The Hitch Climber Rapide gets plenty of attention when climbers visit Treetools. Apart from the obvious differences: bushing versus bearings and anodizing colour the next most asked question regards the new rating - upped to 30 kN from 24 kN.
Chris Cowell from Treemagineers provides the answer:"All Hitch Climbers are now rated at 30kN, and they have always had a breaking strength above 34kN. In the beginning we (the Treemagineers) knew that the design didn't make the 36kN required for NFPA G rating, so we rated Hitch Climber at a very conservative 24kN because it was above NFPA L and 23kN. Then we discovered that a few other user groups wanted to buy them but the rating was too low, hence the remarking to 30kN. Quite simple really!"
Drew Bristow is currently trialling the Hitch Climber Rapide for Treetools. The trial Rapide is replacing a two year old bushed model so the two units are obviously going to perform differently. That aside, Drew says it is hard to make an objective comparison given his is mainly used as a hitch pulley. If you were hauling gear or regularly using an O rig there would be some added advantage with the frictionless bearings. Given the relatively small price difference between the two models, the Rapide is probably worth considering over the standard bushed model if you plan to replace your Hitch Climber anytime soon.
If you want to see more debate on the Hitch Climber Rapide visit the TreeBuzz forum.