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Canadian Goon Guard

March 3, 2014
Goon Guard

Goon Guard

Let’s face it, v-brakes are out and disc brakes are in.

With players taking the sport more and more seriously, there is no room for taking time off, especially for weather. We all know God Hates Bike Polo, so if you want to show off all 100% of your skills at a tournament, you have to run disc brakes. You wont be able to find yourself in a tournament final if the clouds start pissing downward and you’re running anything but disc brakes.

While disc brakes can be a literal life saver in poor weather conditions, they do come with one huge set back: the rotor. Until the day comes when humans can make a rotor that is lightweight and indestructible, we are stuck adding a guard to our forks to protect our rotors.

The newest guard on the market comes to us from a Canuck known for being a beast on the team Big Country. Henry Norris has been a metal fabricator for the last five years at Pyramid Metal Works, and after not feeling satisfied with the current guards on the market, decided to put his skills to good use. From his skills, we now have the Goon Guard.

These corrosive resistant stainless steel guards will be laser cut for precision and TIG welded for strength. Norris told us that the Goon Guard was designed in such a way that “in the event of a large impact it will bend before it transmits the force of that impact to your disc tab and fork.” After the guard absorbs the impact, it can easily be realigned. This can happen many times without it affecting the strength of the metal.

This guard will only run you $65! If you’re interested in picking up a Goon Guard, or if you have any more questions about it, hit up Henry Norris via email at henry@pyramidmetalworks.com. To stay up to date with the progress of the Goon Guard, follow @pyramidmetalworks on Instagram.

Product, Reviews

Review: DZR Link Lime

January 17, 2014
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Last year was hard for me and shoes, which I’m blaming on just getting too rad. In March, I came back from New Zealand with my DZR Link Charcoal looking like this:
Link1

After only 8 months or so, I needed to use tape to make sure my foot did not blow out the front. The vegan glue of the Link Charcoal didn’t hold the sole onto the shoe body, just like Aaron’s vegan DZR Mamba X. Then in the Spring another tragedy struck when my Chrome Midway Pro shoes broke on me during a training ride:
Link2

Bummer after bummer in the rad looking shoes department lead me to the DZR Link Lime shoes. I was a bit skeptical after the glue on my Charcoals turned my shoe into a foot puppet but I was ready to give the Link Lime a go since they didn’t have the vegan glue. Here’s a fresh pick when I got them in early April:
Link3

Recently DZR released the Marco, which unfortunately does not come in female friendly sizes (although a champ on the inside assures me that we can expect smaller sizes this spring). In the mean time, the DZR shoe that can be considered their bike polo shoe for women, is their Link Lime (LL). After over 9 months of playing on the LLs, they are looking and feeling way better than the Charcoals, and the following is a quick review of things that I find important in a polo shoe:

Durability:
Unlike the Charcoal, the LLs glue has hung in there pretty fantastically, particularly where the sole meets the material of the shoe around the toe. I have actually had no glue issues with this shoe aside from the area around cleat, which as of yet has had no affect on my riding or playing. So far it has been pretty durable as a shoe; I’m not worried about it coming apart under my feet while I’m playing polo. The only real issue I’ve had is with the material on top of the shoe where the grey leather has started breaking off, which only really affects the aesthetic look of the shoe and not the shoe performance.

Handle the Elements:
After one rain, my Charcoals started deteriorating in a bad way particularly around the air vent holes on the top of the shoe, which was due to the synthetic vegan material they used for that shoe. The LLs are leather with suede lining, which has held up better in the elements, but I also live in the Bay Area where it seldom rains so maybe I’m not an expert with this.  

Polo Friendly:
What I’m looking for in a polo is a high quality shoe that can handle my  plentiful falls and general getting rad when necessary. These shoes have been great for this so far. The extra padding on the sides helps to protect my ankles for the most part, but we all know that there is no real protection against shots from Jake Langdon now is there?

As most cycling shoes aren’t super comfortable to stand around in, I am usually looking for shoes that are comfortably off the court as well, and the LLs certainly are. At first, they were a bit snug but with after a couple wears, the LLs fit perfectly. They stay tight around your foot while giving you plenty of room for your toesies.

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Here are what some other polo ladies are saying about the Link Limes:

Oleha Riden – “The Links were on my wishlist for awhile. Even though I purchased some snazy leather DZR Kowloons to bomb around the city in style, I was still longing for something more durable that I could use for polo. Thanks to Shelley not fitting in size 37, I got to capitalize on her mis-fortune and snag a pair early on last season. Overall the shoes were a win for me! The ankle support, Velcro strap to cinch laces in place, and thicker sole contributed to comfortable performance on my bike, especially when I was still learning how to function “clipped in”. My only quality critic would be the laces; they sort of disintegrated within a few months, and as much as I liked to think I have crazy arm muscle strength, I think it was more poor quality of the laces. My easy fix was just to swap a pair of laces from some Nike skate shoes that I had lying around.”

Jillian Browy’s review can be found here: http://dogsoccerenthusiast.com/reviews.html

To try out a pair for yourself, head over to DZR’s Link Lime page!

Party On Wayne.
Sam

Art, Culture, Product

Praise Thee Almighty Bike Polo

January 8, 2014

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I’m sure for most of the Poloverse, the name Pinch Flat Press means little to nothing, so let me do a little introduction for you. Pinch Flat Press is a screen printing company ran by polo players from Missoula, Montana; Jeremy Haas and Shannon Rose to be exact. With five years of hard labor put into professional screen printing, the two know how to make quality products. Just like all bike polo players, the sport never leaves their mind (especially while at work). For that reason, Pinch Flat Press used their skills to start The Great Bike Polo Revival.

This moniker has been plastered all over stickers and beer koozies for the past couple years so there is a good chance that you’ve seen some of them at a tournament. Looking to take The Great Bike Polo Revival a little more seriously, Pinch Flat Press added this amazing shirt, featuring their dog (and new mascot) Horace as a Pentecostal Holiness Church snake handler, to their brand (If you don’t know anything about this religious ritual, I recommend looking it up. Shit is crazy!).  Not only is this hand-drawn front design amazing, but the quote at the bottom is bone chilling: “Kiss the Snake, Drop the Hammer”. On top of all of this, the sleeve of the shirt has a hand-drawn print of an upside-down cross made of mallets and it reads “Praise Polo”. This shirt has so much awesomeness that it may explode off of your chest!

If you want to pick one of these bombs up, all you have to do is head over to the Pinch Flat Press Etsy page. Jeremy and Shannon are also throwing in a free Pinch Flat Press koozie for the first six order! Order soon and be sure to follow them on FACEBOOK, as Jeremy and Shannon promise growth from The Great Bike Polo Revival in 2014.

Also, if you’re looking to get some team shirts for this coming year, hit up Pinch Flat Press! Support bike polo by keeping your money in bike polo!

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Product, Reviews

2013 Product of the Year!

December 31, 2013

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2013 was a great year for bike polo products, especially mallet heads. We saw so many new mallet heads hit the market this year that it’s going to be hard to even name them all. While some companies (mostly PBJ, BOON, and arguably Arena and Portland Bike Polo) came out with heads this year and economically dabbed before gaining any real ground in the polo market, most of the big household polo brands produced heads that thrived this season.

This year Northern Standard busted out their first production run head with the Hourglass (although, I’m pretty sure they don’t officially call it the Hourglass). In the same vein, Modifide Bike Polo Equipment unleashed their Arc polo head, in it’s four and five inch versions. Following the two new heads in 2013 trend, Milwaukee Bicycle Co. dropped their Small and Large Mouth hammers to accompany their King’s Crown connection system (our favorite product of 2012). We saw small changes from companies like Fixcraft, who transformed their classic 2500 head into a light Tournament edition, to huge changes from Milk Bike Polo and Magic Bike Polo. Both companies dropped nearly 100% new lines for the 2013 season.

With so many new heads out this year, how could we choose just one to stand above the rest? All of the heads have an equal place of importance in the polo market; some are great for tournaments, some are pick-up perfect, some are meant for newbies looking to learn ball control, some are used, for good reason, by World Champions. That is why our product of the year isn’t a head at all. And while I was very tempted to grant the title to a clothing item (like Modifide’s sick 5-panel hat, Magic’s Mosquito baseball hat, or Fixcraft’s hard-to-keep-on-the-shelf Means hoodie), I felt it was best to give it to the only non-mallet head product that was 100% designed for bike polo. Not only that, I wanted to give it to the biggest game changer to come to the polo market since last years product of the year. And must like last years product of the year, it is also a mallet attachment system.

The Fixcraft Connect system is hands down the best product to hit the courts, ever. The whole Fixcraft team has spent years trying to perfect the mallet head mounting system (check out this Instagram photo for proof), and I think they’ve finally done it. Unlike last year’s product of the year, the Connect is non-proprietary system that can work with any shaft on the market (watch Fixcraft’s promo video for the Connect to see just how this is possible). Not only is it universal, but it’s light as hell too! The cleat weighs in at only 3.5 grams; add in a 1.5 gram aluminium bolt and you are ready to slay with only five added grams to the end of your mallet. If that’s too light for you, Fixcraft also includes a 4.3 gram steel bolt. Which ever bolt you choose, the complete Connect system weighs less than Milwaukee’s Kings Crown and won’t pull through the bottom of your mallet, like in the drop nut mallet head attachment method.

Us at 3-2-1 Polo! (and I’m sure the rest of the Poloverse as well) owe a huge “Thank You” to Sean, Jim, Sam and everyone else over at Fixcraft for using their time, money, and patience to bring such an amazing product to the Poloverse. You all are helping this hobby of ours actually become a sport, and we appreciate it. We can’t wait to see all of the great things that you come out with next year!

Editor’s Note: I want to point out that I excluded DZR’s Marco from this list because I was unable to try them out this year. So while they came out this year, I’ll add them to my “Products of 2014″ list.

Culture, Product

The First 3D Printed Head

December 16, 2013

Engineer, Educator, Genius Inventor, Polo Player. These are just a few words to describe Portland Bike Polo’s greatness known as Thomas Hudson. This past week Tom got the chance to combine his well crafted mind and his love for bike polo by using technology that we all wish we could play around with.

Give a polo playing the chance to 3D print something, and of course he is going to make some hardcourt gear. If that polo player happens to be an inventor, then chances are we are going to see layers upon layers of the something fresh and new. For Tom, the PLA layers ended up forming an engineered mallet head. Tom decided to kick the traditional cylindrical shape to the curb for something brand new; check it out!

The Process:

The Final Product:
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Weighing in at 100 grams, this head was a basically the 3D printed version of Thor’s hammer. Tom was smashing big shots from all over the court and his forechecking ability would even leave Sidney Crosby jealous.  It’s important to note that after a few games of pick up, the PLA head did not explode! It may have worn down faster than gas pipe, but it did a lot better than we all expected.