One of the newest entries into the mallet head market, the Modifide ARC out of Toronto has quite a number of things going for it, and perhaps 2 or 3 things that aren’t going for it. Let’s discuss, shall we?
Out Of The Box
When this little honey first landed on my doorstep, I was immediately struck by how much work went into it. It’s apparent that this is more than just a tube with a cap on it. It looks like a piece of sports equipment. The tightening diameter heading towards the center intrigued me for two reasons: how would mounting be different, and how would the ball respond.
Looking on the inside, I can see that they’ve included the MILK style middle ridge and some extra material at both the capped side and open side of the mallet, with a lovely bevel to boot. I scraped the side with my nail, and noticed the Canadian UHMW does seem a bit soft compared to some of the other mallets out on the market, but I wouldn’t know what the hell that meant for play until I played – so that’s what I did.
Anyone who reads this blog knows I am not worth a damn when it comes to putting a mallet together. I readily admit this. I am fortunate, however, in having Horse live nearby, and he was more than willing to help me out. He is a big proponent of the Pittsburgh Beech connector system , and that’s what he used for the ARC. We were a bit concerned at first about the curve of the mallet, but it didn’t seem to hinder the attachment at all.
Horse mentioned to me that this attachment system seems to add a little bit of power to the swing (power is transferred directly to the mallet instead of absorbed my the mallet shaft/mounting system), so if I experienced harder shots, it might be in part due to the beech connector. All the same, the mallet felt like it had a great weight when attached (Fixcraft XT shaft), and the shape of the head just makes you want to crush things with it.
The ARC is the most different mallet head I’ve played with since I moved from stolen gas pipe to St. Cago heads in my polo infancy. I’m writing this “first touch” review just a day after playing with it for the first time, but I can say that it handles the ball very differently than traditional mallet heads. It seems like, when receiving a pass, the curve of the mallet head brings the ball to center more often than not. It cups it, if you will, which helps out in controlling and receiving loose passes.
When defending goal, I noticed that a hard shot was much more likely to bounce up (ramp, basically) than before. I think this could be a drawback, but if I kept my mallet a little higher I think this problem would be mitigated – I have to do more research on that.
I noticed that there was a very solid increase in my power from shots. Remember, again, that Horse indicated some of that could be from the mounting system – but I felt like the softness of the Canadian UHMW was not drawing back from shooting power in any way, which was a pleasant thing.
I gave the mallet to one of our heavy hitters (Irish), and he said it was great for heavy shots. I then gave it to one of our sword fighters (Lumberjack) and he said it was great for moving the ball around, receiving hot passes, and moving the ball around the bike.
I was pretty tickled with the performance of the mallet head. I was conscious of how much it was affecting my play, and it was kind of an enhancement to my abilities (light though they may be).
By the end of 4ish hours of play, the mallet head showed obvious wear:
and that’s something I’ll be keeping an eye on for my future “months later” review. I think, for the price, this thing better last a good long time.
Other Factors To Consider:
The price. The price the price the price. The ARC comes in at $29.00USD and shipping is an additional $10.00USD, which puts this mallet head at almost 4o bucks. That’s the most expensive mallet to buy in North America that I know of, and puts me into a weird position as to whether you should buy it or not.
It plays well, shoots well, and feels great. It’s clearly been refined and tested and cared for during the development process.
but that price – sweet gravy train, that’s lot for a mallet head! I can hear the old heads jangling there gas pipe and groaning about the good ol’ days when you could get 10 feet of material for a late night run and a shared PBR. I get it though, the people making this need to cover costs, for sure, but I wonder how the polo world as a whole is going to respond to that price point.
I think I can’t make an honest call until I see how long it lasts. Truly, it’s a well developed and effective entry into the bike polo equipment scene, but if it only holds up for a few months I am hesitant to give it my seal of approval. I mean, if you’re made of money, sure – got for it. It’s great. But if you’re on a tight budget you might want to get two of any other mallet head instead.
Of course, that might just be the poor in me talking – something is always worth what it’s purchaser is willing to pay – so what about you, dear reader? 4o bucks too much for something that is a pretty great mallet (as far as 1 day of play shows), or is that the price we should expect to pay for something that is more than just capped tubing and actually considers the sport?