Rating: 2 / 5
I got these to drop a bit of weight over my Black Diamond Expedition Flicklock poles. If I remember correctly the Expeditions weighed in at ~18oz, the Contours ~14oz. I am hard on poles. I use them to help me cross large distances of boulder fields while peak bagging in the Northern Rockies, so carbon fiber construction is not an option. I was hoping the foam grips and titanal alloy would drop weight without sacrificing much durability over the BD's. And, that the Duolock expanders wouldn't be that much more hassle than the slick flicklock system.
The foam grips are nice, grippy in rain, or with sweaty hands. The grip extensions go a couple hand lengths down the pole for a quick "short" grip on sidehills and in troughed out or snow recessed trails. The tops are two piece, with a glue in plug right over the center of the pole. On both poles, the center plug has started to separate from the main foam body. Annoying when extending the poles in front of you and using your palms on the grip tops to lower yourself from rock to rock. Straps are a royal pain to remove worse than Leki's. Duolock expanders are mediocre at best. Sometimes they spin endlessly before engaging. Once engaged they don't prevent gradual slip any better than Kommperdell or Leki's old single sided expanders. The poles have bent easily several times when caught between rocks or fallen on. They're not exactly flimsy, but not strong enough for aggressive off trail hiking either.
I'd give these poles a 2.5/5 if I could. The Duolock is a regression and the grip tops are coming apart in less than a season. They flex and bend easier than I'd expect. This is a case where light weight doesn't pay! Pricewise, they compare to competitive offerings, weight is good for a 3 piece alum pole with extended grips. They'd probably rate a 4 for a dedicated on trail hiker.