What do you look for in a good polo bike?

Full Disclosure: I’m writing this post while feeling sickly, so who knows if it’ll make sense or not. I mean – less sense than normal, I guess.

When I started out in bike polo, I did so on a 1968 Schwinn Typhoon, pictured below:


And while that served the dual purpose of crushing anything in its path and still making me look like a foppish dandy, it wasn’t terribly suited for the courts.

The Polo Elders, recognizing my plight after the first day, whisked me to the Fall Velo Swap where (as previously explained in this blog), I managed to get a nearly full polo rig for under 100 clams.

Or buckskins. Shekels. Whatever you want.

And while the benefits of moving from an oil tanker to a Specialized Hard Rock are obvious, in those early months of my Polo career, I couldn’t possibly tell you what made the Specialized a good polo bike.

I would point out, perhaps, the fact that it had wheels. And brakes. And that I didn’t need to call the coal room to indicate I needed more power to turn starboard.

Now, however, I’ve moved not only to a new rig (my ever-so-lovely Redline 925), but to a better understanding of what I look for in a polo bike.

Ok – I still look for those two wheels and brakes, sure. But the geometry (while still as mystical to me as advanced quantum mechanics or magnets) has become more important – the angles and the tires. Heck, I’ve even started to care about tire pressure.

So here are a few of the things I like to see in a polo bike:

  • Rear wheel close to the seat tube – This does two things for me. One, it looks good (and I’m horribly vain); two, it allows for a bit more stability on the bike when moving slowly/reaching, which is always a good thing in polo, no?
  • Tight Handlebars – This one can be changed on almost any polo bike, of course, but it’s important. I think the shorter your stem and smaller your handlebars (within reason, Andy,) the better off you’ll be.
  • Light Frame – this one may or may not be super important, but I think having a lighter frame in polo is a nice touch. I think this one isn’t rocket surgery, but with each successive move from bike to bike, the frame has gotten lighter (while, I, in fact, have not).
  • Horizontal Drop Outs – My Specialized had vertical dropouts and it made the chain a pain in the ass for a while (I had to put one of those gosh darn singulators on it, and that makes baby polo players cry). Now that I have horizontal dropouts, everything is easy living.


Overall, you’ll know what makes a good polo bike for you (and I’m sure this list is far from extensive/useful/factual). What do you heart-throbs look for in a polo bike?

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  1. Horse says:

    after burning through a few sets, a good set of cranks is a godsend in my opinion.
    that and solid brakes.

  2. Lumberbach says:

    within this context – I’d say braking power tops my list. you need to stop fast to go fast.

    • Crusher says:

      You (and Horse) are exactly right – I don’t know how I missed that detail. Braking is probably one of the most important elements to a good bike. Crashing into walls isn’t a great thing.

    • adamhite says:

      yeah, i was about to post the same thing. i have to have strong brakes because if i don’t, i’ll end up on the other side of the court walls. i love my disc brakes (and my disc guard!).

      also, i can’t play without super-short handlebars. everybody makes fun of me because how stupid they are, but i say go as short as you can while still be able to control your bike. then you won’t be afraid of breaking your hand while swinging for the fences.

      there’s nothing better than shooting a ball through someone’s wheel cover into the goal!

  3. Horse says:

    I dont know that cheap cranks inhibit polo per-say…
    I just know at some point I started wearing out square taper cranks like they were made of butter, and going to a more stout set has given me problem free games since I switched.

    • Crusher says:

      Ah, so busted cheap cranks = no polo = inhibited play.

    • Lumberbach says:

      Yeager says… “I can’t seem to comment on the blog from my phone. I would have to say Horses crank issues were mostly due to running fixed. I’m running 20 year old Deore DX square taper cranks without issue.”

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