In any game or sport, you will find equipment that many people say will improve play. However, it's not always easy to tell whether there is truth in what these people are saying or whether it's all hype. When people are touting the benefits of a certain material or design, which is often more expensive, how can you know whether what they're saying is true? In billiards, one of the most recommended products is carbon fiber shafts. Many argue that the shaft is the most important part of a cue, and carbon fiber is promoted as the best material for low deflection. Carbon fiber can also cost a lot more. So is it worth the price, and will it improve your game play?
What Are the Benefits of Carbon Fiber Shafts?
There are several potential benefits to using a carbon fiber shaft for your cue that might convince you to invest. To begin with, the sleek and lightweight material is durable and sure to last a long time. This is ideal for a billiard cue, as your cue can take a lot of hits and scrapes while you're playing. Compared to wood and other materials, a carbon fiber shaft can last a lot longer. You won't have to worry about dents or scratches. It is also less prone to reacting to atmospheric changes, whereas a wooden shaft can shrink and expand due to temperature or humidity.
A carbon fiber cue shaft is easy to maintain too. You can simply wipe it down in just a few seconds, and it will look like new again. The material is waterproof so the appearance won't be affected by moisture. You won't have to worry about the shaft warping as much as you would when considering other materials.
Another advantage of using a carbon fiber shaft is that it offers low deflection. Some people might find this more of an advantage than others. You might take the view that you will get used to deflection using any cue, so choosing a carbon fiber cue might not make much difference. However, if you want to be able to pick up a new cue shaft right away and use it without too much practice, you might like the idea of using a carbon fiber shaft. Many also say that the lightweight and smooth carbon fiber helps to make playing more consistent and slick.
Disadvantages of Carbon Fiber Shafts
There are also some disadvantages to consider when thinking about buying carbon fiber cue shafts for billiards. One major point that you will see brought up regularly is the cost of a carbon fiber shaft. You can certainly expect to pay more for a carbon fiber shaft compared to other materials, as the material is designed to last for a long time. However, the most important thing is to think of the purchase of a carbon fiber shaft as an investment. The durable material should last a long time, so it won't need to be replaced in a hurry.
It is important to remember that although carbon fiber is tough, it's not impossible to damage. It can be damaged if it is hit against some hard surfaces, so it's still important to be careful. Once it's damaged, it isn't easy to repair. If you choose a carbon fiber shaft, you need to be careful how you change the tip too. Some shafts from particular brands require authorized repair centers to do so. Some brands offer a lifetime warranty to make it easier to care for your shaft. A minor point to note is that although a carbon fiber shaft is easy to clean, some people feel that they get dirty easily too.
It can also take some time to get used to playing using a carbon fiber shaft. Any time you start using a new cue, it can take some time before you start to get the hang of it. Some people find it helpful to borrow someone else's cue to try out before making a purchase so that they can find out if it's the right choice for them.
Will Using a Carbon Fiber Shaft Improve Your Game?
Of course, one of the biggest questions for people who are considering buying a carbon fiber shaft for their billiard cue is whether it will change the way that they play. More importantly, can it improve the way that they play?
One of the reasons that people choose to use a carbon fiber billiard shaft is for its low deflection. When a shaft has low deflection, it reduces cue ball deflection so that the player has more control over the cue ball. It reduces the amount that you need to compensate by when playing, which can give you an advantage during your game. A cue with low deflection isn't a priority for everyone, but many players consider it to be an important quality in their game.
Using a carbon fiber shaft can give you more control over your game play. However, it's important to remember that there can be a learning curve when you first start using a carbon fiber shaft. It can take a while to get used to playing with a carbon fiber shaft, so you can't necessarily expect it to improve your playing right away. If you are used to having to compensate for deflection, you might need to unlearn this behavior as you start to use a carbon fiber shaft.
A carbon fiber shaft has the least amount of deflection when comparing different materials. There are other low deflection options, such as using a shorter ferrule or a wooden or lightweight ferrule. Reducing end mass is the key to lowering the amount of deflection. This makes a carbon fiber shaft ideal, as the lightweight material helps to make the whole shaft easy to handle.
A carbon fiber shaft might be more of an investment than shafts made from other materials. However, the cost is certainly worth it if you are willing to invest in a shaft that will last a long time and offer excellent performance.