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The Alpha Crux
Review Date: 23 March 2016

Reviewed by:
Storm/Roto Grip staffer John Brockland
Style: Stroker Rev Rate: 280-310
PAP: 5.5" over and 1" up

The ALPHA CRUX is a the most recent addition to Storm’s Premier Line.  Its engine again is the CatalystTM core --- a design that was seven years in the making prior to the release of the hybrid CRUX.  Here again is the link to a video on which Research & Development Director, Victor Marion, explains much of the thought process behind this core.  Alpha Crux Video

After the strong motion provided by the CRUX and the straighter/cleaner length and angular backend motion provided by the CRUX PEARL, “it was important to add a solid to the line” said Victor Marion in an interview with David Waswo on The Bowlers Show.  The design aim was to “put a super aggressive cover on it that matches how strong the weight block is.”  “What’s amazing to me,” he continued, “is even though it has a really strong cover stock on it…that weight block still gets the ball to float through the front and even part of the mids without giving up on the back.”  This is an important design factor, since so many super-strong balls end up with a combination of cover and core that can cause them to lose energy in a big hurry once an initially tight or heavy volume lane pattern starts to transition.

With the ALPHA CRUX Storm has introduced a new GI-16 (Game Improvement 2016) solid coverstock that “shines well, scuffs well….and expands usability to a wide variety of lane conditions…that’s what we’re seeing on tour,” Marion said.

I have used my ALPHA CRUX on a super-tight playing 2016 USBC Open Championships Team pattern in our STL Winter Sport league.  The pattern isn’t playing anything like it’s suppose to because of the Brunswick oil the center uses and because of their always tight playing original Brunswick synthetic lane surface (every pattern in that center seems to play about four or five feet longer than it should).  Based on that experience, in which it’s been challenge to get all but the most early reading balls in my arsenal to see lane correctly at all, the ALPHA CRUX has demonstrated that it can handle heavy oil – no problem!  The first few weeks it was reading the lane in that situation really well.  This past week it was starting to make the same move but leaving a lot of flat tens and any attempt to hit it more only made it erratic.  I switch this week to a pin up LOCK that went through the pins much better.  It was probably because the folks on my pair were all breaking in the pattern together this week, which doesn’t often happen in that league, and the ALPHA was just burning off too much energy too soon.  It is really that strong!  That’s at box finish -- 2000-grit abralon.

After only very minimal experimentation in other circumstances including a typical STL house shot situation, I see indicators that the ALPHA CRUX could be usable there for me as well if the cover was polished and the layout were not as extreme as the one I chose.  Fellow Storm Staffer, Jeff Richgels, has written that he has found a lot more success and a broader range of usefulness with his after polishing it.  I drilled mine with about as early rolling and as strong a drilling as one could imagine with the specific intention that it be usable for me in extreme situations when my minimal hand and revs create problems for me – like the annual heavy volume and significant length of the IBOpen Tournament pattern.  With a more moderate or standard layout, I would suspect the ALPHA CRUX would be as versatile for me as it has shown itself to be for other staffers from whom I’ve heard. 

What I have seen in terms of ball motion when I’ve used it in the right circumstances is exactly what others have described --- a very strong but rolling hook without any sacrifice in terms of continuation.  The ALPA CRUX is not as angular as the hybrid CRUX, but is about three to four boards stronger in terms of overall hook.  The specs on mine come to 60 x 5 x 75 with a weight hole in the P3 to P4 range.

Anyone looking for a ball for heavy volume or circumstances in which they find themselves hook-challenged, an ALPHA CRUX would be well worth a look-see.  Just don’t expect a “go long, big booming back end ball.”   In my experience, so far, though it’s super-strong the ALPHA CRUX is more controlled ball motion.

Lbs. RG Diff. PSA
16 2.50 0.051 0.016
15 2.50 0.052 0.017 
14 2.54 0.050 0.015 
13 2.57 0.032 0.010 
12 2.59 0.029 0.008