Metolius Ultralight TCU

Review by Review
Friday 14th July 2006

It would be very easy when reviewing cams to get lost in the jargon and science of camming angles, holding power and axel technology. I'm not going to do that. If that's your bag then go check out the website which has a wealth of such information:

Instead I am going to write extremely briefly about how they performed in use, followed by a few words about their various notable features.

They performed awesomely!

Of late I have been weeding out heavy old bits of gear from my rack and replacing them with modern lightweight equivalents. The difference is massive - I reckon I've shaved off about a third of the weight of a previously heavy rack - and nowhere has this saving been easier than with these ultra light cams. For starters they are shorter, and I mean considerably shorter. This is such an obvious place to save weight (and space) that I am not sure why others have not done something similar. Obviously this means that you can’t place them as deeply into a crack as you might have done previously, but I think I'll take that as the only downside.

The 13mm Dyneema slings are relatively short and therefore very light. This obviously means that they need extending more often than other cams – a factor to consider when thinking of making a lightweight, but versatile rack up.

The trigger bar is very similar to previous Metolius cams in that it runs along the twin cables on a plastic sheath which moves with the trigger. This works very well, is lightweight and I would suspect helps keep the stiffness in the cables.

The units are pretty narrow, but the trigger is not too fiddly to pull, allowing very easy two-fingered placements and removals. The narrow three cam unit has obvious benefits in placing in small pockets and peg scars.

One innovation they have introduced is a series of coloured dots on the outermost two cam edges - The Range Finder. These are there to tell you at a glance whether the cam is placed well. If the green dots are in contact with the rock then it's well placed. If the yellow dots are outermost then it's an OK placement, but could be better, and if the red dots are showing then you need to think again. A great idea in principle, but a) my test units were too small for this to really be of any help, and b) I would argue that the green dots continue too far around the cam edge encouraging one to over-cam the unit.

As with most cams these days the cams themselves feature passive lugs to enable the unit to work in the event that it walks itself back into a wider section of the crack.

Price: £40 per cam, with a 10% discount if you buy all 6 in a pack.

Weights, Ranges & Sizes:

00, 8.5-14mm, 41g
0, 10-15.5mm, 43g
1, 12.5-19.5mm, 50g
2, 15.5-24.5mm, 57g
3, 18.5-29mm, 59g
4, 23.5-35.5mm, 68g

What I liked:
Very well machined
Range Finder great on larger units

What I didn't like:
Difficult to place in deep cracks
Range Finder didn't really work on small units



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