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Core Stability

Posted by UniBoffin at 15:15 on 15th August 2016 in UniBoffin

Core Stability

So they turned up today, my new Sigma UltraCores, and very nice they look too in their smart Icon case. Time to hit the board and see how they perform!

Of course this won’t be my first test of them. I spent many happy hours playing around with the prototypes before returning them to Unicorn HQ with my blessing to proceed to production. Still, even for a world-weary old darting curmudgeon like me, there’s nothing like getting some new arrers in the post to inspire a bout of faintly juvenile enthusiasm.

Now it would be quite understandable for you to question the benefit of a low standard player such as I testing darts designed to facilitate streams of 180s and 100+ checkouts. Be assured there is method in my inability. Firstly, there are always skill-independent factors such as usability, durability, and QA to check. Secondly, I’m not really testing where the darts land so much as how they fly and how it feels to throw them in terms of grip, balance, etc.

The special consideration here with any Unicorn UltraCore dart is that balance can be tuned, as can weight, by altering the sequence of the polymer and tungsten barrel inserts supplied. The original UltraCore One and new UltraCore Two and player barrels all take four inserts, giving sixteen balance/weight combinations, whereas the new Sigma version takes three, giving eight combinations (add one more combo to those if you include the no insert option).

This discrepancy is because the very tunability of an UltraCore barrel precludes supplying it with pre-determined shaft and flights to give the type of precision accuracy-optimised aerodynamics found in a Sigma Pro or Super Pro. By comparison, stability optimisation, such as found in the old Sigma One and current Sigma X models, has a little more leeway and, given just three inserts and reduced barrel length, can thus be sufficiently reconciled with the UltraCore concept.

That said, Sigma UltraCores do have a theoretically optimum insert sequence for stability optimisation, which happens to be polymer-tungsten-polymer in steel tip mode (giving a 20gm barrel with point) and three polymers in soft tip (giving an 18gm all-up dart).

I’ve said before that no amount of theoretical aerodynamic optimisation will compensate for the weight or balance of a dart not suiting you in practice. Hence I’m more than a bit suspicious that psychology has played no small part in my finding, after a lot of trial and error in steel-tip mode, that in my case theory and practice coincide and the polymer-tungsten-polymer sequence suits me best. Next time maybe I’ll be more scientific and recruit someone to change the inserts for me so I can do a proper blind trial!

Should you decide to get a set of these new Sigmas (if you are interested, more about them on Page 14 of the 2017 Book of Darts, downloadable from this website), I hope you have as much fun as I did in tuning them to your personal specifications. Biased I may be, but I reckon they’re pretty cool darts. They might even take over from my Sigma Xs (which in turn took over from 950 Ones) as my weapons of choice!

Speaking of Sigma 950 Ones, you may notice that they aren’t in the 2017 Book. If you’re mourning their departure, fear not – even if you don’t fancy the Sigma Xs, the 970 barrels, when fitted with One shafts and flights, should perform much the same in flight and, as I’ve also said before, are actually a technically “purer” Sigma.

Before I sign off, a sneak preview as to what might be the subject of my next blog. I’m very aware that all my jabbering on about Sigma darts (and you can’t expect me not to write about my pet project from time to time!) invites the understandable question “if they’re so great, why does no top pro use them, at least unmodified?”

Obviously this is partly because no off-the-peg barrel can hope to suit manufacturer-sponsored players - who can try out as many different patterns as they wish over many hours of practice - as well as one customised to their exact specifications. Moreover, it’s also linked to why there is an increasing, and I might argue not inevitably justified, tendency for modern pros to favour comparatively long, straight barrels fitted with large flights.

Interestingly, there are, as you may have observed, notable exceptions. But perhaps more on that next time!

If you have any comments or questions for UniBoffin, please do so through the website link below.

There are 4 comments to this post

Posted by bill at 15:22 on 16th August 2016

are 24 gm available and I notice there is no price mentioned

Posted by The UniBoffin at 11:07 on 17th August 2016

Hi Bill,

Using all the tungsten inserts supplied, the darts are 24gm in steel- tip mode. Swap the inserts for the polymer ones and they're 18gm. Mix tungsten and polymer (as In the 20gm set-up described in my blog) and you get weights in between - that's the beauty of Unicorn UltraCore darts!

As to price, not my specialist area really and anyway Unicorn don't decide what retailers might charge. That said, I have seen them on sale for around £60 including VAT.

If you do get a set, hope you like them as much as I do!

Best Regards,

The UniBoffin

Posted by Glen Huff at 16:52 on 26th August 2016

Dear Uniboffin, this is Glen Huff in Seattle. I really enjoy reading your posts, and appreciate the information you provide ! I think you do a great job, and appreciate all the info about Unicorn darts and how and why models are designed the way they are !

I've been a Unicorn user, a fan, and collector for over 30 years - have over 600 sets in darts collection of which over 400 are Unicorn sets ranging from 1937 Silver Comet's and John Wisden Silver Comet's up to Sigma 970 Pro & Ultracore One.

I really like the new X Flights and the ICON case in the 2017 range. Haven't ordered the Sigma Ultracore yet, but will probably do so as am a fan of Ultracore One, and would like to try Ultracore in shorter barrel.

My current set up 22 gram Gripper Two barrels, X flights with long stems .. really like how the X flights track thru the board. Any chance of offering the X flights in a pear shape such as the John Lowe style pear flights shape ? When I use Gripper shafts I prefer the John Lowe pear shape.

I enjoy getting folks in my local league using Unicorn, and folks usually have me order Unicorn for them after trying my various sets. The Ultracore One, 22 gm Gripper Two , 21 Gram Core Tungsten, and 21 gm John Lowe titanium tungsten are all popular here in our local league. Always happy to get folks to use Unicorn when I can !

Thanks to Edward Lowy, Richard Lowy, Stanley Lowy MBE, and all the great folks at Unicorn for continuing to innovate the world's best darts equipment !

Keep up the great work !



Posted by The UniBoffin at 19:12 on 28th August 2016

Hi Glen, nice to hear from you again!

Many thanks for the kind words about Unicorn in general (400+ sets is impressive patronage!) and these blogs in particular. I'll pass your request for X flights in pear (Xtra) shape (and the thanks you express at the end of your post) on to the Powers That Be.

Best Regards,

The UniBoffin

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