Code X - An Internal Review

The Code X offers performance engineering tuned for enhanced response

 

In the competitive bowling ball market, any ball that doesn’t do better than “good enough” simply can’t compete. Thankfully, this isn’t an issue for the Code X. Although its styling is a bit conservative for this line, the Code X is classically handsome and appeals with strong performance. The colors aren’t the most polarizing, which makes the ball hug the lane for a truer read, but that’s a personal opinion not shared by everyone. If you like your styling more subtle than stand-out with a side of performance that leaves you saying “Wow, I didn’t know a ball could do that…” then the Code X may be in your not-too-distant future.

The big news here is that R2S Solid has come into play for the first time in a long time in a Premier line ball. Not all conditions require wide-footprint coverstocks with high oil displacement ratings. R2S has been a flagship formula for Storm and is synonymous with some of the most successful balls in recent history like the Hy-Road and !Q Tour. Of all the coverstocks Storm has used, R2S responds to dry lane friction better than anything else. When this benchmark type chassis coats a weight block that’s as dynamic as the RAD4, I’d be hard-pressed to find something that offers this much versatility.

Even though it’s a solid ball, for me, it resembles a matte finish pearl the way it turns the corner. The Code X made easy work of the 47’ mid-volume pattern we currently use in our Monday night Storm Scratch league, which is something I’ll admit to having my fair share of struggles on this year. Because this particular house uses super high-friction synthetics, any ball with too much friction built in, chemically or mechanically, would read as soon as I set it down with nothing left downlane. The Code X doesn’t utilize R3S or Nano technology like its Premier line counterparts, so it skated through the high-friction fronts with ease but retained the midlane read and backend change of direction I’ve come to love from my top-drawer asymmetrics.

BOWLER STATS:

Launch Speed: 18mph

RPM: 490

Tilt:

Rotation: 45°

PAP: 5” straight over

Layout Used for Test: 6 x 4 x 3 (55° x 6 x 40°)

Surface Used on Both Balls: 3000-grit Abralon

Oil Pattern: Beaten Path, 41’, 1:4.04, 24.25 mL

THE TEST:

For this study, I decided to use Kegel's 4:1 Beaten Path. I knew this pattern would showcase the differences between these two balls exceptionally well. I tossed 20 shots on SPECTO with each ball, averaged the results, and created composite motion paths for each along with a comparison chart utilizing the hard data SPECTO provided. Both balls were resurfaced prior to the test using a Surface Factory machine with new Abralon pads for each to achieve the most consistent finish possible.

 

THE RESULTS:

If you currently roll the Sure Lock or Alpha Crux, but are hesitant make the commitment on another solid Premier line ball, then rest easy. R2S breathes new vigor into the line which helps differentiate it plenty from its Nano-based cousins. I found this the case both objectively and subjectively. Let’s refer to the former, presented below. The numbers don’t lie. With almost 1.5° more entry angle at impact, the Code X handles the corner like that of a racing-tuned suspension on a car that’s designed to dig in to the curves of a snaky, winding road. That may not sound like a lot, but spread that measurement over the last 15 feet of the lane and that can mean the difference between washing out and a high flush strike.

Telling the story further, this isn’t a case where the numbers deceive. Subjectively, too, I found the Code X carried considerably better from the deep, inside line compared to the Alpha Crux. The engine that is the RAD4 worked just as flawlessly as the cover. With the layout I chose, it transitions smoothly and quickly. On the comfort side of the equation, I was more than confident from far inside with regards to kicking out the corners than I’ve been as of late with balls of the like. The Alpha Crux lost its axis rotation so quickly, it reminded me just why that ball truly is designed for the heaviest of heavy conditions.

CONCLUSION:

If my !Q Tour and Code Black were to fall in love and start a family, their progeny would undoubtedly be the Code X. It’s an excellent blend of power, dynamics, and everyday versatility. It is the bowling ball equivalent of having your cake and eating it, too. Backend responsiveness is immediate and gratifying, without sacrificing what a solid ball is supposed to do up front. I do appreciate the Code X’s quieter exterior as it pirouettes its way down the lane with empyreal grace, yet remains tasteful for what it is. The Code lineage has discernibly paved the way for the Code X, and it’s the Code X that’s going to carry on this sterling reputation for quite some time.

 

Highlights from the test:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=075-SkU9hBA

 

 Storm has a full-time tech representative ready to answer any questions you have about the Code X or any other Storm product. Please call (800) 369-4402 (Mon-Fri, 8am-5pm MST) or send an email to tech@stormbowling.com (anytime).


Selecting an Arsenal for the USBC Open Championships

If you are heading to Syracuse for the OC’s this year, then you’ve probably already started thinking about what equipment you are toting along. And since ball slots are limited and checked bag fees are high, the gravity in your selection process becomes pretty critical. As with any arsenal, variety is key. Sounds easy, right? Obviously, there’s a lot that goes into it that can become a daunting task for even the most seasoned professional. The boundless options that are available on the market should be used to your advantage, but it all starts with the bowler. Knowing the subtle distinctions in how you roll the ball, such as axis tilt, axis rotation, speed, and rev rate, are most crucial.

Once you’ve determined your stats, next comes the ball selection process. As always, variety is key.

The Open Championships have now abstained from announcing the oil pattern prior to the tournament commencing – which is perfectly fine. You can bet on it not being a cakewalk. Balls that exude control and forgiveness are going to be your best friends with any trip to the OC’s. What kind of balls do this? Well, your favorite benchmark should be the first thing that comes to mind. A low RG, solid, matte finish ball that is smooth and brings the breakpoint closer to the foul line would definitely provide this for the bowler. The !Q Tour is the second longest running ball in Storm’s history for this very reason.

After that, building an arsenal is pretty straightforward. Having a good mix of solids, pearls, hybrids with a combination of surfaces and layouts is important. Typically, you won’t see too many polished balls going down the lanes at the Open Championships. The reason for this all boils down to controlling the breakpoint. Sanded balls maximize your room for error by picking up on the midlane better than polished balls and bringing the breakpoint - the most critical part of the lane - closer to you. It’s not a mystery anymore that surface is the #1 most influential factor that dictates ball motion. The bowlers that perform the best every year will almost always bring a wide array of 500-grit to 4000-grit sanded balls. I’m not saying omit polish completely, so reserve one to two spots in your bag for when they get “toasty” later in the day.

Layouts are the last big thing to discuss. Working with your Storm VIP pro shop professional to establish which layouts are best for your style and the arsenal you’ve chosen is imperative. Some of the most accomplished bowlers will use around three of their favorite layouts and let the inherent properties of the balls be the major difference in what they see. Pete Weber, for example, has only used two layouts for years: one pin up above the bridge and one pin down below the bridge. There are enough factors in bowling that are above and beyond anyone’s control, and, no matter how hard you try, you cannot change them. So keeping the variables in check that you can control, like Pete, isn’t such a bad idea after all.

Below is a sample 6-ball arsenal that would cover all of your bases at the Open Championships this year.


Drive - An Internal Review

Zach Trevino loves his Drive, and here's why...

When the Timeless was first introduced, Zach struggled to keep it reading the correct part of the lane before it was too late at the end of the pattern. This is not the ball’s fault, however. His higher ball speed combined with his higher degree of tilt all but promotes skid throughout the lane. Mix in a high RG, polished shell with our cleanest cover (R2S) to date and the struggle becomes very real for a player with his specs. To combat this, Zach took the surface down to match his Drive at 3000-grit Abralon – something he encourages most people who call into Storm to do when experiencing similar difficulties. “I will be the first one to admit that Timeless just wasn’t the ball for me” said Zach. “I drilled one pin up strong and one pin down smoother and it was the latter that only found its way into my bag for one specific scenario - the mega burn.” He added “Using a slower buffer, my pin down Timeless was very useful for when the pattern really got trashed and I had to keep my angles tighter from inside. I don’t have the loft game and often get cornered late in blocks because I have to throw weaker equipment with tighter angles. The Timeless allowed me to bump the dry and it wouldn’t over react when it saw friction. Nonetheless, it was very conditional and didn’t get much use.”

Zach wasn’t the only one who felt “trapped” with the Timeless. Taking this into consideration, we went through many iterations of the intended design with the Drive while ultimately settling on an R2S/Nano blend that we cleverly titled: R2S Nano.

Zach sometimes struggles with stronger covers like this stating they “normally aren’t good for me as it usually results in the ball being too cover driven and just lazy.” However, he later affirmed that his “initial impressions weren’t anything as what I had expected. In this case, that was a good thing! It was as if the ball had so much more shape and read in the mid’s (which Timeless was severely lacking) and just never quit.”

BOWLER STATS

Launch Speed: 17mph

RPM:400

Tilt: 15°

Rotation: 60°

PAP: 4 5/8” over, 1/2" up

Layout Used for Test: 4 3/8 x 5 1/8 x 2 3/4   (65° x 4 3/8 x 45°)

Surface Used for Each Ball: 3000-grit Abralon

Oil Pattern Used for Test: Beaten Path, 41’, 1:4.04, 24.25 mL

RESULTS:

Zach rolled each ball 20 times on Kegel's Beaten Path. We took SPECTO readings at the beginning, middle, and end to compare the results for each ball.

Following his preemptive impressions, Zach started an arrow deeper due to the significantly stronger cover and surface prep. There was never any question the ball would miss the spot from too much length.

After about 10 shots with each ball, Zach felt he should have moved more at this point. Every shot with the Drive was high flush, but a little too high sometimes tripping out the 4-9 several times. The Timeless was the ball Zach felt comfortable with at this point because it was not seeing the friction as severely as the Drive.

SPECTO does a fantastic job of showing the difference in shape with both balls. The breakpoint distances are pretty tightly grouped even though the Drive is over an arrow deeper towards the end of this test. The Timeless needed a straighter trajectory with less launch angle to find the pocket. Overall, Zach preferred the shape and location he had to play with the Drive being inside the track of the Timeless with fresh oil instead of out in the dirt.

Zach has already dedicated a slot in his Open Championships bag for the Drive saying “It is a true improvement as opposed to just being a follow-up with another Belmo logo on it. It’s a unique piece that is going to end up in my tournament bag headed to the OC's this year. It provides that stability and continuous motion needed to control tougher conditions and create area when there isn’t much room for error.”

 

With the same layout and the same surface for 20 shots the Drive, on average, when compared to the Timeless produced:

+6.43 boards deeper set-down

+0.64° launch angle

-1.16° entry angle to pocket

+2 feet of backend

 

Highlights from the test:

https://youtu.be/MEIkyCeRpsQ

 

 Storm has a full-time tech representative ready to answer any questions you have about the Drive or any other Storm product. Please call (800) 369-4402 (Mon-Fri, 8am-5pm MST) or send an email to tech@stormbowling.com (anytime).

 


Son!Q - An Internal Review

The Centripetal HD Core delivers instant revs and puts the entire category on notice.

 

Since its inception, the evolution of the design can be traced across the Centripetal Low Flare Core, C3 Centripetal Control Core, and now the Centripetal HD Core. At first glance the Centripetal HD Core may look familiar, but deep down is where the magic truly happens. It is the densest core of any symmetrical Storm ball to date producing an RG value of 2.47. Historically, these renditions of the Centripetal shape have all exhibited a lower RG value with varying degrees of differential achieved by the manipulation of the densities in the core material itself. The Centripetal HD (high density) is the heaviest to date which makes the Son!Q much more center-heavy.  The Marvel Pearl retains the primary shape, but is constructed with a material of lower specific gravity.  What does this mean to you? Let’s explore…

We know that controlling the midlane is what the pros are renowned for. They are able to see ball motion in a way that lets them make the best decision in order to get their ball into a roll before the end of the pattern. Whether they do that with surface, speed, axis tilt, or core technology is dependent on the situation at hand, but believe me when I say having a ball in your hand that is trying to roll as soon as it hits the lanes certainly doesn’t hurt. Chris Barnes, who’s arguably the best technician on tour, told me years ago that he only uses low RG balls for this very reason.

A ball that is rolling into the pins carries considerably better than a ball that is hooking into the pins. When a ball makes impact and doesn’t have a direction of motion that is in-line with the centers of gravity of the pins, some of the energy that would have been available for the post-collision pin velocity will be lost to rotation and friction. Because the Centripetal HD Core’s center of gravity is extremely low, it consistently impacts the pins at the perfect spot every time maximizing carry.

Delving a little deeper into the physics behind it, angular momentum is much harder for an external force to change its direction as opposed to linear momentum. Angular momentum is essentially the rotational equivalent of linear momentum and remains constant unless acted upon by an external torque that’s proportional to the initial moment of inertia (the bowler’s release). The faster the angular momentum created, the more torque is required to cause a change in angular acceleration. Simply stated, we apply rotational energy to create angular momentum around the weight block of a bowling ball, AKA torque. This energy we impart on the ball stays the same until something else tries to stop it, like the friction on a lane or 40lbs worth of bowling pins. Cores like the Centripetal HD in the Son!Q that have lower RG values have a higher potential to conserve its angular momentum throughout the lane and into the pins. This results in less deflection, better carry, and higher scores.

Getting into something that’s a tad more observable to the naked eye, the entry angle into the pocket that the Son!Q creates really wasn’t that steep. Especially when compared to something like a Hy-Road Pearl that’s at the other end of the spectrum when discussing RG values. Balls like the Hy-Road Pearl, at least for me and the way I roll it, really magnify both wet and dry circumstances which is probably why they only time I use the ball is when there is at least 2000-4000 surface on it. With the Son!Q, I noticed less wrapped 10-pin leaves, fewer stone-9’s, and much lower flight paths of the pins when the ball makes contact – which was optimal for carry in my many off-pocket hits because the pins are colliding with each other instead of flying above one another. On the rare occasion I left a stone-9, there was always a messenger there to greet it.

BOWLER STATS

Launch Speed: 18mph

RPM: 490

Tilt:

Rotation: 45°

PAP: 5” straight over

Layout Used for Test: 5 x 6 x 4  (80° x 5 x 60°)

Surface Used for Each Ball: 1500-grit Polished

Oil Pattern Used for Test: Beaten Path, 41’, 4.04:1, 24.25 mL

 

RESULTS:

For this test, I tossed 30 shots with each ball on a fresh Beaten Path pattern and took excerpts from each transition you can see below in the SPECTO results. Even just a 0.010 difference in the low RG versus the Marvel Pearl was enough to make the Son!Q breakpoint distance a couple feet sooner during my initial warm-up when getting lined up. But for this test, I wanted to show the best line to the pocket for both balls on the Beaten Path pattern by Kegel. Early on (fig.1), the Son!Q’s lay-down had to be about 3 boards inside of the Marvel Pearl. From slightly inside, the breakpoint distance was 1-2 feet later for the Son!Q, but it was also crossing more boards overall given the same speed and hand position I was using.

As the lane started to transition (after about 12 shots) I moved the standard 2:1 and found no shortage of movement or carry with either ball. The Son!Q laydown remained just inside of the Marvel Pearl with the breakpoints inching closer to one another downlane (fig. 2). The R2S cover on the Son!Q was able to generate slightly more entry angle into the pocket due to its cleaner nature when compared to the R2X featured on the Marvel Pearl.

After another 12 shots or so I moved another 2 left but kept my eyes the same. At this point, the breakpoint distance for both balls were well-nigh similar and the breakpoint boards were pretty close as well (fig. 3).

The differences in the two balls, for me, shined through on the fresh. When the lane started to really break down, the spread between the two got closer with the additional friction that was happening in the fronts. If you already have a Marvel Pearl but are considering picking up a Son!Q, I would recommend another one of your favorite layouts or a simple surface change just to give yourself a little more diversity in your bag - unless a 3-5 board shift inside and a slightly more angular downlane transition is what you are looking for given equal layouts/surfaces. To date, the original Marvel Pearl @ 3000-grit Abralon was my favorite “on the fresh” ball. Now that the Son!Q has made its way into my hands, I will keep it at the original 1500-grit polished surface and use it to fill that transition gap I’ve been combating for such a long time and reintroduce my Marvel Pearl back to 3000-grit.

 

With the same layout and the same surface for 30 shots the Son!Q, on average, when compared to the Marvel Pearl produced:

+2.48 boards deeper set-down

+0.030° entry angle to pocket

+1.16 feet of backend

 

Highlights from the test:

https://youtu.be/vQwK36Yt7GU

 

Storm has a full-time tech representative ready to answer any questions you have about the Son!Q or any other Storm product. Please call (800) 369-4402 (Mon-Fri, 8am-5pm MST) or send an email to tech@stormbowling.com (anytime).

 


MatchMaker Live - Identify Your Arsenal

Roll 'em before you own 'em at Storm / Roto Grip MatchMaker Live.

To be victorious in battle, your weaponry must be suited to your strengths. The Storm / Roto Grip MatchMaker program gives you the opportunity to test your artillery before you add it to your arsenal.* With balls pre-drilled to specific spans, bowlers of all sizes and skill levels can experience for themselves which balls offer the feel, shape, and action through the pins that will put them in a position of domination. Welcome to triumph.

*We will have 13, 14 & 15 lbs. balls on hand for you to try