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Petzl GRIGRI 2 vs. RIG vs. I'D as a Slackline Pulley System Brake

Introduction

There has been a lot of discussion lately on the differences between the Petzl GRIGRI 2, Petzl RIG, and Petzl I'D in terms of efficiency loss and ease of detensioning. So, what I have done is I have done an in-depth test using these three brakes to see exactly what the differences were in these two areas.

 

Methods

I setup an 82 ft. long slackline using the RAGEline and a 5:1 pulley system with the SMC 3" Double PMP's with an embedded brake using PMI 11mm ACCESS PRO static rope. I also used the Elite Multiplier Kit to tension the line.

The first test I did was I wanted to compare just how much tension I could get out of the tensioning system mentioned above using the three different brakes. I used the same exact setup for each brake and then pulled as hard as I possibly could using each of the brakes. I then compared the max tension that I reached.

The next test I did was a detensioning test. At the max tension I was able to reach with each brake, I tested to see just how easy and controllable releasing tension was. I recorded how easy the handle was to reach with the embedded brake technique, how easy the initial pull on the handle was, how much of a jolt there was after the initial release of tension, and how fast the rope wanted to go through the brake.

The last test I did was a high tension detensioning test. I added a few multipliers to the setup in order to be able to reach tensions above 3,500 lbf. I took the tension this high for each brake and then tested how easy and controllable detensioning was using the same methods as above.

 

Results

Petzl GRIGRI 2

On my first test with the GRIGRI 2, I was able to reach a tension of 2,434 lbf (1,106 kgf). Starting at roughly 1,800 lbf, I really started to notice the friction caused by the GRIGRI. The last bit of tensioning was absurdly difficult.

Releasing tension with the GRIGRI 2 at 2,434 lbf was very easy and controllable. I had no issues accessing the handle at this force and the initial opening was no problem at all. I think with the newly redesigned GRIGRI, the handle is much more sturdy and a lot more controllable. The rope had zero tendency to come flying through the brake, even with minimal force placed on the tail. It was quite a good experience.

Releasing tension with the GRIGRI 2 at the higher forces (~3,430 lbf) prooved to be slightly different. I had an extremely hard time accessing the handle at this high of a tension. Once I was able to access the handle, releasing tension was just as easy as the lower tension test. There was no initial jolting of the rope and I was able to control the release speed quite easily.

Petzl RIG

On my first test with the RIG, I was able to reach a tension of 2,604 lbf (1,183.6 kgf). Getting to this tension was slightly less difficult compared to the GRIGRI 2, but still quite the chore.

Releasing tension with the RIG at 2,604 lbf was much harder than the GRIGRI 2. The handle was very easy to access, but the initial opening prooved to be significantly more difficult than the GRIGRI 2. Once the handle opening, the rope had the tendency to want to go through the brake very quickly. I had to hold on to the tail of the rope coming from the RIG with a lot of force to ensure there was no explosive detensioning.

Releasing tension with the RIG at the higher forces (~3,460 lbf) prooved to be quite difficult. The handle was very easy to access, but the initial opening was very difficult. Once the handle was opened, the rope wanted to fly through the RIG at a high speed. I had to hold on to the tail with a great deal of force to ensure a controllable detensioning.

Petzl I'D

On my first test with the I'D, I was able to reach a tension of 2,670 lbf (1,213.6 kgf). Getting to this tension was less difficult than the GRIGRI 2 and the RIG.

Releasing tension with the I'D at 2,670 lbf was quite easy. The handle was more difficult to access compared to the previous two brakes, but the initial opening was quite easy. However, the rope jolted a lot on the initial opening, but it was quite easy to control the speed of detensioning.

Releasing tension with the I'D at the higher forces (3,530 lbf) prooved to be quite easy. The handle was not that difficult to access and the initial opening was very easy. However, the rope jolted once the handle was opened. Controlling the speed of detensioning was easy as long as I held the tail tightly.

 

Discussion

It's very difficult to determine which brake is best overall as all three performed quite well. However, I can say that the GRIGRI 2 and the I'D both outperformed the RIG in terms of releasing tension. I can also say that the GRIGRI 2 is a fantastic brake that is more than sufficient for most types of slacklines. I think combining the GRIGRI 2 with the SMC 3" Double PMP's and PMI 11mm ACCESS PRO makes for a very lightweight and super efficient pulley system. I also think that if you are wanting a stronger and more efficient brake, that you should spring for the I'D over the RIG. It's increased efficency and significantly easier releasing mechanism is more than enough to make up for the extra $65 in price. The weight difference between the two is not much to notice.

All-in-all, Petzl descending devices are great tools for braking a pulley system. Depending on what types of lines you do and what sort of tensions you typically use, either the GRIGRI 2 or the I'D are both great choices.

 

Future Research

In the future, I would like to compare these results with the use of other braking devices such as the CMC MPD and Edelrid Eddy. Also, I would like to continue comparing other parts of the pulley system to find out which components are of the most importance within the tenstioning system.

That concludes this comparison test between the braking devices offered in the shop. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to comment below. You can also checkout the video of this test below (sorry for the length - ~20 minutes). Thanks for reading and stay tuned for more Slack Science articles!



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13 thoughts on “Petzl GRIGRI 2 vs. RIG vs. I'D as a Slackline Pulley System Brake”

  • Nice tree pro!

  • Nice article, very helpful! Now on the page for the GriGri, you've said you like it for lines 300-400 feet in length. Is that what you consider "most lines" as you said in the video? I'm just really debating whether to get the GriGri2 or the RIG, so I'm looking at the range of both and the features. I'm not sure the extra features on the RIG are worth the $70.

    Thanks again for the video!

    • The 300-400 ft max for the GRIGRI 2 assumes you are using a 5:1 pulley system and that you have 6 ft or more of sag in the middle of your line. I use my GRIGRI 2 for most lines up to 400 ft in length with my 5:1 pulley system. However, I've used it for lines up to 800 ft long with a 9:1 pulley system.

  • Jerry:

    Great post! A couple questions, if you don't mind. First, do you think the design of the GriGri-2 is superior to that of the GriGri-1 -- to the extent that you would recommend an upgrade? I haven't had an opportunity to compare, so I am just curious if this new product is better. The second question is unrelated to your study, but something that has been on my mind. That is, have you ever had the release handle break? If so, what do you do? I'm guessing this is a rarity, but the GriGri-1 has plastic handle that is pretty light, relative to the tension it is releasing. My RIG seems much stronger, and I have less of a concern, but I admit thinking through the possibilities in case the handle did break and haven't come up with a good solution!

    Thanks,
    Brian

    • I have used both the GRIGRI 1 and 2 extensively as a slackline brake and I find that the GRIGRI 2 is far superior in terms of holding power, efficiency, weight, size, and releasing tension. If you have the means, I would definitely recommend an upgrade. However, I still have to test the Edelrid Eddy in comparison to the GRIGRI 2 and rest of the Petzl gang, but I am guessing it won't be significantly better.

      As far as the handle breaking, I haven't had it happen to me, but have heard of it happening to people. When it happens, it is still possible to release tension, but you have to be SUPER careful. You won't have this issue with any of the upper-end Petzl Brakes (RIG and I'D), nor the new Petzl GRIGRI 2.

      I hope that answers your questions.

  • Hey there

    so you would suggest the Grigri 2 over the Rig for highlines and long lines?

    thanks
    Andy

  • Hi Jerry,
    How does tensioning on these devices contribute to wear and tear? The brake on my SBI pulleys always starts slipping after a certain number of lines tensioned, will this happen with a Gri Gri or a Rig?

    • All gear is susceptible to wear and tear with extensive use. However, if you treat your gear well (keep it clean, don't step on it, use only clean ropes), then the devices should last years and years. Also, you must stay within the working load limit for the devices if you want them to last a long time as overloading can severely increase the degradation to the equipment.

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