REVIEW COURTESY OF TEAMX STAFFER MIKE MAGOLAN.
My LONG write-up on the Covert Tank:
DESCRIPTION: The Covert Tank is the 5th release in the Tank series. Every Tank has been quite different as far as covers and cores are concerned, this one is no different, especially this one. The Covert Tank holds the Torx core found in the Forza line (Forza, Forza Redline and Forza GT) which has a 2.50 RG and .051 DIFF giving it a stronger benchmark core. Now, the cover is what this release is all about! It is NOT reactive, it is NOT urethane, MOTIV has labeled it Frixion Microcell Polymer. This release requires a little more explanation in the description to educate you on the intent of this piece. The intent is simple, it’s to bridge the gap between reactive and urethane, you could call it a hybrid between the two. It can provide hook potential (layout dependent) like a reactive piece, yet it can provide a very similar shape as urethane (once again layout dependent). The sleek all black and dark logos gives this ball some great shelf too!
REACTION: I am going to describe the reaction of both Covert Tanks that I initially drilled. The first is a 50X4.5X25, which is close to my favorite layout and one that is used on a lot on my first drills of a new release. This is the stronger of the two layouts and easily flares 4”+. This ball reads the front and middle part of the lane very strong and when it reaches friction it likes to slow down and provide plenty of control. In my initial testing I really liked this one on the fresh house pattern, it allowed me to get in and use both the hold and the friction without sacrificing carry with misses either way. I feel like it’s strong enough that the misses in still allow the ball to continue very well through the pins. On the misses to the outside it never ever bounced too hard off the friction, it really does provide the perfect amount of continuation and control. I am strongly defined as a tweener, but I have never really had success with urethane. This leads me to my second layout, which is a 1” pin from axis, 110X1X25 and flares a couple inches. My goal with this layout is to literally replace urethane all together in my bag. I initially didn’t have high expectations because I’ve done pins from on axis to 2” to PAP before with little success. You really need to check out the video to see how good this ball looks and the difference between urethane for me. This layout isn’t for everyone, but for those who don’t like urethane I think this is an amazing option. The 1” Covert Tank for me starts just as soon as urethane but, continues a little better down lane. I know with urethane the point is for the ball to be super slow and controllable down lane, but for me urethane does that too much. If I wanted something even slower, I could do a pin on axis layout, but so far this layout is exactly what I will be using on very short patterns. Comparing the two Covert Tanks against each other the 4.5” one easily plays 6-7 boards deeper to give you an idea how much of an impact the layout has on this ball.
COMPARISONS: I compared the 4.5” Covert Tank against a Venom Shock since there are so many people who’ve thrown it. The Venom Shock gets into a roll almost as soon as the Covert Tank, but the Venom Shock out hooks it down lane significantly. I would need to move at least a zone deeper to allow the Venom Shock to find the pocket. The Venom Shock has a smoother to moderate shape down lane compared to the rest of the MOTIV line, so in watching the difference in the Covert Tank you will see how much smoother it is down lane. Next, with the 1” Covert Tank I did two comparisons. First is against the Tank Rampage because the purpose is for me to have a better option than urethane. You’ll notice the Tank Rampage starts up nicely and gets to a similar spot in the mid-lane, but down lane is where the Covert Tank differs and continues where the Tank Rampage just stops or slows down. Now, the Thrill is much weaker overall than the Covert Tank, you’ll see that it has no problem clearing the front part of the lane and then struggles to even get back to the pocket from even the track area on the fresh house pattern.
SUMMARY: Urethane carries oil down the lane for two reasons. First, because it doesn’t absorb oil, but remember the Covert Tank is NOT urethane (it’s Microcell Polymer) and it does absorb oil (just slower than reactive covers). Second, the Covert Tank does flare even with small pin to PAP layouts, so you won’t carry the oil down lane. The Covert Tank supplies the advantages of modern urethane without the disadvantages!