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TT11 equipment testing scheme

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slevin View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote slevin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06/08/2017 at 3:20pm
Great pics, h0n1g!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote slevin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06/08/2017 at 3:36pm
Review: Yasaka Valmo rubber

Weight: 67g (168x170mm)

Hardness: approx 44 - 45 deg

The marketing blurb on this rubber implied that it has a high rubber content and good grip. I liked the Rakza series and was looking forward to reviewing this one.

The rubber curled inward (towards the sponge) out of the package - similar to what happens with older generation rubbers like Acuda S2. I have not seen that happen with the newer rubbers (that are generally flat out of the package).

Rubbers that curl inwards, to me, play better with a layer of booster on it. However, I resisted the urge and glued this to the Victas Koki Niwa blade first and then to the Viscaria. I played a total of 5 hours of this before writing up my notes.

The pip size was small - I wonder if it is similar to the Karis rubbers in that sense.

However, the topsheet felt a bit like the Rakza 7 topsheet. It exhibited grip but I did not have full confidence that the plastic ball would not slip upon brush contact. To me, it felt like a less grippy version of the Evolution EL-S. Personally, I'm not a fan of such kind of topsheets anymore.

So, I wonder if this is a merger of an old-style topsheet with new, small pip size.

It played fairly OK with the ball but a bit worse with plastic. Fairly good control. One needed to penetrate a bit into the ball to generate grip. Speed is about that of the EL-S. Throw is medium.

All, in all, to me, it felt like an average offering by Yasaka this time.


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote BRS Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06/12/2017 at 6:25pm
Review Xiom Vega Pro (the blade, not the rubber)
Weight 82 gms
5 ply wood 2 ply zephyllium/xcarbon

I tested this blade with t05 fh and baracuda bh over three sessions, two practice and one of club matches. I'm a generic looper rated 1800.

I could immediately see why the xvp might appeal to some players coming from all wood blades. The marketing blather says the zlc layers are very thin, and it definitely has a woody feel. At slow swing speeds the ball rebound was very soft, without the hard ping of a typical carbon blade. At faster swings the pace was equivalent to a normal composite blade, so that seemed like a bonus. Spin generation was very good, even compared to a five-ply wood. It reminded me of an IF ZLF I had years ago, but Xiom has gotten that kind of feel with the zlc still under the top ply.

There were a few things I did not like about this blade. As other reviews have noted, the edges are really sharp. I thought this would not be a big deal, but it was. Owners sand down the edges, but with a review blade I did not. It is definitely necessary, because serving felt like holding a knife. I also found the flare handle way too small. I'm used to a ST with an overgrip, so that may just be my preference. But I can play with other FLs without really noticing, so I think the XVP is a bit smaller.

My main problem using the XVP was the throw. It's a lot flatter than my normal blade, which is a Yasaka Sweden Classic ALL 5-ply. That's to be expected with a zlc blade, and fans of zlc will probably like and expect that. Aside from the trajectory control was otherwise very good. The softer rebound allowed me to hit some short angles like I can with an ALL blade, but couldn't get anywhere near with an mj zlc or an alc blade. So if I were to switch to a composite blade I would definitely consider the xvp, probably against the innerforce series. But the overall package did not make me want to give up my $28 five-ply. I just don't like the feel of carbon blades, but for the majority of players who do, the xvp is a very solid option.

Edited by BRS - 06/13/2017 at 11:18am
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote fatt Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06/12/2017 at 7:24pm
Me like brs' review of the xvp. I lost 2 of them in the bus to lack of focus and I took the opportunity to buy a couple violin black tag while I still hope I can recover them. It might be I'll play even better with them: the violin never let me down and if the xvp is the absolute best composite blade in my book, it might not let me play my best. We'll see when I spend a few weeks again with my favorite 5-ply all wood.
rl gear ( •_•)O¯`·.¸.·´¯`°Q(•_•) feedback
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote slevin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06/12/2017 at 8:39pm
Great review, BRS!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote slevin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06/21/2017 at 2:13pm
Look what TT11 sent for us to test: the new Donic Bluestorm Z1, Z2 and Z3 rubbers. SmileSmileSmile

They are Donic's equivalent of the Rasanter series.

If you live in the US, have a reasonable reputation on the forum and are interested in testing, please send me a PM with your name and address. I shall mail Z1 and Z2 out to the next persons on the list on Friday.

Donic Bluestorm Z1 (ultramax, red): 72g, 169mm x 169mm
Donic Bluestorm Z2 (ultramax, black): 70g, 169mm x 169mm

Z1 is Donic's apparent equivalent of the R47, whereas Z2 is their version of the V47. I am VERY interested in checking out if they are BETTER versions of the R47 and the V47.

As expected (see the 2nd pic below), the Z1 seems to have a thicker topsheet than the Z2. I expected same sponge on both. However, to me, it seems like the Z2 sponge has larger pores than the Z1 sponge (In the 3rd pic, Z1 is the sponge on top with Z2 below it. In the 2nd pic, Z2 is on top of the Z1).



Edited by slevin - 06/21/2017 at 2:18pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote slevin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06/23/2017 at 9:09pm
Review: Nittaku Fastarc G1 rubber (red, superthick (2.0mm))

Weight: 68g (168 x 168mm)

I was intrigued by this rubber because quite a few Japanese pros use this. In the US, I think that Samson Dubina uses this (on a Ludeack blade).

The topsheet looks typical Japanese (looks like Tenergy topsheet - you can see the pips through the topsheet unlike ESN topsheets that are generally completely opaque). It is grippy (like Baracuda's topsheet is) and of very good quality. Pip structure is a bit like that of the T05 (short and thick pips) as opposed to long, thin pips.

Hardness is 47 deg. The overall feel is perhaps, a touch softer than MX-P but harder than T05 (though the topsheet is slightly softer than that of T05).

Throw: medium-high

Even though this rubber has been around a bit, I liked it a lot. Very good control. If someone was using MX-P and wanted something a bit higher throw and a bit closer to T05 feel (though still better at driving just like the MX-P type 47.5 deg tensors are), then this is the rubber for you.

Short game is excellent. Not bouncy. Not too sensitive to incoming spin.

There is one differentiating factor: you get great spin on loops when you penetrate the rubber into the ball a bit (ie: use more sponge while looping). Not best for brush-looping (looping without use of sponge). If you use sponge, loops feel at least as spinny as T05.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote slevin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06/23/2017 at 9:20pm
Review: Nittaku Hammond Power rubber (black, super thick (2.0mm))

Weight: 71g (168 x 169mm)

Upon initial inspection, I did not like the topsheet. Felt like it would have less grip with the plastic ball. Topsheet exhibited inward curl (ie: ideally, should be boosted a bit to make it flat, though I refrained).

I glued this on Avalox BT555 blade (with Nittaku Fastarc G1 on the other side for comparison)

After hitting a bit with the robot and playing a couple of matches with plastic ball, my initial impression of lack of grip went away. This has good grip with the plastic ball.

Hardness: upon initial inspection, it seemed like the sponge felt about 1 degree softer than that of the Fastarc G1. Topsheet felt harder. Upon playing, overall feel was slightly harder than that of the Fastarc G1. About 47 deg.

This felt like more of a driving rubber than looping rubber. Good control, both in drives and the short game. Slightly more linear than the MX-P. Less spin, though.

My impression: given the plethora of high-performance rubbers out there,  I would take this if I wanted a less spin-sensivitive driving rubber (ie: with slightly muted spin capability). Don't get me wrong: it is a good rubber. Felt like it would need periodic boosting.


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote LOG1C1AN Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06/24/2017 at 2:32am
Review of the Victas Koki Niwa blade

The test blade is Flared and weighed in at 86 grams on my scale which is my ideal weight. First impression before glue = high quality, especially for a Chinese manufactured blade. I saw the price for the blade on TT11 is just under $150 USD. The craftsmanship of the blade matches the price range. No need for sanding. The handle was fairly beefy for a FL, which I love. Just holding it in my hand I wanted to love it.

I glued a black max Nexy Karis M to the FH a Stiga Genesis 2.0 Red to the BH. My own blade for the last year has been a Tibhar Samsonov Stratus Carbon FL at 86grams.

I played about 4 hours with it at the local club. I also asked three other players to hit with it for a few minutes. The players that tested it were all in the 1500-1900 range. Sorry, no high level players were available in the time I had the blade. Two of the other testers were Butterfly Schlager players, and the other a Butterfly TB ALC user. The two Schlager users loved this Koki Niwa blade and immediately played better with it than their current set up. Their shots were landing more consistently on the table and with more spin. The TB ALC user did not like it for the same reason the Koki Niwa did not work for me which I'll explain below.

My own impression of the blade was that it produces a high quality shot for everything you want to hit. The short game over the table is very controlled. Serves were spinny. Loops were consistent and spinny. Drives were solid, but a bit on the slow side for a 9 ply blade with 4 plies of carbon that it rated Offensive. But, it seemed to have enough pop away from the table. I could tell that the blade has potential for excellence in the hand of a better player.

The reason I did not like it in spite of its good qualities was that I struggled to feel the ball. I think it might be due to the 4 layers of soft carbon. It felt muted. Along these same lines, the sound of the ball was muffled and made it difficult for me to get the kind of feedback on my shots that I'm used to. As a result I had some errant shots without any idea why. In contrast, the two Schlager users seemed to have better feel and control than their usual set up right away.

Conclusion: very nice, high quality blade capable of producing every kind of shot. For some, it may be an immediate upgrade compared to a stiff, fast blade. For other, like myself it's muted feel and sound left me wanting something with more feel.
Andro Rasanter R47 2.0 / Nexy Karis M+ 2.0 - FH
Tibhar Stratus Samsonov CB FL - 87 grams
Air DefenderS 2.0 - BH
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote anubhav1984 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06/29/2017 at 6:58pm

Blade Comparison Review

Xiom Vega Pro – FL vs Andro Treiber Z vs Butterfly Innerforce Layer ZLC

Bear with me as this will be a bit longish review but mostly objective.


Background

I am a USATT 1850 ish rated player (based on the recent tournament I played). Based on what I observed and a few matches I have played in the league earlier, I believe i should be around 2100 once I regain my practice pace back. Perhaps a couple of more months.

I am a two winged looper and have a strong preference to control rallies and usually dominate in off the table play. 

I am a big fan of Revolution No 3 glue and that is what I have used throughout 

I received the Xiom Vega Pro FL blade a week back and I will be reviewing it across a bunch of parameters below. I will compare it with Andro Treiber Z (FL at 90gms) and Butterfly Innerforce Layer ZLC (FL at 85gms) across a bunch of rubbers that I got to run this blade with.

 

Packaging

The packaging on XIOM is minimalistic yet high end. It has a premium feel to it. It is not as nice as that of DHS high end blades (yes, I like that kind of packaging a lot) for sure but still the packaging is very nice. The blade comes with protective sheets which you can use to store the blade for a long time in case you are not using it.

 

Weight 

Couldn't weigh the blade as I do not yet have a weighing scale but it feels like it is about 82-83 gms. If its heavier (and perhaps Slevin can confirm the exact weight) then I can tell you for sure that it is really very well balanced and doesn't feel any heavier than 82 gms. It might even be lighter. 

 

Build Quality 

Very well crafted. Looks like a top end blade. The only thing that I am a little disappointed about is that it has sharp edges. But guess what, the blade box has a hidden section for a sanding tool. One can use that to blunt the edges out.

It looks like the blade has been treated with some sort of protection coating (some water based lacquer perhaps). Not sure if any of the previous testers did it or if it was this way out of the box. Slevin can confirm. 

The blade face size is also different from Butterfly's standard size of 158x152. I think this is a little wider and smaller in length.

 

Here is the list of attributes I tested these blades on -

Speed at low impact shots near the table --> This is the basic warm up drill that we do when we get onto the table. Low impact, easy hand movements to just flat hit the ball to feel the blade and get settled in.

Speed at high impact shots near the table --> Topspin warm-ups. This is the same drill that TableTennisDaily's videos start with.

Speed at low impact shots away from the table --> Slow topspin vs counter topspin a bit away from the table but with low effort put in from my end. This is to test the true power of the blade.  

Speed at high impact shots away from the table --> Topspin vs Counter Topspin rallies away from the table, with a mindset to finish the point. 

Control in passive blocks --> Simple blocks against topspins. 

Forgiveness in out of position shots --> When you get out of position and you need to land a table, how good is the sweetspot of the blade to allow for landing that ball on the table.

Spin at low impact shots --> Amount of spin generated in low speed topspins near the table.

Spin at high impact shots --> Amount of spin generated in high speed topspins both near and off the table.

Touch game near the net --> Self-explanatory.

Flicks --> Classic banana flicks and forehand slap flicks.

 

From a characteristics perspective, the blades compared like this -

Bounciness à  IF LAYER ZLC > Xiom Vega Pro > Andro Treiber Z

Flex à IF LAYER ZLC > Xiom Vega Pro > Andro Treiber Z

Throw at low impact shots à IF LAYER ZLC > Xiom Vega Pro > Andro Treiber Z

Throw at high impact shots à Andro Treiber Z > Xiom Vega Pro > IF LAYER ZLC

 

A point to note about the throw is that the flexier ZLCs (Xiom and IF in this case) start bottoming out the rubbers at high impact shots (thanks Slevin for explaining that better over IM) and thus the more effort you start putting in with softer rubbers (even tenergy 05), the more you start lowering the throw of the setup.

 

First Test Run - Rubbers used - 

FH - Tibhar MX-P max black (about 8 months old and thus near the end of life from my perspective) 

BH - Joola Phenix max Red 

Both boosted by 2 layers of Falco Tempo Long

 

Speed at low impact shots near the table --> Andro Treiber Z >> IF LAYER ZLC > Xiom Vega Pro

Speed at high impact shots near the table --> Andro Treiber Z >> IF LAYER ZLC > Xiom Vega Pro

Speed at low impact shots away from the table --> IF LAYER ZLC > Andro Treiber Z > Xiom Vega Pro

Speed at high impact shots away from the table --> Andro Treiber Z >> IF LAYER ZLC  > Xiom Vega Pro

Control in passive blocks --> Andro Treiber Z >= IF LAYER ZLC  = Xiom Vega Pro (all three were pretty close)

Forgiveness in out of position shots --> Andro Treiber Z > IF LAYER ZLC > Xiom Vega Pro

Spin at low impact shots --> IF LAYER ZLC >> Xiom Vega Pro > Andro Treiber Z 

Spin at high impact shots --> Andro Treiber Z > IF LAYER ZLC  > Xiom Vega Pro

Touch game near the net --> Xiom Vega Pro > IF LAYER ZLC = Andro Treiber Z

Flicks --> IF LAYER ZLC (especially good in BH) > Andro Treiber Z > Xiom Vega Pro

 

Conclusion – Though the rubbers are a bit older than usual, they were boosted well enough to provide a good performance. The german/jap style of rubbers brought out the best of Andro Treiber Z’s qualities. It was stable and powerful throughout the test run. The best thing that I like about Andro Treiber Z is its solid control over the table and away from the table. The moment you take to passive shots with german/jap rubbers, it just turns into a control monster and it will land every ball on the other side. As soon as you start increasing the amount of effort you put in, it goes up exponentially first (meaning to say that it gives out more output than input at lower levels of increased effort) and then stabilizes to become linear. This is what I love about this blade.


Second Test Run - Rubbers used - 

FH - Globe 999 national Blue Sponge Black 2.1 (brand new sheet) 

BH -Tenergy 05 2.1 Red (4 months old sheet) 

Globe boosted by 4 layers of Haifu Seamoon and T05 boosted with 2 layers of Falco Tempo Long 

The reason why I tested with a chinese rubber on the FH was because I believed that Chinese rubbers would shine with flexy ZLC blades and that is indeed what turned out to be the case.

Speed at low impact shots near the table --> IF LAYER ZLC > Xiom Vega Pro > Andro Treiber Z

Speed at high impact shots near the table --> IF LAYER ZLC > Andro Treiber Z  > Xiom Vega Pro

Speed at low impact shots away from the table --> IF LAYER ZLC >> Xiom Vega Pro > Andro Treiber Z

Speed at high impact shots away from the table --> IF LAYER ZLC >> Andro Treiber Z >= Xiom Vega Pro

Control in passive blocks --> Andro Treiber Z >> IF LAYER ZLC  = Xiom Vega Pro

Forgiveness in out of position shots --> IF LAYER ZLC > Xiom Vega Pro > Andro Treiber Z  

Spin at low impact shots --> IF LAYER ZLC >> Xiom Vega Pro > Andro Treiber Z 

Spin at high impact shots --> IF LAYER ZLC >> Xiom Vega Pro > Andro Treiber Z 

Touch game near the net --> Xiom Vega Pro > IF LAYER ZLC = Andro Treiber Z

Flicks --> IF LAYER ZLC > Andro Treiber Z > Xiom Vega Pro

Conclusion - With Chinese rubbers on the forehand, the flexier blades outshine Andro Treiber Z. Even though Treiber Z is a Zylon fibre based blade (based on what I have read), it is pretty rock-solid at the weight that I have received it. Thus, it doesn’t support Chinese rubbers as well as the IF LAYER ZLC or Xiom Vega Pro. I would have expected Andro Treiber Z to perform a little better with Chinese rubbers as compared to IF Layer ZLC or Xiom Vega Pro, but it stood no chance. It played as well as an ALC would have but nothing better.

 

Third Test Run - Rubbers used - 

FH - Tenergy 80 2.1 Black (brand new)

BH -Tenergy 05 2.1 Red (brand new) 

No boosting

Speed at low impact shots near the table --> Andro Treiber Z >> IF LAYER ZLC > Xiom Vega Pro

Speed at high impact shots near the table --> Andro Treiber Z >> IF LAYER ZLC > Xiom Vega Pro

Speed at low impact shots away from the table --> IF LAYER ZLC >> Andro Treiber Z > Xiom Vega Pro

Speed at high impact shots away from the table --> Andro Treiber Z >> IF LAYER ZLC  > Xiom Vega Pro

Control in passive blocks --> Andro Treiber Z >= IF LAYER ZLC  = Xiom Vega Pro (all three were pretty close)

Forgiveness in out of position shots --> IF LAYER ZLC > Andro Treiber Z > Xiom Vega Pro

Spin at low impact shots --> IF LAYER ZLC >> Xiom Vega Pro > Andro Treiber Z 

Spin at high impact shots --> Andro Treiber Z > IF LAYER ZLC  > Xiom Vega Pro

Touch game near the net --> Xiom Vega Pro > IF LAYER ZLC = Andro Treiber Z

Flicks --> IF LAYER ZLC > Andro Treiber Z > Xiom Vega Pro

 

Conclusion – This was almost a recap of my first test. However, I wanted to see if newer Tenergy sheets would add a little more spring to the overall dimensions. They did add a bit more spring but it propagated across the blades evenly and thus the results were same as the first test run. At this point though, I started to question if Tenergy 05 is even a good fit for IF Layer ZLC and Xiom Vega Pro blades because it starts bottoming out at high impact shots. The arc that both of these blades produced is just amazing. The balls landed on the white line with a high bounce and it was difficult for my practice partner to land them without taking a step back. However, at high impact shots, I just missed the stability of an ALC blade.

Tenergy 80 still fared a little better and was a bit more stable. Perhaps, IF Layer ZLC and Xiom Vega Prod should be tried with Tenergy 64 to really determine their bottoming out point.


Is it worth the $180 price tag that it retails at on some sites - perhaps not

Is it a good quality blade - hell yeah. 

Does it have enough power from mid distance - I am afraid not. 

Who is this best suited for? - a mid-level developing player who wants to upgrade to a carbon without losing the touch and control of an all-wood blade.



Edited by anubhav1984 - 06/29/2017 at 7:03pm
Butterfly IF Layer ZLC
FH - T80 2.1 Black
BH - T05 2.1 Red
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote slevin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06/29/2017 at 7:34pm
Wow, great, detailed review, anubhav1984!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote anubhav1984 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06/29/2017 at 8:06pm
Originally posted by slevin slevin wrote:

Wow, great, detailed review, anubhav1984!

Thanks slevin!
Butterfly IF Layer ZLC
FH - T80 2.1 Black
BH - T05 2.1 Red
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote h0n1g Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06/30/2017 at 3:07am
Great review, just one note, the Vega Pro retails for $159, not $180 - thats the Vega Tour.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote anubhav1984 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06/30/2017 at 12:00pm
Originally posted by h0n1g h0n1g wrote:

Great review, just one note, the Vega Pro retails for $159, not $180 - thats the Vega Tour.
I picked the price from Paddle Palace - http://www.paddlepalace.com/Vega-Pro/productinfo/SXVGP%20%20%20%20%20FL/

Butterfly IF Layer ZLC
FH - T80 2.1 Black
BH - T05 2.1 Red
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote h0n1g Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06/30/2017 at 12:58pm
Yes, me too: http://www.paddlepalace.com/Vega-Pro/productinfo/SXVGP/
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote anubhav1984 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06/30/2017 at 1:07pm
So it was google playing mind-tricks with me LOL i was searching for xiom vega pro blade and the first result that Google shopping shows is from paddle palace and the price that google shows is 179.99.
Sorry about that.

Butterfly IF Layer ZLC
FH - T80 2.1 Black
BH - T05 2.1 Red
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote slevin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06/30/2017 at 7:36pm
Those who want to test Tibhar Aurus Prime and Tibhar Aurus Select, please send me a PM.

patrickhrdlicka shall send us 1 (unmarked) test rubber of each.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Fabian1890 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07/01/2017 at 4:36am
I also got one sheet each of Aurus prime and select, unmarked. If you want it, then please send PM, brand new. Shipping is on you.

Edit: Andy is getting them.


Edited by Fabian1890 - 07/01/2017 at 8:19am
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote slevin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07/06/2017 at 10:40am
Review: Donic Bluestorm Z1 and Z2 rubbers:

For photos of the rubbers, see a few posts prior to this one.

Bluestorm Z1: 72g, 169mm x 169mm
Bluestorm Z2: 70g, same as above

I reviewed these rubbers for a week on a Garaydia ZLC blade and then on a Donic Ovtcharov True Carbon blade. My biggest questions going into this review were:
  1. How close is this series to Andro's Rasanter series
  2. How similar or different are they to the R47 and the V47 rubbers
  3. What is my view of Z1 and Z2's performance relative to both the Rasanter series and also the Evolution series

The first difference: R47 and V47 seemed to have the same sponge. Here, Z1 and Z2 seem to have different sponge (with Z2 having larger pores relative to the Z1 - again for pics, see a few posts prior to this one).

Just like in the Rasanter series, Z1 topsheet seemed thicker & stiffer than that of the Z2 (which was thinner and softer). Overall, because of these two factors, Z1 felt at least 1.5 degrees harder than the Z2. Z1 topsheet pips seemed larger than those of the Z2 (which seemed thinner).

However, in play, Z1 seemed different from the R47
  1. While the Z1 topsheet is stiff, it has different short game property than the R47. A disadvantage of R47 was that the topsheet was a bit too stiff for pushes to be spinny. Not so for the Z1. FWIW, Z1 topsheet seems to be slightly less stiff but slightly thicker (more conventional) than that of the R47. Overall, the rubber felt 'more conventional' than the R47's totally different approach
  2. I found R47 ultramax a bit less powerful than Z1 but found R47's catapault a bit more difficult to handle (especially in blocking). Bear in mind: this is primarily due to the ultramax sponge (so, I probably would not have the same problem with 2.0 sponge). I found Z1 to be quite good at blocking.
  3. Conversely, the R47 ultramax sponge helped a bit more in spin (on the slightly larger topspin strokes, it is easier for ball to penetrate through thick topsheet, generating huge arc, ball always lands on table). But, Z1 topsheet was more stable on larger (FH) strokes
  4. Among the two rubbers, I clearly preferred Z1 on FH and R47 on BH (Z1 felt a touch harder on BH for me)
  5. Z1 throw was medium-high. Z2 throw seemed like around that of the T64
Z2 and V47 were more similar to each other (than Z1 and R47 were to each other) - both very fast and great for punch blocking and easy spins (Z2 is easier to generate spin with than Z1. V47 is easier to spin with than R47). Both have flatter trajectories than Z1 /R47. Z2 seemed to have bigger pores and perhaps could be more susceptible to booster effects dissipating than the V47 (though that is easily amendable by applying some booster about a month in).

IMHO, Both Z1 and Z2 are the best rubbers that Donic has made. They are a clear improvement over the Acuda Blue series. Anyone using MX-P or R47 / V47 should look at these as strong possibilities. Z1 and Z2 seemed a bit faster than R47 / V47, so which series you prefer might come down to how fast your blade is and what your power / bounciness requirement is from your rubbers.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote LOG1C1AN Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07/11/2017 at 6:11pm
Review of Yasaka Valmo rubber:

This test sheet is Red / Max. Size and weight are listed above in slevin's review of the same sheet.

I tested it on my Tibhar Status Sam Carbon.

I normally use Nexy Karis Max on my FH. I have also previously used Stiga Mantra and TSP Regalis Blue. I mention this, because I believe that all of these rubbers including the Valmo are manufactured in the same factory and share the design similarity of shorter pips structure.

Like the other rubbers, Valmo is a direct, linear type control rubber. It is a bit slower than Karis and even more so  compared to Mantra. I think the speed difference can be attributed to a slower sponge, because the topsheet seems to be similar. The Karis pips are the shortest, and the Mantra pips the longest, with the Valmo pips in between.

There was no outstanding feature to this rubber. From my experience and preference I would rate these four:

Karis > Mantra > TSP Regalis Blue = Yasaka Valmo

I could recommend it to any old school Yasaka Mark 5 user that is looking for a new school upgrade that won't be too shocking of a change.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote slevin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07/14/2017 at 9:57am
Review: Donic Bluestorm Z3

Test rubber: max, black, 66g uncut (169m x 169m)

Upon opening the packet and examining the rubber, I noticed that the sponge type is more like Bluestorm Z2 (big pores) than Z1 (small pores).

Play: It is very easy to spin with. The thin topsheet works very harmoniously with the sponge. Bit easier to generate spin with than the M3 (as M3 has a bit stiffer topsheet). Medium-high throw on not-too-hard loops. Good in short game for soft rubber. Basically, an improved M3.

I haven't had a chance to compare R42 with Z3 - I'm hoping that someone could do this for us!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote slevin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07/14/2017 at 10:11am
Review: Tibhar Aurus Prime and Tibhar Aurus Select

Forum member patrickhrdlicka sent us 1 test sheet of each. I tested both on a Garaydia ALC blade. I also compared it side-by-side with the Bluestorm Z1 rubber (that I had on a Innerforce ALC.S blade).

The topsheet of both rubbers seems very grippy and of very high quality. Of the 3 rubber types (R47, Z1 and Prime) I liked the topsheet of this one the most.

The physical appearance seems similar to that of the R47, though the Prime test sheet we got seemed to have a bit thinner sponge than the Select one.

Upon playing, I can see the differences between the R47, Aurus Prime and Z1.

Z1 is the most similar to old-generation rubbers, especially in the way its topsheet feels. Not like MX-P, but more like that of the Omega V Europe. For that reason, I like that one the least.

R47 feels great and spins the most of the 3. But, it has, IMHO, 2 weaknesses:
  1. the very stiff (though thin) topsheet does not generate good spin on soft pushes against soft balls and is a bit bouncy on such strokes
  2. catapault is difficult to manage while blocking (for ultramax thickness, and this is personal, of course)
Aurus Prime feels different:
  1. it is more direct and has a bit less dwell (the feeling is similar to Rhyzm in this regard but with a topsheet that is easier to engage / generate spin with)
  2. it has excellent directional control
  3. the topsheet generates very good spin on serves (more than R47 and Z1 do)
  4. spin in loops is 5 - 10% less than that you get using R47
  5. throw is lower than that of the R47
  6. did I mention that I loved its topsheet?
  7. as opposed to R47, this one is slightly more of a driving rubber
  8. spin is easy to generate
  9. good control in short game
  10. very easy to loop underspin with (tested in conjunction with Garaydia ALC blade)
I would be careful and not put Aurus Prime on very bouncy blades. Other than that, it is an excellent rubber.

Aurus Select seemed to have less spin (for my game) than Prime and is suited more for BH (again, this is purely personal preference). It feels like around 44 degrees. It seemed to bottom out a bit on harder strokes (throw reduces, just like the older generation rubbers) and I don't like that much. But again, excellent topsheet and decent control.

Ready to ship to next guy on the list.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote NextLevel Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07/14/2017 at 11:39am
Sounds like I am going to double down on R47 as I don't find pushing with it a problem. Will still test to confirm.
I like putting heavy topspin on the ball...
Donier RR Off Oversized FL
FH: Hexer 2.1 B
BH: Hexer 2.1 R
Lumberjack TT
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote slevin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07/15/2017 at 1:13pm
Aurus Prime and Select mailed to NextLevel.
Bluestorm Z1 and Z3 mailed to DLC1325
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote DLC1325 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07/20/2017 at 4:56am
Review: Donic Bluestorm Z1 (Red, Ultra Max, 47d) and Donic Bluestorm Z3 (Black, Ultra Max, 42d)

Tested on Donic Waldner Offensive 2016 (JO shape), Z1 on one side, Z3 on the other.

I honestly didn't spend a huge amount of time with either Z1 or Z3 as I've transitioned to Chinese rubbers since I requested to participate in this testing scheme, and Slevin covered most of Z1 and Z3's characteristics well, but I will add a few things I experienced.  In terms of ESN rubbers I have the most experience with JP01 (47d) and MX-S (47d).

Z1's topsheet felt much softer than both JP01 and MX-S and the overall feel also feels much softer than these two bordering on squishy.  I found Z1 to have a very muted feel.  Many said JP01 had a dead, muted feel, but Z1 feels even more muted, but also a bit more squishy, most likely due to the thicker sponge.

The topsheet felt very grippy.  More so than JP01 and about equal to MX-S if not a tad more.

Z1 plays really well in the short game and heavy-spin pushes were possible with relative ease.
Throw is Medium-High, probably equal to JP01 and MX-S (I did not find MX-S to be a low throw rubber).
Played surprisingly well with higher arcing slow loops.
Max spin seemed to only be generated on full stroke drives.
Blocking felt great with a high sense of control and tons of speed.
I really struggled to generate heavy spin serves as was so easy with MX-S.

Z3, per usual, had many similar characteristics to Z1 with the obvious differences that come with softer sponges (higher throw, a bit more bouncy).  Slevin mentioned it is an improved M3.  While I can see this to an extent, the feel is very different.  Again, Z3 has a soft overall feel whereas M3 had a more crisp feel and spin generation (for me) was greater with M3 in all areas except maybe in pushes.  M3's throw was a bit higher as well.

One thing that really bothered me about Z3 was in BH flicking.  If I hit too hard the throw would drop and hit/clip the net.  I did not have this problem with Z1.  I can only assume this is because I hit pretty hard overall and I was bottoming out the Z3.

Personally, I still prefer JP01 over all Donic rubbers and MX-S over all ESN rubbers.
Ebenholz V | MX-P | MX-S
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote DLC1325 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07/21/2017 at 12:43am
Kurokami opted out on the Z3 so both Z1 and Z3 sent to sherwood.
Ebenholz V | MX-P | MX-S
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote NextLevel Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07/21/2017 at 3:50pm
Review: Tibhar Aurus Prime and Aurus Select

Tested on Butterfly Petr Korbel and Tibhar Kim Jung Hoon

I spent a couple of days mostly looping but briefly doing basic drills with competent players (USATT 1700-2300).

Both rubbers are high arcing rubbers on hits and drives vs R47, which is my usual rubber.   The Prime is more for players who want to use all out offense, while Select caters to people who want offense with a little control.  Prime feels harder than Select, but I could use Select on the forehand as well, though that would be based on what each individual prefers on the forehand in terms of sponge hardness.

Because of it is high arc, Prime can make linear shots more complicated for advanced players not used to such rubbers and there is a point when the arc reduces in way that may not resonate with certain players.  That said, it is not that different from Tenergy 05 and MX-P in such behavior and one could argue that it definitely blocks better than the above.

Both prime and select will make the power with which you can attack short balls higher as lifting strokes are not required as much vs heavy backspin.  Again not much different from MX-P or 05 in that regard.

Both Prime and Select are rubbers that I will be buying and revisiting, likely in a thinner sponge, at some point in the future, though I am quite happy with R47.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zKfoif8dzug
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TX9VLYjfecs
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hb1oIIoDahY

Ready to hand off to next Tester.


Edited by NextLevel - 07/21/2017 at 4:02pm
I like putting heavy topspin on the ball...
Donier RR Off Oversized FL
FH: Hexer 2.1 B
BH: Hexer 2.1 R
Lumberjack TT
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote sherwood Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08/02/2017 at 12:32am
Review: Donic Bluestorm Z1 on a Donic Crest Off blade and Nittaku S-5 blade

I tested Z1 on the Crest Off blade with Victas V01 Stiff on the other side.  I also tested Z1 on the S-5 blade with Andro Rasant on the other side.

Bounce test: Z1 has a similar overall hardness to Rasant, is softer than Rasant Power Grip, and has a harder feeling than V01 Stiff when engaging the sponge but a softer feeling when engaging only the top sheet.  It felt slightly less bouncy than either Rasant or V01 Stiff.  Like Rasant, Z1 has a nice click and decent feedback when flat-bouncing the ball.  However, when spinning the ball, and especially when brushing the ball, the crisp feeling becomes mushy—more so than Rasant which retains good feel and feedback when brushing despite also having a soft top-sheet.  Neither Z1 nor Rasant have the delightfully crisp feel of V01 Stiff when brushing.

Forehand counter drive: As expected from the bounce test, counter drives with Z1 felt similar to Rasant with a medium feel, similar sound and quite good control.

Forehand counter-spin loop: Again as expected from the bounce test, loops felt less direct and even muted compared to Rasant and especially V01 Stiff.  A mushy or muted feeling is something I dislike when looping as it sucks the joy out of this most delightful of all strokes (do you live to loop or loop to live:).  I felt the need to either speed up or slow down my stroke in order to reduce the poor feeling.

Backhand counter-spin loop: The feel on backhand looping with Z1 was substantially better than on the forehand.  Instead of being muted, it felt like a softer, more gradual engaging of the top-sheet which allowed for less than perfect strokes.  When performing slower brush loops this resulted in more confidence when engaging the top-sheet than with V01 Stiff (which has a rather…uh…stiff top-sheet).  Rasant also has a confidence-inducing brush loop and, in my opinion, is superior to Z1 in feel and feedback.

Backhand push: Like Rasant, the soft-ish top-sheet of Z1 allows for secure pushes compared to V01 Stiff’s touchy top-sheet.

Backhand loop against underspin: Compared to V01 Stiff, slow loops and flicks at the end of the table needed a slightly more open paddle angle because of V01 Stiff’s more easily engaged catapult.  Like Rasant, looping underspin is less tricky than with V01 Stiff due to Z1’s softer top-sheet and corresponding insensitivity to incoming spin.

Conclusion: I like Z1’s sponge better than the sponge used in V01 Stiff due to its longer dwell time.  However, the top-sheet on Z1 doesn’t have the feel and feedback of Rasant or V01 Stiff.  Its soft-ish quality does give some security, particularly on less than perfect strokes and so I could see it being used as a backhand rubber.  But I missed the joy of playing which I get from Rasant and V01 Stiff.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote sherwood Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08/02/2017 at 10:26pm
Review: Donic Bluestorm Z3 on a Donic Crest AR+ blade

I tested Z3 on the Crest AR+ blade with Victas V01 Stiff on the other side.

Bounce test: Z3 felt similar in hardness to Bluefire JP 03 though with a softer top-sheet.  The catapult when bouncing felt similar to JP 03 but slower than V01 Stiff.  When flat bouncing, it seemed to have a nice click and feedback but it didn’t feel as crisp as either JP 03 or V01 Stiff when brushing.

Backhand counter-spin loop: As expected from the bounce test, Z3 felt similar to JP 03 on flat hits but lacked the crisp feeling of JP 03 and especially V01 Stiff when brushing.  Z3 is somewhat slower than V01 Stiff and it’s easier to maintain control while looping despite imperfect strokes.  Z3 seemed to work nicely with the blade on the backhand side.

Backhand loop against underspin: Slow, moderately spinny loops against underspin were easier to control than with V01 Stiff due to Z3’s softer feel and less sensitivity to spin.  V01 Stiff had the edge, however, when executing drives and fast, spinny loops against underspin due to V01 Stiff’s extra speed and ability to grab the ball.

Forehand counter-spin loop: Based on backhand performance I was expecting a decent showing on the forehand side…but it was not to be!  Unlike JP 03, which, despite its softness, has a crisp feel in actual play, Z3 felt mushy and lacking feedback on the forehand side.  After discovering this issue with forehand loops I stopped testing Z3…better things to test.

Conclusion: Z3 might work as a backhand rubber for beginning players since it does allow for easy loops with imperfect strokes.  However, I recommend JP 03 as a better choice because it has superior feel and feedback while also providing good control.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote sherwood Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08/03/2017 at 12:21am
Review: Tibhar Aurus Prime on a Nittaku S-5 blade and a Donic Crest Off Blade

I tested Prime on S-5 with Andro Rasant on the other side.  I also tested Prime on Crest Off with Victas V01 Stiff on the other side.

Bounce test: Prime has a harder feel overall than either Rasant, because of its softer top-sheet, or V01 Stiff, because of its softer sponge.  When engaging the sponge, Prime has a nice click and good feedback.  On S-5, though not on Crest Off, this gave way to a slightly muted feel when brushing.  Prime was slightly less bouncy than either V01 Stiff or Rasant.

Forehand counter drive: On counter drives, Prime had similarly good control compared to V01 Stiff and, as expected from the bounce test, felt slightly harder overall.

Forehand counter-spin loop: Brush loops particularly but also fast spinny loops have a less direct feel than V01 Stiff and, for me, a resulting slight loss of certainty when executing the strokes.  Ball contact with the top-sheet feels quite gradual rather than crisp.  For someone like myself who plays with V01 Stiff this may just be a matter of adjusting to the new playing characteristics.  Loop-drives were equal to V01 Stiff but with more dwell time.

Backhand counter-spin loop: Prime felt a bit hard overall for a backhand rubber on S-5 compared to Rasant with its softer top-sheet which provides more security for technically imperfect loops.  Otherwise, Rasant and Prime seem to have similar playing characteristics on the backhand.  The less direct feel which I experienced on forehand loops didn’t bother me on the backhand except a little when brushing.

Backhand loop against underspin: Backhand loops against underspin felt slightly less direct than V01 Stiff but otherwise Prime was fairly similar in all respects.

Conclusion: To me, Prime seemed to have a combination of Chinese and European playing characteristics and feel.  This is a good quality rubber, no doubt.  Being accustomed to V01 Stiff, it would take some time for me to adjust.  The question for me is whether or not I would come to enjoy its gradual/indirect feel when brush looping.
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