Tag Archive for Bike Polo Equipment

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

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
Warhorse

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

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:

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.