Ebonite: Vital Energy

by Bob Johnson 0

51.5 Hook 15 Length 16 Breakpoint Shape

Core Design: The Vital Energy asymmetric core supplies an RG rating of 2.48 and a Diff of .055. The intermediate Diff is strong at .018 as well. These numbers are from a 15-lb. ball before drilling. We experienced flare ranges as low as 4” to a maximum of 7” with our strongest layouts.

Coverstock: The Vital Energy features a new coverstock formula called Flexol Super Charge. Coloring is a mix of red, orange and silver pearls. The surface is Abraloned at 800, 1k, 2k and 4k grits. Response time off drier areas is quick, while oil traction is average with box finish. Those looking for more skid/flip motion should apply their favorite polish.

Manufacturer’s Intent: Said Ebonite Brand Manager Ed Gallagher, “The Vital Energy was designed with the all-new Flexol Super Charge Reactive Resin veneer. When compared to the Vital Sign, the Vital Energy provided more length with a more defined move downlane.”

Test Results: Having experienced the controllable mid-lane reading Vital Sign (July 2010), we were curious to see how different the Vital Energy was. Comparing the two side by side with similar layout patterns, the Vital Energy was on average 1.5’ feet later and more angular off dry. A slightly smoother cover fused with a pearl additive were the main contributors to this motion difference. Both balls rev easily and provide ample readability in the late midlane area. Hitting and carry power were above average; the overall motion is between that of the venerable V2 and an Ebonite One.

When to Use: Most bowler styles will enjoy this ball on medium to medium-heavy oil volumes with any distance, contingent on layout choice. We had great looks on longer patterns with low drill angles off the VAL, and pin distances in the 4 to 6” distance range. On 34’ to 42’ oil patterns, we opted for VAL angles in the medium range of 35° to 65°. We also preferred pin distances in the 2 to 4” range from the PAP on shorter oil patterns. The Vital Energy supplies fast revs with a controllable, strong-arcing finish downlane. This motion range is the most usable for house and Sport patterns.

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.