Brunswick: Karma Urethane

by Bob Johnson 0

44 Hook 13 Length 13 Breakpoint Shape

Manufacturer’s Intent: “Our goal was to create an improved old-school urethane ball motion and improve the pin action of older urethane coverstocks,” says Billy Orlikowski of Brunswick. “We achieved this by using our Activator base urethane coverstock, which provided the length, controlled backend and power through the pins we were looking for.”

Core Design: The Karma Urethane has the same Performance core housed in the pearl and solid Karmas (May 2011). This symmetric design boasts a medium RG of 2.52 and a .040 differential. These numbers will give the Karma added mid-lane and down-lane performance compared to the Avalanche Pearl Urethane’s (August 2010) light bulb-shaped core numbers of 2.52 and .024. Testing showed that nearly 4.5 inches of track flare can be attained.

Coverstock: The solid cover on the Karma is called Retro urethane and is colored a deep navy blue. The factory finish is sanded with 500 and 1000 Siaair pads, which limits the over-skid often found when using urethanes. The response time off friction areas is slow, while traction in oil is medium. The Ra level also measures medium with factory grit.

Test Results: Producing a viable high-performance urethane that can hold its ground when compared to the performance of reactive resin is no easy task. Adding in the fact that well over 100 new reactive resins are made each year makes this task even more challenging. The new Karma appears to be up to the challenge. We liked its ability to read the midlane sooner, probably due to Brunswick’s aggressive factory sanding. The stronger flaring core enhanced the midlane read.

When to Use: The Karma Urethane is perfect for down-and-in bowlers who do not like the oil sensitivity or snap associated with typical reactive resin products. Be advised that one’s physical hand action must be consistent and effective to fully appreciate this and other urethane balls’ potential. We had our best looks on light-medium to medium volumes, but not anything heavier for our matched speed-to-rev testers. Rev-dominant players may find uses on slightly heavier volumes. Our favorite layouts used a 3.5- and 4.5-inch pin distance above the fingers.

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.

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