Ebonite Signal

by Bob Johnson 0

53 Hook 14.5 Length 15.5 Breakpoint Shape

Core Design: The Vital mass bias core shape is new and dynamic. The RG is medium at 2.52, but the Diff is hefty, coming in at .056. The mass bias strength (.018) can help determine the motion shape you desire. Bowlers can see nearly 6.5” of track flare with stronger pin distance layouts and weight holes below the PAP. Cores used in 10- to 13-lb. balls are from the Nitro R/2. Their RG values are above 2.59 with .043 and higher Diff values.

Coverstock: The HTR-1 reactive cover features a red and gold pearl mix. The surface is Abralon-sanded with 800, 1000 and 2000 grits, and shined with Ebonite’s factory polish. Oil traction is moderate, while response time off drier boards is quick and strong.

Manufacturer’s Intent: “The Signal is one of our favorite new products,” says Ebonite Brand Manager Ed Gallagher. “We are using the Vital core design with the all-new HTR-1 cover. This red and gold pearl ball provides easy length, with a strong downlane move.”

Test Results: One of our favorite test balls this month, the Signal responded well on five of our six test patterns, even on the burnt house shot. The heavy/longer PBA Shark was the only one on which the Signal was not comfortable. The core/cover combo reminded me of a motion between an original V2 and a One pearl, a la fast revs, strong midlane and above-average back-end continuation through the deck. The Signal will handle most light-medium to medium-heavy patterns from different angles. When compared to the Game Changer, the Signal was 2 feet longer and more angular, although total hook was similar on some of our patterns due to the Game Changer’s more aggressive surface texture.

When to Use: Use the Signal when looking for an aggressive, hard-arcing polished pearl coverstock that reads the late midlane area very well. That appears to be the ball’s strong suit as the Signal rarely over-shot the breakpoint area. Bowlers will be able to use the Signal on heavier volumes with minor surface tweaks to encourage a stronger, earlier midlane motion. We found lower pin locations helped create a smoother transition when the ball left the oil pattern.

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.