NEW REVIEW: Black Diamond Cyborg Pro Crampons

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 UKC Gear 04 Nov 2010
Testing the Cyborg Pro on Bowfell Buttress, 3 kbThe word 'Cyborg' brings up images of Robocop and Terminator, says Kevin Avery. So did Black Diamond's Cyborg Pro crampons give him any special powers?

 d508934 04 Nov 2010
In reply to UKC Gear:

I'd be intersted to know how these compare to the Grivel G-14s as they seem to be closest market rival, shame this wasn;t mentioned in the review.

anyone got any experience of both makes?
amf37 04 Nov 2010
In reply to UKC Gear:
Yes, this is a real weakness with the current series of gear reviews on UKC - comparisons are much more useful. This review says the cyborgs are good crampons, but the decision potential purchasers are going to make isn't really 'I want to buy some good crampons', what they want to know is 'Are the cyborgs better than g14/dartwin/whatever for my intended use?' If the reviewers don't have the experience of using a wide range of products in a certain category then you have to question the usefulness of the review.
 heist182 04 Nov 2010
In reply to amf37: to be honest it doesn't really matter how 'good' they are. The fundamental characteristic of a crampon which will define whether you buy them or not is if they fit your boots.
 Kevin Avery 04 Nov 2010
In reply to d508934:

In comparison to the other crampons I have used recently:

The Grivel G14 felt very similar in my opinion although I used these solely with a pair of SCARPA Cumbre boots which were perfectly compatible. The fact that G14s are not stainless made little if no difference to performance (in my opinion).

The Petzl Dart is a crampon which i used extensively before the Cyborg. This is probably still my favourite crampon for ice and mixed. It is different to the G14 and Cyborg, it is not modular, it is light and very precise but you can't change between duo and mono. Paired with Sportiva Evo Extreme boots it has provided me with the best level of performance and almost what I'd call "sensitivity" if such a thing is possible from a crampon/winter boot combo. Read my review of these here:

As has already been pointed out, boot/crampon compatibility is very important when making any choice so I would advise looking closely into this before purchasing.

Hope this helps but feel free to fire any more questions my way.

Kevin Avery
 TonyM 05 Nov 2010
In reply:
I've got G14, Darts and had Cyborgs. All good crampons, but the Darts are the ones I prefer for pure ice routes.

I liked the Cyborgs, but it's the boot fit thing again. I found the front points in dual point mode just too long. They were wonderfully secure, but kind of got stuck and took effort to extract your foot back out of the ice. I didn't try them in mono-mode, because I didn't attempt the hacksawing job on the anti-bots. On really hard ice I couldn't to get the points far in, and so it allfelt a bit teetery.

I found the points on the G14s a bit short once they'd been filed a few times, so now keep them for mixed Scottish stuff, where they're great.

I understand why Kev in his review wanted to test the Cyborgs in the full range of winter environments, but that's a formula to wear them out very quickly. My icefall pair are kept scalpel sharp and cosseted from ever meeting rock, whereas at home you can spare the file because pretty much anything vaguely spikey in mono mode will do the job for relatively mushy British conditions.
feeblesmith 05 Nov 2010
In reply to UKC Gear:

Just to get some facts straight:

Stainless steel is neither lighter, stronger or harder than various heat treated cromoly steels.

I am sure the crampons are great but there is more to it than some magical steel...

 d508934 05 Nov 2010
In reply to Kevin Avery:

Thanks Kevin, interesting stuff. Be interested to hear your views on what another poster has mentioned re length of points, which crampon points are too long/short for differnet activities.

Leaning towards the G-14s as much easier to change between mono/dual point, but definitely taking on board that most important factor is what fits my boots best, cheers.
In reply to UKC Gear: Can they be bought in Mono format? Needing a hacksaw to change between the two sounds like a huge hassle. That doesn't sound like a great design-
 Kevin Avery 05 Nov 2010
In reply to TobyA:

Hi Toby

Not that I'm aware of but I'll contact BD and confirm.
The hacksawing was not pleasant, nor easy to do neatly. Not ideal!

 Kevin Avery 06 Nov 2010
In reply to d508934:

Thinking about what Tony has said about point length....

Regarding the G14s, I would agree that the points soon seem a little short once you have filed them a few times. I didn't find this a problem on mixed ground as you generally experience less leverage with shorter point, so they feel more secure on small edges etc.

Regarding the Cyborgs, the points are definitely longer than on my G14s although I have set mine up to minimise this. I've not noticed any particular issues with this but understand what Tony is saying as they do seat damn well on ice routes, as I was primarily using them in mono mode though, extraction wasn't as much of an issue.

Basically my preferred crampon set up at the moment is Petzl Darts (kept scalpel-sharp) for foreign ice and Cyborgs (in mono mode) for UK mixed and mush.

If I had to choose one pair of crampons then I'd go for Cyborgs or G14s (there's not much in it, whichever fits your boots best) in mono mode, keeping the spare point really sharp for ice and using the other one for Scottish stuff.

 Kevin Avery 06 Nov 2010
In reply to TobyA:

Crikey! That's verglas! Your points wouldn't be sharp for long on there anyway You be careful!!

I'm not sure how much difference it makes, maybe it's psychological! On really featured ice maybe not but when you're just relying on your front points then I reckon it definitely does. Not as much fracturing around the placements, more secure, go in easier etc.

And yeah the hacksaw job just isn't the usual BD perfection. I did tell them this too!
 elitemountain 06 Nov 2010
In reply to TobyA: There is no reason not to keep the fronts really sharp. Yes they will dull and wear down (a little bit), but you can sharpen them again and again and eventually replace them for £12 a point

Better to have been sharp and dulled than never sharp at all!
 TonyM 06 Nov 2010
In reply to TobyA:
>...keeping their crampons razor sharp for ice. Do you think it really makes that much difference?

It's only really about the front points. I don't think the issue for crampons is any different from that for axe picks. I definitely think it gives a big increase to the confidence you can have in your foot platform on steep ice.

In reply on front point length:
Part of the problem with Cyborgs, I think, in dual point mode is that the front points stick out as far as when they are in mono mode. That doesn't really make sense, since two points mean half the driving force into the ice through each point.
The G14s are designed such that in mono-mode the front point is more pronounced than in dual mode. This means that changing between set-ups, the 'feel' of the crampon doesn't change that much. i.e. They feel like they penetrate the ice about equally for a given kick
grimm 06 Nov 2010
In reply to UKC Gear:

Glad to hear good reviews on this crampon - got this as a replacement for Darts for the coming season (well, I only had the Dart fronts (attached to Grivel rears) and it didn't work that well in the end), and just yesterday did the dual-to-mono conversion.

I think BD should have carved the mono slots to the plates already in the factory, but luckily it wasn't that tough job (hacksaw picture in the manual was amusing, used a sharp knife instead). Also, I had to slice a bit more plastic around where the nut is, as couldn't get the tool (provided) to hold the nut easily after changing to mono - sometimes I wonder if the engineers designing these actually try the final product at all

Kudos to BD though for long enough bars for us with 46+ boots, as for most of the other crampons don't fit (e.g. Rambo 4), or you need to cough up additional £25-35 for long bars (actually one of the reasons I ended up with these).

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