Father of an angel, house painter, and billiards enthusiast.
There are a few great new shafts out this year
2017 and 2018 are showing promise for new technology when it comes to the manufacturing of pool cue shafts. The big names in the industry have been busy, and they come up with a few winners.
This year, we are seeing Predator come out with the Revo shaft, along with McDermott extending their line of I-shafts. Meucci has added the "Ultimate Weapon Pro" to it's line of "Pro" shafts, and Viking is now offering the "Exactshot Pure Performance Shaft". All of them lay claim to be the latest and greatest.
Let's take a look at some of the features and differences between them.
Predator Revo Shaft
I'm going to jump right into this one with the newest technology from the biggest name in low deflection pool cues, Predator. The good folks at Predator have been testing their latest design with the pro's for the last several months. It has recently become available to the public, and there has been a great deal of buzz about it at the local pool room.
Following in line with their patented technology, the Revo is a hollow core shaft. The biggest difference is that the Revo is a carbon fiber composite, as opposed to their traditional wooden shafts. Unidirectional Aerospace Grade Carbon Fiber Tow is the name the company has given to the method with which they weave the carbon fibers together. And, instead of being completely hollow, the inside of the core is now filled with a high density foam that Predator is calling R2.
After playing some with one, I'm impressed, but not completely sold on it. There are many positive attributes to the Revo, yet there are also a few qualities that I didn't care for too much.
The first thing you notice when you hit a ball with the Revo shaft is the feel of a great connection with the cue ball and the feel of pure precision on the shot. The shaft does not create hardly any deflection when using spin, and imparts a great deal of energy into the ball, especially given the light weight of the cue. Overall, the way it strikes the ball is hard to beat.
However, there are a few qualities that do not perform as well as I had hoped. For one, the Revo leaves a carbon fiber powder on your hands when using it. I'm not sure if that is something that goes away over time, but it was definitely noticeable. From there, I didn't really like the way the cue glided through my hand. It felt kind of sticky. My hands tend to sweat when I play, and I've yet to find a carbon fiber cue that didn't stick to my bridge hand. This one is no different.
A review of the Revo
Want the Predator Revo?
The newest line of cues from McDermott are now equipped with "Intimidator I-Shaft" technology. One of the oldest names in billiard cues, McDermott has been producing excellent production cues for years and years, and this new line of I-shaft's look to be in line with my expectations from the company.
They have broken the series down into 3 different shafts. The first is the jump/break shaft, the I-1 Big Boy. It has a triple layer carbon fiber core, a wide taper, and the Navigator Break Impact tip. That tip is not just a plain old phenolic, though. They are calling the tip a composite, and suggesting that it produces a great deal more control than your standard phenolic tip.
The I-2 is their shaft designed for control and consistency. This is their new standard on McDermott's high end cues, featuring the same carbon fiber composite core are it's thicker cousin, the I-1. This model the pro taper, though, along with a 15 layer Japanese pigskin leather tip called the Navigator Blue Impact tip. They say it produces maximum control without sacrificing power and finesse.
The final of the group is the I-3 shaft. Designed to provide the best spin and finesse possible, the I-3 has the same Blue impact pigskin leather tip and the I-2. However, the I-3 has an European taper, and is a full millimeter smaller in diameter than the I-2. Like the other 2, this one also comes with the carbon fiber core and is supposed to produce a great strike on the cue ball.
Meucci Ultimate Weapon Pro Shaft
Meucci is another name that has been around the billiards industry for a very long time. They have been making quality equipment for well over a half a century. The recent years have seen them begin to attempt to make a professional quality shaft. At one point they made the red dot shaft. I played with it personally and never cared for the feel of it. The hit lacked stiffness and seemed to impart maximum deflection anyway. I sold it I had and never thought twice about it.
Fast forward to the end of 2017, and it's a new day for Meucci Cues.
The latest from Meucci is the Ultimate Weapon Pro Shaft. It comes with the half inch hydraulic ferrule, yet the tip is attached directly on the wood. I'm not sure what they have going on there, but it looks pretty cool in the pictures. At 11.5 mm, it will absolutely be a sniper's choice when choosing a shaft. It also features an Ultra Skin medium tip, which is now considered one of the best pool cue tips around.
Personally, I have been using an Ultra Skin Pro tip for years, and must admit it is my favorite pool cue tip of all time. Personally, I like it even better than Kamui. It feels softer on impact than a super soft Kamui black tip, and holds it's shape pretty well given the softness of the tip. The medium one they are using on this shaft creates a little firmer strike, but it doesn't take away anything from the shaft's playability. It's an excellent shaft overall.
One of Meucci's Newest Cues
Viking's Exactshot Pure Performance Shaft
Last, but not least, comes Viking's Exactshot X2 Pure Performance shafts. Viking is one of the oldest manufacturers in the billiards industry. They've been making pool cues for 50 years. It would stand to reason they have learned their craft well by now.
The Exactshot X2 looks like a great shaft from a distance. I have not had the opportunity to play with it, so I can not say first hand how it plays and feels. Based on the photographs, it is well designed. They've taken the time to add a lot of little extra's. The first of which are the sight lines. Viking believes and may well be correct that the addition of a visual aid down the side of the shaft will improve accuracy. Those lines aren't just for show, though. They are the marks intentionally left to show off their X-core technology, the company's new shaft design. Viking says it is their best low deflection shaft yet.
They have two different models of the Exactshot. The original comes with a Tiger Everest medium tip and the X2 comes with a Kamui Black soft tip. You can pick up the newest of the two for $299, and the older model for $279.
Which one is the winner?
Every one of these are good shafts. They are all low deflection and they perform extremely well for what they are designed for. With that being said, Predator has been my favorite for years and still is. The Predator Revo is an incredible shaft that takes the cake in my opinion. With it's sleek new design, unique look, and the patented Predator technology, the Revo is one great shaft. Even with the less than desirable qualities mentioned above, it is amazing. Check it out if you get a chance.
Honorable mention goes out to the Ultimate Weapon Pro from Meucci. It is another quality shaft with great potential. It is another extremely solid low deflection shaft. It is very possibly the best shaft Meucci has ever made, and one of the better playing wooden shafts on the market.