Track: 716T

by Bob Johnson 0

55 Hook 13 Length 15 Breakpoint Shape

Manufacturer’s Intent: “Track’s intent with the all-new 716T is to bring bowlers a new and improved version of the 715T [October 2010] and to provide a complement to the 716C [December 2011],” says Rich Hanson, Track’s new brand manager.

Core Design: The modified asymmetric Robot core produces an RG level of 2.51 with a Diff reading of .057. The intermediate diff comes in at .016, which should easily help fine-tune motion shape. We saw nearly 6 inches of track flare with high-flaring layouts.

Coverstock: The orange, yellow and black colored solid reactive cover is called Gen XT (Xtra Traction). The factory surface is sanded with 500-, 1000- and 2000-grit pads. This aggressive surface provided above-average oil traction with a moderate response off friction areas. The Ra was 18.55.
Test Results: The 716T performed quite aggressively on our heavier oil volumes, with its ability to read the midlane and not jerk off the friction when leaving the oil pattern. We all enjoyed its smoothness and control on the fresh more so than on the burn. On the burn (transitioned oil patterns with more friction), we needed to add polish to enhance length and quicken responsiveness downlane. When we compared the 716T to a year-old 715T with a fresh finish, we saw a 2-ft.-earlier mid-lane motion with a few boards more hook. Hitting power and roll predictability were similar.

When to Use: The 716T needs oil both in the fronts and midlane to retain enough axis rotation for optimal hitting power for those with matched speed-to-rev rate ratios. Speed-dominant types will find more uses with the factory finish, as this ball will rarely over-shoot the intended breakpoint. When we drilled a high-ratio skid/flip layout to the 716T, we saw added length with a shorter hook zone, but no skid/flip characteristics at all. Only after we sanded it to 4000 and applied a high polish did we see moderate flip downlane, as this cover loves to hook in the mid-lane area.

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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