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Yasaka Rakza Z Series Rubbers

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    Posted: 06/02/2020 at 12:37pm
This is my review of the 2 new rubbersfrom Yasaka

Rakza Z









Rakza Z Extra Hard













 
It took me quite sometime to have something from Yasaka again. The last items I have reviewed were Rakza 9 and Rakza 9 soft with Yasaka Galaxya. Olle from Woodhouse Tranas contacted me to try the new Rakza Z rubbers. It took a while to receive the parcel from Sweden because of the Covid crisis around the world. In the first few days, I was only testing this using the return board but was fortunate to have the community lockdown ease up a little bit and people whom I played can come over to my place and play with me. Only regret I have is that at that time the Falck blades were still not available at that time so I choose to have my favorite Yasaka blade, Yasaka Ma Lin Soft Carbon to use as a blade in the test instead.
 
Specs of the 2 rubbers:
 
Rakza Z
Weight: 74 grams (approximate uncut)
52 grams cut to a size of 157x150mm
Speed: Off+
Thickness: Max
Hardness: 50 -52 degrees approx.
 
Rakza Z Extra Hard
Weight: 76 grams (approximate uncut)
54 grams cut to a size of 157x150mm
Speed: Off+
Thickness: Max
Hardness: 53-57degrees approx.
 
I was excited to test the rubbers since I heard they have a tacky topsheet. I opened the packaging and the rubbers have a plastic sheet covering sticking to the topsheet. I opened both the Rakza Z and Rakza Z Extra Hard and I could tell immediately that it is semi-tacky. I wiped the topsheets of both rubbers with wet sponge because I wanted to see how tacky it is after the initial cleaning. I can say that the tackiness or stickiness of the rubbers is not in the level of Chinese rubbers. The Yasaka Do rubber that Yasaka had before in their arsenal was way extremely tacky and was one of the tackiest rubbers I have encountered. The tackiness is lesser than that of the Hurricane 3 or Rising/Shining Dragon rubbers. I could compare the tackiness near to DHS Tin Arc rubbers or Stiga Genesis rubbers. The 2 rubbers are distinguished by their sponge colors. The regular Rakza Z has a creamy white sponge while the Rakza Z Extra Hard has an orange sponge. The pores are quite small or minute compared to the pores of Yasaka Rakza 7 rubbers. I know that Yasaka advertised both rubbers with a range of hardness but with my personal estimate and comparison with other ESN rubbers, the regular Rakza Z felt about 50 or 51 degrees while the Rakza Z Extra Hard felt it was like 55 degrees. The topsheet like other 50 degree or harder rubbers has a short pimple structure reminiscent of Chinese rubbers.
 
Speed
 
Both rubbers are very fast. The speed is evident on both rubbers the moment you do forehand to forehand drive warm up drills. I would say that the speed is evident because personally, the Yasaka Ma Lin Soft Carbon is not a super fast blade. I would rate it as an Off blade and not an Off+ blade. It is more of a controlled looping blade with a medium-soft feel and flex. When compared to the Rakza 7, the regular Rakza Z is faster with an obvious gap. I would say the speed of the regular Rakza Z is comparable to the Rakza 9 regular. The Rakza Z Extra Hard is even faster since the very hard sponge has a lot of speed potential when you know how to compress the sponge properly in your shots. If you compare it with Tenergy rubbers, the regular Rakza Z seems faster than Tenergy 05 but slower than Tenergy 64 while the Extra Hard version seems like equal or faster than Tenergy 64.
 
Spin
 
The Rakza Z rubbers are one of the spiniest ESN rubbers in the market right now. If the Rakza Z series has a very obvious characteristic, it is spin and tons of spin. I believe the rubbers in the market have evolved to having semi-tacky/full tacky from just being grippy. I have told people about this story that happened years ago. I suggested to a rubber company with ESN rubber products that maybe they can produce a rubber that has a tacky or semi-tacky topsheet over an ESN sponge. You get the spin of a Hurricane 3 rubber while having the speed of fast ESN rubbers. The idea got rejected saying that it was not good or practical, rubbers would lose speed and such. Nowadays, ESN sponges are going on the harder spectrum with some even reaching 60 degrees with sticky or tacky topsheet. I have 2 points on this situation. One is that the way to go if you wanted a higher amount of spin for rubbers, you would need to be tacky. Having a hard sponge and short pip structure sometimes affect the amount of spin produced if the topsheet is not tacky. I have tried very hard rubbers with same pip structures but are not tacky, the spin is way less and also you would need to compress the sponge harder just to produce a good amount of spin. Second, I think this is a way also to go into the path of having a faster Hurricane 3-like rubber. DHS Hurricane 3 is not easy to use even if you have the skills but did not boost it because
It takes a lot of effort to produce speed even at higher levels. So I am seeing rubbers that have Chinese rubber-like characteristics but with speed or power that an ESN rubber offers or what we call having “hybrid properties” having the best of both worlds. To compare the spin, both rubbers have more spin than Tenergy 05. Both are as spinny as Hurricane 3 with a higher arc. The regular Rakza Z has a slightly higher arc than the Extra Hard version. If I compare it to Tenergy 05, both rubbers have a lesser arc when doing loops. I looped the balls both underspin and topspin with almost a closed angle and it was not hard to lift especially underspin balls. Both rubbers are excellent in both serving and pushing strokes. The tacky topsheet emulates pushing underspin balls like using a Chinese rubber or serving using one.
 
Control
 
I was intrigued that I saw a video seeing the Rakza Z rubber users having difficulty in controlling the rubbers. I removed the rubbers from the Ma Lin Soft Carbon and place it in a hinoki carbon-aramid blade that is on the off+ speed just to check and verify. The combination is sure very fast with the Rakza Z Extra Hard edging the regular version by a few notches. The combination was very bouncy and in my opinion, it takes a bit of skill to fully control the Z series rubbers if you are using a very fast blade like pure carbon blades that are stiff and fast. You would see the ball fly out of the table. However, I see 2 simple solutions on this issue. One, having tacky topsheets, it is better to use the Z series rubbers with a closed angle like when looping with a Chinese rubber. Two, use an off level blade that has more flex. Rubbers nowadays are already very fast so using super fast carbon blades is not that practical anymore. When blocking, you needed to have a closed angle also with the 2 rubbers. The topsheet like any other tacky rubber has some sensitivity to incoming spin that is why it takes a bit of advanced level of skill.
 
 
Smashing
It is not as hard to smash balls compared to using Hurricane 3 rubbers. I find the Extra Hard version more powerful to smash with while the regular version is more user-friendly. Both rubbers are outstanding in smashes and spin drives.
 
Overall Impression
 
Both the Rakza Z and Rakza Z Extra Hard rubbers are for advanced level players. If you really wanted to use these 2 rubbers but is still learning the basic strokes, I would choose another Rakza rubber like Rakza 7 or to some extent a thinner version of Rakza Z like 2.0mm or thinner if available. Overall, the rubber is surprisingly outstanding and was not expecting to be just another “meehhh” rubber produced by ESN.
 
 
 






Independent online TT Product reviewer of XIOM, STIGA, JOOLA, SANWEI, GEWO, AIR, ITC, APEX, YASAKA and ABROS

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Skynet Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06/02/2020 at 2:12pm
Outstanding review, yogi. Thank you.
I for myself am very interested in the regular Rakza Z and since I'm more of an allwood-guy, I'd like to know if the Rakza Z would match well with blades such as Avalox P500, Clipper CR and Tibhar Akkad? Also, are these rubbers heavily boosted (strong smell detectable like Evolution or something like that)?


Edited by Skynet - 06/02/2020 at 2:12pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote yogi_bear Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06/02/2020 at 2:22pm
Originally posted by Skynet Skynet wrote:

Outstanding review, yogi. Thank you.
I for myself am very interested in the regular Rakza Z and since I'm more of an allwood-guy, I'd like to know if the Rakza Z would match well with blades such as Avalox P500, Clipper CR and Tibhar Akkad? Also, are these rubbers heavily boosted (strong smell detectable like Evolution or something like that)?

They are factory boosted and there is some doming observed albeit only minor one. It could go well with eother 5 or 7 ply allwood blades. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote Skynet Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06/02/2020 at 2:25pm
Originally posted by yogi_bear yogi_bear wrote:

Originally posted by Skynet Skynet wrote:

Outstanding review, yogi. Thank you.
I for myself am very interested in the regular Rakza Z and since I'm more of an allwood-guy, I'd like to know if the Rakza Z would match well with blades such as Avalox P500, Clipper CR and Tibhar Akkad? Also, are these rubbers heavily boosted (strong smell detectable like Evolution or something like that)?

They are factory boosted and there is some doming observed albeit only minor one. It could go well with eother 5 or 7 ply allwood blades. 


Nice, thank you again. Will get myself a sheet or two of Rakza Z as soon as my dealer has them available.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote yogi_bear Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06/03/2020 at 4:26pm
i like the Extra Hard on fhe Ma Lin Soft Carbon
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote guni4you Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06/03/2020 at 5:01pm
Hey Yogi,

How hard is extra hard compared to tenergy 05 hard and Hurricane 3 39 hardness
Originally posted by yogi_bear yogi_bear wrote:

i like the Extra Hard on fhe Ma Lin Soft Carbon
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote yogi_bear Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06/04/2020 at 2:45am
Originally posted by guni4you guni4you wrote:

Hey Yogi,

How hard is extra hard compared to tenergy 05 hard and Hurricane 3 39 hardness
Originally posted by yogi_bear yogi_bear wrote:

i like the Extra Hard on fhe Ma Lin Soft Carbon

It feels closer to a 39 degree H3 overall because the topsheet is medium soft. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gaurav75 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09/04/2020 at 2:14pm
Very nice review. How do you think the rubbers ( Rakza z and Extra hard)will play on a Butterfly Viscaria?
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Hello,
Could you please compare Rakza Z with Donic BlueGrip R1?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote fmarek Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09/05/2020 at 8:15am
Played with Z on ALC blade. My impressions were not positive at all. Not hard and not soft. Not tacky and not just grippy - somewhere in the middle. Felt like aged dry pancake :) I personally would not buy. 

In the same session, immediately before and after Z I also tired D09C and T05H. Going from D09C on ZLC blade to Z on ALC blade felt immediate loss in speed and step up in control on lazy shots. Did not notice any significant difference in spin. On fully committed shots all these combinations did not produce speed and spin I was expecting, ball flew reasonably fast but not proportional to the effort I was putting in. I really feel sorry for ESN enthusiasts, people developed their games using T05 or alike and now following a dubious trend for ESN "hard". None of rubbers I mentioned felt hard. They are labeled round H50 but felt like mushy pillows :)

What Rakza calls "extra hard" is probably somewhat close to the medium hardness (Z is not hard, T05H is not hard and Xiom O5 Asia is also not hard. Well, "not hard" does not mean products play bad, but they play far from what hard rubbers do. Rakza 7, Mantra M, T05 - their original versions produce more spin and I find them better in most of game situations comparing to these supposedly improved hardened variations.

I speak not as an expert, I have just 2 yrs of active play including 16 months of active weekly coaching which is on going. By Korean coach who is staying away from advising me on rubber selection. My view is not influenced but rather formed based on my given experience.

I favour Chinese labelling, what they call "hard" is hard. It feels hard, it plays hard and makes ball fly like hit by hard rubber. Wha tis important - it changes your playing style to take advantage of hard rubber, well ... and of course - it's hard to play LOL. What do we expect from hard rubber - speed and power. More energy in the ball. And that is exactly I could not observe in products mentioned above. Z, T05H and others did not cause me to change my playing style when transitioning between 7 and Z, or from T05 to T05H, D09C. Did not produce any faster or deadlier balls. So called tackiness did not make lifting any easier. Cannot deny - short push game around the net is easier but less dangerous due to drop in spin.

In the slightly tacky department the following cheap rubbers plays way faster being truly medium hard and truly semi tacky hybrids:

K2
HK1997 Gold
Target 90 Red
Presto MAX (that one is not tacky)

Unfortunately they are not trendy, these cannot compete with original ESNs but certainly beat all "hardened" versions of original ESNs - in spin, in speed and in soft touch.

These are my 2 cents of hardness in ESN, don't take it hard though.
Stiga Rosewood XO, FH: Sanwei Target National MAX, BH: 729 Presto MAX Spin
Stiga Celero, FH: DHS Hurricane 8 H40, BH: 729 Presto MAX Spin
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Skynet Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09/05/2020 at 11:32am
Originally posted by fmarek fmarek wrote:


In the slightly tacky department the following cheap rubbers plays way faster being truly medium hard and truly semi tacky hybrids:

K2
HK1997 Gold
Target 90 Red
Presto MAX (that one is not tacky)

Unfortunately they are not trendy, these cannot compete with original ESNs but certainly beat all "hardened" versions of original ESNs - in spin, in speed and in soft touch.

These are my 2 cents of hardness in ESN, don't take it hard though.


K2 is made by ESN, just saying...but yes, it is somewhat underrated and unfortunately only available in max. (2.3 mm); slightly too heavy for my taste.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote yogi_bear Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09/05/2020 at 6:07pm
Originally posted by fmarek fmarek wrote:

Played with Z on ALC blade. My impressions were not positive at all. Not hard and not soft. Not tacky and not just grippy - somewhere in the middle. Felt like aged dry pancake :) I personally would not buy. 

In the same session, immediately before and after Z I also tired D09C and T05H. Going from D09C on ZLC blade to Z on ALC blade felt immediate loss in speed and step up in control on lazy shots. Did not notice any significant difference in spin. On fully committed shots all these combinations did not produce speed and spin I was expecting, ball flew reasonably fast but not proportional to the effort I was putting in. I really feel sorry for ESN enthusiasts, people developed their games using T05 or alike and now following a dubious trend for ESN "hard". None of rubbers I mentioned felt hard. They are labeled round H50 but felt like mushy pillows :)

What Rakza calls "extra hard" is probably somewhat close to the medium hardness (Z is not hard, T05H is not hard and Xiom O5 Asia is also not hard. Well, "not hard" does not mean products play bad, but they play far from what hard rubbers do. Rakza 7, Mantra M, T05 - their original versions produce more spin and I find them better in most of game situations comparing to these supposedly improved hardened variations.

I speak not as an expert, I have just 2 yrs of active play including 16 months of active weekly coaching which is on going. By Korean coach who is staying away from advising me on rubber selection. My view is not influenced but rather formed based on my given experience.

I favour Chinese labelling, what they call "hard" is hard. It feels hard, it plays hard and makes ball fly like hit by hard rubber. Wha tis important - it changes your playing style to take advantage of hard rubber, well ... and of course - it's hard to play LOL. What do we expect from hard rubber - speed and power. More energy in the ball. And that is exactly I could not observe in products mentioned above. Z, T05H and others did not cause me to change my playing style when transitioning between 7 and Z, or from T05 to T05H, D09C. Did not produce any faster or deadlier balls. So called tackiness did not make lifting any easier. Cannot deny - short push game around the net is easier but less dangerous due to drop in spin.

In the slightly tacky department the following cheap rubbers plays way faster being truly medium hard and truly semi tacky hybrids:

K2
HK1997 Gold
Target 90 Red
Presto MAX (that one is not tacky)

Unfortunately they are not trendy, these cannot compete with original ESNs but certainly beat all "hardened" versions of original ESNs - in spin, in speed and in soft touch.

These are my 2 cents of hardness in ESN, don't take it hard though.

FYI, the Z series sells really good among newer ESN rubbers now and opposite to what you are saying mostly. People like the rubber especially they can buy something cheaper than Dignics09c. 


Edited by yogi_bear - 09/05/2020 at 6:12pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote vvk1 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09/06/2020 at 7:00am
Originally posted by Skynet Skynet wrote:

Originally posted by fmarek fmarek wrote:


In the slightly tacky department the following cheap rubbers plays way faster being truly medium hard and truly semi tacky hybrids:

K2
HK1997 Gold
Target 90 Red
Presto MAX (that one is not tacky)

Unfortunately they are not trendy, these cannot compete with original ESNs but certainly beat all "hardened" versions of original ESNs - in spin, in speed and in soft touch.

These are my 2 cents of hardness in ESN, don't take it hard though.


K2 is made by ESN, just saying...but yes, it is somewhat underrated and unfortunately only available in max. (2.3 mm); slightly too heavy for my taste.

K2 is awesome. IMO, Tibhar made a mistake restricting its sales to China only.


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote fmarek Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09/06/2020 at 9:49am
Originally posted by yogi_bear yogi_bear wrote:

FYI, the Z series sells really good among newer ESN rubbers now and opposite to what you are saying mostly. People like the rubber especially they can buy something cheaper than Dignics09c. 

Thanks yogi, there could be few factors why Z is being welcomed in the market, price is a big reason too. Btw I am not playing too far from the table, maybe these hardened variations make it easier to shoot from the distance, I dont know. I am not at that level to evaluate it. But what I felt when hitting harder with these - increase in speed was not proportional to the force applied, makes you wonder what is the point ...
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Stiga Celero, FH: DHS Hurricane 8 H40, BH: 729 Presto MAX Spin
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote yogi_bear Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09/06/2020 at 12:07pm
it acts like a Chinese rubber so it is not as fast compared to non-tacky rubbers. 
Independent online TT Product reviewer of XIOM, STIGA, JOOLA, SANWEI, GEWO, AIR, ITC, APEX, YASAKA and ABROS

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