Good replacement for an ATC
Review by: Valarc, 2007-04-28
The SBG has four friction settings, depending on whether you use the lower or upper clip hole, and the V-groove or curved side as your brake side. This makes it a very versatile device. On thinner ropes, use the upper hole and V-groove for maximum friction. On thick 11mm gym ropes, I found using the lower hole and the V-groove was the best combination. Taking out slack is much smoother than an ATC - the SBG never binds up, even after a climber gets back on the wall after locking off to catch a fall. I also find the V grooves give better holding power than the ATC. Holding onto a hangdogging partner is pretty much effortless, where I would have my fingers aching after a while doing the same with an ATC. Lowering with the SBG was also much smoother and less jerky, with climbers starting at a hundred pounds and going up to twice that.
One thing to note is that the SBG might be more prone to binding up or crossloading the biner due to its solid stem. For that reason, I HIGHLY recommend combining it with a DMM Belay Master carabiner, which has a plastic shield to prevent crossloading.