Poll

Is this rack worn out ?

It's a death trap - bin it immediately!
3 (11.5%)
Use it for a bit longer if you must
12 (46.2%)
Nah, it's good for ages yet!
11 (42.3%)

Total Members Voted: 26

Voting closed: March 15, 2017, 05:19:48 pm

Author Topic: Rate my Rack!  (Read 2440 times)

Offline Amy

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Re: Rate my Rack!
« Reply #25 on: March 13, 2017, 10:30:00 pm »
I voted still good but if aluminum I'd say middle option (I'm use to SS racks).
We tend to have hollow bars and rule of thumb if it ain't worn through to the hollow bit it's still perfectly saftey.
You could've just asked me to bring one over we do make proper racks in the US with fully replaceable bars.

...must say I was expecting pictures of boobs, though. Disappointed in the title of the thread.  :tease:
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Offline RobinGriffiths

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Re: Rate my Rack!
« Reply #26 on: March 14, 2017, 01:05:36 am »
...must say I was expecting pictures of boobs, though

I suspect OP was reeling us in on exactly the same bait.

Offline pwhole

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Re: Rate my Rack!
« Reply #27 on: March 14, 2017, 02:08:45 pm »
There's still time - especially if they're stainless boobs. Not keen on aluminium for the reasons mentioned above...

On a point of interest though, re: rope-coating from 'soft' bobbins/rack bars - has there been any testing done on whether the tiny metal particles are removed properly during washing? It's not micro-abrasion as such that I'm concerned about, but it somehow just doesn't seem like a good idea to me. I'd always used a Stop with a stainless bottom bobbin, so I was amazed just how quickly my bobbin was wearing out when I switched to a Banana - every rope I went down was grey immediately, and I wore a huge flat in about ten trips. The stainless is showing no wear at all from about the same, and it's no faster, so I'm inclined to stick with it.

Online MarkS

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Re: Rate my Rack!
« Reply #28 on: March 14, 2017, 02:55:36 pm »
...I was amazed just how quickly my bobbin was wearing out when I switched to a Banana...

I think there are big differences in the wear rates of materials used by different manufacturers. Kong kit seems to wear much quicker than Petzl kit in my experience (e.g. Petzl Rack vs. Rackong, Petzl Simple vs. Kong Bonati/Kong Banana).

Online Kenilworth

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Re: Rate my Rack!
« Reply #29 on: March 14, 2017, 09:26:25 pm »
On a point of interest though, re: rope-coating from 'soft' bobbins/rack bars - has there been any testing done on whether the tiny metal particles are removed properly during washing? It's not micro-abrasion as such that I'm concerned about, but it somehow just doesn't seem like a good idea to me.


I must wonder, if you aren't worried about micro-abrasion (polishing seems more likely) what are you worried about? I use Al brake bars, fig. 8, ATC, all of which have a long history of use and no documented history (that I have read) of problematic Al deposition.

While I very rarely wash my rope, I have done some informal testing. One fear has been that Al particles could penetrate the sheath, and abrade the core, dangerously weakening the rope (a fairly nonsensical fear, in my opinion), and that the common habit of pressure-washing rope might accelerate this process by driving particles into the core. The obvious way to visually test this theory is to split the rope, which I have done, to find the core as snowy as new. Others have found the same. Considering the small amount of contact it takes for an Al brake bar or other device to color the rope, it would seem that particles of a quantity to do damage (I don't think that such a quantity exists) would surely be visible within the core.



Offline PeteHall

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Re: Rate my Rack!
« Reply #30 on: March 14, 2017, 11:25:20 pm »
...I was amazed just how quickly my bobbin was wearing out when I switched to a Banana...

I think there are big differences in the wear rates of materials used by different manufacturers. Kong kit seems to wear much quicker than Petzl kit in my experience (e.g. Petzl Rack vs. Rackong, Petzl Simple vs. Kong Bonati/Kong Banana).

I can second that. I bought a kong rack off Tony Seddon at Eurospeleo (as my home-made rack is no good on thick rope and my other rack was stashed at a project a long way underground in another caving region). I practically cut the thing in half over the course of the week. It was nice to use, but I am seriously unimpressed by how quick it has worm out. I guess you get what you pay for.
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Offline tamarmole

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Re: Rate my Rack!
« Reply #31 on: March 15, 2017, 08:38:55 am »
...I was amazed just how quickly my bobbin was wearing out when I switched to a Banana...

I think there are big differences in the wear rates of materials used by different manufacturers. Kong kit seems to wear much quicker than Petzl kit in my experience (e.g. Petzl Rack vs. Rackong, Petzl Simple vs. Kong Bonati/Kong Banana).

I can second that. I bought a kong rack off Tony Seddon at Eurospeleo (as my home-made rack is no good on thick rope and my other rack was stashed at a project a long way underground in another caving region). I practically cut the thing in half over the course of the week. It was nice to use, but I am seriously unimpressed by how quick it has worm out. I guess you get what you pay for.

The bars on the Kong Rakong are really poor.  I took 3mm out of my Rakong bars on a single forty foot pitch.  Its a shame because, quality of bars aside , it is a well designed bit of kit and a pleasure to use. The longevity of the bars is a total deal breaker.

My current weapon of choice is a home brewed 5 bar micro rack with 316, schedule 40 bars - I haven't looked back. 

Offline Amy

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Re: Rate my Rack!
« Reply #32 on: March 15, 2017, 01:25:03 pm »
Im always happy to ship over racks if people wish. Karst Sports sometimes has sales happy to have it shipped to me to send out (avoids import fees that way). My bms microrack is still going strong and that's after seven years of use and a lot of time spent on shitty gritty rope in Unterstein :)
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Offline Maj

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Re: Rate my Rack!
« Reply #33 on: March 15, 2017, 01:43:46 pm »
Im always happy to ship over racks if people wish.

The American size racks may fit in your luggage, but would they fit in a Mendip cave?  ;D

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Offline droid

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Re: Rate my Rack!
« Reply #34 on: March 15, 2017, 06:09:23 pm »
behave Maj :lol:

The micro racks are quite neat. Not persuaded they are any better than a Petzl or a CS rack though....
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Online Brains

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Re: Rate my Rack!
« Reply #35 on: March 15, 2017, 07:09:21 pm »
Should be OK till you can see down the rack through the rope groove - the lack of friction will put you off. If all the bars are removable, do so and reinstall the other way up (top to bottom!). Have some made in SS

Offline andychapm

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Re: Rate my Rack!
« Reply #36 on: March 15, 2017, 07:38:52 pm »
Quote
The micro racks are quite neat. Not persuaded they are any better than a Petzl or a CS rack though....
Micro racks are a lot better than petzl racks. They're stainless steel and so much less prone to wear. The locking off bar is nice to use with heavy loads in scary places.
Whilst I've been caving in Mexico, I find I prefer a rack for the initial long drops as they descend far better on massive American pit ropes and you do find aluminium wears a bit fast and I've gone through top bobbins in a single trip. After I've got past the long pitches, I tend to swap over to a petzl stop as I find them much quicker on shorter pitches.
If you're after a new rack, I'd probably say to take Amy up on her offer to send a micro rack across. You'll probably wear through about 5 aluminium racks before you wear out one of these BMS racks.

Offline Disgusted from Cornwall.

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Re: Rate my Rack!
« Reply #37 on: March 16, 2017, 12:20:24 am »
Microracks. Don't like them. Get a 5 or 6 bar J rack and add or remove bars. They are suited for that purpose. You cannot "change gear" on a U rack. You might as well use a bobbin.

Offline tamarmole

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Re: Rate my Rack!
« Reply #38 on: March 16, 2017, 08:49:38 am »
Microracks. Don't like them. Get a 5 or 6 bar J rack and add or remove bars. They are suited for that purpose. You cannot "change gear" on a U rack. You might as well use a bobbin.

And I take it you have gained wide experience with five bar micro racks since you expressed a similar opinion on Aditnow when this subject was discussed a year or so ago.

To summarise what I  wrote on AN:  One of the major advantages of a five bar micro is that you can change gear; you can run the rack on either four bars or you can dial in extra friction (in effect change gear) by running the rope over the hyperbar.  You can also vary friction by moving the bars. 

As someone has has used both traditional five bar rack (both Caving Supplies and Petzl) and five bar micro's (Kong Rakong, BMS micro, home brewed) I find that  (a)  The shorter length of the micro makes changeovers easier and (b) the hyperbar makes lock offs easier and to my mind more secure.




Offline JasonC

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Re: Rate my Rack!
« Reply #39 on: March 16, 2017, 10:09:47 am »
I'm guessing the short microracks (8.5" vs 11" for the CS rack) are less likely to get caught in random rocks and crevices when crawling ?
I do find the J-style rack particularly effective at this.....

Online Kenilworth

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Re: Rate my Rack!
« Reply #40 on: March 16, 2017, 01:26:53 pm »
When I use a micro-rack (BMS), I clip the top to the left side of the harness when not in use. It seems to stay out of the way pretty well. I've never tried this with a 6-bar rack which I use only rarely.

Microracks. Don't like them. Get a 5 or 6 bar J rack and add or remove bars. They are suited for that purpose. You cannot "change gear" on a U rack. You might as well use a bobbin.

Micro and J racks are two different types of device, each with their advantages. I have stopped using a J rack because it offers zero advantage for the stuff I'm doing (220' and under). The micro is easier to handle, easy to control, easy to lock-off, and easy to pack. I like it a lot.

Offline Amy

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Re: Rate my Rack!
« Reply #41 on: March 16, 2017, 10:33:19 pm »
You do have a lot of variance with a 4-bar BMS microrack. You can get it with single or dual hyperbars - and think of a hyperbar as "1.5 bars" worth of friction. This greatly increases usability - and hyperbars making a full lockoff a breeze.

I use my microrack up to 150ish feet on our stiff 11mm American ropes like PMI Pit and classic Highline. I can use it up to about 300-ft on flimsy UK ropes - even 10.5 and 11mm stuff. Some people will use it on longer - I know one of the guys at bridge day who rappels on one and that's 876-ft freehang.

Your con to a microrack is that if you feed rope, and a bar pops off in the loop you made, you are on two bars which as we know is basically an air rappel. This tends to be why they are recommended for advanced uses. However, feeding rope is typically a beginner thing done to rappel over an edge, which, as you don't rig edges here, would be a non-issue. And the con to a micro vs a 6bar Jframe is you have less space to rig your rope into it, making long rappels (rope weight) difficult as you can't just wiggle the rope through it in the same fashion. Doable...but more difficult. And again, that is a non-issue here in the UK since you just dont rig drops like that.

There is nothing in the UK I wouldn't do on a microrack - except *maybe* some of the deep mine shafts. But as this is a cave forum and not aditnow I'm guessing this is a nonissue for folk here. And I honestly think a full 14" 6-bar rack is really overkill here.

If you get the long frame micro, you have plenty of space even on 11mm rope to spread out bars to speed up. Racks are not just about adding and dropping bars, it's the ability to move where the bars are. More space = less bend and less pinch = less friction = faster. Even on the 14" 6bar Jframes, you are never supposed to go below 4 bars. So a mirco has your minimum friction allowance built int. When you add a hyperbar to the micro, now you have effectively the same maximum amount of friction as on a 6-bar 14" J frame rack. So you have the entire friction range in a small package.

If you are often on 9 or 10mm ropes, I'd even stick with a short frame. I have the long frame because in TAG we use the stiff 11mm. But I have always had lots of space on my rack with every rope from 9 to 11mm that I've used here since they simply are more wiggly ropes.

(ps - saying "here" as in UK as I am...well...here in the UK at the moment)
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Offline tamarmole

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Re: Rate my Rack!
« Reply #42 on: March 17, 2017, 08:54:18 am »
Microracks. Don't like them. Get a 5 or 6 bar J rack and add or remove bars. They are suited for that purpose. You cannot "change gear" on a U rack. You might as well use a bobbin.

And I take it you have gained wide experience with five bar micro racks since you expressed a similar opinion on Aditnow when this subject was discussed a year or so ago.

To summarise what I  wrote on AN:  One of the major advantages of a five bar micro is that you can change gear; you can run the rack on either four bars or you can dial in extra friction (in effect change gear) by running the rope over the hyperbar.  You can also vary friction by moving the bars. 

As someone has has used both traditional five bar rack (both Caving Supplies and Petzl) and five bar micro's (Kong Rakong, BMS micro, home brewed) I find that  (a)  The shorter length of the micro makes changeovers easier and (b) the hyperbar makes lock offs easier and to my mind more secure.

Whoops meant four bar micro rack not five.

Online Kenilworth

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Re: Rate my Rack!
« Reply #43 on: March 17, 2017, 10:02:28 pm »
If you are often on 9 or 10mm ropes, I'd even stick with a short frame. I have the long frame because in TAG we use the stiff 11mm. But I have always had lots of space on my rack with every rope from 9 to 11mm that I've used here since they simply are more wiggly ropes.

Ultra-lightweight persons (like myself) may have trouble with a short frame BMS. My practice tree rope is 8mm, even so I had to get a longer frame for my micro-rack. I kept the short frame to play with, fitting it with all manner of homemade bars.

Offline PeteHall

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Re: Rate my Rack!
« Reply #44 on: March 17, 2017, 10:33:27 pm »
While we're on the subject of the BMS micro-rack, I was once given one by an American caving friend and it instantly became my favourite descender, however, it might have just become as deadly as the deadly croll...

I'll take a picture and post it when I have time, but basically, the peg on the end of the hyperbar developed a hair-line crack, then split in half leaving a razor blade next to the rope!  :o

No idea what caused it, or if anyone else has had a similar failure, but it's off the SRT kit and on the shelf for now!
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Offline Disgusted from Cornwall.

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Re: Rate my Rack!
« Reply #45 on: March 18, 2017, 10:57:39 am »
Rick, I've used a 4 bar micro. It was OK, but perhaps I've just got used to my 5 bar. I like the hyperbar idea, but I can imagine it snagging on everything! I occasionally go out on 8mm and it's a bit exciting with my mega-gorilla mass. I have been known to put a snap crab in the top and go through that. I picked up a lot of army 12mm rope on the cheap. (Think just short of 1km) and it gets used for everything. I quite often use 4 bars quite spread out.

I'll use a stop for fiddling, but I gather using 2 racks is one way of doing it!

I've wondered about getting a slightly longer 6 bar, after seeing Mr Browning using his (big respecs), but "the rope is the wrong way around then!" I like doing stuff the same, partially for safety, partially due to autism!

Offline Amy

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Re: Rate my Rack!
« Reply #46 on: March 19, 2017, 06:01:12 pm »
While we're on the subject of the BMS micro-rack, I was once given one by an American caving friend and it instantly became my favourite descender, however, it might have just become as deadly as the deadly croll...

I'll take a picture and post it when I have time, but basically, the peg on the end of the hyperbar developed a hair-line crack, then split in half leaving a razor blade next to the rope!  :o

No idea what caused it, or if anyone else has had a similar failure, but it's off the SRT kit and on the shelf for now!

...the hyperbar peg starts off as a rolled tube as it's friction fit, the edge is not sharp nor is it on the side next to the rope...
Are you saying yours actually broke making a sharp edge? Otherwise, it is as manufactured and perfectly safe...click the photo in the link below and it will enlarge you can see the manufactured design clearly on the outside view. If yours is on the inside it was made wrong, but you can actually rotate it. It's a trick we use to prolong the life of our  micros - undo the nuts and reverse all the bars, and you can actually gently hammer/mallet the peg through to the other side to flip the hyperbar so it wears both sides before replace ;)
http://onrope1.com/descending-equipment/bms-hyperbar/
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