Tag Archive for Bike Polo Equipment

Modifide: Why You Shouldn’t Have Favorites


I have used a Modifide Arc 4 mallet head since October of 2013. I am crazy about it. I reviewed the original arc and its little brother on the site, and the Arc 4 has been as reliable as it has been fun to use.

And now, as I’m sure we’re all mostly aware, Modifide has called it quits because, let’s face it, life often dictates that sort of thing. Now I’m faced with a few choices to make as a player:

  • Do I try to buy up all the ARC 4s I can?
  • Do I hope that someone else buys the company and continues to make the head?
  • Do I learn how to use a standard shaped mallet head (there are plenty of great options out there, no doubt).

This is a dumb situation to be in, but one that I think folks in our sport come across more often than not: a company makes something you integrate into the way you play, then that company disappears and you’re left needing to fundamentally change a few key aspects of your play in order to keep up.

Now I’m probably overstating this (hell, this is yellow page journalism at its best!), but it is an inconvenience I’m going to find myself in sooner or later. There simply isn’t enough of a market for multiple companies to really find value in competing with each other for sales, and that leads to a lot of good folks stepping away from fine products only a year or two into the business. And that’s fine–the fault isn’t at all with them. The fault is in a flooded market & a lack of demand.

Instead of leaning so heavily on a single product that has the chance to simply disappear (which is such a funny thing, really, when you think about how the shape of a game’s equipment is traditionally specific), you should try to be strong on all sorts of mallet heads. That is to say, you should be at least comfortable using various types of equipment. I’m not saying at all that your entire game will be different for years after company XYZ stops making the Wizzbang mallet head, but it might push into a different product which, for at least a little while, will take more of your attention to use (in my case, having mallet heads that are longer and catch on the ground in a different way than what I’m used to).

So how do you familiarize yourself with different mallet heads without spending $200.00 a year? Hell, I don’t know. I realize this is the part where I’m supposed to give you some sort of over-the-top solution about the problem, but I don’t have one. I guess maybe you should be aware of the situation and be open to re-learning your equipment. Does that work? Okay maybe that doesn’t work.

Anyway I’m just frustrated that my currently most-used mallet head’s company is stepping away from production. Sure, there are so many options out there for me to have fun with, but MAN that gets my goat.

DZR Marcos: Months Later Review


You might recall my frustrated first touch on the DZR Marco.  Frustrated not because of anything the shoe did, but frustrated because I received the shoes smack in the middle of winter and basically couldn’t ride in them for weeks.  So instead, I told you how great they were at riding the bus, or walking around town. Well, its six months later, East Sides have just passed, and I’ve been doing my best to put these shoes to their task… But you’d be hard pressed to tell. DZR1These shoes have held up amazingly well.   They show very little wear, a little crank rub on the inside of the ankle support and some wear on the Velcro strap, but otherwise they’re still mint.   Even the laces are holding up great, which is a vast improvement over the Mamba. They’re still stiff, feel perfect on the pedal;  a perfect mixture of power transfer and pedal feel, without developing hotspots.   How they do this and still make a shoe that’s honestly comfortable, I have no idea.   I essentially wore these shoes from Friday afternoon until Sunday night hosting ESQ.   Playing, organizing, running around like a headless chicken… and they never once bothered my feet. DZR3Reinforcing my previous ‘first touch’ articles predictions; the wider toe box has been a huge improvement.  Where the Mamba tends to cram my toes into the nose of the shoe, the Marco gives me plenty of breathing room which really pays off in terms of comfort after a day of playing. Also, the ventilation holes are well placed, and keep my feet at a reasonable temperature (and scent) throughout the day. Finally, the lacing system is so drastically improved that it might be my single favorite thing that I don’t notice.   Gone are the cloth hidden loops, narrow Velcro straps, and flat cloth laces.   In are reinforced eyelets, a wide and sturdy Velcro strap for mid-foot support, and round blended laces that have proven much more durable. DZR2I got these shoes for free, to test them out and review them.   That being said, even had I paid full price I’d be super happy with them.   They are the quintessential polo shoe, protecting us where we need it, offering that mixture of performance and comfort that is all too elusive, and styled in a way that fits right in with our normal getup.  (because I’ll never get used to seeing cut off jean shorts and a $300 pair of Sidi’s) Well done DZR.   Well Done.

You can find them right here on the DZR site: http://www.dzrshoes.com/marcoblk

Hey Man, Nice Shirt: Interview with One to One Print Shop

One to One

I had the good fortune to convince Kelli and Johnathon of One to One Print Shop to answer a few questions I had about their newest venture. What initially stuck me about their business was just how focused in it was on providing bike polo players with something that was generally difficult to pull off: high quality, cheap-to-buy shirts for tourneys and clubs. It seems like Kelli and Johnanthan are filling that gap while doing so much more, too.

photo-mainWho are you?

Johnathon McDowell and Kelli (Jurewicz) McDowell. We are parents, polo players and co-owners of a screen printing business!

How did you decide to open up a screen printing business?

We have over 15 years of screen printing experience between the two of us. I co-owned and operated a screen printing company in Florida for 6 years, and Johnathon had been working in the screen printing industry for over a decade. It only took good timing, some cash saving, and a little nudge to get Johnathon away from working for the man to start One to One Print Shop together.

PhotoGrid_1397452721251Are you specifically set up for polo players, or anyone?

We are set up for anyone, really. So far we have worked with local eateries, family reunion-ers and other small businesses. We are more in tune with the “little guy”. We aren’t trying to make a million, we are trying to provide printing services for people like us, those who don’t have a gob of money to drop on shirts but could benefit from selling a few.

What do you specialize in (what are you known for)?

Fast and efficient service without sacrificing quality. We take pride in what we do and we want our final product to reflect that accordingly.

IMG_20140507_163828That $40 dollar deal for 3 shirts–that’s a pretty sweet price for bike polo players. Why the generosity?

We designed the $40 deal for bike polo players because with the increasing cost to enter and travel to a tournament, having matching shirts seems like the last of your worries but it is still very crucial on the court. Most big screen printing businesses would either laugh at the idea of printing only three shirts, or charge you as if they will be printing high fashion designer shirts. No. We know you are going to be getting dirt, sweat (not only yours), and all of the grime that is bike polo on the shirts. You will take it home, maybe even wash it, and be forever reminded of that tournament. Personally, we cherish all the shirts we have collected over the years from bike polo gatherings, and we were beyond excited to provide something so memorable. Did we mention how legit you will look?

PhotoGrid_1394121084474What’s the coolest design you’ve been asked to do?

Jenny Scott’s Beer Goggles team shirts were pretty rad, that gal is off of her rocker and we love it! I also enjoyed printing the REFFIN AIN’T EASY shirts for Alias/The Eastside Thaw because well, it’s just true.

What separates you from other screen printing businesses?

Honestly the biggest difference is that we truly give a shit. We want folks to be able to show off the shirts they designed and be happy with the money they spent. This comes from the fact that we aren’t just in it for the money, we genuinely love printing. Our product is our advertisement, simply put.

IMG_20140501_165052Where do you see One to One going in the future?

Our hope is to stay small and busy. Luckily, things are going in that direction. “We print t-shirts for the American Working Man/Woman, because that’s who we are and that’s who we care about.”

Anything else you’d like to add?

Lastly, we are announcing that after the first of July we will be ending our 3 for $40 special for the year, so if that is something you want to take advantage of, get at us soon. We will be offering a City/Club/Team bulk order special for the remainder of the year so be on the lookout for that at www.onetooneprintshop.com or find/like us on Facebook, One to One Print Shop. Instagram as well, onetooneprintshop.

Warhorse Overstock Sale!


NOTE: THIS OVERSTOCK SALE IS OVER. All stock is now gone out to little polokins around the US of A and beyond.

Horse recently found a lost box of V1 Warhorse Disc Guards while cleaning his sex dungeon garage. These anodized black V1 guards are on sale now for the low, low price of $25.00 USD, including hardware and US shipping (overseas shipping should inquire via email at warhorsebikepolo@gmail.com). V1 is slightly less universal than V2: while it still fits about 90% of disc fork/caliper configurations, some fitments may require a slight modification to the guard. This easy modification can be done in minutes with a Dremel, grinder, or hand file. Fear not! See the image below for modifications needed for some bikes/brakes.

warhorse cuts

First Look: FBM Ballista

FBM Ballista (11)

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.


First Touch Review: DZR Marco


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! 

Marco Marco Marco!

The new offering from DZR, specifically for the arena of bike polo is the Marco.   This shoe aims to hit on some of the issues that polo players were running into with the previous go-to shoe, the Mamba.   I used the Mamba’s (and reviewed them HERE) for over a year with great success.  They were stiff enough for polo, comfortable, and not terribly chunky like some of the other ‘freeride’ skate shoe type offerings on the market.
Here’s a quick video to give you an idea of the specifics:

Marco from DZR on Vimeo.

First Impressions

Out of the box, (it’s a pretty box by the way) there were a few things that I was excited about.   For one, the laces now go through reinforced eyelets.   This is a huge upgrade from the cleverly hidden, but cloth straps of the Mambas.   After about six months, two of those straps had ripped.   There’s a good chance that was due to the fact that I rarely untie my shoes and prefer to muscle them on…. but regardless, they ripped, leaving me with a very strange and uneven lacing pattern on each shoe.   The new Marco’s laces also appear to be a bit more robust, ditching the straight flat cotton lace of the Mamba’s for a round cross section, blended lace. Read more

WarHorse Polo Guard Pre-Sale

photo 1

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.

Horse is Making More WarHorse disc Guards:

for $38.99 USD you get:

  • 160mm disc guard
  • Caliper guard
  • Mounting hardware

This is the V1 of the Warhorse, but it gives you an idea of the look





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.

Let’s talk about your balls


Just a quick tip that (I think?) I heard Joe Rstrom point out during Worlds:

If you find yourself icing your hot balls for play, it’s best to take them out of the ice bath perhaps thirty seconds before you’re going to put them into play. Idea being that a completely frozen ball is not exactly the best thing to hit at full force, and it won’t respond how you expect it to (really, it could just break apart. Let’s be honest).

Editor’s Note: A reader commented below that the most current form of the Fixcraft Hot Balls are not meant to be iced at all, but kept only in water. The more you know!

hot ballsSomething else that he said in passing (he’s so full of wisdom) is that the process of evaporation can cool the ball to the just-right temperature more often than not, so dunking a ball in an ice bath and then leaving it out on the bench might be your best bet to get them to the right temperature for play. Naturally, you’d want to do this to a few balls for the course of a game at once (so you can just throw another out when the first gets too gooey).

I haven’t necessarily tried the evaporation method yet, as it’s been too cold to worry about overheating orange balls, but I have high hopes.

Any other tips out there?

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:



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