This is a very special article. The protagonist of this test is a cue based on a new and revolutionary concept by Arthur Cue and their lead cue maker Marcus Dienst from Frankenthal. The reputation of no other cue maker in Europe comes even close to that of Arthur Cue. Each and every cue that comes out of the production process at Arthur Cue is handmade and made of the finest materials one can use for cue production. Manufacturing extravagant cues with a lot of inlays and a complicated design can easily take 18 months; but even modest beginners cues are not produced in a few weeks. This is due to some carefully executed processes during the manufacturing process.
This test is dealing with the all-in-one cue Traveler, which was developed by Arthur Cue in collaboration with the German full time Pool Billiard professional Ralph Eckert and firstly presented in December 2014.
The premier took place in Frankenthal on 20th of December 2014 in front of approximately 30 interested people. The two main persons involved in the development process of the cue, Marcus Dienst and Ralph Eckert, answered every question asked by the audience; especially the questions about the usage and necessity of an all-in-one cue such as the Traveler.
Ralph Eckert has travelled all around the world playing pool. His knowledge was used to lay the foundations of the Traveler. Using this cue every day for more than 2 years convinced him fully of the all-in-one cue concept. Not only does the usage of the Traveler lighten the cue case, it also reduces the amount of often unused equipment. As a consequence, no big and heavy cue case is needed.
This cue is worth a try for every player who wants to reduce the amount of cues and equipment in his or her case but still requires a high quality playing-, breaking- and jumping cue in his or her daily routine.
Over all: A light and elegant solution. The cue is available with: ebony, kingwood, blackwood, jobillo, bird’s-eye maple, maple (to be precise Riegelahorn) and cocobolo.
Travelling around the world the Traveler is all a pool player needs to compete in his sport. This Arthur pool billiard cue consist of one bottom part and two different shafts. One is for breaking only, the other one for playing after the break shot. Changing the two shafts is very easy and quickly done: Having changed their usual screwing technique used in all the other Arthur Cue products to a quick-lock technique, replacing the breaking shaft with the playing shaft and vice versa is a matter of seconds. A very interesting concept whose playing abilities are still to be compared to the “regular” Arthur Cues.
After the presentation Marcus Dienst was more than happy to give me one Traveler cue for testing.
Not only me, but a lot of Germanys top pool billard players are using an Arthur cue. Apart from using the best materials, also devotion and listening to the wishes of customers make every Arthur cue special and unique. The two main question to answer in this article are: Can the Traveler compete with the other Arthur cues or is there a payoff for the symbiosis of a playing- and breaking cue? How usefull is this all-in-one cue really in daily life?
Enjoy reading 😉
Packing: A modest, handmade sleeve with the Arthur Cue logo.
Playing shaft: A LD, that is, a low deflection, shaft with a diameter of 12.8mm and a LePro tip.
Breaking shaft: Conical break-jump shaft with a diameter of 13.2 mm and a Samsara break-tip.
Lower part: Ebony wood with elegant Art Deco ringwork made of sterling silver and Elforyn at the sports B, C and D. Additionally, two silver rings at the joint collar and a linen wrap.
Look and feel:
At first glance, the Traveler seems modest and simple. But after taking a closer look a lot aspect showing high quality catch your eyes:
The ebony is perfect for everybody loving dark wood in a billiard cue. Furthermore, the art work of silver and Elforyn is worked perfectly into the cue.
The only bitter pill is the linen wrap, although it has to be noted that Marcus Dienst changes this into any other wrap at the customers request without raising the price of the cue. The linen wrap was just used as the most reasonable option. This can be justified by the fact that removing a leather wrap is generally not a good idea.
Summarizing, the linen wrap on the cue I tested would not be my first choice, but changing it to a leather wrap is not a big deal and would increase the good look of the cue even more.
Taking a closer look at the breaking and playing shaft reveals that high quality wood was used and that these were definitely not manufactured in a big company with low quality standards. The wood used is of highest quality, so called AAA quality. Also the tip used for the breaking shaft, the Samsara Tip, is one of the best you can currently buy.
The low deflection playing shaft is equipped with a LePro tip which, just as the linen wrap, can be changed into another tip at customer request.
The very LD shaft used for the Traveler is the best of its kind. Marcus Dienst improved it so much that LD shafts from all other companies such as the 314er of Predator do not stand a change against it. For sure, this must sound like big marketing strategy from me – but trust me, it is not! I can invite everyone to test my one LD shafts from Marcus Dienst or test them in Frankenthal to prove my statement.
The main difference to the products of other manufacturers is the hit: It fells very natural and comes close to the one of a full wood shaft. All joints fit perfectly, you could not wish for more.
The painting is not that special, even though I should mention that it gets much less scratches when bumping against the table than most other cues.
I must say that I was very sceptical at first. This cue has two quick locks: One just between the forearm and the handle, the other between the shaft and the bottom part of the cue. Usually these quick locks take away a lot of the feed back a cue gives you while playing. Where should the typical feeling of playing an Arthur cue come from?
So much for the theory. Now lets have a look at the experiences I made when playing the Traveler.
The cue quickly gave me the comforting feeling of playing my own Arthur cue. Adjusting the aiming point when playing with side spin is almost unnecessary. Only when using a big amount of spin slight adjustments have to be made. Nevertheless it is much easier to control this LD shaft than most of the others I have ever played. The feeling when hitting a ball comes very close to that of a regular shaft expect for the fact that you do not have to adjust your aim as much when playing with side spin. The feedback after hitting a ball is surprisingly good and the sound is very nice.
Even though the hit is slightly more direct and harder than with my own 3/8×10 joint I felt comfortable playing after a very short amount of time. Only the unfamiliar direct hit led to a small inaccuracy. I would suggest not to use very hard tips to compensate that.
I use a Kamui Black M leather for my own Arthur playing cue. For the Traveler, I would suggest a softer tip, such as a Kamui Black S. After only a few hours I forgot that I played with an all-in-one cue. High breaks in straight pool were quickly achieved.
Summing up, the playing abilities of the Traveler are at a top level, after getting used to the direct hit. On a side note I would like to mention that an extension can be ordered for the Traveler.
There are only positive things to say about the break/jump part of the Traveler. Personally, I also play a break/jump cue made by Marcus Dienst. I would not dare to say that it is the best break/jump cue in the world, but it is definitely the best I ever played with.
That being said, I must also mention that I do not think that a break/jump cue can ever replace a full break cue. In comparison to our reference cue, the Predator’s BK2, a break/jump cue will always loose when it comes to extreme breaks, that is to high power breaks with a lot of speed.
Expect for the quick lock, there is no difference between my break/jump cue and the Traveler.
I could not make out any difference between breaking with my own cue and the Traveler. No matter if you try a 9-ball break from the side rail or a 10-ball centre break, the Traveler gives you everything you need. There are small lacks of control when breaking with a lot of speed, but that can also be due to your own abilities. Generally, less is more when breaking with an all-in-one cue.
Apart from breaking, the Traveler also feels just like my jump cue. Short jumps are fairly easy to make. If the object ball you want to jump over is 10-30cm away this is not a problem. But also very short jumps are possible, even though you must be an expert on jumping to achieve a correct shot 😉
For long jumps the whole cue can be used. To compare results I used my own jump extension and it turns out that they behave very much alike. I can not think of a better choice for a jump cue.
The short extensions for jumps can be ordered with the Traveler but you do not necessarily need it. All jump shots can be executed in a very controlled matter.
Changing back and forth:
The last question when it comes to the playing abilities of the Traveler is: How does it feel to change back and forth between the two different shafts?
At first it can easily happen that you forget to change the shaft after a break shot 🙂 But after making that experience a few times you get used to changing the shaft before and after every break shot. After adjusting to that, no problems will occur. I got used to that after only a small amount of games.
What is there to say to the concept of Marcus Dienst and Ralph Eckert to combine three cues into just one?
For everybody who likes travelling light with only a few pieces of equipment I would definitely suggest taking a close look at the Traveler. The playing ability is not decreased by the fact that three cues are made into one.
There is really not much to criticise. Only the price of 1490 Euro seems high at first. But when remembering that you basically get three cues from one of the best cue manufacturers in the world, it seems to be a reasonable deal.
The workmanship is typical for an Arthur Cue product and is at highest quality. The linen wrap and the tip can be changed by the customer and the Traveler can be tested in Frankenthal.
Using the Traveler you achieve having a minimum of equipment at highest quality. Even I could think of using the Traveler for the next few years 😉
If you are interested in buying the Traveler, all relevant information can be found on the Arthur Cue website.
If anyone is thinking of playing an Arthur cue in the future feel most welcome to contact me and test my own playing cue by Marcus Dienst.
At last, I want to give a short comment on the pictures used in this article: All pictures are wilfully of low quality. All of them are also accessible in high quality. If you wish to see them, just contact me and I will send them to you by mail or give you the download link.
I look forward to your comments on this article. I recommend using the commentary box for them.