NGNE Cobra Reflex Speed Bag Review
NGNE is a UK based company that offers a range of boxing equipment and apparel.
About the Bag
This cobra bag from NGNE is what often gets referred to as a reflex bag. It’s a small ball, roughly representing an opponent’s head, that’s mounted on a spring. When you hit the target the bag moves on the spring – initially away from the impact and then back towards you. While the method is simple the bag is an interactive training tool, allowing you to hit and react, time your strikes and evasions and develop your hand eye coordination when hitting a moving target.
Reflex bags come in a few different designs, and range quite widely in quality, but NGNE have aimed for the higher end of the market. Unlike the Everlast Hyperflex Strike Bag NGNE have opted for a single spring, mounted high on the pole of the bag. This means the bag only has a ‘single speed’, but it moves quicker and keeps you thinking during the whole session.
We often think that equipment like punch bags are pretty focused on the functionality rather than the aesthetics. The NGNE reflex bag isn’t an exception. It’s various shades of black, hard utilitarian lines and the odd dash of white where ‘NGNE’ has been printed. That’s not to say it looks bad; in fact we think, with the contrast of the black frame and brass coloured spring in the middle, it actually looks pretty sleek and modern. As much as a punch bag can.
The base of this reflex bag is a plastic container designed to hold sand or water to weight the whole thing down. Bolted on top is a metal work frame with a padded sleeve. This connects into the spring, which in turn connects to the bag itself. The whole design is sturdy, and made of high grade materials. The only part that feels like it’s not going to last forever is the punch ball. This is some kind of rubberised ball inside a leather sheath, not too dissimilar to a double end bag. You pump it up like a football and screw it onto the frame of the bag. While it feels a bit like it’s at risk of bursting it holds up to punishment well – you can hit it full power and the shock is absorbed by the spring rather than the ball itself. NGNE also includes a second punch ball in the kit just to be safe, and you can buy spares.
Setting up the bag is a bit of a fiddle. Whatever you choose to weigh down the bag with goes into the base and then you screw the mount for the main pole on top of this. It bolts in several places for a secure fit, but it means you cannot empty or add weight without dismantling the whole bag. Once this is done the remainder fits together fairly straight forward, and allows you to adjust the height of the bag and securely fit the spring. You have the option to fit suction cups to the base of the bag for additional grip if you’re using it on matted or smooth flooring. NGNE provide you with all the tools you need to put the bag together and it doesn’t take long to get set up. We would advise that you use sand instead of water however, as we found when you start hitting the bag it creates a kind of suction effect on the seal of the base. This starts to pump water out of the base, which is far from ideal. Filling it with sand gets rid of this issue completely.
Hitting the bag is great fun. There’s no two ways about it. The heavy duty spring will absorb impacts meaning you can throw heavy shots without worrying. The weighted base keeps the bag stable (though without the suction cups it can lift if you hit it hard enough). While you can’t adjust the pivot point the rapid movement of the bag forces you to think defensively. The movement also means you have to work your hand eye coordination hard, anticipating where the bag will be in order to land your next shot. This can result in you throwing some punches at slightly odd angles (like a very shallow hook) but overall it definitely adds some variety to your bag work, and makes training a lot more realistic than a traditional heavy bag. We think it’s probably more suitable for experienced boxers though, as it could be easy to develop bad habits if you’re unsure on what you’re doing.
The NGNE Cobra Reflex Speed Bag retails at £250, though they often have sales on to bring that price down. If you asked us this represents pretty fantastic value for money. The product is well made, provides a challenging and engaging way to train and appears quite capable of standing up to the punishment long term. While we’d suggest beginners don’t rely on it too much, for more advanced martial artists it’s an excellent at home training tool, and for gym owners it’s a brilliant way for your members to mix up their solo training.