SPI Urethane Comparison

Watch the videos, then read what our employees have to say about it below!

(We're bowlers too, ya know)


When throwing the Fast Pitch, I had to play further right than I normally play and feel as though I was pointing to the pocket. If I kept my speed slower and really focused on visualizing my path, it’s a controlled shape that is predictable. For me, the Fast Pitch hooked later and never really overreacted on the back. When I threw the Pitch Black, I had to move my feet further left because it used energy sooner. During the test, I experienced what I normally feel when I throw urethane. My feet were further left so my instinct was to throw it right. If I did this with my normal speed and missed right, it didn’t quite get to the pocket. I had to stay slow and really feel it off my hand. Throwing this ball really held me accountable to what I’m doing with my hand.

Throwing the Rubicon UC3 was different than anything I’ve ever experienced with urethane. It was easy to find the pocket. When I moved to the shorter pattern, I was able to get it further to the right at the arrows and watch it roll perfectly into the pocket. I could miss right and miss it a little at the bottom, and it would still make it back to the pocket. I could miss left and it found enough hold to still hit the head pin. This ball allowed me to play the part of the lane that I feel most comfortable and play there longer. I’m positive that it will make it into my bag and might help me find success in the games in league that I’m currently struggling with.

-Blair Blumenscheid, Communications

https://youtu.be/XZVz3s9bh40

Oil Pattern: Kegel Broadway, 37', 4.09:1, 23.25 mL
Ball Layout: 4x4x2

For me, the Fast Pitch allowed me to play extremely straight without sacrificing any hitting power. Of our three options, the Fast Pitch gave me the straightest path to the pocket and gave me the most amount of hold. As I moved to the Pitch Black, with its lower RG, I could open up my angles and still get that great urethane shape (early and smooth) even on the fresh condition which can often be more challenging with reactive. And lastly, when I moved to the UC3, the stronger cover and more dynamic core allowed me to create more motion and entry angle. I could move my feet inside about 4 boards from the Pitch Black and create the most shape with this, It wasn’t quite as much as I would see from a controllable reactive like the IQ Tour, for example, but clearly it was the strongest of the three urethanes.

-Steve Kloempken, VP Marketing

https://youtu.be/TJtb8qmQfJ0

Oil Pattern: Kegel Middle Road, 39', 3.96:1, 22.85 mL
Ball Layout: 5x4x2

For me, the Fast Pitch allowed me to go the straightest. It has the highest RG value and lowest total differential, so I was able to stay straighter even with my slower speed and stay in control of the lane. The Pitch Black forced me a few boards left and hooked earlier. Since it hooked earlier, it was more forward downlane which gave me more control. For me, the Pitch Black is better if there is more volume, and the Fast Pitch doesn’t hook enough. The Rubicon UC3 forced me the farthest left, but still gave me control of the end of the pattern. I felt like it got the farthest down the lane but wasn’t sideways off the end of the 37ft Broadway V2 pattern I bowled on. I could confidently throw it to the friction to the right and know that it wouldn’t miss the spot. The UC3 is a great step off both urethane balls if the front of the lane hooks too much and you need to shape it more left-to-right.

-Alex Hoskins, R&D Manager

https://youtu.be/daJG2n_ogq8

Oil Pattern: Kegel Broadway V2, 37', 4.77:1, 26.45 mL
Ball Layout: 5x4x2

The best thing about this trio of urethane balls is you get three distinct shapes from each of them. Fast Pitch is the cleanest of the trio and is why I must play the farthest right with it. You may see the break point is earlier, but this is just a result of my launch angle being shallower. SPECTO measures break point by telling when the ball stops moving right for a right hander and vice versa for a lefty. Fast Pitch is perfect when there is a little more friction on the lanes. Pitch Black provides the early hook with smooth down lane reaction I expect from urethane. I have to stand a bit further left of Fast Pitch because of this, but the ball doesn’t overreact down lane. Pitch Black is perfect for when there is a little less friction present or when the pattern is hard. Last is the UC3, which gives me a little more length than Pitch Black but is more responsive to friction and has the down lane reaction of an asymmetrical ball. This ball is going to be perfect for when I need a little more shape down lane as the front part of the lane goes away and I am forced left.

-Chayton Petersen, Technical Service Representative

https://youtu.be/qNY0ZR2ecBc

Oil Pattern: Kegel Chromium, 42', 6.71:1, 25.56 mL
Ball Layout: 4x5x5 - 2LS

 STORM HAS A FULL-TIME TECH REPRESENTATIVE READY TO ANSWER ANY QUESTIONS YOU HAVE ABOUT THE RUBICON UC3, FAST PITCH, PITCH BLACK OR ANY OTHER STORM PRODUCT. PLEASE CALL (800) 369-4402 (MON-FRI, 8AM-5PM MST) OR SEND AN EMAIL TO TECH@STORMBOWLING.COM (ANYTIME).


Trend 2 VS Trend | Reaction Testing

True to its heritage, the Trend 2 continues to impress me every time I pick it up. When I needed to be aggressive and step in to project the ball farther out, I could tap into the Piston LD’s power potential with as little effort as a hand position. The weight block is comprised of less dense material than the original Piston weight block. This drives and RG up and lowers the differential so the ball doesn’t get rolling forward too quickly. I also liked the response of NRG Hybrid in the oil when I was deeper inside. I felt accurate with the Trend 2 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 1500-grit polished is a little too clean for my liking, so taking it down to 3000-grit might be a good decision as I see myself being able to use it on a wider variety of conditions and in different bowling centers. Out of box, I was roughly 5 boards deeper with the Trend 2 and required a steeper launch angle in order to keep it in the 1-3. NRG Hybrid handles oil without any issues while the Piston LD keeps the ball coming around the corner down lane. The results are evident in the SPECTO graph below.

Despite being set down almost an arrow deeper, the Trend 2 still had over a foot sooner breakpoint with .2° more entry angle into the pocket. As mentioned earlier, these results are due to NRG Hybrid being stronger than R2S Pearl and the Piston LD Core able to shape the lane a little more continuously throughout compared to the Piston Core found in the original Trend.

 

 

HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE TEST:

https://youtu.be/OAY1RubUWUI

 STORM HAS A FULL-TIME TECH REPRESENTATIVE READY TO ANSWER ANY QUESTIONS YOU HAVE ABOUT THE TREND 2 OR ANY OTHER STORM PRODUCT. PLEASE CALL (800) 369-4402 (MON-FRI, 8AM-5PM MST) OR SEND AN EMAIL TO TECH@STORMBOWLING.COM (ANYTIME).


Proton PhysiX vs AstroPhysiX vs PhysiX

For this test, I drilled one of each of the balls in question and used the same 4.5 x 4.5 x 2 layout across the board. It’s logical to claim they’re going to roll different, but we want to find out just how different.

I tested these balls in three different oil pattern scenarios with the thought in mind that each one would play to a particular strength of each ball. For this test, I will find the optimal line to demonstrate where I would have to play with each ball on each pattern.

Storm is in an interesting position right now. It’s producing relevant and useful bowling balls that all serve a purpose. So how does the company continue to advance the frontier of bowling ball science? Easy: always be at the drawing board. If you’re not at the drawing board, you’re not in the game. You’re something else. By standing at the edge of what is known and unknown, you can create a tried and tested quiver of covers and cores at your disposal. One thing Storm has been particularly good at over the years is evoking memories of previous balls with new releases, which will tug on the heartstrings of bowlers as they fondly remember the gear that they have used over the years.

The Proton PhysiX isn’t only the third representation of the Atomic Core, it comes from a wholly different classification of coverstocks different from its predecessors: the PhysiX and AstroPhysiX. If there wasn’t enough contrast between R2S Pearl and NRG Hybrid on the PhysiX and AstroPhysiX respectfully, throw NeX Solid into the crucible and you pretty much have yourself a full 3-ball arsenal.

As many of you probably know all too well, R2S (particularly in its pearlized form) is the cleanest, most responsive (to friction) coverstock development of this century. NRG itself has been around for nearly ten years and still performs as admirably today as it did a decade ago. When we were first deliberating amongst ourselves which cover to put on the now iconic Atomic Core, the two most noteworthy formulas of our generation were the obvious choices. In typical Storm progression a pearl, solid, and hybrid version of most core types gets introduced worldwide. But rarely, if ever, do we see three balls as diverse as the Proton PhysiX, AstroPhysiX, and PhysiX in such a short timeframe all thanks to their own contrasting chemical elements.

BOWLER STATS:

Launch Speed: 17.5mph

RPM: 450

Tilt:

Rotation: 45°

PAP: 5” straight over

Layout Used for Test: 4.5 x 4.5 x 2 (55° x 4.5 x 30°)

Surface Used: Proton PhysiX: 2000-grit, PhysiX: 3000-grit, AstroPhysiX: 1500-grit Polished

Oil Patterns: Broadway, 37’, 4.09:1, 23.25 mL; Carbon, 42', 10.36:1, 24.60 mL; Statue of Liberty, 47', 3.05:1, 24.73 mL.

 

Highlights from the test:

https://youtu.be/Z22yFF0DR_Q


THE RESULTS

On a condition I would typically use urethane, you can bet that anything will hook on this 37' 4.09:1 pattern. The trick is controlling the ball and the pocket, which is why urethane is a vital resource for anything shorter than 40', depending on lane surface and player style, of course. I did not alter any of the balls' surfaces so the Proton PhysiX stayed at 2000-grit, the PhysiX at 3000-grit, and the AstroPhysiX remained polished. Naturally, the AstroPhysiX played the furthest right with the most entry angle. The Proton naturally had the deepest laydown, but put me in a zone I'd prefer not to be in because it was simply too deep on this shorter pattern. In a perfect world, I would be using urethane on this pattern. But if all I had was reactive, I would drill a Proton PhysiX with a shorter pin, keep it dull, and stay right for as long as I could. The other two balls were just too quick when they encountered friction.

On a 42' 10.36:1 pattern, you can take your pick of what you want to roll. This type of pattern lends itself to many styles, balls, and angles of attack. With this much oil in the middle and friction to the outside, there's a clearly defined breakpoint here and it's going to be outside of 5. The Proton wasn't a bad look, but it started me too deep than I'd prefer. For my style on this pattern, smoother surfaces usually prevail. I appreciated the entry angle the AstroPhysiX was able to provide and I know that as the lanes transition I can stay in this ball the longest while still maintaining great finish down lane.

On the 47' 3.05:1 Statue of Liberty surface will be key. The two balls I would bring to tackle this pattern would surely be the PhysiX and Proton PhysiX. This type of condition is exactly what these balls were built for. As you can see from the graph above the AstroPhysiX struggled to go through the pins the proper way and probably wouldn't become an option for this pattern until very late in the day. I really had to focus on speed control just to be sure to hit the pocket with the AstroPhysiX. However, one of the niceties in the PhysiX lineup is that it's never been easier to adjust between balls. Stepping up to the PhysiX or Proton PhysiX was the obvious choice for this longer pattern.

THE BOTTOM LINE:

The most notable design feature of all three balls is their finish down lane en route back to the pocket. The Atomic Core left me in that confident state of mind where the ball is going to flare when and where I need it to. Because the PhysiX and AstroPhysiX have already been established, it’s important to note the Proton PhysiX has a specific target market of bowlers who are either beginners looking for extra help in hooking the ball, leaguers who need to blend out wet/dry, or high-level tournament players who need the teeth and flare to cut through the heavy conditions they regularly face. You can swing for the fences with this one - there’s no concern of it not making the turn back.

The colors provide instant feedback on just how quickly the Proton loses axis rotation, slows down, and gets rolling forward. This can come in especially handy because of just how strong the ball is and becomes a good indicator when it’s proper time to shell or even ball down. There’s always a bit of a trade-off with midlane read and entry angle when it comes to a ball like this, and you definitely don’t get the same sharp turn as you would on an AstroPhysiX. Understanding the design intent of each ball should make the adjustments between the two that much easier.

The Proton PhysiX was intended to make life easier for bowlers who need to dig in and create some significant motion front to back. The bottom line from this review – that is absolutely true. You can be confident that no matter which “PhysiX” you choose, it’ll have all of Storm’s best research and development technologies packed into it.


Bowling Ball Motion: The Basics

There are many variables that can affect the way your ball rolls, but why should you care? Some are related to the way you release it and your unique delivery. Other variables can be credited to that evil lane man and how he conditions the lane. Then there are factors that are above and beyond anyone’s control, and, no matter how hard you try, you cannot change them. We are going to discuss the subtle distinctions in how you roll the ball and what you can control in your game that play a bigger role than you might think. Understanding these characteristics will help you in choosing your next ball and, furthermore, help your pro shop operator decide a layout for your brand new toy.

https://youtu.be/lh0nWHT9p4I


WHAT IS SURFACE?

The chemical composition in conjunction with the surface preparation of the coverstock matters greatly. A solid coverstock with a low grit surface texture will lose speed at a higher rate than a polished, pearlized coverstock. Friction reduces ball speed, so this actuality is highly linear with that of wood lanes or lanes that have not been oiled in a long time. Harder lane materials usually require more ball surface whilst softer lanes demand less ball surface. Fact: You will never meet a professional bowler of today that dislikes a good amount of texture on their ball. Why? Not only do they recognize the fact that when a ball rolls into the pocket it carries significantly better than a ball that skids into the pocket, but it also reduces the vast majority of any over/under reaction tendencies; a bowler’s worst nightmare. Not saying polish on a ball is a bad thing by any means, just that there's a time and place for both and it's the bowler's responsibility to know when to use it.

WHAT IS SPEED?

Bowlers with high ball speeds and without the revs to match can be considered “speed dominant.” They will typically favor more aggressive surfaces and layouts to help their ball pick up sooner on the lane. “Rev dominant” players with slower ball speeds typically like less aggressive balls, layouts, and surfaces to help prevent their ball from overreacting. Did you know that your ball decelerates as it travels down the lane? Depending on its surface, it can lose 3-5mph every shot. So, when you see the speedometer clock your ball on the scoring monitor, it’s taking that measurement down by the pins, not at your release.

WHAT IS REV RATE?

Rev rate is a calculation of the amount of revolutions a bowler imparts on a ball. The common unit used is revolutions per minute, or RPM. Over the years, bowlers have generalized the RPM gamut into three categories: stroker, tweener, and cranker. Understanding your rev rate (and its relationship with your speed, axis tilt/rotation) is important because it helps to categorize your specific needs as a bowler. Knowing what type of ball to buy, what techniques need to be applied, or the type of wrist device needed all depend heavily on your rev rate.

WHAT IS AXIS TILT?

Axis tilt is the vertical angle at which the ball rotates. Commonly known as spin, axis tilt is determined by the position of the thumb during the release. If the hand turns too early, the thumb exits on top of the ball. Bowlers with a high degree of axis tilt will be able to see the top of their hand during the release and follow through. The resultant path of a ball with a higher degree of axis tilt is extended and the amount of backend potential is reduced. Oily lanes become quite difficult when the core is rotating in a vertical fashion but is actually favored on drier lanes. Being able to have the thumb exit at the bottom of the forward swing minimizes axis tilt. The lower the axis tilts, the sooner the ball will enter its roll phase before making impact with the pins.

WHAT IS AXIS ROTATION?

Axis rotation is the horizontal measure of the angle of the ball’s revolutions, and much like axis tilt, it is also determined by the bowler’s release. Axis rotation is commonly known today as side roll. When the ball has no axis rotation, the fingers exited directly underneath the ball at the 6 o’clock position. End-over-end roll (0° of axis rotation) removes all hook potential from the ball regardless of the amount of revolutions, speed, or lane conditions. High amounts of axis rotation (90° of rotation) will cause the ball to skid further, but unlike axis tilt, will cause an intense hook angle at the breakpoint. Players with high amounts of axis rotation will favor drier lanes, and lower amounts of axis rotation usually like more oil. Higher amounts of friction will cause the ball to lose axis rotation at higher rates. Initial axis rotation, ball speed, axis tilt, and lane friction all dictate when side revolutions become end-over-end revolutions. Generally speaking, balls skid, then hook, then roll. Less rotation will shorten the skid phase and get the ball into the hook phase earlier, while maximum rotation will extend the skid phase of the ball and increase its hook potential down lane. Manipulating your axis rotation is a valuable tool because it will change the ball’s reaction while still allowing you to stay in the same part of the lane and use the same break point. Ideally, you would like to limit lateral moves on the lane because it forces you to make multiple adjust­ments with speed, tilt, etc. and often, particularly on challenging conditions, the zone you’re going to have to play and the break point are pretty defined.


Through practice, you can alter or enhance your ball speed, rev rate, axis tilt, and axis rotation. The best bowlers in the world have the ability to manipulate any and/or all of these at a moment’s notice. Furthermore, having a solid understanding of surface and when to use it is equally as essential. Technology of the sport today only enhances the subtleties of your game. Rubber balls and wooden surfaces did not place an emphasis on shot making versatility. Ball technology and oil patterns of the modern era force quick-changing conditions and different parts of the lane to be utilized that were not in play thirty years ago. Knowing your roll is more important now than ever before.


Parallax | Layout Comparison | Pin-to-PAP

For this comparison test, I selected three different layouts each with the same pin buffer and PSA values but differing pin-to-PAP distances. I will find the optimal line with each ball/layout and roll similar lines with them to distinguish each ball’s unique layout characteristics.

 

The pin-to-PAP is unquestionably the most influential variable in the layout selection process. It's immensely important to not only look at the innate characteristics built into the balls themselves, but the layouts, most specifically the pin-to-PAP distance, as well. For an in-depth analysis of what pin-to-PAP distances represent in bowling ball layout application, be sure to check out Alex Hoskins' thorough column on the subject here.

I’ve maintained the pin buffer and PSA radii with each of these layouts but adjusted the pin-to-PAP separation across the test balls in 2” increments.

 

BOWLER STATS:

Launch Speed: 18mph

RPM: 480

Tilt:

Rotation: 45°

Layouts Used for Test: 2 x 5 x 1.5 (30° x 2 x 50°), 4 x 5 x 1.5 (60° x 4 x 25°), 6 x 5 x 1.5 (65° x 6 x 20°)

Surface Used on All Balls: 1500-grit Polished

Oil Patterns: 1.) Broadway V2, 37', 4.77:1, 26.45 mL  2.) Tungsten, 39', 6.25:1, 25.60 mL  3.) Beaten Path, 41’, 4.04:1, 24.25 mL


The 2 x 5 x 1.5 layout is an option for players looking for stability. When the patterns are short without much hold and urethane isn't an option, shorter pin-to-PAP distances become the go-to choice. In this instance, the Aeroflo Core is almost completely laid on its side which puts it in a lower RG orientation. The lower the RG orientation, the less resistant the ball will be to changing direction down lane. This type of layout rolls early and smooths out the breakpoint shape; smoothness equals predictability here. The 2 x 5 x 1.5 shined on the shorter pattern, naturally. At just 37' and a 4.77:1 ratio, Kegel's Broadway V2 is short with not much hold. The 5" PSA-to-PAP distance ensures sufficient entry angle and the 1.5" pin buffer provides ample roll through the pins, but because it's still a very stable overall core position, this layout may struggle on lengthier patterns. But if urethane is not your "thing", then consider a shorter pin-to-PAP layout to help control those more compact patterns when the ball tries to dart sideways off the breakpoint.

At just over 4° of entry angle, the short pin was able to control the pocket much better than the other two test balls despite being thrown at the same set down and launch angle. The longer pins simply created too much flare and volatility which made it problematic in the effort to keep them on the right side of the headpin on this short, flatter pattern. Instability in core orientation is what makes a ball hook in the first place, but knowing when and where to use such flare potential remains the bowler's responsibility to determine. 

A 4 x 5 x 1.5 Parallax is a versatile layout that provides a player whose speed and rev rate match an all-around functional ball able to be used on a variety of conditions. On the medium 39' Tungsten pattern, this layout shines. With a subtle change in hand position or speed I can navigate to just about anywhere on the lane with this layout and still get the ball to go through the pins the way I need it to. At 4" from the PAP, this pin distance puts the core in a position that's suitable for most house and challenge conditions. It truly is the best of both worlds connecting early roll in company with backend entry angle. The location of the pin falls between a high-RG and low-RG axis orientation which is considerably unstable. Since the core is wobbling vigorously in this position when rolled, this type of setup yields a dependable motion in the midlane which can be useful in many different circumstances. One can avoid getting caught up in a sudden, unforeseen transition because of this layout's ability to read the midlane and blend out the end of the pattern.

Consistent with the shorter pattern, the 4 x 5 x 1.5 layout shaped an entry angle that fell evenly between the long and short pin test balls. On a middle-lengthed pattern such as Tungsten, I could maneuver left or right and still be in the pocket with a subtle hand position or speed change. The 2" pin and 6" pin were either too soft or to sharp respectively on entry and required a complete zone change in order to get back to the 1-3.

An Parallax drilled with a 6 x 5 x 1.5 creates some serious entry angle. On any pattern, any line, it produced the greatest amount of corner to the pocket. In layouts such as this, there is a very specific time and place they should be used. When the pin is 6" from the PAP, the core is stood up on end internally and in a stable, high RG state. This results in the ball focusing its efforts in the later part of the lane since it is tumbling more. When a ball like this is in a higher RG posture, it will be more resistant to changing direction as it rolls down the lane. Longer pin-to-PAP values raise the RG and encourage a slower transition with a beeline shape through the first 2/3 of lane. Because of this, you'll notice more change of direction down lane. For this test I went with the 41' Beaten Path to show just how vast the differences are in these three layouts. The ideal time I would use a 6" pin layout is when the oil is depleted rather than freshly dressed. This is because the ball isn't slowing down as quickly. With every ball, every throw, energy is lost the moment it leaves the bowler's hand. Other factors that contribute to how quickly a ball slows down include surface roughness of the coverstock and lane materials, but this test is solely looking at core properties. When there's a lot of friction on the lanes forcing the ball to slow down too quickly, a longer pin-to-PAP layout can help combat those conditions because the core is allowing the roll phase to happen closer to the pins.

When the pattern is shorter with more friction for balls to react on, everything tends to hook at same spot. How much it hooks is dependent on things like core strength, layout, surface, etc. On this longer test pattern, the differences in the three balls became even more evident with breakpoint distances and entry angles in line with exactly what you would expect from such layouts. The 6" pin had the latest breakpoint and the most angle, with the 4" and 2" falling directly in line behind the former. 

Here's the drilled and un-drilled RG analysis for each of the balls is showcased below. Based on the above ball motion breakdowns on the test patterns, it's understandable why the 6" pin is the most dynamic of the lot. It has the highest combined differential (total and intermediate). The 2" test ball's total differential was comparable to the other two balls, but its extremely stable core position keeps the aggression in check. The 4" test ball's drilled RG turned out exactly as expected: precisely between the 2" and 6". If I was only allowed to choose one ball for a tournament, it would be the 4 x 5 x 1.5 by virtue of it being the most versatile layout of the three. Always remember, it's your job as the bowler to determine when and where to use such layouts. There's a time and place for every ball, every layout.

As mentioned many times before, whenever a hole is introduced to a bowling ball the RG value of the ball rises in that precise spot. Acknowledging that fact, the results from the RG swing test on the three balls aren't that surprising. The pin up Parallax maintained the lowest drilled RG and highest differential thus, making it the most aggressive of the three. It's also objectively true in ball dynamics that an asymmetrical ball becomes even more asymmetrical if the thumb placement is closer to the PSA. And since balance holes are now a thing of the past, being it's important to be mindful and receptive of where the holes may end up in relation to your gripping holes.

 

Knowledge isn't power until it is applied. Now go apply it!

 

Highlights from the test:

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


Axiom - Layout Comparison

For this comparison test, I selected three different layouts each with the same pin to PAP distance but varying pin buffer and PSA values. I will find the optimal line with each ball/layout and roll similar lines with them to distinguish each ball’s unique layout characteristics.

I’ve maintained the pin to PAP distance with each of these layouts but adjusted the pin buffer in 1” increments. The pin to PAP (most influential variable) was held constant at 5” across all three test balls. The CG placement was selected randomly, at best, to better illustrate that static weight sustains little relevance with my style or the conditions I’m bowling on in this test. However, static weight undeniably does matter with “when”, “who”, and "how" variables clearly defined and under certain circumstances, but that’s a topic for a future article.

 

Spinning a symmetrical core around the X-axis (pin) results in the same overall mass distribution no matter where the CG ends up.

The 5 x 5 x 4 layout places the pin directly beneath my ring finger and would all but be referred to as “pin down” at any level in the game. In a brief summation, pin down has historically been known to roll sooner. This conclusion was drawn from the idea that the more static weight was biased towards the thumb caused the ball to rotate off its axis sooner. The antithesis was also widely accepted for pin up balls.

However, the type of technology that commands the contemporary game of today establishes itself on symmetry, asymmetry, and differentials. When static weight was the only ball motion tuning parameter to boost bowling ball performance, it carried a heavier significance. But modern physics dictate that agreement in dimensions, due proportion, and mass arrangement shall have precedence over static weight in bowling ball performance. And because this core has those physics manufactured into it, where the holes are drilled matters more now than ever.

Anytime you introduce a hole into a bowling ball you are raising the RG (radius of gyration) of the bowling ball in that precise spot. When I place holes above and below the pin, I’m greatly affecting the low RG axis of the ball by making the height of the core more like the width. This put the ball’s axis in a high RG orientation and cuts back on overall differential, forcing the ball to roll later rather than sooner and hook less overall. It responds significantly slower to friction, whether it’s to the outside of the lane or at the end of the pattern and blends out extreme transitions between wet and dry. You may have more room for error with a pin down layout as the flare pattern takes longer to finalize and delays the transitions from skid to hook to roll. I prefer playing straighter with larger pin buffers, or when it's late in the block and there's little oil on the lane left to find.

There was only a difference of 1/2° entry angle between these three balls, but over 2 feet of breakpoint distance (front to back) which resulted in either a flush strike or going too high/Brooklyn consistently. Rev dominate bowlers gravitate towards larger buffers due to the lengthened reaction time of the layout. This maximizes their room for error because transition zones with their ball roll are inherently quite short. This gives further credence to the notion that "when" a ball hooks is more important than "how much" a ball hooks.

A pin up 5 x 2 x 2 Axiom sets the pin above my fingers and more to the ring finger side. It was commonly accepted that pin up balls provided more finger weight and delayed the ball’s reaction. As mentioned above, times have changed. Drilling mostly into the high RG axis (Y-axis) of the ball drives the core's width further away from its height by making it taller. This creates a core height that’s even more different than the width that was manufactured in the ball to begin with. This higher “differential” induces greater torque within the ball and forces it to change direction sooner and more overall. You can visually assess this yourself by inspecting the flare pattern on your pin up ball compared to your pin down ball (assuming they’re similar in dynamics).

Pin up balls typically have a greater core orientation benefit when going through the pins because it will likely be in its final roll phase upon impact. And you’ve heard it all before: a ball that’s rolling into the pins has a higher carry percentage than a ball that’s hooking into the pins. Why? Less deflection. A hooking ball still has a skid element associated to it. A rolling ball doesn’t. But pin up balls can sometimes magnify mistakes because their transition zones are so short. Your window for accuracy is now reduced but is still highly dependent on your speed, rev rate, tilt, and rotation.

I like to utilize short pin buffers when I need the ball to get into a roll sooner, especially on heavier patterns. I also like to use pin up balls with longer pin to PAP distances to stand left and throw right because they're ready for friction when they encounter it. If I pull it too far inside into the heavier oil it can still get into a roll and carry rather well. But if I miss right it will still recover all those boards traveled and find its way back to the pocket thanks to its lower RG core orientation and higher overall differential.

Breakpoint distance relationships for the three balls stayed the same with flare potential playing a crucial role in recovery to the pocket. The balls now have to travel a farther distance to get back to the strike zone so the player has to be cognizant of how much the ball is going to hook. Players with higher axis tilts and higher speeds can benefit from smaller buffers by getting it to tilt off its axis sooner. Pin up balls create a low RG band around the X-axis to help it rotate quicker off its axis to combat the slicker oils of today.

An Axiom drilled with a 5 x 3 ½ x 3 naturally drops the pin in my ring finger. This may look like an “exotic” layout, but in reality it’s as ordinary as the other two. Drilling out the pin is preferred over drilling too close or halfway into it because it helps maintain the integrity of the shell and creates a smaller weak point. This mid-range pin buffer distance maximizes proficiency by using the contours of the core to its advantage. For my ball roll and PAP it places finger holes directly in the X-axis and thumb hole very close to the Y-axis, so they reshape the core more uniformly after drilling. I can get the best of both worlds and have found this layout to be one of the most versatile in my bag. With a subtle change in hand position or speed I can navigate to just about anywhere on the lane with this layout and still get the ball to go through the pins the way I need it to. When deciding the layout of your next ball the pin buffer would surely be the second most important variable of the three right behind pin to PAP distance but in front of the PSA's location.

Breakpoint distances remained consistent with the entry angle values branching apart more due to the deeper set down. A 3" buffer can add great versatility to anyone's bag. It's beneficial for just about any style of play. The transition it creates from front to back isn't too fast or too slow. It can also work well on a multitude of patterns. And if it isn't just right, a quick and simple surface adjustment will get it back on track!

And for all you tech enthusiasts out there, the drilled and undrilled RG analysis for each of the balls is showcased below. Knowing what we know now about RG’s and differentials, it’s logical to justify saying pin up balls hooker sooner and more than pin down balls under similar playing conditions. The smaller the buffer, the quicker the ball gets going forward and you can immediately see it in the video below thanks to the low camera angle. Always remember, it's your job as the bowler to determine when to use such layouts. There's a time and place for every ball, every layout.

 

As mentioned many times before, whenever a hole is introduced to a bowling ball the RG value of the ball rises in that precise spot. Acknowledging that fact, the results from the RG swing test on the three balls aren't that surprising. The pin up Axiom maintained the lowest drilled RG and highest differential thus, making its breakpoint the earliest. It's also objectively true in ball dynamics that a symmetrical ball becomes asymmetrical once it's been drilled into and the PSA positions itself close to the thumb once it's been drilled. I've included the new intermediate differential as well. You can see the pin up Axiom also became the most asymmetrical of the group because we squeezed the Y-axis closer to the X-axis but left the Z-axis alone (no balance hole used). From there, lower pin placements (larger buffers) created higher drilled RG's and lower total and intermediate differentials. Knowledge is power. Now go use it to your advantage!

 

Highlights from the test:

https://youtu.be/WBHNRt7sSOo

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


Axiom 6 Ways

Watch the video, then read what our employees have to say about it below!

(Yes, we play bowling, too)

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b8fxFpEFY0M&t=

 

THE CAST:

-in order of appearance-


 

"I drilled it like my favorite IQ Tour and Phaze II. This ball definitely picked up stronger through the mid-lane and had more energy off the spot than my Phaze II. As I moved deeper into the pattern, it continued to shape off the back and roll through the pins like no other."

-Hank Boomershine, VP Sales/R&D

 

 


 

"This is the strongest and smoothest symmetrical I have ever rolled. It is definitely going to be the new benchmark symmetrical ball coming out of my bag. The Phaze II has been one of my favorite symmetricals for the past 4 years and this new Axiom cover/core combination is even stronger and more predictable."

-Alex Hoskins, R&D Manager

 

 

 


"The Axiom gives me a motion in heavy oil that I like to see.  Its strong enough to cut through the heavy oil but doesn’t go sideways when the ball finds friction. This will be something I use on flatter patterns with heavier volume oil. A must have for a bowler that encounters different lane conditions."

Matt Martin, Senior Designer

 

 

 

 


"This ball is SICK! As a player with high speed, the combination of the new NeX coverstock and Orbital weight block allows me to still play in the oil without the ball over skidding. This ball will certainly be the new benchmark ball in my bag!"

-Kendle Miles, Technical Service Representative

 

 

 


"It’s a fantastic, high-end ball that allowed me to play more in the oil without seeing the extra skid or glide that leads to poor pin carry. This ball gave me a shape like my favorite ball, the Phaze 2, but with more overall hook and motion!"

-Steve Kloempken, VP Marketing

 

 

 

 


"I've never seen (or rolled) a solid ball that creates this much angle on the backend. I can be literally anywhere from first arrow to seventh arrow and not worry about the ball fizzling out too soon. That fact, combined with all the mid-lane I can handle, makes this an instant staple in my bag."

-Chad McLean, Technical Director

 

 

 


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


Omega Crux 6 Ways

Watch the video, then read what our employees have to say about it below!

(We're bowlers too, ya know)

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tU1-9QhhoR4

 

THE CAST:

-In order of appearance-


"The Omega Crux is a ball that I’ve been missing in my arsenal. I was recently refit and have been rebuilding my bags. I like to play straight up the lane, and I throw balls with more confidence when I can miss a little to the right or left with a ball. I also like smooth shapes like an !Q Tour, PRO-Motion, and the Roto Grip IDOL. My favorite pearl asymmetric ball was the Snap Lock and I’ve been looking for a ball that I can trust like I did with it. After a few shots out with the Omega Crux, I quickly realized this was a ball I knew I’d like to throw. In the video, you can see I missed pretty severely on one shot and it still shaped up and struck. I threw it in my weekly league and had the front 10 with it during the second game. I could trust that as long as I got it to the right spot down lane, it would find the pocket. This layout is great for me too because it allows me to stay to the right longer without having to move left."

-Blair Blumenscheid, Communications

 

"The Crux line has been one of my favorites since the original Crux. I see the Omega Crux as a great option when I need to move left and still get the ball back to the pocket.Don’t be fooled, this ball has some teeth, and can make the straightest players move to the middle of the lane, or further!"

-Matt Martin, Senior Designer

 


 

"The perfect blend of coverstock and core shape to give big motion off the spot. I drilled it like my favorite Physix and it was a little sooner and more overall hook than the Physix. Great ball for  flatter, higher volume patterns for me."

-Hank Boomershine, VP Sales/R&D

 


"What more can I say about this ball that Kris Prather didn’t already say himself on TV. It’s super aggressive and allowed me to play multiple angles while creating some amazing pin carry. In fact, for my first 12 shots with it (on camera), I rolled a perfect game with three distinct angles of attack. It’s incredible."

-Steve Kloempken, VP Marketing

 


 

"I was immediately impressed because this ball allowed me to play multiple angles of attack while maintaining optimal pin carry. This is a true testament of how reliable and predictable the Catalyst weight block is and has been for years. The name speaks for itself!

-Kendle Miles, Technical Service Representative

 


"I usually favor knocking the shine off of my pearl balls, and this one comes pre-surfaced to my exact preference! I get both the float through the fronts and the backend traction I need thanks to the GI-20 coverstock. Not to mention the Catalyst Core maintains its integrity better than most asymmetricals thanks to its vertical cavity in the center. I know what I'm getting every time I put a hole in one."

-Chad McLean, Technical Director

 


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


Omega Crux - Layout Comparison

You can't make an informed decision without information. We believe the bigger the idea, the bigger the rewards. The intent of this article is to help you get the most out of your brand new Omega Crux.

 

For this mini-study, I’ve selected three of my favorite layouts. I will also select three different patterns that each ball should excel on and roll similar lines with them to distinguish each ball's unique characteristics:

Each of these layouts give me such distinctive motions that its hard to justify not having one of each (on any particular ball) in my bag at any given time. It’s important to remember that it’s not about how much a ball hooks, it’s about when a ball hooks.

To say “This ball saves a lot of energy” is a misnomer. No ball can save energy. In fact, it’s using energy the very instant it leaves your hand. The more accurate phraseology is “How quickly does my ball slow down?” Start thinking of ball motion in these terms, and things get very easy to understand from here on out.


The 5 x 4 x 3 option is a benchmark layout for me and I’m relying on the pin distance for the bulk of this ball’s motion type. This layout, for my style, excels on patterns 40'+ in length with a defined hook spot. This longer pin to PAP distance, strong PSA location, and medium length pin buffer gives me just about anything I could ask for in a layout. When I want to get left of everyone and bounce the ball off the dry that’s been created to the right of me, this is the layout I’m going to first. All three of the layout parameters are in relatively strong positions, but not too aggressively to the point where it’s uncontrollable or too early reading that the ball burns up. In general, longer pin-to-PAP distances are good to use on the burn when you need the extra tumble through the front part of the lane. This type of layout enables the ball to transition slower and not use too much energy too soon. Remember, there’s 34lbs of pins a 15lb ball must contend with. Capitalizing on the phases of ball motion ensures the ball is transitioning not only where, but when you want it to properly.

 


A 3 x 5 x 1 Omega Crux is thirsty for friction – when it finds it, it’s going to grab and go. Medium length, heavy oil patterns are what I mainly use this layout for. This is largely due to the very strong pin to PAP distance and very small pin buffer. And because my rev rate pushes 500 RPM’s these values are only amplified. A 3 3/8 pin-to-PAP value is, in a manner, the most unstable position any core can be in. High differential, low differential, symmetric, or asymmetric, this orientation is going to wobble more than any other and produce the most track flare. This layout on an Omega Crux is all about the midlane. Moreover, when the lanes begin to transition and you need something to blend out the pattern, this layout can turn the unruliest patterns into a smooth sailing situation. Shorter pin buffers preserve the low RG axis of the ball and raise the already high RG axis of the ball, essentially increasing the overall differential. And because a low RG ball transitions quicker, utilizing the Omega Crux’s already low RG Catalyst Core makes this type of layout an excellent choice for strong, fast transitions when the lanes are demanding. Small pin buffers are excellent for a multitude of reasons!


An Omega Crux with a 0 x 7.5 x 0 layout is unique to be certain. Short, flat patterns without a lot of hold built in are what I would typically use short pin-to-PAP layouts like this on. I’m taking advantage of the lower RG side of the curve with such a layout. And because the core is in an extremely stable position, the ball generally hooks less and earlier on the lane. That combination of facts as they apply to this ball provides me ultimate “hold”. When the core is laid down, its being placed in a more stable position around the low RG axis of the ball. Shorter pin-to-PAP distances promote a faster and smoother transition through the front part of the lane. As such, this earlier rolling, with controlled backends are great on short patterns when you don’t want to see abrupt changes of direction at the end of the lane. The challenge with such a layout is getting the ball to go through the pins the proper way. Because it enters its roll phase very early, you’re going to have to be a scrutineer when it comes to what patterns and surfaces you use it on. Ultimately, if you’re not a fan of urethane, this reaction may be as close as you’re going to get utilizing this type of layout on a reactive. And because the PSA is forced to the maximum distance it can be from the PAP, this ensures the ball still has some continuation off the spot despite the core being in such a stable orientation.


And for all you tech-junkies out there, the pre- and post-drilling RG values for each of the balls are showcased below. And yes, 6.75" is the standard measurement away from the pin a PSA spins up. BUT, as we've said before: SHAPE MATTERS! And the properties of this shape and its mass pushes the PSA to 7.5" away from the pin. Remember, knowing how each hole you place in a ball affects its motion and why it happens makes adjusting between balls all the easier!

INTERESTING FACT:  The O” pin had the highest total differential after drilling, but hooked the least overall because of the core’s low moment of inertia blending out the patterns and the overall stability of the core at the direction of release.

 

Highlights from the test:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mrKCOpPy1-A&t=

 

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


Pitch Purple versus Pitch Black - Internal Review

The Pitch Purple has enough backend potential to hit steep angles and confidently make it back to the pocket.

 

In modern times, Storm has been internationally recognized as the brand who emphasizes the later portion of a ball’s reaction. However, the Pitch lineup has been uniquely different from the start. Looking to expand our performance palette, we started exploring different liquid materials (urethanes) that shifted ball performance. Namely, breakpoint distance, backend hook potential, and entry angle. Depending on who you ask, these factors are arguably the most important variables in modern bowling technology. Storm has the “clean with a kick” look covered, as well as early urethane grip which works exceptionally well on short patterns. Believe me when I say: we’ve been burning the midnight oil when it comes to testing. With Alex Hoskins leading R&D, our lanes have been consistently booked more than ever with new formulas and materials to investigate. There’s plenty of balls that fill the void between a Hy-Road and a Pitch Black, but that something special has been curiously eluding our gaze.

What would happen if we took the same benchmark-cozy Capacitor Core and combined it with a new type of urethane material? The result, as it turns out, was nothing short of amazing. Read in oil, stability in friction, consistency from foul line to head pin was the result. This unique fusion lets you dial in key performance parameters, responding to every input with absolute fidelity.

BOWLER STATS:

Launch Speed: 18mph

RPM: 490

Tilt:

Rotation: 45°

PAP: 5” straight over

Layout Used for Test: 5 x 3 x 2.5 (35° x 5 x 35°)

Surface Used on Both Balls: 1000-grit Abralon®

Oil Patterns: Beaten Path, 41’, 1:4.04, 24.25 mL; Boardwalk, 35', 1:2.16, 28.25 mL

Our curiosity keeps us moving forward, exploring, experimenting, and opening new doors.

 

THE TEST:

For this study, I decided to use Kegel's 41' Beaten Path and 35' Boardwalk. I knew these patterns 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 fresh Abralon pads for each to achieve the most consistent finish possible.

 

41ft PATTERN TEST RESULTS:

Despite being set down two arrows deeper, the Pitch Purple not only covered more boards than the Pitch Black, but still split the 8-9 consistently. Typically, I would never use urethane on anything longer than 38 feet. But the Pitch Purple had just the right balance between the midlane and backend reaction that I could stand anywhere, with conviction, and watch it speed back to the pocket with tenacity. On this pattern, the Pitch Purple produced 17% more entry angle and 23% more length than the Pitch Black.

35ft PATTERN TEST RESULTS:

The most impressive thing about using the Pitch Purple on the shorter pattern was what it didn't do - which was overreact off of the dry. My optimal line was was adjacent to the line I was playing on the 41' Beaten Path pattern. The only adjustment I made was moving up six inches on the approach to dial my speed back smidgen. Furthermore, both balls fell into alignment in the last 1/3 of the lane thanks to the Rev-Controll Urethane cover. Had I been in the same area with even a weaker reactive, it would have been so aggressive off the breakpoint, I would have been leaving designs on the deck I'd rather not have to attempt converting. When my house shots get cliffed during league, the Pitch Purple will unquestionably be my go-to ball. On this pattern, the Pitch Purple created about 9% more entry angle and 14% more length than the Pitch Black.

CONCLUSION:

Have you ever been in a tournament where the top qualifier ran away from the rest of the field not by tens, but by hundreds of pins? Ever wondered how they were able to do that? They more than likely had a niche ball giving them insight into the pattern no one else in the building had. In the simplest terms I can depict, the Pitch Purple not only retains the phenomenal control and feel of its predecessor, the Pitch Black, but it also lives up to the iconic backend motion that Storm is renowned for. This high level of control will provide aggressive players with the license to swing for power. Finesse players will find their mark without fuss while the ball maintains ample power at the pins. The Pitch Purple has enough backend potential to hit steep angles and confidently make it back to the pocket. I was able to stay in my comfort zone on the short test pattern as if I was playing on the longer pattern; all I used was a simple change in speed. This rare combination of urethane midlane with reactive backend is a bonus that makes this ball once of the most “maneuverable” balls to date. If I use anything reactive on a short pattern, it would generally be too sharp/quick off the breakpoint. The Pitch Purple provides the cleanliness of a reactive but is undeniably more forward off the spot, but not to the degree a Pitch Black would be. This equals control not only on short and flatter patterns, but longer more demanding ones as well. I'm particularly impressed with how I can feel the mishits with my hand, but don’t see any drastic changes of ball motion down lane. House shots to sport shots, this ball will have a fixed spot in my bag for quite some time.

 

Highlights from the test:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jpGrNJ8xeSw

 

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