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DMM Phantoms (review)

3:32:11 PM
As a recent purchase, I thought I'd post up my thoughts...

The thing that got me onto the idea of new biners was my eclectic cam rack. It's grown over time and sports a well worn set of Kong Slit Fit cams and a more recent (1yo) set of C4s. The Kongs and the C4s generally line up pretty well when it comes to sizes - both are colour coded, but unfortunately completely differently. When they sit together it can be a bit of a jumble going straight for the one you want.

Equally eclectic was the variety of biners on them. Mostly WC Oxys, but a few inherited OP Five-o's. I have always disliked the Five-o's they're not just physically huge (don't rack well with other biners), they're also phenomenally heavy for a non-locker (60g).

It occurred to me that the solution was some new colour coded biners - they'd 'standardise' the rack, make going for the right size regardless of brand easier and could save me some weight too.

Really the options are BD Neutrinos or the DMM Phantoms - both come in a rainbow pack (purple, green, red, yellow, blue) or plain silver. Neutrinos weigh in at a trim 36g, but the Phantoms knock that back to a measley 26g! That's pretty amazing for a full strength biner (23kN, 9kN, 7kN). I went with the Phantoms.

But it isn't just a question of weight, but also how they function. After initially receiving them it was obvious to me how they'd made the savings. Although the sides are whittled down to the bare minimum of metal through I-beam cross-sections and they have a speccy new wonder-alloy, a lot of weight has been shed simply by making the overall biner smaller. Would that cause any difficulties in operation?

Thankfully, I can report no. I've given them a good run with both single and double ropes and have yet to trap a finger or fumble the rope whilst clipping. Perhaps it could be an issue with a gloved hand, but for those of us that like our rock warmer than our beers it's no problem at all.

Even better was the price. I bought one set in the US for $60 (AUD) for 6, and then another set on Ebay (Alpine Sports Ireland) for $59 for 5 (fully delivered). Considering what an Aussie gear shop will want for 5, weightier, BD Neutrinos this is a steal!

So in summary, I'm very pleased with the way they function, they've made my rack more easily used, they were cheap, and they saved me 400g of ugly Omega Pacific iron-mongery. Can't ask for much more than that.
3:41:19 PM
Yep I got some of these last year from Rock Hardware and I do like them - the colour coding on the corresponding cams has saved me some fumbling.
Steve also split a pack so I could get 2 gold ones.
9:05:16 PM
Ahh very nice to hear! - Also have some on the way from the US to match my new shiney set of DMM Dragons...
2:49:48 AM
Just to add balance to your review.
I have two of them.

The gate is only as wide as my thumb, simply too awkward for me to use.
The gate has no shielding whatsoever, so is vulnerable to being opened by scraping on rock etc.

The rope radius is only 8mm and the metal wears incredibly fast.
Both of mine weigh in at 25 grams each.

I'm gonna put a nut tool on one, don't know what to do with the other.

9:59:12 AM
Thanks for sharing your experience.

On 28/10/2010 rightarmbad wrote:
>The gate is only as wide as my thumb, simply too awkward for me to use.

Just to throw some numbers at this - the gate clearance of the DMM Phantom is listed as 21mm, a BD Neutrino 22mm, the WC Oxygen 25mm. Rather interestingly the much lauded Petzl Spirit is listed as only 20mm. So it would seem that the gate clearance on the Phantom is at the tighter end, and certainly something for people to take into consideration, but not unusually so.

>The gate has no shielding whatsoever, so is vulnerable to being opened
>by scraping on rock etc.

Yes, very true. The BD Neutrino, for example has a ridge running down its length that holds the rock away from where the wire meets the nose-hook. Clearly DMM decided to ditch the handful of grams by losing the ridge in favour of the recessing of an I-beam. Incidentally, the BD Oz solves this by having a 'bump' right in front of the nose-hook - but perhaps this design is protected by patent?

I thought about this issue for a while, wondering if it would be a deal-breaker. In the end I figured that in use a biner does have something holding it out from the rock when it's sitting flat against a wall - the thickness of the rope running up through it. Also it's interesting that the obsession with protecting the very end where the wire meets the nose, yet if any rock were to press anywhere else on the gate (of any biner) the result would be the same - open gate. Lastly, most non-wiregates have no shielding - and you'd think this issue would be particularly bad with non-keynose designs where they have rivets sticking out the sides? So in the end, I felt okay with the design - but again its a decision for the individual to make, and a good issue for you to have highlighted.

>The rope radius is only 8mm and the metal wears incredibly fast.

In my situation I only have these attached to my cam rack. I can't think of too many situations (other than the odd failed route attempt) where I'd be lowering off them with any sort of regularity. In this regard, I imagine that wear will be light (but I'll be keeping an eye out to see how they hold up). Certainly it sounds like this could be a massive issue if people are thinking about kitting out all their quickdraws with them and using them to lower off sport routes - thanks for the heads up!

I think the issues you've raised are great in highlighting the need when it comes to these bare-bones, super lightweight designs to consider their appropriateness for task a lot more than, say, you might with a big fat general purpose biner.

12:56:06 PM
The gate opening issue is complicated.
I rack my cams on nutrino's and have no issue with them.

They have similar spring tension, and to look at them there is a 2.5mm difference in the length of the opening if you took away the gate and just viewed the main forging.

This is the difference, as the gate opening is usualy stated as the size when the gate is opened and the neutrino has a longer wire, it doesn't open much extra at all when measured like this.
But the actual gap between the ends of the forging is 2.5mm wider on the neutrino than the phantoms.

So when those of us with bigger hands push on the gate to open it, much of the opening force is actually being applied at the wire opening hinge, and it makes it a much harder to press movement, with a side force to open it.

On the neutrino, all I have to do is press just like a full size biner and it all goes fine.
So those with bigger hands beware.

Now if they could make the best wiregate biner in the world, the 'helium', as light as a phantom, it would be phenomenal.
Mike Bee
9:38:28 PM
On 28/10/2010 rightarmbad wrote:
>Now if they could make the best wiregate biner in the world, the 'helium',
>as light as a phantom, it would be phenomenal.

I too have been dreaming about a slightly smaller version of the Helium with colours for racking my cams. It'd be absolutely the most awesome biner ever!
11:44:50 PM
The DMM Spectre II might be slightly better than the Phantoms
Larger, wider gate opening (25mm), shrouded gate, heavier though (32g)
10:10:08 AM
On 28/10/2010 rightarmbad wrote:
>Now if they could make the best wiregate biner in the world, the 'helium',
>as light as a phantom, it would be phenomenal.

Heliums are the best wire gates in the world....because they are full size and light. Are you saying you really notice the weight difference between the 33g Heliums and the 26g Phantoms?
10:28:47 AM
Good point. Heliums are terrific. The weight difference is overstated relative to function. However, I like the smaller size of the Phantoms for racking.
8:51:36 PM
Actually, I just wanted a big word for the day, phenomenal fulfilled that desire:)

Why not dream, every gram I loose in my rack makes my harness more comfortable when you rack up with way too much gear to do a route you find hard to assess from the ground.
5:51:28 PM
Phantom QD set (as in one quick-draw!) on 18cm dyneema sells for $55+ in Sydney. Any better price around?

Shadow QD set is on 12cm dyneema and claims 3 locking options. What is that all about?

Certain climbing gym in far western Sydney replied 'probably not' when I asked about any discount should I buy several of either.
Nor could the young kid answer any technical details at all. I wondered on what strength was he employed.

9:17:28 PM
On 20/01/2011 Wollemi wrote:

>Nor could the young kid answer any technical details at all. I wondered
>on what strength was he employed.

Betcha he could crush ze plastik!... and thats about it....

9:26:23 PM
On 20/01/2011 Wollemi wrote:

>Nor could the young kid answer any technical details at all. I wondered
>on what strength was he employed

probably his $12 an hour price tag....cut him some slack.....
9:33:11 PM
The Shadow biner comes in straight, bent and secure.
The "secure" one has a locking function.
10:04:58 PM
I've been so disappointed in these that there is one kicking around in the footwell of my car in the hope that maybe it can be used on my surfski boat leash.

The other was on my nut tool, but I swapped it out for an easier to use one, it's now kicking around the floor of my gear room somewhere, hiding in disgust of the uselessness of itself.
8:37:59 AM
RAB I'll gladly take the Phantoms off your hands. I think they are great!
I have smaller hands than you do, so don't have a problem with them.
The weight difference on my trad rack made an amazing difference.
Especially brilliant for multi-pitch! :)

The point to take home is make sure you have a play with biners in the shop before purchasing. How easy is it to clip/handle?
For me they clip and handle great, my hands are just normal size.
10:43:22 AM
Forgot to mention that DMM have new biners coming out this year called the Alpha trad at 34 grams (27mm gate opening) and the Alpha trad light at 28 grams (25mm gate opening). They both have clean noses which look similar to the wild country heliums.
You can see them on their PDF product catalogue download.

P.S I don't work for or am sponsored by DMM. I just like their gear! :)
5:11:14 PM
I'll swap the two of them for one Helium.
9:41:47 PM
Considering I can get 2 brand new ones for the price of one helium.....
Ummm let me think... No!
Since they are useless to you, you can just give them away! :)

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There are 22 messages in this topic.


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