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Review: DRCC V512 Hangboard
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By Will S
From Joshua Tree
Jan 6, 2012

The Detroit Rock Climbing Company V512 Hangboard:


DRCC V512
DRCC V512


After two cycles using the local gym's boards, and not wanting to liberate my existing boards from my other house in Joshua Tree, I was in the market. Looking at what was available, the V512 seemed as good as anything else with some intriguing features, so it got the nod.

DRCC says this board is aimed at the intermediate climber pushing into the V5/5.12 range, hence the name. And while that may be true for those using bodyweight only, once you start stacking weight on the harness, this is a tool that will serve you well beyond the V5 range.

First a rundown of the holds. There are essentially 3 rows of 3 pairs, and a pair of pinches. Starting from the top row, outside to inside, we have:

A 2 pad deep incut jug:
Two pad jug <br />
Two pad jug


2 pad deep flat edge, 2 pad deep sloper.
Second row: 1 1/3 pad deep jug:
middle jug <br />
middle jug


1 1/3 pad flat, and 1 1/3 pad sloper:

Middle sloper 1 1/3
Middle sloper 1 1/3


Third row: 1/2 pad deep slight incut:
bottom incut
bottom incut


The smallest hold on the board, a 1/3 pad edge:
1/3 pad edge
1/3 pad edge


and 1/2 pad sloper. Finally, on the far outside are a pair of pinches:

Pinch
Pinch



I've had three sessions on this board so far, stacking weight on to hit failure during 5x10sec sets.

Overall impression is that this is probably the best board I've owned, but it does have a couple of significant issues/drawbacks. First the good: The dual texture (completely smooth except where your pads would contact the board) is awesome. It really eliminates the painful bite you get on other boards at that little pad of skin directly behind the joint. On my Stone Age Manta, when working pockets, the limiting factor was usually how bad that little area hurt (would feel like someone had a lighter to it), rather than ability to generate force. The dual tex completely eliminates that issue.

More good: The smallest hold on it is smaller than anything else I've seen on a board, but with a friendly radius that doesn't seem sharp or threatening. The actual texture on the holds is great, it's even and seems to provide ideal mix of good grip without being too aggressive. Finally, the holds are all fully cutout, so if you need to fine tune the depth of some of the holds (i.e. make them smaller as you progress), you can simply stack some cardboard, paper, popsickle sticks or whatever in the back of the cutout.

The less than ideal: The slopers on the top and middle row are too narrow from side to side. You can see this clearly in the 4th pic. Since they are located in the center of the board, your hands are literally touching each other and my thumbs bang together making it difficult to use these holds effectively. It can be done, but you have to arrange your thumbs deliberately before starting the hang. This could have been easily solved in design, so I'm not sure how this obvious drawback made it through the prototyping. The bottom row slightly incut hold has more side to side arc (think frown shape) to it than the others and that combined with the incut make it feel a little funny to me..not threatening or dangerous, just not very useful for me, YMMV.

Another slight drawback is no pockets (I don't use them much on the boards I have with them, preferring to just use 2 fingers on edges to simulate, but many do train on pockets). Another, the pinches are too easy...a slightly wider grip and more vertical sides could probably solve this one. As it is, I can hang the pinches with about as much added weight as I can hang the two pad deep edges (in other words, the limiting factor is how much my biceps/lats/shoulders etc can take rather than ability to squeeze the pinch), for my needs that is way too easy.

There is no perfect board, and I've supplemented this one with some bolt-on holds on the other side consisting of some small edges and bulbous slopers, soon to be adding some wide pinches.

With all this in mind, I'd still recommend this board over anything else I've actually trained on (i.e. a full hangboard cycle rather than just a session or a few hangs) including the Metolius wood grips, Metolius Simulator, Metolius slim gym, Stone age manta, Nicros infinity, simple campus rungs, Nicros Warrior, and the Iron Palm . That may be due to my own needs at this time, but some of the features are going to shine regardless...primarily the dual texture, but also the high quality finish overall and the good small edges and small slopers.

For the beginning hangboarder, something like the Simulator might be a better choice with a greater variety of holds. For those looking for something a little more challenging, give the V512 a look, you might like it. Customer service was friendly and responsive, they kicked in a free upgrade to multicolor, and the board arrived about a week after I ordered.

Happy hanging.


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By Monomaniac
Administrator
From Morrison, CO
Jan 6, 2012
Insurrection, 5.14c.  Photo Adam Sanders.

Thanks for the excellent review Will, particularly all the great photos.

It should also be noted that this:

Will S wrote:
The slopers on the top and middle row are too narrow from side to side. You can see this clearly in the 4th pic. Since they are located in the center of the board, your hands are literally touching each other and my thumbs bang together making it difficult to use these holds effectively. It can be done, but you have to arrange your thumbs deliberately before starting the hang. This could have been easily solved in design, so I'm not sure how this obvious drawback made it through the prototyping.


poses a significant risk of injury to the shoulders/back. You should never hang repetitively on holds that force your thumbs to touch. Your hands should be ~ "shoulder width apart" for all exercises on a hangboard.

Will S wrote:
Another slight drawback is no pockets (I don't use them much on the boards I have with them, preferring to just use 2 fingers on edges to simulate, but many do train on pockets).


Another thing to consider, when a hangboard has pockets, they pretty much need to be on the bottom row of the board, to allow space for the inactive fingers to curl in (towards a fist) while hanging. When scoping a new board this should be assessed. I think only using 1 or 2 fingers on a 4-finger edge is fine, as long as the board is designed to allow space for the inactive fingers. It looks to me like this board would only allow you to use the lowest set of edges for "pocket" training. If that is true, then the user needs to consider if the lowest set of edges are the right size, shape & orientation for the type of pocket training they want to do. I've never fondled one of these, so what do you think Will?


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By slim
Administrator
Jan 6, 2012
tomato, tomotto, kill mike amato.

thanks for the review Will! Good points Will and Mark, particularly about the narrow holds/shoulder/thumbs hitting each other issue which is a problem on a lot of hangboards.


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By Will S
From Joshua Tree
Jan 9, 2012

Monomaniac wrote:
Another thing to consider, when a hangboard has pockets, they pretty much need to be on the bottom row of the board, to allow space for the inactive fingers to curl in (towards a fist) while hanging. When scoping a new board this should be assessed... It looks to me like this board would only allow you to use the lowest set of edges for "pocket" training. If that is true, then the user needs to consider if the lowest set of edges are the right size, shape & orientation for the type of pocket training they want to do. I've never fondled one of these, so what do you think Will?


Good point. A prime example is the Manta, which has all of its useful pockets on the bottom row, and even the Metolius simulator probably has enough top to bottom taper that you could get the "curl" in on the holds that aren't on bottom.

As for the DRCC, the bottom row are the three smallest holds of their respecive types (incut, flat, sloper) on the board. I don't think these would make good pocket training sizes for most people training 2-finger combos, and you would probably have to pay extra attention to mount the board so the bottom edge is flush with the bottom edge of the backer-board. There is enough top to bottom taper of the overall board, and the top row of holds are deep enough (i.e. stick out far enough) that you could probably use them (top row) and have enough room for the curl-in, though I haven't tried...and there's also the question of what use is "training" on a two-pad deep sized jug, even if only using pairs of fingers.

I'm back "on" today, so I'll take a closer look with the above in mind tonight and report back.

Now that I really think about it, there are only really 2-3 holds on this thing that I actually train on, and another couple I use during the warm ups. Starting to think that migrating my Manta to this house for the pockets, sloper, and pinches to complement the DRCC would be a good move.


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By Will S
From Joshua Tree
Jan 11, 2012

Here's a link to another review of this board by Kris Hampton with some good input and pics:

www.powercompanyclimbing.com/2011/03/review-v512-hangboard-f>>>

And following up on the prior post...After playing around with the holds in a 2-finger pocket style, you can get away with it on most of them, the top to bottom taper allows the curl of the inactive fingers, but it's not ideal. There are definitely better options for training 2 finger combos. In the review linked above there is a pic or two of someone using it this way.


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By Cho
Jan 12, 2012

Will - Is that some sort of free standing rig you have the board mounted on? I ask because I recently had to take down the board I had mounted in my apartment. I wasn't supposed drill holes in the wall, so I had it stealth mounted over the door inside a deep closet. It was working fine until the upstairs neighbor got a leak in their shower, and the landlord needed to come inspect my place. I took it down, and patched the holes, so no harm, no foul, but I'd rather not go through that exercise again. That Blankslate thing looks sort of cool, but $129 is a lot to drop, and the home made versions don't look that stable. Looking for other ideas.


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By Steve86
Jan 12, 2012

Check out this thread for a discussion of mounting.

blankslate


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By Will S
From Joshua Tree
Jan 12, 2012

Hey Cho,

It's not free standing. The columns are attached to the roof members with a couple of screws each, those attachements points aren't weight bearing, the columns are taking all the load, but there are no outrigger legs or base or anything like that.

But it could easily be made freestanding, and I initially set out to do so (this is also a rental, not my JT place and I have an inspection in May I think). If they complain (hey, they say I can put holes in walls as long as they are smaller than 1/4") I can re-configure it for free standing by just adding a couple pieces to cradle the roof member and adding a couple pieces to the base of the columns.


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By reboot
From Westminster, CO
Feb 21, 2012

Agree with most of the sentiments so far:

Dual texture is awesome; my skin does't feel trashed after a workout. Wish the slopers aren't in the middle as I like to warmup/train on them a lot. 2 finger combo is not too bad; I like using the middle row flat edge, and you can vary the difficulty depending on where you grab, since it's slightly curved (varied depth). Mono does pose more clearance issues, but I'm not strong enough to work monos on a flat edge nor do I like working on monos in general.

The pinch feels weird: it's not a true pinch since the holds are the furthest apart that you are using more compression than thumb pinching, a problem with pinches in on vertical wall in general. Holding a plank makes it more of a pinch, but I would not want to fall off the hangboard in that position. My local gym has some great pinch pairs on the system board, so I'll just supplement there. Otherwise, consider adding a pair of pinch holds (and tilt it in overhung position if possible).

Lastly, since mgear.com now sells the board w/ free shipping, it's effectively $13.50 cheaper!


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By camhead
From Vandalia, Appalachia
Feb 21, 2012
You stay away from mah pig!

shuminW wrote:
The pinch feels weird: it's not a true pinch since the holds are the furthest apart that you are using more compression than thumb pinching, a problem with pinches in on vertical wall in general. Holding a plank makes it more of a pinch, but I would not want to fall off the hangboard in that position. My local gym has some great pinch pairs on the system board, so I'll just supplement there. Otherwise, consider adding a pair of pinch holds (and tilt it in overhung position if possible). Lastly, since mgear.com now sells the board w/ free shipping, it's effectively $13.50 cheaper!


Kind of off-topic, but the best setup I've found for pinches yet has been the lower right of this Rock Candy set, mounted on a 30 degree overhanging systems wall, with the narrow ends facing inward at about 11 o'clock/1 o'clock. There is no incut on the pinch, and when mounted at an overhanging angle, you are using barely any compression or "straight down" jug-style grips. It's just pure pinching.

I've not yet found a satisfactory pinch setup on a dead vertical wall.


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By Lanky
From Portland, ME
Feb 21, 2012

Somewhat on topic: Apparently DRCC is planning to start selling it's system holds in matched pairs (currently they only sell them in $200 sets). Got this straight from the horse's mouth by email, but that was a few weeks ago now, and the email said they'd be up that night. :)


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By Will S
From Joshua Tree
Apr 24, 2012

I'm in the middle of the second cycle on this board and thought I'd add this little update and question:

I'm beginning to believe there is a very slight difference in the depth of the two smallest holds. It seems the right one is just a hair smaller than the left. This could be my fingers themselves (my right hand is very slightly larger than the left, and most people have slight differences between hands/feet). It could also be my posture or twist of the torso causing me to load it unevenly.

So I'm curious, has anyone else has noticed this?

The really tiny size of the smallest ones seems to magnify this issue.


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By Chris Clarke
From La Paz, BO
Apr 24, 2012

I haven't noticed any difference on mine. I've had it since January and used it a fair bit along with the mini DRCC board (I forgot the name) which has some really small holds on the bottom.


DRCC Hangboards
DRCC Hangboards


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By Rajiv Ayyangar
From Portland, ME
Apr 25, 2012
Cut! Sadly my flash attempt met with dismal pump-failure two bolts later.

Monomaniac wrote:
...Another thing to consider, when a hangboard has pockets, they pretty much need to be on the bottom row of the board, to allow space for the inactive fingers to curl in (towards a fist) while hanging. When scoping a new board this should be assessed. I think only using 1 or 2 fingers on a 4-finger edge is fine, as long as the board is designed to allow space for the inactive fingers. It looks to me like this board would only allow you to use the lowest set of edges for "pocket" training. If that is true, then the user needs to consider if the lowest set of edges are the right size, shape & orientation for the type of pocket training they want to do. I've never fondled one of these, so what do you think Will?


Great point. I just completed my third workout on my DRCC board/blank slate (rockprodigy-style, 7/3sec). I have large-ish hands (can comfortably stretch a 10th for you pianists), and here's what I found re: 3-finger grips:
-Large flat edge: works fine for 3 fingers, but 2f hurts the knuckles of the curled fingers.
-Medium flat edge: works fine with 3 fingers - there's more clearance under the middle row than under the top row of holds. haven't tried 2 fingers.
-Medium incut: works fine with 3 fingers

I'm generally pleased with the board. The dual texture is a huge skin/pain-saver. For me, personally, I wish the smallest holds were a bit larger. In my last workout I was up to 30-40lbs extra on the medium and large grips, but I still can't finish a single set on the small incut, and I can't hold the small flat edge or small sloper at all.

I wonder if other people have found a huge gap between the medium row and the small row? I've never been great at smaller holds, but I was surprised that the bottom row is unusable for me given how much weight I'm using on the other holds. Maybe it's a skin-friction issue... I feel like the first rep is really easy, and the second rep feels way slipperier (no time to chalk in a 3-second rest).


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By slim
Administrator
Apr 25, 2012
tomato, tomotto, kill mike amato.

Rajiv, try reducing your weight by about 20 lbs with a pulley and then hang the small holds (start with 4 finger half crimp on the incut and 3 finger open on the flat hold, neglect the small sloper for now). it takes a little practice to get the feel of it, and sometimes it is more of mental issue. my guess is that you have the strength to do it. after you do it with the 20 lb reduction, go down to 15,10,5, and 0. more than anything it will probably help you with the confidence to bear down on the smaller holds.

re: willS question, i have just started doing a mini-prequel to my cycle and it seems like the depth on the 2 smallest slopers is pretty even.

one minor note on the V5.12 - if you have big hands/fingers it might be hard for you to use. i have fairly average hands and it feels a bit tight for my hands to fit into the area for the various holds.


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By Rajiv Ayyangar
From Portland, ME
Apr 25, 2012
Cut! Sadly my flash attempt met with dismal pump-failure two bolts later.

slim wrote:
Rajiv, try reducing your weight by about 20 lbs with a pulley and then hang the small holds (start with 4 finger half crimp on the incut and 3 finger open on the flat hold, neglect the small sloper for now). it takes a little practice to get the feel of it, and sometimes it is more of mental issue. my guess is that you have the strength to do it. after you do it with the 20 lb reduction, go down to 15,10,5, and 0. more than anything it will probably help you with the confidence to bear down on the smaller holds. re: willS question, i have just started doing a mini-prequel to my cycle and it seems like the depth on the 2 smallest slopers is pretty even. one minor note on the V5.12 - if you have big hands/fingers it might be hard for you to use. i have fairly average hands and it feels a bit tight for my hands to fit into the area for the various holds.


Pulley sounds like a good idea to work up (down?) to the small edges.

I agree about big hands. Using 4 fingers on the medium incuts seemed ok at +40lbs, but at +50 I realized my fingers were cramped and torquing dangerously. From now on I'm only using 3 and 2 fingers on medium incuts. I also have to use 3 fingers on the medium and large slopers.


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By JEFFisNOTfunny
May 24, 2012

I have this hangboard as well... I switched from a Metolious Simulator 3d. I agree with the OP... I don't miss the pockets.

But, the slopers in the center of the board are closely spaced, especially if you have larger hands, but it isn't that hard to move your thumbs out of the way.

It was a huge relief on my skin using this board. I had been very used to my Metolious board "biting" and making my skin fold. This isn't the magic bullet, but it it really works for me. I get to save my skin for actual climbing.


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By kenr
May 25, 2012

Are you saying that skin folding when gripping holds does not happen much on crux moves on outdoor rock?
(I'm too busy just pulling thru the moves to notice one way or the other).
Why or why not on outdoor rock?

If skin-folding on crux holds does happen a significant percentage of time on outdoor rock, doesn't it make sense to train specifically for that?

Anyway I have to say that I do notice the skin-folding on my home fingerboard, and it feels sort of strange (but maybe that's because I spend so little time on crux moves outdoors? so I'm just not accustomed to it?)

And nowadays I keep finding that the main limiter on my home fingerboard intensity is skin-surface tearing, not the (dreaded?) tendon soreness.
Not what I expected when I started out with the fingerboard-training thing.

Ken


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By LeeAB
Administrator
From ABQ, NM
May 30, 2012
Once we landed we headed to Font to find a place to stay for the night before doing a day of wine tasting and heading to Buoux.

kenr wrote:
Are you saying that skin folding when gripping holds does not happen much on crux moves on outdoor rock? (I'm too busy just pulling thru the moves to notice one way or the other). Why or why not on outdoor rock? If skin-folding on crux holds does happen a significant percentage of time on outdoor rock, doesn't it make sense to train specifically for that? Anyway I have to say that I do notice the skin-folding on my home fingerboard, and it feels sort of strange (but maybe that's because I spend so little time on crux moves outdoors? so I'm just not accustomed to it?) And nowadays I keep finding that the main limiter on my home fingerboard intensity is skin-surface tearing, not the (dreaded?) tendon soreness. Not what I expected when I started out with the fingerboard-training thing. Ken


You said it, to complete the hang board routine the limiting factor is your skin putting up with it, while outdoors, actually climbing you never notice it because you don't spend 60 seconds or whatever hanging off the same hold, except maybe at a rest.


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By slim
Administrator
May 30, 2012
tomato, tomotto, kill mike amato.

correct. you don't want to be half way through a workout and unable to continue because you just tore the skin off your fingers (don't laugh, this is kind of common). the v512 really excels in this area. i am about 3 weeks into a cycle right now, and haven't had to stop a session yet due to flappers. with my old hangboard, i would typically have around 2 to 3 workouts per cycle that i would have to stop one of the sets (or a couple sets) due to flappers.


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By Monomaniac
Administrator
From Morrison, CO
May 30, 2012
Insurrection, 5.14c.  Photo Adam Sanders.

slim wrote:
with my old hangboard, i would typically have around 2 to 3 workouts per cycle that i would have to stop one of the sets (or a couple sets) due to flappers.


Yikes! I think I'm pretty high on the psi curve and its been years since I've had to end a set due to a flapper. Here is my trick:

An ounce of prevention (tape) is worth a pound of cure (neosporin).

Also, having a hangboard (or holds) that is ergonomically shaped to fit the dimensions of your fingers will help a lot. It may take some legwork to find the right combination of holds, the right orientation of the holds, the right spots to apply tape, etc, but it is essential that you create an apparatus that allows you to give 100% to the workout. If you are failing because of skin issues, you won't get much out of hangboarding.


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By slim
Administrator
May 30, 2012
tomato, tomotto, kill mike amato.

man, i've tried the tape thing but it just feels SO slippery. In the past, if I had to bail on a grip due to a flapper, i would try to make up for it by going to a smaller (usually) or bigger (sometimes) hold to finish my set. not ideal though.

with the v512 i haven't even come close to having this issue. pretty psyched about that. it's nice to have 1 less thing trying to goof up your workout.


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By Rajiv Ayyangar
From Portland, ME
Sep 11, 2012
Cut! Sadly my flash attempt met with dismal pump-failure two bolts later.

I started another HYP phase on this board a few weeks ago, and I've settled on the following grips:

-medium flat edge
-small incut (I lost 5 lbs and am now finally able to complete a set of 5 with no extra weight!)
-large flat-3 fingers
-medium flat 3F
-medium incut 2f (this pinches the proximal pad of my 4th finger DIP-joint, but it's bearable so far).
-pinch
-medium incut 3f (this pinches a bit, like the 2F, but not as much).
-L sloper 3f (I wasn't able to fit 4F on the sloper)

Grips that I tried and abandoned:
-medium incut, all 4 fingers: my 5th finger was uncomfortably cramped.
-medium sloper: I might add this back in, but skin moisture seemed to be the limiting factor.

I'm a bit stumped as to where to go next, since with a few of these grips I'm using 70 lbs extra, which is probably the highest safe weight I can do with the Blank Slate mounting system (I feel it creaking and bending). On the other hand, there's such a huge jump in difficulty to the small flat, and small sloper - I can barely hold them for a few seconds.


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By Will S
From Joshua Tree
Sep 16, 2012

Go to the smaller holds and take weight off with a simple pulley system.


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