Lane #1: Stealth Bomber Pearl

by Bob Johnson 0

52 Hook 14.5 Length 15.5 Breakpoint Shape

Manufacturer’s Intent: “With the success of our big-hooking original Stealth Bomber [August 2012], we needed a ball that was cleaner through the front when the lanes started to break down, but didn’t sacrifice anything on the backend,” says Lane #1’s top dog, Richie Sposato. “What we did was pearlize the coverstock and put a shine on it, using only the NEAT-T pad. This gets length up front, but because the ball doesn’t have any polish, which clogs up the pores, it gives you a stronger back-end reaction on carrydown, eliminating over/under.”

Core Design: The Stealth Bomber asymmetric core is a powerhouse, to be sure. The RG is 2.48 for early revs and the differential is strong at .050. The PSA also is strong at .027 to help alter the motion shape. We saw a maximum of nearly 6 inches of track flare.

Coverstock: The Bleeder 9.7 pearlized reactive cover is sanded with the NEAT-T system, near 5000 grit. Colors are a power mix of graphite silver and charcoal, called carbon fiber. Reaction time off drier areas is quick, and oil traction is just below average. The Ra level is 2.70, which will work on most medium volume patterns.

Test Results: Our initial impression of the Stealth Bomber Pearl was that it would be a skid/flip variation of the original Stealth Bomber, which has a hybrid cover. Well, we were pleasantly surprised that Lane #1 created a much more user-friendly version for medium oil volumes. The new ball displayed easy length, a secure and confident mid-lane presence and an arcing down-lane breakpoint shape. With pin layouts positioned the above the fingers, we saw a modicum more angularity, but the ball was not overly quick off friction spots. When drilled with lower pin positions, the response slowed down noticeably and gave us the arc-set reaction that matches up nicely on many a house shot. High polishing will delay core dynamics, but the strong, low-RG core with hefty PSA increases mid-lane motion.

When to Use: Most player styles will appreciate the better-than-average usability of the Stealth Bomber Pearl, on what most bowlers see most often: medium to medium-heavy oil volumes. The cover and fast-revving, arcing core will help the ball enter the three critical phases of ball motion (skid-hook-roll) early enough. “Power with predictability” sums it up perfectly.

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.