We were given a pair of Mycro Evolution synthetic hurleys (32" & 34") for a long-term test/review and, overall, had a positive experience. The Evolution is a solid-body hurley that comes ready-to-play with supplied grip (URMA in our case). The product is priced at $59-70, including shipping, direct from Mycro. Here are the thoughts and reviews from two of our staff.
Disclaimer: Outside of the product itself, we received no additional compensation for this review.
Prior to this review, my synthetic/composite hurley experience was limited to the solid-body Reynolds hurley we sell here in the shop. I have hit a few balls with the hollow (fiberglass?) composites, but I dislike them immensely.
There are a few features of this Mycro Evolution hurley that distinguish it even among other synthetics. The grooves on the bas serve as a visual cue for the cut of wood that they replace, swooping gracefully to the toe of the hurley.
The lands (opposite of groove) have an extremely unique microtexture that impart noticeable friction on the sliotar. These two features combine to make for increased control in wet play scenarios, *as water falls into and runs through the grooves rather than causing the sliotar to experience some degree of hydroplaning across a flat surface.* *Adjusting to* that behavior took some intial adjustment, however, it was very brief. It would take quite a bit more use to know for sure how long that texture would last before being abraded away but that is certainly a possibility.
There were no mold-marks, rough areas, or other noticeable blemishes resulting from manufacture. It may be nit-picking, but I find the supplied grip to be of poor quality. The edges of the grip are quite flimsy which allows it to roll and bunch in use and when changing hand position. I would change it immediately (I am also hyper-particular on my grips), your mileage may vary.
The bas is comparatively small in size, at least when referencing against current ash offerings or some other synthetic hurley manufacturers. That being said, the weight was within 0.2 ounces of the reference solid-body hurl of the same size from Reynolds. More of that weight was forward of the midpoint, which, to me, made the stick feel slow in defensive work. The point of balance is approximately 2 inches further forward than a Reynolds *stick of the same length.* I would prefer that the toe of the hurley be more defined. As it stands now, it's a bit of a bullnose with about a 3/16-1/4" radius and lacks a clearly-defined edge. That may just be expection speaking and not necessarily a requirement.
I found the performance of the hurley to be mixed. It strikes well but controlling the pace of that strike is difficult. The 'sweet spot' seems small and there is an exceedingly small zone between a pass that falls short versus one struck too hard to cleanly receive, at least at middle distances.
I would consider the durability of the Mycro Evolution to be very high, like other solid-body synthetic hurleys. That hollow-body 'death-rattle' found in other offerings would never happen here. You can certainly expect consistent performance from this stick no matter the season or situation. The price is on the higher side at ~$40-52 (for the 32" and 34", respectively) US with shipping to North America costing another $19 US (direct from Mycro).
In a game of speed, first touch is everything.
Mycro’s introduction of the “Evolution” to the woodless hurley market is intriguing to say the least. To thieve that techie talk – the “Evolution” definitely disrupts what woodless industry exists. It’s an all-around improvement on hollow composites and very different to the Reynolds. But, it still leaves me wondering as to where it really fits. After some grass, wall, and indoor testing, I don’t believe that the “Evolution” is my kind of stick, but it might be yours.
My initial impressions were that the bas seemed a little small compared to the “Big Bas” trend of at least the new millennium and, like the Cultecs that dominated the early woodless market, very rigid. I admittedly thought that the grooves looked dumb (we all just need to agree that natural wood is always aesthetic, while imitative attempts look cheap – unless it’s on a Jeep). That said, it's the response of an arbor advocate, appreciator, and – dare I say – aficionado to purely cosmetic appearance; the grooves do have a pragmatic purpose and I’m happy to admit that they seem to provide the promised sliotar-grip and water reduction.
My main thought on the Mycro Evolution comes down to the fact that it’s “powerband” is too unforgiving - and echoes my colleague, Kevin. Basically, it requires the perfect contact or touch on the ball – too much and the ball pops or soars too far, too little and it just dies.
I’m going to be pulling in some cross-industry terms here, so:
“The power band of an internal combustion engine or electric motor is the range of operating speeds under which the engine or motor is able to operate most efficiently.” – Wikpedia
Therefore, the hurling-equivalent phrase I’m using here refers to a stick’s “response range” based on the sweet spot and strike speed/strength as they relate to delivering an accurate ball. This is far from any kind of exact science, so I’ll use one contemporary and one sorta anachronistic analogy to help further:
Some video games or their mini games use sliders and the object is to press an action button when the slider hits the prime spot, usually colored green – sort of like a horizontal slot machine. If you’re too far into the yellow/orange/red outside of the prime spot, the action is poorly executed in the game.
The “Evolution’s” prime spot is small, making it tougher to hit that green section to consistently dial in your strikes and touches for predictable skill execution.
Sorta Anachronistic Example:
Photographic film is dependent on light exposure – too much and your photo is washed out and white, too little and everything is black. Black and white negative film can commonly have up to 3.5 degrees of forgiveness for too much or too little light (called “stops”); Color negative film can commonly have up to 2.5 degrees of forgiveness; Color slide film gets maybe .75 degrees of forgiveness.
The “Evolution” is equivalent to color slide film, where being perfectly precise is simply required to get any real result.
Once I switched from a wall ball to playing pepper with a real sliotar, every pass felt dead or too hot to handle – no in-between. I had to noticeably and significantly dial in every strike, which had been disguised by the wall ball's inherent bounce. This is huge because a stick’s striking and touch “power band” (or forgiveness) can be the difference between a well-placed or errant sliotar when under pressure in a match.
My secondary though on the “Evolution” is that with a finicky touch, I’m not sure where it fits in my hurling bag. Wood wins out in every category of comparison except on damaging surfaces like pavement. The Evolution has a solid strike when you do hit the sweet spot, giving it more drive and distance than a Reynolds, but the latter’s touch and response are far superior. I don’t care about about how far I can hit a sliotar in the wrong direction. Drive and distance aren’t factors if I’m only really using the non-wood sticks for wall work where I’m standing 10-15 feet away to focus on form and touch. Maybe in dry and arid climates I’d use the Mycro, as it’s far superior to Cultecs. However, I’d still find the Reynolds’ touch too important to sacrifice for how far I can hit – first touch is everything and if I can’t possess the sliotar to begin with, what do I care if I can strike it another 20 meters?
Pulling from my dad’s extensive golf advice, every club in your bag has a situation and purpose. My "woods" cover all of my match and practice purposes; my Reynolds cover any wall work; and I grab an old wood stick or a Reynolds when on an indoor field. Bottom line - I’m not sure where the Mycro “Evolution” does something better for me in any category or situation than the wood or Reynolds options that I can reach for instead.