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Victas Koki Niwa Review

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    Posted: 06/19/2017 at 5:15am
Thanks for your review and for participating in our equipment testing program! :) 

In case someone's interested, we also had one of our guest bloggers Patrick Hrdlicka test this blade for a week and write an in-depth review about it. You can find it here:

Edited by tabletennis11 - 06/20/2017 at 10:33am
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Preamble: Thanks to Slevin and for allowing me to test the Koki Niwa blade. This blade will be send to the next reviewer so my impressions are free of any sort of 'sponsorship' or 'acquired taste'.

There are very few things to complain about when it comes to the finishing of the Koki Niwa blade. Perhaps the sanding on the handle could be a little better. The sanding job is not the same quality than the top BTY or Nexy blades. Overall thou, the material selection appears to be high quality and well put together. The Koki Niwa is a 9 ply blades, 5 wood plies and 4 composite plies, but whats really unique is that it uses different composite materials to compliment each other. Close to the core there is a traditional aramid carbon layer but closer to the outer plies is another composite layer made out of fleece carbon, a much softer, more elastic mesh that is supposed to enable this stiff blade to develop significant amounts of spin.

Initial Impressions (no rubbers)
Bouncing the ball on the blade, it's immediately clear that this is not a slow blade. It has a weird combination of being crisp and soft at the same time. Perhaps this is the effect of the two different composite materials used in this blade.

Test Setups
1) FH: Karis M 2.0 - BH: Karis M 2.0
2) FH: Stiga Mantra M - BH: BTY Rozena

Playing Impressions
Immediately, the Victas Koki Niwa (VKN) reminded me of the Butterfly Viscaria. There is something about this blade that makes it feel very familiar if you've ever used a Viscaria. The touch play with the VKN takes a little time to get used to because the blade itself is very stiff and the contact is very crisp. Perhaps this is subjective to me given that I usually play with softer blades. 

The blade feels more wooden than a Viscaria during touch play but feels more composite when you turn up the speed/power. Once you step away from the table, you notice that the VKN has more speed potential than i.e. the Viscaria. I would put it on the same level as a MJ ZLC - so a fast to very fast blade.

When it comes to spin, this is clearly not the spinniest blade that you can buy. Thats not to say you can't hit great top spins with it - you can, but I think its generally more suited for a "hitting" player than a "brushing" player. Comparing the spin to the Vega Pro for example, my playing partner commented on the balls being faster but that less rotation was in the shot so I'm pretty sure that this goes being my subjective impression of the ball flight and curve.

Speaking about curve, the VKN is definitely a more direct blade with a direct bounce path and lower throw/catapult.

Speed: Clearly OFF; mid to high on the spectrum.

Control: Short game is very controllable due to the directness of the blade. I found it harder to control loops, especially away from the table because it was hard for me to find an arch that I was comfortable with. Quite a few balls went long.

Rubber Impressions: In my opinion, this blade isn't very suited for soft rubbers. I think something in the medium to medium-hard range will satisfy a lot of players. The the ultra hardcore, you could pair this with something like the MX-P or Chinese Rubbers for a real hit&run machine. I reckon the speed that is achievable - if you can control it - would be quite magnificent.

Conclusion: The Koki Niwa is clearly a blade for advanced players. If you have good technique and feel comfortable controlling the ball, especially away form the table, and if you game style revolves around killer-balls with little to no setup and you have a driving/hitting stroke, this could be a very good blade for you. If you are brushing the ball a lot and you base your game more around finesse and pure power, I do think that this isn't the best blade for you. It's kind of weird, the Koki Niwa is in some ways a little schizophrenic: it can either be a brilliant blade or it can be mediocre, depending on you, the user.
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