I've had a pair of Black Diamond elliptical poles since May '07. The Flick Locks are the best in the industry. I personally prefer the elliptical cross-section. They've always felt stiffer and more stable than my friends' round poles. Yes, you lose some stability in the side-to-side range, but it's more than sufficient to help with balance on uneven ground. I use my poles to push as I hike, and the stiffness of the elliptical design is definitely felt and appreciated.