Crux Prime versus PhysiX - Internal Review

The Crux Prime delivers the power and flare the line is known for, but has a few surprises up its sleeve to offer a bit more control.


The PhysiX and the Crux Prime have more in common than one might think - performance being one of the lesser accords. Let's take a trip down Memory Lane and see how their genealogy relates, shall we?

The PhysiX features a coverstock that has never been introduced to the United States until now, and a core that the world has yet to see: the Atomic Core. At first glance, the Atomic Core automatically connects itself to the Storm brand. There’s no doubt where this shape came from! But it’s not all pizzazz. The inlets surrounding the classic Oval Bolt actually do serve a purpose. They form very large RG bands the ball doesn’t want to deviate away from as its rolling towards the pins. This creates a ball motion that is tough for 35 pounds worth of bowling pins to exact their will upon.

Review: Hank Boomershine on the Atomic Core

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aBl-XCLgW6s&t=84s

NRG Hybrid has never been put on a catalogue featured, domestically released ball. So it’s fitting that it is featured on a shape that very well may be the most iconic design to ever leave Brigham City, Utah.

We’ll admit, behind the scenes, we were indecisive as to what cover we were going to wrap the Atomic Core in when it was time to unveil it to the public. I mean, when you have so many good ones at your disposal, it makes it kind of hard to decide! We don't develop balls just to develop balls; each one has a specific purpose with a design intent. So during the time of development, Bowl Expo 2018 was just around the corner in Las Vegas, Nevada. We decided to take the top three coverstock contenders that could potentially marry with the Atomic Core and let the public decide this ball’s fate. Keeping the core a secret, NRG Hybrid was the eventual winner based on the feedback we received from the public testing and the PhysiX became so. What were the other two test covers, you ask? One was R2S and the other that came in second place by photo finish is what we refer to as “SPEC” today. Believe me when I say we are always testing experimental shapes and fascinating covers here at the bowling ball factory. The Catalyst Core was a design that the masses were demanding to be brought back and what better way to do it than with an all-new cover!

The vertical cavity that’s nestled in the center mass of the Catalyst shape acts as a deliberately-placed balance hole which is very user-friendly when you’re able to drill into it and not affect its dimensions too much.

The Crux Prime has all the ingredients of a dangerous weapon from the baseline.

The chemistry behind SPEC is enough to warrant its own full-length seminar, so we won’t dive too hard into the details here. But it is important to note that this material grips the lane unlike anything that has ever left the Utah plant. In a nutshell, the innate Ra of SPEC is slightly higher than our other primary coverstocks that don’t use an ancillary additive or enhancer. Chemical friction, surface roughness, and COF’s are commonalities in the bowling game we know today. But there is another component to bowling ball development and performance that ties in directly to the endless tapestry that is ball motion: chemical tackiness. For instance, a pearl/polished ball has a very high dry lane coefficient of friction. A ball like this is extremely tacky when it encounters arid lane material. Put this ball on oil, and its COF becomes almost nil. SPEC material, however, creates virtually the same adherence on dry lane material at any given surface. This extra “cling” the ball produces gives the wielder added bearing and control especially when needing to get the ball to shape properly after moving in deep with heftier launch angles. The result is sustained entry angle into the pins and prevention of the ball migrating forward too quickly (rolling out). For lack of a better term, this “cohesion factor” the Crux Prime creates when it touches the lane largely makes up for the decline in surface profile which results in a minimal loss in backend reaction over time.


Now that these balls have names and directions, it’s time to dive into the nitty-gritty an expose as many details as we can about the Crux Prime and PhysiX.



BOWLER STATS:

Launch Speed: 18mph

RPM: 490

Tilt:

Rotation: 45°

PAP: 5” straight over

Layout Used for Test: 5 x 3 x 2 (35° x 5 x 30°)

Surface Used on Both Balls: 3000-grit Abralon

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

The layout chosen for these two balls was 5x3x2. As always, Storm’s VLS system is an original conception and is the only layout system in the industry that takes the shape of the weight block into account.

 

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 30 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 Storm Surface Factory machine with fresh Abralon pads for each to achieve the most consistent finish possible.

 

THE RESULTS:

The Crux Prime breathes new life into the Premier line with the never-before-seen SPEC coverstock. There were some palpable differences between the Crux Prime and the PhysiX that challenges the conventional way we think some of these chemical formulas behave. I found this the case both objectively and subjectively. Let's refer to the former, shown below.

Solids are widely accepted as balls that require heavier volumes to perform as intended, comparatively to pearls and hybrids. The Crux Prime naturally settled me about 5 boards deeper than the PhysiX, but the interesting part was what happened on the backend. At over a degree more entry angle at the point of impact, the Crux Prime left me astonished time and again. This really came in handy when I started to see the ball checking a little early and I crept inside to find my easy float through the fronts once again. This doesn't make the PhysiX a bad ball or under-performer by any means, there's a time a place for each and every ball. NRG Hybrid has an innate chemical friction built into its substructure thanks to the Nano additive we utilize in it. This makes the ball want to lose its axis rotation fairly quickly (higher rev rates only amplify this) so the PhysiX set down point was always just outside the Crux Prime for me. With its earlier breakpoint, the PhysiX at 1000 or 2000-grit would be enough to tackle the heaviest of the heavy that I would ever see here in Northern Utah.

 

The chemical adhesion (mentioned earlier) the Crux Prime creates to the lane is observable and very much welcomed. Its able to maintain its mid-lane read with no shortfall of entry angle. We all look for that "unicorn" reaction where the ball is clean through the fronts, strong mid-lane, great continuation through the deck, and hits like a truck. If you are reading this and you've found the prodigal ball that does it all, please drop me a line because I will pay dearly for it. If there was ever a ball I've rolled that does it all and then some, this is as close to that fabled reaction I've ever seen. The tackiness it seemed to produce when it encountered dry lane kept the ball from jerking too hard off the spot. "Controllable angle" sounds like an oxymoron, but the Crux Prime provides it with ease. I can't wait to see how this coverstock performs on future cores - symmetrical and asymmetrical alike.

 

CONCLUSION:

True to its heritage, the Crux Prime continues to impress me every time I pick it up. When I needed to be aggressive and step in to sling the ball farther out, I could tap into the Catalyst Core's power potential with as little effort as moving up 6" on the approach. I also liked the response of the cover when I was looking for friction up front. I felt accurate with the Crux Prime in my hands, and I was confident from multiple angles. Overall maneuverability was excellent, which made it very easy to get my swing into position and free up my grip. The out of box 2000-grit surface demands a pretty slick environment to thrive on, so taking it up to 3000-grit for this test was a good decision as I see myself being able to use it on a wider variety of conditions and in different bowling centers. There was enough of a difference between the PhysiX and Crux Prime for me that I would justify reserving a spot for each in my bag when traveling to future tournaments.

Highlights from the test:

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


Code X versus Alpha Crux - 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 down lane. 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 mid-lane 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 layout chosen for these two balls was 6x4x3. As always, Storm’s VLS system is an original conception and is the only layout system in the industry that takes the shape of the weight block into account.

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).


Son!Q versus Marvel Pearl - 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).

 


Check Out The Sure Lock

The Sure Lock is available now at a pro shop near you. This solid addition to the Lock family features a lot of continuation in a ball that is designed for heavier oil. The Sure Lock features the RAD-X Core and the GI-17 Solid Reactive Coverstock. It comes out of the box at 2000 grit factory finish.

“If you’re looking for a ball that will read the midlane but still give you the continuation through the backends, the Sure Lock is the ball for you,” said Steve Kloempken.

We’ve got a couple of ball reaction videos on our YouTube channel featuring Storm Staff Members, Darren Tang and Dan Higgins. Be sure to head to our Storm Bowling channel to check them all out.

Have you added the Sure Lock to your bag? Be sure to let us know what you think by reaching out to us on our social media channels or using the #StormNation. We can’t wait to hear what you think!

Click here to view the Sure Lock ball page