Monday, 2 February 2015

Gucci Karabiners: Black Diamond Magnetron vs Grivel TwinGate

Black Diamond Rocklock (top)
Grivel TwinGate (bottom)
Back in 2011 I posted about the  up and coming releases shown at OutDoor 2011. Amongst these was the Black Diamond Magentron karabiner; a locking karabiner with a magnet to keep the gate closed. Emma got me one for Christmas and I have to say it's pretty cool. At the same time I noticed the Grivel TwinGate karabiners on the market at a decent price, and so I decided it was time to revive my gear reviewing with a head to head karabiner competition between these 2 bad boys!

First up then, the Black Diamond Magnetron.The Magnetron karabiners come in 3 different versions; the Gridlock from (£27), the Vaporlock (From £24) and the Rocklock (From £21). The gridlock is a magnetron version of Black Diamonds Gridlock karabiner, the Vaporlock is a small pear shaped karabiner, and the Rocklock is a larger HMS karabiner, all are available with different colour gates and all 3 feature the Magnetron locking system; meaning all you have to do is to gently apply pressure on either side of the karabiner gate to unclip the magnet system allowing the gate to open. On releasing the gate the magnet re- engages and the karabiner locks closed automatically. This is incredibly easy to do, and allows for
Bent spine shape allows for maximum gate opening
easy one handed operation. Applying pressure only one side will not open the lock, meaning the chance of accidental opening is limited. For the purpose of this review my comments will be based on the Rocklock version only. At 87g the karabiner feels light in the hand, with the usual high build quality you would expect from Black Diamond. The shape of the karabiner maximises the gate opening meaning you could easily sneak 2 clove hitches on (I tried this with 10mm rope!). I used a Rocklock on my belay device on a recent climbing trip, and I can honestly say they feel very secure, coupled with an ease of use I haven't experienced with a quicklock karabiner before. I would definitely recommend these karabiners to anyone who wants to use a quicklock karabiner but has never got along with other models.

Now onto the Grivel TwinGate series. There are 2 versions of the TwinGate karabiner; the Sigma and the Mega. The Sigma is a smaller snap gate style karabiner, whilst the Mega is a slightly larger HMS karabiner. To save me having to explain the TwinGate system, please see this video: which explains the various ways you can use the karabiner. Personally I have found the TwinGate system a little fiddly compared to other karabiners, the idea of having to fiddle one gate up, whilst holding the other open also, is exactly as annoying as it sounds! At 79g it is lighter that the Magnetron, however it is worth bearing in mind that the TwinGate is is smaller than the Magnetron, which would account for the extra weight. I would also add at this point that the TwinGate has a much smaller gate opening, owing to its double gate system, so don't rely on being able to easily clip multiple clove hitches, large knots etc onto the TwinGates. One massive plus for the TwinGate however is the cost, at £11 each for the Mega or Sigma, you can buy 2 TwinGates for each Magnetron. The question is, would you want to? For me, no, no I wouldn't. I just don't like the TwinGate system, it's fiddly, and goes against the reflexes I have built  up over 10 years of climbing, my reflex isn't to open 2 gates at once, my reflex is to do **something** which opens the gate, however that **something** is a single action, and doesn't involve doing 2 seperate things! Perhaps it is just me, at £11 it's worth you trying it for yourself and not taking my word for it. I will persist with the TwinGate system, perhaps in time it will grow on me.....


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  2. Applying pressure only one side will not open the lock, meaning the chance of accidental opening is limited. For the purpose of this review my comments will be based on the Rocklock version only.

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