Mallets have two key ingredients: the shaft and the head.
For the shaft, the most common material is an aluminium ski-pole bought from an op-shop or savers (ski shops at the end of season may also be of value). Alternately, a golf club may be used. Most golf clubs are made from stainless or chromoly steel, which is much harder to work with than aluminium, though some people prefer the flex and feel that a golf club affords. Shafts have also been seen made from wooden dowel, and bamboo. Carbon fibre or graphite golf clubs may also be an option, but are yet to be seen in Melbourne bike polo.
The head is usually made from a length of gas pipe or ABS pipe. Stay away from PVC – it shatters easily. A bolt or screw is needed to hold the head in place – to stop it from swivelling or moving up and down on the shaft.
A grip is considered useful – golf clubs usually have a rubber grip attached, while ski poles need the addition of handlebar tape or ice-hockey tape (hard to find in Australia).
- Youtube video of how to make a polo mallet http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ylBl9qFsFLg
- Step-by-step guide from hardcourtbikepolo.com: http://www.hardcourtbikepolo.com/?page_id=6
Any old bike will do for bike polo. Due to the possibility of crashes and spills, many people prefer to use specific polo bikes different from their normal commuting or work bikes. Some useful features include:
- tough wheels
- fewer moving parts/accessories (e.g. no dérailleurs/gears as these can break easily on impact)
- fixed gear (makes track stands and back pedalling easier)
- front brake activated by the left hand (right hand is used for the mallet, maximum stopping power is achieved with the front brake – this can be dangerous if you’re not used to it though)
- disc wheels
By installing your own edges into a court, you can create a more continuous and contained game of polo. There are 2 ways that players in Melbourne have done this, plans are available here: