Eighth Inch Bicycle Polo Mallet Head Review

Eight Inch Mallet Head

Eight Inch Mallet Head pictured before and after the drill.

 

 

I don’t know why everyone likes to talk shit on the Eighth Inch Bicycle Polo Mallet Head. I rather like it.

Let’s start with the facts:

1. It’s heavy. 160 grams capped (Fixcraft Ultralites are 113 grams).
2. It’s nylon like your toothbrush (not UHMW, HDPE, ABS or HPV).
3. It sells for $14.50 (50 cents cheaper than St. Cago and a paycheck less than Fixcraft).
4. It comes with mounting hardware (no more scratching your head at Home Depot).
5. The sides are curved to cup the ball (a potential legal concern for tournament play).

Let’s consider what the haters have to say:

1. I don’t like anything Eighth Inch because their mail-order bikes get more compliments than my custom build and I am awesome and original (I wish I was better at polo).
2. My girlfriend moved out after I cheated on her and now I hate Eighth Inch mallet heads (I wish I was better at polo).
3. I’ve never tried an Eighth Inch mallet head but all the better players say they’re dumb so I agree (I wish I was better at polo).

Let’s listen to the story of my Eighth Inch mallet head:

1. My telepathic sister-in-law gave it to me for Christmas (I sent her a link).
2. The haters told me to hate it so I hid it in my garage and started using a St. Cago (I wish I was better at polo).
3. The St. Cago spun on the shaft and after repeated attempts to tighten it, I accidentally pulled the screw through the head (Never let a man named Horse build your bicycle polo mallet).
4. I pulled a clean Fixcraft LT shaft out of my parts pile and built up the Eighth Inch (Fixcraft makes awesome shafts).
5. It was so heavy that my wrist killed after one night of polo (I wish I was better at polo).
6. I came home and drilled as many holes as possible into the head and cap (Thank God I’m a country boy).
7. It has since been my favorite mallet for two months and counting (I rather like it).

Let’s give praise for the virtues of the Eighth Inch:

1. The cupped sides are awesome. I don’t drag with them, but they are super effective when you need to reach out and pull the ball back in your direction (These should remain legal for tournament play).
2. The sleeve and mounting hardware provide, hands down, the most solid shaft to head connection on the market. I did have to wrap a bit of electrical tape around my shaft to make the tight snug in the collar. Nonetheless, this sturdy construction translates into a head that doesn’t move on the shaft, solid footing for the times you balance on your mallet, and direct energy transfer from your swing to the ball (Don’t overlook this point).
3. A “little” weight doesn’t hurt a mallet. When jousting or stabbing at the ball in an attempt to steal, I like a little mass to back up my efforts. By drilling the Eighth Inch out, I found the right balance between strength and weight (Don’t be a weight weenie).
4. I’m not a plastics expert, but the nylon suits me just fine. It is durable and not at all brittle or slippery (at least during the summer).

Let’s make a few suggestions for the next generation of Eight Inch mallet heads:

1. Fuse the cap. Your competitors do this and it really is nice (Saves weight and hardware).
2. Mill it and drill it. You can use mine as a prototype (Please send me a free sample when you have them done).
3. Keep the collar and hardware configuration. It works (Don’t give up on this).

Let’s share our own experiences with Eight Inch mallet heads:

Please add your comments below.

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11 comments

  1. Jay says:

    I never understood the hate for these. I’ve tried them and really liked them. I even liked the weight. A couple of our guys use them regularly and think they’re great but they also have to put up with a lot of shit talking from the others.

  2. Brett says:

    Curious – if you drill out the head, does that invalidate Eighth Inch’s lifetime replacement for $5 deal?

    Also, surely you guys have seen this, right?

    http://eighthinch.wordpress.com/2011/12/07/new-pro-model-polo-mallets-are-here/

    I think the side cup is great for beginners especially, but yeah, it’s a slippery slope. People bitch about side cuts because they make the game easier (or so I hear, I’ve actually never used a side-cut, although I have used the eight inch head). Since eight inch’s side-cup also makes the game easier, yeah, I can see where people would make the jump to hate.

    • ninjafast says:

      Thanks for the link, Brett. I had heard rumor of this new head, but had not seen it yet. I looked for it on their site under products when I was writing this review and I didn’t find it. I didn’t realize they had a blog post about it. Not sure what their delivery issues are because it looks like the right solution to me. Fuse that cap on and it would be perfect.

      • Crusher says:

        I think (and I can’t be entirely sure of this) that they didn’t push out the new design because the new NAH rules effectively made that big hole on the side illegal. I can’t back up that claim, however, so feel free to dispute the hell out of it.

        • Noah says:

          Hey guys, thanks for the positive review. To answer your questions, drilling does not void the warranty although it can (tricky right?). Basically you can drill your mallet to look like swiss cheese and as long as it doesn’t fail because of the drilling you are still covered. That said, the mallet in review would be completely covered.

          Now if you took the mallet and drilling it is what caused failure or greatly shortens the lifespan then we wouldn’t be able to cover it. We know every mallet will come back looking different so we judge it on a case by case basis. In the end we want people using our products so we’re not out to try to void warranties.

          As for the new mallet, we are going to be releasing it and actually have a few now. We sent one to Sean at 321polo and he ran it past NAH and they said the cutout is large but doesn’t offer any advantage so they deemed it NAH legal.

  3. Colin says:

    “The sleeve and mounting hardware provide, hands down, the most solid shaft to head connection on the market.”

    THIS? Load of nonsense.

    If you’re having trouble with the nut down the shaft method you’re doing it wrong. File some teeth into the bottom of your shaft. Less teeth but bigger teeth is better. I use 4 teeth. Solid! More teeth but smaller teeth strips the head plastic.

    lad in our club has one of these, proprietary shaft is not a good idea. The metal is cheap and dents and bends a whole load and he fit (atleast on his) is sloppy.

    • ninjafast says:

      My shaft was filed like you suggest, but I like your idea of fewer teeth. Thanks for the tip.

      I still think the eighth inch is a more solid connection. There is absolutely no possibility that it will spin. I think with time the nut in the shaft is always going to product problems. It’s just an inherently weak design. That said, I have some extra nuts and will continue to build that style of mallet. I do like that aesthetic.

      I’m not sure what you are saying about a proprietary shaft. I’m using the eighth inch head with a Fixcraft and it fits fine. Given the taper of the shaft, I did have to wrap the pole with a bit of electrical tape to make it extra snug, but that was very easy to do. Are you saying the Fixcraft shafts are a bad idea? We’ve had good and bad batches of Fixcraft shafts. The one I am using now has held up really well.

    • Horse says:

      Colin, i think most of our club has seen issues with the nut-down-shaft method when it comes to using thin heads like the St.Cago we all love. You end up pulling the bolt through the head, spin spin spin.
      Thoughts?

  4. Colin says:

    I wasn’t actually aware that it was possible to fit non-eighthinch shafts to them, so I take that back. The only eighthinch shaft I’ve seen is horrible. It bends and it dents like nothing else.

  5. Lefty Wag says:

    Yeah, Colin, i agree with you, the shaft is not so good. The head is fine but wen i tried to replace, it wouldn’t come out, the mounting system was jammed. So it was useless for me.

  6. julian says:

    I started playing polo not too long ago and used some friends mallets and liked them, but i didnt have the tools to build one at the time and live in a area where you cant get ski poles. So i went ahead and ordered a eighthinch mallet and and shaft, I have been using eighthinch products for a long time and love their cranksets. But before i ordered my mallet, my friends told me to go with fixcraft xt shaft i liked how its 7075 aluminum, and talked to eighthinch they said if you flip the fixcraft 7075 shaft and wrap it int is compatable in the eighthinch head!
    With that said I have my mallet now, a little heavy but thats ok, assembly was fast just wish they would make it optional to have no caps or the caps fused or open on one side but fused, because the screws on mine are starting to grind, I also wish they would keep the mounting system and also ad a drop bold for more stability not like they would need it but it would make it last a lot longer. The guy at Eighthinch said they are also making a 7075 shaft. My one piece shaft has been just fine, no dings and its been pretty flexible, plus i didnt even have to cut it down

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