Product Type: Winmau sports equipment
Newest Review: ... (sorry I) aim for double 5, 20, 1, 19,3 or 17. This is a bristle dartboard and Winmau is a good make of board. It has all the numbers, sing... more
One Hundred and Eighty!
Winmau Diamond Bristle Dartboard with Brass Darts
Member Name: GodfatherOfSoul
Winmau Diamond Bristle Dartboard with Brass Darts
Date: 22/03/12, updated on 19/02/13 (128 review reads)
Advantages: High quality build. Bristle composition. Long lasting. Professional looking.
Disadvantages: Wire staples can cause occasional bounce-outs.
Winmau Diamond Bristle Dartboard
Since I first started many years ago I have always enjoyed a game of darts whenever the opportunity arose. I then came to the conclusion that I would enjoy it a great deal more if I was actually any good at it. So rather than limit my practice to 'match-play' down the local pub or over at a friend's house where I would be soundly trounced by someone who has clearly had much more practice than me, I decided to buy myself a dartboard and put in the hours to improve.
I had a vacant wall (goodbye picture frame!) and had the required space in front of said wall so was already over half way there. I then had a look around and eventually decided on the Winmau dartboard because it is a superior brand when it comes to the darting world and more importantly because it was also quite cheap (£19.99 at the time).
=== Setting up ===
I wanted to do everything by the book and so was intent on setting my dartboard up to the professional specifications. Such specifications were handily included with the dartboard but I had looked them up before I even took delivery of the product.
According to the rules, a dartboard should be hung 5 feet 8 inches from the ground, as measured vertically from the floor to the centre of the board (the bullseye). Then you need to allow enough space in front of the board to be able to stand 7 feet 9 ¼ inches away from it when throwing your darts. It also stipulates a 6 foot wide 'unimpeded throwing range' between you and the board but as long as you can throw your darts without piercing a lampshade then you should be fine.
I had acquired a second-hand darts cabinet so I could simply hang my dartboard in this when it arrived. This cabinet did need fixing securely to the wall though which was no easy feat by any means. If you purchase this board on its own then you will need to drill a hole into the wall and affix a wall bracket before securing your dartboard. As I say, I didn't need to do this because my cabinet has a pre-installed mounting screw on it but should you need to I would imagine it would take no longer than putting up a small shelf. You will only need to drill one hole but make sure you follow the instructions and do it properly - otherwise you may get 'falling dartboard stopped play' at some point.
The dartboard measures approximately 45cm in diameter and is 4cm thick with a steel surround around the outside edge. It is also quite heavy so you may need an extra set of hands to help you fasten it to the wall.
For those new to darts, the instructions give clear details about the set up; for example making sure the number 20 segment sits at 12 o'clock and the number 3 segment at 3 o'clock.
Once up, I stood back to admire my work and then picked up my darts and went for a trial throw. All three darts went in the board which was a bonus since I wasn't too keen on having to fetch the old spare wall paint from the garage so soon.
If you planning to mount the dartboard directly on the wall and are a relative newcomer to the world of darts or plan to invite inexperienced players round for a game then I would definitely invest in a darts surround for your board. This is a foam-like ring that slots around your dartboard and protects your precious wall from the occasional wayward dart. My darts cabinet provides some protection on this front but I have to say that my spare wall paint has been used on a few occasions!
=== Performance ===
Whilst no dartboard can make you a better player, a good board can give you a little helping hand. I refer to the wiring of the board which separates the board into its individual scoring sections. When you hit the wire with your dart on this board, most of the time (I would say about 80% of the time) the dart will slide down the side of the wire and stick into the board scoring that number of points. This is because of the thin triangular design of the wire. Other boards have thicker wire which means that over half the time when you hit the wire (and you will hit the wire more than you would think) the dart simply bounces out and starts its menacing path towards your toes. Evasive action is sometimes required and obviously you don't want a dart sticking into your carpet, or worse, laminate flooring.
Although this board does have a thin angled wire to reduce bounce-outs it unfortunately does use small staples to hold the wire to the board. These are positioned around the edges of the scoring areas at regular intervals over the wire. Hitting one of these is an almost certain bounce-out and even worse, a fairly lively one at that. I swear I've had darts fly back at me faster than I've thrown them at the board!
This aside, without paying through the nose for a 'Spider' wire which doesn't use staples, this board is more than sufficient for the average dart player. You will get the occasional bounce out but the staples are positioned to minimise such occurrences and feature only at either side of each treble and double scoring zone (not in the single scoring sections).
=== Longevity ===
The dartboard is really good quality being of the bristle variety. The bristle variety is by far the best variety and is the type you are most likely to find in pubs and the type that is used in professional darts tournaments. Without going into too much detail they will last much longer than coiled-paper or cork boards since the bristles simply part when a dart is stuck into the board. These bristles then fall back into place when the dart is removed and the hole made by the dart will close. So in effect you are not damaging the board as you would with a cork board. You make no permanent holes and thus the board lasts much, much longer. It is definitely worth investing in a bristle dartboard if you plan on getting a lot of use out of it.
I have been using my dartboard several times a week for the past 5 or 6 years now and whilst it is obviously not new looking anymore it is still in very good shape. There are areas of wear, where repeated darts have been thrown into the board, but on the whole the dartboard is still in top condition. There are no bulges like you sometimes see in pubs suggesting a small vole might be trying to burrow its way out of the wall.
With continuous use you will soon find that certain areas of the board will attract more attention from your darts resulting in some general 'fuzziness' of the affected area. I speak of the number 20 segment since this is the area you will be aiming at most of the time (to score the highest number of points) and the surrounding number 5 and number 1 segments which are usually hit when the 20 is missed - this still happens a lot with me unfortunately!
However, to increase the life of the dartboard I simply move the board around (anti)clockwise and reposition the wire numbers frame accordingly. This is very simple to do since the wall attachment is at the board's centre and the number wire lifts out of its slots easily and back into position without problem. For example the section of the board that used to be number 10 now becomes the 20 and each number alternates appropriately. The fuzzy part of the board is thus moved around and you can now aim your darts at a relatively new number 20 area (just make sure that the number 20 segment is always black).
The wiring of the board is very strong and will not succumb to the countless dart strikes over the years. My dartboard has had no issues with the wire bending out of shape or snapping. I've seen some dartboards in pubs that have not fared as well with wire sticking out all over the place. None of that here though, the only damage will be minor dents and nicks in the wire but nothing too serious and this certainly won't affect the dartboard in any way.
=== Price/availability ===
I purchased this board for £19.99 from my local sports retailer after originally seeing it online. Because of the unrivalled quality of the Winmau board you will find this product or almost identical products in most sports shops independent or otherwise. However, this specific model can also be found at Argos for £22.99 and Amazon marketplace for £25. Slightly more expensive than the price I paid but still well worth the money.
=== Verdict ===
So overall I would highly recommend the Winmau Bristle dartboard if you are interested in improving your darts skills or setting up a games room. It will last you a long time because of its high quality design and bristle composition and will look truly professional on your wall. It's well worth investing the extra money for a top quality board that will last you for many years.
It won't be long before you can (to quote Sid Waddell) "Throw three pickled onions into a thimble".
Thanks for reading :)
Summary: One of the best dartboards you can buy in this price range.