Finally, after about a month from when i ordered them (surely due postal overload during the Christmas holidays), i received a parcel, containing the plastic nut set from Gear4rocks that i had been waiting for.
The company presents itself on their website as a small production company born in the Ukraine, from twenty years of passion for the creation of equipment by it's founder and owner.
It should be pointed out that much of the equipment for sale on the site, including these nuts, does not have CE and UIAA certification, toward which Gear4rocks is working, but they do have STANDART certification, which is based on the requirements for CE and UIAA, and is the requirement for Ukraine personal protective equipment. But despite this, the curiosity to get my hands on a set of these plastic nuts prompted me to order them.
Gear4rocks, is proud of the lack of frills on its products to the benefit of efficiency and price, and it would be hard not to admit it is true.
I was handed an envelope stuffed with plastic, and inside, wrapped in a sheet of cellophane, was the set of eight nuts.
But let's get to the content, the nuts have a head of white-opaque plastic, similar to Teflon, although less smooth
The shape of the head resembles that of the DMM wallnuts, with slightly curved trapezoidal shape and a groove on the convex side.
The only writing on the plastic is molded into the groove and is "STOPERPLAST", followed by a number that identifies the size of the nut. It starts from 1 for the smallest, up to 8 for the largest.
In addition to the number, the nuts are easily identified by two bands that are shrink wrapped in plastic to the steel cable, each measure has its own color.
Both concave and convex side have a number of holes, which probably have the task of making the nut lighter, as well as to increase their grip on the roughness of the rock.
At the top of the four smaller nuts, where the cable is flexed, is a thick metal semi-circle that drives the curve of the cable.
The set is larger than I expected judging from the photos of the site, the smallest measuring 13.2 mm by 22.6 mm wide and the largest 34.4 mm 44.6 mm (a bit bigger than a Cassin n.8).
The steel wires are thicker than average, with 3.2 mm in diameter on all measures, except on the smallest nut that has 2.8mm, and give a feeling of consistency.
The holding forces, in Kn, declared on the Gear4rocks website are of 13.5 for all measures, except for the smallest nut that holds 9.6.
The entire set weighs 0.465 kg.
To hold them gives a good feeling, they seem solid, and the cables, though thicker than usual, are flexible and elastic.
The only inaccuracy, but it seems more aesthetic than structural, I found on the size 8 nut, on this piece the holes where the cable passes are slightly offset, and one of them is drilled very close to the edge of the nut, but given the normal direction of traction, it does not appear to be a hazard.
Gear4rock plastic nuts were tested on a multipitch route, placements were tested on limestone and at a crag near Padua (Rocca Pendice) with Trachite rock, similar to granite, where falls were tested.
All our tests were performed empirically, therefore we do not have lab data or measures, though we are working on having those tests performed as well.
In the above photo is the nut before use, while the second one shows the nut that held the falls done in the test.
The nuts performed well in placement, the wedged shape and the groove in the center make it easy to place and stable.
The relative softness of the plastic, compared to metal, makes for a snug feeling when placing the nuts in cracks.
Three consecutive falls were tried on the same nut, a number 5 (the smallest size without the semi-circular metal guide for the cable). The nut was not removed between falls.
After each fall the nut settled slightly in the crack, placing itself even more tightly than before.
This movement and the compression against the rock left slight marks on the plastic. The marks do not appear to be serious enough to compromise the tool, but they do raise some questions about the durability, thow we will have time to test that in the future.
Nevertheless, the nut gave a great feeling of safety in use.
The steel cable suffered minor bending due to the falls and the “energetic” efforts to free the nut from it's placement after the falls. To free the nut, a brand new nut tool ended up being bent, so this would confirm previous reviews of this product that describe the extraction of these nuts as harder than average.
The colored plastic details were damaged pretty soon by friction on the rock, but the function of this detail is merely aesthetic.
Thanks to Caterina, Emanuele and Alessio for helping us in this test.