Monday, January 03, 2011

The remarkable Re-Impact blades

It's pretty rare these days for me to come across a new piece of equipment that really impresses me, but new Re-impact Tachi blade, did exactly that!

Although I had tried a Re-Impact Taipan blade before, it did not really suit my game, so I did not persist with it. However I was intrigued by the huge thread on the OOAK forum about Taichi blade. It was the big difference between forehand and backhand that finally convinced me I had to try it.

I chatted to Achim, the owner of Re-Impact in Germany who designs and manufacturers the blade. His knowledge of blades and player's requirments is truly impressive! You can read more about this in the Interview with Achim from Re-Impact.

So I finally got the blade, and when I first held one in my hand I took a liking to it straight away. It was very light at only 60g! The handle was nice and thick and soft, as it was also made of balsa wood. The head shape is different from other blades, so you'll probably need to use a new rubber sheet to cover the whole surface (although if you choose the smallest size of the blade you might manage to fit it).

The big difference in speed between the 2 sides comes from the thick balsa layer on only one side. On thew Tachi blade the Balsa layer on the backhand side is quite thick, whereas the forehand side has multiple plies of other woods. The thick
balsa layer on the back gives it quite a unique property. On low impact (such as a passive block against topspin) the speed is really low, gives a lot of 'braking effect' to the ball, allowing you to block short with easy, and with decent spin reversal. However on high impact (such as an aggressive block or counter-hit) it has quite good speed, at least enough to get your opponent on the back-foot.

The backhand seems to work best with soft long pimples, and the Tibhar Dtecs is the one recommended as ideal for this blade, but other soft ones should work very well too. The outer ply of the backhand is reasonably hard, which helps spin reversal and makes this blade so effective.

The forehand does not really have a balsa feel, and offer decent speed which feels like around OFF- to me, which is pretty much what I'm used to. This is plenty to generate good pace close in, but will need a fast rubber for good high speed away from the table. Since this blade is optimised for close-in play, the speed is good enough for it's purpose. Medium soft and thin sponged Tensors are recommended, but I find that harder sponged Chinese rubbers work very well too.

I could probably go on and on about how I love this blade, but since it suits me so well, I'm obviously biassed. I'm certainly not the only that likes the blade though, as you can judge by the huge thread on OOAK but also on the German forums, where the Tachi with Dtecs is a very popular combination.

Re-impact do make quite a few other blades as well, but I'm most impressed by their combination blades (blades that have different FH and BH characteristics). They all seem to share the light weight, fairly soft and unique feel and high dwell time. If this is what you like, there may well be a Re-Impact blade that suits you really well. They are not cheap, but considering these are not mass produced but hand made one-by-one by Achim in Germany, the price seems much more reasonable.
Anyway prices are always relative... just look at some of the latest Butterfly blades, and these are mass produced!