The latest?The Incredibowl i420.
What is it, dude? The Incredibowl i420. Made right up the road in Longmont, bro.Like everyone I know who has tried one or seen one, I had my doubts about the Incredibowl before trying it. Off the bat, it had strikes against it for a metal-and-plastic design that looks like an Austin Powers-esque Swedish penis pump. I figured it probably hit as goofy as it looked.
How much coin will it run me? Around one Benjamin ($100) for the Incredibowl i420 setup with case (minus the extension tube show). The miniature version, dubbed the m420, sells for around $50.
Where can I get one? Check out the Incredibowl site for retailers near you. If you're really lazy, you can order one from Amazon, too.
But after testing one out around the house for the last year, I've come around on the spring-loaded steamroller. Though it might seem like a novelty at first, I've decided it's actually a pretty useful device that falls somewhere between a bong without the need for water and a steamroller without the punch to the lungs. It's hard to deny how well it works after you've hit it.
Even better, the story behind the Incredibowl is Stoner MacGyvering at its finest.
Founder Mitch Shenassa came with the concept of increasing the amount of air flow in the carburetor of the pipe while getting high on his couch in Boulder as an undergraduate student at the University of Colorado. He said he tried various types of chambered pipes for a few years, getting input from friends and fellow puffers before settling on the final design and taking it to an engineer friend to mock up. "It was my life's mission to make the perfect pipe," he says.
Page down to continue reading about the Incredibowl i420. It works like this: A small, clear glass bowl and stem sits inside the protective aluminum metal chamber held in by rubber O-rings. Smoke is filtered through the glass stem and then through the smoke injection nozzle -- essentially an aluminum tube with a screen at the end of it. The clear plastic chamber fills up like a steamroller would, but smoke is released by pulling the spring-loaded aluminum shell out. In short: it's a small glass pipe surrounded by a lot of technology to deliver you a better hit. The increased air flow at times makes the taste of herb come out more as well. Don't ask me how, but just about anyone who has hit it will agree. Here's a video to help you visualize it.
Technical? Yes. So much so that it required a basic physics lesson from Shenassa to explain the Venturi effect -- the basic principle behind rocket engines. When the pipe is cleared, air is pulled through thirteen small holes, creating a jet-blast of fresh air to clear the chamber instantly, unlike steamrollers that simply have a large hole that's used to clear smoke.
Again, I really didn't see myself liking it as much as I do. The plastic tubing and metal around the bowl were a huge turnoff for someone from the generation that looked down on metal pipes in favor of glass. But once you get past that discomfort, smoking out of the i420 becomes second nature.
Surprisingly, the plastic tube was as easy to clean as glass and not at all flimsy, as I expected based on other plastic pipes people have sent us in the past. And since the plastic is never near a heat source, getting errant plastic vapors isn't really a concern. Pushing a hot, wet paper towel through it with a plunger handle cleared out most of the resin, and a second pass with some rubbing alcohol cleaned things right up. (The extension tube shown in the picture will run you about $25 more.)
What is a bitch to clean, however, is the rest of the pipe.
Though the pipe can take some use and abuse, once the ash-catching screen gets clogged up with resin and ash, it can be hard to pull a decent hit. Fully cleaning all the parts of the injection tube takes a good twenty minutes to accomplish, and even then it's hard to tell if you've left resin behind in the dark recesses of the chamber.
That said, a heavily worked glass pipe could give you the same problems. But the main drawback is the nearly $100 price tag on the Incredibowl setup and the initial ridicule from your stoner friends for buying a "plastic pipe" -- until they hit it. (Frankly, that never goes away even after they hit it. They'll still call it a novelty, but they'll want to hit it again every time they're at your house.)
Also, if you're the type of butterfingers who can't hold onto a bong for more than a few months without breaking it, your $100 will last you a lot longer with the nearly indestructible Incredibowl than it will another shitty Chinese knockoff. The smaller version shown in the photo sells for around $75, which is more reasonable, and you can also get extended-length tubes for larger hits as well as a concentrate-smoking setup.
Because it's such a unique design, I wouldn't go telling just anyone to spend their hard-earned scratch on this instead of a nice glass piece that's just as functional. But if you've already got a collection going and want to add something unique to your smoking experience that works -- or if glass-breaking is in your genes --- the Incredibowl is certainly worth considering.
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