Friday, November 23, 2007

Is JUIC Ecolo Expander II still worthwhile?

With the introduction of a variety of VOC free speed glue alternatives, some have said that the JUIC Ecolo Expander II (EEII) is no longer a viable option for those looking a little more performance out of their rubber.

I don’t agree and I do think the EEII has it's place, but it can't compete in terms of speed glue effect. It really depends on what you’re looking for and what you expectation are… and the trouble is… most people don’t know…

For those that currently speed glue their rubbers with a few layers, and looking for a VOC free alternative, I would not recommend the EEII, as the effect is simply not strong enough. These people would be better off looking at other VOC free alternatives, like the VOC free glue Falco Tempo Unlimited or sponge treatment liquids like Falco Tempo Booster or Tibhar Clean Tuning, as the effect of these really is very close to several layers of speed glue.

However for those that perhaps use a light layer of speed glue, or have not glued before and are looking for a little extra performance of their rubber, the EEII is a very good option. It stretches the rubber quite a bit, and softens the sponge by a few degrees, and it does have the feel of a lightly glued rubber. Also don’t forget that the effect of EEII is pretty much permanent for the life of the rubber, so you treat it once, and the effect remains for a few months! Not only that, but since the liquid is very thin and spread out so easily, only very little is used per application, so a single bottle may well last you for many years!

I think part of the problem is also that people do not know how to use the EEII properly or do not fully utilize it’s potential. The instructions provided by the manufacturer are quite brief, and there are quite a few variables that that affect the performance. Not only that, but the liquid is very thin, and if you’re not careful it can leak to the topsheet which does not do it any good. However when used properly with a few simple precautions, it’s quite easy to apply, and can be very effective.

Another property of the EEII that is often overlooked is how it can soften and loosen up a sheet, that may otherwise be quite stiff and takes time to wear in. This is most common among a range of Chinese style rubber. A simple EEII treatment will immediately make the sheet more responsive / dynamic. Yet another useful property is that it makes the sheet more reactive to glue… although I don’t know if this applies to VOC free glues. So as a pre-treatment for a rubber you’re going to speed glue, it is not bad option.

So in my opinion the EEII is still a very good product, but simply not for everyone. The cost is low compared to any other type of rubber enhancing products, and a single little bottle is likely to last you for years.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Update on Falco Booster on Globe 999 National rubber

I wrote earlier about using the Falco Booster on my Globe 999 National rubber, and how I was very impressed with it. Well I've used it for over 2 weeks now, and the effect is still great! I feel it's really helping my game having a glued up rubber that feels the same all the time...

I suspect it will last till the end of 3 weeks, after which I'll remove it and re-apply 1-2 layers of booster to see if I can get the same effect. Less booster is supposed to be required to get the same effect, so hopefully I get right or close to it, so that I can get a consistant effect for life of the rubber....

I will update again after the next application of the booster...

Monday, November 12, 2007

Review JUIC Neo Anti

I tried this rubber last weekend since a friend kindly lend me his bat to try (cheers mate!)

This rubber has a very slippery feel on the surface, but the topsheet is thin and the sponge is very soft. JUIC description of the rubber is given below, and I find this quite accurate:

'Juic Neo Anti kills the spin of your opponent's ball, and with its dead, slow speed gives incredible control. But the elastic surface combined with special sponge gives the added element of tricky spin when the ball is hit hard.'

For chopping the control of this rubber is excellenet, similar to long pips, but it does not allow as much variation as some of the grippier long pips out there. Still I felt I could generate some spin, and it had decent spin reversal.

Close-in it blocks remarkable well against fast loops... it seem to take the pace out of even the hardest loops, and return it real slow, mid-table with no spin. The soft and slow sponge is no doubt the key here...wish they used this sponge on some long pimple rubbers.

Similaryl against slow loops, attacking them with a quick closed-bat action (as I do with long pips) worked very effectively.

Against slower spinny shots or serves, if you make light contact the spin reveral is big and it's very insensitve to incoming spin. Hit a little harder and it grips a bit, and it seems to take a lot of the spin off.

Against no-spin it's very easy to control and keep low. I could attack quite well with, but hitting it to hard does not work, since the real soft sponge just bottoms out, and you're hitting with the wood. You can certainly lift the ball with it if you dig the ball in a little, and attack with a slow mild topspin...

This rubber is far more versatile than the antispin rubbers I've tried before, and gives you a lot more options that just getting the ball back... Although it's not a long pimple rubber, it's properties are a lot like it, much closer than they are to inverted. The real slow sponge is something I look for in long pimple rubbers, but does not seem the common.

This rubber would have to be a real contender for those that are used to slow frictionless rubbers, and are finding it hard to adjust to the much faster and springier grippy long pimples...

For more details see here writeup here: Review JUIC Neo Anti

Falco Booster on Chinese hard sponged rubbers

My usual Globe 999 Nat (black) was showing signs of wear, so it was time for a new sheet, and I decided I'd give the Falco booster a go on this, and see if it would be a good enough substitude to my Tibhar Rapid Clean Deluxe speed glue, which I won't be able to us as of middle of next year...

I put 3 layers of booster on it over 2 days. The dome was big, basically touching on the ends. After 24h (after the last layer) it still had a decent dome but was coming down, so I glued it down with the Falco Water glue. The dome was still quite strong especially with this firmer sponged rubbers, so it still lifted slightly on the tip but did not lift further... I'll wait a little longer next time...and will take more care putting enough glue on the tip of the blade...

Well the booster softened the sponge heaps, and stretched it at least 5mm in both directions. I was VERY happy with the performance, it felt as good as with the Tibhar RCD. The sponge had softened at least as much with the booster as with the RCD, probably a little more considering it was the 1st gluing. With the RCD it usually softens more after a few gluings, so it will be interesting to see if the booster softens it more as well. Speed and spin wise it felt just as good. I will now see how long it lasts... but I have finally found a good substitude for my Tibhar Rapid Clean Deluxe...

I wrote a detailed review on the Booster here:
Falco Tempo Booster review