Tag Archive for bike polo mallet head

First Look: Northern Standard Hourglass Mallet Head

Northern Standard Hourglass (3)

By this point, you should know already that Northern Standard and Modifide shared information/planning on their mallet heads and shafts (explaining the similarity between the two companies’ designs). So I’m not going to go into that whole rigmarole about how similar this mallet head is to the Modifide ARC.

Point in fact, I think one of the few things they share is the hourglass design and the material used. Everything else seems pretty different, if you ask me.

Northern Standard Hourglass (1)Northern Standard sent me this mallet head (link here) to test out and give my honest feedback on, so I gave it to one of our local heavy hitters to get his opinion on the head and what makes it different. Irish (the heavy hitter in question) was more than happy to put this mallet together, having been impressed with the Modifide I was using and always excited to get something free that isn’t a potato.

Basics: look and feel

First, some of the details direct from Northern Standard:

  • Weight: 96 grams
  • Length: 5″ / 12.7cm
  • Outside Diameter: 2.5″ / 6.35cm
  • Inside Diameter: 2.125″ / 5.4cm

Northern Standard Hourglass (2)It struck me that, unlike the ARC, the NS head seemed more…how do I put this…mechanical than artsy? The ARC has a gradual curve to it that makes it seem like it was whittled down by some artisan craftsman named Hans or something. The NS looks like straight up science went into it. Maybe a better way to put it is this: the ARC looks like the entire head was built to “be” the curve, whereas the NS head looks like it started with the traditional shape and then changed the ends to fit the new design.

Maybe that isn’t a better way to explain it. Hell.

Northern Standard Hourglass (4)Anyway, it doesn’t make a noticeable difference, really. It comes down to preference on that point.  Though, if I were more brushed up on my material science, I’d like to think that the more solid looking NS head would wear a little better against the extra pressure put on the hitting/scooping ends of the head.

Play

When I asked Irish what he liked after a day of play, he said he liked how hard it hit, and how it just felt like a quality product. He also explained to me how he felt like he could look away from the ball a little more, as the hourglass figure allowed him to know where the ball would be (rather than the possibility of it just rolling off of his mallet).

Northern Standard Hourglass (9)He isn’t a scooper, but he says it is “adequate” at that. After four hours of play, wear was minimal and he felt confident it would last in the long run (something important to all players, as the price of this is $28 dollars pre-shipping).

I then asked Irish if he felt like the design of the head was making a noticeable difference in his play. To that he told me he wasn’t sure – it might just be that the design is “different”, and different is okay, kids. Different is healthy.

Overall

No red flags with the first-touch of this head from Northern Standard. I’ll ask Irish what he thinks in a few weeks after regular play, but I’m willing to say (as I generally say with NS products), that you won’t regret the purchase based on quality of build. We’ll see what Irish makes of his new hourglass figure in the coming weeks!

Arena Bike Polo: Black UHMW

Picture from Arena Bike Polo

It seems that Arena Bike Polo is doing a little update to their mallet offerings, and the first peek looks like a lovely black UHMW mallet head. Chris has indicated that he’s looking to aim for a 90 gram weight before any drilling, and if this mallet head is anywhere close to the wear and pop-ability of the MILK mallets, we’re in for a treat.

You’ll recall that I love the Creamy mallets, and having a US offering of the black UHMW that is machined for bike polo needs is very exciting to me. I’ll be sure to pick on of these up once they are available and do a full review – for right now they are still in the prototype phase.

image from Arena Bike Polo

Image from Arena Bike polo

Magic’s upcoming green UHMW mallet head

Just saw this over on the LoBP (ALL HAIL) boards: A British bike polo cohort (wonderfully named Magic) is planning to release these nifty green UHMW mallet heads later today.

They use the metric system for measurements, but understanding that we poor Americans think of that as witch speak, they also included good old makes-no-sense- inches in their specs:

  • 4 6/8 inches long
  • 2 3/8 inches in diameter
  • single capped
  • 78 grams

 

No word on cost quite yet, but Magic’s previous mallet heads cost 6.00 Pounds (which, when converted to U.S. Dollars, comes out to about 12 yellow chevron checkboxes or 19 purring kittens, I think).

Anyway – something to check out if you’re across the pond and maybe even something to investigate if you’re just looking for that perfect Luck o’ the Irish themed mallet.

Worth a look and worth consideration – it’s great that we keep getting more companies and more variations of products to choose from.

Click here to visit Magic’s web page and check out those sexy looking shafts, too. 

Equipment Check: Portland Bike Polo Mallet Head

The folks over at Portlandbikepolo.com have had this little beauty out fora little while now, but I haven’t been able to get my little paws on it until just recently.

The design comes from Sasha Friedman who, as a mechanical engineering student, wanted to use some classroom know how in the real world. The result was this mallet head.

A few little details before I get on to the mallet itself: I reached out to the makers via email and they were quick to respond and super fast on shipping, so if you’re living on the East Coast (or, as I shall now refer to it, the Beast Coast), you needn’t worry about waiting around

for it to arrive (or poor communication via the seller).

Now then!

How it Came.
The Mallet head itself comes by itself without any stickers, hardware, or packaging. I appreciate this. The website claims the mallet head weighs about 95 grams undrilled,

and as you can see from my own weight measurements, they are pretty close to the mark (I can’t say as though I 100% trust my scale, either, so give or take 10 grams and I’ll call it fair.

It has a thicker lip on the open end and a band about an inch wide in the middle for better securing of the mallet head to a shaft.

If you want the backstory to the mallet, peek over here.

How it Built. Read more

Equipment Check: MILK Ninja Capped Mallet Review

Mallet head designs are pretty much all headed in the same direction.  You’re seeing +-5” long heads with a diameter around 2.25-2.5”, and a capped end.  Milk hasn’t done anything revolutionary with their new Ninja Cap Head.

What they have done is gone a long way towards perfecting what is already out there.  Measuring 4.9” with a 2.375” diameter, the head is exactly what I’m used to size wise.   However, the 80 gram weight is a good bit less than I’m used to.  The head is made out of UHMW Solid Rod and then CNC’d down to the desired shape similar to the other UHMW capped heads on the market.   The machining is precise, and super clean, both inside and out.  Both the capped end and open end feature a beefed up wall diameter and rounded corners.   This gives the head a really nice look.  The build is super clean all around.

Being that its UMHW, wear is what you’d expect from similar heads on the market.  Slow, even, and predictable.  Milk recommends that you avoid drilling extra holes in the mallet, and I see no need with its stock weight.   The wall thickness at the 3rd lines (between cap and shaft, shaft and open end) is thin, but the ends and middle section are more robust.   It also comes with pre-tapped pilot markers for rotating the head once you wear it down a bit on one side.   You could rotate this head to a total of 3 positions before you’ve used all the pilot markers. (8 if you abandon their mounting system, more on that later). Read more

Why are there so few mallet head deviants?

The bike polo mallet head is a tube. A tube of some kind of plastic.

It’s tubular. Tube-tastic. Totally, bro.

It started this way (or at least became prevalent in this form) because gas pipe worked well and was plentiful. Naturally growing in the fields of power companies, gas pipe was harvested by our ancestors and used in the sport we know today.

But most of us have moved past the point of agrarian mallet harvesting and now either purchase pre-made heads specific for the application of polo or the raw materials from plastic supply companies to make our own. We aren’t hamstrung by the need to have one shape (TUBE) or style.

So why hasn’t there been more people offering up alternative mallet head designs?

picture from LoBP

Yes – I have seen a few examples from Japan (I think) and maybe a few in the states where someone made a solid slim body design, but none of those were created in earnest (as far as I could tell). So what’s holding us back? Is it just that we’re comfortable with the tube mallet head and it works well for the sport as a whole? Are we just lazy?

The answer to that last question is probably yes, and I know it.

I think it comes down to weighing the pros and cons. The difference between having a hollow mallet head and a solid mallet head might not me much, but if my own BS building brain is right, there might also be advantages to creating a more solid core mallet head.

Here’s my totally legitimate drawing of what that could look like:

I would call it the dumbbell, and it would be my legacy.

So what I see happening in my clearly doctor-of-physics-and-energy-transfer brain is this: because you have a solid mass behind the cap, you’re able to transfer more energy to the ball when you hit it. This means more power, and faster/cleaner shots.

Horse – is that a correct statement? If it isn’t, don’t say so.

picture from LoBP

This might also cause some trouble, though. NAH rules would have to adjust, perhaps, and there’d be a need to adjust play styles a bit. But in that adjustment there might also come opportunity, so who’s to say.

So have you guys seen or tried out variations of mallet heads? What worked and what didn’t?

Consumer Alert: Please Don’t Ever Do This

DSC_0069

There are a thousand ways to build a polo mallet (and, if you believe that enormous hyperbole, bully on you), but that doesn’t mean there are a thousand good ways to do it. While at the Carolina Classic Polo Hoedown Throwdown Showdown Clown Frown Charlie Brown II tourney, we Eastside kids noticed the Southeast crew rocking a rather unusual mallet shape. A mallet shape that you might very well attribute to a small group of ragtag vagabonds in the 13th century trying to defend their lands or a post-apocalyptic zombie killing apparatus:

Uh.

Uhhhhh.

No.

I’m all for inventiveness in the sport. Furthermore, I’m all for creating goofy things just for the sake of creating them and seeing how they work. How else are we to breed innovation and the next level of blah blah blah.

I also want to specify here that I’m not pulling the guy who made this mallet over the carpet. He saw a problem and tried to solve it – and I appreciate that kinda mindset.

But – there are some dogs that just won’t hunt, and I count the vampire slayer (my name, not theirs) as one of them. I’m not going to get into the particulars of why foam is a bad idea in a mallet – I think that’s a different conversation all together.

The reason behind the design, from what I can gather, is that it helps provide a bit of lift/scoop when you shoot and pass. While I suppose could be true – hell, probably is – there are a few factors that negate any advantage by giving your mallet an underbite. Read more

Welcome to the Snake Oil Days of Bike Polo

Bike polo is getting bigger. Oh yes! Even between last year and this year, I can say “I’m a bike polo player” and people don’t think I said “bolo slayer” and just have a speech impediment. The growth of polo is going to lead to a great expansion of courts, equipment, and players. And that reminds me of a few stories.

Way back in the early 1900’s (when Lumberjack was a spry 67 years old), medicine was just beginning to get into radiation as a treatment for Godknowswhat. Drinking radiation water, wearing uranium blankets and shooting yourself in the face (why not, you’re already growing a second one on your shoulder) was all the rage. The rapid expansion of medical science made this possible: folks with little knowledge but silver tongues could convince other folks that what they had to sell was the gen-u-wine article for whatever they needed.

Now think about where bike polo is right now: it’s gaining traction, the equipment we use is rapidly being revolutionized/customized/optimized for the sport, and people are just holding open their wallets for whatever comes next.

This is a great time to be a flim-flam man. Everyone wants something, but nobody knows how to tell what is good or bad. Just look at the expansion of the bike polo mallet as your paradigm: Read more