Lane #1 Black Panther

by Bob Johnson 0

54 Hook 12 Length 14.5 Breakpoint Shape

Core Design: The Black Panther shares the same low RG core found in the original Pink Panther. The symmetric design boasts an RG of 2.46 and a .043 Diff. We saw 5” of track flare with the 3 and 4” layouts.

Coverstock: The ION reactive coverstock formula craves oil. The surface is sanded with 2000 grit and appears even duller. Response time off drier boards is moderate, while oil traction is above average.

Manufacturer’s Intent: “With the success of the Pink Panther, we wanted a stronger version for heavier oil,” said Lane #1’s head honcho, Richie Sposato. “We surrounded our oversized, patented diamond core with an all new ION coverstock, then finished it with 2000 Abralon, for a stronger bite on heavy oil.”

Test Results: Heavy roll with a strong midlane arc sums up the new Black Panther’s persona. The 2000 matte finish helps the low RG core start its early roll even earlier while tempering the angularity downlane. Speed-dominant players, or those playing outside angles, will find many uses for the Black Panther. When we ventured to deeper inside lines of attack, only our higher rev rate testers saw a quick response to dry and one that also was strong enough. A sanding to 4000k, or mid-polishing, helped the rest of the testers see easier push and and increased back-end motion. When compared to a similarly drilled Pink Panther (reviewed in the November 2010 Bowlers Journal), the Black Panther was 2.5 to 3’ earlier and much more arcing in the last 20 feet.

When to Use: Use when bowling on medium to heavier volumes of oil, and when looking for a smooth, arcing finish. On longer patterns, we felt longer pin distance drillings retained energy better, especially for medium and slower ball speeds. Higher speed players had great looks with stronger 4” pins providing they played well inside the oil line. We also noticed the Black Panther was easy to read as the lanes transitioned, via simple parallel moves inside the oil. The Black Panther joins a long list of fast-revving, oil-loving balls from Lane #1.

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.