Motiv Black Venom Bowling Ball Review

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First Impressions
The Motiv Black Venom meets my expectations.

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Tamer Elbaga (Lefty)
Style: Tweener
RPM: 350 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 Motiv Black Venom uses the Gear™ APG Asymmetric core inside the Leverage™ MFS Solid Reactive coverstock.

15 pound = RG of 2.47, diff of .036, mb of .013
14 pound = RG of 2.50, diff of .033, mb of .012
Coverstock finish: 4000 grit LSS

Let’s get into what my expectations were. As you should know by now I like the Venom Shock but didn’t when it was first released. Cover was a little strong for the core so it used to push me in too deep and then it didn’t have the strength to roll back up. That changed for me the 2nd time I tested it years later. Primal Shock essentially amps the core up in the same cover which makes it a little more effective for lower rev rate bowlers. With all that said, I struggled to clearly fit either ball in an arsenal category. It was a bit angular for mid control but not really strong enough for strong control. So it fit somewhere in between. In comes the Black Venom and long story short, we finally have one that fits smack dab in the Mid Control category. Right out of the box, it felt like a mid strength ball. It really gave me a pretty simple straightforward look pretty much anywhere from 12-17 at the arrows. It has a nice balanced shape that was a little more angular much closer to banana than hockey stick. Super enjoyable to toss with good carry. I continued to migrate in to see where the limits are and it was very clear right around 19, it was done so no point to get in any further. The cover finish at 4000 LSS was a perfect match up to make it a mid control. Quick comparison to the Venom Shock and you can immediately see how much earlier the Shock got into a roll. The Venom Shock also has clearly higher perceived downlane angle accordingly. It’s deceiving. Although Motiv describes the Black Venom has earlier and smoother, on lane, it looks later and smoother. Also looking at the Primal Shock, you can see an overall heavier rolling ball that is a little earlier but not as snappy as the Venom Shock. But basically plays the same. I always found the Turmoil MFS works better with some surface vs lane shining. Anyway, what i can say is the Black Venom is different enough to compliment either the Primal or Venom Shock. Names confusing you yet??

It’s been a minute since I’ve tested anything 2-handed given my hip replacement. However, it was pretty fun to toss the Black Venom with this style. The rounded shape is a benefit to a rev dominant style since the hand already generates angle. With that said, you can see that you do have to be careful with misses out since it can poop out. Misses in didn’t really hold. I don’t blame not hitting misses on the ball. It just more shows the characteristics of the ball. But ultimately, it’s a nice balanced shape for a 2-hander.

For Tyler you can see the Black Venom is fairly balanced banana shape. It’s pretty even. He’s got a very stable layout so we know it’s not going to really pop hard for him. He’s got a pretty simple straightforward look somewhere around the 2nd arrow. Normally he’d be covering more boards but with the very tame layout this is to be expected. It has a very predictable and smooth response to friction, even while playing pretty close to the cliff which is a nice feature. The interesting thing is again, when he compares to the Venom Shock, it’s such a different shape. Clearly earlier and boomier. So even while theoretically the Black Venom is supposed to be earlier and smoother, it’s a little paradoxical in that it’s actually a little later and smoother.

Next is Bryan with the Black Venom. He felt like he had an OK look. Wasn’t spectacular per se but I think this tends to be a challenge with weaker core balls. They roll kind of OK and hit kind of OK. And he generally found an OK look. I’m not saying anything special here. What I will say is just highlight a couple of nuggets. He had really good light hit carry. Bryan played fairly direct in general as the Black Venom didn’t really have a ton of backend for him as you would expect given we’ve already discussed the banana shape. Since he’s playing close to the friction, he was hoping to use that to get it to bounce and drive but it really responded quite smoothly to the friction. Compared to the Venom Shock, just as the rest of us saw, it starts earlier and kind of stands up harder.

Final Thoughts
I feel very good about the Black Venom as a really good Mid Control option. Being an asym, you’ll have to be a little more careful how you lay it out but when it’s right, it’s not particularly obvious it’s an asym. It has a smooth, controllable, nice arcing shape. Yes it’s a little more limited in terms of opening the lanes up relative to other balls but that is going to be dependent on the bowler’s rev rate and axis rotation. However, that’s not a problem for a good mid control ball.

Thanks for watching.