A little while back I got an ARC mallet head by Modifide bike polo, and I was excited/interested by the unique hourglass shape. Modifide–along with fellow Canadian, Northern Standard–has developed and released the first not-just-a-tube shaped mallet head in bike polo (okay, produced by a polo company, sure sure).
When I first reviewed it (linked below) I was impressed with the power off of the shot and with how the hourglass design seemed to make the ball more predictable when receiving a pass. Now that I’ve had it for a month or so, I can speak more on playability and concerns.
My primary concern after playing with his mallet is the shape it’s taking. In particular, the way that the outside, striking/scooping surfaces are doing. Take a look at this picture:
See that caving on the top right? That’s got me worried. I think that’s happening because of the increased pressure on the outside points due to lack of contact with the middle. What I mean is: when I’m posting in goal/trying not to fall over, I’m putting pressure on my mallet. With a tube shape, all of my weight is being distributed across the mallet head (presumably). with this head, it’s all focused on the ends, which might be too much for the material–yes, go ahead and post all of your fat jokes in the comments area, I’m asking for that to happen.
So the scooping end is caving in, but the shooting side seems to be holding up better in terms of shape.
As far as wear on the rest of the head goes, it’s at about the level I’d expect. While I’d like to keep that sharp point on the shooting end, that simply isn’t in the nature of polo mallet heads, and there is certainly some deep rounding happening as you can see. The flat surface of the shooting end seems to be staying relatively flat, however.
That being said, I heard that Kyle (who got one of these as well) had something funny happen with his: the shooting side caved in – like a little cup. looking at the pictures of it, it may not seem that dramatic, but I don’t think having that sort of change to the shooting end is a benefit, necessarily. The picture of his cupping action can be seen below:
So that’s where I produce my criticism: both sides are reacting to, I figure, increased pressure from the shape. This pressure is causing the ends to fail, and that’s causing the mallet head to lose it’s shape.
So far, the mallet head is still shooting just as well as when I first got it. I’m not a very sophisticated player, so the misshapen scooping side isn’t really bothering me, though I suspect it would bother some folks. The material is doing well with the increased heat of the coming summer and I have no complaints on that front. I still like the amount of power I’m getting and the size of the shooting surface has certainly helped me make better, more accurate connection.
What I will say is this: when I’m in goal, the decreased diameter of the middle part does make very strong shots blocked shoot up and away at an angle or they just hop over my mallet head. The trick is to lift this mallet head a bit to create a space to catch the ball between the ground and the mallet head itself – but if you’re kinda weak as a goalie, you might find yourself struggling to control hard shots on goal. However, who the hell wants to play goalie anyway.
If you’re really into the newest thing and want to experience every development in bike polo, the Modifide ARC will satisfy. It provides interesting differences in the game, makes scooping easier (I don’t know why, it just feels like it does), an looks good.
But, truly, I think there is something close to a flaw in the way extra pressure is put on the ends, and that needs to be resolved. I am very excited to see version 2 and 3 of this mallet head, but I’m not completely sold on this first endeavor into the world of hourglass design.