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The Intense
Review Date: 4 November 2017

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


In perhaps a counterintuitive turn of events last week, Storm Bowling Products released the INTENSE,  a fourth polished asymmetrical ball in the current Storm Premier line.  It registered at first as counterintuitive in some minds because the Premier line already includes the SNAP LOCK (pearl), CODE BLACK (pearl), and CODE RED (hybrid).  Many would have predicted instead another release in the CODE series with a solid cover to let that series “run its course.” 

Regardless, once thrown it’s quickly apparent that the INTENSE is not just more of the same!   The core in the INTENSE is an enhancement of the RAD4 core from the CODE series, here called the RAD-E core (E = Energy).   There is a new series of elliptical shapes around the pin in this weight block that increase the separation of mass throughout the core of the ball.  The design intent is to increase entry angle into the pocket.  The coverstock on the INTENSE is R3S Pearl, same as on the SNAP LOCK and a stronger cover than the R2S on the CODE series.  The only stronger coverstock in Storm’s currently available product line is the GI-17 solid cover on the SURE LOCK. 

All that said --- from Jeff Richgels’ review to the reviewers at Bowling This Month to the Storm-released video featuring feedback from Kelly Kulick, Liz Johnson, and Pete Weber --- the INTENSE has proven to be a ball that strikes different people very differently regarding the way it performs.  This disparity points out again the all-important reminder that, while any particular ball may objectively speaking have a particular design intent about how it is supposed to differ from other balls, bowlers with different axis rotations, different tilts, different rev rates, etc., will find that some weight blocks will perform differently for them compared to others --- some much better and some even poorly.

For me the combination of core and cover in the INTENSE begins its transition from skid to hook phase sooner than the CODE RED, which in turn makes it significantly sooner also than the CODE BLACK.   Conversely, it is cleaner through the front of the lane and stores noticeably more energy than the SNAP LOCK.   At an RG of 2.49 and with a high flaring potential (Diff) of 0.050, for me the INTENSE really digs into a lane pattern effectively for a polished pearl.  I have never had it miss the midlane, even on a shot missed at the bottom of my release.  In fact, most of the time on shots like that, the result has been a ringing ten pin with the INTENSE whereas many other balls would produce a flat ten or even a two-pin or bucket combo.  Off the spot the INTENSE is more arcing (slower response) in my experience than the quicker response and more angular shape of the CODE series.  For me this is a significant plus especially on typical house shots because it affords me more mistake room into the dry at the break point without as much fear of the ball jerking high through the head pin.   With the INTENSE that kind of mistake to the right at the break point on typical house shots has resulted in a four pin whereas the equivalent mistake with a CODE RED or CODE BLACK for me would result in a 4-6 or Greek Church.  In terms of overall hook potential, the INTENSE is a solid three to four boards stronger for me than the CODE RED.   By comparison to the NO RULES PEARL from Roto Grip the INTENSE is close to the same ballpark but produces more defined shape off the break point than the much smoother shaped, forward rolling Chaotic Core produces in the NO RULES series.

 In providing these comparisons, it is important to note that my CODE BLACK, CODE RED, NO RULES PEARL, and now my INTENSE all have essentially the same layouts – within minimal measurement variances.  And, the ball reaction I am describing regarding each of them results from using them at box surface.  The layout on my INTENSE is a pretty standard high pin layout for me.  The only unique thing here in comparison to my other equipment is that my INTENSE has a long 5”+ pin.   Most of my other equipment has 3” to 4” pins.   Nonetheless, the layouts are all pretty much the same.  Using dual angle system measurements it’s 65 x 5.25 x 30.   VLS = 5.25 x 5 x 2.  No balance hole was needed.

In sum, the INTENSE is a good and solid high performance ball.  Because it can handle volume as well as it can and because it’s on the medium response side rather than super quick or severe response side in terms of its motion off the dry, I think the INTENSE certainly could serve as a trustworthy asymmetrical pearl companion to an asymmetrical solid in the high performance section of anyone’s arsenal.

Lbs. RG Diff. PSA  Diff. 
16 2.49 0.050 0.018
15 2.49 0.050 0.017
14 2.53 0.050 0.014
13 2.57 0.032 0.010
12 2.59 0.029 0.000
11 N/A N/A N/A
10 N/A N/A N/A