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Metolius BRD, $20
Summary: The Metolius BRD shines on rappels and lowering, where its “horn,” which extends off the side of the tube, came in very handy for varying friction. Using your thumb or the meat of your palm, you can vary the pressure on the horn to reduce or increase the amount of friction. The unit’s rope-feeding and lock-off capabilities were solid, with the occasional lock-up. On the downside, the minimalist cooling fins on the tube’s exterior did little to keep it from heating up.
Pros: Excellent variable friction.
Cons: Heats up quickly.
Overall grade: B+
Metolius: (541) 382-7585,www.metoliusclimbing.com