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Metolius Prime Rib Review

Unmatched in its value, this model is an effective training board that takes up little space and looks good, too
Metolius Prime Rib
Photo: REI Co-op
Best Buy Award
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Price:  $50 List | $49.95 at REI
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Great price, fits small spaces, ultra skin-friendly texture, respectable progression of edges considering there are only three, looks nice
Cons:  Requires creativity in workouts, fewer options for incremental progressions
Manufacturer:   Metolius
By Ian Nicholson ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Feb 19, 2021
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Our Verdict

No model can touch the Metolius Prime Rib for the training potential it provides for the price. This simple-designed model offers some of the review's best and most skin-friendly texture. Its tiny dimensions allow it to be squeezed into nearly any spot that a hangboard could conceivably be mounted. The downside of this model's simple design is it only has three edges, so it will take a little more creativity to keep workouts interesting. Incremental strength gains and progression are harder to identify with this model, too. Due to the creative workouts required, this might not be for a beginner, but those more experienced can get a lot of value out of this simple hangboard.

Our Analysis and Test Results

The wooden Prime Rib consists of three 20"-long rails, with the deepest and easiest edge on top and the shallowest on the bottom. We give this board a moderate level of difficulty. Its most attractive attributes include its simple, sleek design, small dimensions to fit more spaces, smooth-but-not-slippery texture, and its price tag. Four screws (included) are needed to mount this board.

Performance Comparison


No model can match the Prime Rib's performance training prowess for...
No model can match the Prime Rib's performance training prowess for its very low rice.
Photo: Ian Nicholson

Edges and Pockets


The selection of edges and pockets that the Prime Rib offer are as simple as they appear, and few will argue that it will require some creativity to keep workouts interesting and engaging. The Prime Rib will also require a little more mental fortitude to keep going as there are fewer opportunities to see more incremental strength gains than with other boards. But, at least in our testing, it proved to be equally as effective for its help toward long-term gains and near equally as effective as far spendier options.

This model offers only three edge depths 38mm, 23mm, and 15mm...
This model offers only three edge depths 38mm, 23mm, and 15mm. Overall, we found the three edge options found them shockingly functional.
Photo: Ian Nicholson

Edges

This model only offers three edge depths, which amount to a warm-up edge (38mm) and two training edges (23mm and 15mm). While these three edges make incremental growth more challenging and will force a little more thought and creativity to be used to keep workouts interesting, we found them shockingly functional and think they will work well for a large portion of the climbing community, offering the right depths for most climbers redpointing up to the 5.12a to 5.13a range.

Pockets

The Prime Rib offers no true pockets, at least in the traditional sense. But that isn't necessarily a huge disadvantage. Other than necessitating a little more creativity in your workouts to keep them interesting, there isn't anything keeping you from training groups of fingers along the broad edge without specifically-sized pockets. This even has some advantages as there are no sides to the pocket to gain friction and make a given grip or hanging position easier. This board just might keep a climber honest.

We measured each edge, and they all turned out to be accurate to...
We measured each edge, and they all turned out to be accurate to their claims.
Photo: Ian Nicholson

The slightly more rounded edge on the 23mm depth facilitates a little more support in the user's fingers. We did find the edge on the lowest 15mm-deep rail proved a little on the sharper side, though this isn't uncommon for narrower width edges (sub-18mm), as there isn't a ton of space to round the edge off.

No true slopers or jugs on this model, but its 38mm flat-topped edge...
No true slopers or jugs on this model, but its 38mm flat-topped edge should provide plenty of warm-up potential for the majority of users.
Photo: Ian Nicholson

Slopers and Jugs


This model's top rail is 38mm, which is one-and-a-half to the first two pads for most peoples' fingers. This is close enough to a jug for most people but is on the narrower side for grips that typically carry that descriptor. We still found that it was large enough for most people to warm up on or for use for weighted pull-ups or other similar workouts. There are no slopers on this board.

All of our reviewers loved the shape of this model upper rounded...
All of our reviewers loved the shape of this model upper rounded edge which provided a little extra support to our fingers.
Photo: Ian Nicholson

Pinches


The Prime Rib offers plenty of advantages with its simplicity, tiny, mount-anywhere dimensions, and top-tier and skin-friendly texture, but it has zero pinches to speak of. Our review team even tried to force several pinches by crimping various edges together, but it really wasn't doing much other than just open-handed crimping. We didn't find this to be a super big deal because other than a handful of climbers looking to train very specific muscle groups, most people's pinch strength will increase plenty as their finger, crimp, and open-hand strength increases.

Texture


This board, along with the other wooden models from Metolius, offers the review's best texture. All of our testing team found this model, along with the other wooden Metolius options, to be the most skin-friendly we've used, even after extended sessions and repeated weighted hangs. Furthermore, while we found this model to be plenty smooth (a welcome relief for our finger pads), it didn't feel slippery even while occasionally chalking during sweaty seasons. This couldn't be said for some smoother poly options. For those curious, we actually like the texture on this model better and the Metolius Woodgrips Deluxe II better than the classic Beastmaker 1000 or 2000.

The Prime Rib's 4.2" height is the shortest in our review, making it...
The Prime Rib's 4.2" height is the shortest in our review, making it a great option for anyone limited on space.
Photo: Ian Nicholson

Ease of Mounting


The Prime Rib offers the shortest height of any option in our review. Its 4.2" height makes it a winning option for those with limited space or mounting options.

While this model is unquestionably simple, the big payoff (beyond price) is its tiny dimensions which allow the Prime Rib to fit anywhere you could conceivably mount a hangboard. Tester Ian Nicholson even squeezed it over a basement doorway in an area with 6'10" ceilings, and it fits wonderfully. It also only takes four screws and still proved bomber, meaning it requires the least screws of any model we tested.

For those with even more limited mounting options, this model's long-rail design and wooden construction proved plenty solid enough to pre-drill your own screw holes to better line it up with studs or other mounting structures, something that is less of an option with other options.

Value


This is one of the least expensive options on the market. It's easily half to a third the price of the majority of other models on the market. That cost is a lack of diversity, offering only three edges for climbers to work and training with. What this model lacks in diversity, which for most people will amount to a larger warm-up edge and two training edges, will take some creativity to keep people's work-outs interesting. With that said, they are a nicely paired series of edges that offers enough for most climbers to continue to get stronger. This, coupled with its review-best texture and mount-anywhere dimensions, are why this board is a high-value option.

Sure, you can buy a nicer board but its pretty tough to buy a nicer...
Sure, you can buy a nicer board but its pretty tough to buy a nicer board for the price.
Photo: Ian Nicholson

Conclusion


If we had to pick a warm-up edge and two training edge depths to work for the majority of climbers topping out in the 5.12- to 5.13- realm, these two would be it. This board lacks incremental progression, but you could also say it also encourages creativity and mental fortitude in exchange. Is this our favorite all-around board? No, it doesn't have the diversity. However, we don't think you can buy a better board for the price. Furthermore, if your space is limited, this board takes up very little space. There's a lot to like in this inexpensive wooden hangboard.

Ian Nicholson