Ken Regehr of Northern Standard Bike Polo was kind enough to let me interview him about the new Northern Standard Bike Polo Gloves, his experiences in bike polo, and where he sees bike polo equipment going in the future. While Northern Standard is a relatively young company (who isn’t in bike polo), they’ve proven the ability to provide excellent quality products with the polo player in mind.
Tell me a little bit about your history with Bike Polo.
I began playing bike polo 5 years ago back when 1.5’’ ABS and 360 Dabs were the norm. We all used to ride Junkie bikes and we crashed into each other a lot. I knew from the first game I played that I loved bike polo but of course I had no idea what a big part of my life it would become. I’ve played in dozens of tournaments around North America and even a couple in Europe and had the good fortune of meeting so many good people.
What about your history with Northern Standard?
Max started the company on his own about a year and a half/ two years ago and about a year ago he asked me if I wanted help out. I could see he was serious about making polo specific products so I was like ‘let’s do this’.
What was the inspiration to make Polo specific gloves? What problem are you hoping to solve?
Other than your helmet, gloves are the most important piece of protective equipment for polo. Injuries to the hand are also one of the most common from my experience. We wanted to make a glove that offered the maximum protection with the least amount of bulk so that more people would actually wear gloves that protect them.
Do you have the sweat collecting feature on both gloves (I’m a lefty, and generally we lose out due to right handers when it comes to useful additions).
The sweat wipe is definitely going to he on both gloves; so many great players are southpaw, how could we neglect them?
Do these gloves feel closer to lacrosse gloves or bike gloves on the hand? how much can you feel when you wear them (both in handling your mallet/bike and in getting a slapshot to the fingers)?
They really feel like a hybrid of the two. You can tell you have protective padding on the upper hand when you wear them but it is not so bulky as to interfere with your brake or mallet handling. You can also tell there is a more substantial amount of material on the palm but it still has good mallet feel. They have very good dexterity and as they are leather they should conform to your hand nicely over a period of time. We’ve done some testing of the 3rd prototype which is what we have pictured currently on our web site nsbikepolo.com. Folks who’ve played with them have all had good impressions of the feel.
Some people will say $79.00 is steep for gloves – but if they are truely polo-perfect, I don’t think 70 bucks is particularly bad. How do you justify the price?
The cost of the gloves simply reflects our cost to manufacture them. It’s not inexpensive when you’re dealing with small quantities and high quality materials. Hopefully the gloves serve their purpose well and last for a long time and then I think they will be regarded as good value.
You’re the first company to offer polo specific gloves – do you have plans to create other polo specific products in the future? Do you think other companies are going to start following you down this path?
We’re already working on more polo specific products and we hope to continue to do so. It’s already happening that companies are making products either specifically for bike polo or at least with polo in mind. There’s actually a lot of innovation taking place rapidly from various companies and individuals and it’s exciting to see how it’s advancing the game.
Do you have plans to offer the glove in different colors? Any plans to offer different varieties (goalie gloves, etc.)?
It would be a lot of fun to get creative with color schemes and variations down the road and I’m sure we will, but for now our top priority is making practical and functional products. Hopefully we get lots of feedback on these gloves which we’ll listen to and try to make them even better next go round. I’m not sure what goalie gloves would look like for polo but props to anyone who has the reflexes to block shots with their hands.
Visit www.nsbikepolo.com to see more pictures and learn how to pre-order your own (and to check out all things Northern Standard).
Lancaster United thanks Northern Standard (Ken in particular) for taking the time to do this interview – You’re a class act.