Equipment Check: Portland Bike Polo Mallet Head

The folks over at Portlandbikepolo.com have had this little beauty out fora little while now, but I haven’t been able to get my little paws on it until just recently.

The design comes from Sasha Friedman who, as a mechanical engineering student, wanted to use some classroom know how in the real world. The result was this mallet head.

A few little details before I get on to the mallet itself: I reached out to the makers via email and they were quick to respond and super fast on shipping, so if you’re living on the East Coast (or, as I shall now refer to it, the Beast Coast), you needn’t worry about waiting around

for it to arrive (or poor communication via the seller).

Now then!

How it Came.
The Mallet head itself comes by itself without any stickers, hardware, or packaging. I appreciate this. The website claims the mallet head weighs about 95 grams undrilled,

and as you can see from my own weight measurements, they are pretty close to the mark (I can’t say as though I 100% trust my scale, either, so give or take 10 grams and I’ll call it fair.

It has a thicker lip on the open end and a band about an inch wide in the middle for better securing of the mallet head to a shaft.

If you want the backstory to the mallet, peek over here.

How it Built.

The material isn’t hard to wor

k with (UHMWPE) and cut more like a ST Cago head than anything else.

As is my custom, I made several air holes along the center of the mallet to allow for better movement through air when swinging. Yup. That’s exactly what I did.  If I weren’t so errant with a drill this process would have taken only a few minutes, but as it stands it took me the better part of 30 minutes (with a good 15 minute break to question whether I should shut down this blog and burn by polo bike in a sacrifice to common decency).

How it Played.

 

I was very impressed with this mallet in my first play date. The material feels like it transfers
The mallet head, unlike others I’ve played with so far, starts its life with a very flat edge

on the capped side. I really don’t know what kind of impact that has on play, but it looks sharp – though I don’t expect it to last for very long. more power to the ball (twice I made topshelf goals, and I’ve never done that before). 
Overall, I’d rank this puppy on the high end of playability. The shots were predictable all day, and the mallet head itself felt light and nimble in mallet work.

How it Wore.

You really can only make a few judgments after playing with an new piece of equipment for a day, but I can say I was surprised by how much it wore. I guess I’ve grown more used to using a Fixcraft Unibody (which, as we all know, wears forever) but after one day his head is certainly showing signs of losing that sarxy flat cap.

Everything wears down when it comes to mallet heads, though, and really it’s not like the thing melted. I’ll be able to tell if the wear is more than other mallet heads after a few pickup days, but so far my alarm bells aren’t ringing.

Overall

At $25 bucks*, this mallet head is high on the cost scale (though it seems that most machined heads are going to rest at the $25 clams mark). It shows the cost, though, as the machining is very well done and the head has the benchmarks of a quality product. But when it comes to that price, I’m very interested in knowing how long it will last before it’s just a soft macaroni noodle. Whereas I’m comfortable getting a few St. Cago heads at 15 bucks a pop and having them wear down, I don’t know if I’d want to get an Electric Salmon (the Portland Head) and have it wear down at the same rate for more money.

At this point, that concern is unfounded, to be journalistically accurate. But I will be providing a “months later” review specifically focused on wear and tear down the line.

Overall, I’d say it’s worth investigating. Solid shots, great feel, and light.

Ok – I know some of you turkeys have been using the Portland head for a while – what do you think of it so far?

 

* 25 bucks is the starting rate for 1-2 heads. There is a scale of discount based on amount purchased: 3-5: $24 each; 6-8: $22 each; and 9+: $20 each. That’s kinda classy, right? 

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