Nordic Poles – Let’s clear up a myth

You should only use one piece poles – Telescopic poles are not safe and not any good“…..

Well, this is the type of statement that falls into the same line of thought as:

I don’t fly – aeroplanes are not safe” or:

I’m not going to cross that bridge because very early bridges weren’t safe…

80 years ago you might have been right about flying – but things progress. Flying is the safest form of transportation available today – but certain Luddite thinkers still can’t get around the idea – or are scared. A lot of the time it is a lack of facts and knowledge about the subject that creates this attitude.

Things progress, technology improves…Modern telescopic poles made by reputable companies are not dangerous!

I have heard people say that telescopic poles are dangerous – and yet THEY STILL SELL THEM!!!!  I’m sorry, but if telescopic poles are so bad, then don’t sell them – otherwise you sound like a Hypocrite. May as well wear a Leopard skin coat with ivory buttons and say hunting is bad. It’s sales talk – preying on those that don’t have the knowledge or advice from people who really understand what is going on.

I will say that a cheap telescopic pole is not going to be as good as a cheap one piece pole – BUT that is the bottom end of the market. If you buy the proper equipment though, and it has been tested, then there is no reason to say that a telescopic pole is more dangerous. In fact, it is safer and better for you in several cases.

I’ve had no trouble with my lower end telescopic poles – but that’s because they are properly locked and well maintained. You have to use your common sense. If the adjuster isn’t locking, then it needs tightening internally (easy enough to do with a bit of common sense and a screwdriver – in most cases).

For different terrains and different speeds or walking styles, a Nordic Walker needs to have different length poles. If you want to do speed work, you need a longer pole – so some adjustment is required UNLESS you want to carry around several sets of poles.

LEKI are German manufacturers of ski poles and other equipment used by Olympic champions. They are also one of, if not the leading manufacturer of Nordic poles and have been in this line of work since the 1940’s. They are world leaders – and at the top of their range of poles are telescopic adjustable poles….. Why would they do that if they were dangerous in any way?

LEKI have their equipment stringently tested by TÜV* (See bottom of this post). These tests have shown that the telescopic poles are each individually rated to over 140kg loading – and have a lifetime guarantee…. Not something a company would give if the product was dangerous or prone to failure, is it?

Look at it from another point of view. A driving instructors car is not going to be a dangerous car that is illegal to use on the road – The instructor needs to set an example after all. Well, have a look at the poles that a very large majority of instructors use… Yes, they are telescopic poles – and are rated for very serious use.

The type of use is important when choosing a pole, as materials used in the poles are designed for specific uses. The LEKI Speed Pacer Vario for example is a class leading pole that can take whatever you throw at it – and once more, it is adjustable…. and incredibly light weight – Perfect for a Nordic Pole.

To make sure you get the best support for your poles, I cannot recommend enough the use of a store or shop that is supplied by the manufacturers main importer. Buying from an individual from eBay or through the second hand pages in a newspaper is not going to give you the customer service you require. In the UK, Ardblair Sport Importers (ASI) are the importer for LEKI (and other manufacturers). I buy my poles from  “Tortoise and Hare”, near Guildford – there will be more on them in future blogs – so make sure you check back, as readers of this site may find they’ll be getting some good deals.

So – to sum up – A cheap one piece pole will generally be better than a cheap telescopic pole – but when you use the reputed manufacturers who have been making ski and Nordic gear for decades and actually have their equipment rated by independent tests houses, then the difference between telescopic and fixed length is zero.

The type of pole you choose is down to what you need it for – so if you need pole that is only ever going to be used for one type of walking, and only you are going to use it – then yes, go for a one piece pole – it will generally be cheaper as it has no mechanism – But don’t buy a one piece pole because you think it is safer – A cheap one piece pole can just as dangerous as a cheap telescopic one.

*With over 50 years’ experience, TÜV Product Service is a leading international expert in providing testing, certification, qualification, training and consultancy services to a range of industries covering the Aerospace, Defence, Medical & Health, Radio & Telecoms, Rail, Trade, Electronics & Consumer sectors.

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About LB

http://www.sometimespace.com http://about.me/thelucasblack View all posts by LB

One response to “Nordic Poles – Let’s clear up a myth

  • Tortoise and Hare saves the day with LEKI « Sometimespace

    […] Coupled to this light weight full carbon pole is a tested and certified adjuster right under the hand grip. It is only a 10cm adjustment, but that is spot on for a pole that only one person will be using. Instructor poles have a larger adjustment range which allows the poles to be set up for different height users. In my case, I only wanted something that would adjust for the different walking styles and conditions I will encounter, so a 125cm to 135cm pole is perfect for me. The lock design is all part of that TUV tested 140kg per pole load certification. […]

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