Roto Grip Optimum Idol Bowling Ball Review

First Impressions
Pepto-Bismol has changed color a little bit but it’s the same old shape and the same old feelings.

Tamer Elbaga (Lefty)
Style: Tweener
RPM: 330 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: 4 x 35

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: 5 x 40

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: 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 Roto Grip Optimum Idol uses the Ikon symmetric core inside the MicroTrax solid coverstock.

15 pound = RG of 2.47 diff of .056
14 pound = RG of 2.51, diff of .054
Coverstock finish: 2000 grit abralon

The quickest version of this review is that this is the same old Roto Grip Idol. The Optimum Idol has the same weightblock but now with the AI core. The difference in specs is negligible in my opinion. The cover is still MicroTrax and as we’ve said, coverstock is 70% of the reaction. It rolls heavy and is a great control motion. I wouldn’t say it’s lazy. It just kind of telegraphs the pattern, meaning if there’s friction downlane, it will hook more downlane. If there’s more oil, it will lengthen but give you control of that length. The cover shows off traction which is where the control really comes from and the rolly core aids but doesn’t feel lazy like I said. My review is on the 2023 USBC Open D&S pattern which is 38 ft and 24 units. It’s almost flat at a 1.79:1 ratio which means you don’t get much forgiveness left to right. Missing out has no shot with the amount of volume on the outside boards and missing in hooks like crazy with how flat it is. But I have to say this was a fantastic match up for me. My eyes really liked seeing the midlane strength while the pattern allowed the ball to drive really well. I’ve had issues in the past on house shots with the OG Idol in terms of carry. The ball is strong control and while it was always a pocket magnet, I sometimes saw lots of corner pins which was frustrating. On this pattern, I didn’t leave a single 7 pin. Not during testing nor during league. This pattern is pure and a shot making pattern. The Pattern minus 31 breakpoint is pretty spot on. 7 was the right target. Obviously I made lots of good shots but the midlane traction the ball offered really made me feel like it wasn’t going to easily blow through the spot which made me confortable. Due to its strength, I had some miss room, maybe 1 board out and 1 board in. Not much but it is a tough pattern. Here’s a quick comparison to my personal favorite strong control ball, the Phaze II. You’ll see it’s a bit older and a touch shiny. Therefore it’s a touch longer and snappier but not insanely angular. A fresh Phaze II will look a bit more angular somewhat more like an asym than the rounder Idol. In this test, I really have nothing critical to add.

Power Player’s Perspective
Tyler is up testing the latest iteration of the Idol. As previously stated, the Optimum Idol is basically the OG reincarnated. Same coverstock. Same weightblock. Only difference is the AI core which creates a negligible change in core specs. I’m not going to get into the marketing hype about the AI core since we haven’t seen any realy difference on lane. What I can say is that regardless of the differences including slight color variation, the Optimum Idol was up to the task. One of Tyler’s all time favorite ball was the OG Idol. Would it surprise you then that he immediately picks up the Optimum and kills it? Yeah this was pretty straightforward for him. The ball has good traction with the MicroTrax but doesn’t feel like it wants to hook at your feet necessarily. It just offers good lane control. The core has the round shape that doesn’t fight the cover much and kind of compliments it by offering a bit more than an arcy downlane shape for higher rev bowlers. It’s just a bit more angular than a fully round banana shape which for them which enables lane control and carry. What more can you really ask for…
He has his old Idol and you can see the quick comparison. There is a very slight delta but really attributable to the older used cover. It’s still pretty strong but a touch less bite and I mean a touch.
He also has on hand his Idol Cosmos which is his current benchmark ball. It’s like Frank’s Red Hot, he puts that on everything. You can see that it is a touch cleaner and a touch more angular. That’s it. It’s the perfect shape for him and between the 2, it’s the main difference of getting a couple feet additional length with compensating angularity. Whether or not there is a current spot in his bag, the Optimum Idol will find a way in to it. It might overlap something else in Strong Control but he loves this shape that much.

Stroker’s Stance
Bryan is now testing the Roto Grip Optimum Idol. As mentioned previously, the Optimum Idol is more or less a rerelease in my mind of the OG. Microtrax cover and Ikon weightblock. The new bit is the AI core around the weightblock but I have yet to see a real world difference so nothing to add regarding that. There is a small negligible delta in core specs. Previously Bryan had a look with the Idol but left lots of corner pins. As is the general case, most bowlers will have a good control look with the Idol but not everyone carried well with it. That kind of makes it a benchmark shape. It’s a strong control and that is part of the problem. The MicroTrax is a touch strong for the benchmark so for some especially those with lower rev rates, you wind up using a bit more energy up front and less left for the drive through the pins, hence the questionable carry. However, in the case of the Optimum Idol, I have to say that while it was pretty similar in experience, Bryan did have an edge with carry this time around. Not exactly sure what it is, perhaps the oils a little different now than with the first release. We also have newer lane beds so much less built in midlane track friction. As you expect, the Optimum Idol is arcy and heavy rolling. Bryan experienced the corner pins but as he adjusted in, he was able to get a bit more energy retention and improve carry. The look improved further as he opened up more and slowed it down a bit. Rather than lose energy with more board coverage, it just seemed to do the business. It would be a strong Control ball for Bryan. Here are a couple of quick shots with the Phaze II. You can see the bit cleaner look with sharper move downlane. Bryan has a stalwart Strong Control ball with the Motiv Forge in the bag so too soon to say if the Optimum Idol could replace that in the bag