Sunday, October 29, 2006

Gambler Aces and Peace Keeper Review

I just tried the new Gambler Aces rubber, and it reminds me of LKT XT (and also Giant Dragon superspin), although a lot tackier and firmer sponge than the XT. I found it a decent control rubber unglued, quite spinny, but not all that fast.
I glued it up with a thick layer of tibhar RCD, and after an hour I got a huge dome! Although this made it a fair bit faster, it still didn't have the same click or feel as a glued up XT.
Not a bad rubber from Gambler...

I also tried the peace keeper on 1.0mm, which is like a medium pimple. I find it hard to review this, since I struggle playing with attack style pimpled rubber, I only play with long pimples.
With the 1.0mm it was quite good for chopping, although a little fast, but with some spin reversal when chopped lightly. Blocking was good and easy, producing short dead balls for open faced blocks, and some topspin when you come over the ball a little...very effective. Hitting was very much like a short pimple that's not too grippy, also quite effecive.
Again not a bad effort, I'm sure it would suit some.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Review: Globe 888 1.8mm Red Medium pimple

Globe 888 1.8mm Red Medium pimple

A friend was kind enough to lend me this rubber so that I could try it (thanks Alan!)

Medium size grippy pimples on a 38deg fairly soft sponge. Tested on a HAO Shuai Champion carbon blade.

Pushing – great for this, was able to keep the ball low, with a moderate amount of spin. It has very good control in the short game, even on this carbon blade.

Chopping – against loops this gave reasonable control with some spin reversal. A slower wooden blade would no doubt improve this, since the dwell time would have been much better. It certainly does not offer them same control and a long pimple rubber, but it’s a lot better than most short pimples I have tried.

Against backspin – I could loop balls with moderate backspin and get some topspin. For heavier backspin I need to open the blade more. However against backspin it was surprisingly easy to hit the ball, long pimple style. This tell me there is decent spin reversal since the ball was dropping.

Against topspin – This felt a lot like short pimples, able to hit straight through the ball without having to worry about the spin too much. It was quite good for this. Blocking was also surprisingly easy, similar to short pimples.

In conclusion I found it to be a very versatile rubber, with a moderate amount of deception. It’s more of an offensive than defensive rubber, but it has plenty of control for chopping or pushing, and offers some of the deceptive abilities that long pimpled rubbers offer.

Review: HAO Shuai Champion carbon blade

HAO Shuai Champion carbon blade

A friend was kind enough to lend me this blade so that I could try it (thanks Alan!)

This is one of the latest and top blades from Friendship. I found the quality to be very good, and it’s light weight around 80g. The handle is a little thicker than many of their blades, and is very comfortable.

The blade is not as fast as many carbon blades, but it has excellent feel and control. It feel much softer than most carbon blades I have tried, and does not have much vibration.

I found it best for hitting and blocking (as with most carbon blades), but better than most carbon blades for looping, and I could get decent spin. Even chopping was an option, but the reduced dwell time of carbon blades gave it a little less control for this.

In conclusion it’s a very nice light weight carbon blade with a comfortable handle. It has a soft feel for a carbon blade, making it suitable for looping, but it’s best for driving/hitting and blocking style game.

Review: Palio Emperor Dragon rubber

Palio Emperor Dragon rubber.

A friend was kind enough to lend me this rubber so that I could try it (thanks Silver!)

This rubber is quite similar to some of the other Palio rubbers I have tried. It seems Very similar to the Yasaka (not endorced by Yasaka Japan) New Era (42-44deg) or Zap rubbers, which I believe is made in the same Palio factory, and all the markings look the same.

The topsheet is quite thin, and very slightly tacky, which wears off after a few sessions. The sponge is a little firm, probably around 41-42deg, which is what it was marked with.

I found this a pretty decent rubber allround, not all that fast but good control. Good for looping, hitting and pushing, but not really special in any way. I had it glued on with a single thick layer of speed glue, but there did not appear to be much effect there, perhaps it needs a few more layers.

Conclusion - A bit of a euro like rubber which is pretty good alround, but the cheaper pricetag is the main attraction.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

More new stuff to test... Phew...

Got a bunch of things to try in the next few weeks:
New rubbers but Gambler:
Four Kings
Peace Keeper (some sort of pip)

Also the new Euro version of the Goldway 916 and 968, aka Destroyer and Stinger

Also some new blades from Xi-Enting. These blade look and sound really impressive. They have laser etched pictures on the blade face which looks great. They also have numerous impressive sounding patented high-tech bits on them, like honey-comb structure, something injected into the handle, some special vibrations control, and also materials like titanium and some sort of ceramic.

I hope to get some feel of them to see if they're anywhere near as impressive as they sound!

Globe 999 National version

Luckily I managed to save a sheet of this for myself bef0re they were all sold! I got a black 2.2mm one which I normally use on my FH.

The topsheet was tacky but not ultra tacky like the normal Globe 999. I hear the red topsheet is almost non-tacky, but I have not tried this myself. The spongeof mine is dark blue, and is marked with the special stamp, and marked 38deg (or was it 39?). It felt a fair bit harder than that to me, more like 41-42, but it all depends on what you compare it to and what scale was used.

Since I feel this rubber is usually used speed glued, I decided to try that straight away as well (apart from the fact that I could hardly wait to try it!). I primed it with a few layers of normal speed glue, left it to stretch and shrink back overnight, than glued it up with my Tibhar Rapid Clean Delux. The first thick layer produced almost no dome, but a second thin layer (an hour later) produced a decent dome. I put it on my slow blade (Stiga Energy) since I was afraid it would be too fast on my faster blades. I did not stretch the rubber onto the blade, and the gluing hardly strechted it either.

Well the rubber played VERY nice! I had great control in the short game (where the glued up sponge did not have much impact), and felt awesome on loops. I hit my counter loops (against my ball machine with a moderate amount of topspin set) harder and harder, but they seemed to get spinnier so they still dropped. Hitting/driving felt really nice too, as with most harder sponged rubber.

Against chop I found the throw a little lower than I expected, and had to hit through the ball a little more to get then over. These too produced very good spin.

This rubber has the most gears of any rubber I have tried. A full on hit/drive comes off very fast, but on the other hand I still have enough control to chop with it as well.

The second time I glued it up (almost a week later), it got a good dome with the first thick layer of glue. This time I rolled it onto the blade a little harder, and was surprised to see it streched about 8mm whgich was not my intention! Playing comp that night, it felt a little too fast for me, but toward the end of the night I started to adjust. I think I won't stretch it at all in the future, since it's already plenty fast for me, and I'd rather get a little more control.

No doubt I'm a little excited with this rubber, and may make it sound a little better than it really is. I will continue using it to see if I can find any weaknesses, and hope to adjust to it even better. I think this rubber will prove a great success for Globe.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Avalox 989D Ball machine Pt 2

Well I've finally found some time to muck around with the ball machine, and I'm quite happy with it! The manual could certainly have a lot more information though!

The head with the 2 spinning wheels can rotate 90deg, so you can do topspin, chop, pure sidespin and a combination of them. To get topspin I just pointed the head over the net, put the bottom wheel to 0 and the top wheel to about 4. This gave pretty decent topspin, great for practice. Higher setting I'll play with later, since I would need to adjust the head a little to keep the ball on the table.

It took me a while to work out how to get backspin. You need to point the head down onto the table on the machine's side, then make it bounch over the net. the top wheel need to be set to 0, and the bottom wheel anywhere between about 3-9. It produce a lot of backspin on higher settings, and even on lower settings it had enough backspin to give me trouble to loop them over the net.

The head can move from side to side, either spitting out ball to fixed or random positions. This seem to work quite well too. I had a good practice session against topspin, really moving me around.

The spin and height of the balls is not exactly the same everytime (but close), which is actually good since it makes me watch the ball better.

I have not yet tried no-spin balls, but I'm sure it can do this quite easily. Being a long pimple player this feature is alos important.

I have not yet tried to move the head post up or down, and I'm not sure if it's meant to be adjustable, but I'll try that next time.

I'm really happy with the machine now, since it can do the main things tht i want it to do. I'll have to experiment more to see what else it can do.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Ball Machine

Finally got a ball machine, picked it up when I was on Holidays in Taiwan. It's an Avalox 989D. It's got all the basic features, but also since it's got 2 spinning wheels, it can do 'no-spin' balls and should be able to create spin relatively independent of speed (and vice versa).

It was a big box to bring back on the plane, weighed 22kg. Lucky there was 4 of us, or we would have been well over our weight limit.

Hope this beat will help me practice some shots that I've been working on, and the net system will be good for practicing serves... the most important part of my game.

Since we (well my wife actually) run a table shop, it's going to be real handy to have a ball machine for systematic testing and comparing of rubbers and blades... might take me a while to get it all set up though.. but that's part of the fun.

I will take some pictures and do a review as soon as I've got it set up... can't wait!!!