PARALLAX | LAYOUT COMPARISON | PIN BUFFER DISTANCE

This article is the third and final part of our three-part series where we are looking into the effect of different layouts with the Parallax and the all-new Aeroflo Core. The previous two articles have shown that changing the pin-to-PAP and PSA-to-PAP distances can cause tremendous change in ball motion for particular styles of players. The final question is... What effect will large changes in the pin buffer distance have on ball motion?

To find out, I drilled 3 different Parallax bowling balls. I used a consistent pin-to-PAP distance of 5 ½” and a consistent PSA-to-PAP distance of 4” on all 3 balls. The only difference between each of the 3 balls was that they utilized a different pin Buffer distance. I went with 1”, 3”, and 5” pin buffer distances to showcase the differences the pin buffer can make in ball reaction for my particular style. When looking at any layout comparison, it’s extremely important to keep your bowler statistics in mind. Ball speed, rev rate, axis rotation, and axis tilt will all play a large role in what ball motion you will see out of certain layout combinations and how much difference you will see between different layouts. For this article’s sake, it’s important to keep in mind that I have slower ball speed of approximately 15mph combined with a slightly higher rev rate of 350rpm. I have a medium amount of axis tilt at 18° and slightly higher axis rotation at approximately 60°. This combination of bowler statistics allows bigger differences to be seen between each of the balls. Another bowler who is more speed dominant with less rotation might not see as big of a difference in the reaction. The differences will always be unique to your particular style so it’s important to understand who you are as a player.


I split the testing up into 3 separate tests. For test #1, I lined up to strike with 5 ½ x 4 x 1 Parallax, then threw the other two in the exact same place to see how they would compare. For test #2, I lined up to strike with the 5 ½ x 4 x 3 Parallax, then threw the other two in the exact same place to how they would compare. For test #3, I lined up to strike with the 5 ½ x 4 x 5 Parallax, then threw the other two in the exact same place to see how they would compare. Overhead lane graphs for each of the tests are shown.

Results from test #1 show that I was forced the farthest left of any of the tests to strike with the 1” Parallax. Shorter pin buffers cause the ball to transition from skid to hook to roll faster as they transition down the lane. Because of this quick transition, the 1” Parallax was the only ball that was able to get back to the pocket and strike. Both of the other test balls transitioned from skid to hook to roll too slowly to make it back from that deep of an angle. They needed more friction to accomplish what the 1" Parallax was able to do on the fresh. The 1” Parallax created the most entry angle at 5.2° and finished the highest of the 3 balls on the head pin at 16.50.


Results from test #2 show that I was forced back to the right in order to strike with the 3” Parallax since it transitioned slower than the 1” Parallax used in test #1. Utilizing this medium pin buffer distance made the ball transition very smoothly down the lane and gave a very benchmark type of ball reaction. As expected, the 1” Parallax thrown in the same place hooked more and earlier overall because of the faster transition caused by the shorter pin buffer. The 5” Parallax hooked less overall and transitioned even slower causing it to not have enough time to change direction and get to the pocket from that deep of an angle. Similar to the previous test results, the 5” Parallax gave the least amount of entry angle and hooked the least overall because it’s the slowest of the 3 balls transitioning down the lane. More friction is needed to get the 5" Parallax to see the lane the right way.


Results from test #3 show that my feet needed to be the farthest right of any of the balls tested to strike with the 5” Parallax. Utilizing longer pin buffers will cause the ball to transition much slower. They need to encounter enough friction to help them get from skid to hook to roll quick enough to properly get through the pins. This typically makes longer pin buffers better when playing straighter as opposed to hooking the entire lane, unless there is a significant amount of friction on the lane. As expected, both the 1” Parallax and 3” Parallax test balls both out-hooked and created more overall entry angle compared to the 5” Parallax thrown in the same place.


Moving into the dynamics of the drilled bowling balls, you’re going to notice that there isn’t as drastic of a difference in RG’s, total differential’s, or intermediate differential’s as one might expect with such large changes in pin position from the different pin buffers. This really shows how the Aeroflo Core is unique. It maintains its dynamics through multiple drilling combinations. The Aeroflo Core does this because of the elliptical cavity found on the inside. In my 5 ½ x 4 x 1 Parallax, the thumb goes straight into the elliptical cavity. Since the thumb hole is removing lighter core material far from the pin, the total differential doesn’t go up as much as one might expect. In contrast, on the 5 ½ x 4 x 5 Parallax, the thumb goes straight above the elliptical cavity. Since the thumb hole is removing heavier weight block material and it's still more than 3 ⅜” from the pin, the total differential doesn’t drop as much as one might expect. The key takeaway here is that the Aeroflo Core is extremely driller friendly and easily accepts many different layout combinations to suit any style of player. Even though we don’t see large changes dynamically through drilling, there will still be distinct differences in ball motion because of the initial orientation of the mass and migration of the weight block as it transitions down the lane. Let’s take a closer look at some on-lane performance testing.



Overall, we saw some very consistent results across the 3 different tests from the 1”, 3”, & 5” pin buffer distances. The shorter the pin buffer, the stronger both front-to-back and left-to-right the ball motion was. As we started increasing the pin buffer distance, we saw less and less overall performance. We were forced more and more to the right in order to strike. As we talked about in the beginning these differences could be magnified or minimized depending on the player’s style and what they are bowling on. Simply understanding what is happening when you change the Pin Buffer distance is the first step into translating it into how it’s going to affect your particular game on whatever you are bowling on that day.

 

Highlights from the test:

https://youtu.be/ToUaVOB12_g

 


High Performance Asymmetrical

Parallax | Layout Comparison | PSA-to-PAP

Steve Kloempken | USBC Hall of Fame

 

For this article, the second in a three part series, we are going to continue our deep dive into understanding the effect of different layouts with the Parallax™ and its new Aeroflo™ Core.

As we learned in our first article featuring Chad McLean and his demonstration of different Pin to PAP distances, adjusting the distance of the pin from your positive axis point creates a much different ball motion, especially for those with higher rev rates because they have the greater hook potential. One with a very low rev rate and low axis rotation would surely not see as much of a difference between layouts. My bowler stats wouldn’t quite put me in the very low rev rate category, but as we dive into the results, know that, if your rev rate is faster than mine, you may see an even bigger difference in ball motion by adjusting the PSA.

For this article and video, we locked in two of the three measurements of the layout, the Pin to PAP and the Pin buffer distance. As you can see in the image here, doing so positioned the pin just above and outside of the ring finger. If we were to keep with the standards of the warranty requirements, we would have shortened the pin buffer to create more space between the edges of the pin and the ring finger, so please keep that into consideration as you or your pro shop operator select layouts for you.

Before hitting the lanes, we wanted to share the following information which many consider to be highly technical. So, if that’s not you, feel free to jump ahead to get right into the effects the layout adjustments had on ball motion! Many are familiar with the RGs (radius of gyration) and differentials as they are located on nearly every crazy 8 displayed in all pro shops as well as every ball page on every manufacturers website. But what you won’t always hear come up is that these RG values, and thus differentials, change once holes are drilled in the ball. There is no escaping or changing that…it happens whether you like it or not.

In this image you will see that the RG values remained quite constant among the three different drilled balls, with one exception. Can you spot it?

It’s the third number in the 5 x 2 x 2… the intermediate mass bias of 0.021. While that ball remained the closest to the un-drilled ball, you can see in looking at all three drilled balls that the other two balls, the 5 x 4 x 2 and 5 x 6 x 2, were the most similar to each other dynamically speaking.

Stepping up on the lanes, we started with the 5 x 2 x 2 to see what type of motion we would get with it and to use that as the baseline for this test.

*Notice the PSA close to the VAL

We selected Kegel’s 39 foot Middle Road pattern which would typically entice you to position your breakpoint near the 8 board when using Kegel’s “Rule of 31” which says that if you take the length of the oil pattern and subtract 31 that you will get the point at which your ball should leave the oil to have the best angle to towards the pocket.

Sliding 22 and keeping our target at the 12 board gave us a great look to the pocket. This type of layout, with the PSA near the VAL (vertical axis line), is most often preferred by players at the highest level looking to gain a reasonable amount of control on the backend. And if you look at the numbers below, specifically the position at the head pin and the entry angle, you will see that this one, the 5 x 2 x 2, ended up the most light in the pocket and produced the least amount of entry angle.

 

Moving on to the second Parallax, the 5 x 4 x 2 layout, we immediately notice the ball finishing much deeper in the pocket, almost a board and a half!

*PSA just right of thumb

That may not sound like much, but rest assured that it was eye opening since we used Specto to confirm that nothing had changed with respect to our speed and laydown or launch angle. We were strictly seeing the effects of moving the PSA 2 inches farther away from the PAP than in the first test. We also saw our entry angle go up from 3.59 degrees to 4.16, an increase of more than 15%. These are some big numbers where looking at what some view as slight tweaks to the layout.

And finally, we rolled the third Parallax, the 5 x 6 x 2, which positioned the PSA just to the left side of the thumb hole.

*5 x 6 x 2

A layout not typically used or as popular for those looking for a big change of direction, the 5 x 6 x 2 created the latest break point distance of the three. And with respect to the total ball motion, which references the position of the ball at the head pin, and to entry angle, we saw this third Parallax fall right in-between the first two on both accords. It was a fine balance of an aggressive skid-flip motion with ample control. We could see this one working on a wide variety of conditions and surfaces, especially if you’re like me with respect to a lower rev rate and a preference to play the lanes with a more direct line to the pocket.

 

In summary, thanks for your interest in learning some of the finer details with respect to layouts. For more detailed information and understanding, be sure to visit Storm’s YouTube channel and search for the Pin Buffer Layout System. You’ll find three very detailed videos that are sure to help you dial in your arsenal of equipment with ball choices and layouts in no time. To see the video specific to PSA location, watch the video below:

 

If you have any further questions, please contact us anytime at tech@stormbowling.com or call us at 800-369-4402.

 


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).


electrify hybrid vs electrify pearl

Electrify Hybrid vs Electrify Pearl

ELECTRIFY HYBRID VS ELECTRIFY PEARL

Storm is always looking to create top tier performance through the entire product line, from top to bottom. Performance should have no limitations, and with the new Electrify Pearl and Electrify Hybrid my expectations have been exceeded. In recent years, we are seeing bowlers with more rev rate and power than ever before. This equates to oil patterns breaking down and starting to transition much quicker. Staying ahead of lane transition carries more weight now; something bowlers haven’t experienced much in the past. Therefore, having the right ball to keep up with ever-changing lane conditions is a necessity.

Launch Speed: 18.5 mph

RPM: 490

Tilt: 11

Rotation: 55°

PAP: 4 ¾ x ½ Up

Layout Used for Test: 4 x 3 x 1 ½ 

Surface Used on Both Balls: 1500-Grit Polish

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

The Test:

For the comparison test, I decided to use two patterns to demonstrate the differences between these balls. Patterns used are Kegel’s 41’ Beaten Path and 35’ Boardwalk. For the parameters of the test I threw a total of 25 shots on SPECTO with each ball on the both patterns. With the data collected from SPECTO, I was able to average the results and create motion paths for each ball. Both balls were finished at 1500-grit polish which is the out of the box finish.


41ft Pattern test results:

When comparing these balls, the first aspect that stands out is how much overall hook these balls created while maintaining a high percentage of pin carry. The Electrify Pearl immediately gave me a look and feel that was comfortable and suited my eye quite well. I found myself unable to put this ball down, while quickly fell in love the overall performance on this 41’ Beaten Path pattern. Even with the laydown being about an arrow deeper and creating 1.2 more degree of launch angle, the Electrify Hybrid was able to maintain a consistence motion while achieving great carry through the pins.


35ft Pattern Results:

The 35’ Boardwalk pattern really allowed the Electrify Hybrid to shine. This ball reached the epitome of versatility. This is a testament to the new low RG Circuit Core. On this demanding 35’ pattern, I was able to create 4-6 boards of area down lane. The Reactor hybrid coverstock was a key component in providing the smooth, predictable, rounded motion I needed to find a repeatable line. I am looking forward to adding weapon to my bag as for the shorter and flatter patterns.


Conclusion:

Every bowler has their favorite go-to ball, knowing that no matter what the circumstances are they have the confidence to find the pocket. I can say with assurance, I have found mine. The best part is that it comes in a pearl and hybrid. These two balls are going to be the 1-2 punch that I have been looking for to round out my arsenal. Throughout the comparison test I kept asking myself, “Are you sure these balls are in the HOT line?” The performance of these balls are unreal for the price point. As lanes start to breakdown and I start to move my feet left and balling down, I have no doubt in my mind the Electrify Pearl and Electrify Hybrid will provide the ideal reaction and the carry I need to continue striking longer.


Highlights from the test:


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).


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).


What is a Benchmark Ball?

ANY SEASONED PLAYER...

Will define a benchmark ball as the first ball out of their bag. It gives them the best mental picture of what’s happening on the lane – especially when the pattern and topography of the conditions are unknown. It gives them a smooth, predictable motion that’s controllable, repeatable, and consistent no matter where they may be bowling. The vast majority of other sports display their obstacles. In tennis, the net is clearly presented directly in front of you. In golf, you can see the tree you need to miss, or the sand bunker you have to avoid. In football, you can watch the linebacker on a beeline right for you as you’re carrying the ball.

But in the world of sport bowling, the obstacles we have to face are invisible.

The most famous bowlers throughout history have all been deadly accurate, but the best players that have ever lived are the ones who were able to figure out the conditions first. Rest assured, they all had their own benchmark ball.

Having been on both sides of the fence - from competing every weekend to now building bowling balls - I believe that a benchmark ball is more than just a predictable shape. It’s a ball whose motion is unlike others. It’s unique, and difficult to replicate. It produces a reaction that you can’t find anywhere else.

To create this kind of ball, we have to step back and look at the product line as a whole. When we do this at Storm, we take every core, every coverstock, and every surface preparation into account. If the ball hits on every note, it can stick around for quite some time:

Hy-Road™ – November 18, 2008

!Q™ Tour – July 10, 2012

Hy-Road™ Pearl – July 16, 2013

Pitch Black™ – May 27, 2014

Phaze™ II – October 4, 2016

Between these five balls, there’s 32 years’ worth of shelf life, and that’s not without merit. Every one of these core/cover combinations resonates with the majority of players at some level. High speed/high revs, low speed/low revs – there’s something for everybody. Not only that, they are incredibly easy to drill. What does that even mean, though? If you put your favorite layout on an !Q Tour, you basically know what you are going to get. Furthermore, if you wanted to drill a second !Q Tour but decided to bring the pin 2” closer to your PAP or maybe even drop the pin to below your fingers from your previous pin up version, you still know what you’re going to get. And adjusting between the two couldn’t be easier. The weight block is simplistic in its design, yet dynamic by nature. When you introduce a hole to it, you aren't greatly affecting its mass distribution. Consistency in drilling and performance, I've come to find out, go hand in hand.

Each one of the above benchmark balls contributes something unique to the Storm line that are often imitated, but never duplicated. And as always, before any ball earns the right to be inscribed with the Storm insignia, it has to pass through a rigid on-lane performance test. This has been the case since the first Storm ball was poured nearly three decades ago. The process has been refined since, of course, to a level of commitment that’s worthy of your passion and devotion. It’s a lengthy process that involves an experienced group of people and first-rate technology but most importantly, it begins and ends with the bowler.


2019 USBC Open Championships - Strategy and Equipment

The 2019 USBC Open Championships are in full swing! Every year presents a new challenge and our team at Storm want to provide bowlers with as much information as possible to tackle the gritty and sometimes perplexing lane conditions that the Open Championships offers to its competitors. I’d like to take a quick second to clarify all of my remarks are strictly my opinions based on my observations while onsite at the tournament. I have no insider information or access to anything that is not public.

With that said, let us dive into what I believe are the keys to success at this year’s tournament.

TEAM EVENT:

The team event hosted on the surface of the South Point Bowling Plaza seems similar to the short pattern that we have experienced the last two years. The pattern visually offers no hold with extremely dry back-ends. As with previous years, consorted shot making does stretch the pattern and make it more playable, if, done correctly. I watched many teams employ different strategies all with varying levels of success. Here is my belief on how to best play them based on my observations.

During practice, the right handers should use sanded resin and play up 2-3-4 ensuring angles are extremely straight through the fronts. I would employ this strategy on the left but have the left handers go up 8-9-10, keeping angles very straight through the fronts. Once practice ends, bowlers can expect to be around 12-15 at the arrows throwing to 5-7 down lane, this would be in play for most of game 1. Depending on how quick transition occurs, I can foresee players getting into 16-19 at the arrows, getting the ball no further right of 10 down lane at the range finders. On the left, I feel that bowlers should be between 14-17 at the arrows after practice, getting the ball no further left of 10 down lane at the range finders. When it comes to moving in on both sides, I would exercise caution in not allowing your angles to get too far open, I believe balling down into weaker covers and/or less core is the way to go as the event progresses. Once again, I will clarify all the above remarks that they are only a guide based on my observations, pair to pair topography may dictate changes to this strategy.

Equipment for Team Event:

In my mind, there are really two ways to go. The first being to use a very big/strong ball (Crux Prime, Halo) with a 2-inch pin and a smooth surface (2000/3000). Deploying this tactic will slow the response of the ball at the end of the oil pattern. There appears visually to be very little taper at the end of the pattern with it being back loaded with large volumes of oil, bowlers need to ensure that their equipment makes a very slow and smooth transition to elongate their break point window making their reaction less susceptible to this oil down lane and lack of taper in the pattern. A ball like this in my eyes depending on traffic, rev rate and topography would be suitable for most of game 1. Bowlers could then begin to shell and core down as the lanes transitioned while trying to stay in the same relative zone of the lane.

The other strategy would be to deploy a medium rg with low differential ball (Hustle Ink, Hustle HYB, !Q Tour Solid or an Idol) and use a longer pin (5.5 inches-6 inches) with a smooth cover (2000). A good tip is to place the CG at 90 degrees from the pin. This will give the bowler length while not sacrificing losing the lane and/or make it tougher to blow through the break point while providing a very smooth and controllable back end reaction. A bowler could definitely elect to use a 2-inch pin on one of these types of balls as well. I feel the transitional moves are for the most part in balling down and not making large moves in on the lane.

Once again, these are simply my observations, I have certainly been incorrect in the past, but have also been very right many times. I’d add one final clarification about equipment, depending on the bowler, many of balls in the Storm and Roto Grip lineup could be a better fit than the previously mentioned, this is just simply a guide.

See your local Storm VIP Pro Shop or talk with our professionals at the Storm booth onsite at the tournament to get the equipment that will best fit your game, as no bowler is exactly alike.

MINORS (Doubles/Singles)

I really feel surface can hurt you here. I know it may seem counter-intuitive to many bowlers, but I really believe that bowlers need to use smooth surfaces and avoid burning up the fronts in minors. Due to the ball motion I witnessed, I would imagine that the pattern is back loaded with little taper front to back (seems to be a recurring theme). Blowing a hole in the fronts really accentuates the large amount of oil that appears to be down lane and can trap everyone on the pair. In minors, depending on topography, I feel you need to start between 13-16, getting the ball no further right than 10 down lane at the range finders. The left I feel can follow suit here. Once again angles through the front are very important, they need to be slightly open, so as the set progresses, be mindful of making too big of moves towards the middle of the lane and use your arsenal to ball down and stay within the same zone. Depending on the topography of the pair, bowlers may be able to start further outside of the above-mentioned area. Once again, let your eyes be your ultimate guide. This is in no way set in stone.

 EQUIPMENT FOR MINORS:
I’m of the opinion that hybrids and pearls are the way to go here, but I think that bigger cores are needed to help with the length and volume of the pattern. The big key is to use slower ball speed, rotation, axis tilt and softer hands to get the ball to read the right way and continue through the pins properly. I really cannot stress that enough, due to the construction of the pattern, you need a good amount of axis tilt to help keep the ball on line, axis tilt will allow you to play straighter angles which I feel are imperative to being successful. Balls that I feel are great candidates for minors: (in no particular order but in the current Storm and Roto Grip arsenal): Halo Pearl, Hyper Cell Fused, Hy-Road, Idol Pearl, Phase 2, !Q Tour Solid, Intense Fire. Bowlers will need a ball, possibly two at the most (in most cases) to ball down to. It is important to make sure they have smooth covers (2000, 3000, 4000 or 2000 with a small amount of polish). I’d recommend bowlers use pin placements that will offer them length without creating a violent reaction down lane, due to the limited amount of boards that will need to be covered.

Again, if you have questions about your arsenal visit your nearest Storm VIP Pro Shop or talk to the professionals at the Storm Booth to help determine what will work best for your game!

PHYSICAL CUES TO FOCUS ON:

  • Slower ball speed
  • Increased axis tilt
  • Increased rotation
  • Soft and smooth hand at release point

MENTAL CUES TO FOCUS ON:

  • Be prepared to be challenged and make excellent shots
  • Take one shot at a time and focus on your process, not your outcome
  • Enjoy the trip with your teammates and have fun while competing with your friends
  • Be optimistic, open minded, and let your eyes be your guide


To conclude, I want to thank Storm for allowing me to represent them on and off the lanes and give me the opportunity to help our bowlers succeed. If you need help locating a pro shop, try our Pro Shop Locator. If you want a few more tips, check out the video our Tech Team provided for the event HERE.

And always remember to BOWL UP A STORM!