Ebonite: Challenge

by Bob Johnson 0

58 Hook 13 Length 15 Breakpoint Shape

Manufacturer’s Intent: “The Challenge is an all-new HP product using our all-new AXS Core Design and the RCS or Reaction Control System,” says Ebonite Brand Manager Ed Gallagher. “This new combination provides more overall hook and a more defined breakpoint angle than the Pursuit line.”

Core Design: Ebonite’s AXS asymmetric core revs easily and provides a multitude of motion path choices. The RG is medium at 2.51, the differential beastly at .057 and the intermediate Diff strong at .017. Testing showed nearly 6.5 inches of track flare.

Coverstock: The RCS reactive coverstock’s color scheme is purple, silver and green. The factory surface is sanded with 800, 1000, 2000 and 3000 grits. We found this coverstock to have above-average oil traction characteristics and a medium response off friction. The medium Ra level is great for medium-heavy to heavily oiled environments.

Test Results: This ball was definitely up to the Challenge of our testing rigors. We saw a fast rev action followed by a very secure read of the midlane on our medium and heavier oil patterns. Rarely did we encounter any signs of late read, even when we amped up our speeds. We feel this could be Ebonite’s most aggressive heavy oil ball to date. We also felt the Challenge’s range of use was quite good with minor surface tweaks, especially for those with slower ball speeds or higher rev rates. This was very evident as the patterns began to transition. The only weakness would be if the ball were used inappropriately on a lightly oiled lane condition. (But that would be more a bowler weakness, not a ball weakness.)

When to Use: Use only on medium to heavier oil volumes and on longer patterns. Slower speed players may need to smooth the factory surface some. I loved the Challenge at 1000/3000 on heavier patterns and with some factory polish on medium oil volumes. The Challenge blended out the nasty wet/dry test patterns very nicely. Choose your layout wisely, as the AXS core will respond well to different layouts. We used our Blueprint software to help choose the best layouts for each staff player.

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.