Tuesday, July 31, 2012

new "Magic" uhmw polo heads



The specs:
Length: 120mm, 4.75 inches
Weight:90g, 3.2oz
Outside Diameter: 63mm, 2.5 inches
Inside Diameter (at the open end): 51mm, 2 inches

John H and Max out of London are starting to produce these heads. At £15 a pop they look like a pretty good deal. Check out their site at magicbikepolo.com.

Ok. Well... i'm not sure where to start. I haven't used one of these yet or even seen more than this picture, so it's not like i can offer a "review" of the product, but that's never stopped me from opining before! It appears there's really nothing new to see here. Milwaukee Bike Co. has been selling UHMW heads for a couple years now. It's the same OD and ID as this Magic head, though the MKE one has a removable cap. It's also strikingly similiar to the MILK heads out of Geneva, though those heads have a slightly different sizing and more complex cnc'd internals. Then of course Fixcraft has recently saturated the market with their line of unibody heads after a long period of R&D. The Magic head differs from the Unibody in that it has a slight lip on the open side (like the MKE and MILK ones). Or hell, just combine all those features, paint it an obnoxious color and you have the Portland pink mallet!

It is reasonably priced, so that alone is reason enough to offer the product, but really there's nothing new going on here. I'm not hating on these heads, in fact i'd love to try one when i get the chance, but i bring this up more to highlight that we may be reaching a saturation point when it comes to mallet design.

Where else can we go from here? Injection molds? Eighth in tried that and totally failed, while Northern Standard has had one in the works that required redesign. Trial and error has seen mallets that are too short, too long, too wide, and too narrow- we're zooming in on the ideal sizes. Sure everyone will have a slightly different preference, but in the past few years i've noticed less variation in mallet design on the court, not more. And that's despite having more options to pick from. Remember when people would show up wielding 9 inch "goalie mallets"? Shafts made out of everything from bamboo to gold clubs to metal conduit? I used to see lots of offset heads and awkward hdpe sizes... this year at NA's i saw only a single offset mallet. I'm not saying things are getting worse- if anything they're getting better- but with each new product that "improvement gap" becomes smaller and smaller.

Take poles. Remember when you'd shit yourself with joy if you found a pair of Scotts at a thrift store? Knowing you had a Scott meant a more reliable mallet, which would in turn give you an advantage over the opposing player with a shitty old rental pole that's ready to fold. Then came the Milwaukee poles.. finally you could buy an new shaft with a long life ahead of it. Then came the Fixcraft LT, then Perro de Mal(let), then the Northern Standard, then the XT, finally the Creamy... oh yeah Eighth Inch made one too that was, of course, total shit (a straight gauge pole, really?). There are subtle differences and i love having a selection to choose from, but there's only so many ways to design a shaft.

Again, i'm not harping on anyone or trying to cause a ruckus about who did what first, i'm just pointing out what i see. In 2012 we've seen more new polo products than ever, but we've also seen more similarity among the products being offered. Do i think this trend will continue? Maybe, but more quality polo products ain't a bad thing! And trust me, there's interesting stuff out there on the horizon. And as always i'm excited to see where we'll go next!

-W.

9 comments:

  1. For the time being, it seems to be a good idea to have a company on both NA and EU to keep the price low for the locals. Buying a US made head is $26+ shipping tops. Buying a Swiss head is minimum $35. I'm sure its safe to say getting a Magic is cheaper in London than a Unibody.

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  2. ^yup, i totally agree. i'm just pointing out that the "innovation gap" seems to be getting smaller. the real selling point of this product isn't that it's new or groundbreaking, but rather that it's cheaper to make them in london than it is to ship one from kansas.

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