Motiv Primal Shock Bowling Ball Review

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First Impressions
This may be controversial but the Primal Shock may bench my Venom Shock…

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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 Motiv Primal Shock uses the Impulse™ V2 symmetric core inside the Turmoil™ MFS Solid Reactive coverstock.

15 pound = RG of 2.55, diff of .050
14 pound = RG of 2.56, diff of .054
Coverstock finish: 4000 grit LSS

Let me drop this bomb. Basically, the Primal Shock is to tweeners and strokers what the Venom Shock is to high rev bowlers. Did I drop a bomb here? Let me explain. First, let’s evaluate the new Primal Shock on its merits. It has the identical Turmoil cover from the Venom Shock with the identical finish. It has the Impulse V2 core from the Primal balls. I’ve always liked the Impulse core. I’ve said it a million times and I’ll say it again, cover/ball and lane surface dictate 70% of the ball reaction. So this leaves the Primal only 30% window to differentiate itself from the Venom Shock. Additionally you can argue that the 2 cores maybe only 30-50% different leaving maybe something like 10% ball reaction to play with. Don’t ask me how I came up with these ballpark numbers, but I play with data for a living. So I couldn’t have been the only one really wondering what the real difference was going to be between these 2 balls. And my final question would be would I need both balls in my bag. What I can say is what I hinted at, I felt the Primal Shock has one leg up on the Venom for me. Are you surprised? The crux of it of course comes down to the core and what it does. The Impulse core makes the Primal a touch more rolly than the Gear core. A bit earlier and more flare which makes it less reliant on the cover to make a move. What I found for mid and lower rev bowlers was that sometimes the Shock was great and sometimes it hit soft. It hit soft for me whenever the cover shined up. Just wouldn’t drive as well. Surface was my friend with the Shock. And aside from that little bit, I do enjoy the Shock a ton. But with the Primal, it just feels like that 5-10% difference for me is all that I needed to say I feel a little better with the Primal in my bag. Where? Mid control. The thing is still, this cover lane shines hella fast. And either ball, I find they lose some of that blend when it lane shines which makes it slightly tricky. Almost like it’s a bit too much at times for mid control but also as it weakened with lane shine, I kind of didn’t trust it as much. At least for the Venom. I’m hoping the Primal with the bigger core will dispel that issue for me.

Before you ask, oh they are probably more different on sport shot as opposed to the house shot. Well I can tell you for a fact no. What we saw on the house shot was the same on sport shot. In fact, we gave up on the house shot part way through our testing because we really wanted there to be no question of the ball motion capabilities we saw. Plus the house shot can sometimes be iffy.

I’m going to cover Bryan next. What I’m doing here is going in order of how good the ball looked for each bowler. The Primal Shock looked excellent for him. You can see how much pop it had downlane for him. This is a 41ft Team USA pattern so it’s tough but he really had an excellent look. He can go right up the second arrow with a small belly and the ball had just enough length and then turned over harder than he usually sees to the pocket. Yes the sport patterns can help create some backend but you will see when we compare to the Forge how different these balls look. He went as far as the 3rd arrow and had a look. Could settle back down to between 2nd and 3rd with just a pretty nice and easy look. Honestly it was a gorgeous reaction. With that much motion you would think it could be a little over/under but in reality it was really just the right length with the right amount of stored energy to carry quite well and give him room. This is what a benchmark ball should do for you. Now when comparing to the Venom Shock, again, you will watch the ball go down lane and wonder if they really are a different ball. The subtle difference is that the Shock was just a smidge later and snappier. And from more direct nearer the 2nd arrow, it looked really too close to the Primal to call. However, the tell tale of what I referred to earlier regarding the Primal benefitting lower rev bowlers is seen immediately when Bryan migrates to the 3rd arrow. There, the core just hits a touch softer leaving a flat corner. So while either Shock got him to the pocket like benchmark balls, the Primal was the one that actually carried from both closed and open angles for him. As I mentioned earlier, have a look at the significant difference in shape and strength of the Forge which is a Strong Control ball in the arsenal.

Last but not least is Tyler. Tossing the Primal Shock really just wasn’t as easy for him as it was for Bryan and I. The overall shape looked fine but he did see a bit more over/under. Really what I want to hone in on is the shape difference between the Primal Shock and the Venom Shock. I can tell you now that he liked the Venom more. He had about the same shape with the same lane control but a little later and more punch. So that meant he carried better, even though the shape difference is pretty nuanced. The issue here goes back to the core in my opinion. If you have watched EJ Tackett, he uses the Venom Shock a ridiculous amount. It’s a great ball for him. He can really rev it up and it kind of generates a ton of torque because of his rev rate. The core has a lower differential so offers a control motion that he gets to explode because of his hand. Pay close attention to EJ’s motion and you will see that not all the balls go through the pins the way you would like but they carry quite often because he throws pins all around. So it’s a control motion for him. A benchmark. And the Venom Shock looks that way for Tyler. Once he has the bigger core in the Primal, all of a sudden that slightly earlier and rounder shape just doesn’t work as well for him. It’s a small nuance that can probably be manipulated a bit with layout. For additional context, here is the Carbide Tank which you would think might have too much cover surface but works like a charm for Tyler as does the Jackal Ambush. What both of these balls do is control the fronts of this tough pattern and have a smooth rounded earlier shape than both Primal and Venom.

Final Thoughts
Now the question for any of us is what to do between the Primal and Venom Shocks. Firstly, both balls are Mid Control balls in my opinion. Frankly this is one where I’d be totally confused by Motiv’s placement in the ball chart if I didn’t actually test it. Both might make some sense in isolation but if anything the Primal is placed correctly and the Shock is not. They are way closer than they appear in the chart. And therein lies the rub. As of today, as a tweener I think the Primal would sit in my Mid Control spot over the Venom. Same for Bryan while the opposite would be true for Tyler.

Thanks for watching.