SBS – Simple Braid System – is a system in which each strand is plaited independently into the sheath and not in pairs one after another. The result of this braiding system is a more compact sheath. The SBS sheath has a smoother surface than a sheath made by the usual tandem system. Ropes using SBS therefore generate lower friction forces and are more resistant to abrasion and damage due to abrasion when in contact with the rock surface.
The compactness of the sheath reduces also the effects of penetration of small particles between the fibre and this, in turn, reduces the damage to the inner structure of the sheath and the entire rope. Another benefit is that a rope with SBS sheath is more pleasant to the touch, handling of the rope is easier, the rope “runs” better and is perfectly flexible.
Note: Due to the lower friction, the ropes are slipperier and faster in belaying devices, therefore it is useful to have certain experience in belaying techniques. If you are not experienced in using this type of rope, you should practise belaying on an artificial or training wall.