Tuesday, June 09, 2009

TSP Balsaplus Offensive 4.5 Review

I’ve been keen to try this blade, as I really liked the feel of 8.5 version of this blade (but much too fast). I was hoping for a more controlled version of the FW+, and so far I’m very happy with its performance, so I thought I'd write a little review:

TSP’s description:
The TSP Blade with the so-called “intelligent“ core. The heart of the patented TSP Balsa-Series is the middle layer. The combination of the elastic fibreglass layers with the vertical wooden fibres leads to a round and especially large hitting area (sweet spot). The result is an extremely precise bounce of the ball, free of vibration and an amazingly high rate of control.

As you probably know, there is quite a range of these blades, namely the 8.5, 6.5, 5.5 and 4.5 Offensive, and the 3.5 and 2.5 defensive. What I did not realise I that the 2.5 and 3.5 are actually of different shape, ie wider near the bottom, and come with a ST only, whereas the others come in a more standard shape and with FL handle. The number is supposed to refer to the thickness of the inner balsa layer.

Blade looks of top quality, as with most Japanese made blades.

Outer ply of this blade feels a little hard, and with the fibreglass layers not far from the surface, this blade has a harder feel on soft contact comapred to most balsa blades (eg FW+), which tends to make it quite suitable for pips. Still the feel of the blade is relatively soft compared to most non-balsa blades.

For the low impact part of the game, the blade does not feel that fast, probably ALL+. With the pips this gives good feel and control, and really helps in putting the short or taking the pace off the ball. With the BT it felt slower compared to the Meteor on the FW+, and the meteor is quite a bit slower pip.

For looping the blade seems to have quite a bit of flex, and it really feels like a looping blade to me, not at all like any balsa blades I’ve used. Speed would be around OFF-, reminded me a bit of the Energy Wood blade, which I used for a long time.

You can clearly feel the pace of the blade pick up, as you start to hit/loop harder… this seems to be where the balsa kicks in. At this point it is no slower than the FW+ and feels similar, although with lower throw.

Hitting hard with this blade surprised me, it was really quite fast, and considerably faster than the FW+. I’m not sure if it was the balsa, fibreglass or the combination, but on hits it was fast, and definitely less sensitive to spin compared to the FW+.

Although I’m still hitting a few edges (of the bat) with the new blade, due to the smaller shape compared to the oversize FW+, I’m very happy with the performance so far, and will stick with it…