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 were 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.
First, 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. 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.