“Good Grape Vibes”
A medium to light condition go-to ball with a proven core from Hammer.
Remember that coverstock accounts for 70% of ball reaction, but the core will create the dynamic shape. Your drilling will alter the shape to suit your game and conditions you bowl on. Kyle Hartzell of BowlerX is our tester. Let me briefly describe the layout and what it’s intention is. Kyle’s layout is 65 x 4 3/4 x 70. This ball is drilled to go medium length and transition on the slower, smoother side at the breakpoint.
Please work with your local pro shop operator to find what best works for you.
My first thoughts were how different is this going to be from the Midnight Vibe? I mean they both appear to have the intention to be clean through the front and controllably strong on the backends. While you may recall I liked the Midnight Vibe, I’m not sure what the purpose of this ball is other than to offer a new color combination. I guess some will like the Green and Purple swirls, although I can’t say I particularly care for the name. As was true with the Midnight Vibe, it was obvious that this ball has the same easy length and move on the backend that is typical with the Vibe core. It’s basically straight until the breakpoint and then reacts to the dry. As was the case with the Midnight Vibe, the Grape Vibe is a little touchy out of box on fresh shots.
This is an affordable ball. Now that the Backlashes have been discontinued, the Vibe line is Hammer’s entry level reactive resin. The Vibe lineup has always been very versatile and this ball continues the use of that proven core.
The symmetrical Vibe core has an RG of 2.51 and diff of .042 for a 15 pound piece. It is a relatively early revving core and a medium differential. This is a hard working core. It is a relatively flippy core which can be tamed by the cover and the drilling. It is an hour-glass shape, but the overall cylindrical shape of the core creates a very recognizable ball motion across all Vibes. It likes to flip hard and gets into a roll pretty quickly. This core sets up nicely to the pocket.
The CT Reactive pearl cover is very clean through the heads, providing very easy length. This will sound like a broken record, but again, this ball is so similar to the Midnight Vibe. It will be usable on varying conditions from medium to light volumes. Ultimately, it’s best reaction will appear when the pattern is a little broken in, if you maintain the out of box finish. Once a couple of games are on a pair, this ball will work well. If you have lots of traffic, it may only take a game or so for this ball to come out. When it comes out, it can be used for quite some time as it doesn’t eat up the line very quickly. I like to take the shine off these highly polished pearl balls to control the over/under.
While I rated the Midnight Vibe quite highly, I will knock this one down just a bit as it really doesn’t bring anything new to the table. I’ve always thought you can have a complete house shot arsenal with a few Vibes. However, I wouldn’t say that’s the case with the two currently available. As far as reaction shape, this vibe core creates that recognizable shape that has worked so well on house shots. It’s hourglass shape creates a bit of a quick transition from skid to hook to roll. The hook phase is a bit on the short side and the cover is sensitive to dry boards. It reacts smoother to north/south oil, than side to side oil. So if you swing the ball very wide, it will look very skid/flippy because when it hits dry boards, the ball really does flip. If you keep it in the oil inside, it will react much more smoothly. It’s part of the reason I don’t like how sensitive a polished pearl ball is on certain fresh shots.
What I also found is that set or roll really helps this ball carry well. It is rarely hooking while hitting the pins which is a good thing. You want the ball to be rolling at the pins for the proper deflection and carry.
This ball continues the Vibe history, more or less adding a new color option. I don’t think it added versatility to the line like the Onyx Vibe did, but it seemed that ball was a bit much in the low end series. To be fair, the Storm Tropical Heats are lots of ball for the money as well so I’m not 100% sure what the thinking is. Bottom line is that this is a ball you can keep in the bag for lighter volumes or medium volumes after a little bit of breakdown. Hammer has combined a cover that provides easy length with a very predictable core and it works well.
If you are looking for a medium to dry condition ball or have never thrown a Vibe (and you happen to like this color scheme more than the Midnight Vibe, this is a good choice. I thought the Vibes might be phased out soon, but it looks like it’s continuing so here’s another iteration.
This is a very good second ball, when your fresh shot ball has lost its reaction or is simply too much ball.