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Product, Reviews

Review: Mamba X 2.0

October 3, 2013

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At the beginning of June we introduced to you the new Mamba X 2.0 (check that out HERE). The Mamba X 2.0 was the result of DZR sending the original Mamba X back to the drawing board after the outer sole’s vegan glue starting giving out. For the 2.0, DZR decided to add a stitch that connected the body of the shoe to the outer sole. This allowed them to still be able to offer a vegan shoe but in a new and improved way.

After four months of playing on these shoes at tournaments and in soggy Portland, Oregon weather, the Mamba X 2.0 get the official 3-2-1 Polo seal of approval! When we reviewed the original Mamba X after four months (see that review HERE), the outer sole had already started to peel away from the shoe’s body. 3-2-1 Polo was still ran out of the Midwest (where we rarely play polo in the rain) at that time, so for the Mamba X 2.0 to not show any signs of coming undone after a bout in Cascadia, is a huge accomplishment for DZR.

Another problem that I saw in my old Mamba X’s was that the Achilles Notch started to split down the center from putting the shoe on, but there are zero signs of this happening in the new shoe. I don’t believe that anything was changed here, design wise, but since this is something that is doing much better for the new 2.0 Mamba X, I figured it was worth pointing out. It is also worth pointing out that the laces strap on the new Mamba X shoes no sign of damage. As you can see from the first link that we shared, the stitching came off of the strap and the layers started to split. Again, there is nothing different about the straps design (that I’m aware of) from the original Mamba X to the 2.0 version, but I feel that it’s worth noting all of ways that the new version is outlasting the original.

One minor problem that we found in both versions of the Mamba X, is that the ankle protection on the inside of the shoe is too puffy. Actually, this problem only persists on the ankle protection of the right (drive side) shoe. I’m not sure if this has to do with it being on the drive side or not, but it is worth bringing attention. As you can see from the pictures below, no real damage is being done; it is just rubbing the surface of the fabric away. After a year in my original Mamba X shoes this problem never advanced past cosmetic damage, so I imagine that will be the same case for the 2.0 version as well.

All in all, the new Mamba X 2.0 is perfect animal friendly clipless polo shoe. It is shaping up to outlast it’s predecessor and with the stitched outer sole, it could even outlast the horse hoof glued Mamba Blacks. As my good buddy LeVar Burton would say, “But don’t take my word for it,” so pick up a pair for yourself and see how they hold up!

Head on over to the DZR website to snag a pair!

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Product, Reviews

MKE Small Mouth Review

September 20, 2013

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Last spring Milwaukee Bicycle Company sent us their Small and Large Mouth Monoheads. Since we received these heads at the beginning of the tournament season, we wanted to hit the court with the Large Mouth (tournament head) first. After falling in love with it, we pumped out that review HERE. At the end of the qualifying reason, 3-2-1 Polo found it’s review moving from the Midwest to Cascadia, thus leaving the Small Mouth review on hold. Now that we are all settled in at our new home in the Northwest, we are ready to bring you out Small Mouth Monohead review!

For the Small Mouth review are we doing something a little different. With so many awesome heads on the market, we want to standardize the reviews so that you, the reader, are able to distinguish which products you want to try. Here is the template that will be seen on all head reviews from here on out:
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- Head Name and Info:
MKE’s Small Mouth Monohead, 83 grams, 5″ long, 2.5″ outer diameter, 2.05″ inner diameter.
– Did you make any alterations to the Head?
Nope.
– How long have you been using it?
Three months of pick-up twice a week.

1) Shooting
1 – – – 2 – – – 3 – – – 4 – – – 5
The capped end’s shooting power is on par with a bicycle kick from Liu Kang. Shots come off head straight and level so no worries about shooting over the net.

2) Ball Handling/Control
1 – – – 2 – – – 3 – – – 4 – – – 5
I rated it three, not because it has poor ball handling abilities but because all cylindrical heads control the ball the same way. It’s not any worse than any other cylindrical head.

3) Scooping
1 – – – 2 – – – 3 – – – 4 – – – 5
The lip makes it a lot harder to scoop the ball than it’s Large Mouth brother. If you are one that hits the court on your own to work on scooping skills then I’m sure this head will be just fine, but for your average Jane, this head does not make scooping easy.

4) Receiving Passes
1 – – – 2 – – – 3 – – – 4 – – – 5
When gliding the head across the court, you can tell that they didn’t skimp out on cheap material. This high grade UHMW allows for smooth catches of the ball as well. No chips or misshapen sides to worry about.

5) Longevity
1 – – – 2 – – – 3 – – – 4 – – – 5 
The only word that comes to mind when thinking about the longevity of this head is “WOW!” I’ve been playing with this head for just over three months now and I’m still on the first rotation in the head. Mind you, I’ve been using this head at pick up with a rough surface, twice a week, without a need to rotate. That’s hard to beat.

- Are there any specific faults/defects that you’ve noticed?
I’ve found no faults or defects in this head thus far.

- Would you recommend any changes in the next version of the head?
The only thing I can recommend is that they add three rotations to the head. Right now they only have holes at 12 and 6, and then 3 and 9. With two rotations you miss out on usable parts of the head.

- Would you use another one of these heads? Explain.
I would definitely use this head again. It is going to be my go to pick-up head from now on. Lightweight and will last so long that given the right pick-up surface, you could use it for a year. That sounds like $22 well spent.

– Would you recommend these heads to a friend? Explain.
Definitely, for the same reasons as why I would use the head again.

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Head over to Ben’s Cycle and pick up a Small Mouth Monohead!

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Product, Reviews

Mamba X Gets a Facelift

June 19, 2013

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Last October I wrote a review of the Mamba X shoes by DZR (you can find that review HERE). At the time, the shoes had gone through four months of pick up twice a week, as well as four different tournaments and they help up very well. I didn’t experience the problem with the outer sole like I had seen on other pairs of the shoes. How quickly things changed though. About a month after the review was posted, the glue on both soles started to come undone. To save the shoes, I took them to a local shoe repair shop and had them re-glued.

Jump to today, one year after receiving the shoes, and the story has changed 10014_4931296242448_1225402707_ndrastically. The re-glue job on the left shoe has held pretty well, but the right shoe is another story. All of the layers of the sole have come apart, and they are barely wearable. One hop while clipped in could result in sole ripping off completely. I brought this problem up to Brian Dillman at DZR, he informed me that the company was well aware of the problem and had actually already fixed it!

The reason it was happening was because the vegan glue used on the Mamba X couldn’t hold up in a high octane atmosphere, like on a bike polo court. DZR wanted to keep the Mamba X a vegan shoe so changing the glue was out of the question; instead they simply added a stitch around the outer sole. This is such an easy solution to a major problem, and we are glad to see DZR facing the problem head on and fixing it. It’s always great when independent companies recognize problems in their products and fix them, instead of putting the blame elsewhere. Kudos DZR!

If you moral beliefs guide your shoe shopping or you just want to support an awesome company who does things right, then head over to DZR’s website and pick up a pair of the new Mamba X shoes. Be sure to tell them 321Polo sent you!

We will be posting a review in the coming months.

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Reviews

Head to Head, Canada Style!

June 12, 2013

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To start off, I want to show you a statement that was posted on the Northern Standard Facebook page:

A note on Modifide and Northern Standard:
Some of you may have recently noticed that products from Northern Standard and Modifide bike polo look remarkably similar. Well. Here is why…

Northern Standard and Modifide are 2 canadian companies who are working to raise the bar in bike polo equipment. As such, we have collaborated and shared resources on a couple recent products. As Northern Standard searched for a reliable mallet head manufacturer, Steve from Modifide lent us a hand by sharing his resource and helping facilitate the production. As for the similarity in designs, this was purely coincidence and just shows that we were on the same page. Since Steve was nice enough to share his mallet head supplier, we returned the favour and made a batch of Modifide shafts using the NS Feather shaft platform. We are confident that you will love all the new products from Modifide and NS.

We dont know what’s going to happen going forward but we are always happy to try new stuff and collaborate when we can. We (bike polo companies) talk to each other and share ideas all the time… it’s how companies evolve and industries are built.”

As admitted by Northern Standard, both companies made similar heads, yet we were944277_10101452151149410_472822027_n still able to find a few differences that set the heads apart  from each other. Both heads are made from 2.5” UHMW and have roughly 2 1/8” openings. They both also weigh pretty much the same (the Arc at 93g and the Hourglass at 96g). Due to the same size, shape, and material, the two heads wore down in pretty much the same fashion. Let’s get to the differences though. The Arc, much like its name, has a smooth curve from end to end while the Hourglass has a double taper. There are only two negatives (besides opinion) I have found with these heads.

603749_10101452151264180_842105030_nFirst, because of the shape of these heads there is a gap between the shaft and the ground, when leaning on your mallet. When you tripod the force is focused down the shaft into the center of the mallet, which could potential lead to problems. Out of the two I give this one to the Arc; the distribution of force is better across an arc than a flat raised surface: that’s just science. You can see in the pictures that the Hourglass already stated to bubble around the shaft base, but both are susceptible to this problem more so than the classic cylindrical head.

Secondly, with a thinner center you would expect that the hourglass/arc shape would create a catcher’s mitt for a ball rolling toward it, but sometimes this wasn’t the case. Every once in a while the shape would act more like a ramp; allowing the ball to pop over the head.  Ball speed was not the causing factor here; it was just the way the ball was sometimes sucked into the thin center of the head.

For the scoopers and ball jointers out there, the Hourglass is the better option.308568_10101452151244220_1883859254_n It has a longer chamfered edge on the open end, which allows for more control. The open end on these mallets needed to be reinforced because the shape yields only two points of contacts with the ground. For this reason, we would not recommend cutting out the inner lip to create a wider opening. Although, we have not tested this, it is just an educated guess.

Finally, let’s get down to the point that these heads were designed for: ball control. When I played with both these heads I noticed some additional control cradling and catching the ball. The ball seems to center itself on the head when carrying it around the court and allowed for a natural defense against opponents trying to strip the ball from you.

So in conclusion, neither one of these is better than the other; they both are a good option for anyone looking to try out this shape. I would not recommend them over the classic cylindrical head, but it is all preference. Look at Chris Williams! That guy won Riverside this year and he still plays with uncapped yellow gas pipe more often than not.

To try them out, check out the Modified store HERE and the Northern Standard store HERE.

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Product, Reviews

A Large Mouth Preview!

May 22, 2013

3

Milwaukee’s new Large Mouth Monohead surprised me.

Scoop moves aren’t really my game, but now that I have the bigger mouthed head in my arsenal, the moves feel that much easier. The first thing I tried was scooping the ball from my dominant side and taking it parallel to my bike on my non-dominant side, to pass the ball behind me. It worked. And it was easy. This was something I had never been able to do, and to be able to do it first try with the Large Mouth head says a lot about its scooping ability.

1It feels like I’m more in control of the ball at all times, too. This could be a placebo effect, but I doubt it. The ball reacts faster when you use the open end to pull the ball toward you or dish it away from you, with a slight fling of the wrist. I allowed me to start leaning more aggressively when I was charging the net and to get around defenders more easily on one-on-ones.

The head is light (weighing in at 83 grams), in large part because of its thin wall throughout. At the middle of the 25-inch head, there is a thicker wall inside. This gives the King’s Crown a little more plastic to bite (keep in mind that the thicker middle is nonproprietary to the King’s Crown and the head can be mounted using many different methods). But the thin wall makes the head pretty malleable. If somebody rolls over your head, it’s going to need to be reshaped, which is easy to do by hand, but probably not easy to do mid-game.

Overall, I really dig the Large Mouth head. It is the lightest head of its size on the market and the bigger mouth can be a game changer. It’s encouraged me to try new things; It’s helped me get more comfortable doing them and I’m slowly incorporating them into my game. It’s surprised that I can do some of these things so quickly, but it’s a nice surprise.

Milwaukee Bicycle Co. says these new Large Mouth heads will be out in two or three weeks, so keep your eyes and ears peeled. You’ll want these heads in your arsenal!