900 Global Zen U Bowling Ball Review

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First Impressions
Here we go with another urethane ball. Although the Zen U harkens back to the nostalgic days when urethane was simple Black color and yellow script, it’s shape is more than that.

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Tamer Elbaga (Lefty)
Style: Tweener
RPM: 375 rpm
PAP: 5 & 3/8 up
Average Speed: 18.5 mph (at release)
Axis tilt: low
Axis rotation: medium/high
Test Equipment: 14 Pounds
Layout: 50 x 5 x 45

Bryan Hoffman (Righty)
Style: Stroker
RPM: 280 rpm
PAP: 4 1/2 & 1 1/2 up
Average Speed: 18.5 mph (at release)
Axis tilt: high
Axis rotation: medium
Test Equipment: 14 Pounds
Layout: 50 x 5 x 45

Tyler Church (Righty)
Style: Power Player
RPM: 450 rpm
PAP: 5 1/2 & 1/2 up
Average Speed: 19 mph (at release)
Axis tilt: med
Axis rotation: medium
Test Equipment: 14 Pounds
Layout: 50 x 5 x 45

“Keep in mind that coverstock accounts for 70% of ball reaction, but the core creates the dynamic shape of the reaction. Your driller will alter the shape to suit your game.”

THS: 42ft, 23ml
Sport: TBD

The 900 Global Zen U uses the Meditate LD symmetric core inside the s35 Urethane+ coverstock.

15 pound = RG of 2.56, diff of .027
14 pound = RG of 2.58, diff of .027
Coverstock finish: 1000 Grit Abralon

I don’t have to tell you my feeling on urethane but as we all know it’s here to stay. So manufacturers will continue tweaking urethane to give us varied reactions. In this iteration, 900 Global goes with a pretty strong cover with the same shape Zen core but with a much lower differential. The idea is to give you a urethane ball that has the control of urethane but a bit more responsiveness while putting in a control shape core. The standard Zen core would create a ton of flare which would definitely give you a different ball. Sometimes too much of a good thing is simply too much, ala Hot Cell. To be fair I enjoyed the Hot Cell but I digress.

Tyler’s test here probably demonstrates all the best characteristics of the Zen U. We are on a typical walled house shot. He is able to get into the 3rd arrow and beyond out to 7 or 8 and wham. He could miss in but tended to get a bit of a flat hit. If he missed out, the ball actually overreacted. A bit of a surprise. Honestly it reminded me a bit of some of those huge reactive balls that dig and sometimes the pattern is too light. But giving it too much room and it won’t work. Think Motiv Trident Abyss for example. I mean yes you can see it has the clear urethane characteristics but at the same time the speed of responsiveness let’s you know it’s amped up a bit.

Sean is up next. His roll is a touch more forward than Tyler and you can kind of see the difference it makes. The Zen U looked much more “urethane” than “plus”. It’s too strong to start up in the outside oil but with a little room, it was touch and go. There are some nice shots in there but there is maybe a bit too much precision needed in terms of where you come out of the pattern to be usable on this particular condition. A bit of a surprise seeing the difference between Sean and Tyler isn’t that significant to see such a difference in ball motion. It just came down to the ball being more effective with a bit more axis rotation.

Now on to Bryan. The initial look is pretty obvious urethane reaction in the sense of how it early it starts up. Once he starts moving left, say from 12 with belly, hey surprise, that wasn’t too bad. Miss in and leave a flat corner, no surprise there. Then Bryan finds a sweet spot near the second arrow where he basically strikes all day. So you know how 900 Global said this could work on cliffed house conditions? Will in Bryan’s case, that is true. Really all he needed to do was just get a touch left of the dry and he had some nice room. Yes it was early but it wasn’t that dead reaction he would get from traditional urethane. Although what balls are traditional urethane anymore… Anyway, he only needed to watch out for the pitch out to the right as it did over hook, which again gets its characteristic from the “plus” side of chemistry.

Final Thoughts
By now, we can’t be surprised by another urethane ball coming out. The thing we haven’t discussed yet is fit in the arsenal and here’s where I’d probably still go specialty but it could potentially be in the mid control part of the bag. There have been a handful of urethane balls like the Roto Grip UC3 and Motiv Blue Tank that fit in there. The 900 Global Zen U is a small step up from the UC3 in the sense that it reads a little earlier and is a little smoother. So if you were creating a urethane lineup, you could have both since they compliment each other.

Tamer’s View
Since I was out with my hip replacement when we did this test, I decided to come back to the 900 Global Zen U. I have liked the Motiv Carbide Tank a bunch and since they looked so close for the other guys I was hoping it was the same. I would say for overall strength, you can see it kind of fit somewhere near mid control, maybe because of the surface, possibly strong control but for me it’s not the right shape to be in the traditional strong control. It’s a bit more traditional urethane reaction for me where it has enough strength to push me in through the fronts but not huge on the backend. I am a bit on the fence subjectively whether I like the very traditional urethane with big core like the Hot Cell which allows me to play a little straighter a bit more than this shape. I guess you see what it does where it has more angle than traditional urethane but I’m not sure it’s truly complimentary to my game.

I was also able to test 2-handed for the first time in a long while. Prior to surgery I was struggling with too much pain. Anyway, as a 2-hander, the shape made more sense to me as a compliment to my game. Now I had the heavy roll with the control of urethane, not pushing me into no-man’s land with my lower speed style. What I did notice though with the Zen U for me was that the line changed considerably and considerably quickly. So within 4 or 5 throws, I started to get pretty soft backend. I actually moved about 10 boards left to be more square all within less a game of tosses. I found this interesting enough to call out. But I will say it is a very controllable shape that I can see someone in the higher rev category or rev dominant find some use for.