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It is important for a competitive bowler to understand the differences of cover technology available on the market. There are three different cover materials (not including polyester spare balls). These are resin, urethane, and MicroCell Polymer (MCP) bowling balls. Understanding the differences between these three types of balls is crucial to maximizing your performance on the lanes.
Reactive resin bowling balls, like the Black Venom, are made from a combination of high performance resins that make them more responsive to the lanes' conditions. When a reactive resin ball encounters friction on the lane, it reacts by creating more hook, making it easier to hit the pocket. Reactive resin will absorb more oil than both urethane balls and MCP balls. These reactive resin balls have the most hook potential, potential for downlane motion, and continuation through the pins. The increased hook potential can also be useful on heavier volumes of oil when added traction and hook potential is necessary for the bowler to find the pocket.
Urethane bowling balls, such as the Purple Tank, are less reactive than reactive resin balls. These balls have a much lower overall hook potential. The benefit to urethane balls is that they are more predictable and tend to have a smoother roll than reactive resin balls. When reactive resin balls may overreact or be a bit less controllable, urethane balls will blend the pattern on the lane, providing a smooth and slow ball motion that is extremely predictable. This makes them ideal for bowlers who prefer a more traditional, straighter shot. Additionally, urethane balls produce less friction on the lane than reactive resin balls, making them more suitable for drier lanes. An important note is that urethane has the lowest absorption rate of all three cover technologies, absorbing little to no oil.
MicroCell Polymer (MCP) bowling balls, such as the Tank Yellowjacket, are a new addition to the bowling ball market created by MOTIV bowling. They offer a unique combination of both reactive resin and urethane properties. MCP bowling balls absorb oil, unlike traditional urethane, but at a fraction of the rate of reactive resin. This allows Microcell Polymer to provide a urethane-like reaction, but more fitting for today's modern environment of higher viscosity oils and more wet/dry conditions. MCP blends reactive resin and urethane technology to combine the benefits of both. With MCP we can dial in the sensitivity to traction and response to friction. Like urethane, MCP balls also tend to roll straighter than reactive resin balls, making them a good choice for bowlers who prefer a straighter shot.
The differences between reactive resin, urethane, and MicroCell Polymer bowling balls are crucial to understanding which ball to use for different lane conditions and bowler preferences. Reactive resin balls offer more hook potential, making them ideal for hook shots and heavier volumes of oil. Urethane balls produce less hook potential, making them suitable for drier lanes and straighter shots. MCP balls offer a combination of reactive resin and urethane properties, making them a versatile option and an excellent addition to any arsenal!