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Flex on older, small pole

Posted: Wed Jul 20, 2016 9:22 am
by JHuck
My daughter is a 5'4" 110 lb incoming freshman who has been learning fundamentals of vaulting for the last few months. She is using an older Pacer III 10' pole that is rated for 80-100 lb vaulters. At this stage we've been focusing on carrying the pole, pop ups, and short run ups etc. I was a bit surprised at how stiff the pole feels considering the rating (me bending it against a wall compared to larger poles). At this point its not a big deal but when she gets to the point of being able to bend a pole, I wonder if I should look at something newer. Any thoughts on older pole ratings differing much compared to modern poles? Have there been substantial changes in pole design since the Pacer III that would provide more appropriate flex for new vaulters?

Re: Flex on older, small pole

Posted: Wed Jul 20, 2016 9:56 am
by GasPasser
The Pacer III is an old pole. They were first made in the mid-'70's. I don't know exactly when they were discontinued or rebranded/renamed, but sometime in the 1980's. I believe the flex test used on them is probably unchanged - that is they flex test today's poles using the same methods and procedures. What has changed slightly is the weight rating given for a flex number. I believe that the Pacer III's flex rating today would result in a higher weight label, but only by about 5 or 10 lbs.

When the Pacer III was made, the PV was a boys/men only event. So they did not make poles sized for girls. I'm not certain, but I don't think they made 10' Pacer III's. If this pole was originally a 12' pole that was cut down to 10' (say to remove a damaged section) - it would feel much stiffer than what the weight label says. That's my suspicion in your case. Perhaps there is someone out there more knowledgeable of the making of Pacer III's (lengths made, and years made), that can shed some more light on their history.

I would suggest you consider the Pacer One pole, they are a good value pole for beginners. I would also suggest that you buy a pole that is rated 10 lbs above your daughter's current weight - she's growing quick at this age. Maybe a 2nd pole rated another 10 lbs higher than the first one. With the cost of shipping, it's hard to justify buying one pole at a time.

Re: Flex on older, small pole

Posted: Wed Jul 20, 2016 11:02 am
by JHuck
Thanks for the response GP. I'll take a look at the label and then measure it to see if it's been cut down. That would make sense if it has been shortened.

I recently looked at the Pacer One line for my daughter as I own a 13-160 intermediate pole for my son. It was a nice stepping stone to get him on his 13-165 Skypole.

I know there is always a debate regarding pole weight rating and the body weight of vaulters, especially beginning vaulters. I'll have to decide if I want to buy a smaller training pole for now or something equal to or greater than her body weight. My son recently had the greatest growth when we moved him down to a smaller pole (10 lbs under his BW with a short run up) to learn control . He's now on a pole 15 lbs over his BW.

Re: Flex on older, small pole

Posted: Mon Jul 25, 2016 8:15 am
by JHuck
I finally had the chance to measure the Pacer III. It is labeled as a 12' 100lb pole but only measures 11'. That answers the question.

I hung a 25lb weight on the pole and compared it to an unmolested 11-120 Mystic we have on hand (poles were supported at the very ends). The Mystic sagged about a half inch more. It's interesting to see how shortening a 12-100 pole can impact stiffness that much.

I will be purchasing smaller pole for my daughter, likely a PacerOne. I'm leaning toward a length of 10', she currently grips the Pacer III around 9'.