Leki vs. Black Diamond trekking poles

5:59 p.m. on May 1, 2009 (EDT)
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I'm looking for some forum insight here. I haven't even 100% decided to go with manufactured poles as of yet (currently using 1 homemade one), but I ran across a deal that piqued my interest.

I have the opportunity to buy the Leki Carbon Ergometric poles for about 100 bucks new (they're normally more like $200). I've read on a couple of threads here that the flick-loc system on the Black Diamond poles is superior. So, my question to the forum is... are they $40-50 superior? Because it looks like that's what it will cost me to get the equivalent BD carbon poles.

6:04 p.m. on May 1, 2009 (EDT)
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On further inspection, it looks like the BD poles are also 3-6oz heavier, depending on which one in particular you are comparing. I don't think I would even notice that kind of weight, as I'm not a scale freak, but I suppose it's another consideration.

9:21 p.m. on May 1, 2009 (EDT)
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Wish I could help, my poles are not carbon fiber. I have a pair of Leki's and a pair of Kompperdell's. (spelling?)

9:50 p.m. on May 1, 2009 (EDT)
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I have some black Dimond trail backs which have the locking system and I have tried and tried to make them slip and cannot. Basically just to see if I could. I have even catapulted myselp accross some small creeks with them. I really like the locking system, but for full disclosure I have never used a twist system.

10:24 p.m. on May 1, 2009 (EDT)
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I don't know how many people have actually had failures, but I'm pretty sure I read a post here where Alicia reported a pole collapsing on her with the twist-lock.

I think I've also heard that they can get difficult if they're dirty.

10:35 p.m. on May 1, 2009 (EDT)
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Well, like any other piece of gear you should be aware of it's condition, make adjustments, clean it, whatever. I have had no problems with the twist system, that doesn't mean it's the best available of course.

11:05 p.m. on May 1, 2009 (EDT)
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I know what you're saying, Trout, and I do take care of my gear like I have OCD, but I like to know that if some awful situation happens I know I can count on it in even less than ideal circumstances.

For instance, if I ever need to set up a backcountry ramp for my car so that I can replace that stupid oil line that keeps popping loose, I know I can drive it right up on my primus multifuel :D That stove's built like a tank!

11:22 p.m. on May 1, 2009 (EDT)
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If it keeps popping loose, take the time to fix it at your house before your next trip. HaHa!

My friend Chris has the same stove, they are nice!

11:59 p.m. on May 1, 2009 (EDT)
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I don't actually have an oil line problem. Just a hypothetical example. I'm pretty anal about maintenance on my car because it's old and it's seen a lot of miles. I can't afford to have it quit on me anytime soon. Hopefully it'll live to 250,000 miles and get me through my residency (it's somewhere around 160k now @ 10 years old).

Although... after the last trip (during which I drug the subframe pretty badly), it started making some weird noises... hopefully backpacking didn't kill my car! I'm the only one stupid enough to try some of these roads in an old sports coupe!

12:09 a.m. on May 2, 2009 (EDT)
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I had some Komperdells - one of the locks stopped locking. I looked for spare parts or repair, no go. I shopped and ended up with Gossamer Gear Lightrek 4 carbon fiber poles, at 3.5 oz apiece. I thought I would miss the wrist straps but I don't - I find that I forget the poles are in my hands, and my grip adjusts more frequently to accommodate the terrain without paying much attention. The twist locks are different than the ones in the Komperdell and I was confident enough in Gossamer Gear as a vendor that I would be able to get them repaired to pay the 150 for them. Was not disappointed. I like the cork grips much better than the foam. They came with a baggie of spare parts and that reassures me; I couldn't even find anyplace on the Komperdell website that hinted at their being parts for those poles.

12:48 a.m. on May 2, 2009 (EDT)
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I have the BD trail back poles and they have served me nicely. I've been using them more and more and now use them always and have never had them slip at all or had any other problem with them. It's a simple piece of gear that should work and not be a worry. I believe BD poles deliver just that.

7:52 a.m. on May 2, 2009 (EDT)
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I don't actually have an oil line problem. Just a hypothetical example. I'm pretty anal about maintenance on my car because it's old and it's seen a lot of miles. I can't afford to have it quit on me anytime soon. Hopefully it'll live to 250,000 miles and get me through my residency (it's somewhere around 160k now @ 10 years old).

Although... after the last trip (during which I drug the subframe pretty badly), it started making some weird noises... hopefully backpacking didn't kill my car! I'm the only one stupid enough to try some of these roads in an old sports coupe!

Yeah, I knew you were joking about the oil line because there isn't one. But good point. Also you are not the only one crazy enough to drive a sports coupe to go backpacking. When my kids were young and money was tight I drove whatever, including a Nissan 240Z & a Volkswagon Rabbit Diesel. The Rabbit was like having your very own "earthquake in a box" until the car warmed up good. Hey you drive as far as possible, find a parking spot, and that's where your journey begins sometimes.

10:35 a.m. on May 2, 2009 (EDT)
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Not to get too far off topic, but my celica actually DOES have an oil line now. It being old and all, I decided I didn't trust it to not let go of a head gasket (I've seen it on this model, but only with guys who race them) or trust myself to not knock a hole in the oil pan while driving up some road only a 4X4 has any business on. So, rather than find out what happened when the engine seized, I put in some autometer gauges (oil PSI and H2O temp).

I know I'm not the only one... it just seems like it. Everyone around here has a new car, even if they live in a house with a dirt floor.

My crazy great uncle (who my parents used to hike Mt Whitney with) had an old diesel rabbit too, so I know where you're coming from. He loved that car.

12:51 p.m. on May 2, 2009 (EDT)
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Getting back to the subject, in general I prefer the BD FlicLoks to all the other locking systems I have and have used. I have a lot of troubles with the Komperdells, but those are now the "beater" poles that I use for the daily (weekly?) training hikes. So I just do the readjustment while moving. I do disassemble them from time to time to wipe the dirt and dust out, but it doesn't do much good. Barb also has a pair of beater Komperdells that are "shock absorber" type, which she keeps locked "off". I have a Leki monopod/hiking pole that also is a twistlock, but doesn't seem to have the problems with slippage, at least not as badly. I also have a old pair of Leki probe poles that are now pretty well worn.

The BD FlicLok does slip from time to time, but that's because I store them unlocked (per recommendation, you should always store adjustables unlocked, no matter what the locking mechanism), and the lever tends to shake loose when just tossed in the car unlocked. But a fingernail in the screw slot is all it takes to do the tightening, again while walking along. I have 3 BD FlicLoks, including the Expedition 3-section, an old aluminum probe pole pair and a newer carbon-fiber probe (plus a Whippet top).

At the OR Show, I looked at the new Leki hiking poles with the "improved" shock absorber. The locking mechanism is a flick lock kind of device that seems as good as BD's. The Leki folks offered me one as a demo, but with the house rebuild, I declined (I am sure there will be a new model by the time the house is done - we are seeing a light down the tunnel of the project, and we are hoping it is not an oncoming "train" associated with the "stimulus" packages). Overall, I was pretty impressed with the new Leki. They do make quality products. As to whether the difference between the BD and Leki is worth it, I can't judge at this point. Both brands have worked well for me, and both companies stand by their products. I will recommend carbon fiber poles over aluminum, though, as being worth the price difference in terms of weight, swing feel, and apparent durability (I have bent aluminum adjustables in some skiing tumbles, but never carbon fiber ones, and never broken a carbon fiber pole - yet!)

1:25 p.m. on May 2, 2009 (EDT)
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Thanks for the insight, Bill. I haven't seen either one in person... would it be possible to modify a Leki system to use a different locking mechanism, or are the twist locks permanently attached? I like what I've read about the leki poles more, but I want the flik-lock mechanism too.

7:32 p.m. on May 2, 2009 (EDT)
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You would have to ask Leki if they would replace the old twist with their new system. But they look pretty permanent to me. My guess is they would say "buy the new model."

7:39 p.m. on May 2, 2009 (EDT)
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I have both the Leki with the twist lock,ski poles,and the BD with the flip lock.The BD flip locks are far better than anything with the twist lock style.Though Bill S talks of the newer lekis having a flip lock as well,havent seen them yet.As for carbon poles i know friends who have had them and have also broken them,they are now as strong as the metal ones and when they brake it is very sudden.Do some research on this breaking problem.

8:09 p.m. on May 2, 2009 (EDT)
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I guess this is probably why I found the Lekis for such a good price. Once again, you guys have been invaluable in helping me with my decision.

I think I'm going to hold out for the new Leki design and see how they compare. Maybe along the way I'll see some BDs on sale!

9:45 p.m. on May 2, 2009 (EDT)
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Darn! Now you got me wanting BD's east stingray!

And yeah some cars do have an "oil line" I was being coy I guess.

If you get some info on the new Leki's let us know.

2:15 p.m. on May 4, 2009 (EDT)
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I don't know how many people have actually had failures, but I'm pretty sure I read a post here where Alicia reported a pole collapsing on her with the twist-lock.

I think I've also heard that they can get difficult if they're dirty.

Yes, my Lekis had a few collapsing incidents--nothing dramatic, but rather annoying. To be fair, I know many people are satisfied with their Leki poles. I simply was not one of them.

However, I'm now very happy with my Black Diamond carbon fiber poles I bought several years ago. I also find them easier to adjust with gloves on. I'm going to replace my old downhill ski poles with some new BD ones for downhill and backcountry skiing.

I didn't have a chance to check out the new Leki mechanism at OR in January, though I'll try to check it out this summer. When I'm happy with a current product I try not to rock the boat. So, I'd personally stick with BD .

So, my question to the forum is... are they $40-50 superior?

My uncle once told me to buy the best quality product you can afford (and that meets your needs and preferences), because after you buy it you probably won't remember what you paid, but you will know if you're happy with it or not.

I think that's generally pretty good advice. I don't believe for a second that price is necessarily an indicator of quality, but I do try to buy the product I truly need and want, rather than trying to save a few bucks by buying another that might be "good enough." In the long term I think you save more money and headaches.

So, get the poles you really want. And if you decide to get the new Lekis, tell us how they fare!

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