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Review Date: 19 February 2015

Reviewed by:
Storm/Roto Grip staffer John Brockland
Style: Stroker Rev Rate: 280-310
PAP: 5.50" over and 1" up

The ROCKET is a brand new development for the Thunder line of the Storm arsenal. It has met with rave reviews both from touring professionals like Tom Daugherty and legends like PDW who've been saying it's "better than the HYROAD." That's quite an assessment given that the HYROAD is the longest running ball on the market because it has proven to be so versatile and effective for so many.

The ROCKET features a brand new BoosterTM core wrapped with the R2S™ Hybrid Reactive cover stock - the same cover stock as the original HYROAD. In some preliminary release of information provided by Storm's Research & Development Director, Victor Q. Marion, he explained the design intent of the new ROCKET.

He wrote: "There are times when the Hy-Road clears the front (and mids) too well, and doesn't necessarily read the spot where we would like it to…[Bumping] up a tier to the !Q Tour series…the RG goes way down (2.57 to 2.49) and so does the Diff (0.046 to 0.029) so…the !Q Tour series is most likely going to shape up completely differently than the Hy-Road. Likewise, if you go up the line farther with the Optimus or Crux, the odds are these balls are way too strong and come off the spot with a tad too much vigor. So our only other option (pre-Rocket) was to go down a product line and look at the Lights Out or Wipe Out. Although these are also higher RG (2.57 comparable to 2.55) there is still a loss of Diff (.046 to .038)….[Now] you've traded a slightly earlier midlane read for less Diff, so there's a good chance these…might also miss the spot. Hence, the Booster Core design and the R2S Hybrid really help to bridge the gap when the Hy-Road is close but is pushing just a little too far…The theory here is that this ball will push through the front part of the lane cleaner than the Master and Premier line, but still provide the strong ball motion everyone expects out of the Thunder line."

Taking my lead from that stated design intention, I drilled my ROCKET exactly like the HYROAD that I rely on when I have to get into the middle of the lane and I'm looking for length and back end motion to negotiate broken down flatter patterns and broken down house shots. The numbers are 65 x 5+ x 35 (pin above bridge center).

I have used the ROCKET twice now on a wet/dry STL house shot in a center where they pile a lot of volume and length in the middle on a relatively high friction surface. I am seeing exactly what Victor Marion predicted in the design description. Always forced into the middle in that center because there's so much friction in the track and to the right but because the volume in the center is so heavy and long, on that house pattern when fresh with my HYROAD I either have to get super soft with my ball speed to prevent it from pushing too far if my angles are little closed or I'd need to send it into the dry so early in order to get it to corner that my entry angle becomes too wide and I stare at solid ten's all night. As designed, the ROCKET reads the midlane sooner by at least three to five feet for me and produces a much stronger and more angular move at the break point. It's produced back to back weeks of nearly 750 which could have been a lot more except for a few stoned 8's and 9 pins along the way.

I had opportunity to try the ROCKET on a fresh version of the 2014 USBC Open Championships Doubles/Singles pattern in our STL Sport League and it was just too severe off the end of the pattern on the fresh to make it a good option. Last week on a broken down version of that pattern after league with 20 games bowled on the pair, I took some time to compare the HYROAD and Roto Grip's UNHINGED side by side to the ROCKET. And, the ROCKET again did exactly what it was designed to do. When the UNHINGED saw the breakpoint in the right place it's motion was smooth and arcy as usually, but it wasn't particularly forgiving of a little mistake with extra ball speed or a little miss at the bottom with my release. The HYROAD consistently pushed a foot or so farther than the UNHINGED did and likewise made the corner well enough or didn't depending on how well I threw it. The ROCKET, on the other hand, was a lot more forgiving because it starts to read the lane that good bit sooner. Good shots split the 8 and 9 pins every time and the small misses of release or ball speed which before were likely a bucket or worse turned into half-pocket strikes.

I really like what I'm seeing from the ROCKET in every circumstance I've tried it so far. I was a little skeptical about it being "better than the HYROAD" but I'm becoming a believer quickly.

Optimus Layout

Lbs. RG Diff. PSA
16 2.53 0.044 n/a
15 2.54 0.046 n/a
14 2.55 0.048 n/a
13 2.59 0.045 n/a
12 2.65 0.035 n/a