Saturday, June 30, 2007

Review DHS C8 long pimple rubber

I testing the C8 red 1.0mm on my Stiga Energy wood today. My main comparison is to my favourite Galaxy 955 0.6mm, on the same same blade.

First impressions: The pimple are quite firm and stiff, a lot more than the other DHS LP Cloud & Fog III. Pimple are fairly tall and skinny, probably close to maximum aspect ratio. It has a 1mm orange sponge, which feels quite firm.
The pimple feel quite grippy when you run your finger over them The sheet looks of good quality.

Testing the rubber:

In general this rubber has very good control, despite the fact that it had a 1.0mm sponge.

Return of serve:
Control was good, was a little sensitive to incoming spin, but not bad at all. The spin reversal is not great on this, it produces more of a dead ball, but the control allowed good placement, and the grip allowed me to keep it real low. Against topspin a quick block was quite easy to and with good control. Against backspin, attacking was harder, it felt a little too fast, probably due to the stiffer pip and harder sponge.

Generate spin:
I did not feel I could generate a lot of spin with this rubber, the pimples are a little stiff and the sponge quite firm, so I don't think it's the best for this. Still as a fake this is not so bad. There WAS enough grip to keep no-spin balls low though, so it's still a fairly grippy pip.

Blocking against loops:
This is where this rubber really shines... the control was fantastic, better than any I've tried so far. It had a bit of a dead feel on passive blocks, so I had little trouble keeping my blocks on the table. Hitting the ball more aggressively worked very well too. The bat must be closed a little, and a forward movement is required, and this could produce fairly fast balls with decent sink...very effective.

Chopping against loops:
This rubber offered good control for this as well, but not as good as the 955. I feel the 1.0mm sponge certainly contributed to this, a 0.6mm would almost certainly improve this control. Spin reversal was very good, and I could certainly very the spin quite well, but I had more trouble keeping the ball on the table.

With the 1.0mm sponge I feel this rubber is great for blockers, and offers good attacking abilities. It has good control in most aspects of the game, and enough control for some effective chopping, but it excels close to the table. The sponge probably contributes as much to this as the pimples do.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Review Higher III

I had a bit of a go with the Higher III rubber from 729. This is the same topsheet as the normal 729 Higher rubber, but with a quality Japanese sponge.

As mentioned before in other higher III reviews, this rubber is indeed a great looping rubber, but this is not all it's good at...

The Japanese sponge feels quite different to the normal higher transcend sponge... a fair bit softer and more flexible. A single layer of my Tibhar long laster glue gave it a huge dome, and softened it up a fair bit more again.

My loops had a loud clicking sound... with plenty of pace and great spin. It felt much more like a euro type looping rubber, as I needed to dig the ball into the rubber a little more to get the speed and lift, or it would go into the net. Once I got used to this it felt great!

The surface of the rubber is tacky, but only mildly. This made is very good for serves and the short game.

Blocking and counter looping was awesome, and it seemed quite insensitive to incoming spin... Also smashing was great...I felt like I could not miss...

Chopping and the short game was quite controllable, which is good for a glued up rubber.

Unfortunately I did not try it unglued, so i can't comments on how much improvement there was from the gluing....

JUIC Masterspin Special Part 2

Although this rubber does not really suit my style, my review may not be that comprehensive or complete, but I figure it's better than nothing, so here it goes:

Firstly as a long pimple player I was amazed by how well I could drop shots with this JUIC rubber! On slow blocking or touch it's slower than my long pimple rubber!

It has very good grip, almost tacky, allowing me to impart fairly heavy backspin, similar to a spinny short pimple rubber.

Returning serve worked well too, I could even flip some short backspin
serves. The grip and soft feel really help here. It was a little sensitive to incoming spin, but this was to be expected of course... you can't have it both ways!

Against loops I could chop, but it felt quite a bit faster then, so harder to control, I don't think this rubber is ideal for this, but it's certainly possible, especially on a slower blade.

Blocking against loops was consistent with good control. There was little spin reversal, most balls returned had no spin, which still troubled my opponent.

Once I started hitting harder it really picked up in speed, and felt a lot like a spinny short pimple rubber. It attacked very much like a spinny short pip, but not all that fast... until the blade came into it, and then there was plenty of power.

All in all I was quite impressed with the rubber, particularly the touch in the short game. It's probably more like a short pip than a long pip, but is slower and grippier than most short pips and offers excellent control and touch....

Saturday, June 23, 2007

JUIC Masterspin Special

This is a review of the JUIC Masterspin Special 1.0mm red, thanks to a friend who lent me his bat (Thanks Alan if you read this!)

First impressions:

It looks like a quality sheet. Pimples feel soft, flexible and fairly grippy. As you can see from the picture, they are conical near the base and then cylindrical towards the tip.

Pimples are probably somewhere between and short and medium pip.

Sponge is yellow, feels fairly soft, but hard to judge the hardness of a thin sheet. The sheet has a strong smell of some sort of glue.

I would expect this to behave much more like a short pip than medium/long...

After gluing it onto a blade, a
729 Hao Shuai Champion Carbon Blade it actually felt quite soft and a little slow, which was a little surprising. It may be because the pimple are a little tacky, gripping the ball.

Review will follow shortly...

Friday, June 08, 2007

Long pimple ban update

There have now been several 'unofficial' announcements that the treated long pimple ban will be effective as of 1st July 2008. A list of affected rubber will be produced.

Of course a large number of long pimple rubbers will NOT be affected. Most, if not all, of the long pimple rubbers by Dr Neubauer and Hallmark will most likely be banned and well a a range of other obvious frictionless rubbers.

There is still no official announcement by the ITTF...

The long pimples ban

The long pimple ban

The proposal by the ITTF to ban certain long pimple rubbers was announced well over a year ago now. The reasoning was that some long pimple rubbers were treated, making the tips of the pimples less grippy then the sides, producing different spin depending on how far you bend the pimples. The rubber properties are supposed to be consistent throughout, so they propose these types of rubbers should be banned.

Trouble is, it very hard to test if a rubber is treated or not. Because most of the treated pimples were designed to have little to no friction on the tips, the ITTF proposed to simply set a minimum friction level for long pimpled rubber, anything below it would be illegal. A device that could measure the friction coefficient was not too hard to design, and could be used at tournament for testing. They admitted that this may result in some non-treated rubber to be banned as well, but this did not seem to bother them…

Since this announcement there has been very little information or discussions by the ITTF, although it’s is a very common topic among long pimple players. Players that are currently using frictionless are lost, and can’t plan their future rubbers because they fear it might be banned. Similarly manufacturers don’t know what criteria to use to design new, or modify their existing long pimples to meet the new criteria. Retailers don’t know what to stock, since any banned rubbers will be very hard to sell.

Firstly I question the reasoning behind the actual proposal. Long pimple players are already a minority, frictionless players even smaller, so can it really be in the interest of the players and the sport in general to ban these rubbers? I know there have been a few letters written to the ITTF with objections to the proposed ban. Most of these were ignored because they did not come through the right channels. Some have been discussed in the ITTF forum, but I have not seen a solid reason that makes a real case for me.

The ITTF feels justified by the decision, since the proposal was initiated by players themselves. However I wonder how many long pimple players were part of this proposal by players? Where they even consulted or given an opportunity to defend their position? Since long pimple players are a minority, they only have a small voice. Many inverted players may not care about this decision, or are happy because they struggle playing against this type of rubber. But is this a good enough reason for the ITTF to ban them? It’s a right of the players that’s being taken away here, and this should not be taken lightly!

Secondly I think it’s outrageous that the ITTF proposal was made so long ago, and still no more details have been provided. It’s left manufacturers, retailers and most importantly PLAYERS in limbo for a long time!

I have recently heard some rumours that some of the manufacturers have been given some more details about minimum friction level, and a list of rubbers that may be banned. Assuming this is true, has there been any announcement by the ITTF for the players who they are supposed to represent… I think not!

I can’t help but think that the decisions made by the ITTF over the years have been more political than anything, or somehow motivated by money, since many did not seem to benefit the players or the sport at all! I’m sure money had a lot to do with it… so if you want to know answers, see who benefits from the decisions… follow the money…!