Speed and durability are not only required by the bike- polo players – the same is true of the equipment, says Matthew Cox
All bikes are single- speed, which is why choosing crank size is essential. Wheel size also affects thing like rolling speed and ability to move fast from a standing start. If you’re racing 700c wheels, the ratio is going to be different than if you’re racing 26in. The majority of us use track frames with flatbars; Dolans are popular. Mine is 26in, though I reckon there’s a 50:50 split between 700 and 26ers. Many say I should use 700c because of my height but I really like my frame and how it plays. Mine’s actually custom adapted to bike polo.
A guy in Peru called Marino builds jump bikes but began making polo bikes. People got wind of this so he made more. I bought mine second- hand off a chap called Ali in London. The wheels need to be strong
because they take the biggest beating, mainly from a stray mallet but also the ball. That’s why many play with 42- spoke wheels, though traditionally wheel covers were popular for added strength. There was a DIY aesthetic to it as players would ‘ borrow’ For Sale signs and cut out wheel protectors; in fact, it became an art form in itself with team colours and political slogans popular. That died out. Now it’s cooler to go with spokes. Upfront single brakes
are popular. You’d think a rear brake would be better but the front’s more efficient. Most riders use a disc brake. Riding around one- handed with a mallet in the other while clipped into pedals and controlled by a sole disc brake. The sport sounds bonkers, doesn’t it?!