Thursday, November 30, 2006

Review of 729 Higher III vs Faster III

Another excellent review/article by LawOCG comparing 2 of the latest and relatively unknown rubbers by Friendship; 729 Higher III versus Faster III (aka Higher 3 vs Faster 3)

Review of 729 Higher III

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Dawei rubbers are ITTF approved again!

It sounds like Dawei is no longer on the ITTF blacklist, and the ITTF approval status have been restored.

It is interesting though that the range of 388A-2 rubbers, which were taken off the list about 6 months ago, are still NOT back on the list. This means that technically the 388A-2, Sprungfeder 388A-2 and Sprungfeder G3 388A-2 are still not ITTF approved.

Dawei had made assurances previously that these rubber would be approved again in the first half of 2007 approval list.

This is a shame, since these are real nice rubbers, the The sprungfeder 388A-2 is the best I've tried from Dawei so far. Hopefully this is just another mistake...

Have no doubts...this little fight with the ITTF have cost Dawei big time!!!

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Sports directory

I've started a new sports internet directory, with a database of links to various websites, with the emphasis on table tennis. I'll put a lot of table tennis related catagories in there:

Niche sports directory

I plan to do a lot of website promotion for this directory to give it a high page ranking (PR) with search engines. This will boost the page rank of any websites listed in there, and should also speed up the time it takes to get your website indexed.

Feel free to submit a link to your website in there, and if you can put a link to the directory on your website, even better, as it will boost the PR of the directory. Submitting is free of charge!

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Galaxy 896 (aka Yin-he 896)

This is one of the cheaper Galaxy blades, but by NO means a poor quality blade. I think this blade is a bit of a hidden gem, not well known since it does not have a catchy name or fancy looking graphics on the blade, but it has some outstanding properties.

This blade has a very good feel, and the feel is very soft. It has very good touch and is quite effective in the short game.

It is also quite flexible, giving it good power at mid-distance. You can really feel the flex when you hit harder, giving that real catapult feel. I would rate the speed around OFF- to OFF.

This blade really shines when you loop, with the emphasis on spin. It has VERY good dwell time (caused by both the soft feel and the flex), allowing to really 'wind up' and generate huge spin.
It's OK for hitting/driving/blocking as well, but it's not special there.

Probably works best with a medium - hard sponged rubber. The handle is fairly basic, nothing wrong with it, but nothing special either. If you plan to change the rubbers on this bat often, ti would pay to put a light varnish on the face, to protect the soft out fibres that give it it's unique properties...

For those that like to loop with more emphasis on spin and control than speed, I would highly recommend this, especially with the cheap pricetag. It should work real well with medium hardness chinese rubbers, such as 729 higher, cream MRS and many other that fall in this general catagory.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Review of Goldway 968 Stinger Pt 1

I finally had a chance to give this rubber a try. I had tried the cheap chinese version before, but the quality was so poor, and we had so many sheets with some faults, that it was not worth considering. These sheets are the ones specified by Zeropong, and made with a different mould, and are supposed to be much more consistent and better quality.

Well when I took the sheet out of the packet, the quality looked decent, but still not the best I've seen out of China. The plastic protection sheet on top of the rubber had a few folds in it, which can leave a line on the rubber (often only temporary), but this does not affect play so I don't think it's a big issue. I think it happens when rubbers are highly tensioned, and they shrink a little after they're put in the packet. I also noticed the topsheet overhangs the sponge by a few mm on all sides, but this is normal for this rubber.

I tested the rubber on a Dawei Navigator blade, which is a fairly fast blade (OFF to OFF+). The Goldway 968 Stinger was red on a 2.0mm sponge.

Well the rubber is virtually non-tacky, but very grippy. I could get a good amount of spin on my serves, but not as much as tacky chinese rubbers. Looping and driving was quite fast, very fast for a chinese unglued rubber. The tensioning is probably what gives it the speed, and this is very effective.

The throw on loops was quite high, more than what I'm used to, so I had to adjust as to not hit too many over the table. It generated a lot of spin when looped of backspin, and made the ball dip real fast...quite impressive, and it didn't require a lot of effort. Against topspin it did not seem to generate as much spin, but came of fast and the control was quite good. Because the topsheet is virtually non-tacky, it was much less sensitve against incoming spin than my normal tacky rubbers, which made it easier to counter-loop.

Driving hard against fast loops it felt like it might be bottoming out a little, which is not that surprising since the sponge is quite soft, and is only 2.0mm thick. I need to change the bat angle a little and brush more to compensate.

Because I tested this mainly against aggressive loopers in games, I need to have a another go with this rubber to see how it performs in the short game and against choppers.

Not a bad rubber at all, but very euro style which does not suit my personal game...I miss the extra spin I can get on serves with my tacky rubber, but like they way it is less sensitive to incoming spin...

More later....

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Reviews of Faster III and Focus II

Got some new information from a friend who was happy to write up a proper review of the 729 rubbers Faster III and the new FOCUS II. They both sound like very impressive rubbers, fast, spinny and respond well to speed glue. Instead of repeating it here, I'll post the links to the reviews:

Review of Friendship 729 Faster III rubber
Review of Friendship 729 FOCUS II rubber

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Yasaka New Era and Yasaka Zap

This is not exactly a review, but rather some information on these rubbers as a lot of people ask me questions on them.

These rubbers have been around for about a year or so, and only available from China. Some sellers have brought them in from China and are trying to sell them in other markets.

I've tried a few of these, they're not bad, but not all that special either, although I know of a few people that really like them.

The big selling point seemed to be Yasaka Rubber at the price tag of a chinese rubber. Well I'm almost certain that these rubbers are made in China by the Palio factory, and are NOT endorsed or made by Yasaka. Not endorsed would explain why these version are only released in the chinese market, since only China does not appear to have copyright laws. They are NOT of the same quality and consistancy as the other Yasaka rubbers, like Mark V.
The New era has a mildly tacky topsheet, with a range of different sponges, whick are mostly quite firm. They are supposed to have some tension, but I can't really feel it. The different models are basically the same rubbers with different hardness sponges. The Zap is non-tacky (but grippy), also with a range of sponges but in a softer range.

I also found some of the New Era sheets came with the plastic protection firm quite loose, and not attached in some areas. As I mentioned it's not that bad a rubber, but don't expect normal Yasaka quality control. There were also significant differences between different batches, so it's not good in terms of consistancy. I think there are many better chinese rubbers out there personally.

NOTE There is one official version of New Era, which looks very different, and seems to be only available in a few countries, like Germany. This has a cartoon style cover.

Hope this helps...

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

DHS Cloud & Fog 3 Long Pimple rubber review

Well I've had a hit with this one before, and was again quite impressed. The pimples are very soft, quite long, and well spaced out. They are also very grippy. The sponge (1.0mm) is also quite soft.

These parameters is pretty much ideal for long pimple effect such as whobble, since the pimples bend so much.

Blocking again almost any type of spin produced good whobble balls, and cause many opponents to mis-hit the ball. The balls appeared to be floaters with a small degree of spin. Blocking against loops was quite easy and consistant, an open bat face with a slight forward movement produces best results. For heavy topspin the blade needs to be closed a little more.

Chopping away from the table gave good control, but only average spin reversal. Since this is grippy pimple rubber this is to be expected. This long pimpled rubber is fairly fast, so there is some trade- off between control and speed. The 1.0mm sponge would make it faster than the more commonly used 0.5/0.6mm as well.

Attack against backspin was easy and very effective. Chopping with a sidespin action produce very awkward results, once again very effective. Hitting was quite good too, since the grippy surface at leats offered some grip, which allowed you to produce a bit of topspin, providing some control.

Pushing against backspin still allows you to keep the ball if you brush the ball, since the sides of the pimples offer decent grip for some spin.

In conclusion, the is a high quality long pimple rubber, and if you have the skill to control it's VERY effective both for attack and defence. It is certainly not the easiest to control, but if you've tried a few long pimpled rubber and have gained some good experience, and are after something with more of the 'long pimpled' effects, this is worth a try, especially with the cheaper price tag than the japanese / euro options. I probably suits attacking/blocking style players more than defenders/choppers, but it's quite effective for both styles.

NOTE: I used this on an LKT XF balsa blade, which is around OFF and fairly rigid.