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Kokutaku Alnon Review

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AndySmith View Drop Down
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    Posted: 05/17/2017 at 3:51pm
For the past few weeks I've been lucky enough to be able to use one of Kokutaku's new blade range - Alnon.  KKT are of course probably best known for their 1-ply hinoki blades, but have also got quite an extensive range of all sorts of other constructions -  3-ply, 5-ply, carbon, etc - most of which aren't so well-known outside of Japan.

Well, now they have 4 new blades, all Made in Japan:

Alnon - Koto/AramidCarbon/Limba/Kiri
Zenon - Limba/ZylonCarbon/Limba/Kiri
CanonZYC - Hinoki/ZylonCarbon/Kiri
CanonTRC - Hinoki/Carbon/Kiri

I think it's pretty obvious what kind of market KKT are aiming for here, and which blade archetypes they've decided to produce.  Here are some pictures!











Initial Inspection

The finish is absolutely impeccable - this is a very well-made blade.  No blemishes anywhere, with a super-smooth koto top ply.  The wings were razor-sharp and needed a light sanding to avoid the need for bloodshed.  The aramid/carbon weave is very well fitted with basically nothing poking out (you can see a little bit of fibre extrusion where I've sanded the wings, but that's it).  This is essentially as well-made as any other Japanese-made blade you care to put it up against.  The cut on the weave layer is much nicer than, say, Xiom's Vega blades, Donic's Baum Spirit, or a DHS cheapo special like the Fang Bo 2.  This might not be a problem in practical terms for these blades, but there is a difference in terms of quality of finish.

This one is 86g, FL handle, 157x150, 5.8mm thick.

Short Review

I think it's important not to beat around the bush with this one.  This is the most Viscaria-like of any blade I've ever used.  I directly compared Alnon to a Viscaria (silver tag, pre-hologram) of the same weight with the same rubbers (Hybrid K1 Plus, Rasanter V42), and I found it incredibly hard to pick the bones out of the comparison.  The handle on the Alnon seemed a bit wider and flatter.  The basic speed and sweet spot were near-identical.  The initial sharp koto feel was present on both.  If I had to pull something out of the air, I'd say that the Alnon was ever so slightly softer and stiffer when looping harder - there seemed to be a slightly different feel on harder hits, and a touch lower arc on the Alnon.  Alnon perhaps felt a touch more stable/predictable through those middle gears at the expense of some top-end speed.  But in all honesty I've had plenty of Viscarias over the years and they've varied to a larger degree than this.  In a blind test I doubt I'd be able to tell the difference between the two.

As you would then expect, Alnon did a superb job with the tacky K1 Plus - adding a little bit of additional initial speed in comparison with my usual 5-ply all-wood, and removing the need for so much effort with the arm swinging when slightly away from the table.  Rasanter V42 was good, but when I switched it out for Rozena I was super-happy with both BH penetration and spin.  Rozena shines in this kind of setup IMO.

How well KKT does with these blades is probably going to come down to price vs the obvious competition, perhaps helped by having a handle choice and being able to order internationally.  But as a Viscaria alternative I can't think of a closer match than this.

Many thanks for Chewy over at http://www.rocket-tt.com for offering up the Alnon for early purchase.  There is more information over at KKT's website too - http://www.kokukdaku.com/
This was a great signature until the abs ball ruined it.
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BRS View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote BRS Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05/17/2017 at 4:06pm
And the box says it is Super Excellent - love the confidence.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote jpenmaster Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05/17/2017 at 4:12pm
I love it's made in JAPANE .....
Cypress G-Max w T64
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fatt View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote fatt Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05/17/2017 at 4:17pm
Alnon - Koto/AramidCarbon/Limba/Kiri  ???
Zenon - Limba/ZylonCarbon/Limba/Kiri MJ
CanonZYC - Hinoki/ZylonCarbon/Kiri Amultart
CanonTRC - Hinoki/Carbon/Kiri Gergeley carbon

The one you review is an original composition; I could not find another blade made out of these plies. The koto outer, limba inner and kri core are the common ones with the Viscaria; I guess aramid carbon and arylate carbon are very close in terms of performance.

The Zenon is very tempting but is priced the same than the MJ... Cry





Edited by fatt - 05/17/2017 at 4:20pm
rl gear ( •_•)O¯`·.¸.·´¯`°Q(•_•) feedback
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote onehander Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05/17/2017 at 4:41pm
Thank you Andy for the review. It's so useful that you use Viscaria as a reference comparison.  Personally, it's even more useful that you're using Hybrid K1+, my favorite forehand rubber since the end of last year.  
There is another blade with a very similar construction and is also made in Japan:
The Yasaka Alnade.   Even the name is close!   Could they be coming from the same factory?
Image result for yasaka alnade
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote AndySmith Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05/17/2017 at 5:17pm
Originally posted by jpenmaster jpenmaster wrote:

I love it's made in JAPANE .....

I initially thought it was a crazy intentional easter-egg shout-out to the misspelling on the original Viscaria, but it turns out it was just a run-of-the-mill misspelling on the first run.  I'm going to be very generous and call mine a collector's item. Wink

Originally posted by fatt fatt wrote:

Alnon - Koto/AramidCarbon/Limba/Kiri  ???
Zenon - Limba/ZylonCarbon/Limba/Kiri MJ
CanonZYC - Hinoki/ZylonCarbon/Kiri Amultart
CanonTRC - Hinoki/Carbon/Kiri Gergeley carbon

The one you review is an original composition; I could not find another blade made out of these plies. The koto outer, limba inner and kri core are the common ones with the Viscaria; I guess aramid carbon and arylate carbon are very close in terms of performance.

The Zenon is very tempting but is priced the same than the MJ... Cry

I think aramid and arylate are going to be pretty close in most of the ways that matter, but this could be what results in the slight difference in feel between the two.  If I'm not imagining that difference.  Or it could be the glue used, or the thickness/density of the weave, etc.

The price is crucial with these blades if they're going to get a foothold.  I'm hoping that we're looking at KKT's retail prices and stores will be "allowed" to discount, if you know what I mean.  

Originally posted by onehander onehander wrote:

There is another blade with a very similar construction and is also made in Japan:
The Yasaka Alnade.   Even the name is close!   Could they be coming from the same factory?

I don't know.  I was hoping to see some reviews of Alnade myself at some point, or add it to an order or something.
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SmackDAT View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote SmackDAT Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05/17/2017 at 6:36pm
Viscaria Light lookalike! Maybe it will be what the Viscaria Light never was...

Edit: You got a lot of money to EJ my man Thumbs Up


Edited by SmackDAT - 05/17/2017 at 6:36pm
Custom Viscaria 91g
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Johnny Erasure Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05/18/2017 at 4:17am
Look a blade made by Mr. Levi with same composition, 88g, 5.8 mm thickness, 150x157mm:

Blade: TB ALC, ZJ SZLC
Rubbers: FH Tenergy 05
BH Tenergy 05 fx
Feedback: http://mytabletennis.net/forum/forum_posts.asp?TID=63937&KW=Johnny+Erasure&PID=764628&title=feedback-for-johnny-erasure#764628
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (2) Thanks(2)   Quote AndySmith Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05/18/2017 at 4:44am
Originally posted by SmackDAT SmackDAT wrote:

Viscaria Light lookalike! Maybe it will be what the Viscaria Light never was...

Edit: You got a lot of money to EJ my man Thumbs Up

These few months are probably my last hurrah.  Moving house soon so spare cash will be rare.  Will have to review different socks or edge tape from now on.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Chewy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05/18/2017 at 12:33pm
Thank you very much for the Review Andy! Glad you like the blade, and the good experience to the land of "Japane" LOL

Originally posted by fatt fatt wrote:

Alnon - Koto/AramidCarbon/Limba/Kiri  ???
Zenon - Limba/ZylonCarbon/Limba/Kiri MJ
CanonZYC - Hinoki/ZylonCarbon/Kiri Amultart
CanonTRC - Hinoki/Carbon/Kiri Gergeley carbon

The one you review is an original composition; I could not find another blade made out of these plies. The koto outer, limba inner and kri core are the common ones with the Viscaria; I guess aramid carbon and arylate carbon are very close in terms of performance.

The Zenon is very tempting but is priced the same than the MJ... Cry





@Fatt, we actually do provide some discounts from the listed price in that website. 
Kindly send your questions to info@rocket-tt.com. Wink
http://www.rocket-tt.com
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote onehander Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05/18/2017 at 12:56pm
Not to worry Andy.  
With the high quality of your reviews, people will send you blades just to get your take!  
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote AndySmith Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05/19/2017 at 8:53am
Originally posted by onehander onehander wrote:

Not to worry Andy.  
With the high quality of your reviews, people will send you blades just to get your take!  

Would that it were so simple.  Yogi is the master of that - his networking skills are second to none.

I bought my Alnon at a slightly discounted price.  It isn't often that I get stuff for free, and I always feel lucky when I do.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote AndySmith Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05/23/2017 at 12:38pm
Just a quick update - had a few more sessions with the alnon, this time with Rasanter R47 FH and R42 BH.  It's still incredibly close to Viscaria in terms of the way it plays.  I tend to prefer limba outer plies, but there's something about a sharp koto feel that helps direct play.  R42 was excellent and was hard to pick fault with (preferred it to V42 on this blade), whereas R47 was a bit more of a handful in the short game than my previous, much slower, limba 5-ply.  None of which is a surprise of course - it would likely be the same if I moved to any of the many other koto-ALC category of blades.

I find that it's hard to beat this kind of blade in combination with K1 Plus on my FH side though.  It has just the right combination of real-world performance for my level without going overboard, or without falling into the trap of using a traditional chinese tacky rubber and then wishing you could boost.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote shinshiro Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05/23/2017 at 1:39pm
Originally posted by AndySmith AndySmith wrote:

Just a quick update - had a few more sessions with the alnon, this time with Rasanter R47 FH and R42 BH.  It's still incredibly close to Viscaria in terms of the way it plays.  I tend to prefer limba outer plies, but there's something about a sharp koto feel that helps direct play.  R42 was excellent and was hard to pick fault with (preferred it to V42 on this blade), whereas R47 was a bit more of a handful in the short game than my previous, much slower, limba 5-ply.  None of which is a surprise of course - it would likely be the same if I moved to any of the many other koto-ALC category of blades.

I find that it's hard to beat this kind of blade in combination with K1 Plus on my FH side though.  It has just the right combination of real-world performance for my level without going overboard, or without falling into the trap of using a traditional chinese tacky rubber and then wishing you could boost.

Andy, have you played with Ovtcharov True Carbon? OTC is also said to play very similar to Viscaria (I think Baal said this). Can you notice any difference between OTC and Alnon? Wich feels more similar to Viscaria?


Edited by shinshiro - 05/23/2017 at 1:40pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote onehander Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05/23/2017 at 2:18pm
Nice follow up, and thanks!

Andy, if you were forced to choose only one blade between the Alnon and the Adidas Hypertouch, which would you choose, and why would it be your preference?  


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote AndySmith Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05/24/2017 at 4:28am
Originally posted by shinshiro shinshiro wrote:

Andy, have you played with Ovtcharov True Carbon? OTC is also said to play very similar to Viscaria (I think Baal said this). Can you notice any difference between OTC and Alnon? Wich feels more similar to Viscaria?

I haven't used the OTC.  I wonder if Baal would want to try my Alnon out?  No one knows Viscaria like Baal.

Originally posted by onehander onehander wrote:

Nice follow up, and thanks!
Andy, if you were forced to choose only one blade between the Alnon and the Adidas Hypertouch, which would you choose, and why would it be your preference?  

That's a tricky one.  The Hypertouch is a great blade - one of my favorites.  The HT isn't as linear as the Alnon (gets bouncy when under stress - probably the spruce at work), but has an amazing ability to sling the ball out with good arc when looping from distance.  I'd probably go with the Alnon for ease-of-use and because I spend a lot less time looping from distance these days.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Tinykin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05/24/2017 at 5:47am
Originally posted by AndySmith AndySmith wrote:

Originally posted by SmackDAT SmackDAT wrote:

Viscaria Light lookalike! Maybe it will be what the Viscaria Light never was...

Edit: You got a lot of money to EJ my man Thumbs Up

........Will have to review different socks or edge tape from now on.


I would love to see a review on socksBig smile
>60yo, 60lbs overweight

Darker Speed 90 + Tibhar EL-S / EL-S

When all else fails, there is always delusion.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote AndySmith Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05/24/2017 at 5:49am
Originally posted by Tinykin Tinykin wrote:


I would love to see a review on socksBig smile

Look at these bad boys at Bribar!  It's like they know what I want.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Tinykin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05/24/2017 at 6:17am
Hmmmm. Those look good. I have bought these before and look like good value.

http://www.sportsdirect.com/karrimor-2-pack-running-socks-mens-415254?colcode=41525403


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Darker Speed 90 + Tibhar EL-S / EL-S

When all else fails, there is always delusion.
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