Hammer: Ratchet

by Bob Johnson 0

54 Hook 14.5 Length 16 Breakpoint Shape

Manufacturer’s Intent: “The Ratchet features a modified M.P.A. core system with our Grand Theft Reactive II Hybrid coverstock,” says Hammer Brand Manager Jeff Ussery. “The Ratchet also features our first-ever Flip-Flop color combination, with violet that changes to blue in certain lighting.”

Core Design: Hammer’s new M.P.A. asymmetric core has an RG of 2.49, a differential of .057 and an intermediate diff reading of .009. Ball drillers can use either symmetric or asymmetric layouts to help define the particular motion shape they desire. Our testing showed one can achieve nearly 6 inches of track flare with strong layouts.

Coverstock: The Ratchet’s Grand Theft II Hybrid cover is one of Hammer’s most aggressive. The factory finish is sanded with 800, 1000, 2000 and 3000 grits. The shell is infused with a new system using blues, violets and black. Response time off drier areas is both quick and strong, while oil traction is above average. The Ra is medium.

Test Results: The Ratchet is Hammer’s flagship hybrid designed for medium-heavy to heavier oil volumes. The core created a different look than previous asymmetrics from Hammer. We saw a more angular move with our strong 60x4x30 dual angle layout when compared to a Taboo Jet Black (February 2012) or Rhythm (April 2012), which share the Grand Theft family of coverstocks. The Ratchet let us play well inside the oil line and simply roll it toward our intended breakpoint. Even when we missed inside our target line, the Ratchet rolled early enough and didn’t quit. We felt the factory grits were a perfect match for the cover formula.

When to Use: With box finish, players will need to find proper oil amounts to prevent too early of a read and a resulting weak hit. In other words, if there ain’t enough oil, it will burn up some. Yet when there is a good match-up, the Ratchet struck extremely well and presented us with great versatility. Our favorite roll-type layout was a 50x5x50 dual angle one. You can get a much more skid/flip shape by polishing the surface and using a layout such as the previously mentioned 60x4x30.

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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