Archive for Equipment

EighthInch Two Piece Shaft

image from EighthInch

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:

EighthInch desc

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

Your Noggin Options: The Bike Polo Standards for Helmets

Helm Diagram

Frankly I don’t understand folks who can play bike polo without a helmet on. Whenever I forget to, I feel like naked, and pretty much ignore the game until I can protect my melon with the Bern Watts helmet I’ve come to see as a necessary piece of equipment.

And I think that most people are like that these days in our sport. We’ve seen so many times where the lack of a helmet would have caused a world of pain, and few, thank the elder gub, that demonstrated what happens when someone doesn’t wear a helmet.

So it’s no stretch to say that helmets are going to become (or have become) a standard piece of equipment in bike polo–but because we started out as smelly bike messengers and other hipster stereotypes, the type of helmet, much like the type of bike, is not a specific directive. It can be anything and everything. This is good, I think, but should there be certain standards?

One thing I believe in quite strongly is that people ought to start wearing face cages on their helmets. I have seen so many people get caught in the face/teeth/jaw/facebits in general that I really don’t care to listen to the complaints from people who say they don’t want to wear them. It’s dumb not to, frankly, and if you feel as though your game can be limited by a face cage, you’re probably just not that good of a player yes that’s a personal attack on your ability no I don’t care if you’re offended. 

Let’s look at some of the helmets that people are using right now, the pros and cons, and so forth. I’m going to be working from these following premises of judgement:

Premi?

Premisises?

1. Can it protect the noggin?

2. Can it have a face cage?

3. How much does it cost?

4. How long will it last?

5. Coolness factor?

 

Bern Helmets (Bern Watts) 
WHBPC2013 (222)Noggin Protection: The Bern line of helmets has proven itself to be great at protecting the brains. Point in fact, they are made for fast sports and hard contact, so yes. 

Face Cage: Yes again, though it’s through a DIY effort on the part of the polo player. Fixcraft sells face cages specifically for the Bern Watts, and you can also buy them pre-attached, I believe. Though, to be honest, you can go to a re-use sports store (Play it Again in our case here), and buy a batter’s face cage for anywhere between $4.00 and $10.00, and just mount it yourself.

Cost: This is another place where the Bern fluctuates. I bought mine from Ebay for twenty bucks brand new (it has a black mark on the helmet), but you can generally find them around 60 bucks direct from Bern.I don’t think I’ve ever spent more than 50 on a Watts, though, so dig around a bit.

Longevity:  My first Watts lasted for about a year and a half before the insides began to fall apart and smell horribly. I bought another (the 20 buck find), and so far it’s been holding up very well.

Coolness: Well, it has that brim to it, and that pretty much makes it awesome. It’s also the standard for bike polo players, though, so you’re losing out on that ever desirable individuality factor.

 

Bicycle Helmet (Road/Mtn)  Read more

FBM Ballista is up for Pre-Order

FBM THUMB

From the site:

Handcrafted in New York by FBM Bike Co. the Ballista is a tig welded, 4130 chromoly frameset designed for the specific needs of hardcourt bike polo players.

fbm-ballista-profile-LRGWe started with the original FBM Sword frame geometry and tube set, and, with input from Evan George and Koyo Maeda of Seattle’s The Assassins, designed the Ballista. We increased the height of the headtube for a more upright riding position, decreased the height of the seat tube for more standover clearance above the top tube, used a bulge butted seat tube for more strength in the top tube / seat stay junction, and added optional front and rear canti mount brakes and optional front disc brakes. Check out the complete specs below.

Evan and Koyo, who rode prototype Ballistas in the 2013 Worlds, where The Assassins took 3rd place and Koyo was named MVP, have this to say about the frameset: “It’s the jam saucy, real buttery” – Koyo, “This is the dopest bike, it’s super fun to ride, I love it” – Evan.

So if you’re looking for a buttery sauce dope jam of a bike, head on over to the FBM  pre-order page and put down your deposit.

Equipment Check: Modifide ARC 4 Mallet Head

2013-11-05 09.47.26

I’m not going to say I had anything to do with the development of the new Modifide ARC 4 mallet head, but…

Okay, I had absolutely nothing to do with it–though I’m pretty sure it addresses my concerns with the original Modifide ARC, and let me tell you why.

The original ARC was fantastic out-of-the-box, as you can tell from this review I did initially on it.  The mallet head had a great flat surface for striking, the hourglass design held in the ball and made ball movement feel more intuitive, and it made me want to say things like I was a Viking (really this just made me sound like the Swedish Chef, but whatever).

My month later review was a bit more reserved. The mallet head had “egged” on the open end (meaning it lost it’s shape and began collapsing), and it was getting frustrated with the hourglass shape sometimes ramping the ball up and away instead of capturing it on particularly wild passes.  I assumed that the shape of the ARC put additional pressure on the ends when putting pressure on the head, resulting in a collapse of the open end and, overall, a poor design.

My final suggestion was this: wait for a newer version.

2013-10-22 22.48.32Well, lemme tell you: a lot of people came after me after that point. A good amount explained how every mallet head “eggs” after a period of time, how the design was well though-out, and how much they loved their own ARCs. I saw a number of them being used at tourneys and when we visited other clubs for pickup, and I reconsidered my position. I put the ARC head back on my mallet and used it a bit more, and yes, even though it had partially collapsed on the side, it was still fun to use. I found myself steering away from it again, however, as I had grown so used to using the Unibody from Fixcraft

And then I met Steve (of Modifide) at Worlds, and he had a few of the ARC 4s for sale, and my own desire for cool shit won me over. so I bought one.

Build

2013-10-22 22.48.07The ARC 4 is a stout little fellow, coming in at 4 inches (as the name would imply) but weighing in just under a full sized 90 grams.  I resisted the temptation to drill it out, as I was concerned with such a small space to do so (between the middle ridge inside and the built-up walls along the outside). So I didn’t drill, and honestly I don’t think you need to. It’s heavier than my drilled out Fixcraft Unibody head/shaft, but not so much that I’m hurting my wrist.

2013-10-22 22.48.23

Visually, the ARC 4 looks well constructed and beefy. It barely squishes when pressure is applied, and seems like it could easily be used for home repair if not for the bike polo court.

Play Read more

Interview with RYB Denim

RYB logo

RYB Denim, a fledgling company who hopes to make denim bicycle jeans  for ladies, is tapping into the intrinsic need of having comfortable, fashionable & functional active-wear for the growing market of female cyclists. I managed to snag this interview with Chandel Bodner recently:

So who is RYB Denim, and how did you come about?

Chandel BikeRYB Denim, Ride Your Bike Denim, is me, Chandel Bodner, designer and founder, and Steve Sal Debus, admin and marketing. We play polo together in Toronto. Not long after I returned here in May, Steve and I quickly realized that our personal strengths and experiences complimented each others in a way that would really make this project a success. Passionate about business and marketing, Steve wanted to explore more crowd-funding platforms, and I wanted to create and distribute the jeans I’d been designing and considering for years. It was the perfect storm to get this going, and to get it done quickly, with confidence, and with quality.
We are also a part of a community of cyclists the world over and they are also all RYB Denim. We’ve been fortunate enough to look to our friends, family, and community for support in getting this project off the ground. We’ve worked with great industry professionals, videographers, photographers, cycling enthusiasts, and more.

What was the moment you realized this was really going to happen?

The moment I really realized it was going to happen was when we got our studio space. At that point in time we were able to really dedicate consistently, and in our own environment, together. It was a benefit to keep us focused and discussing. That was a month ago, start of September.
The reality is, this isn’t “really going to happen” unless our indiegogo campaign is a success and we reach our funding goal. Indiegogo.com is our funding platform ( www.indiegogo.com/projects/ryb-denim), and we have a minimum goal to reach before we can actually produce any of the pairs of jeans. We have been getting great support so far, but we have to order a minimum amount of fabric, and make a min. # of jeans for it to be cost effective and also help us move into a growing business potential.
What do you make?
Simply put, we make jeans for women who ride bikes.

Why is it different than what people can already get? What are some of the things that make your bicycle clothing more awesome? Read more

How to make bike polo ads:

Northern Standard – Quick Screw Technology from Geoffrey Tomlin-Hood on Vimeo.

RYB Denim Indiegogo Campaign has Launched!

ryb denim

The fine folks at RYB Denim (polo players and bike lovers, one and all) have just launched their Indiegogo campaign. As it says on the site:

Whether you ride daily for work, out with friends, as sport or any other reason in between and beyond, wouldn’t it be nice to know that your jeans feel great, look great, and will last? 

RYB

RYB Denim is focused on creating jeans for women that flatter your shape, breathe and stretch as you ride, and look great on and off your bike. 

A dream that is inspired by the growing number of women riding every where, every day, we need your help to make this a reality. 

Your contributions will help us provide female cyclist’s around the world with a pair of jeans that will enhance the enjoyment and freedom they feel while riding their bike!

Go check out the web page and please do support this looks-to-be-awesome product launch!

http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/ryb-denim

Equipment Check: NoBS Rims by Velocity

Velocity NoBS Rims (17) (Copy)

Bike polo has been a sport of borrowing.

We borrow mallets from club mates when we start, we borrow face cages from hockey or baseball, we borrowed balls from street hockey and bikes from the track or mountain. We borrow and borrow and borrow.

Because of that, we often break the hell out of equipment because it’s simply not made to take the kind of violence that bike polo can dish out, and there’s no better example than the taco’d wheel.

Unlike other bike sport, bike polo makes wheels do all sorts of things that a wheel was not initially designed to take. It’s because of this that bike polo players generally roll through rims like butter on popcorn. But it looks like that tide may be changing.

The Velocity NoBS rim was made for polo–pure and simple. Inside and out, the rim was designed to take what you (and the opposing team) is dishing out. On paper it comes in 26 and 700c varieties, 32, 36 or 48 spoke count, and costs around $60.00 for the rim.

Build

Here are some of the specifics from Velocity’s Website:

Rim Size: 700c

NoBS rimWidth: 25.4mm

Height: 18mm

Tire Interface: Clincher

Valve: Presta 32 – 40mm

Bead Seat Diameter (BSD): 622

Effective Rim Diameter (ERD): 606

Weight: 620g

 

Velocity NoBS Rims (13) (Copy)Rim Size: 26″

Width: 25.4mm

Height: 18mm

Tire Interface: Clincher

Valve: Presta 32 – 40mm

Bead Seat Diameter (BSD): 559

Effective Rim Diameter (ERD): 543

Weight: 560g

 

As you can see from the above graphic, the rims are designed to take lateral strikes and still keep true (you and I both know that any wheel will eventually fail under the right kinda stress, but the point is this rim was made to withstand more polo-appropriate punishment than other wheels). The internal reinforcement helps prevent denting and failure, leading you to spend less time trying to fix your wheels–and less money trying to replace them after every tourney.

Velocity NoBS Rims (9) (Copy)Velocity sent a two of the 26″, 48 spoke variety to Lancaster polo a few months ago. As soon as I took them out of the box (imagine a small child opening presents on Christmas and you’ll have the visual), I could feel and see the quality of the build. With other wheels I’ve felt as though they were the weakest point of the bike (and they kinda are, really), but the NoBS wheels struck me as remarkably solid and strong.

Laced to Fixcraft’s Core series front disc and rear fix-free hubs (Which you can read all about in this post), the wheels looked like something that belong on the court just as much as any other piece of polo equipment. They are burly and act the part of a polo player’s wheelset.

And I just want to mention one thing here: these aren’t deep V, and frankly if you still think that matters for your polo bike, you’re horribly mistaken. Deep V, in my opinion, just means you have more chances to dent your rims. These rims are exactly what is needed: tight, well-constructed and hearty as a honey badger’s don’t-care-o-meter.

Testing Read more

Jon’s New Whip

All City Airwolf Polo Rig (6)

Jon (Not Farmer Jon, but Bike Shop Jon) is a new player we have here in Lancaster–and seeing as though he works for a bike shop, he wasted no time in making himself a proper bike polo whip.

While I kinda hate that he’s been playing for less than a month and already has a great bike (back in my day…), I can also appreciate the sexy. The All-City Airwolf is a fine frame to build a polo bike on, it seems. Here’s the rest of the juice:

  • Velocity Hubs laced to NoBS
  • GT 3pc crankset
  • Shimano front V Brake
  • Problem Solvers dual cable junction
  • Paul Racer rear brake

Jon’s first day notes (from what I overheard) were that he’d like the front to be up a touch more, which I can understand. Still, it’s a great start for our newest lefty:

Review: Fixcraft CORE Series Hubs

fixcraft back hub

Hubs are pretty basic pieces of equipment in the bicycle lineup. In this I mean they are generally just three components: a hub shell, bearings, and an axle. Sure, there are other elements, but that’s the core of what makes an axle work. When I was trying to gain support from some of the guys in my club to write this review (mostly to make sure that I didn’t sound like a complete buffoon), they all repeated the same thing: there’s really nothing that exciting about a hub.

But I’d beg to differ, and let me explain why:

When I first started playing this sport, I rolled around on whatever was available (I think a lot of us had that same kind of upbringing in bike polo). my first hubs were the ones that came with the ten dollar wheels I bought at a Velo Swap, and they worked. Not well, mind you, but if I turned the wheel on my front fork, it spun around for a few turns before slowing to a stop. That’s what I thought a wheel was supposed to do, and for a long time what I imagined hubs were supposed to do, too.

My first set of fresh-from-the-box hubs came from Fixcraft when Sean allowed me to purchase the HV1 prototype polo bike. It came with a set of the Fixcraft Core Series hubs (in particular, the 100mm 48 hole front disc and 135mm 48 hole rear disc). It was from that point that I realized how hubs/wheels were supposed to feel, and that has made quite a difference to me.

Build Read more