Totem Basic vs. Fixe Revo Alien Comparison


Original Post
Alexander K · · The road · Joined Oct 2014 · Points: 45

Totem Basics are virtually impossible to find right now so I ended up picking up a blue Revo Alien from Fixe to double up in this size. I was a bit worried to buy a Fixe cam after the Evo disaster, but it looks like the Revo addresses many of the problems previously observed with Fixe cams. The trigger bar and stem components appear to all be made out of nice adonized aluminum now and the cam is certainly still quite light but also feels sturdy. Of note, the Fixe Cam is actually narrower than the Totem Basic, and not just due to differences on the end caps on the axle. I also noticed that the the endcap (not sure what the technical term here is) on one of the cams I looked at was not flush with the lobes, I got the person in the shop to switch it out for another, but if you buy online you may be subject to the larger manufacturing tolerances Fixe is known for.

Head width comparions

Also, the Revo Aliens on paper are lighter and have equal or higher strength ratings as the Totem Basics. While the reported range of blue Totem Basic appears to be slightly smaller than the Fixe Revo, without calipers I can't exactly compare them and they both seem to be about the same to me.

Fixe Revo Pros:

  • Lighter
  • Stronger (in some sizes as reported by manufacturers)
  • Narrower head width (at least in the blue Alien size)
  • Black Alien available!
  • Available in the United States currently
  • Fixed fragile plastic component problems
  • Extendable sling

Fixe Revo Cons:

  • History of customer service issues
  • No teeth on lobes (note that the teeth on my totem are too mangled to really matter after some moderate use)
  • Some inconsistencies between cams (particularly on endcaps)

I need to go out and take some falls on the Fixe cam to convince myself that Fixe has fully fixed the problems with the their first round of Alien designs and that it's as durable as I hope it is but so far it looks like a well made unit and it may have some slight advantages over the Totem Basic.

David Deville · · Flagstaff, Arizona · Joined Oct 2013 · Points: 10

Is the bar that the trigger wires are attached to any thinner? I love my basics like any good MPer, but the bar really gets in the way in a lot of good placements for the blue. So much so that I stopped carrying it and have doubled up on green c3s. 

Alexander K · · The road · Joined Oct 2014 · Points: 45
DLDeville Deville wrote:

Is the bar that the trigger wires are attached to any thinner? I love my basics like any good MPer, but the bar really gets in the way in a lot of good placements for the blue. So much so that I stopped carrying it and have doubled up on green c3s. 

I don't think it's much thinner (it may be, hard to tell without calipers) but it is tapered significantly unlike the rectangular bar on the Basic so its only the full thickness right at the stem. I've never had too much of an issue with the bar on the Basic getting in the way, though maybe its a bit thinner now with how scraped up it is...

David Deville · · Flagstaff, Arizona · Joined Oct 2013 · Points: 10

It didn't bother me at first... I just had a "moment" on a climb where I was sorta cruxing and that damn bar kept catching, keeping me from getting the upper lobes in a good spot. The constriction was sort of borderline nut/cam placement since the constriction was from the patina if that makes sense. After this I started carrying c3s and I just keep finding these perfect spots for the green where I know the basic would not work well and a nut might work, but pluggin the c3 is so much faster. 

Brian Abram · · Celo, NC · Joined Oct 2007 · Points: 228

I have a full set of Totem Basics and the Gray and Black Fixe Revos. I like the Revo better. The gray is narrower than even the much smaller green Basic:

And I like the molded thumb loop on the Revo over the unrefined cable pinch point on the inside of the Basic

Having said that, the Black has the same "defect" mentioned above in that the end cap is not flush, allowing the lobes to float on the axle a bit. And the springs are not internal on the black:

I don't know if the more floaty lobes as a result of the end cap are a feature. BD has stated that floaty lobes are intended in the Camalot design.

reboot · · . · Joined Jul 2006 · Points: 50
Alexander K wrote:

Both the blue and black (I need to confirm this one) Revo Aliens now appear to have internal springs which is a big step up from the original Alien design in these sizes. 

Nope, the gap between the lobes is a dead give away. Internal spring means spring within the lobe, not between lobes. The Fixe design is no different than a master cam in that regard.

One of the positive (IMO) of the Basic is the switch from stiff wire to flexible wire on the lobes. That actually matters quite a bit in the smaller sizes as even a small lobe deformity tend to bind the wire, preventing the lobe from retracting/expanding as freely: i.e. much easier for the cam to tract out of a placement.

reboot · · . · Joined Jul 2006 · Points: 50
Alexander K wrote:

The blue most certainly has internal springs, the lobes have been milled to accommodate the springs and essentially touch (hard to see in this photo because they only touch at the apex, the outside lobes are the same width as the inside lobes where they touch the rock). The black as pointed out by the previous poster (who was fortunate enough to have the cam in front of them) may not have internal springs, I have made the appropriate edits.

They may appear to be similar, but that's NOT internal spring (the BD X4 in the smaller sizes can be considered having internal springs). There is still a gap (that's more significant in the more open expansion range). Does it matter? Maybe not. Though internal spring still has a theoretical advantage when loaded on 2 lobes.

Alexander K · · The road · Joined Oct 2014 · Points: 45
reboot wrote:

They may appear to be similar, but that's NOT internal spring (the BD X4 in the smaller sizes can be considered having internal springs). There is still a gap (that's more significant in the more open expansion range). Does it matter? Maybe not. Though internal spring still has a theoretical advantage when loaded on 2 lobes.

I get what you are saying now and I'll make the appropriate changes. I fail to see what the theoretical advantage is in loading a cam rated to 5 or 6 kn on two lobes but I guess the bottomline is that the original Aliens got wider in the smaller sizes, Fixe has partially fixed that problem, at least when compared to the competition.

reboot · · . · Joined Jul 2006 · Points: 50
Alexander K wrote:

I fail to see what the theoretical advantage is in loading a cam rated to 5 or 6 kn on two lobes

With any gap between the only 2 loaded lobes the cam tends to rotate out of placement (the best would be 2 lobes directly opposing each other, but that design has very limited range), though that probably shouldn't be an overriding concern when choosing a cam...

Marc-Olivier Chabot · · Gatineau, QC · Joined Sep 2016 · Points: 0
Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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