Bowler Ratings


Bowler ratings are from 1 to 10 in order of Stroker (ST), Tweener (TW), Cranker (CR)

General Info

Name:Critical Theory
Reviewed:August 2011
Coverstock Specs
Name:Insight Pearl Reactive 
Type:Reactive Pearl
Box Finish:4000 Abralon
Color:Cherry / White / Obsidian
Core Specs
Int. Diff:0.013

For details on our standard test layouts, please click here.

The Roto Grip Critical Theory gives us the same core as the Theory and Infinite Theory wrapped inside a new pearlized reactive cover that is unlike other pearls on the market today. The majority of other pearlized shells are shined to maximize the length. The cover and core match up of the Critical Theory allowed the testers to have their best look on the heavy oil test pattern. With big oilers like the original Theory, as the ball is used and oil is removed from the heads, energy is lost and carry percentage suffers.

With the Critical Theory, all three testers were able to use the ball on the oily pattern even after testing for around an hour. This tells us that this is a high performance ball that most players should be able to use the entire series on league night. All three testers could play in their respected comfort zones on this pattern, with small moves deeper into the oil pattern to keep the ball in the pocket as the pattern broke down. Tweener was especially fond of the Critical Theory’s increased movement in the back end, allowing him the room to either slow his speed and move deeper into the oil or increase the speed and go down the boards without sacrificing any carry. No surface changes were needed on this pattern.

Those with higher rev rates will need to adjust the cover when it comes to using the Critical Theory on medium oil patterns. For Stroker, we went with a 1500 polish finish which seemed to get the job done. Cranker and Tweener added a coat of polish to theirs to get more length.

Drier patterns will require the Critical to be highly polished and, even then, only those with lower rev rates will have much of a reaction.

Sport patterns on the medium side will offer the best look for the Critical Theory with its 4000 Abralon finish. More surface will be required when it comes to heavily oiled sport patterns.

Performance Ratings

The angularity is surprisingly high for a ball without a polished finish. It starts rolling quickly, allowing for a maximum response to friction.
The pearlized Insite reactive cover comes out of the box with a 4000 Abralon finish. We don’t recall the last pearlized Roto Grip release that had a sanded box finish.
Back End16
The high response to friction at the end of the oil pattern continues through the pin deck. The sanded finish slows the ball down just enough to keep it from having one of the highest Roto Grip back end ratings.
Total Hook53
The combination of a strong roll early and a big move off the friction allows the Critical Theory to be a good choice for patterns that have heavier volumes.


What we liked most about the Critical Theory was its strong, consistent read of the lane from release to the pins. There are few pearls that offer this much total hook.


Shorter and lower volume oil patterns will cause the Critical Theory to read the lane too early making it hard to find the pocket. Adding polish will help increase the length but a weak layout will be needed as well.

Overall Summary

The Critical is overall one of the strongest current releases from Roto Grip. This ball creates enough friction to handle any heavy oil patterns and some medium oil patterns. The cover takes surface adjustments with ease if more or less traction is needed.

The BTM Ball Testing Team

About The BTM Ball Testing Team

The BTM Ball Testing Team is led by Eric Martinez. Our team of three testers has thrown and reviewed hundreds of bowling balls for Bowling This Month. When not testing balls for BTM, Eric owns and operates University Pro Shop in San Antonio, TX and he is an avid competitive bowler. Click here to learn more about how we test and review bowling balls.