/ Micro cams vs normal cams

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mff513 25 Mar 2020

With the likes of dmm dragons going down to 00 and overlapping with dragonflys, is it really worth getting the Micros? Which is better generally? 

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HeMa 25 Mar 2020
In reply to mff513:

Microcams are generally smaller in the head, more flexible (near the head) and generally feel "better" when place (the last one is my personal opinion). But the first two points are the prime reason to get micros, they fit in smaller places and due to the flexible stem, they are also more likely to stay in the crack on shallow placements when loaded (ie. ya fall).

In fact I've personally come to the conclusion that up to the size of purple (so C4 size 0.5, I guess that's like Dragon 1?) I prefer micros. And that is pretty much what I already have.

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beardy mike 25 Mar 2020
In reply to mff513: It more or less boils down to yes, they are worth it. The only advantages small normal cams have are durability and cost.

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MischaHY 25 Mar 2020
In reply to mff513:

Yeah micro cams are the business. They fit in all these small pods and thin seams that normal size cams are too wide for. 

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Mark Stevenson 25 Mar 2020
In reply to HeMa:

> In fact I've personally come to the conclusion that up to the size of purple (so C4 size 0.5, I guess that's like Dragon 1?) I prefer micros.

That was previously my view but I've changed my mind, slightly. 

I had micros (WC Zeros) and then Dragons from Purple upwards, but a lot of the time I wasn't entirely happy with the largest micro as lots of my placements were in slightly irregular cracks where a physically larger standard cam would be better.

I bought a couple of Grey Dragons and they now they get used lots and I'm happier with that being the point I change from standard cams to micros. 

That said, it probably depends a lot on where you are climbing. On Pembroke, Swanage and Rhoscolyn I definitely found the standard grey cam a better option as the cracks are relatively long and deep but quite irregular. However, on rock types with shallower or shorter and more smooth-sided cracks like slate or fine grained granite, the opposite may be true. 

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beardy mike 25 Mar 2020
In reply to Mark Stevenson:

Having designed them, in my opinion, the grey and smaller double axle cams are marginal if they are placed in a situation in which there is a chance of sub-optimal loading. Fine if you are placing them in a horizontal crack or a deep vertical crack where the lobes will be loaded perfectly in-line with the direction of pull. If there is a chance that the lobes will be jammed between rugosities and become immobile, thereby forcing the lobes to be loaded at an angle, they are somewhat likely to crack. At that size there is very little meat left connecting the outer lobe to the inner one. Given the choice at purple or smaller, I would go for a single axle cam every time.

Post edited at 10:14
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timparkin 25 Mar 2020
In reply to beardy mike:

> Having designed them, in my opinion, the grey and smaller double axle cams are marginal if they are placed in a situation in which there is a chance of sub-optimal loading. Fine if you are placing them in a horizontal crack or a deep vertical crack where the lobes will be loaded perfectly in-line with the direction of pull. If there is a chance that the lobes will be jammed between rugosities and become immobile, thereby forcing the lobes to be loaded at an angle, they are somewhat likely to crack. At that size there is very little meat left connecting the outer lobe to the inner one. Given the choice at purple or smaller, I would go for a single axle cam every time.

Good to know - I've bought dragonfly's to double my  purple, silver and blue dragons

Post edited at 11:27
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mrphilipoldham 25 Mar 2020
In reply to mff513:

I've got the small blue dragon and upwards, and decided to just buy the 3 smaller dragonflies to complement them. So far so good, I haven't so far seen the need to buy the 3 larger ones to overlap, but that's not saying I won't!

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mff513 25 Mar 2020
In reply to beardy mike:

I'm coming to the opinion that micro cams are safer despite their lower breaking force and they are more versatile, all it boils down to is the new dragonflys or the new WC zeros 

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beardy mike 25 Mar 2020
In reply to mff513: IMO the dragonflys are hard to beat - they are normal DMM quality...

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Exile 25 Mar 2020
In reply to mff513:

Not applicable to everyone but I decided on dragons complemented with smaller dragonflies because I winter climb on the same rack and felt the robustness was worth it against extra flexibility.

Nearly Mikes post is interesting though...

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Mark Stevenson 25 Mar 2020
In reply to beardy mike:

Interesting. Always good to hear your thoughts. 

My main concern has been the smaller width of the actual cams on my current micros (although that may just be specific to my red WC Zero cam) making optimum positioning more hit and miss on irregular cracks. 

The current trend has certainly been towards slightly wider lobes (e.g. Dragon 2s vs original Dragons). It'd be great to hear your opinion on that aspect of design.

Also, what would you currently replace a WC Zero 6 or a grey Dragon with? 

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chadogrady 25 Mar 2020
In reply to mff513:

BD Z4s????

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Tom Ripley 25 Mar 2020
In reply to Mark Stevenson:

> Also, what would you currently replace a WC Zero 6 or a grey Dragon with? 

A yellow Totem obvs.

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mff513 25 Mar 2020
In reply to chadogrady:

Not really keen on bd cams, picked up Camelots and they just felt loose the lobes had far more play in them than dmm or wild country and they just feel all around less of a hard wearing quality item. But I've never felt a z4 maybe they are different know the x4s where quality pieces of kit but they dont make them anymore and are becoming scarce and harder to find a full set

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beardy mike 25 Mar 2020
In reply to Mark Stevenson: The original zeros and also metolius master cams both had very skinny cams, aswell as quite hard material, 7075 if I’m not mistaken - been know  to happen To my mind that’s not a great combo as particularly in those small sizes, bending moments created by axle flex become much less relevant so a softer material can be used. The issue which created this situation was the drive for narrow headwidth to compete with Aliens which at the time were THE microcam but the need for springs dissimilar to these units which were patented at the time. Not that the Dave Waggoner patent has fallen by the wayside, just about every manufacturer has gone to this system resulting in wider cam lobes, better holding power due to reduced induced stress. I really feel that now that Totem Basics are not around anymore that the dragonfly is just the best tool for the job... 

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neuromancer 27 Mar 2020
In reply to mff513:

C3s are narrow, simple, bomber and now they've been superseded pretty easy to find everywhere cheaply.

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HeMa 27 Mar 2020
In reply to neuromancer:

While I do like the C3s, they are a tad stiff, so not really good on shallow placements.

And since they have been discontinued ever since the X4s came out, the good sizes (purple & gray) have been out of stock for like 2 years already.

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C Witter 27 Mar 2020
In reply to mff513:

I think the advantage of microcams over "normal" cams is that, since the head size is lower, you're more likely to get a good placement in a shallow vertical crack with the cam actually oriented in the correct direction of force rather than plugged in perpendicular to the crack in a mistakenly hopeful manner. If they're placed horizontially into a vertical crack, they'll probably just rotate out and fail in a fall.

I also feel the opposite of Mark, that, with irregular cracks (e.g. in limestone), you're more likely to find a nice little recess for a good placement of a smaller-headed microcam, than a wider cam, and perhaps that the softer metal of, e.g., Aliens is less likely to skid.

I have a small green Alien Revolution and I think it's a great cam. I'm not sure why the Alien Revs often get side-lined, except that the previous model generated a lot of controversy. They're light, strong, flexible, with small head sizes and soft metal.

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beardy mike 27 Mar 2020
In reply to HeMa:

Now that X4's have been superceeded by the new BD microcam... honestly I think out of the lot I like all the BD microcams the least. The C3 was unique and fitted a specific and occasionally useful niche. X4 are pap and having held the new ones I just can't see how they are actually any better. They are trying to solve problems which don't exist. 

Aline Evo's, well they're OK I suppose, but the Dragonflys are just made better - pure quality as far as I can work out... 

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HeMa 27 Mar 2020
In reply to beardy mike:

Yup, I was never a fan of the X4s... like sayed, I do have and like the C3 though... but you need other microcams to complement them.

The Z4 seems like DBs twist of the CCH Alien (which I have a few). As the old Master Cams I still have, are in working order I'm pretty much set (Full set of smaller Master Cams from the tiny to ~0.4/0.5 size C4),  plus as sais, almost a full set of C3s and some odds and ends.

I have been patiently waiting to Totem to start producing the Basics again (preferred them to Fixe offerings). But currently the DMM version of CCH Alien looks like a winner... but considering the mileage my gear gets these days, I think Totem might start getting the production running before I need to  get replacements (at least a few years). So perhaps something even better is on the horizon.

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ModerateMatt 27 Mar 2020
In reply to beardy mike:

Mike you seem to rate the Dragonflys higher than all the rest. How do you think they compare to the "Totem Totems"?

Totem should have more holding power in flared placements and they are narrower in comparable sizes. 

I have both Dragonflys and Totems. I really want to like the larger 3 Dragonflys but just don't when compared to the Totems. Don't know why but please change my mind.

Cheers 

Matt

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beardy mike 27 Mar 2020
In reply to ModerateMatt: I really can’t say as I’ve not had a set to use. So any comment would be meaningless. The one thing I would say is that because they are active cam, i.e. load is directly transferred to the lobe, they stick better, but at the cost of extra load outwards. This is not ideal therefore behind thin flakes etc. Or on soft rock where outward force induces stress in the rock and can surface leading to pull out. I am sure they are great for all sorts of situations but like anything they have limitations.

Besides, if you like them and they work for you, whats wrong with that?

Post edited at 12:46
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