Storm Ion Pro Bowling Ball Review

First Impressions
I was honestly surprised by how much I enjoyed the Ion Pro.

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: 4.25 x 40

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 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: 5 x 50

“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 Storm Ion Pro uses the Element Tour AI asymmetric core inside the TX-16 Hybrid Reactive coverstock.

15 pound = RG of 2.47 diff of .035, mb of .014
14 pound = RG of 2.51, diff of .026, mb of .010
Coverstock finish: 4000 abralon

Tweener’s Take
The Ion Pro uses a new core called the Element. Lower RG, lower diff, low mass bias. Storm put it in a TX-16 hybrid. TX-16 solid is what’s used on the Phaze II and this feels more familiar to that than the Summit balls which have a version of TX-23 uprevved essentially. In other words, I personally prefer the OG formula. I like the way it responds to friction more. Anyway, the idea here is to introduce a benchmark type ball that has versatility with coverstock finishes and layouts. I had seen a couple of early videos from Storm and it looked a little hook set which made me nervous. I like my benchmarks to be a little rounder. I could immediately forget all the preconceptions once I threw it. It legitimately feels like a proper benchmark ball for me. We’ll get into what that means. I tend to slot my benchmark in the Mid Control slot in the bag and that’s where the Ion Pro is to me. Some call their benchmark whatever is most versatile, wherever it fits in the bag which is fair, but that temds to be somewhere in the middle anyway where you can go a bit up or down based on conditions. The Ion Pro looked fabulous anywhere from 2nd to 4th arrow. Truth be told, I still have a Phaze II in the bag which is strong control for me. It’s so close to benchmark but I find it a touch strong at times for that. The Ion Pro really looks like a great compliment to it with a bit cleaner look, i.e., longer and a nice rounded move that feels like just the right step down. I’ve struggled to find the right ball that wasn’t a huge step down. This really reminds of of the classic Storm shape when R2S was the prominent cover and HyRoads were all the rage. Clean but doesn’t feel like it’s going to blow through the spot and angular but rounded boomy look that just kind of builds up. I’ve been struggling to find that with some of the latest balls from all the brands but I think this one hit it. In the most recent tests, the house shot just hasn’t complimented a whole lot but the Ion Pro was a great matchup. Just the right length and just the right backend. Nice goldilocks spot which bodes well for a benchmark.

Power Player’s Perspective
For Tyler, I’ll just show a few teaser shots as I’ll come back with a part 2 with Tyler and Bryan testing. But this can give you a quick idea of the shape for him. It was a bit more ball for him and sort of borders on mid control and mid defined. But we’ll get more time with it in the next video.

Final Thoughts
For me, the Storm Ion Pro is a bit of a surprise hit. I found it to be a very usable and versatile mid range benchmark ball. With my rev rate, sometimes lesser cores don’t hit as well but I had zero issues with the Ion Pro. The initial impression is that it has a good chance to fill that tough to fill Mid Control slot for me.

Now onto Tyler and first couple of shots he felt the same but it quickly got to a place where we were shocked how much backend he had. You might say, ok so what, adjust. Well the interesting thing is once the ball really started going sideways, it really lost any good look on the lanes. Now I think it is a bit of an anomaly here because again, we had an out of bounds smack in the middle of what’s typically the track breakpoint on both lanes. So with the outside of 5 or 6 being out of bounds and this ball being so angular for Tyler, it was a kind of trap. It was too angular to keep a tighter breakpoint but out of bounds took the area out of play.

Stroker’s Stance
Here’s a quick look at Bryan with the Ion Pro. He got lined up fairly quickly up the 2nd arrow with a small 1-2 board belly. He could strike a lot from there and it felt pretty straightforward. Not clear if this is a benchmark for him as it’s probably a little too clean for that. He felt like he could park there for a while. Interestingly though, occassionally, he’d get the ball that just kind of goes sideways. So in some ways he saw what I saw and in other ways, what Tyler saw. He had a smooth control, direct look and at times it would jump with angularity. So maybe a little release sensitivity going on there with the Ion Pro. Maybe that’s something that gives a unique characteristic in that it takes well to hand position adjustments. In another way, the average league bowler might find this sensitivity off-putting since you’d rather something blend better especially for a benchmark. With that said, it never looked over/under for me. Last point is as Bryan tried to open up, it became a half pocket 10 pin fest. Now that’s not to say the ball can’t open up the lane but for Bryan on this pattern, it was not possible on the fresh. So on fresh, he was pretty boxed into a couple of boards. But it felt great in that window.