Storm: Fire Road

by Bob Johnson 0

52.5 Hook 15 Length 16 Breakpoint Shape

Manufacturer’s Intent: “This ball is the first in our Thunder Line to utilize the R2X coverstock material which produces more mid-lane reaction and handles oil better than its predecessor,” says Storm’s Steve Kloempken. “Being in the Road series, it has one of the proven weight block shapes, like that in the Crossroad [March 2012].”

Core Design: Powering the new Fire Road is the proven inverted Fe3 symmetric core used in the Victory Road series. This symmetric shape has a 2.56 RG and a differential of .056 in 15 pounds. Lighter weight balls use a modified Centripetal core with similar spec numbers. Bowlers can expect nearly 6 inches of maximum track flare.

Coverstock: The Fire Road is the first ball to use the R2X cover with this core. The R2X cover is slightly stronger in oil than the R2S formula and little less flippy off dry. Colors are a blending of ruby red pearl and purple pearl, with a mango-infused scent. The factory finish is Storm’s standard 1500 polish. Response time is quick off dry, and oil traction is slightly limited. The Ra reading is moderately low.

Test Results: The simplistic, yet effective, design of the Fe3 core is the heart and soul of this even-arcing pearl workhorse. The stronger cover lessened any over-skid, which sometimes was present on the Victory Road pearl (March 2011). The motion path was extremely similar to the Crossroad, but with easier and unforced length through the midlane. This ball could be the offspring of a Crossroad and Victory Road pearl if such marriages were legal… but enough politics. The Fire Road will earn a spot in many players’ bags due to its performance, predicted longevity and usability range.

When to Use: With a rather large usability range, the Fire Road should match up favorably on many light-medium to medium-heavy oil volumes, almost regardless of pattern shape or length. We felt only the extremes of dry and oily prevented using the Fire Road. Straighter players could go direct and bangers could move in and circle it to their hearts’ content. We loved our 60x4x20 dual angle layout when banking it, and our 40×5.5×60 when playing more direct or on higher friction patterns. The Fire Road reminded me of a slightly later-hooking Marvel pearl (August 2011).

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.