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Black Diamond Bionic
, $180, 2 pounds 9 ounces
Summary: A relatively new entry into the field of semi-rigid
, the Bionic has a few kinks to work out. Most glaring was the lack of stability and support afforded by the diminutive secondary teeth. BD says that the secondary teeth on this season’s model are “slightly longer,” so by the time you read this, the Bionic will hopefully be a much better steep ice crampon. The binding also gave us some trouble, there’s no toe bale safety strap, and the relatively blunt heel lever was hit-and-miss with some older, shallow welts. A new, micro-adjust heel lever is also due this season.
We warmed to this crampon on mixed ground, liking the way we could hook with the raked-back teeth under the foot ball. But there’s a lot of potential here: the dual position front points were equally adept at punching cleanly into hard ice and latching onto crimpy edges, and the semi-rigid frame adjusts easily and without tools. Best of all, the package includes parts for dual points, dual wide points, and offset monopoint configurations. Anti-bots are available as an accessory but thanks to the horizontal frame, balling isn’t much of a concern. If the changes Black Diamond has promised live up to expectations, this crampon could move up fast. The Bionic is the only crampon we surveyed that comes in two sizes (S-M, L-XL).
Pros: Full offset monopoint conversion included. Frame adjusts easily without tools.
Cons: Calf-buster due to inadequate secondary teeth. Problematic heel bail. No toe-bail safety strap.
Overall grade: B
Black Diamond: (801) 278-5552, www.bdel.com