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Tibhar Samsonov Force Pro - Review

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BMonkey View Drop Down
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    Posted: 10/13/2014 at 3:15pm
Hey there! I don’t normally review equipment but I thought I’d contribute a little by giving a review of my latest blade: the Tibhar Samsonov Force Pro.

 


 

A little background on the reviewer: I am a left-handed player with a playing style best defined as a “power looper”. I’m currently rated in the high 1900s but I’ve only been playing about 5 years so it’s constantly changing. Richard McAfee wrote about this style here: http://www.newgy.com/ttcommunity/Archive/April2002article.html:

My last blade was the OSP Virtuoso +, but I have also used the Nittaku Acoustic, Butterfly Timo Boll Spirit, and Stiga Clipper for extended periods of time(months to years). I use Nittaku FastArc G1 on the forehand and Butterfly Tenergy 64 on the backhand.  I have been using this blade for about 40 hours of practice and play now. It might also be relevant that I prefer wood blades over composite blades.

 

The prerequisites: I really love 5 ply wood looping blades like the Acoustic or the Virtuoso +, but felt that the flexiness they provided for easy looping (read that as slow strokes) caused them to suffer in the blocking and flipping departments. I also felt that for them to be effective in power looping, especially with the new poly balls, the blade weight needs to be heavier (90+ gr). Blade weights over 90g causes some maneuverability problems over the table for me. After trying out some of the latest and greatest from Butterfly and feeling underwhelmed by the performance and overwhelmed by the price, I decided to find a nice 7ply wood blade. So after a little research, I found the Tibhar Samsonov Force Pro that met my requirements of: weight between 85-88 gr, no thicker than 6.5 mm, 7 ply, limba outerply.

 

Finish: The blade came from Paddle Palace and was very smoothly finished. I wasn’t expecting much for $60, but to my surprise, the handle required no sanding.  The head of the paddle is quite smooth to the touch which is good for limba because if it feels rough at all, you’ll probably get splintering later on.  All text and lines on the handle and blade face are straightly oriented as well. The handle is an oval shaped flared handle.

 

Feeling: After gluing up the blade, I would say the speed is one notch faster than Nittaku Tenor;  one to one and a half slower than Butterfly Timo Boll Spirit. The blade retains surprisingly good feeling in the hand for being a 6.4mm thick 7ply blade. It doesn’t have that rigid, unforgiving-ness of a Stiga Clipper Classic. If you are used to the dead nothingness of carbon, you’ll probably find it to have a lot of vibration.  I found that compared to the Acoustic or Virtuoso +, the neck had much less flex, but the sweet spot of the head itself retained a similar feeling. Overall though, the blade has less dwell time so it is less spin oriented and more of an all rounder.

 

Passive Play: The blade really lives up to its moniker here. With its 5ply like feeling and 7ply speed, I felt it gave me more options in my passive and defensive play. It was easier to punch block loops and the lighter weight from my previous blade made it easier for me to make emergency blocking maneuvers. The lower dwell time compared to the flexy 5plys made the opponent’s serves and shots a bit easier to redirect back at them. Being a faster blade, I think that redirection of energy is its strong point, rather than absorption of it, in the passive game.

 

Offensive Play: The difference between the Virtuoso + and the Force Pro comes to light most strongly in looping and the superior blade depends on your priorities. The Virtuoso + is great when your objective is to make soft spinny loops or you have a long slow forehand stroke that needs a blade with good dwell time. The Force Pro works better with faster, snappier strokes that have less emphasis on maximum spin. As my game has continued to develop, my forehand has become smaller (from a giant stroke to a large-ish stroke!) with a faster rhythm so this change in blade characteristics suits me just fine.

 

The Force Pro is clearly the superior blade in mid-distance counterlooping, especially with the poly ball. Opening against underspin close to the table, each blade has its own way. The Virtuoso +’s advantage shines when you try to attack with extreme spin. The Force Pro works best if you go for a shot with more balanced speed and spin.  Off the bounce counterlooping, the Force Pro’s reduced dwell time and lighter weight makes redirecting the loop back much easier. Over the table offensive play(flat flips and spin flips) the lighter weight and reduced dwell make it easy to get the racket acceleration required for a correct stroke and the dwell is in that sweet spot between holding the ball and allowing the incoming spin to redirect your flip too much.

 

Conclusion:

Tibhar Samsonov Force Pro

Positives:

-Great price for the quality

-5ply feeling with 7ply speed

-Shines at redirecting shots

 

Negatives:

-Not great at slow spin loops

-Handle is very oval shaped (if you are used to a square flare handle like most BTY blades, this could be offputting)

-I am just finding out about this great blade now

 

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frogger View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote frogger Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10/13/2014 at 3:45pm
Excellent review BMonkey, thanks for sharing! Handsome blade too.
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Black side.


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NextLevel View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote NextLevel Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10/13/2014 at 5:07pm
I have two copies of this blade from paddle palace as well. I disagree with the slow spinny looping evaluation. For a seven ply, it is excellent and can compete with 5 ply blades. I use it with Tenergy 05 both sides and the flare was what I needed as straight blades give me grip discipline problems that I am trying to eradicate. I love stiff blades but the dwell on away from the table power strokes is what my last blade sometimes lacked and what brought me here. I am also reluctant to spend over $100 on any blade.

Edited by NextLevel - 10/13/2014 at 5:08pm
I like putting heavy topspin on the ball...
Tibhar Inca
FH: MX-S 1.9 B
BH: MX-S 1.9 R
Lumberjack TT
No train, no gain.
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BMonkey View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote BMonkey Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10/13/2014 at 5:14pm
Originally posted by NextLevel NextLevel wrote:

I have two copies of this blade from paddle palace as well. I disagree with the slow spinny looping evaluation. For a seven ply, it is excellent and can compete with 5 ply blades. I use it with Tenergy 05 both sides and the flare was what I needed as straight blades give me grip discipline problems that I am trying to eradicate. I love stiff blades but the dwell on away from the table power strokes is what my last blade sometimes lacked and what brought me here. I am also reluctant to spend over $100 on any blade.
For clarity, I'm not saying the Samsonov Force Pro doesn't produce good spin. My comparison was solely in comparison to the Acoustic or Virtuoso +. Both of whose specialties are spin looping.
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Jeff(ATTC) View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Jeff(ATTC) Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10/14/2014 at 11:20am
That is a really nice top ply.  Could you compare it to the Tibhar SPW?
Tibhar SPW
FH: FastArc G-1
BH: FastArc G-1
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote BMonkey Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10/14/2014 at 12:22pm
Originally posted by Jeff(ATTC) Jeff(ATTC) wrote:

That is a really nice top ply.  Could you compare it to the Tibhar SPW?
From my hazy memory of the Tibhar SPW...

SPW= Stratus Power Wood
SFP = Samsonov Force Pro

SPW has a larger head size than SFP (SFP feels more neutrally balanced in the hand because of this). SFP is lighter than SPW. SFP is one step faster than SPW. SPW has one step more dwell time than SFP. Sweet spot is roughly the same size. SFP feels slightly more solid (maybe half step harder, but I attribute this to additional stiffness in the neck area, not the head itself).
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SteveWAD View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote SteveWAD Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10/08/2018 at 6:34pm
Is your Force Pro a Straight handle ? if so, If you ever want to sell l;et me know i am looking for one.
Love this blade.
Thanks


Steve Adams Foster City, CA.

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