Posts tagged review

Eighthinch mallet head review

A few months ago Eighthinch sent my team and I a set of their new mallet heads. Zach was the first to build his up. He just said it was too heavy to use. And this was after he cut it down to the shorter length, removed the protruding sleeve and drilled it out with many lightning holes. I know he did give it a couple weeks of play at The Pit but I have not seen him use it in a while.
I built mine up after just trimming it down to the shorter length. I did not have the matching mallet because they were not ready yet so I found a ski pole that fit the opening. Not all ski poles are the same outer diameter but finding one to fit is not that difficult. Making a hole that is aligned with the holes in the head is not that easy. I had a bit of a headache getting the bolt to run through correctly because the hole I made in my ski pole was off just a slight bit. This made it very difficult to make the nut thread onto the included bolt. After I did get it to thread on, it deformed the plastic meant to hold the nut in place. I’m guessing if you were to do this with the pre-drilled Eighthinch mallet shaft these troubles would not be so bad.
After building it I also felt like it was heavy. After just two games one if the caps flew off. There is one big problem with the design. There is a seam caused by the mold having two sides and on a very slim section there is a hole for the screws that keeps the cap attached. Those holes are on the seam and the seam cracked and did not hold the screw. All that equals the caps don’t stay attached.
I ended up not attaching the cap again. It would not be that hard to make my own holes in a thicker section so the screws could hold the cap in place. I just didn’t feel like investing the time.
Also mine cracked in the side near the crest shaped cut out. So the un-capped end was cracked in three places. The top seam, bottom seam, and on the side. This caused the open end to lose it’s shape after a few games. While still playable, definitely not standing strong.
And on my third or fourth week of games it cracked in an unexpected place. Along the sleeve. From the top and almost all the way to the bolt hole. I’m not sure why that happened. I’ve not seen HDPE act like this so I’m really confused.
And as for the wear. I think it wears a fair amount. Not too fast and not something that could last forever. I have no complaints about the wear.

I can’t give this product a good review. I kind of think Eighthinch wants to make things to put their name on. I don’t feel like this was made for the abuse polo puts on the equipment. I think this is an attempt to make way into a growing market.

There have been a number of other players who have expressed their thoughts about this mallet and the company that made it. Not much of that has been positive.

But, on a positive side, Eighthinch has made efforts after the fact to get closer to the bike polo community. They have sponsored a good number of tournaments with product. And have left responses to the feedback on the forum.

In some of those responses, they have said they are making revisions to the design. But those are somewhat limited because of the mold. I think the best thing to do is wait and see if the second version is any better.

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Previously:
EighthInch Mallet Head Video

EighthInch Polo Mallet Head and End Caps

Mo’s Mallet by Cycles For Heros

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Cycles for Heroes sent me one of their MO’s Mallets a couple months ago. I am very late doing a post about it. But in that time I have been playing games with the mallet every week. I have never made a mallet this nice. I kind of wish I had about eight of them to take to tourneys. I like making mallets, I’ve been doing it for years but there are two things I liked a lot about this mallet from the get go. One, it’s light. Two, it’s very well made. After weeks of pick-up games the HDPE mallet head has worn very well. It still has lots of life in it! Also it does keep it’s shape even after some heavy hits against it.

A couple of things that I want to mention in the room-for-improvement department are that you need two 3mm keys to tighten the rod that holds the head on. With just one the whole thing will just spin because all the threads are internal. Over all this is a good thing but just a heads up to have two 3mm’s on hand to tighten loose hardware. And the second thing that might be more important is that after a couple weeks the rod that goes through the AL7075-T6 seamless shaft did bend. Nothing too severe, it’s still holding strong, just bent a little. I think it’s made of aluminum. Something stronger might be ok because this mallet is very light and another ounce would not kill it.

All the lightening holes are well placed and have not shown any weakness. The whole thing looks good. It’s super easy to put together. The over all length is a bit long so it’s no big deal to trim it to size, plug the end, wrap it however you like and it’s good to go.

There are a few places to get poles, and or mallet heads. But as far as I know this is the first and only place to buy a complete mallet. And as I said before and to anyone at pick-up who asked. I like this mallet a lot. Looks good, built well, plays great. Not much more to ask for. Well, I might ask for a capped end. And someplace in North America to get them from but other than that you can’t do much better for a pre-made complete mallet.

For more info: Cycle for Heroes

Polipo Bags: bike polo pad

Polipo is making a top tube pad for polo players. This works well, it has buckles for when you are riding with mallet in place and hook and loop to secure the straps while you’re on court. It comes in two sizes. Standard and over-size (for bikes with over-sized tubing). Comes in five colors, Off-White, Dark Red, Dark Blue, Black, Grey.
Shipping was quick, all the way from Stockholm Sweden, and Luca, is a really nice guy. He was helpful with all my question. Such as, does the over-sized pad have longer straps than the standard, (to hold equal number of mallets) Yes it does.

He’s been making bags and such for almost 2 years and has bags, mobile holders, pedal straps and more.

More info: polipobag.blogspot.com

My Hold Fast straps


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Hold Fast is a small, rider founded company making a “Foot Retention System”and is based out of Red Hook, Brooklyn.
For a couple months I’ve been wanting to try out their FRS thinking it might be good for my speed on the court. I normally, and have since the beginning, played with flat platform pedals with no clips or straps. I don’t have clips or straps on my work bike or the bike I race alleycats on either. For two reasons. One, I wear bulky skate shoes. I like the thick soles and the extra upper padding so my shoes do not fit well into toeclips and straps. And second, because if and when I need to jump or eject off my bike, on the street or on the court, there is nothing slowing me down. My feet leave my pedals as easily as my hands leave the bars.
When I started riding road bikes I did use a popular clipless system and never had a problem and I just got back from riding coast to coast doing over 4000 miles clipped in. So I know the advantages of having your feet attached to the pedals. Of course that’s not something I’ve wanted all day and night on the streets of New York or game after game in The Pit.
But still, seeing that Hold Fast makes a quality product and that other players had good things to say I thought I’d like to find a way to get a pair onto my polo bike. I thought that having my feet a little more secure on the pedals would give me more start up power on the jousts and that from using more muscle groups I might be less tired after riding around our huge court.
Luckily Hold Fast sponsored one of my favorite races in NYC, Cranksgiving 11, and I won a set as my second place prize. Right away I installed them onto my Haro BMX pedals, worked around with the fit, securing the straps through the body of the pedals and adjusting the main strap over the top. It took me a little while because I think they are designed around a shoe with less bulk.
Sunday I went out a played a full day with them. And knowing that there is nothing wrong with the way they are made or the purpose they serve, I took them off my bike as soon as I got home. I fell off my bike about twice as much as I should have. Not being used to having my foot held in place made me simply fall before I could catch myself. Also, having large shoes and working the straps into an adjustment that both lets my foot slide into place but not be too loose when in place was hard to do. I found that when I tried a more circular pedal stroke my foot would lift off the pedal but trying to tighten them more I found that I’d need to use my hand to get my shoe in place under the straps.
For me I think it comes down to two things. My shoes have too much upper padding for any strap to be able to hold my foot down without letting my foot lift AND let me get my shoe in place easily on the go. And more importantly, after giving it a go, I don’t think they’ll make me any better at bike polo. I thought about giving it another week and maybe I’d like them more (I really want to like them) but I figure I don’t need to be falling anymore that I already do.
Last thing, and this is just to make the point one more time that for people who run normal size shoes I bet this system would be great. But the shoes I run are so wide that the sides of the straps were making contact with the ground at times when I might or might not pedal strike. All the buckles are on the outer edge and take away from my cornering clearance.

Mechanix work gloves vs. Brine lacrosse gloves

First is the Mechanix Original Glove. They say it’s all purpose and I’d agree. The thing I like most about this glove is how it fits my hand. It fits. I have large hands and the fact is most gloves do not fit my hands. With most gloves, when I curl my fingers the part of the glove that should be over my knuckles is down around where a ring would be if I wore rings. And then when I open my hand a spread my fingers out I can feel how much the glove restricts my hand and movement of my fingers. But with the Mechanix Original Glove in size XL none of that happens so this is a glove that I have sought out over the years. Most of the time I buy more than one pair at a time so I know I’ll always have a pair.
For bike polo I like them because they are light and protect well from the small cuts and scrapes hands will get in a game. I have to mention the palm, it’s one of the things I like most about this glove. The palm, from all five finger tips, side to side, and down to the wrist is one piece of Clarino Synthetic Leather. There are no seams or even stitching between my skin and mallet. Just a simple layer of synthetic leather that has never made me feel there was too much or not enough grip. Also the price on this glove is in the right range for my budget $20 -$25 depending what store I find them. And yes they are imported.
glove for bike polo mechanixglove for bike polo mechanix palm

Next I want to show a glove my teammate Paul just picked up. I think I might get some for myself because I’m looking for more protection out of my gloves. Right now I’m just getting past a serious hand injury that happened the last time I was in Madison, WI. I was playing without my regular gloves and it would not have mattered if I were because what happened is I bent all my fingers backwards much farther than they wanted to go. Because of that I’ve been off the court for the most part but I just can’t not play at all. I’ve played a few game here and there but with my hand hurting I see the need for more support from a glove along with more protection.

Last week Paul showed me his re-up on lacrosse gloves, the Brine MP Instigator Glove. His are sized at 13″ and fit my hand pretty well. I didn’t know this but the gloves are measured from finger tip to wrist guard, and most glove are offered in 10″, 12″ or 13″. I tried them out for a minute and I think I’m gonna spend the $40+ dollars to order a pair from lacrosse.com. As for this particular glove the MP stands for Mikey Powell and they are only available on lacrosse.com but if you look around you’ll see that there are many lacrosse gloves to chose from. And yes these are imported too.

glove for bike polo brine lacrosseglove for bike polo brine lacrosse palm

Ben Schicago's polo spoke wrench


ZACH may have a lot of tools on his peg board at Trackstar, but this past weekend Ben Schicago gave me one tool ZACH doesn’t have. One of his custom made spoke wrenches. It’s made to fit onto a spoke nipple without the need of removing a wheel cover. Pretty cool.

Some things that are specific to bike polo have to be made and some things can be brought over from other aspects of cycling. Like plastic pedals from BMX and 48hole wheels from Tandem and touring set-ups. And some things are being born from polo. Like the Pologuard and now this shamrock spoke wrench. Thanks Ben!

And when I was at Trackstar I snapped a flick of something Patty made.

Limited Edition 4 in 1 Track Tool

jarrett zach tool 2

jarrett zach tool 3

Jarrett zach tool 1

Trackstar has a few of these on the shelf right now. Custom made, heat treated, four tools in one, and it has some Castlevania art. They are made with the love of Zach and Jarrett and named the “Simon Belmont Special”

  • Boxed 15mm
  • Lock ring tool
  • Pedal wrench
  • Chain whip

B43's making the rounds

Black IRO Velocity B43 wheels on bridge

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I had to put this Velocity B43 wheel set on my work bike because last night there were a couple late night street races. All bikes had to be fixed and brakeless. I did some 200m sprints on this bike after swapping out the platforms for clip-in’s, losing the 18t freewheel for a 17t track cog and dropping the front brake. I should have put the drop bars on but I was too excited about the new wheels! They have a very noticeable feel that is not like the Deep-V. I don’t want to make myself sound like a smarty by using words like stiffness and momentum but I will say I love the way they look and ride. I’m gonna be daydreaming about this set up while I’m riding to LA on my old Bianchi touring bike. Hit up TrackstarNYC to get a pair because they just came in. 32 hole only. The 36 and 48′s are on the way.

Previously: Velocity B43 wheels

Balls

I went to Paragon Sports to check out the different types of street hockey balls that Franklin makes.
This is what I found.

Hot Weather (above)
This is by far the best street hockey ball made by Franklin. I’d say for use in any temp over 45°F. Red pink in color. Cost $2.99

Warm Weather (above)
When the hot weather is too hard in the cold. And by too hard, I mean cracks from hard hits, this orange “warm weather” is the next best choice.
Cost $3.99

Cold Weather (above)
This ball is much too soft to use unless it is really, really cold. And then it’s still soft. Yellow in color.
Cost $3.99

AGS Hot Weather (above)
This is how Paragon sports online store describes this ball.

Superior performance in a no bounce, tournament-grade street hockey ball. Liquid-filled AGS? Anti Gravity System keeps the ball from bouncing. Designed for use in HOT WEATHER temperatures above 70 degrees F/21 degrees C.

I say this ball sucks for bike polo. It is heavy and dies against whatever it hits. Never buy this ball for bike polo. Cost, not worth it.

With that, I’d like to say one more time that the first ball listed here is the best ball, by any maker, for bike polo.