Cypher Firefly II Review
Cons: Notch in wiregate can snag, thin sling is hard to grab
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Cypher Firefly II
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|Pros||Lightweight, inexpensive||Visually pleasing, affordable, easy to unclip keylocking top biner||Lighter than other sport draws, good price point||Inexpensive||Super light, affordable|
|Cons||Notch in wiregate can snag, thin sling is hard to grab||Tight gate springs require slightly more effort than others to clip, 18mm sling adequate but not perfect for grabbing||Wiregates can snag on gear, bottom positioner is bulky||Narrow sling, exposed notch can snag on gear, wide profile||Tiny biners are hard to clip, hard to grab onto, wiregate on top a challenge to clean|
|Bottom Line||An inexpensive and lightweight quickdraw that's a good option for trad climbers or those on a budget||A cool looking and functional quickdraw at a moderate price point||An inexpensive entry-level draw for all-around climbers||If you're buying everything all at once and need to save some $$, the price on these can't be beat||The lightest weight option for those times when light is the only way to go|
|Rating Categories||Cypher Firefly II||Black Diamond HotFo...||Orbit Wire Express KS||Mad Rock Concorde||Black Diamond MiniWire|
|Ease Of Clipping (25%)|
|Ease Of Unclipping (25%)|
|Ease Of Grabbing (15%)|
|Specs||Cypher Firefly II||Black Diamond HotFo...||Orbit Wire Express KS||Mad Rock Concorde||Black Diamond MiniWire|
|Weight (ounces)||2.6 oz||3.5 oz||3.1 oz||3 oz||1.9 oz|
|Gate opening bottom carabiner (mm)||25 mm||27 mm||27 mm||25 mm||21 mm|
|Width of sling (mm)||10 mm||18 mm||16 mm||10 mm||10 mm|
|Manufacturer Warranty||At Cypher's discretion||1 year||3 year||Limited lifetime warranty||1 year|
|Non-Snagging Top Biner||No||Yes||No||No||No|
|Non-Snagging Bottom Biner||No||No||No||No||No|
|Forging method||Hot||Hot||Not disclosed||Warm||Hot|
|Unique features||Double wiregates with a rubber keeper on the lower biner||Visual patterning designed to easily catch the eye while climbing||Double wiregate carabiners||Double bent wiregate biners||The smallest and lightest carabiners of any you will find|
|Available sling lengths||11 cm, 16 cm||12 cm, 16 cm||11 cm, 18 cm||10 cm||12 cm|
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Cypher Firefly II delivers reliable performance for the price. It is lightweight (2.6 ounces) thanks to the dual hot-forged wiregate carabiners on either end and the thin dogbone. There's nothing fancy about it, but it still gets the job done and is an excellent option for those just breaking into trad climbing who need to purchase a lot of gear at once. It's a fraction of an ounce heavier than some of the other lightweight contenders in this review, but a heck of a lot cheaper.
Don't let the overall "low" score fool you. A lot of our metrics tend to favor sport-specific draws, as they tend to be full-sized, with better handling, grabbing and unclipping. But if you're looking primarily for something lightweight, then you'll gladly sacrifice a little performance and deal with a smaller carabiner or a notch or two. Should you like the looks of this model but prefer a keylocking carabiner on the top of your quickdraws, they are available in a "mixed" setup, with a keylock carabiner on top and a wiregate on the bottom. Note that this increases the weight to 2.8 ounces though — solid gates are heavier than wire ones.
Ease of Clipping
When it comes to clipping, the Firefly II is similar to most of the other trad-focused wiregate quickdraws in this review. We liked it okay enough, but it wasn't as easy to clip as some of the snappy sport-specific models out there. Small carabiners are the main culprit, a trade-off that helps keep the weight down.
We didn't notice that the gate tension was particularly tight, which we encountered with some other wire gates we tested. The carabiners on this model are also a hair larger than the BD MiniWires, which is something to keep in mind if you have larger hands or dislike small carabiners in general.
Ease of Unclipping
Like the other wiregate models with exposed notches, the Firefly II isn't the easiest to unclip in certain situations. The wire latches onto a notch in the nose, and that notch can get hung up on the bolt, particularly when trying to clean steeper sport routes. Not planning on using these on a steep sport climb? Then it probably won't bother you as much.
If you do like to mix it up a bit and climb some sport and trad, then consider an option with keylocking carabiners on the bolt (or both ends). In general, however, if you want the lightest draws at the lowest price, dealing with the notch in the wiregates is something that you have to accept.
The Firefly II is one of the lightest quickdraws that we tested and only half an ounce heavier than the very lightest overall.
If you're trying to lighten up your load, particularly when trad climbing, you'll appreciate a lighter draw like this one. You'll save a whole pound if you're carrying a dozen of these on your harness as opposed to heavier ones.
Our testers thought these draws handled similarly to the other lightweight options we compared them against. The carabiners are slightly smaller than "normal," but not so little that they are too challenging to operate with tired hands.
The hot-forged construction allowed Cypher to remove some of the material from the spine in these carabiners. While not a full "I-beam" style, there are some notches and ribs that add texture and better gripping. This also makes them not as wide in the profile as the Mad Rock Concorde. The Firefly II takes up a little less space on your harness and doesn't bunch up as much, which can lead to cross-clipping. There is an interior rubber positioner that's sewn into the sling. It is also low profile and we like this style much better than the bulky rubber positioner found on many other brands.
Ease of Grabbing
The sling on this quickdraw is only 10mm wide, which is a challenging size to grab. All of the lightweight draws in this review scored poorly in this metric.
Not everyone grabs their draws, and trad climbers tend to do it less than sport climbers, so if you don't anticipate grabbing them much then this isn't much of a consideration for you. However, if you are heading up a long route that has a bolt ladder on it to overcome a hard section, take a couple of draws with you that have wider dogbones — you'll appreciate them!
The Cypher Firefly II is a great value in our estimation. While they don't score that high overall, they are the best of the bunch when it comes to similarly designed lightweight draws. These are a perfect option for people who are just getting into traditional climbing because all of the gear that you need to buy at once really does add up. Cypher also sells these in a six-pack, but their pricing on that item doesn't seem to add up to any additional savings, but does come with a free locking carabiner, if you need one!
There's a lot to like about the Cypher Firefly II. It's lightweight and won't feel overly heavy on your harness, but it will keep your wallet feeling heavier. For those looking for a great value pick, particularly for traditional climbing, this one is a winner.
— Cam McKenzie Ring