Hammer Grape Vibe

by Bob Johnson 0

47 Hook 16 Length 15.5 Breakpoint Shape

Core Design: The hour-glass shaped symmetric core has been since the first Vibe we tested — the blue pearl in July 2006. The core is still rated at 2.51 RG and .042 Diff in 15-pounders. Bowlers will typically see nearly 4.5” of track flare with strong 3-4” pin distance layouts.

Coverstock: This new entry in the Vibe series shares the same cover formula found in the 2006 original. Hammer still calls it CT reactive. Colors this time are deep purple and lime green pearls. Response time off dry boards is quick; oil traction is very limited.

Manufacturer’s Intent: Brand Manager Jeff Ussery said this about the ball: “Grape Vibe continues our tradition of reactive balls in the Vibe line. The Grape Vibe uses a CT Reactive Pearl coverstock in combination with the Vibe core to provide length and a crisp, strong back-end move.”

Test Results: The Vibe line-up has served those looking for light-medium to medium oil volume performance. These high-performance products are often the No. 1 sell group for manufacturers due to their performance value. The Grape Vibe tested about one board stronger total hook than a similarly drilled Midnight Vibe (June 2010). Both balls need little persuasion to navigate the fronts and midlane where any semblance of oil resides. Once encountering friction, the responsiveness is both quick and decisive for all but speed dominant player types. Handed players will be able to find more uses from deeper inside angles, especially with longer pin distance drillings. Stroker types should drill this orb with higher flaring layouts of 3 to 4” to get the most out of the cover/core matchup.

When to Use: We had our best looks on fresher patterns playing near the friction line and using a more end-over-end release style. As the patterns broke down, we found that coming around the ball more at release point allowed us to circle the patterns more. On lighter and medium volume Sport patterns, we had great looks with surface grits between 1000 and 4000, which gave us added midlane traction and tempered the move downlane.

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.