Guest Post by Nick Kruse
Guest Post by Nick Kruse
There are some fine things that come out of Ireland. For one thing, it’s (most likely) the land of my one grandfather’s birth, and also the land where I have family from the other side of my gene pool. (I like to think of that side as the deep end).
It’s also the home to Guinness, shillelaghs and Tullamore Dew. And most recently out of all those, the Mycro Xtra Lite Hurling helmet.
Now, for those of you who aren’t aware of the proud Irish sport, hurling is a game wherein…uh…well look here’s a video, complete with horrible music:
And as you saw in the video, part of the equipment the folks who play hurling wear is a helmet; which brings us to a package I got from the county Cork. I know a few people who already play bike polo with hurling helmets here in the States, but I haven’t seen a review of them up on
those other bike polo sites, so I thought I’d give my thoughts here.
Last year, custom polo bikes were all about the sudden and urgent shift to 26” wheels. Polo specific frames were popping up left and right aimed at the smaller, slightly more agile wheel size, while the 700c crowd was left with a choice between the MKE Bruiser….and……the MKE Bruiser.
It (finally) feels like the steam from the 26” revolution has slightly cooled, and we’re finally starting to see support for those preferring the speed and familiarity of the larger wheel. FBM stepped up to the plate early with their FGFS Sword frame, which was fairly well received as a workable polo frame, and then really got people excited with the release of their all new Ballista frame, a prototype of which was seen under the asses of Koyo Maeda and Evan George of Assassins fame.
A production pre-order happened, monies were exchanged ($750 to be exact), and quite a few people (our own Jon Kokus included) waited not so patiently by the door for the big brown van to arrive bearing gifts.
Well, for some east coasters, Yesterday was that day!
Here is your first look at the 2014 FBM Ballista polo frameset.
Want to run an NAH tournament but don’t have the time or desire to learn the rule-set?
Can’t seem to find anyone willing to blow a whistle for a full day?
Tired of players attacking refs and ruining the joy of the game?
Well the future is NOW!
The Insta-Ref™ is the automated, one-touch solution to all of your referee needs. Developed in the secret sanctum of the polo war room deep in the heart of Lancaster County, The Insta-Ref™ is your one-stop solution for any NAH Tournament.
All you need to do is:
1. Wait for a “potential-call” moment
2. Press the Insta-Ref™ button
3. Perform the action prescribed by the random selection of the Insta-Ref™!
Each of these possible solutions are specially formulated to simulate actual, real life reffing!
The Insta-Ref™ ref management system only exists in limited quantities (read: 1) so act now! The first order will also receive the Insta-Heckle 4000™ AT ABSOLUTELY REGULAR PRICE!
INSTA-REF IS INSTA-AWESOME!
Editor’s Note: as you know, I generally like having a “first touch” review and then a “months later” review on most of the products I share here. Well, when I gave a pair of DZR Marcos (www.dzrshoes.com/marcoblk) to Horse for review, we were (and are) in the middle of a very snowy winter. Not wanting to break rank, however, Horse diligently performed a “first touch” review despite the inability to play polo. Enjoy!
NOTE: Once again, the 30 that Horse had up for pre-sale are now gone. If you’re still interested, contact Horse (Matt Krofcheck) over Facebook.
for $38.99 USD you get:
It fits most IS front disc brakes, comes in powdercoated black, and sold out the first time Horse did a pre-sale in a matter of a few days. He’s changed the design just a bit to allow for easier mounting, a lighter product, and a bigger caliper guard so you can make adjustments on the fly.
AND YOU’D BETTER HURRY, FRIEND-O: this is a very limited run, so there isn’t much room for dragging your feet.
It was with some surprise that Brooks unveiled its C17 Cambium saddle this past Fall. Made of rich thick leather Vulcanized Nature Rubber and copper rivets Organic Cotton Canvas with tubular stainless rails on a die cast aluminum frame, the C17 greatly departs from standard operating procedure in the Brooks lineup.
With headline points like ‘Naturally Flexible’ and ‘Immediately Comfortable’ the C17 is perhaps aimed at someone with a bit too much ADHD to ‘waste time’ with the break in period of their standard version.
So I ordered one for around $169~ depending who you ask. The saddle came in a cool box with a copy of the Brooks newsletter and some neat info on the C17 model. That’s all well and good, but I’m sure you don’t give a damn about the literature that came with my fancy seat as much as its saddle-esque traits.
I bolted it to my Thomson post, adjusted it, and threw my fat ass on to see what I thought. The seat is comfy. My previous saddle was a Specialized Phenom 143mm, which is minimally padded and minimally ‘there’, and pretty stiff. The Brooks by comparison felt like a hammock for my taint. The nose is stiff, if you’re forward on the saddle you’ll notice just how stiff it is, but slide back an inch and you feel like you’re in an amazingly broken in, built just for you, basket. It’s almost hard to explain. I’ve heard a lot of people say that a well broken in leather Brooks molds to the contours of your sit bones, and I imagine what Brooks aimed to accomplish with the vulcanized rubber was sort of a ‘memory foam’ type effect. I’d said they succeeded.
The cotton cover on the saddle (which is weatherproofed via a Brooks Numac treatment) feels a little rough to the touch, but you can still move around. It’s not slippery like a leather Brooks. At the same time, it’s not so rough that you’ll worry about wearing through your jeans. The rivets are cool looking and you can’t feel them when you’re on the saddle.
Saddles are a difficult thing to review. What I love you might hate, or more specifically your body might hate. But I’ll say this, the C17 is cut a lot like the B17, is super comfy right out of the box, is built incredibly well out of really awesome materials, and is fairly trick. I’ve had it on my polo bike for over a month and it’s taken abuse in stride. I’ve actually been swapping my seatpost/saddle between my polo bike and my commuter until I can get another one. Its just as comfy on longer rides, and having been caught in the rain once already, the Numac seems to work just fine.
If you like the b17, give it a try. There is also a C17s ladies version that is modeled after the B17s, as well as the upcoming C15 which modeled after the B15 Swallow and is designed for you 150lb racer types. (my fat ass will never see the likes of the C15)
The C17 comes in Slate (shown) and Tan. Retail is 145 euro (197USD) but seems to sell for closer to $175 stateside. Check it out here http://www.brooksengland.com/cambium/
The very first bicycle cap I got came from Horse, who bought it online from some place far, far away from where we lived at the time (we lived in the same building, not the same apartment. Though that would be a pretty spectacular Odd Couple situation). It pretty much became a part of me until I lost it/got other cycling caps.
The thing about a well made cap is, simply, that you can’t imagine riding your bike or going to a tourney without it. It sets your tone, as it were, and when you get one that is just right, it makes you feel like a million bucks.
Well, for a considerable amount less than that, you can get a Gunk Hat made by polo player Annie.
I first encountered her caps (well, more appropriately, I first realized she made them) at the recent Philly A/B tourney. She had a few with her and I was impressed both with how good they looked, and how customized she was able to make them, based on want. I then asked her for an interview, which she was super happy to do:
This is a contributed post by Ron Hayes. Thanks for the great info, Ron!
If you are like me, you may have worried about getting knocked in the grill by one of those over dramatic windmill slappers that we often see. There may be other times where you are less interested in finding out what a hockey ball tastes like. Thanks to Fixcraft providing a facemask that hooks up with the Bern Watts helmet, at an affordable price, I picked one of these bad boys up for far less than the “No Insurance” discount from the ER.
During Fixcraft’s Black Friday sale, I purchased the facemask without checking compatibility on my specific Watts helmet. The result of my itchy trigger finger purchase was that the original hardware and installation video are set up to suit the “Hardhat” version of the Watts helmet. I have the “Sink-Fit” version. Perhaps you were excited about keeping your head the same shape it was in before you became addicted to polo and ordered a mask with out checking up? Maybe you knew the helmets were a little different and pulled the trigger anyway? Good news for the “quick to order and ask questions later” and “hopeful” types, I am going to do my best to explain to you on how it can be done!
The difference in the Watts Hardhat and the Sink-Fit is not too distant in reference to the mask installation, aside from the Sink-Fit having an interchangeable liner for different weather conditions. I say interchangeable and not removable because you must have a liner installed for the helmet to fit correctly. This liner throws a wrench in the works of the old installation process. Odds are that if you have continued reading this far, you probably already know that.
In the original “Hard Hat” vid, you must remove the rivet that holds the neck straps to the helmet. When installing the “Sink-Fit” version you DO NOT remove the rivets and must drill slightly behind the rivet. The rivet on the “Sink-Fit” model doubles as a snap fastener to hold the interchangeable liner in place. Unless you are well experienced in snap fastener installation and have all the tools, I will suggest the method that I used. I will further suggest that you watch the installation video that Fixcraft provides if you are not already experienced with installing the face mask.
You can watch the original vid here:
Overall installation can be done with only minor surgery and an additional cost of less than $3. I chose to use 3/8” 10mm (Wire) Clamps with ¼” holes and rubber insulation. These clips worked remarkably well. You can find these clamps at your local home improvement store in the electrical hardware section.
I will start with the original list of items needed, integrated with a list of new items at the end of the list. Following the list will be a step-by-step abridged version to complete the retrofitted helmet. Read more
Editor’s note: as it turns out, Google did indeed trick me into thinking these were brand new. According to my sources (you know, comments on Facebook), this has been out a while and isn’t really used. So just enjoy this for what it is: me being way behind the curve. horray!
I just had a Google Alert pop into my inbox with the header Two Piece Shaft. So, like any good reporter looking for the scoop, I followed the link out to see that indeed, EighthInch is now (editor’s note, here: this may have existed for a long time. Google isn’t always right with what is “new”) offering a two piece shaft to help you carry around your mallet without it sticking out of your bag like a war axe.
The natural concerns are, I think, whether it’d stay screwed together and how well that point would take a hit (or, more appropriately, how well the spots just before and just after the screw would take a hit). All the same, it’s an interesting concept and one that I know I’ve seen around here and there. Point in fact, MalletHeadz has been offering this very solution for quite some time. No, really. The have.
A write up of the description is below, full of the traditional bullet points we’ve come to expect from bike polo equipment manufacturers:
Does anyone have any experience with this shaft yet? I’m curious as to how it holds up/the weight brought on by that attachment system.
The price is about 25 dollars before shipping, so it’s rather expensive for a shaft–but then again, if the thing can be twisted apart and easily stowed, maybe that price is worth it for a travelling polo player?
Probably not for Robocop, though, as his mallets are already 1/2 the length of most mallets around.
Take a peek right here: http://www.eighthinch.com/55358-eighthinch-bicycle-bike-polo-2-piece-shaft.aspx