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Bowling News USA - March 2, 2011 Storm Staffer Jeff Richgels Reviews the Virtual Gravity™ Nano

The VIRTUAL GRAVITY NANO uses the same early rolling, high revving, pin smashing Shape-Lock HD core as the VIRTUAL GRAVITY but with an entirely new coverstock Storm calls Nano Reactive Genesis.

Storm tech guru Victor Marion filled me in over the phone Monday and what follows are some of the details I am allowed to share. (I spent a decade as a business reporter and did many stories on the numerous high-tech companies in the Madison area so I have a lot of experience translating high-tech to prose understandable for the non-techie – I had to figure out how to do that because I certainly am no techie!)

(Click below for interview with Jeff Richgels)

Marion said instead of taking what was good (an existing Storm cover) and making it a little better, the goal was to create something new and a lot better. He likened it to designing a an entirely new type of plane like the B2 flying wing instead of tweaking an existing plane to make it a little faster.

"Reactive Genesis" is the name for the unique chemistry that likely will be the basis for future Storm balls, with a nanotechnology additive that led to the name NANO. The goal was something that hooks in heavy oil but also hooks off the dry (doesn't blow up) and continues through the pins with less deflection. He called it a springboard effect with the pins.

(Click below for video's of the Virtual Gravity Nano)

After speaking to Marion, I now understand the reaction I was seeing with my two NANOs over the last week or so. I threw them on a fairly hooking house shot on newer Brunswick synthetics, the PBA World Championship pattern on newer Brunswick synthetics, the Kegel Beaten Path pattern on old wood, and a fairly difficult unnamed pattern at a tournament on older AMF synthetics.

The NANO is intended to be stronger than the VG for use on heavy oil. Marion said the cover will work equally well with any surface prep but I stuck with the 4,000 Abralon box finish. (I have tried everything from 500 Ab to shiny with my VGs and expect to eventually do the same with my NANOs.)

I drilled one weak NANO and one strong NANO. Both are copies as close as I could of VIRTUAL GRAVITYs that I love and still use. (The third VG I drilled was a RICO that was just too early.)

On the weak one, I ended up with a pin to PAP (my coordinates are 5 1/8 over and 3/4 up) distance of 6 3/8 inches. The key to PAP distance is 4 3/4 inches. The pin buffer is 3 7/8 inches. The pin is above and left of my middle finger and the key is a bit to the right of my thumb for about a 45 degree drilling angle. The CG was left of the line from pin to key so I had to drill a small hole 6 inches LEFT of my grip center to get it static legal. This ball flares only a couple of inches and enables me to go a lot straighter than normally would be possible with such a strong ball. (The VG I have this way has hundreds of games on it in 2-plus years and still is going strong.)

On the strong one, I ended up with a pin to PAP distance of 4 1/2 inches. The key to PAP distance is 3 7/8 inches. The pin buffer is 2 3/4 inches. The pin is above my ring finger and the mass bias is kicked to the right at about a 75 degree drilling angle. It did not require a weight hole because the CG was left of the line from pin to key and therefore ended up near my grip center. This is a mega powerful drilling that in the VG was my go-to on heavy oil shots, especially easier conditions.

I have pictures of the balls on my Facebook page and will post them with this review on sites where that is possible.

The key point on the NANO is that it has the same motion as the VG (which it should with the same core being used) but definitely is stronger, earlier and more continuous than the VG ... but not by a lot. I would hesitate to say a number of boards stronger because it's not really that it hooks that much more as that it's just stronger. It's hard to put into words but when you throw it I think you will understand. Basically it just plows through oil better and retains energy for a continuous back-end move better, which doesn't necessarily mean that it always covers more boards.

While the VG remains one of my favorite Storm balls there definitely were conditions where it had to stay (or go) in the bag: when the lanes were (or got) too dry it would blow up and plaque 10.

The NANO, on the other hand, wasn't "plaquing" much even when the lane conditions were too dry for it to be the best choice. And that is where I was confused before talking to Marion.

The NANO was not my best choice for any of the conditions I bowled on with it – there simply wasn't enough oil for my 17-18 mph and 325 or so rev rate combination. Yet it did work well enough to be usable on all of the conditions – at least on the fresh -- and I think I used it too long in a couple of cases because it outperformed the "match up" and reaction I had with it.

By that I mean that when the NANO "blows up" it doesn't seem to blow up like balls usually do – and I was still digging out 10s when there wasn't enough oil for it to provide my best reaction.

And man does it go through the pins! It doesn't send them high and flying, it just kind of mows through them keeping them low, which for me produces optimum pin carry. I had several trip 4s in my limited NANO use, which I always consider a sign of a good ball.

So my recommendation would be that anyone who loved the VG should love the NANO. But be smart in reading your ball reaction and don't force using it unless there's enough oil to have it be your best ball reaction. (If you shine it you obviously can use it on less oil.)

If you didn't like the VG, I would avoid the NANO – the motion of the two balls is very close and you'd be better off going for a different strong ball such as the MARVEL.

I can't wait until I run into some true heavy oil, although looking at my schedule I don't see any tournaments coming up in the immediate future where I will.

I would expect the NANO to be a great choice for the 2011 USBC Open Championships, where the lane pattern has even more oil than last year.

The NANO definitely looks like a worthy successor to the VG.

(Editors Note: Jeff Richgels has 29 PBA Regional titles and will be inducted into the USBC Hall of Fame in July.)

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March, 2011