The first version of Mammut Smart was launched in 2009. It was one of the first geometry Assisted Braking Devices (ABD). An alternative to the tried and tested Petzel GriGri to hit the market. The design of Mammut Smart looks like an elephant which happens to resemble Mammut’s company logo. Although, I’m not sure if it was intended or by accident whichever it was. The most important thing is it works. I had posted a blog on ABDs in the past which expresses my views on the use of ABDs. I own a few ABDs and like everyone, I do have a favourite and it is not Mammut Smart.
Mammut Smart 2.0
After 9 years, Mammut introduces Smart 2.0. I came across it on my climbing partner’s harness and it looks good. Kind of sexy and slick with an iPhone space grey like finish. I am not sure why having a good-looking belay device is of any importance. But I feel like I need to get my hands on it; not to buy one but to test it. Any good marketer knows the importance of cross-selling. If you have the intention to buy the new Mammut Smart 2.0. Why not get a matching Smart HMS carabiner as well. As crazy as that sounds, having the 2 items together does have a more appealing effect. That’s not all, Mammut is also selling a Smart 2.0 attachment. This attachment will make your Smart 2.0 even smarter and its name… you guessed it “Smarter”.
Should you get the new Mammut Smart 2.0?
Yes, the question is should you and not should I? Because I have got no interest in getting the original Smart when it was dirt cheap. And I have the same feeling for 2.0 even though it looks good. So let’s focus on you. Do you have the original Mammut Smart? However, if you do like it, then yes you should get 2.0. If you are feeling rich get the Smart HMS carabiner to complete the look. If you are new to climbing and can’t belay safely even with an ABD then please buy “Smarter” as well. In Mammut’s advertisement for Smart 2.0. It states that Smart 2.0 is for pros and Smarter is for beginners. The next time someone offers to belay you. And you see him or her having a Smarter on his Smart 2.0. I’ll suggest you decline politely and run…
Just to clarify I do not dislike Mammut Smart just that I have fallen head over heels for another ABD. However, I am not writing about my favourite belay device so I’ll focus on Smart 2.0.
Is Smart 2.0 better than Smart?
I had used the original Smart before. However, I do not own one so to be fair and unbias I borrowed one and tested it together with 2.0. And to determine if it is significantly better than its predecessor. As a climbing instructor, I do see the need to equip some newly certified climbers with an ABD. And yes Mammut Smart is a very simple to use belay device. The change in geometry design gives 2.0 better braking and faster braking compared to the original.
One of the most important improvements I see on Smart 2.0 is the “elephant’s trunk”. The lever that releases the brake. The lever on the original Smart is very sensitive and it releases the brake when it’s slightly tilted. Hence, this can be dangerous if you accidentally tilt it. The grove of the lever on the original Smart is shallow. Thus, the rope has a tendency to slip out of the grove when giving slack. Which causes the device to jam the rope. For 2.0 I find that this problem is significantly less. And paying out slack is much smoother compared to the original.
There had been reviews and videos of the original Smart having slight rope slippage. This is even when the device is in the brake position. However, I don’t see 2.0 having this problem.
Smart 2.0 is a relatively cheap ABD compared to the other models in the market. It works well and it had improved sufficiently for you to consider an upgrade from the original. But for me, I am still not sold and I am sticking with my favourite ABD.