AMF: Cobra SE

by Bob Johnson 0

49 Hook 14 Length 14 Breakpoint Shape

Manufacturer’s Intent: “The Cobra Special Edition is a special retro release that utilizes the original Cobra core with an all-new, updated cover,” says AMF’s Eric Thomas. “The Cobra SE has shed its original urethane shell for the high-powered F74 shell. This ball will provide length with moderate traction because it’s now a reactive ball, and will equate to a smooth, predictable entry angle to the pocket on various house conditions.”

Core Design: Everyone needs to see the light now and then, and what better way than with the tried and true “light bulb” core? The simple symmetric design offers an RG of 2.57 with a differential of .017. We noticed a maximum of only 3 inches of track flare with 3- to 4-inch pin distance drillings.

Coverstock: Supplying the traction is AMF’s F74 cover blend. This black 4000-grit cover is designed to handle medium to heavier oil volumes with proper surface preparation. The response time off dry is moderate, while oil traction is above average at 4000 grit. Sanding to 1000 grit improves oil traction to excellent. The Ra reading is medium.

Test Results: Having enjoyed using the original Cobra from the late 1980s, we were all intrigued by the updated version. The new F74 cover did not display any early hook tendencies on our burned patterns due to the high RG and low-flaring core. We found many uses thanks to the controlled urethane-like breakpoint shape and reactive resin hitting properties. Cover-dominant balls generally require smoother surfaces for great matchups. But the Cobra could be used on wet/dry blended house and Sport patterns with little need to make big on-lane adjustments through transition. We needed to play near friction and just release it with good roll.

When to Use: The uncomplicated nature of the Cobra makes for easy lane play and adjustments for most bowler styles. We had our best matchups on light-medium to medium volumes as we generally straddled the oil line. Misses into the friction rarely over-reacted, but shots missed too deep into heavier oil could back off at times. The Cobra also performed predictably and consistently as a spare ball on all test patterns, so you could leave the spare ball home.

Bob Johnson

Bob Johnson has received more national writing awards than any other bowling writer — close to 70 over the course of his 40-year career. He began at age 16 as a staff writer and then assistant editor for the weekly Pacific Bowler newspaper in his native California, and within three years was writing feature stories for Bowlers Journal. He has written for the magazine ever since, except for a five-year span when he was hired as the founding editor of another magazine. He moved to Chicago in 2000 and spent 13 years in the Windy City, including five as Bowlers Journal’s Editor. In 1975, Johnson received the Robert E. Kennedy Award as California’s top undergraduate high school journalist. Five years earlier, on the lanes, he had shared the Bantam Division Doubles championship in the Orange County Junior Bowling Association Championships. Today, he continues to work full-time for Bowlers Journal as its Senior Editor, to write his popular “Strikes Me” column, and to edit Luby Publishing Inc.’s weekly business-to-business Cyber Report.