Speed Bag Gathering IX
Real Gymm, Keyport, N.J. 

JULY 2018
The SWIVEL is a key component of the speed bag setup and a science unto itself. It is also the subject of much interest and debate in the speed bag world, with many people having "their" favorite for one reason or the other. 
There are basically three types of swivels, The Ball-Hook, The Chainlink and the U-Bolt style. Each is presented below in detail:
* Ball-Hook Swivel
* Chain link Swivel
* Speed, Precision U-Bolt Swivel
 Ball-Hook Swivel
The Ballhook has been around for many years but the metal versions have been discontinued for some reason. They are the noisiest swivel but yield the most accurate rebounds when punching from all sides.
The two "main" pieces that you will probably deal with:
A:  Swivel Base. The this part
attaches to the board.
B: the Bottom part. the top Housing attaches to the board base and the bottom hook attaches to the bag. But this actually has 5 separate parts. They are normally assembled when you purchase the swivel.
If you are lucky, you will never see most of them. 

All the bottom parts are shown and numbered on the right.  
1. "S" Hook
2. Eyebolt shaft
3. Ball
4. Ballhousing and threads.
5. Set Screw (inside Ball)
       we also recommend:
6. 3mm metric allen wrench. The size of the mm metric set screw and wrench may vary.
The only reason you should see these parts is IF you are punching and the set screw comes loose and the eyebolt flies out of the ball during the workout. Then you will need the allen wrench #6 to fix it.

HOOK size and shapes have varied over the years. Several are shown below.
1.  Standard "S" hook
2.  Flat, wider "S" hook
3.  Open end wide "S" hook
Hook Size and shape mostly affects how easy your bag fits on it, and stays on it. Todays bags seem to have thicker and wider leather loop attachment straps. They can test your patience when trying to attach them to the swivel.

S = Bag Strap
T = Tape (duct tape)
Shown at right are two bags on a metal ballhooks 1&2.
On the left is a standard "S" shape hook (#1 above).  The yellow bag has a short, thick, wide leather loop that has to be forced through the small "S" opening and you see that the strap is too wide for the S. This will fly off very easily if mis-hit from underneath.
The red bag on the right has a longer leather loop, but is the same width as the yellow bag, and is on the #2 "S" hook with a slighter wider bottom.  
  On the right you can see grey duct tape has been wrapped around the leather bag loop to pinch it tighter, and also wrapped around the hook opening to secure the bag on the hook. finally, at the top, a few strands of duct tape have been wrapped around the eyeshaft bolt to deaden the sound and help reduce wear on the metal.
This picture shows the size and room on Swivel S-Hook #3.  This is the Boxing Gear Speed bag swivel by Watkins Fitness Equipment. Notice the size and room on the larger
This is currently the only Metal two piece "S-Hook"  that we know of.
The Plastic Ballhook

This swivel comes already put together as a single unit, but has several parts of plastic and metal.
A. Base - Plastic. attaches to board
1.  "S" hook - metal
2.  eyebolt shank - metal with threads
3.  Plastic ball with threads.
This swivel actually performs very well with one predictable exception: The Eyebolt almost always gets knocked out of the plastic ball. We have received many reports of this happening.
fortunately there is a known fix for this problem. Unscrew the eyebolt shank (preferrably before you strip it by knocking it out....) and apply some type of superglue that holds plastic and steel. Loctite is shown in this example, but any superglue will do.
To do this, apply the glue into the hole of the plastic ball, then all over the threads on the eyeshank (#2). Then insert the eyeshank into the hole and screw it back in as far as you can.
** You MUST hold the ball inside the housing as shown in this bottom picture when you screw the eyeshank back in.
If you screw the shank in the ball outside of the housing, you will not be able to get the ball inside, for the hook will not pass through the hole.
Allow it to set for at least 24 hours.


Plastic ballhook repair suggestion
This model ballhook swivel is not recommended.  The soft metal housing for the ball often bends from repeated contact and widens, letting the ball fall out. Then it is useless.
IF you have one of these, keep reading.
In a short time you will probably need another swivel.

** Many of the new bags today (2008 - later) have larger bag attachment loops that are wider and thicker than in the past, making them very difficult (if not impossible) to get on a swivel, especially a ball hook with a small opening in the "S" attachment. This is because the thinner attachment loops were a main point of wear and ripped.  The only way to get some of these larger, thick bag loops on a swivel is often to use pliers an crimp the loop end together to get it to fit, and if you do that ....good luck on getting it off. The Deville Model  ball hook now has an offset "S" attachment that will allow for any size bag loop to be put on.   
Speedbagcentral is aware of at least three individuals working on very high quality Ball-Hook swivel designs and prototypes we have seen and used are very encouraging. We are especially happy about this because the Ball-Hook is the purest form of swivel and nothing in it is basic design or construction can interfere with the rebound action of bag. Nothing is more frustrating than to have the swivel design or mechanics send the bag slightly off course!!   We are hopeful that these will soon be available to the speed bag public, at least on a limited special order basis, in the near future! 
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 Chain Link Swivel
A long time standard in boxing, The chain link swivel is a favorite of many gyms and healthclubs.  They are fast, quiet, and often difficult to deal with, for the locking pin that holds it together can be a pain without the right set of pliers.
Like that Ballhook, there are several different sizes of chain link swivels. Below is an older standard size link swivel.   
Chainlink Swivel Parts
1: Base: attaches to Board
2: Swivel Housing (ball bearings inside not shown)
3. Bag attachment link
4. Open link end
5: link locking clip
  also recommended
  or snap ring pliers 

Bag Attachment.
at right you see how to attach the bag to the chain link. Notice the Red Bag loop is almost wider than the link. You have to squeeze this loop to fit #4 retaining link and attach #5 locking clip.

This picture demonstrates how the locking clip can be spread with the retaining ring pliers.
This device is not mandatory but it will probably save your fingers from being cut, jammed or stuck with a knife or screw driver.  It will also save the clip from being bent or ruined.
IF the locking clip is bent, broken or lost, you CAN use duct tape to wrap around the links. See the section on
this below.

This picture shows all the chain link parts put together.
notice the locking clip (#5) is facing downards.
You will also notice that this Everlast 4200 9x6 bag strap is narrow and fits on the link nicely.  Not all bag straps will do this for some are wider. 

We have heard that the above tips for using retaining ring pliers will not work with the TITLE Pro Swivel, which is a link swivel but has a slightly different locking clip.  Here are instructions for opening this Title Pro swivel clip.
If the retaining lock clip used on the side of the Chain link gets bent or broken you can still use the swivel by using a thin strip of athletic tape or duct tape to wrap around the two bag attachment links and hold them tightly place - As  shown in this picture.
Be sure the tape is thin enough so it does NOT come down over the bags leather attachment loop or stick to the metal housing above the link. 
This should not interfere with the
movements of the Bag or Swivel.
** The same problem of thick or wide bag attachment loops can also effect a chain link style swivel, particularly the older models as shown above. We have seen bag loops that have extended to about 1/8 inch past the link end, requiring extensive crimping to squeeze it the loop into the space and get the other side link on. This does not happen very often but be aware that some bags and chain link swivels will require this adjustment.  
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 Speed, Precision Swivel (* also called U-Bolt swivel )
Swivels with a "U-bolt" bag attachment have actually been around a long time, but fell out of favor for a number of years. However various types of U-bolt swivels are clearly seen in speed bag photos of the 1940s and 1950s.  They come in several styles and variations - mostly with the size and shape of the "U" bag attachment as well as the design of the locking pin.  They are very easy to manipulate and use.   
The Speed Swivel Parts
1: Base housing and ball bearings
2: Locking pin
3: Bag attachment U-Bolt
The fit together very easily.
It is a fast, mostly efficient swivel.

This picture shows all the parts put together. Some swivel models have a cotter pin on the locking pin (#2), and some have a longer, more narrow U-Bolt.

Problems with this swivel.
Every swivel style has its own design flaws, and this swivel is no exception.  Pictures A & B show the bag sliding along the bar. This will happen occassionally as the swivel spins and you make contact with the bar aligned toward you. Picture C shows the bar moving and the bag coming off and "floating" above the bar.

All three of these situations can alter the bag rebound, change your rhythm and contribute to
a mis-hit and possible breakdown. 
The fix for the above problems is the same fix for most other swivel problems.
A few thin strands of regular Duct tape (# 4) is wrapped around the bag loop to squeeze the loop together and hold it to the bar. You can also run a few figure eight strands of tape around the ends of the bag loop and bar, actually taping it directly to the bar, but you must be sure the bag is centered on the bar. If it is not centered, It will have a warped rebound pattern.
Not all U-Bolts are created equal.
Some have a short, wide U bag attachment and some have a longer narrow attachment. As shown at right.
Notice how the longer U makes for a longer swivel, and this will drop the bag lower under the board, lengthening the rebound arc of the bag, making it a bit slower.
A shorter rebound arc usually results in faster bag action.  

It is also important to realize that the width of the bag attachment loop and the U bar of the swivel may interfer with each other.
Notice at right the comparison of the Bag attachment loop to several U bars.
Notice in the inset, the Blue line over bag strap indicating its width. That same line (copy & pasted) is placed in pink over the narrow U-bar to show that this bag strap is too wide to fit inside the U-bar easily. This can happen with various bags that have wide attachment loops.
To the right you see the end result of the bag attachment loop and narrow U bar. Of course you can cram the bag loop down into the bottom of the narrow slot but it will not interact correctly and will adversly effect the action of the bag.
The bag shown in this sample is a common model of Cleto Reyes. They are excellent speed bags of very high quality, with great rebound action.
This problem occurs with all brands of speed bags, for bags of today seem to have thicker, wider bag attachment loops than in days gone by. 
The purpose of this is to show a possible problem with of the narrow
U-bar.  Speedbagcentral does not recommend the narrow U-bolt model swivel because of this potential problem.  In the modern era of online sales and mail ordering of speed bags. You run the risk of this happening.  
A bit of Swivel History:
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Pictured at right is the swivel
shown in the Dec. 4 1939
about the 18 year old female
speedbagger, Doris De Green.

Close analysis finds that It looks strangely like a single eyebolt with no moving parts...

The Vagges speed bag boards of the 1920s clearly seem to have a swivel attachment to the board, and not just an eyebolt. Reliable sources say this is a "nichols swivel", which is like a modern ball hook but used a rope instead of a steel shank to provide movement.
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