Tag Archive for Bike Polo Mallet

Equipment Check: Milky Goodness

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Horse already reviewed this mallet head a month ago while his black beauty was still all shiny and new. He’s all about shiny and new. Me I’m more about dirty, worn and old, because I am. He is also all about numbers, so if you need to know how much this weighs or how many micronanograms long is it, go read his post. I’m just gonna tell you the shit you need to know.

First decision you need to make about this mallet head is cost. No matter how great this head may be, if you have to think about how much to spend on a six pack so your kitty doesn’t have to eat out of your neighbor’s trash, then don’t even consider this mallet. No matter how great it is (and it’s pretty fucking great) that cheap or free material you used to use will still get the job done. Plus you can look down your nose at the chumps who spent all that cheddar on one mallet head and you got yours and had enough left over for many beers.

But if money ain’t no thing for you because you’re making trucker’s pay, then get this mallet. It is without a doubt, the Cadillac of mallets. Super light with no drilling, and it transfers your schwing power to that little ball so so well. I figure it has something to do with this Frenchie CNC engineer guy listed at the bottom of this page.

The mounting system did come loose one time, I added a dab o’ locktite and no further issues.

Plus after a month of play, which for me is roughly 15-20 hours, this head has held up incredibly well. I figure I can probably get another 2 or 3 months out of this position, then if i can get two more rotations out of this head the thing will last almost a year. so when you look at it like that, the pricetag is a little easier to swallow. Especially if you can get your group’s merde together and order a bunch to save on shipping.

pics of the goodness after a month of play…

Goldfish in the Heels of Your Shoes: Mounting System Madness

Let’s just do a quick  count here:

  1. Fixcraft’s Fixnut mounting system
  2. The now defunct but still great T-nut system
  3. Milwaukee’s new tooth’ed bolt/shaft mounting system
  4. MILK’s notched mounting system

All three of these fine companies have come up with fine mounting systems, and all of them do the job of keeping your mallet head attached to your mallet.

And so does a simple, 5 cent screw.

So why do bike polo equipment manufacturers go for developing all of these proprietary mounting systems? Are we just buying into fads or uniqueness instead of saving money and time by using what works?

I think there are a few factors. For one thing, there is an aesthetic achieved through the use of any of those listed mounting systems. A clean looking mallet is nice and all, but outside of vanity this serves almost no purpose.

Some may point to re-usability – all three of these systems let you re-use equipment in a modular way, which is a good case for all of them. But then again, think of the price and quality of wear: a cheap screw is…well…cheap. it also creates a small impact on the head of the mallet, allowing for multiple screw positions as a player rotates the head for wear. The biggest impact here is on the shaft of the mallet, which will inevitably begin wearing as you drill into it repeatedly. If you don’t believe me, just ask your mom about our night life.

mom joke: -1.

 My point to this rambling diatribe is this: Before buying into the next big mallet hardware attachment system, ask yourself if it’s superior to the most basic one: is this better than a simple screw, and if it is, why?

 

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

A quick thought/question on mallet construction

I’m horrible at making mallets, which is exactly why you should keep reading this post about assembling them.

So – whenever I try to drill the holes for the mallet head to attach to the shaft, I generally make them not match up, make them too small or too big, or end up burning my apartment down. No – I don’t want you to write comments about how I can do this better that’snothtepointpleasestopit.

One of the mallets I made a little while ago sits at a bit of an angle, like so:

After cursing my own eyes, I decided that I didn’t want to try to fix it and started playing with the mallet. I noticed that I was able to make a better connection with the ball than before, as my mallet head was hitting it more evenly as it swung towards the ball than a level mallet might.

In short, the angle of the mallet head evened out the angle of the swing, making my shots a touch more accurate than before (yes, this could just be a fluke – I’m still testing). But it does make me wonder what other folks have experienced by way of an angled head. I’m sure the topic has been murdered on LoBP (ALL HAIL) but I don’t feel like typing into the search feature to find out.

Ok – so I’m just trying to find an excuse for people when the start judging this particular mallet. Help me out here, guys.

Billy, We Need to Talk About Your Mallet Control

It’s fun to swing the mallet at the ball. When you really swing as hard as you can and that little orb flies off exactly where you meant it to go (yes, you did mean to send it into the boards. Of course). It’s a good way to take out some of the stress for all those times you avoided pushing someone over in the office.

But heed and listen, o polo player: think before you swing!

There are instances when swinging with all your might may seem like a good idea – it may even be the best move possible given the circumstance – but having a bit if situational awareness before cocking back your mallet is key.

I have watched and experienced a lot of dumb accidents while playing polo, but the one I see the most often is when a player begins a big swing and ends up catching another player in the face with their mallet. I’ve had this happen to me once (on the receiving end), and that’s the reason I wear a face cage now.

Most recently I watched someone in Asheville during the Throwdown tourney get caught with a follow through to a swing. She ended up with a lovely cut on the bridge of her nose, two black eyes, and a bloody T-shirt.

So who’s fault is it?

Like all statements I make, let me give myself an out by saying it’s 50/50. Read more

THANKS ARENA BIKE POLO!

Today I got a care package from Arena Bike Polo containing some prizes for the Keystone Classic.

If you read this blog regularly, you’ll know how highly I think of the mallet shafts that Arena bike Polo makes (and my growing appreciation of the mallet heads as well). I’m thrilled that they were willing to throw us some equipment to offer up to the teams at the tourney, and am very excited that I can get more people on the East Coast familiar with their stuff.

From the Horse’s Mouth: Tech Review of the Karl Bolt

The Karl Bolt (as I’ll dub it for the sake of the article,) is the least complicated and most “4 years ago” mallet mounting system in this multi-installment review.  I’m going to go over the materials needed, tools needed, and a quick how-to; along with my opinions on the system.  Let’s get started.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Materials needed:

That one is pretty simple and straight forward.  You need a sturdy screw, preferably around 2.5-3”.  Done.

Tools:
A drill with a small bit to drill a pilot hole, and a Phillips head bit or screwdriver.  Possibly a hacksaw as well.

We’ll shortly get into the install, but first, a disclaimer: since all mounting systems require you to drill a hole for your mallet shaft and insert it into the head, I’m not going to cover that every time.  See my video if you have questions about that.  The Fixcraft Fix-Nut system is the only system that varies from this, so pay attention when I review that.

Install How-To:
With your top and bottom holes drilled in your mallet head, and your shaft inserted snugly, you simply drill a pilot hole near the top (shaft/handle side) of the head. What I aim to do is have the screw contact as much material as possible, with as little flowing screw place as possible. Once the pilot hole is drilled, use the Phillips bit to drive the screw through the head, shaft, and back through the other side of the head. If there is excess screw sticking out, cut or grind it off. Done.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Opinions:

I recently used this system on my go-to mallet at the Carolina Classic Hoedown.  A few of our club members use this system exclusively.  I can honestly say it is worth trying. The pure simplicity of it is attractive, and the minimal to zero cost is also attractive, especially if you’re already spending 30+ on a mallet build.  The head is held fast and snug, and even after repeated abuse it doesn’t loosen or move.

The only con of this system that I’ve seen is if you use a weak or short screw, eventually it will bend, and you may get some movement. In which case you unscrew it, put in a fresh screw, and you’re good to go.

There’s not much to say about this really. It’s the oldest method in the book, just modified slightly by placing the screw higher on the head to contact more material and resist failure.

Rating:

Overall, while I normally love things that are trick and fancy, I have to give this system 4 out of 5  NAH balls.  It loses  a ball because of bent screws after a while.  Try it out.

 

Consumer Alert: Please Don’t Ever Do This

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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

From The Horse’s Mouth: Tech Reviews

I love tech. I like gadgets, and expensive little things that do little tasks, and shiny new bike parts. I spend a lot of time with these types of things and talk about them way too much. So now I’m going to start doing some semi-regular tech reviews for the masses.

A review is pretty worthless without some sort of grading system. After all, you’re probably only going to look at the pictures. I’m going to score each product on a scale from 1 NAH ball, to 5 NAH balls.

 

 

A 5 NAH score means you should probably own/use/swear by this product.

 

 

 

A score of 1 NAH means that this product is all wrong, so unless you’re a true hipster and love the underdog, pass it up.

Mounting mallet heads has been very free-form, and thus far, there has been such a variety of methods that you could probably use a different style each time you build a mallet.  There’s a quest to find the perfect balance between simplicity, strength, and weight, as with all componentry.  I’ll try to touch on all three of these demands as well as some insight into things like durability, and ease of use.

My first review will be a comparison between 4 different unique mallet head mounting systems.  I will compare the following systems:

– Fixcraft ‘Fixnut’
-Fixcraft T-nut
-Beech Connector
-KarlScrew (more commonly known as a screw through the top).

Stay tuned – and let me know if there is anything in particular you’d like me to review in the future.