Ebonite Matrix Solid Bowling Ball

Motiv Trident Abyss Bowling Ball Review

The Trident Dives into the Abyss…

First Impressions
The Trident Abyss is a strong ball. A very strong ball. Too strong of a ball.

Our Testers:
Tamer Elbaga (Lefty)
Style: Tweener
RPM: 375 rpm
PAP: 5 & 3/8 up
Average Speed: 18.5 mph (at release)
Axis tilt: low
Axis rotation: medium/high
Test Equipment: 14 Pounds
Layout: 65 x 5 x 40
Intent: Medium/long roll with a medium transition at the breakpoint

Sean Jensen (Righty)
Style: Power player
RPM: 475 rpm
PAP: 4 3/4; 3/8 up
Average Speed: 18.5 mph (at release)
Axis tilt: low
Axis rotation: medium
Test Equipment: 14 Pounds
Layout: 65 x 5 x 40
Intent: Medium/long roll with a medium transition at the breakpoint

Shawn Sheppler (Righty)
Style: High Tilt Stroker
RPM: 280 rpm
PAP 4 & 1 down
Average Speed: 17.5 mph (at release)
Axis tilt: high
Axis rotation: 60 degrees
Test Equipment: 15 Pounds
Layout: 65 x 5 x 40
Intent: Medium/long roll with a medium transition at the breakpoint

Bryan Hoffman (Righty)
Style: Higher Tilt Stroker
RPM: 280 rpm
PAP: 4 1/4 & 1/8 down
Average Speed: 17.5 mph (at release)
Axis tilt: high
Axis rotation: medium
Test Equipment: 14 Pounds
Layout: 65 x 4.5 x 35
Intent: Medium roll with a slow transition at the breakpoint

Thanks to Greg Bickta and Perfect Aim Pro Shop for drilling our equipment.
Thanks to Limerick Bowl in Limerick, PA.

“Keep in mind that coverstock accounts for 70% of ball reaction, but the core creates the dynamic shape of the reaction. Your driller will alter the shape to suit your game.”

Test Pattern:
THS: 40ft, 23ml
Sport: PBA Don Carter: 39ft, 21.46 ml, 2.66:1 ratio

Value
C-
The Motiv Trident Abyss is another top shelf snow tire. I’ll have to be hard on it as it is simply too much ball to be versatile so it boxes itself into a corner.

Specs
The Paradox V uses the Turbulent asymmetrical inside the Coercion™ HV3 Reactive coverstock.
15 pound = RG of 2.49, diff of .054, MB of .017
14 pound = RG of 2.51, diff of .054, MB of .017
Coverstock finish: 500/1000 abralon with PowerHouse Factory Finish Polish

Overall
THS: C
Sport: B

The Abyss is the 3rd ball with the Turbulent core. I will say this, I’ve always liked this core. It’s dynamic motion is very nice with roll but still good continuation. Not as much of a hook stop motion. In this new cover, the ball is one of the most lumbering things I’ve ever thrown. I’m trying to be objective and the truth is I could never throw this ball on a medium house condition. It really is simply not meant for this condition. However, I have to test on what we normally see. Is that a fair shake, perhaps not but we keep our house shot consistent for fair comparisons. The ball definitely chews through the oil but has no business being on this pattern. It’s just runs out of steam if you try to give it room and way too much from in. Move in to the house shot flood zone and it kind of confines you to a very limited line. I had a very hard time making this work. It’s simply too much ball. But you can see flashes where this ball has ability to drive downlane but it really needs to see much more oil than we see in our center.
Sean was next and he really saw the same issue. Way too much ball for his hand on this pattern and it was a very fine line to get it to work. This is why we don’t show all strikes as you wouldn’t see what the ball is really about. It’s clear that if we had any desire to use this ball on house, we’d have to turn it into a marble. More on that later.
Next up is Bryan and lo and behold, it looks much better for him. It’s still too much ball but not so much that it was difficult for him to use. Since he is playing more direct, he can take advantage of the early roll generated for a much better look. In some cases it drove well. When he gave it more room, it rolls out but tickles the pins for strikes instead of buckets. He’s always liked his Trident as did I. But the Trident was the max I could use on house. For him, the Abyss is clearly an option as a step up.
Shawn Sheppler is a new tester with our team. He is higher tilt than Bryan and plays pretty direct as well. For Shawn, it was also a little tough to get drive as the ball expends too much energy. He had to be pinpoint to find the spot and then it was a crush. We did not have the opportunity to change surface for the video. However, Shawn did apply polish on it and it made it immensely more usable. He then had a very good look for some good scores.

Sport Shot
We tested on the 39ft PBA Don Carter pattern. On Sport, we saw better shape but still it is clear this is not enough volume or length to allow this ball to shine. And on this it really feels like a snow tire. It’s an early, heavy rolling piece. This is not a match up with this type of pattern. This pattern is playable from in and out but out would require significant control and it was even too strong to play there where the new Storm Physix for example is just a step down that plays strong but is playable. Sean saw the same thing. This much ball is unnecessary on this pattern. Bryan was the first of us to show this ball is playable. It may be for a limited time as it chews up the pattern but he took advantage of the fact that he doesn’t generate lots of side to side motion to allow the core to do the work. Finally Shawn and it didn’t quite make the same look. The ball was getting too long before making the move because the ball is too strong to play from the more direct angle he would need to play it.

Final Thoughts
Initially, I was confounded by Motiv’s choice to put another strong solid in their top line next to their Jackal Rising and Jackal Ghost. This one and the Rising are real snow tires but the Trident Abyss is definitely a step up. So much so that the test on our house pattern was unusually hard and certainly doesn’t allow us to show what the ball is capable on what it’s intended for. The Ghost for example while being strong, was usable on house even if you had to get in and wheel it. This is really the reason why the Trident Abyss suffers with scores, not because it’s a bad ball but it is so strong, it becomes very niche. It’s just not clear to me how many bowlers can use this ball on your typical house shot without at least shining it up. If Motiv was going for the “strongest ball on the market” moniker, they just may have gotten it with the Trident Abyss.

Storm HyRoad X Bowling Ball

Storm HyRoad X Bowling Ball Review

The HyRoad Hits 10 Years With an X…

Storm HyRoad X Bowling Ball

First Impressions
I will talk for 5 minutes but the end result is short and sweet, the HyRoad X has me thinking great benchmark ball.

Our Testers:
Tamer Elbaga (Lefty)
Style: Tweener
RPM: 375 rpm
PAP: 5 & 3/8 up
Average Speed: 18 mph (at release)
Axis tilt: low
Axis rotation: medium
Test Equipment: 14 Pounds
Layout: 65 x 5 x 40
Intent: Medium/long roll with a medium transition at the breakpoint

Sean Jensen (Righty)
Style: Power player
RPM: 475 rpm
PAP: 4 3/4; 3/8 up
Average Speed: 19 mph (at release)
Axis tilt: low
Axis rotation: medium
Test Equipment: 14 Pounds
Layout: 65 x 5 x 40
Intent: Medium/long roll with a medium transition at the breakpoint

Bryan Hoffman (Righty)
Style: Higher Tilt Stroker
RPM: 280 rpm
PAP: 4 1/4 & 1/8 down
Average Speed: 18 mph (at release)
Axis tilt: high
Axis rotation: medium
Test Equipment: 14 Pounds
Layout: 65 x 4.5 x 35
Intent: Medium roll with a slow transition at the breakpoint

Thanks to Greg Bickta and Perfect Aim Pro Shop for drilling our equipment.
Thanks to Limerick Bowl in Limerick, PA.

Buy the Roto Grip Halo at PerfactAimBowling.com.

“Keep in mind that coverstock accounts for 70% of ball reaction, but the core creates the dynamic shape of the reaction. Your driller will alter the shape to suit your game.”

Test Pattern:
THS: 40ft, 23ml
Sport: PBA Don Carter: 39ft, 21.46 ml, 2.66:1 ratio

Value
A+
Maybe the only ball I’ve ever given this rating other than its sibling, the original HyRoad. Moderate price, excellent bang for the buck.

Specs
The HyRoad X uses the inverted Fe2 core inside the R2X solid coverstock.
15 pound = RG of 2.57, diff of .046
14 pound = RG of 2.58, diff of .037

Overall
THS: A
Sport: B+

You have to guess anything with the HyRoad moniker should be good. Straight away, the HyRoad X doesn’t disappoint. If I get straight into it, I was going to say the Hustle Ink…er…HyRoad X is very predictable. Torquier than the Ink for sure. It’s benchmark like the IQ Tour but less likely to leave flat corners. Inverted Fe2 feels like it revs up harder. The HyRoad itself has been probably the most versatile ball ever produced. The X adds a stronger solid cover on it but with polish. Never been a huge fan of the polish. Nevertheless, the ball has the typical Inverted Fe2 core roll. It gets downlane with the higher RG but has the quintessential boomy move. With the polish on the stronger solid, it’s actually smoother off the friction than the HyRoad. It kind of looks like maybe it won’t do the business, but it always seemed to. I mentioned the Hustle Ink but to be fair, this is stronger and more predictable, even with polish. It doesn’t feel over/under in OOB surface. This somewhat reminds me of the Eternal Cell. The polish just seems to work well with the solid. It was very easy and almost a dream to throw on a house shot and HyRoads always hit well. Just go through the pins very nicely. No fighting this ball at all. Get the bounce off the outside friction just right. May hold enough from in on reasonable misses. It’s kind of like the benchmark the IQ Tour is but goes through the pins better. The HyRoad was actually a touch stronger for me with a bit more reaction off the dry and more angle generation.
For Sean, the HyRoad X is even more snappy downlane but still a touch smoother than the HyRoad. The HyRoad is still a staple for Sean and this ball was super easy for Sean to toss on the house shot. It’s a good match up. The truth is this core motion matches so many styles. But I really like the choice of R2X, more so than the Nano, although that seems to have been extremely successful. You really could have an arsenal of all Inverted Fe2 balls, going from Nano to R2X to OG to pearl.
Bryan is up next and guess what? The HyRoad X rolls great for him. His first thought was it kind of reminded him of his middle of the road benchmark, the Rocket Ship with polish. It’s not super strong but not weak. It’s got just the right balance of reaction off the outside dry boards while having just enough hold to yield good forgiveness. Again, Bryan saw the X go through the pins very well for him. It just set so nicely through the pins. Even for Bryan, you can see a strong move off the dry boards. He was able to continue to chase in and even 5 boards deeper with his feet, he still maintained strong motion.

Sport Shot
We tested on the 39ft PBA Don Carter pattern. You would think the shine on the X is not conducive for sport shots. Honestly, it really wasn’t bad. In fact it was quite good. I would prefer to trade the polish for 3000 or 4000 abralon but the ball was quite easy to toss. It is clean but still moved quite easily on this pattern. Never felt like it wasn’t going to make the move but still had a predictably smooth hard arc. For Sean, it was a little harder off the spot which probably means it’s even more obvious taking the polish off will be a touch easier to use on this sport pattern. He can blow through the breakpoint trying to avoid the snap from nosing up. For Bryan it looked quite good. Just like with me, it was easy and predictable to get it to the pocket. A touch surface would take that “edge” off a bit but it’s clear this one can easily be successful on tough medium patterns.

Final Thoughts
The tenth anniversary of the HyRoad brought us a new ball worthy to have the X designation. Storm did not veer far from the winning formula of the original. They put on a cover with a little more bite but put polish which kind of makes it a nice goldilocks ball. We will eventually experiment with surface as I fully expect the R2X will be more clearly stronger than the original HyRoad rather than be almost right on top of it. You really can’t go wrong with the HyRoad X.

Hammer RipD Pearl Bowling Ball

Hammer Rip’D Pearl Bowling Ball Review

The Pearl is the Goldilocks Rip’D…

Hammer RipD Pearl Bowling Ball

First Impressions
The Rip’D Pearl is clearly the Goldilocks of the Rip’D family.

Our Testers:
Tamer Elbaga (Lefty)
Style: Tweener
RPM: 375 rpm
PAP: 5 & 3/8 up
Average Speed: 18.5 mph (at release)
Axis tilt: low
Axis rotation: medium/high
Test Equipment: 14 Pounds
Layout: 65 x 5 x 40
Intent: Medium/long roll with a medium transition at the breakpoint

Sean Jensen (Righty)
Style: Power player
RPM: 475 rpm
PAP: 4 3/4; 3/8 up
Average Speed: 18.5 mph (at release)
Axis tilt: low
Axis rotation: medium
Test Equipment: 15 Pounds
Layout: 65 x 5 x 40
Intent: Medium/long roll with a medium transition at the breakpoint

James Kasee (Righty)
Style: Power Player
RPM: 425 rpm
PAP 4 1/2 & 1/4 down
Average Speed: 19 mph (at release)
Axis tilt: 19 degrees
Axis rotation: 60 degrees
Test Equipment: 15 Pounds
Layout: 65 x 5 x 40
Intent: Medium/long roll with a medium transition at the breakpoint

Bryan Hoffman (Righty)
Style: Higher Tilt Stroker
RPM: 280 rpm
PAP: 4 1/4 & 1/8 down
Average Speed: 17.5 mph (at release)
Axis tilt: high
Axis rotation: medium
Test Equipment: 14 Pounds
Layout: 65 x 4.5 x 35
Intent: Medium roll with a slow transition at the breakpoint

Thanks to Greg Bickta and Perfect Aim Pro Shop for drilling our equipment.
Thanks to Limerick Bowl in Limerick, PA.

“Keep in mind that coverstock accounts for 70% of ball reaction, but the core creates the dynamic shape of the reaction. Your driller will alter the shape to suit your game.”

Test Pattern:
THS: 40ft, 23ml
Sport: PBA Don Carter: 39ft, 21.46 ml, 2.66:1 ratio

Value
B+
The Hammer Rip’D Pearl one ups the others in the family in terms of bang for the buck. It’s the most usable and versatile in my opinion. That’s good value even for a top line ball.

Specs
The Rip’D Pearl uses the Rip’D Core (Asymmetrical) inside the Aggresion Pearl CFI coverstock.
15 pound = RG of 2.48, diff of .054, MB of .014
14 pound = RG of 2.50, diff of .052, MB of .014
Coverstock finish: 500/1000/3000 abralon

Overall
THS: B+
Sport: B

We are familiar now with the RipD family of balls. These are heavy rolling cores with strong covers. On house shots, these balls are a bit lumbering. The RipD hybrid had this kind of dance where the core is turning over rapidly while the cover is giving it some length. So there was some midlane read at the expensive of big backend. With the Pearl, there’s not so much of a fight. The ball is still wanting to read but not as early as the Hybrid and nowhere near as early as the huge snow tire that is the Solid. The backend is definitely stronger on this one than the others. The core is still one that wants to stand up so you will not see skid/flip. I think it will help bowlers who can play more direct as the core rolls heavy and you don’t have to expend side to side energy. Despite the backend, I still had a better reaction keeping the breakpoint 7 or in and not getting this ball way out into the dry as the core starts up early and I wind up draining all the energy out of it by the time it gets to the pins. Keeping the breakpoint in also meant getting deeper as the ball does charge when it is able to retain the energy.

James Kasee recently joined our testing staff. You can see he’s a step up in rev rate. For him, he seems to have more or less the same reaction. He also felt that the previous RipD balls were a lot for the typical house shot. It was clear from the first couple of balls the Pearl would be more usable without the fight as I said. He could play the ball between 3rd and 4th arrow. If you watch closely you’ll see what I meant about the ball reaction. When he could play it more direct, he took advantage of the heavy roll for excellent drive through the pins. He could still carry closer to the 4th arrow but got more of the lighter hit carry. Ultimately he felt this ball gave him some room and could see using the RipD pearl on house.

Sean was next and usually he is totally happy with pearl asyms. It’s not difficult to see him be successful with this ball. However, his margin of error definitely seemed to shrink compared to James. I think that’s fundamentally because of the different in styles. James has around 19 degrees axis tilt while Sean has 7 or less. So the ball stands up harder for Sean which means less continuation or at least more sensitivity to release variations. Ultimately, similar to James, he found the best hardest hitting reaction being close to the 3rd arrow, really allowing the ball to explode through the pins.

Finally Bryan is up and he had a decent look. It seems like the ball matches up pretty well for higher tilt bowlers allowing it to get down lane easily and allowing the torque core to store more energy. Bryan found the pocket area easily with the RipD Pearl. The ball isn’t snappy but strong enough that Bryan can’t go very direct. And with that comes with some soft return towards pins. This is the case where Bryan would actually like a bit more surface to get the ball started a little earlier for a stronger charge.

Sport Shot
We tested on the 39ft PBA Don Carter pattern. This ball initially looks shinier than the OOB surface indicates but the reaction I saw on sport made it clear that the OOB finish is a decent match up. It’s not so skittish and has a smooth but strong transition. It really wasn’t difficult at all for me to use on this pattern. The RipD solid seemed to be a better match up with the earlier roll which went through the pins better. The Hybrid actually just seemed to take away something from both, surprisingly. Just too smooth to come back from the same breakpoint as the Pearl.
James had a pretty straightforward look with the RipD Pearl. He gets going up the 4th arrow out to 8 and the ball charges back perfectly. Again, his look in this case was a bit better than mine and even more defined response to dry.
On sport, Bryan had a better look. Now with the sharper backends, he could give the ball some belly and have it drive nicely. It’s all about matching up.

Final Thoughts
In the end, the RipD pearl is going to be the most versatile of the RipD family, hands down. It still uses the same heavy rolling core. But having the cleaner cover really helps make this one very clearly store more energy, even when the final out of box surface is 3000. You could probably go even higher like 4000 or polish and get more backend but I personally would like to get it to laneshine on its own where it could be a great house shot ball if you’re matched up.

Storm Physix Bowling Ball

Storm Physix Bowling Ball Review

The Physix has the Stuff…

Storm Physix Bowling Ball

First Impressions
Physix seems to find the formula to be strong but continuous unlike many of the typically top end snow tire balls. There’s another ball we recall with this motion but more about that later.

Our Testers:
Tamer Elbaga (Lefty)
Style: Tweener
RPM: 375 rpm
PAP: 5 & 3/8 up
Average Speed: 18 mph (at release)
Axis tilt: low
Axis rotation: medium
Test Equipment: 15 Pounds
Layout: 65 x 5 x 40
Intent: Medium/long roll with a medium transition at the breakpoint

Sean Jensen (Righty)
Style: Power player
RPM: 475 rpm
PAP: 4 3/4; 3/8 up
Average Speed: 19 mph (at release)
Axis tilt: low
Axis rotation: medium
Test Equipment: 15 Pounds
Layout: 65 x 5 x 40
Intent: Medium/long roll with a medium transition at the breakpoint

Dave Staboleski (Righty)
Style: Speed/Rev Matched Stroker
RPM: 315 rpm
PAP 4 3/4 & 1/2 up
Average Speed: 17 mph (at release)
Axis tilt: low
Axis rotation: low
Test Equipment: 15 Pounds
Layout: 65 x 5 x 40
Intent: Medium/long roll with a medium transition at the breakpoint

Bryan Hoffman (Righty)
Style: Higher Tilt Stroker
RPM: 280 rpm
PAP: 4 1/4 & 1/8 down
Average Speed: 18 mph (at release)
Axis tilt: high
Axis rotation: medium
Test Equipment: 15 Pounds
Layout: 65 x 4.5 x 35
Intent: Medium roll with a slow transition at the breakpoint

Thanks to Greg Bickta and Perfect Aim Pro Shop for drilling our equipment.
Thanks to Limerick Bowl in Limerick, PA.

Buy the Roto Grip Halo at PerfactAimBowling.com.

“Keep in mind that coverstock accounts for 70% of ball reaction, but the core creates the dynamic shape of the reaction. Your driller will alter the shape to suit your game.”

Test Pattern:
THS: 40ft, 23ml
Sport: PBA Don Carter: 39ft, 21.46 ml, 2.66:1 ratio

Value
B+
It is extremely difficult for a top line ball to catch anything higher than a B for Value but enough of us liked it that much and were pleasantly surprised by some versatility we weren’t exactly expecting.

Specs
The Halo uses the new Atomic Core (Asymmetrical) core inside the NRG­™ Hybrid coverstock.
15 pound = RG of 2.48, diff of .053, mb of .017
14 pound = RG of 2.53, diff of .052, mb of .015

Overall
THS: B+
Sport: A

What do we have here with the Storm Physix? As you would expect, Storm has created a new top line ball and it’s strong. Not the strongest thing ever but that’s a good thing. That’s where it wins points compared to say a Sure Lock. The Atomic is a new asymmetric core for Storm. However, the NRG cover technology is not new. It all started with the Virtual Gravity Nano as they say. This is a hybrid version and I do love Storm’s hybrid coverstocks. They always feel more than the sum of their parts. Anyway, I will not say length with good backend and continuation. Length with energy retention with this ball only comes from a style that either has a good flat spot at the bottom of the swing or speed. That will play out with our testers as you will see.
For me, the truth is the ball looked great. When throw decently, the ball does project through the fronts and feels really aggressive down lane. I start to liken the motion to vehicles and this feels more like a high powered GT touring sports car. It’s not the nimblest thing but more than enough. So if you can get it through the fronts, you will be rewarded with awesome downlane motion. The couple of times I pinched it off, I just couldn’t get it downlane, especially on the house shot. It will just go high or crossover. It has a very reliable or trustworthy downlane motion. This gives you confidence to just throw it. But if you’re prone to lifting or hitting up on the ball, you could wind up trying to force it downlane which will hurt you.
Sean was next and while he almost exclusively shies away from so much ball and surface on house shots, he had zero problems getting the Physix to work. He didn’t have to work very hard to get it through because he does generate nice projection. The ball just transitioned in a way that gave midlane control but rarely failed to charge back hard to the pocket. He can blow it through rarely where it just dies out that that would be a bad shot off his hand. But the movement was predictable and didn’t die or wasn’t too hard to get to the spot.
Doug was next and like Sean and I, he pretty much threw all strikes with the Physix. He didn’t have to get deep on this fresh shot with this ball but also he never felt like it quit. That’s the thing all 3 of us saw, no quit. You would expect it’s possible but a miss tended to be the ball hooking too much, i.e., too early. But this ball looked really good for Doug. It reminded him of the Defiant Soul. That was another fantastic hybrid top line ball that was more than the sum of its parts. That ball was strong but predictable and always could be trusted to hook. When you trust a ball to hook, you relax and adjust to it. When you have to make a ball hook, that’s when you could get into trouble, unless you are a maximum-everything type style.
Finally we have Bryan. Here’s where the raving about the Physix came to a screeching halt. I initially had high hopes that Bryan would see something similar to his Lock with the Physix. That is an absolute dream reaction for him. His style allowed the ball to get down lane enough but still drive with a heavy turn. The Physix, not so much. For the first time for any tester, the ball kind of looked like a lumbering strong piece that just dies out before it gets to the pins. It’s like we were looking at a completely different ball. Was a complete struggle. We can argue it’s not enough oil for the ball. Maybe he couldn’t keep it in enough oil to store any energy. He would get in and it never made it up the hill. Unsure why it was so vastly different unless it truly is significantly stronger than the Lock as he was able to easily throw the Lock with no issues.

Sport Shot
We tested on the 39ft PBA Don Carter pattern. You can actually attack this from multiple angles and just as interestingly, the Physix was flexible enough to also do the same. I could play it up the outside and blend the touchier part of the pattern really well. I could move in and take advantage of the ball’s strong down lane motion. Sean also found it pretty easy to find the pocket with forgiveness coming from the balls strong midlane torque. That’s the hallmark of the ball. Doug saw the same motion with that punchy and predictable strength. We did notice that the ball as expected will break down the pattern and this ball could easily become too much for this pattern within one game. Finally Bryan and the struggle didn’t change much. Still had too much motion from direct but open the angles just slightly and the ball just didn’t store the energy for him. Occasionally, there are certain cover/core shape combinations that don’t match up to a certain bowler. Clearly, Bryan couldn’t match up with the Physix on our test patterns. Perhaps a higher volume pattern would allow the ball to store more energy naturally and have a better look.

Final Thoughts
There you have it with the Physix. It got really strong marks from 3 out of 4 bowlers. 4th bowler struggled significantly to get any look at all. Ultimately, it’s clear that while the Physix is strong, if you are capable of projecting this ball through the fronts, it has that strong reliable move that doesn’t feel lazy like many snow tires can feel. If you liked the Defiant Soul, you may take a liking to the Physix as well. It is strong. It will burn up the fronts like a strong piece. But it clearly has its place at the top of the heap and in a way we could see easily fill the top spot in the bag, especially for bowlers with higher tracks.

Columbia 300 Savage Bowling Ball and core

Columbia 300 Savage Bowling Ball

Columbia goes Savage…

Columbia 300 Savage Bowling Ball and core

First Impressions
The Savage is strong. Pretty strong upfront, strong in the midlane, good backend. A heavy oil ball that still has strong downlane motion is a good formula.

Our Testers:
Tamer Elbaga (Lefty)
Style: Tweener
RPM: 375 rpm
PAP: 5 & 3/8 up
Average Speed: 18 mph (at release)
Axis tilt: low
Axis rotation: medium
Test Equipment: 14 Pounds
Layout: 65 x 5 x 40
Intent: Medium/long roll with a medium transition at the breakpoint

Sean Jensen (Righty)
Style: Power player
RPM: 475 rpm
PAP: 4 3/4; 3/8 up
Average Speed: 19 mph (at release)
Axis tilt: low
Axis rotation: medium
Test Equipment: 14 Pounds
Layout: 65 x 5 x 40
Intent: Medium/long roll with a medium transition at the breakpoint

Bryan Hoffman (Righty)
Style: Higher Tilt Stroker
RPM: 280 rpm
PAP: 4 1/4 & 1/8 down
Average Speed: 18 mph (at release)
Axis tilt: high
Axis rotation: medium
Test Equipment: 14 Pounds
Layout: 65 x 4.5 x 35
Intent: Medium roll with a slow transition at the breakpoint

Thanks to Greg Bickta and Perfect Aim Pro Shop for drilling our equipment.
Thanks to Limerick Bowl in Limerick, PA.

Buy the Columbia 300 Savage at (450) 223-2099.

“Keep in mind that coverstock accounts for 70% of ball reaction, but the core creates the dynamic shape of the reaction. Your driller will alter the shape to suit your game.”

Test Pattern:
THS: 40ft, 23ml
Sport: PBA Dragon, 45ft, 24.58 ml, 2.03:1 ratio

Value
B-
The Columbia 300 Savage ushers in a new top line aggressive solid Asym for the brand. This is a strong but continuous ball. It’s on the expensive side and will require some oil, or speed dominance to be usable on your typical house shots.

Specs
The Savage uses the new Savage Core (Asymmetric) core inside the new Exciter solid coverstock.
15 pound = RG of 2.49, diff of .051, mb of .016
14 pound = RG of 2.52, diff of .050, mb of .016

Overall
THS: B-
Sport: B+

What’s the Savage about. This is clearly a strong ball. I’ll try to describe the ball while sparing you from some cliches. It is middling when it comes to length. Given it’s strength and 500/2000 OOB finish, it’s an EBI strong ball which means it chews up the oil pretty good. It has a smooth but strong transition. It had a strong backend move. For me, this ball is too much on the house shot. I felt like I had to really chuck this thing downlane to hold pocket. I’m rev speed matched, low tilt, ~60 degrees of axis rotation. The Savage was hard to keep from starting up and nosing up. While I would not go out of my way to use such a strong ball for my house shot, the thing I liked about this ball is that it didn’t feel labored. There are many strong balls that when asked to cover too many boards or hit dry just peter out, especially asyms. This ball rarely felt that way. I trusted it would hook and it was less hook set than your typical asym. It just seemed to hook too much if you put a lot into it. For my style, it’s obviously meant for more oil. If you give it less, the ball will do the work for you. So for me, this might be a loner in the bag until the time comes to take the big gun out.

Sean was next. Solid aggressive balls are typically kind of “meh” for him. He doesn’t need this much ball on a house shot. However, he felt fairly comfortable with the Savage and it did go through the pins very nicely. It’s a testament to its ability to continue. The stone 9 was painful to watch. Big thing is you don’t need lots of axis rotation with this ball. In trying to see what the ball can do, he could get it through the breakpoint occasionally trying to get it to the spot without it overhooking. Also if speed was even a touch slow, it’s nosing up as I saw. This behavior enhances his mistakes as opposed to hiding them. With heavier volume, there would be less concern with speed and axis rotation sensitivity. While he rarely looks much at strong solid asyms, the ability of this ball to move and be continuous without having to hit it hard at the bottom was one that caught his attention.

With Bryan, we thought this formula would be an easier recipe for success. It proved to be trickier than we expected. The essence is the ball is too strong to play directly into the friction but Bryan doesn’t generate enough motion when moving in to get it to face up properly. Therefore, he struggles to get it to shape well. If he played into the friction, the ball lost its energy. When he moved in, it was too lazy. He would need to shine this cover up to allow him to play in the friction and take advantage of the roll this core generates.

Sport Shot
We tested the Savage on the 45ft PBA Dragon Pattern. For me, this felt like it could give me a decent look. It didn’t feel like it would easily go through the breakpoint unless I missed hugely downlane. You can clearly see the midlane control it offers while still backending powerfully. It’s probably a touch too strong downlane but I love the midlane it was generating. I would still like to see it on more volume.
For Sean, he understands the formula. This length and volume pattern kind of makes it almost a house shot track for bowlers having this rev rate. He knew he didn’t have to do much to the ball to get it to go through the pins so he took advantage of the continuous motion and it was a pretty straightforward about 17 to 9.
For Bryan, the tide turned as the Savage looked really good for him. Here, he can take advantage of the surface and midlane roll to get really good drive through the pins. Because this is a long pattern you have to be careful reading what you see with the misses. If the ball hits 5 down lane, there’s not a chance it’s coming back. Be close to 9 or 10 at the breakpoint, he crushed the pocket.

Final Thoughts
All in all, I feel Columbia 300 hit the mark with the Savage. This is what I would ask of a solid strong top of the line asym. I want it to be stronger than the other pieces in the bag. On the right volume, I don’t want to feel like I have to hit it to make it move. The ball has the mid lane roll and backend that keeps coming. That’s what it should feel like if you’re going to say a ball is continuous. I personally don’t want to force it to make it work so I’d leave it in the bag for the right time. However, many bowlers who need that strong motion to match their game will find the Savage completely capable.

Track Tactix Bowling Ball with Core

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The Tactix is a Tactical Weapon…

Track Tactix Bowling Ball with Core

First Impressions
The Tactix feels like much more ball than the slot it fills in the “upper-mid performance” line for Track. Boatloads of midlane and rolls heavy. This one is really interesting.

Our Testers:
Tamer Elbaga (Lefty)
Style: Tweener
RPM: 375 rpm
PAP: 5 & 3/8 up
Average Speed: 18 mph (at release)
Axis tilt: low
Axis rotation: medium
Test Equipment: 14 Pounds
Layout: 65 x 5 x 40
Intent: Medium/long roll with a medium transition at the breakpoint

Sean Jensen (Righty)
Style: Power player
RPM: 475 rpm
PAP: 4 3/4; 3/8 up
Average Speed: 19 mph (at release)
Axis tilt: low
Axis rotation: medium
Test Equipment: 14 Pounds
Layout: 65 x 5 x 40
Intent: Medium/long roll with a medium transition at the breakpoint

Bryan Hoffman (Righty)
Style: Higher Tilt Stroker
RPM: 280 rpm
PAP: 4 1/4 & 1/8 down
Average Speed: 18 mph (at release)
Axis tilt: high
Axis rotation: medium
Test Equipment: 14 Pounds
Layout: 65 x 4.5 x 35
Intent: Medium roll with a slow transition at the breakpoint

Thanks to Greg Bickta and Perfect Aim Pro Shop for drilling our equipment.
Thanks to Limerick Bowl in Limerick, PA.

Buy the Track Tactix at PerfactAimBowling.com.

“Keep in mind that coverstock accounts for 70% of ball reaction, but the core creates the dynamic shape of the reaction. Your driller will alter the shape to suit your game.”

Test Pattern:
THS: 40ft, 23ml
Sport: PBA Dragon, 45ft, 24.58 ml, 2.03:1 ratio

Value
B+
The Track Tactix is upper mid tier pricing plus its heavy rolling characteristics gives it a pretty strong bang for the buck.

Specs
The Tactix uses the new Starship (Asymmetric) core inside the new QR-9 solid coverstock.
15 pound = RG of 2.49, diff of .051, mb of .010
14 pound = RG of 2.50, diff of .053, mb of .010

Overall
THS: B-
Sport: A

From the first roll, the Track Tactix looks like a special piece. I have to admit to being a bit biased to the electric blue color but I digress. Track returns the QR-9 coverstock from the Paradox but in solid form. That ball was pretty successful in its own right. It definitely creates traction no doubt. Shape-wise, the new Starship is fantastic to be honest. I tested the ball before I read any of Track’s notes about ball intent. Then I realized what I’m thinking I’m about to write is just about identical to what they said. They say heavy mid-lane roll, I say absolutely. This was earlier than any other ball we had on hand. They talk about the mild asymmetry which allows the ball to maintain more energy off the spot. Check. Then they talk about a “big continous shape downlane.” I can’t argue with that. I saw all of that. All of us thought, “this is supposed to be midrange??”
I want to call this rolly and it is. It is not the easiest to get downlane on the medium THS, especially as EBI balls eat up oil pretty fast when they are fresh. You just have to be nice to as the ball does tons of work. It is very midlaney so while it can be swung left to right a decent amount, it can definitely run out of steam if you ask it to hockey stick back to the pocket. But I could get into the oil and get deep or layoff with a suitcase hand position. Last few shots were with the weaker hand position and you could see the energy transfer to the pins. The pins noticeably slapped around.

Sean was up next and despite it being a very strong solid covered asym, he liked it. He could use the rolly nature of the ball to get that chugging midlane and hard drive. On that less steep trajectory, the ball just really explodes through the pins. It’s like a full release of energy at the perfect time. If he swings it a bit more, it deflects more because it just isn’t a snappy backend reaction. However, it still slapped the pins around and carried well. Again, he really didn’t have to hit the ball to roll. The ball preferred to not be overwhelmed on this pattern as it really does the business on it’s own.

Bryan was next and he has to be closer to the friction line to get the backend reaction. He could play close to there with the Tactix or a short time but the line quickly burns up as this ball and the Columbia 300 Savage have very strong covers. When he gets in, the ball doesn’t have enough of a backend move to cover the boards and/or carry well. He has to parallel target and breakpoint in but that makes it tricky and unnecessarily complex for the house shot. For this to work, some lane shine would allow this ball to play longer in his track area while still having enough energy downlane.

Sport Shot
We tested the Tactix on the 45ft PBA Dragon Pattern. This ball made the 45ft pattern feel like 35ft. The ball never felt like it would blow through the breakpoint. It was actually even too strong for this pattern for me. But that shape… This ball looks like a potential sport shot superstar.
For Sean the ball was easy to get to the pocket and carry. Just get to the headpin, the ball will do the work. It’s again rolly. Lays off without feeling like it’s gonna blow through the breakpoint. He knew what he was seeing right away.
For Bryan, he also was able to take advantage of that heavy early roll to drive nicely. Here’s where the strong surface, strong roll, and more active backends on sport shots blend to give Bryan a good look.

Final Thoughts
The Tactix is a great offering from Track. It looks to be a great piece for the money. If you’re thinking about how this compares to some other stuff out on the market, to me, this ball sits right in between the Roto Grip Halo and Idol. Why mention those? There is a lot of hype surrounding those really good pieces and they come right to my mind when I threw the Tactix. This one has that rolly nature those balls have but less hook set than the Halo and more downlane motion than the Idol. If you’re thinking Goldilocks and the 3 Bears, the Tactix is “juussttt right”. The Sport shot especially shows you how heavy rolling this ball is. For Motiv fans, this ball is Venom Shock rolly but with stronger backend.
The Tactix looks like a keeper. I’d be surprised if we don’t see these being used frequently on tour.

Track Kinetic Amethyst Bowling Ball

Track Kinetic Amethyst Bowling Ball Review

The Kinetic goes Amethyst…

First Impressions
The Kinetic Amethyst looks to fill a gap in the Track lineup where you need a cleaner look. It’s clean for sure. Not as snappy as we thought it would be but has potential.

Our Testers:

Justin Kleinspehn (Righty)
Style: High Rev
RPM: 475 rpm
PAP: 5 & 1 1/4 up
Average Speed: 19.5 mph (at release)
Axis tilt: low
Axis rotation: medium
Test Equipment: 15 Pounds
Layout: 40 x 5 x 30
Intent: Quick roll with a quick transition at the breakpoint

Dan Young (Righty)
Style: Rev/Speed matched
RPM: 400 rpm
PAP: 5 & 1/8 up
Average Speed: 18.5 mph (at release)
Axis tilt: high
Axis rotation: medium
Test Equipment: 15 Pounds
Layout: 35 x 4 x 30
Intent: Quick roll with a quick transition at the breakpoint

Thanks to Greg Bickta and Perfect Aim Pro Shop for drilling our equipment.
Thanks to Limerick Bowl in Limerick, PA.

Buy the Track Kinetic Amethyst at 2162329995.

“Keep in mind that coverstock accounts for 70% of ball reaction, but the core creates the dynamic shape of the reaction. Your driller will alter the shape to suit your game.”

Test Pattern:
THS: 40ft, 23ml

Value
B
The Kinetic Amethyst is a mid-priced ball. It seems to have a bit of a defined slot of usability. Still gets decent marks for value.

Specs
The Track Kinetic Amethyst uses the Modified Kinetic core wrapped in the QR-6 Pearl coverstock.
15 pound = RG of 2.49, diff of .038, mb of .005
14 pound = RG of 2.48, diff of .041 mb of .005
Coverstock finish: 500/1000 abralon with factory polish

Overall
THS: B

The Modified Kinetic Core is clearly a stalwart at this point for Track. It seems every brand has found at least one winner that can be reused over and over again. In this case, they added a clean pearl coverstock to give it more length and make it a stepdown ball. In theory you can have an arsenal of all Kinetic balls and be totally fine on a house shot.
When I first saw this ball, it kind of looked a bit like a skid/flip formula. In practice for us, it is definitely clean but not super snappy. It’s like Track put in a “thin” type coverstock on this ball. What I mean is one that gets length and is very quick to dry which shrinks the hook phase of the skid/hook/roll shape of a ball. That it does but the core is not quite a “thin” core. Meaning it’s not a loping core which typically compliments the thin coverstock. That takes it up a notch from the low end balls in terms of ball reaction. It seems a bit of a fight between the core and cover, one which the cover wins generally speaking.
What does all of that mean? It means you won’t get huge skid/flip. You will get easy length. You will get good but smoother motion. It’s just that you have to find the friction at the right length on the lane to get the ball to read. So if you find friction too far downlane, the ball will be lazy making it back. If you find it too early, you may not hold pocket.
On the fresh house shot, Justin has a great look with the Amethyst. His roll and style blends well with this piece. He generates natural length so the ball gradually reads the friction. He’s scored extremely well with this piece already, especially in houses that have down lane friction that adds drive which amplifies carry.
What’s interesting is in theory you would think the Amethyst would work well on burn where you get a cleaner and snappier look. However, the ball went from looking fantastic to being over/under. Now it noses up in the friction that’s been created but when you move into the heavy house shot volume, it pukes. Hmmm… This somewhat boxes the ball in terms of condition specificity. So while it may be a good option on medium or lower volumes while the shot is fresh, it may not be the ball you can drop to from another kinetic or more aggressive piece because of the reaction we described. I think this will be pattern specific but knowing how walled up house shots can be, I worry this will be the standard situation.

Dan is our second tester. He’s got a decent rev rate but with much more tilt. So he generates good length in a different way than Justin. On the fresh it’s either there or not. It has been playable for Dan generally speaking but sometimes he sees the same thing in terms of over/under on fresh. If he parallels in, he gets less motion because the ball seems to skid too far. The ball is obviously clean and not super aggressive off the friction. You can see the ball is close all the time but just seems to enter the pocket differently with each shot. The volume is a little much for this ball right now. So it seems the ball prefers a lower volume fresh shot. For second shift, Dan had a pretty good look. Again, he has to be careful of getting into the friction too early but he got good bounce off the dry. It was probably a better look for Dan and his style on second shift than it was for Justin.

Final Thoughts
In the end, the Track Kinetic Amethyst is a decent ball. It’s definitely not the most versatile ball from the Kinetic line and clearly a step down. The issue we saw was that it really isn’t a step down in terms of use. It’s first out of the bag on lower volumes but one that was more tricky when the medium pattern was starting to dry out. So I can give it credit for the former if you recognize the limitation of the latter. It’s a pretty ball and on a lower volume house pattern, the ball looks great. Just ask Justin how many award scores he’s already throw with it…

Roto Grip Winner Bowling Ball

Roto Grip Winner Bowling Ball Review

Winning…

First Impressions
Honestly, wasn’t totally sure what to expect initially. After throwing the winner, we were all like, “Wow!”

Our Testers:
Tamer Elbaga (Lefty)
Style: Tweener
RPM: 375 rpm
PAP: 5 & 3/8 up
Average Speed: 18 mph (at release)
Axis tilt: low
Axis rotation: medium
Test Equipment: 14 Pounds
Layout: 65 x 5 x 40
Intent: Medium/long roll with a medium transition at the breakpoint

Sean Jensen (Righty)
Style: Power player
RPM: 475 rpm
PAP: 4 3/4; 3/8 up
Average Speed: 19 mph (at release)
Axis tilt: low
Axis rotation: medium
Test Equipment: 14 Pounds
Layout: 65 x 5 x 40
Intent: Medium/long roll with a medium transition at the breakpoint

Dave Staboleski (Righty)
Style: Speed/Rev Matched Stroker
RPM: 315 rpm
PAP 4 3/4 & 1/2 up
Average Speed: 17 mph (at release)
Axis tilt: low
Axis rotation: low
Test Equipment: 14 Pounds
Layout: 65 x 5 x 40
Intent: Medium/long roll with a medium transition at the breakpoint

Bryan Hoffman (Righty)
Style: Higher Tilt Stroker
RPM: 280 rpm
PAP: 4 1/4 & 1/8 down
Average Speed: 18 mph (at release)
Axis tilt: high
Axis rotation: medium
Test Equipment: 14 Pounds
Layout: 65 x 4.5 x 35
Intent: Medium roll with a slow transition at the breakpoint

Thanks to Greg Bickta and Perfect Aim Pro Shop for drilling our equipment.
Thanks to Limerick Bowl in Limerick, PA.

Buy the Roto Grip Winner at 660-727-8854.

“Keep in mind that coverstock accounts for 70% of ball reaction, but the core creates the dynamic shape of the reaction. Your driller will alter the shape to suit your game.”

Test Pattern:
THS: 40ft, 23ml
Sport: Red Square, 40ft, 25.16 ml, 1:1 ratio

Value
A
The Roto Grip Winner continues the brand’s ability to offer value leaders. The HP2 line has been a value leader for some time and this definitely continues that.

Specs
The Winner uses the new Altered Hotshot™ Core (Symmetric) core inside the VTC-P18™ coverstock.
15 pound = RG of 2.54, diff of .054
14 pound = RG of 2.54, diff of .050

Overall
THS: A
Sport: C

I have to be honest and say we were all wowed by the Roto Grip Winner. It was the surprise favorite in our test session on the house shot. We weren’t totally sure what to expect. We saw some notes from Schlem. We saw some random videos. We never make a decision until we test it ourselves. The formula? A clean but stronger pearl coverstock and a tweaked core to increase the differential substantially from the Show Off series. First ball out of the gate? Length, readable midlane core transition, snap off the dry. It can look skid/flip as it is strong downlane but look closely so you don’t underestimate the midlane transition. It’s more of a core transition than an early cover read. Next ball, flush. Next, flush again. I actually had to try to miss. Maybe I got lucky to immediately found the spot? But the way it went through the pins each time was something I can’t take away. I was able to intentionally miss and it blew through the breakpoint and it was ugly. It helped me find the limits. I compared it to the amazing Marvel Pearl and you could clearly see the rounder less flippy shape. Same overall board coverage but the Winner is definitely more aggressive off the spot. Also compared to the HyRoad and again, the Winner is much more aggressive off the spot and a bit stronger overall than the HyRoad. Use that info to figure out how it would fit in your bag.

Sean was next and we usually go on about how he gets on with pearl asyms. Well he got along swimmingly with the Roto Grip Winner as well. It was again the most impressive ball in the test session for him. Was it a coincidence that he went straight to where he thought he needed to be and just started striking? I’m starting to think not. I don’t think this is a simple skid/flip formula. I feel like the cover has some bite in midlane and still tons for downlane. And the core is also clearly designed to have some shape and not just lope and turn over. That adds up to strong flip but heavy roll. It doesn’t have that thin shape you would see from a low end skid/flip intended ball. Sean also compared to the Hyroad. They are pretty close in overall board coverage but the HyRoad is smoother.

Moving on to Bryan and we started to realize this is no fluke. The Winner looks great for him straight away. Even though his game is drastically different than Sean’s and my own, he had a great look. He had easy length and that snap gave him good carry. Normal line, the ball goes long on line, has some midlane read and then arcs really hard. Miss out to the dry and it loses midlane but gains it all back at the backend. He also has a Marvel Pearl, imagine that… The Marvel Pearl again has that buttery smooth look with a very different shape to the Winner. Winner is much sharper. While the Winner may look great on the house shot, the Marvel Pearl would be the one he would use to get a more forgiving versatile shape. He also has a HyRoad and the Hyroad is less ball than the Winner for him as it doesn’t react as quickly to the dry from the same trajectory.
Finally Dave tests the Winner. As Randy says, “Winner winner, chicken dinner.” Cheesy but what can I say. The ball is clean as you would expect but it has heavy rolling energy retention. He got up there like the rest of us and just struck. In to the oil and it held nicely while still continuing which many times you don’t see on walled up house shots. Tickle the dry and it drives. Go further into the dry and it drives harder.

Sport Shot
So far we’ve gushed at what we saw with the Winner on the house shot. On Red Square, it didn’t fare as well. Short version, the ball is too snappy on a pattern that is flat and already gives you backend. It was just way too strong down lane from where I was making the shot work. However, it somewhat surprised me as it made the shot in the track with a wide breakpoint playable. No other ball played 15 out to 5 and came back the way this one did. I doubt that would be something I would want to do as it’s not as forgiving. But Red Square is not very forgiving anyway.
Sean didn’t have much difficulty making it work. The shot is pretty fresh and he’s learned how to take advantage of balls that have hard change of direction. Bryan was next and as we expected, it’s complete over/under for him as it was for me. Struggled to find something as this motion is simply not the right one for this pattern. Finally Dave and his over/under wasn’t as pronounced. It looked more incremental as he has less side rotation to balance the effect of the big down lane motion the Winner is capable of.

Final Thoughts
With the Roto Grip Winner, every single tester had an extremely easy time, not only getting to the pocket, but going through the pins nicely. We could have easily strung a perfect game between us with no editing. This is definitely a rarity in our almost 10 year experience of testing. It’s always hard to tell how any ball will pan out over time but a very positive start never hurt anyone. Honestly, this is a lot of ball for HP2. I kind of expected a what I call “thinner” reaction shape. Thinner meaning the ball almost feels like 2 phases without much useful midlane. The All Out Show Off was definitely thinner than the Winner. You have balls like the Loco that are fantastic even “thinner” shaped balls where you want skid and backend because you use it when you don’t want any real midlane read. The Winner does react quickly to friction but we do think it needs to see some friction. There is certainly the possibility of over/under with a ball this aggressive off the dry that needs to see dry which is a hallmark of the proverbial “thinner” ball. It just didn’t seem as sensitive as we thought it might which makes it a huge bang for the buck in the HP2 line.
This ball almost feels like how the SonIQ should have felt. SonIQ in OOB was clean, made what looked like an aggressive turn but had somewhat of an inconsistent pocket entry on this same house pattern. This ball feels like the same shape but a bit sharper leading to strong consistent pocket entry.
In the end, this seems like cheap entry into what really is a fine mid-level ball. This shape lends to great carry on house shots. Will not use a cliche here but I guess it’s called the Winner for a reason.

Roto Grip Halo Bowling Ball

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Queue the Angelic Music…

First Impressions
Halo is as expected, a really strong piece, cleaner than you would expect for a really aggressive cover, smooth in the midlane and that asym break towards the pocket. Really the step up to the Idol we “figured” it would be.

Our Testers:
Tamer Elbaga (Lefty)
Style: Tweener
RPM: 375 rpm
PAP: 5 & 3/8 up
Average Speed: 18 mph (at release)
Axis tilt: low
Axis rotation: medium
Test Equipment: 15 Pounds
Layout: 65 x 5 x 40
Intent: Medium/long roll with a medium transition at the breakpoint

Sean Jensen (Righty)
Style: Power player
RPM: 475 rpm
PAP: 4 3/4; 3/8 up
Average Speed: 19 mph (at release)
Axis tilt: low
Axis rotation: medium
Test Equipment: 15 Pounds
Layout: 65 x 5 x 40
Intent: Medium/long roll with a medium transition at the breakpoint

Dave Staboleski (Righty)
Style: Speed/Rev Matched Stroker
RPM: 315 rpm
PAP 4 3/4 & 1/2 up
Average Speed: 17 mph (at release)
Axis tilt: low
Axis rotation: low
Test Equipment: 15 Pounds
Layout: 65 x 5 x 40
Intent: Medium/long roll with a medium transition at the breakpoint

Bryan Hoffman (Righty)
Style: Higher Tilt Stroker
RPM: 280 rpm
PAP: 4 1/4 & 1/8 down
Average Speed: 18 mph (at release)
Axis tilt: high
Axis rotation: medium
Test Equipment: 15 Pounds
Layout: 65 x 4.5 x 35
Intent: Medium roll with a slow transition at the breakpoint

Thanks to Greg Bickta and Perfect Aim Pro Shop for drilling our equipment.
Thanks to Limerick Bowl in Limerick, PA.

Buy the Roto Grip Halo at (310) 812-0869.

“Keep in mind that coverstock accounts for 70% of ball reaction, but the core creates the dynamic shape of the reaction. Your driller will alter the shape to suit your game.”

Test Pattern:
THS: 40ft, 23ml
Sport: Red Square: 40ft, 25 ml, 1:1 ratio

Value
B
The Roto Grip Halo is strong, aggressive piece with top line pricing. I didn’t kill it on value because I feel this ball may still be usable on THS for those with less hand after seeing the length it can generate along with the backend move.

Specs
The Halo uses the new Centrum™ Core (Asymmetrical) core inside the MicroTrax-S18­™ coverstock.
15 pound = RG of 2.49, diff of .050, mb of .018
14 pound = RG of 2.54, diff of .050, mb of .015

Overall
THS: B
Sport: B

Ok, everyone who’s seen the Idol could kind of see this coming. The Halo uses the same strong cover with an asym core. Seeing the shape of the core, we expected we would still get the smooth skid hook transition but a stronger hook to roll transition. Lo and behold we got exactly what we thought. I said before we threw the Halo, “this should be what the Sure Lock should’ve been to the Lock”. After we threw it, it was exactly what we thought. For Roto Grip fans, it’s similar to the Hyper Cell or the original No Rules but a little smoother. The ball is really strong and feels like a lumbering beast. For me I didn’t have to get really deep on house because it bleeds energy that doesn’t make it super huge side to side. Don’t get me wrong, it’s got plenty of backend and you can see the decidedly asymmetric transition. But it’s like a snow tire in that if you push it too hard to the outside of the corner, it will still give out on you. So miss out and it’s gonna be lazy. Miss in and it’s too strong to hold. For me this is a lot of ball on typical medium house and not enough forgiveness on either side to make me feel comfortable pulling it out on this type of volume.
The Code X showed to be similar board coverage but not as strong. It was cleaner as you would expect from R2S and more snappy downlane. Comparing to the Idol, you can see the more aggressive transition from hook to roll with the Halo compared to the smoother transition from the Idol. They are similar in board coverage on house, just have different shapes transitioning to the last phase.
Sean was next and as you would expect, with this much hand, the Halo is not ideal for this medium house condition for him. You still see biting smooth reaction of the cover but it bites a bit earlier for Sean than for me. It’s a heavy, medium-early roll, with fairly aggressive downlane bite. The Halo proves a bit over/under, seeing similar to what I saw to some extent. Sean has to try a bit too hard with this piece. Pushing it through the mids and missing out causes it to die out there. Missing in has no chance to hold. He had an easier time getting length from the Idol with a smoother and more continuous motion through the pins.
Bryan was next. The Halo looked quite good for him. He didn’t feel like he had to overthrow it to get it through the heads and he was really able to take advantage of the strong transition for a really good continuous motion through the pins. The Storm Lock is one of his favorite balls because he sees this type of motion. The ball generates motion that really helps him and the Halo does the same. However, the Halo is clearly a step up. He has also has a Sure Lock but the Halo looks more like a “big Lock” than the Sure Lock, not in terms of strength but in terms of shape. He also likened it to the Hyper Cell in that it’s that big motor that got enough length but turned over definitively and heavy through the pins. Compared to his Idol, the smoothness is almost night and day. The Idol is just smoother all the way through. That forces him to be tighter to the pocket and takes away forgiveness that he has with the Halo.
Finally Dave tests. Dave to me will be the most representative of what the Halo will do for many house bowlers. He’s a stroker with a kind of end over end roll and medium rotation that is close to many bowlers. This is another style that benefits from the heavy roll of the Halo. He gets good enough length and the perfect heavy transition. This helps him take advantage of that heavy core in terms of pin carry. He plays in the track so he has some room left and right. A little right and he might leave a flat corner or 2 pin if it dies. A little miss in and he could see a 4 pin or even trip it.

Sport Shot
We tested on the very tough Red Square flat 40ft pattern. This is all about a premium on shot making and preserving the pattern as long as possible. As such, Halo would not be a ball Sean or I would use on this pattern under normal circumstances. I had to be in to the 5th arrow and get it into that fall back type motion so it can layoff. If it has room at all to hook, it overhooks. And as a lefty, where would I go from there?? Nevertheless, it’s a smooth strong ball that I can definitely take advantage of on longer sport patterns.
Sean uses a little trickery to reduce his axis rotation substantially. Here you see how heavy and hard it goes through the pins. For Bryan, it’s a bit of a different story. Even on this pattern, he uses surface to slow the ball down and get ball reaction. He was surprised that even a slight miss out recovered when we typically don’t have forgiveness on this flat pattern. Dave again had a good reaction. He can play in the same track area because of the pattern length and you can see the heavy transition and strong roll. Again, the watch out is flat patterns transition quickly so he would have to keep chasing and if he’s with high rev bowlers, the shot could get unplayable in time.

Final Thoughts
The Roto Grip Halo is exactly what we figured and expected. Huge ball. Smooth midlane, stronger asym downlane. Despite this crazy strength, I believe many house bowlers will find this ball useful. For those with more complex bags, this is obviously at the top end. Would I use this on house? Not likely. Would I use it on higher volume, longer sport patterns? Absolutely. Would Bryan and Dave use this on house? Yes they would. It’s characteristics will make it more usable for people with their style. In the end, having a heavy oil ball that rolls heavy with a visibly strong transition is one that will make it to a lot of bags. The Halo fills those shoes nicely.

Motiv Rogue Blade Bowling Ball

Motiv Rogue Blade Bowling Ball Review

The Blade Goes Rogue…

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First Impressions
With all the talk about the Hexion coverstock, we’ve been somewhat longing for more aggressive reaction to dry from Motiv. The Rogue Blade hits the mark. It’s not only strong midlane but has more punch than we’ve seen from any other Hexion release.

Our Testers:
Tamer Elbaga (Lefty)
Style: Tweener
RPM: 375 rpm
PAP: 5 & 3/8 up
Average Speed: 18 mph (at release)
Axis tilt: low
Axis rotation: medium
Test Equipment: 14 Pounds
Layout: 65 x 5 x 40
Intent: Medium/long roll with a medium transition at the breakpoint

Sean Jensen (Righty)
Style: Power player
RPM: 475 rpm
PAP: 4 3/4; 3/8 up
Average Speed: 19 mph (at release)
Axis tilt: low
Axis rotation: medium
Test Equipment: 14 Pounds
Layout: 65 x 5 x 40
Intent: Medium/long roll with a medium transition at the breakpoint

Dave Staboleski (Righty)
Style: Speed/Rev Matched Stroker
RPM: 315 rpm
PAP 4 3/4 & 1/2 up
Average Speed: 17 mph (at release)
Axis tilt: low
Axis rotation: low
Test Equipment: 14 Pounds
Layout: 65 x 5 x 40
Intent: Medium/long roll with a medium transition at the breakpoint

Bryan Hoffman (Righty)
Style: Higher Tilt Stroker
RPM: 280 rpm
PAP: 4 1/4 & 1/8 down
Average Speed: 18 mph (at release)
Axis tilt: high
Axis rotation: medium
Test Equipment: 14 Pounds
Layout: 65 x 4.5 x 35
Intent: Medium roll with a slow transition at the breakpoint

Thanks to Greg Bickta and Perfect Aim Pro Shop for drilling our equipment.
Thanks to Limerick Bowl in Limerick, PA.

Buy the Motiv Rogue Blade at PerfactAimBowling.com.

“Keep in mind that coverstock accounts for 70% of ball reaction, but the core creates the dynamic shape of the reaction. Your driller will alter the shape to suit your game.”

Test Pattern:
THS: 40ft, 23ml
Sport: Red Square, 40ft, 25.16 ml, 1:1 ratio

Value
B+
The Motiv Rogue Blade is priced in the midrange but I believe this will be one of the more versatile pieces from Motiv.
Pair those 2 elements and you have really good value.

Specs
The Rogue Blade uses the venerable Sigma Core (Symmetric) core inside the new Hexion SE coverstock.
15 pound = RG of 2.47, diff of .047
14 pound = RG of 2.50, diff of .044

Overall
THS: B+
Sport: C+

I will start off by saying I’ve seen the Sigma core long enough to know this one is to Motiv what Enhanced V2 is to Ebonite. It works and works for a lot of people. Occasionally a cover can ruin an otherwise successful core but this isn’t a problem with the Motiv Rogue Blade. Right away, it’s a bit dull out of box. Doesn’t detract from anything. The ball has decent length, midlane that seems to be a hallmark for Motiv and a strong backend. I kind of liked the duller OOB because it was less skid/flip and gives some added midlane motion. Honestly, we’ve struggled a bit to understand the Hexion formulation as we had yet to find a ball we truly felt was angular as they claimed, that is until the Rogue Blade. We threw this one and thought, huh…OK! The next thing is to understand where it fits in the line up. It fits correctly as more angular than the Forza SS and is more ball than the Venom line. I found the ball to have a usable zone. I kept opening up my angles and moving in to see if I could “break it”. It surprised me a bit when it just seemed to completely hit a wall. It didn’t warn me when it had reached it’s limit. It was there, there, there, then not even close. That might be the shape of the pattern matched to this ball but that’s what I saw.
Compared to the Venom Shock Pearl, you can instantly see how much more ball the Rogue Blade is over the VSP. I had to move several boards left to see that smooth motion hit. Compared to the Sigma Sting, they were actually really close. On the house shot, fairly indistinguishable.
Sean was next. He found it to be a pretty strong ball and once he realized it, he got deep enough to see the real reaction. He saw both strong midlane and downlane reaction. With his rev rate, the midlane was more pronounced. He has grown accustomed to dealing with clean reactions with strong backend so he actually might like a touch less midlane for the house shot but he really had no trouble getting the Rogue Blade through the pins nicely. Again, he found the Sigma Sting quite close to the Rogue Blade. Sigma Sting looked a touch cleaner and a touch more angular. Minor difference. Compared to the Venom Shock Pearl, he saw the same board coverage but a less angular ball and even more midlane so he would pull the breakpoint in a bit with the VSP.
Next up is Bryan and overall he was satisfied with the motion. He’s got several Motiv balls and felt like this one hit the mark in terms of quicker response to dry. With the Rogue Blade he saw good length with a strong arcing motion downlane. To his eye, he could trust that aggressive move when it counts the most. He had some forgiveness missing out as the ball would arc back harder off the dry. Misses in did not tend to hold pocket and that’s also characteristic of strong downlane motion. You have to rethink your “miss room” depending on the type of ball you are throwing. Compared to the Sigma Sting, he saw a bit sharper reaction off the dry as it played a touch cleaner.
Finally Dave tests the Motiv Rogue Blade. He had a great ball reaction, getting enough length with the concentration of power increasing as the ball gets down lane through the phases. Good midlane read and smooth but strong transition. The ball rarely felt like it wouldn’t make it’s way back to the pocket. Misses in were fairly forgiving leaving 4 pins so he had balanced miss room in either direction. As with the rest of us, the Rogue Blade was stronger and more angular than the Venom Shock Pearl. Compared to the Sigma Sting, again they were really close with the Sting being just a touch longer and a touch more angular.

Sport Shot
We tested on a flat 40 ft Red Square pattern. This was a fresh pattern and I found the Rogue Blade too strong and too angular to use on this flat pattern. I couldn’t play my normal trajectory on this pattern and it felt like no matter how deep I got, it was either too much or I blew threw the breakpoint. I found a more direct line to take advantage of the angularity from the outside that’s typically out of bounds due to how tight the pattern is. Sean can make the Rogue Blade work in his normal zone taking advantage of the downlane strength the Blade offers. It’s still on the strong side so hard to say how long it would stay in play on a flat pattern. For Bryan the ball is a bit too angular to use on this tough pattern. It was hard to envision a sport pattern Bryan would pull this ball out on. For Dave, with his lower axis rotation, you could see him use this type of ball that strong downlane because the lower rotation controls the side to side motion.

Final Thoughts
We had a pretty good feel for the Rogue Blade. This particular coverstock formulation actually accentuates the Sigma sting core motion. We saw a fairly clean ball but just enough readable midlane with strong backend motion. The backend motion is one we’ve been craving of late from Motiv and they delivered. I wouldn’t call this ball skid/flip but it is one of the stronger backend motions from the Motiv brand. The Sigma core is a well-known entity and we could see the Rogue Blade being even more successful than the Forza SS as it has more length, more stored energy, enabling a strong downlane flip that we believe will increase carry on your typical house shots.

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