From The Lab: Why Your Next Bat Should Have An Angled End Cap
If you’ve spent any time browsing our new lineup, you’ve likely noticed the tips of most Axe Bats this year are angled. What gives? Why is that?
Today, we head to the lab to find out. Hugh Tompkins, Director of R&D, will explain the reasons this design element exists, what benefits it provides, and tell you why he thinks more players will be switching to this profile soon.
But, first, a little background.
The angled end cap is something only Axe Bat can offer. That’s because we are the only bat manufacturer that knows exactly where on the barrel you will make contact with the ball. Suffice to say, this is a huge engineering advantage and enables our bats to have a reinforced, high-performance hitting wall.
So when you look at our new bats, the tallest edge of our angled end cap always aligns with the hitting side of our barrel, then slopes away to the side of the bat that will never contact the ball.
Broadly, we refer to this angled look as our “HyperWhip” profile. So when you see the word HyperWhip in product descriptions or in blog posts, you can know we’re talking about an angled end cap and that this shape has a ton of benefits that we’ll get to shortly.
Got it? Good.
Take it away, Hugh.
Q: When you talk about “HyperWhip” technology in the 2017 line, what do you mean?
A: HyperWhip is the general name of the technology represented in our new angled barrel profile. It could refer to one of three different implementations, depending on the bat model we’re discussing.
Q: Why should I care about it?
A: The short answer is because you’ll get a more balanced bat and a lighter swing weight, meaning more bat speed.
Q: What’s the technical explanation?
A: It all gets back to the fact that our barrels are built with a hitting wall. We know where on the bat you’ll make contact. That means we also know where on the bat you won’t ever make contact. By eliminating material from the end of the bat on the non-hitting side – i.e., angling the end cap – we reduce the bat’s end load and move the balance point closer to your hands. Your bat now swings lighter and faster without any reduction in the size of the barrel.
Q: So what are the three different HyperWhip implementations we’ll see this year?
A: Two are more traditional end caps, and one is a hybrid barrel. Of the two end caps, one is made of carbon fiber and we refer to that as our “HyperWhip Composite Cap”; the other is made of thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU). The third implementation is the composite-alloy hybrid barrel we introduced last season. We call that our “HyperWhip Fusion Barrel.” You’ll find all three of these HyperWhip implementations in the 2017 BBCOR lineup.
Q: Can you explain more about the difference between the HyperWhip end caps and hybrid barrel?
A: With the HyperWhip Fusion Barrel, the final three inches of the barrel are made of carbon fiber and fused to a one-piece alloy construction. Carbon fiber is lighter than aluminum alloy, so you have less end load and better balance. The main benefit of that particular bat is it gives players the stiffness and control of a one-piece alloy bat, but with the balanced swing weight of a two-piece composite.
Q: Which of the new models have HyperWhip technology?
A: Most of them have one of the three implementations I mentioned earlier. In the BBCOR line, for example, our two-piece bats – the Avenge L140E and the Elite L130E – both have the HyperWhip Composite Cap. Two of our three one-piece bats – the Element L137E and the Origin L132E – have the TPU HyperWhip Cap; and our third one-piece bat, the HyperWhip Fusion L138E, has the HyperWhip Fusion Barrel.
Q: How much taller is the hitting side of the end cap?
A: All three HyperWhip implementations are a half-inch taller on the hitting side than on the non-hitting side.
Q: What’s the angle?
A: Depending on the barrel diameter of the bat, it’s between 11 and 12 degrees.
Q: How much more balanced does the HyperWhip profile make the same bat? Is one implementation more impactful for balance than the others?
A: That’s very dependent on the material of both the end cap and the barrel, but on the Elite L130E, for example, it is a 375 M.O.I. difference. For some context, our bat testers can begin feeling a difference around a 50 M.O.I. delta.
Q: Is the HyperWhip profile here to stay?
A: Absolutely. This will become the Axe Bat silhouette. It already is this year for all but a handful of our bats, and the bats you don’t see it on this season, you will see it on by 2018 and 2019.
Q: Why do you say that?
A: Everything we do from a design standpoint is rooted in our belief that form follows function. Sure, the HyperWhip profile looks cool and has a unique silhouette that gives players a visual cue for one-sided hitting, but it was done 100% for function. The profile has too many obvious benefits to players not to continue using it. And it plays right into one-sided hitting as something only we can offer.
Q: What has been the feedback so far?
A: Last year, we tested the waters with the Element HyperWhip L138D. That was the first bat in the industry to have an asymmetric, composite-alloy hybrid barrel. We were bullish on the benefits of the HyperWhip profile back then, but it was a radical new shape and we wanted to see what kind of tolerance people had for such a significant change. We were ready for and expected pushback, but it didn’t really happen. Most everyone liked it and got the idea right away, and that bat turned out to be one of our bestsellers.
Thanks to Hugh for answering a few of our questions today. If you’d like to know more about HyperWhip technology, or have a question that wasn’t answered above, drop it in the comments and we’ll continue the conversation below.by