Tag Archive for bike polo bike
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.
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.
We 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.
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:
The best part of bike polo is that anyone can come out and give it a try. The introduction to bike polo is often the phrase “You have a bike? Well go get it, we’ll give you everything else you need.”
And that in large part helps explain how people get hooked: you don’t really need any specialized equipment to get started. You can get a loaner mallet, you probably already have a helmet if you own a bike, and your two wheeled wonder-machine. You’re off to the races.
But as I’ve progressed in our little sport it’s become painfully apparent that this model works only for beginning. As much as I’m loathe to say it: your polo bike does have a great deal to do with how much you’ll progress in the sport. At least for us average players.
In saying this I’m excluding bike polo phenoms who could be on a wheel-less unicycle and still make five goals–I’m talking about the everyday polo player. It seems to me that you can start on any bike, but you shouldn’t continue to play on any bike if you’re aiming for competitive play.
Naturally this is a new development: at the founding of our sport there was no such thing as a “polo” bike, but now there are, and they can give players an advantage over other players who are not on a bike with the best geometry, ratios, and other engineering type words. The polo bike is going to become more and more a part of “starting” in this sport, and to give this example, I point to our very own Lancaster United club.
When I first started, I was on a Specialized Hard Rock. I rode that beast around for a year and then moved to a Redline 925 (yes, going from 26 inch wheels to 700s). I then, about a year later, again moved to my current Fixcraft Prototype (26 inch again). It took about 2 years for me to get to a bike that had what I needed to play my polo game – a polo specific bike.
Rodney (one of our newer players), now has a polo specific Peruvian beauty after playing for less than six months.
I think it’s great, of course, that bike polo bike are becoming more ubiquitous on the courts–but there is also a sadness in writing this: the sport is angling away (out of necessity or the times or the advancement of equipment) from a time when whatever bike you had was good enough. Is it good or bad, I don’t know; but it’s certainly happening.
Darby just got ahold of his brand new EighthInch Butcher, and got a chance to play on it yesterday at pickup. Obviously he can’t say anything about it yet other than “Yeah, this is an improvement,” but in the future we’ll have a review by Darbinator of the Butcher for you. Until then, enjoy a few pictures of the Rootbeer flavored Butcher.
Well, it’s finally happened: the Fixcraft Prototype build has been built and I played a pickup Sunday with it.
Now, I can’t really go into very many specifics as this is a prototype bike (so anything I said about it, positive or negative, might not hold true for the final production run of the bike itself), but I can and will say this: game changer.
Game. Effing. Changer.
I wanted to play for the rest of the day.
I wanted to leave my car at the court and bike all the way home.
I wanted to sleep next to it.
I lowered my gearing by about 2 1/2 teeth (ratio wise), my position on the bike is more aggressive, and the frame itself is tight and responsive. It makes my 925 feel like an 18 wheeler in comparison, and I love(d) that bike when it was my rig. I also switched back to 26 inch wheels because it fits my play style a bit better, and it’s nice to have those big fat RibMos on there.
I’ve got to relearn my goal tending, sure, but I kinda don’t want to stay in goal anymore. I can keep up with other players and make the quick-turn moves that have been too fast for me before. The Fixcraft hubs felt like poetry – I’m actually crying right now – somebody needs to hold me.
All I’m saying is this: if the version pushed into production is even 1/4 as classy as this bike is, the polo world is in for quite a contender in the polo-specific bike market. It’s the kinda polo bike that you want to get set up exactly the way you want because you know you’re not going to switch to another bike anytime soon.
Tomorrow I’ll have Horse’s closeup pictures of the bikes (mine and Lumberjack’s) for everyone to save as backgrounds. Today you’ll just have to be satisfied with the three here and your own daydreaming.
Horse was kind enough to send me this pinup. Ogle, away, folks. Hopefully I’ll have this beast for next pickup day (whenever I decide to travel to DC because Lancaster United doesn’t play the sport anymore).