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/ New Review: Metolius Master Cams

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Will Sim putting the Mastercams to good use on the Gervasutti Pillar, 4 kb"I had high hopes for the Master Cams, and in a way they were met and in another they weren't," says Jon Griffith.

There was a lot of hype surrounding the release of the Master Cams. Seen as Metolius's answer to the Alien and C3, it is the first single stem design that they have come out with.

Read more at http://www.ukclimbing.com/gear/review.php?id=2907

southern sam 16 Aug 2010
Jon

You say they have resolved the issue of the kevlar fraying, in doing this have they stopped the lobe tilt as shown in your picture or is this still an issue? Im not sure if the problems were related or not.

Thanks

Sam
flaneur 16 Aug 2010
In reply to UKC Gear:

Jon, thank you for your review.

I thought it unusual that you did not compare these with either Wild Country Zeros or Aliens. These are the closest competitors in design (small 4 cam devices). Aliens may be hard to find now but folk will be interested to know if Master Cams are a good replacement as theirs get lost or damaged or whether to pay the premium for second-hand items on ebay. Zeros are widely available and a similar price to Master Cams, the natural comparison surely?
Coel Hellier 16 Aug 2010
In reply to UKC Gear:

> In a nutshell, Metolius cams are built so that they have a smaller camming angle than their
> competitors, meaning that they have a higher holding power but sacrifice camming range.

I understood that the Mastercam camming angle was indeed smaller than that of the Camalots but the same as that of WC Friends and DMM Dragons.
TobyA 16 Aug 2010
In reply to flaneur:

> I thought it unusual that you did not compare these with either Wild Country Zeros or Aliens.

I don't want to speak for Jon, but at a guess it might be that he doesn't own either of them. As another of the UKC gear reviewers, I've had this problem as well; I'm going to be writing the DMM Dragon review, and I can compare them to the 4CUs that I've had for 4 years, and the Friends, flexi friends and quadcams I've had for 15 or more years - but I've never owned Camalots and I bet lots of people will want to know how they compare to them! It's unfortunate, but obviously we can only do comparisons to stuff we do own and have used plenty.



Jon Griffith 16 Aug 2010
In reply to southern sam: The problems were indeed related to each other. Since they have fixed the fraying issue the lobe tilt is not an issue any more as well.

flaneur: As Toby has said I dont actually own either the Zero or the Alien cams. Again as Toby has said we can only compare them to what we own am afraid.

Coel Hellier: I have email Metolius for clarification. I wrote this review quite a while ago so I cant remember the figures I had gotten from all the companies off the top of my head but I will get back to you on all their camming angles

jon

Sarah Stirling 16 Aug 2010
In reply to TobyA: I was discussing gear reviews with Mick and Jack at KORS this week. Where relevant, I want to plan in some side-by-side comparisons of similar products (not too many - say two or three products). Also the first Gear Guide (rock shoes) is hopefully going live at the end of this month, and the idea of these is partly to give an overview of what's available and help readers compare products. I've just sent you an email so let's discuss Dragon Cams, other reviews etc there!

Sarah
Reach>Talent 16 Aug 2010
In reply to flaneur:

I was torn between Mastercams and Zeros, in the end I went for Zeros as they seemed more versatile. They don't seem very durable but they seem to go into placements where nothing else will.
IainWhitehouse 16 Aug 2010
In reply to flaneur: WC Zeros are set to be discountinued (as of spring iirc) and Aliens are all but extinct. CCH is up for sale by the original owners widow.
Coel Hellier 16 Aug 2010
In reply to IainWhitehouse:

> WC Zeros are set to be discountinued (as of spring iirc) [...]

Are they to be replaced by something else, or will WC not make anything below a Helium 0 (at 14-22.5 mm, a little bigger than the current Blue Zero 5)?
IainWhitehouse 16 Aug 2010
In reply to Coel Hellier: There I must confess ignorance. I assumed that they wouldn't be replaced but could easily be wrong.
DanielJ 16 Aug 2010
In reply to UKC Gear:
Being a nerd with a decent sack (money that is) I´ve just doubled up on some of my BD rack with Mastercams in size 00-3. I totally agree that they feel more solid than BD when you place them and if it´s a critical placement I´ve found myself reaching for the mastercams. And thats despite the fact I´ve only had the Mastercams for a couple of weeks.

Reasons? No walking whatsoever and the flexibility of the stem(shaft?) in vertical cracks. And as Jon writes, this feels pretty important in the smaller sizes. Bananafingers also sells them for 40, which I think is somewhat of a steal.

My only gripe(?) so far is that they seem to require more maintenance than BD, more lubing, more drying up instead of just throwing them in the sack. Two of my mastercams already needed some lubing, not a big deal maybe.
ross 16 Aug 2010
I've got a blue Master Cam and an ancient Green Alien which are very similar in size. In the same poor placement the Master Cam will pull out easily by hand whereas the Alien will not come out with my bodyweight droping on to it. Often the Alien on 2 cams beats the Master Cam on all 4.

The reason is simple; the alloy used on the Masted Cams is way harder than the soft grippy alloy used on the Aliens.

Fingers crossed someone buys CCH and picks up the baton...
flaneur 16 Aug 2010
In reply to Jon Griffith:

> flaneur: As Toby has said I dont actually own either the Zero or the Alien cams. Again as Toby has said we can only compare them to what we own am afraid.

Thank you for your response.

I understand that you can't make a comparison with Zeros or Aliens if you've not owned them. However, a comparison is what the punter with £50 burning a hole in her pocket wants, which suggests that UKC asked the wrong person to do the review. It's not like comparing goretex anoraks (where there are 175 choices, 125 of them new for 2010) and expecting user knowledge of the everything on offer would be unreasonable.


In reply to ross: thank you for a succinct review. As I feared.

In reply to IainWhitehouse: I didn't realize that. Zeros seemed to be 'on special' fairly often which suggests they were not a raging success. I thought they were the best of the widely available small cams so it would be sorry to see them disappear.


I wonder if DMM has anything cooking, a small cam is a clear gap in their range.
TobyA 16 Aug 2010
In reply to flaneur: Well considering that Aliens are virtually impossible to buy now and there were safety concerns over them for the last few years anyway, it's not a useful comparison for a punter with money to spend. It sounds like soon it might be the same with Zeros as well, which basically leaves the BD C3s as a competitor to the Mastercams on the market currently.

But what Jon has done is taken the gear our and thrashed against Chamonix granite enough to the point where it actually wears out! That sounds like a pretty thorough testing to me.
mloskot 17 Aug 2010
In reply to flaneur:
> I thought it unusual that you did not compare these with either
> Wild Country Zeros or Aliens.

Here is a decent review of the Master Cams with references to Aliens:

http://www.rockclimbing.com/Articles/Gear_and_Reviews/Metolius_Master_Cam_Editiorial_Review_793.html
steve456 17 Aug 2010
In reply to TobyA:
> I'm going to be writing the DMM Dragon review, ... but I've never owned Camalots and I bet lots of people will want to know how they compare to them! It's unfortunate, but obviously we can only do comparisons to stuff we do own and have used plenty.

Then with all due respect, you're not the right person to review them.
Michael Ryan 17 Aug 2010
In reply to steve456:
> (In reply to TobyA)
> [...]
>
> Then with all due respect, you're not the right person to review them.

With all due respect UKClimbing.com is the only UK climbing media to do gear reviews.

As Sarah said above, we are starting to do comparison reviews.

Toby will do a great job as usual reviewing the Dragons

Also consider, that part of the review in this modern media is actually the forum thread as well. There will be lots of opinions of Dragons vs BD Camalots vs Friends etc

It will all help in the buying decision.

Michael Ryan 17 Aug 2010
In reply to mloskot:
> (In reply to flaneur)
> [...]
>
> Here is a decent review of the Master Cams with references to Aliens:
>
> http://www.rockclimbing.com/Articles/Gear_and_Reviews/Metolius_Master_Cam_Editiorial_Review_793.html

He finishes by saying:

"Of course, at the end of the day, it really comes down to personal preference- but the best advice I can give is that when looking at these cams, don’t compare them to the Alien- just look at them for what they are- a very nice single stem unit that does its job very well."

TobyA 17 Aug 2010
In reply to steve456: Why exactly? If a review of Dragons is just a comparison to Camalots how does that help anyone with an ageing rack of Friends or 4CUs trying to decide whether to replace like with like or go for Dragons. A central question is: why bother with added weight of a double axle? Comparing them Camalots won't answer that.

Don't worry though Steve I've been using friends Camalots from the first generation onwards so probably will include some comments
Tam Stone17 Aug 2010
In reply to TobyA:
> (In reply to flaneur)
>
> [...]
>
> I don't want to speak for Jon, but at a guess it might be that he doesn't own either of them. As another of the UKC gear reviewers, I've had this problem as well; I'm going to be writing the DMM Dragon review, and I can compare them to the 4CUs that I've had for 4 years, and the Friends, flexi friends and quadcams I've had for 15 or more years - but I've never owned Camalots and I bet lots of people will want to know how they compare to them! It's unfortunate, but obviously we can only do comparisons to stuff we do own and have used plenty.


In that case I would say it would be more useful to have someone else with greater experience review the Dragons.

Monk 17 Aug 2010
In reply to Tam Stone:

What on earth are you talking about? More experienced? Who would you suggest? I would suspect that there aren't all that many people out there who own and use every type of cam. Most people have a favourite brand for whatever reason and stick to it. I don't really care how Dragons compare to Camalots, as I mostly use friends (or cheap versions thereof. If someone did a review comparing them to camalots it would be lost on me (well, sort of - I have used camalots, but didn't really take to them). In a review, I like an ojective assessment of the gear. I want to know if it works, what features are particularly good or innovative, and what doesn't work so well. Comparisons between devices are subjective at best. There is also the added confounder that we get used to gear we have used a lot, and learn how to manage the quirks.

Personally, I look forward to Toby's review. His reviews are among the best I have seen, and I certainly respect his opinion, even if I don't always agree with it.
Kane17 Aug 2010
In reply to flaneur:
Why are you so interested in a comparison? Any differences between good kit usually comes down to personal preference. From the review it sounds like the master cams do the job very well and are well made.

Comparisons can be nice but the opinions of an experienced climber about the gear are the most important thing in my opinion.

Kane
steve456 17 Aug 2010
In reply to TobyA:
> Don't worry though Steve I've been using friends Camalots from the first generation onwards so probably will include some comments

I take that back then. The point I was making was that there's not that much to separate the dragons from camalots other than guessing how the obvious differences actually affect how they behave so in this case a "yeah they're pretty good but I've never used camalots" wouldn't add anything, especially as Mick pointed out above there are loads of mini-reviews knocking around here.
TobyA 17 Aug 2010
In reply to steve456: Actually the more I think about the more important it is to compare the Dragons to single stem axles. The difference between Dragons and Camalots are actually pretty straight forward - want a double sling? Go DMM. Think fatter cams are important on the type of rock you climb? Go BD. etc etc.

It's a shame Helium Friends aren't out yet - I reckon for the next few years the choice for lots of people will be once again whether to go for double axles (either BD or DMM) or single axles (WC). I remember when Technical Friends and 2 gen. Camalots came out; BD were saying "each of cams fits in more placements due to its greater range" but WC pointed out "but each of units weighs a lot less, so we cover the same range in the same weight but with two more pieces giving you more protection". That seemed like a real dilemma to me.
Tam Stone17 Aug 2010
In reply to Monk: "What on earth are you talking about?" - What a stupid question, you know exactly what I am talking about.


"More experienced? Who would you suggest?" - Someone who has used all of the popular types of camming device. I don't have any names but I don't think such climbers are rare as I myself am one. (I am certainly not suggesting myself)

It becomes clear that you don't have much experience of C4 Camalots and therefore you don't value the comparrison. I think you are in the minority as Dragons are without doubt DMMs updated version of a C4 Camalot.
jamesgodwin64 18 Aug 2010
In reply to UKC Gear:

Loved the review on the master cams it is honest and i got them recommended to me for the fact the stem flex's and its narrower and that they perform in there area damn well (i have a blue one). I can say ive never had the problem of the stem cord issue but it has popped on some grit but it was placed it a panic id say . over all the smaller ones attract me more than the bigger sizes personally nothing really (narrow minded but ive looked ish) bar BD really touches that side of really really small and with flexi head "most" things are shallow it helps hold you and itself by bending and not popping
joe.91 18 Aug 2010
In reply to UKC Gear: what i want to know is how they are able to use a 'skinny' (ish) sling on the thumb loop when DMM and Black Diamond have struggled to do so?
SCC 18 Aug 2010
In reply to gt4_joe:

These smaller cams have a lower strength rating than the larger Dragons and Camalots that couldn't use the skinny slings and thumbloops.

WC zeros have a thin sling and a thumbloop too - same reason.

At least, that's my take on it.
remus 18 Aug 2010
In reply to gt4_joe: All the mastercams are rated at 10kn or under, and if i remember correctly DMM where having trouble with the slings at forces above that.
Monk 18 Aug 2010
In reply to Tam Stone: >

> It becomes clear that you don't have much experience of C4 Camalots and therefore you don't value the comparrison. I think you are in the minority as Dragons are without doubt DMMs updated version of a C4 Camalot.

I take your point that a comparison with as many brands as possible is most desirable. A review only comparing them to C4s would be pointless for the very many people who don't use camalots. Surely a much better comparison would be to give someone who hasn't used either a set of dragons and a set of camalots - that way you get a fair assessment. And I disagree that I am in the minority. Dragons may be a similar product to the C4s, but they are going to become a major player on the UK market, as DMM is held in such high regard. Therefore a comparison with a variety of cams is most relevant, if you consider comparisons to be important. Certainly, as someone with an ageing mixed rack of cams, I am very interested in a review of this new kid on the block.

joe.91 19 Aug 2010
In reply to SCC: fair enough reason! Just wondered thats all

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