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).


Crux Prime versus PhysiX - Internal Review

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


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

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

Review: Hank Boomershine on the Atomic Core

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

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

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

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

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

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


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



BOWLER STATS:

Launch Speed: 18mph

RPM: 490

Tilt:

Rotation: 45°

PAP: 5” straight over

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

Surface Used on Both Balls: 3000-grit Abralon

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

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

 

THE TEST:

For this study, I decided to use Kegel's 4:1 Beaten Path. I knew this pattern would showcase the differences between these two balls exceptionally well. I tossed 30 shots on SPECTO with each ball, averaged the results, and created composite motion paths for each along with a comparison chart utilizing the hard data SPECTO provided. Both balls were resurfaced prior to the test using a Storm Surface Factory machine with fresh Abralon pads for each to achieve the most consistent finish possible.

 

THE RESULTS:

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

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

 

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

 

CONCLUSION:

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

Highlights from the test:

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


International Balls - The Truth

Overseas balls have acquired a cult following in recent years. But what makes them so special? They’re round just like any other ball. They can knock down ten pins just as effectively as any other Storm piece. Slightly different names and colors, though. And in Storm’s case, they smell pretty good most of the time. The number of calls and emails we receive asking for more info or how to obtain these international releases is staggering. To interpret their surge in popularity we need to take a closer look at just what they are and what they mean to the rest of the world.

We techies commonly refer to overseas balls as “private labels” or “OEMs” (original equipment manufacturer) – balls that are produced by one company (Storm) but are marketed by another company (overseas distributors).

The international market is significantly different than the US market for several reasons. The primary reasons are differences in customs, sales, and etiquette. For example, in the United States, if a bowler does well with a particular type of ball, it’s not uncommon to find several of the same balls in a league, or even on the same ball return rack. Word of mouth travels fast where we are. International etiquette is significantly different. For example, if one bowler is doing well in a league or tournament with a particular ball, it is bad form to copy that bowler and buy the same ball. As such, if you are the bowler with the ball, you have an advantage. But if you are the bowler without the ball, you are at a disadvantage. I have experienced this firsthand in my travels all across Japan. Therefore, many of our international balls are almost identical to the standard US release with very small variations, if any. The primary differences are simply the colors, logos, and surface finishes. Otherwise, they are USBC approved with very little difference in reaction or performance compared with what is currently available in our product line.

Another key difference is international distributors are usually exclusive to a particular brand. Many of our international dealers only sell Storm brand name products and equipment. As such, they need a larger selection of equipment to sell because they don’t have the same variety available to them since they choose not to associate with any of the other major international brands. Whereas in the US, all of the local distributors have equipment available for sale from any of the major brands. Hence, our product line needs to be expanded for our international customers since they can only sell so many of a particular ball before the market is “saturated”. Storm will release around a dozen balls per year domestically whereas close to 100 different balls get sent to international waters every year. Again, the major differences most of the time are simply cosmetic, with the occasional exception of a core/weight block design whose rights are owned by a certain international distributor that grants them exclusive rights to that shape.

Given these reasons listed above, many of our international partners ask for contractual rights to a particular ball and for a limited quantity. Storm typically runs these exclusive balls only one time and sells them all directly to the distributor that placed the order; sometimes in runs of only a few hundred. Occasionally, a few balls return from the international market to the local market via travelers or returning military, but this number is very low and availability is definitely limited. Once they get poured here in Brigham City, Utah they leave shortly thereafter.

Despite being well-nigh similar in performance to our standard lineup, private label balls undoubtedly turn the heads of many for those lucky enough to pick one up. Be prepared to shell out a few bucks, however. It’s not uncommon for enthusiasts to pay $300+ for one of these rarities. No matter what kind of ball you decide to toss, just be sure that it has that good lookin' Storm logo on it somewhere!

 


Code X versus Alpha Crux - Internal Review

The Code X offers performance engineering tuned for enhanced response

 

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

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

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

BOWLER STATS:

Launch Speed: 18mph

RPM: 490

Tilt:

Rotation: 45°

PAP: 5” straight over

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

Surface Used on Both Balls: 3000-grit Abralon

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

The layout chosen for these two balls was 6x4x3. As always, Storm’s VLS system is an original conception and is the only layout system in the industry that takes the shape of the weight block into account.

THE TEST:

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

 

THE RESULTS:

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

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

CONCLUSION:

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

 

Highlights from the test:

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

 

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


Drive versus Timeless - Internal Review

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

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

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

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

BOWLER STATS

Launch Speed: 17mph

RPM:400

Tilt: 15°

Rotation: 60°

PAP: 4 5/8” over, 1/2" up

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

Surface Used for Each Ball: 3000-grit Abralon

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

RESULTS:

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

+6.43 boards deeper set-down

+0.64° launch angle

-1.16° entry angle to pocket

+2 feet of backend

 

Highlights from the test:

https://youtu.be/MEIkyCeRpsQ

 

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

 


Knowing Your Roll

Why It's Important

There are many variables that can affect the way your ball rolls. 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 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.

Did you know that your ball actually decelerates as it travels down the lane?

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. In the published Ball Motion Study conducted by the United States Bowling Congress, the ideal bowling ball speed is about 17 miles per hour measured at impact with the pins and about 20-21 miles per hour when the ball is released onto the lanes. 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.

 

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.

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. 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. 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.


Check Out The Sure Lock

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

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

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

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

Click here to view the Sure Lock ball page