Tag Archive for polo equipment

WarHorse Polo Guard Pre-Sale

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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.

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

Get the Stank Out: Dealing with smelly polo gloves

detail_maingloves_grande

Things I can be guaranteed of when I open my polo bag:

  1. A variety of bike parts
  2. A can of Old Bay
  3. balls
  4. Tape that always gets stuck to my hands when I reach in there
  5. half of a tool set
  6. the wafting smell of my own sweaty mitts, preserved in my Enforcer Gloves.

And I can put up with everything but that smell. I mean, even now, in the dead of winter, it’s horrible.

So imagine my happiness when Ken Regehr of Northern Standard  sent me a link explaining a few ways to get the stank out of my gloves. The advice comes from Wikihow, and while aimed at boxing gloves, it’s certainly pertinent to any sort of glove with any sort of horrible, mind altering smells.

Here’s the meat:

  • Put your gloves in the freezer overnight (in a ziploc bag)
  • Dry them completely after use (in the sun or with a fan)
  • Spray them with anti-bacterial spray
  • Avoid keeping them in your bag (this doesn’t seem likely for most polo players, but if you can, throw them in your car and/or just somewhere in your house next to your bag. You’ll forget them, yes

I think you can freeze your gloves and just avoid closing them in your bag as a first step – but if you notice that the smell isn’t leaving, maybe move over to anti-bacterial spray and what not.

So there you have it! Check out the article here and let me know your tips for keeping the smell out.

Equipment Check: Oury Grips

oury grips

I get so frustrated at my bike grips. They get torn at the end, or get loose, or generally look like junk. I think I’ve used somewhere around 3-4 different grips since I started playing polo, and most of them were just sad disappointments (ask your mom what that’s like).

Your mom joke – yeah, why not.

But then I got a set of Oury Grips , and I can say without a doubt that they are the best grips I’ve used. Between the simple design and tough construction, they seem like they were made for our little game:

No extra pieces: any grips I’ve had to use a tool to get on or off is dumb. Dumb, dumb, dumberton. Yes, it makes getting brake levers off an on, but I don’t do that enough to justify the twenty minute search that inevitably happens when I drop a bolt.

oury2They feel good: With the cubed design of the grip, there are lots of places for your hand to grip into the grips themselves. I have had moments where I lost my handling and was able to use just a few of my little never-will-play-the-piano-well fingers to save myself a nasty fall. Plus it’s fun to squish them when I’m hanging out in goal. Tactile satisfaction.

They Last: Oury uses good material to make their grips, and that material holds up very well against walls, other players, and grinding on the ground. I’m not going to say they are impervious (mine are starting to lose the ever important bar end section), but they are holding up much more than any other grip I’ve used.

Overall – and probably the best endorsement I can give – is that I don’t think about  them while playing. I asked Darby about his Oury grips and he said something along the lines of “I really don’t think about them at all,” which is more of a compliment than anything. Getting equipment that doesn’t require your thinking (and thereby supports your doing) is exactly what you want. 

So if you’re in the market for some new grips, give these a try.

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.

Interview with Fixcraft’s Sean Ingram: Hell Yes!

I’m pretty excited any time I get someone who’s willing to do an interview for this site, but I kinda have a guy crush on Sean and have been nervous to ask him for an interview. But lo and behold, it took one email and the dude was all about it. The interview covers his involvement with the sport, how Fixcraft became the name (my words, not his) in bike polo, and where he plans to go from here.

 

Give me a little bit about your backstory and bio (when did you start playing, when did you start making equipment?)

I discovered Hardcourt about 4 years ago really because they were doing it down the street from the house I lived at at the time.  My family was going through this kinda weird thing where we were pushed out of a church and they were playing on Sundays.
So I started showing up since I was looking for something to do with guys my age.  I called it bike church.  I was instantly hooked and started showing up 2 or 3 times a week.  This is cool if you are single, but I’m a family man with 4 kids so I was kinda blowing it by taking it too far.
I did the whole rigmarole you read about, search thrift stores, flea markets, etc for ski poles to make my shit.  Spent hundreds at 1/8″ to get my scrambler all set up.  I could only find 1 pair of used poles, it’s Kansas so they just aren’t available here. My day job is production at a merchandise company and I had a connection to get some poles done so I just kinda went for it since it wasn’t a bunch of money.  We got in like 200 black poles and I made some stickers or whatever.  Came up with the name “Fixcraft” by smashing the idea of fixing your stuff and the DIY ethic of “craft” into one word. I didn’t take it too serious.  We were really surprised how fast the poles were selling and I just kept putting the money back into it.
So the Fixcraft thing really happened shortly after I started playing because we wanted poles to play with at a cheap price.  Keep in mind, it was only 2 years ago that most of the polo world couldn’t believe that MKE came out with a clean shaft for people to play, wasn’t DIY enough.  I think even wired.com did an article about it too.  I bought one of those shafts and it’s a good product but I thought that $15.00 was too rich too at the time. So we just did a small run to sell a few and get our own shafts for cost.  Was a good plan, we used to do the same thing with Dischord vinyl in the early 90′s, pool all our money together, get them for wholesale. In retrospect, $15
is not expensive for a quality shaft, I don’t know what I was thinking, MKE was totally on point.

What drove you to start Fixcraft? Did you see on opportunity or was it just that you were tired of not having the equipment you wanted? Read more

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.

 

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.

What do you look for in a good polo bike?

Full Disclosure: I’m writing this post while feeling sickly, so who knows if it’ll make sense or not. I mean – less sense than normal, I guess.

When I started out in bike polo, I did so on a 1968 Schwinn Typhoon, pictured below:

 

And while that served the dual purpose of crushing anything in its path and still making me look like a foppish dandy, it wasn’t terribly suited for the courts.

The Polo Elders, recognizing my plight after the first day, whisked me to the Fall Velo Swap where (as previously explained in this blog), I managed to get a nearly full polo rig for under 100 clams.

Or buckskins. Shekels. Whatever you want. Read more