here) uses old and new shoes, both are likely for one reason or another, will leave a rubber smear on footholds... 2 months in these holds have barely any rubber deposits... so little it deserves a picture!
Yes that's an actual hold that was used on a wall for two months as a foot on many many routes and the rubber build up is so minimal it's surprising considering the grip that they actually give when you're bearing weight onto them

So lets look at chalk build up; this is one of the start holds that was on the wall for the same amount of time and WAS NEVER BRUSHED
Again this is an actual hold from a real World test! That is the right hand start hold where everyone has chalked up before they hit the route... yup lets face it it is pretty phenomenal!

Before we continue you should watch this video with (fat) Noodles (it was after Xmas) talks about the holds

Now you've watched that lets talk about the route and a few more things;
  1. This route is almost the same as a route that Noodles want's to repeat from way back when on some E-Grips holds. These holds were the perfect training aid to work the moves again before trying that route again... bare in mind that the E-Grips are 1/3rd the depth of these holds
  2. We made sure that the holds were used in many other routes and were never brushed by anyone because we really wanted to see how this new composite mix fared up against normal plasitc
  3. We never had to re-tighten these holds, despite the lack of set screw hole
  4. We'll talk about 3 below in our comments and overall build
  5. We did throw these holds around and used them at a comp and they came back looking like new, a few scuffs but no chips
It seems that Jim has actually found a mix that will work within a commercial setting and we're happy for him... we've given him some grief over the years and each time he has come back with a better product time and time again. This of course comes with some caveat's that we'll address in our comments below 

We did exactly the same testing we'd normally do for any holds and then more because we're horrible people :) and we can't complain, we will, but you know what, these holds are great, they're better than expected, sure they don't look as polished as other companies offerings but they do the job and they do it well. Probably better than some stuff from some big companies and that's what pains us a little

Jim, genius that he is, doesn't do holds, Jim does Jim and the holds are the result. IF he shaped something like the Artline Fonts... HELL any font series with this texture, with this mixture then they would be the best Font shapes on the planet because other than actual rock these are the best feeling sandstone holds around. Sure they'd be heavy, sure they may scuff up a little but you'd forgive that because of the way that they felt when you climbed on them

That is one thing that we're certain of; we buy holds and train on holds because of the feel. Look at the wall in Noodles office, it's StickyRock, some Teknik and Wataaah holds; nothing else makes the grade for what he wants to do right now and that says a lot. When you buy holds you should ask a setter or a reviewer what they have on their wall because they will always "these holds" but they'll always be able to tell you why they have those holds... what you want to see if what they've brought and thrown away or don't use, that bucket of holds tells a story and that story is what to not buy! People have come past the wall and talked to us online looking for something cheap and cheerful for their wall our answer of late has been this new mix and shapes from StickyRock

Let's wrap up this part; StickyRock are a little heavy but if I had a home wall then I'd buy them because of the price...

Oh yeah... the price


Very cheap; these holds are $14 for 15 holds including bolts

Yup cheap, durable and shipping is $6 in a flat rate box across the US

You will have to try very hard to beat that price


These holds will go to 30 degrees with ease and to 45 if you're feeling super strong, considering these holds are mainly incut squares then you have many options if you spin the holds around a little

  • Number of holds: 15
  • Type (Bolt / Screw Ons): Bolt
  • Price per hold (set price divided by number of holds): $14 / 15 = 0.93 cents per hold
  • Color: Light pink
  • Bolt placement: Middle
  • Sanding: Ok
  • Hollow backed: No
  • Soft back (Rubber backed): No
  • Texture: Sandstone
  • Set size: Small
  • Versatility: Good
  • Pre-drilled screw holes: No
  • Shaper: Jim Bowers
  • Weight: TBC
  • Where can you get them: http://stickyrock.com/ 
These holds have great texture that's what they have in spades, these holds are probably the best feeling real rock holds currently on the market. Not because of their shaping but because of the material that they're made from. As we speak about in our comments these shapes are very simple, they're four sided squares with various degrees of incut edges... they're simple but most small shapes generally end up being like that... NOW if we dream a little... if this material was poured or shaped into something that most people consider a climbing hold, not that these aren't holds, but something with more "form" to it like for instance The Boss from Pusher then, well wow, they'd be heavy but they would be just amazing. The grip and texture would be second to none, because these holds have a positive texture where most other holds have a negative texture, it's different for sure and it would yield some crazy feeling holds... like FONT holds

The addition of a set screw on larger shapes (and the smaller ones) from StickyRock is something that would be welcomed for sure, we never had a hold (of any size) spin but they could probably do with it in the end. The reason that these holds don't spin is because they don't seem to expand or contract like urethane (urethane creeps over time) or resin with temperature changes. The other reason that these holds don't spin is because they are super stiff and they transfer all of the force from the bolt to the wall. (We mention the set screw because we do have some larger shapes on the wall for a later review)

They are cool to the touch no matter the weather (if we take into account the "old" mix then those holds never span either).. sanding is minimal which gives a slight recess to the back of the holds so this also explains why they don't spin, because they "suck" into the wall a little

Weight is also an issue, these holds are heavy for their size; but again ceramic composite is always going to be heavy... think old skool resin holds and that's pretty much what you're looking at weight wise. Of course these holds couldn't have been hollow backed because they're too small but larger shapes made from the same material could probably do with some 

On the color front, the website doesn't show this, but there are color options available. You'll never get a color matched green to what is the industry standard but you can get most basic colors if you ask for it, the one color that will always match is white. People that have brought these holds for gym use generally use just StickRock holds for routes and they don't mix between ceramic and plastic because they feel so different

You get what you pay for and you're paying very little for these holds, they're functional and they climb very well. We have some of the larger sets and it's the same story... they're very good if a little simple... basic is good most of the time

If you order six boxes of holds that come in the flat rate USPS boxes then there is a discount

Will Jim every make a set of Font holds with this mix? We don't know, but we hope so!

Carbon-ceramic composite

USPS Flat rate box crammed full of holds

Let me talk about "Number 3" from above quickly.
We, I, Us, have spent so many years harping on about set screw holes and adding set screw holes to holds in every review, currently with this set of holds it's like an elephant in the room and he's drunk :(

All holds need pre-drilled set screw holes whether they need them or not, in our test case we heated the room, opened the balcony door when it was -25 outside for hours to see what would happen. These holds didn't spin


These holds if they were ever to be used in a commercial setting NEED set screw holes, they need to have a screw... not because they necessarily need them but because the insurance of the gym owners need it because that's what their policy says. A spinner where someone gets hurt means that they could pursue legal action...people sue people, people are stupid... if the hold has a set screw and cannot spin then you don't have a problem

I don't want to let Jim and StickyRock off lightly, but man I love these holds! They're simple, they're clean and sure they could do with some TLC but they work and when I look away from the weight of them and look at the cost I can't complain

But I will, it's what I'm not paid for :)

We said it above but I'd like to reinforce what we said, these holds are the best we've seen from Jim... he's getting better and better... now if he sat down and sculpted a set of Font / Sandstone holds that "looked" like the other holds available on the market but used this material then you'd find me climbing to the highest point locally and you'd hear me scream about it... (you'd probably see that here as well)

I'm incredibly proud of these holds, not because of what we've said in past reviews about Jims products, and not because what we've said about other products but because Jim has read everything we've said and just ignored it and he'll continue to ignore it because Jim is Jim, Synrock is Synrock and StickyRock will be StickyRock

I can and will complain until the cows come home about weight and all the other stuff but Jim is going to ignore me and Jim will continue doing what he does

He makes functional holds that are cheap and now it seems are strong... oh yeah and you can get them in colors.

I like em and I love Jim

Right; I've seen Noodles break old holds with his hands, I've seen him throw boxes in videos out of windows, I've seen him to terrible terrible things to holds. Did I ever think that I'd see the day when he said he liked these holds?

No sir I did not!

In the past, way back when, I remember a video clip that was never shown where he called some of Jim's old holds a "disco penis and vagina"... yup I have the clip, I've also seen him break some of Jims holds that were cracked with his hands.

That was a long long time ago and times have moved on!

These holds remind me of HP40 (google it if you don't know) and I know that the texture reminds Noodles of Southern Sandstone in the UK, these holds despite their I'll call it... lack of form are great. We're all used to urethane out of the mold shapes and StickyRock is something that is simple, a little rough (and they're getting more refined it seems) around the edges but they do climb really well

I'll echo Noodles where if this mix was actually poured out of a mold like some big companies (and these do come out of a mold) like say Kilter, if Ian Powell shaped a hold and poured it with this mix then you know it'd be an amazing holds and I guess that's what we're trying to get at.... these holds are the best we've seen from Jim and StickyRock, they are recommended for all home wall owners whether they are on a budget or not because they're good holds and if the rest of the lines are anything like this then hats off, great job, these holds are cheap and are stronger than before and THEY CLIMB REALLY WELL

But, if you poured this mix into a mold from again the Kilter Sandstone line they you'd have the best sandstone holds on the market. You'd have the set screw hole and you'd have all the bells and whistles you'd want but with a little more weight but we'd let that slide... you'd have some of the best feeling holds on the planet

Jim will probably get around to this

Imagine the Teknik NKR1 with this feel and coolness to the touch, our minds, my mind runs amok that's for sure

If I had a home wall then my base before I brought anything else would be this companys holds because of price

And no we're not going soft, they still need refinement and they need a set screw hole... what we're saying is that there is potential here... more than we'd even have considered before. Jim / StickyRock / Petrogrips (we have a long memory) / Synrock, whatever you want to call yourself  these holds are great!

  • Price
  • Ship in a flat rate USPS box to keep cost down
  • Bolts included, not extra
  • Don't take on rubber residue or chalk
  • Weight
  • Basic colors only
  • This new material really calls for some Font style holds... 

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