Up close with the 1/8″ PRO head

April 18, 2012

We got the latest “pro” head from 1/8″ for review a little early, and what a difference a year makes. The previous model was the world’s first CAD designed, injection molded head. But being first doesn’t always position you on top. In this current state of DIY aesthetics, hyper customization, and ultra weight weenie-ism, it had a very limited market that only grew smaller over time.

WEIGHT: Let’s jump right into it starting with the main complaint with the previous model, the weight. With the new Pro model heads they’ve gotten the weight down to 80 grams out of the box, and that’s pretty impressive considering it’s using the same 6/6 nylon material they use on the V2 model. When it’s put together it just feels light as heck. Compare it to the previous V2 model and it’s day and night. The straight bolt hardware that the product comes with is light too, so consider the 1/8″ weight problem solved. However I think if they abandon the mounting system they have now and go with something more similar to the milk system, they could shave off a lot more of that weight. Just an observation.

CONSTRUCTION: As competing companies are moving into extruded UHMW material, 1/8″ is finding success with their 6/6 nylon construction. We gave our Pro mallet to several different types of players to rock and they all had good things to say, some of them even surprised how much that they liked it. The best way to describe how the 6/6 nylon plays, is like a better ABS. It’s hard like ABS but it doesn’t exactly stick to the court as bad.  It wears well too.  I was curious if we would have any breakage with this new design, but nothing, not even a crack.

DRAWBACKS: We had this built up with one of their 6065 shafts, but it failed. We built it back up with a Fixcraft XT mallet we had laying around to see if it would take competing shafts. Our personal experience is that you get a stronger set up if you are using the tapered end of the shaft, but regardless you can insert any shaft with the straight end down and it mounts no problem. Once we got the shaft situation settled we had a broken cap pretty quickly. We think that the problem with the cap is that it doesn’t seat in the head 100%. It’s not much of a gap, but enough that it doesn’t sound solid when you hit it on the ground. We suggest that if you build yours up with a cap , build it up with some tape if you find it doesn’t seat all the way. Once the cap is on though, it’s like any other capped mallet. Hard as hell and twice as accurate as without. On a side note, I asked the folks over at 1/8″ why they are selling 6065 aluminum shafts when the 7075 aluminum is clearly what players are looking for. I was assured that they have a 7075 version coming in the near future.

DESIGN: Now as far as the design goes, at first glance the 1/8″ pro mallet looks just like a drilled out HDPE head. The branding is kept to a minimum and it looks way tighter than their previous offering. Look at that side hole, it’s big, and NOT in the shape of their shield logo. It’s super functional too. I noticed that a couple of the people who tested this head ended up drilling out their personal mallets on the side like the 1/8″ pro. I feel that’s an endorsement in and of itself, whether it was conscious or not. The issue of shortening your mallet is unchanged as the markers appear to be the exact same as the previous model.

THE WARRANTY: We think that working with an injection molded construction, they got it about as right as you can. But the most compelling argument to move into an 1/8″ mallet system isn’t even the fact that their new Pro mallet head is good. It’s the fact that as long as 1/8″ is in business, you won’t have to buy another mallet head. Ever. This part is mind blowing and shows how serious eighth inch is about Hardcourt as a whole. When your mallet head wears out, or breaks, send it back with $5 shipping and they send you a new one. This isn’t a defective warranty, this is a bank busting lifetime warranty for normal use. I don’t expect you’ll ever see another hardcourt manufacturer do this. My suggestion if you like this mallet head design and size, buy 2! Have one waiting in the wings, and send back the old one when it wears out. Rotate and repeat.

CONCLUSION: We can totally get behind the new 1/8″ Pro Mallet head. It’s light, functional, affordable, and the replacement warranty is the only one of it’s kind you’ll see. The MSRP should come in around $14.50 and as always it comes with all the hardware it needs and caps. They still aren’t available for purchase, but we expect to see them available to the masses very soon.

Keep your eyes peeled on release dates and more from eighth inch by going to their site HERE.


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