I have written many times about my love for balls that aren’t super popular like the TORRENT and ALL-OUT SHOW OFF and struggles with highly popular balls like the HY-ROAD and IQ TOUR.
I drilled three different HY-ROADs with five different drillings counting plugging, and tried numerous surfaces. Yet other than the last five games of the 2009 USBC Open Championships where I shot nearly 250 over as we finished second in team all-events, the HY-ROAD was a maddening ball for me that just didn’t strike the way it did for most everyone else.
However, the HY-ROAD PEARL was a great ball for me, just as the original IQ TOUR didn’t work for me, but the IQ TOUR PEARL and IQ TOUR NANO were excellent for me.
So while I wasn’t excited when I learned the HY-ROAD X was coming, I was hopeful.
Put simply, the HY-ROAD X has exceeded my wildest dreams, much like the IQ TOUR PEARL did.
PBA Tour and PBA50 Tour champion Brian Kretzer also used his a lot at the recent South Point Senior Shootout as we crossed together and he put it best (paraphrasing): “I have a feeling this is a ball we’re going to be itching to pull out as soon as we can.”
That certainly was the case for me at the SPSS as I used it the most of my 8-ball arsenal and on all three patterns: 35 feet with 25.08 mL, 39 feet with 26.19 mL, and 43 feet with 23.05 mL.
The HY-ROAD X uses the same symmetrical Inverted Fe2 core as the original, but the coverstock is R2X solid whereas the original HY-ROAD was R2S hybrid.
That slight boost of power seems to be just enough to make the Inverted Fe2 match up to my slow speed and moderate rev rate.
I should note that the differential for the Inverted Fe2 core varies greatly from 16 to 15 to my 14 pounds: 0.058 to 0.046 to 0.037.
The HY-ROAD X comes 1,500 grit polished and I hit it with a 4,000 Abralon pad before drilling it pin over my bridge with the CG kicked right.
With my PAP of 4 7/8 over and 5/8 up, the ball numbers are 5 pin-PAP, 3 1/2 "MB"-PAP, 3 3/8 pin buffer. With the new USBC rule option and no extra hole, it has 2 ounces positive side — the most I have tried since the new option and perhaps a factor in why I like the motion of mine so much.
My HY-ROAD X wasn’t quite enough on the short pattern in the SPSS Turbo Challenge qualifying, but before the cashers round I rubbed it lightly with an older 2000 Abralon pad and I was able to open the lane up, standing left and trying to throw it into the gutter. My 943 for four games was a solid 10-pin from making the stepladder, as I literally had a break point 5 boards or more wide if I caught it right.
The HY-ROAD X helped me cash and just miss the cut on the medium pattern — my toughest at the SPSS — in the Storm Challenge by keeping me in the pocket when nothing else I brought would.
I was even able to use the HY-ROAD X on the long pattern in the Haynes Challenge after hitting it with a 1,000 pad lightly by hand and waiting for the lanes to open up. My closing 248 that got me inside the cutline might have been the best game I bowled all week.
With some hold area it is possible to go fairly direct with the HY-ROAD X, but this is a ball that excels when you give it away and allow it to roar back … like in that cashers round where I was crossing 15 or deeper at the arrows and could get it to the gutter and get it back.
I don’t imagine I’ll use it much on fresh as it’s a little too whippy, but once the lanes start to transition I (as Kretzer said) will start looking in my bag for the HY-ROAD X.
Once the lanes transition, the R2X seems to blend out the pattern so over-under reaction is not a big issue, yet the HY-ROAD X rarely quits for a flat 10 if thrown well.
This is the best all-around new ball — not for specific conditions — that Storm has come out with for me since the PHAZE II.
It only needs a little transition to tame the lanes down for it to start working, and I imagine if I hit it with rougher grit it would work on fresh oil. I may even add another to my arsenal to keep one rough and one smooth.
Considering how popular the HY-ROAD is — it’s still in production after TEN years! — I can’t imagine anyone who wouldn’t like the HY-ROAD X.
It was especially valuable for me on the challenging patterns at the SPSS at creating area where other balls I brought did not.
I guarantee the only way the HY-ROAD X won’t be in my bag when I go to tournaments is if I forget it at home.