I have reviewed the line of Arena bike polo equipment in the past for you (listed below in case you somehow missed it – gosh), and I jumped at the opportunity to do it again in the case of two new offerings from Arena: the Alchemy head and the Model 1019 Creamy Shaft.
First, let me talk about the shaft. The original Creamy shaft impressed me in two regards: it’s ability to take a wallop and stay straight, and it’s lightness despite of that ability. All I can say about the new Model 1019 is that it maintains those two qualities, but now has a fancy-as-hell logo on it, too. I take this as a sign that Chris has been successful in selling his products, and that he’s gaining a foothold. Good for him, truly.
I still have all three of my creamy shafts that I’ve ever owned, and none of them are anywhere close to retirement. You can look at specs and where to buy here (though, to be fair, I don’t see this particular shaft available right now. Regardless, that’s where you’d find them).
Next, let’s move to the Alchemy Head.
The Alchemy Head is the end result of a lot of planning and study. As explained on the Arena bike polo page, the Alchemy features a double butted design, pilot holes for accurate drilling, and rotation of the head, and is made of recycled UHMW material. Coming in at 90 grams, it’s fairly light, too.
I’ve been playing with my Arena since Lancaster United did a small bulk order a few weeks ago, and so far I’ve enjoyed the experience. The material wears as I want it to, I’m lifting my shots off the ground with it (something that never happened for me before), and I find the control achieved with the mallet head to be much more than adequate.
The mallet head assembles with the “Creamy Attachment Hardware” (yes, now I’m on a watch list) which I wasn’t crazy about. I simply don’t like the bottom screw method, personally. That being said, I had to tighten it once and so far nothing else, so there is that – the system, so far, is working very well. We’ll see what it’s like 3 months down the line.
Speaking of, Arena Bike Polo has provided an extensive explanation of how to properly attach the mallet using the hardware they sell. While on one hand I appreciate the time and effort it took to put that presentation together, I don’t own half the tools they show, and probably never will. But if you have a machine shop and time, I truly do recommend hitting that page and doing it up right.
If you recall when I reviewed the previous white mallet head by Arena, I had my doubts: the small diameter of the head, the multi-point attachment system for the cap – it just didn’t work for me. Well, this Alchemy head eliminates my concerns. It’s a single piece design, has the traditional size, and smacks the ball clean and accurate.
My overall review: buying a creamy mallet and shaft is a good way to spend your money. There it is.
Now for the contentious part : I think you could safely buy the Alchemy head and get most-not all, but most of the value that you get from a MILK head for less money. It’s light, it’s good material, and it shoots well.
Does it shoot as hard as the MILK? no, I don’t think it does. is it as light? No again. But I’m not talking about a replacement for the MILK mallet, I’m talking about an economical and still perfectly usable alternative. The Alchemy mallet head simply performs well, and is built buy someone who clearly cares about the quality of product they produce. If ponying up for a mallet head from Geneva freaks you out, consider getting an Arena instead – I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.
So there you have it: two great new products from a dedicated bike polo company. Arena Bike Polo keeps growing in it’s ability and quality of product, and I for one am excited to see where they are a year from now.