What American Bowling Balls Are Made Of
Learning what American bowling balls are made of
consists merely of taking a look at coverstock classifications. Take time to understand which type of coverstock options are available to you in your bowling ball
purchase process. The variety of coverstocks available in today's market will help you match your bowling ball with the various lane conditions you likely encounter during competition, regardless of your skill level. Finding out what American bowling balls are made of
is, therefore, a simple matter of understanding the types of materials used in creating virtually all coverstocks made by leading domestic manufacturers.
Over the past several decades, a number of coverstocks have been developed by manufacturers ranging from rubber material, to plastic or polyester material, to the first urethane materials, to reactive resin, to sub-categories of reactive resin, to particle materials, and even a brief introduction of epoxy material coverstocks. Let's discuss more closely each type of coverstock classification and begin with the old rubber ball material.
Rubber balls were used prior to the 1980's and mostly prior to the 1970's. The low friction surface coverstock on a rubber ball actually produces slightly more surface friction than does polyester (plastic) bowling balls
and is similar to the low grade original urethane coverstocks but not as versatile as urethane material coverstocks, thus the end of the rubber ball era entirely. Rubber bowling balls offered a profound odor when being drilled due to the melting of soft rubber as the drill bit was heating during the drilling process. Rubber balls had really no core design but rather light density inner-fillers in the center of the ball with a weight block near the surface of the ball to provide limited drilling layout options for the pro shop operators. The technology of modern equipment has made the rubber ball antiquated.
Plastic balls, or more properly, polyester coverstock bowling balls which are derivatives of polyurethane substances, replaced the rubber ball in the 1970's and was the dominant ball during the decade. Polyester balls are the least aggressive of all modern day coverstocks available in the market. Plastic balls react least aggressively of all coverstocks in oil and on dry parts of the lane. Plastic balls are good when a bowler needs the ball to go straight up-the boards of the lane, for spare shooting, or perhaps even for extremely dry lane conditions. Some of the latest and most popular plastic coverstock bowling ball choices are the Monster Jam - Grave Digger Viz-A-Ball
or the Spiral Pink/Black Viz-A-Ball
Urethane coverstock bowling balls were first introduced in the market circa 1980. The urethane ball has greater angle of entry into the pocket and covers more boards on a given lane condition than does a plastic ball. Urethane is the base material used on other classifications of coverstocks such as reactive resin, hybrid, and particle coverstocks. Recent releases of successful urethane bowling balls are the Natural
and the Natural Pearl
models, both of which work well to neutralize severe wet/dry lane conditions and on dry lanes where you need control in the mid-lane and smooth and controllable motion on the back end of the lanes.
Reactive resin bowling balls triggered the movement to highly aggressive coverstocks. Reactive coverstocks are composed of similar materials used in regular urethane formations, however, they are blended with different additives. The net effect is that reactive coverstocks provide the "tacky" feeling which translates into additional traction and usually a strong back end reaction on the lane. Sub-categories of reactive coverstocks are the solid coverstock, the pearl coverstock, and the hybrid coverstock, all of which are reactive coverstock bowling balls. Recent releases of reactive resin coverstocks balls are the Marvel
, Infinite Theory
, and the Primal TV4
, all of which are very aggressive coverstocks and usually are selected for use in heavy or medium-heavy oil conditions.
Solid reactive coverstocks have the greatest amount of microscopic reactive pores on the ball surface compared to other reactive coverstocks. The solid coverstock comes in a polished finish, sanded finishes, and with a rubbing compound buffed finish so the degree of surface friction can be controlled within the sub-category of solid reactive bowling balls. The OMG!
and the The Eagle
models are good choices in solid reactive bowling balls.
Pearl reactive coverstocks have the addition of mica material blended into the reactive coverstock material. The inclusion of mica roughens out the microscopic pores causing the ball reaction on dry lanes to be extended in length. Reactive pearl balls have the ability to react quickly to high friction portions of the lane. The mica adds some sparkle to the bowling ball's surface appearance. Examples of pearl reactive bowling balls are the Marvel Pearl
, and the Bank Pearl
model bowling balls.
Hybrid reactive coverstocks are a combination of solid and pearl reactive covers with the purpose of taking advantage of the benefits of both type coverstocks. Hybrid coverstocks offer the mid-lane reaction of a solid coverstock and the back end reaction of a pearl coverstock. New releases of hybrid coverstock bowling balls are the Infinite Theory
and the Bank Roll
, both of which offer the versatility of friction match-ups on the lane surface that the hybrid coverstocks are designed to accomplish.
Particle coverstocks are another successful classification which is similar to the makeup of reactive resin balls with the big difference being an addition of microscopic pieces of material in the coverstock blended to reach through the oily lane conditioner and make responsive contact with the lane surface. Unless there is a fairly heavy volume of oil on the front end of the lane, particle coverstocks will create too much surface friction causing the ball to use energy early and conserve too little on the back end and for impact with the pins. Particle coverstocks display noticeable silica particles reflecting from a bright light, as in the case of a camera flash. A new release particle ball is the Time Bomb Black Fire
which uses the particle technology in an aggressive reactive resin coverstock.
Epoxy coverstocks made a brief introduction on the market which offered increased traction from the oil portion of the lanes to the dry and offered strong overall hook potential. Epoxy coverstocks have a well documented history, however, of coverstock durability issues, thus adversely affecting the staging power of this type of coverstock. Epoxy coverstocks need improvement in technology for future releases. The most famous Epoxy release was the Bonanza EPX T1
American manufacturers have spent endless resources over many years time in developing sophisticated coverstocks so the variety of classifications offer bowler's choices in versatile coverstocks which can be altered or modified for controlling length potential on a variety of oil conditions. bowlingball.com
highly recommends you familiarize yourself with our Perfect Scale®
rating feature at our site which is useful in providing comparisons of the latest bowling balls in today’s market against our sophisticated rating scale system. The Perfect Scale® can be easily accessed from our home page by clicking on the button and then browsing the information provided at the Perfect Scale®. Our goal is to simply make it easier for you to compare products and feel confident in your purchase selection process.
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