The Taylor Ace and the Henselite Tiger II are two of the most popular models of bowls in the world. But what makes them so great, and which is best for you?
When choosing a set of bowls you want to make sure you are not wasting your money – I’ve helped many bowlers, and this is something I hear a lot.
This is why many go straight to the “tried and tested” models that they see working for others at their club. And why not? If it works for many of your fellow bowlers, why wouldn’t it work for you?
If you find yourself in this camp you will likely have come across the Taylor Ace and Henselite Tiger II, two of the most popular models on the market today.
But which is best for you? And which should you choose? Lets take a look.
Henselite Tiger II
The Taylor Ace has a stronger bias than the Tiger II.
This is mainly due to the fact that the Tiger II is one of the narrowest bowls made by Henseilte for the UK market – by contrast in the Australian marker the Tiger II is the widest model in the Henselite.
The Taylor Ace is considered a “mid biased bowl”. This means it will be suited for both indoor and outdoor greens in the UK. As mid biased bowls go, the Taylor Ace is on the wider side, but is perfectly playable indoors despite the extra swing.
As the Tiger II is slightly narrower than the Ace, it is more suited to indoor rinks. I wouldn’t consider the Tiger II to be a solely indoor bowl, as it is able to play nicely on outdoor greens, however I would avoid this model if you are playing skip in your club team.
Both Taylor and Henselite have followed the trend towards “embedded grips”. Taylor has their Xtreme grips, whereas Henselite’s effort is known as the “Mega grip”.
Whats an embedded grip? An embedded grip is where a small channel is taken from the shoulder of the bowl, and a grip pattern (often similar to a classic dimple grip) is taken within it. This effectively makes the bowl feel smaller in your hand, making it easier to hold
The Taylor Xtreme grip is far more pronounced than many other embedded grips. It sits deeper in the shoulder of the bowl, and the dimples are deeper and larger. This is ideal for those looking for better control without having to drop down a size.
The Mega Grip in comparison, is very similar to other embedded grips on the market. It has a nice feel in the hand, and offers a bit of extra support to those who don’t need anything… well, extreme!
I personally prefer the Mega Grip. This is mainly because my fingers don’t follow the lines of the grips, and they don’t run straight down the running surface.
The Xtreme grip is an acquired taste, but will suit many.
Of course, you don’t have to choose this new style of grip. Both the Ace and the Tiger II come with classic “dimple” options, or is you prefer, ungripped.
Both the Ace and the Tiger II are as consistent as they come.
They both provide a classic, steady draw to the jack, and will play weighted shots consistantly.
There is a reason the popularity of these models has endured! You know what you’re getting. There is nothing to split the two models here.
The Taylor Ace can be purchased brand new for around £360 compared to the Tiger II which comes in around £390.
You can buy directly from Taylor, whereas the Tiger II you will have to go through either an online seller, or your local bowls store.
If you can’t afford to buy brand new, then you are in luck. Both the Taylor Ace and the Tiger II have great availablity on second hand marketplaces such as eBay. You can easily find a decent set of either for a third of the price of a brand new set.
Unless you are after something a bit special, I would always recommend getting yours second hand.
As you can see, there is not much separating these two! In my opinion it will come down to the line.
If you are after something a bit narrower, than the Tiger II is for you. However, if you play more outdoors – especially if you play skip – and you need something with a bit more bend then the Taylor Ace is a great option for you.