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Edelrid - Cyclone

posted Oct 22, 2013, 2:28 PM by Italo Balestra   [ updated Jan 23, 2014, 4:14 AM by GoOut Project ]

The Edelrid Cyclone are asymmetric, cambered climbing shoes designed for sport climbing and bouldering. They are intended for all those climbers seeking the best pulling and hooking performances on overhangs or high precision on the smallest footholds. We were attracted by their aggressive design and their sort of hybrid slipper/lace-up combination. But we wanted to test their real performances on the rocks, so we sent a pair of Cyclone to our testers, who report here on the results.

Technical Description

The Cyclone are designed as a combination of a slipper and lace-up shoe featuring a new lacing system. The upper is asymmetric with a cambered and bent shape, supported by a thermoformed midsole under the toes, which helps in keeping the toes bent for a stronger support. The shoes also feature a Two-Tension Frame construction to enhance power transmission and torsional rigidity. 

Weight: 490 g 

Our Test

We tested the Cyclone intensively for 4 months mostly for sport climbing and bouldering, and mostly outdoor, but we also used them for some indoor climbing and bouldering.

First impressions
The upper of the Cyclone is quite soft and comfortable. You can easily fit 2 sizes (EUR sizes) less than your “normal” shoe size. The rubber of the sole is also very soft and its grip is very good. They stick nicely on the smallest edges and footholds and you really notice it since the first time you try them on the rock! What you also notice immediately is that the lacing system is not very practical. You need to pull a very tiny plastic knob with your nail to open it. And also the huge "handle" that is meant to help to fit the tip of the toes properly in, is excessively large. It could be at least reduced in size or totally eliminated. 

Thanks to their hybrid nature,
intermediate between slippers and lace-ups, the Cyclone are relatively light. The absence of straps keeps the weight down, but the new, original lacing system is probably not much lighter than a traditional lacing system. Also the big "handle" that helps to put the shoes on, is superfluous and could be easily eliminated to save some grams.

The Cyclone are very comfortable shoes. They are overall very soft and flexible, except on the part of the sole under the toes, where the little concave thermoformed midsole gives some extra rigidity. They fit very well and the upper tends to stretch a bit, as in most slippers. However, the lacing system helps to tighten the upper properly and to add some extra support.

The grip of the rubber is extremely good! Not much to say: the Cyclone stick to the rock even on the tiniest asperities! However, the rubber is also quite soft and wears out quite rapidly compared to other similar climbing shoes we tested.

Very sensitive shoes. You can actually "feel the rock", and this feeling gives you a lot more confidence, especially when you step on small holds, since you can always feel what your toes are touching. This also enhances your precision in positioning the feet on small footholds.

The upper tends to soften and to get loose a bit too rapidly. The rubber of the sole also wears out quite rapidly. The very good grip, which initially impresses, tends to degrade a bit rapidly with the use. We noticed also that the upper tends to lose its color rapidly.

Our Verdict

The Cyclone are very comfortable and sensitive climbing shoes, fast and precise, perfect for a fast attempt to push to the limit. It doesn't matter whether it is on a difficult sport climbing route or on a hard boulder problem, when you need to be sure you're gonna stick to the rock, you'll prefer these shoes to many others. They perform equally well on overhangs and on vertical slabs and they are very good for 
bouldering, especially when heel or toe hooking is needed. 

 Lightness   7/10
 Comfort   9/10
 Grip   9/10
 Sensitivity   9/10
 Durability   5/10
 Total Score  7.8/10

+ Extremely good grip
+ Very comfortable
+ High sensitivity

- Not extremely long lasting
- The lacing system can be improved

Lacing System

In Action

Beal Booster III 9.7 mm Dry Cover

posted Jan 6, 2013, 11:33 AM by Italo Balestra   [ updated Jan 7, 2013, 9:40 AM ]

Rope Durability Test
18 months with the Beal Booster III Dry Cover

A rope with a water-repellent cover has been considered by most climbers for many years a rope that should have been used only for alpine climbing routes on snow and ice or glacier walkings. In more recent years, though, it has become clear that, together with protection from humidity and water, the water-repellent treatment provides additional protection from dirt, mud, and abrasion, that significantly improves the longevity of the rope. This has brought many manufacturers to produce more ropes with water-repellent covering and to suggest their use for sport climbing too.

We, at Go Out Project, love innovation and we are always very keen on experimenting new solutions. Therefore, we decided to try the Booster III 9.7 mm Dry Cover, for which Beal explicitly suggest the use for sport climbing in addition to the traditional use on snow and ice.

All Beal's Dry Cover ropes have a chemical covering that protect them from water and abrasion. Each filament of the sheath of Dry Cover ropes is treated with a water-repellent chemical before the rope is manufactured. This chemical covering is polymerised at high temperature to increase the durability of the treatment. The greatest advantages of the protective cover are an enhanced protection from humidity and water and a reduced abrasion damage in normal climbing use.

The new sheath of the Booster III
The Dry Cover version of the Booster III is a compact and light rope, which has exactly the same weight (63 g/m) of the Classic version, a bit more expensive tough (it costs about 15-20% more). However, if the rope is really significantly more durable, as claimed, the bigger initial investment might be worth. To check this we performed a durability test.

Beal Booster III 9.7 mm performances
Impact Force:          7.0-7.2 kN (UIAA Laboratories)
Number of Falls:      10-11 (UIAA Laboratories)
Sheath Percentage: 42%
Weight:                   63 g/m

The sheath on most of the length of the rope is still in perfect conditions after 18 months of intense use
Our Test

We tested the Beal Booster III 9.7 mm Dry Cover (70m length) for 18 months. We used the rope exclusively for sport climbing, we used always a Petzl's Gri-gri to belay, and we always carefully protected and stored the rope in a rope bag. We used the rope approximately twice a week over 18 months. We never washed the rope.

The covering of the sheath really made a difference and we could appreciate its effectiveness in protecting the rope from dirt and abrasion since the beginning of the test. Another noteworthy peculiarity of this rope, compared to the traditional ones we were used to use, is its reduced tendency to twist, probably due to the improved rope-running through karabiner and belay devices.

Close-up of the most damaged part of the sheath, at about 2m from the end of the rope after 18 months of intense use

The Booster III Dry Cover has really impressed us for its durability. The sheath started to be worn only on the more stressed parts of the ropes (those close to the two ends) and only after 18 months of intense use. Classical ropes we previously tested started to be evidently abrated on average already after 12 months of the same intense use.

We can conclude that the Dry Cover treatment is indeed effective at enhancing the durability of the rope. We qualitatively estimated that the lifetime of the rope is increased by approximately 50%.

  • Impressive durability
  • Reduced tendency to twist
  • High price

The Beal Booster III 9.7mm Dry Cover after 18 months of intense use

Peztl Hirundos vs Arc'teryx S220 LT

posted Aug 26, 2012, 5:34 AM by GoOut Project   [ updated Jan 6, 2013, 10:22 PM ]

Testing two of the lightest sport-climbing harnesses

Arc'teryx S220 LT

Weight: 225g (size XS)

The S220 LT is minimalism pushed to the limit. It is the sport climbing harness for those seeking ultimate lightweight when pushing to the limit. Since the construction is reduced to the essential, the S220 LT might not be the most comfortable harness if you need to hang on a wall for a long while. It is specifically designed for sport climbing and it might not be the best choice for multi-pitch routes and alpine climbing.

This ultralight sport climbing harness features a swami belt constructed with Warp Strength® Technology (WST®), a system that reduces weight and distribute pressure without compromising strength. The material used for the WST® belt is very soft, flexible, thin, and comfortable. This new type of construction eliminates any excess bulk. The inner thin covering material is also supposed to be breathable, but it is not very effective. What we really liked instead is the texture of this material, its softness and we appreciated the comfort offered by the clever wide, wrapping profile of the swami belt.

The leg loops, however, have a different construction, which is not as soft and comfortable as the swami. They use a unidirectional mesh, which is supposed to provide bridging support in one direction and total flexibility in the other. The result is excellent in terms of lightness, but it is a bit poorer in terms of comfort. The leg loops are much stiffer than the swami belt, they feel “plastic-like”, and not very flexible.

To further reduce weight, only two removable/reversible gear loops are attached on the sides and no loop to hang a chalk bag on the back, which means you can't carry a lot of gear and you'll have to use an extra waist belt to hang the chalk bag. The latter may not be a big problem, since every chalk bag nowadays comes with a waist belt, but it means that you will have to add some precious extra grams of chalk-bag waist-belt to the total weight to carry! 
The leg loops are also partially elasticized to leave a margin of expansion that guarantees a correct fit on a certain range of leg sizes and thickness of pants. 

Petzl Hirundos

Weight: 270g (size XS)

The Hirundos is also an ultralight harness for high-end sport climbing. Petzl has pushed the frame construction to the limit. As the S220 LT, the Hirundos is designed primarily for sport climbing. It is an ultralight and super compact harness for maximum performance in sport climbing. Not suited for prolonged hanging. An advantage that the Hirundos offers compared to the S220 LT is that it has four gear loops instead of two, making it a little bit more versatile. The rigid, inclined 3D front equipment loops are designed to guarantee easy access to gear, while the flexible rear loops are designed to stay out of the way while wearing a backpack. 
The frame construction used for the swami belt and for the leg loops favors breathability and offers a decent comfort. However, you really don't want to hang on this harness for more than 5 minutes! The woven polyester mesh on the inside of the harness wicks moisture and efficiently accelerates drying, and this is of great advantage in warm climates. The perforated closed cell foam on the waist belt and leg loops increases breathability and you will notice that. As the S220 LT, the Hirundos also features elasticized leg loops in order to guarantee a correct fit on a certain range of leg sizes and thickness of clothes.

Hirundos vs S220 LT

Test results

We have tested both harnesses exclusively for sport climbing and we evaluated mostly their comfort and their functionality.

Neither the S220 LT nor the Hirundos are very comfortable harnesses, especially if you have to hang on the wall for a long time. So they are not the best choice whenever you need to work on a route all day long or for multi-pitch climbing. But they are definitely the best harnesses whenever you need to push yourself to the limit for your ultimate redpoint or on-sight attempts. The S220 LT may do a tad better in terms of comfort, just because of the wider profile of the swami and the leg loops.

In terms of functionality, both the S220 LT and the Hirundos are extremely light (you'll forget you have them on) and both pack in a ridiculously small volume! For their lightweight and minimal volume they may be both a very good choice also for hikes on glaciers or for cross country skiing in steep terrain, in case you need to rappel.
In our view there are, however, a couple of main advantages that the Hirundos offers in comparison to the S220 LT: 
  1. the Hirundos has four gear loops and a small loop to hang the chalk bag, while the S220 LT only has two gear loops and nothing to hang a chalk bag;
  2. the Hirundos has a much better system to fix the excess strap from the buckle, using three small elastic bands. While on the S220 LT the single loose band is insufficient to fix the excess strap, which often ends up fluttering around;
  3. the S220 LT has a potentially weaker point in its construction, that is the third smaller line of stitches that attaches both the belt loop and the gear loop to the the strap that goes into the buckle. We really do not understand why Arc'teryx has chosen to reduce the size of this third set of seams, which is smaller and possibly weaker than the other two central ones placed on the other side of the buckle, and which also offers less support to the entire structure of the swami.
Finally, it may be worth to mention that Arc'teryx also produces the same harness with WST on both swami and leg loops. This is the R300 model, which is a possible alternative to the two ultra-lightweight harnesses tested here, that you may also want to consider and that is also in the range of 300 g harnesses,. The R300 weights 315g, only about 100g more than the S220 LT, and it is probably a better option in terms of comfort, functionality, and versatility, if you are not so concerned about those few extra grams.

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