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PostPosted: 06 Apr 2018, 19:15 
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Today arrived my new Alvaro Robles blade. Its a new line from November so after much research and procrastination, the handle eventual won me over.

The blade arrived in a box. Sometimes manufacturers put a bit of effort into how a box looks and I've seen some great ones around. Not this one. Its just, well, a box. A cardboard box. If you hear someone ever say something like 'they can bury me in a box for all I care', this is exactly the type of box I'd imagine, just bigger. Of course the box doesn't matter (or does it?) so I'll just move on.
Attachment:
File comment: The box
IMG_20180406_175747.jpg
IMG_20180406_175747.jpg [ 56.79 KiB | Viewed 1016 times ]


Mine came in at 82g which is just below the advertised 85g. The wood composition is said to be Limba-Spruce-Abachi-Spruce-Limba. I can't confirm this as to me wood is wood but we'll assume thats what it is. This is the same composition to many other blades including the Donic Waldner V1/V2 and similar to many others that have Ayous rather than Abachi which apparently is the same species but from a different part of Africa. In other words its a common composition for Off- blades.

The blade itself appears quite good quality. The handle feels woody but a smooth feel of wood, not a rough feel and certainly not a feeling that it might give you a splinter like some lower quality stuff. Some internet photos make the handle, in fact the whole blade as being light on colour and quite washed out. The yellow is not a dark yellow but also not a washed out yellow. My photo is pretty close, it perhaps looks a fraction darker in real life.

I don't tend to do handle dimensions as they are hard to measure and a difference of just 1mm can make quite a difference to the feel. What I can say is that the handle feels quite chunky and comfortable. Coming from an Anatomic handle, it feels quite natural and solid in the hand. As a reference I feel the Samsonov Alpha is quite small, especially near the neck which is where the Robles feels more chunky. I wouldn't say its and not suitable for small hands however. One thing I read about the handle is that the lens is set about 2mm below the surface of the handle. This is not the case with mine, in fact the lens is a slight bubble shape and if you look straight across the handle the lens actually sticks out slightly like a meniscus.

The blade size I've seen listed as 158 x 151 and also 157 x 150. I'd probably say 158 x 151.

I've done the controversial Frequency test in which it scored 1248. This puts it accurately in the Off- range. Other blades in this range are Tibhar Lebesson, OSP Virtuoso, DHS PG7, Avalox BT555. This puts it between a Stiga Clipper that is listed around 1350 and a Donic Appelgren Allplay at about 1150.

So far I'm happy with what what I've pulled out of the box (not so much the box itself) and am looking forward to sticking some rubbers on it giving it a test. More later............

Attachment:
File comment: The blade
IMG_20180406_175851.jpg
IMG_20180406_175851.jpg [ 96.18 KiB | Viewed 1016 times ]

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PostPosted: 07 Apr 2018, 02:22 
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Haha, quite a cheeky review there Cobalt. Very nice!

What made you get this blade?

I've always wanted to try a GEWO blade, never pulled the trigger as they are less available or popular in the US.

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PostPosted: 07 Apr 2018, 08:06 
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To be honest I like to get most of my stuff from ooakshop but this time didn't quite have what I wanted and to order in was months away. That opened it up for me to look at another local-ish shop. They appear to be exclusive sellers of Gewo in Australia.

A few months ago I would never have considered Gewo but I liked the look of this blade and everything about it seemed to fit what I was after. Weight, speed, feel etc. Reviews were scarce but found something on a German forum and users seemed happy.

I like to be a bit individual with my gear and no one else has Gewo at the club so took the plunge.

My other main option was Samsanov Force Pro but the nice looking handle on that one seemed to discolour quite a lot and lose its nice look. If this doesn't work out in a year or so I'll be having a go at that one but I think this will be good.

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PostPosted: 07 Apr 2018, 16:43 
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Cool blade 8) Hopefully you will like the way it performs too. Good luck with it.


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PostPosted: 10 Apr 2018, 13:52 
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Had my first hit with the Alvaro Robles Off- last night. Firstly a couple of things I forgot to mention. The flares handle is a square shape rather than a round shape. Not good or bad, just depends on your preference. Also the shoulders were sanded and smooth, not sharp like many new blades. The Gewo quality seems quite good.

The rubbers I were using were TSP Regalis Red 1.8-2.0mm and Donic Baracuda Big Slam 2.0mm.

The first thing I noticed was that the blade made a very woody sound. My Yasaka Extra makes a similar sound and I took a while to get used to it. The blade also has a moderate level of vibration which can be good or bad, depending on preference. I think the way I'd describe it is to imagine using a bare wood blade and how that would feel but then just stick a couple of rubbers on it. Still feels like bare wood but with rubber on it. Note my rubbers weren't max so maybe thicker rubbers might take away a bit of that woody feel. Whilst passing around my bat for others to test, mine was the only one to have this feel out of Andro Temper Tech All+, Stratus Powerwood and Samsonov Alpha. Their rubbers were either Hexer or EL-P.

For the last couple of weeks I've been using a Xiom Offensive S and immediately I could tell this blade was slower. Neither my blocks or my loops had the speed I'd been used to for the last couple of weeks and as a consequence my opponent found it fairly easy to return my shots.

The short game control was very good with short pushes and touch shots being very good. Blocks also had good control with them easily landing back on the table however the lack of speed failed to put my opponent under pressure. Another user commented how good the control was.

In doing loops and drives, you had to generate the speed and if only doing a half shot, the blade at times felt a bit dead and would struggle to get over the net. Maybe this was because I had been using a faster blade.

Overall this blade lacked the 'pop' of a faster blade, which to be honest I would have expected a little more from an Off- blade. Its a bit faster than my Appelgren but probably closer to the speed of that, than the Offensive S. This blade has good control so I'd recommend it for beginner to intermediate but I'm not sure its a big enough upgrade from an ALL blade to get it for extra speed. The blade is rated Off- and comes in at that on the Frequency test however on using it I'd put at the top of All+ to bottom of Off-. When talking feel, it can be subjective so I'm not really prepared to say whether it was soft, hard, stiff, flexy. My Appelgren feels soft, and I've used hard and stiff blades, but this just felt woody. You definitely feel the blade so if that is what you like then this might suit you but because its a little different, I'd say if you can, try it first.

I've also switched my forehand rubber for my next hit so will report back if anything different.

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PostPosted: 10 Apr 2018, 14:26 
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So your knee jerk reaction: do you immediately like it? Sounds undecided and a bit disappointed on speed?


When you say 'woody', are you talking about a sharp feel?

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PostPosted: 10 Apr 2018, 15:42 
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Silver wrote:
So your knee jerk reaction: do you immediately like it? Sounds undecided and a bit disappointed on speed?


When you say 'woody', are you talking about a sharp feel?


A knee jerk reaction would be to sell it. As far as liking it, I couldn't help but go home a little disappointed. Yes, the speed was a little down, but it did feel a little two paced at times. Sometimes the ball would go long by quite a bit but it wasn't due to the speed, moreso that it wasn't generating the spin, perhaps due to less dwell or too stiff or something, not sure but the throw was definately a lot higher than the Offensive S and didn't have the arc of the other bats I used last night. Could have been the rubber. Not sure but I wasn't the only one that experience it. Just didn't quite feel right.
As far as was it a sharp feel, possibly, with bit of vibration and a loud woody sound. Playing a touch opponent in a real match tomorrow night. I would be expected to win but I've had consecutive losses in the past so a tough match. Will be a good test. If I win it will be the best blade ever. If I lose it will be in the bin. :lol:

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PostPosted: 11 Apr 2018, 11:03 
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I find that most of the 5 ply wood blades feel very slow to me and lack any real penetration on the table when I play, as an attacking player I would never go to a 5 ply wood. 7ply wood? Sure. Composite ALC like blade? Definitely, I use one now.

That's not to say that 5ply blades can't be fast, like the BTY Mazunov, its just the ones that I have tried that say they are OFF- or OFF seem to be far more ALL in nature.

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PostPosted: 11 Apr 2018, 12:46 
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I guess it's all relative however the Stratus Powerwood add Offensive S are both 5 ply and are fast enough for me. The Robles however does feel a bit All-ish.

In hindsight i think what I was after was something that was on the brink of being too fast but not too fast but still took a little adjustment.

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PostPosted: 11 Apr 2018, 13:07 
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apophis wrote:
I find that most of the 5 ply wood blades feel very slow to me and lack any real penetration on the table when I play, as an attacking player I would never go to a 5 ply wood. 7ply wood? Sure. Composite ALC like blade? Definitely, I use one now.

That's not to say that 5ply blades can't be fast, like the BTY Mazunov, its just the ones that I have tried that say they are OFF- or OFF seem to be far more ALL in nature.


I wouldn't say 'most'. I've had heaps of OFF, bordering off+ 5ply wood blades. I think I've only owned 2 or 3 5ply wood blades that were slower (off- or slower) than expected.

I guess the problem is composites and the ball changes really changed the upper end of the scale - what was once OFF+ may be only considered OFF these days, etc. And trying to categorise a full spectrum of blades into essentially 6 or 7 "speed" categories (that really are also play style and marketing categories) is difficult.

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PostPosted: 11 Apr 2018, 13:50 
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In the 21 point 38mm ball days I found the 5ply's to be too slow for me to be competitive and used a 7ply all wood BTY blade (I wish I could remember the name.. it was a clipper like blade) with MarkV and used speedglue all the time. I believe that the mazunov was about then and when I tried it out it was so stiff and hard it was not fun for me to play with, where the clippers and clipper-like 7plys were really nice feeling blades.

I agree however that the changes to the game are having an effect on the blades and how they feel.

... Getting back to the OP and this particular blade. It could also be how light the blade is as well, as its got less mass behind it.

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PostPosted: 11 Apr 2018, 14:46 
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apophis wrote:
... Getting back to the OP and this particular blade. It could also be how light the blade is as well, as its got less mass behind it.


Good thought but I don't think so as my Appelgren blade that I've been using for 2 years is only 79 grams compared to 82 for this one. The Offensive S I was using was 86. Heavier but not massively.

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PostPosted: 11 Apr 2018, 22:51 
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Tonight I had my first competition games with the Robles blade. After practice Monday I replaced the forehand rubber with 1.9mm Gewo Flexxon Soft and that felt a lot better. There was decent grip and spin. The blade is louder and more woody sounding but for now I'll stick with it. Ideally I'd like it to have been a bit quicker but the control is pretty good.

Since I won my matches, I was pretty happy with it and will continue to use through our next season.

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PostPosted: 12 Apr 2018, 08:15 
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softer, faster and more springy than the regalis?

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PostPosted: 12 Apr 2018, 11:21 
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Yes I think so, though the Regalis is pretty soft too I think. From memory its about 40 degrees compared to maybe 38 of the Gewo, don't quote me on those though. When I bought the Regalis I requested something along the lines of a beginner tensor so I had to create my own spin and speed to keep working on my technique so I don't have a problem with the rubber as such, just didn't seem to work with the Robles and/or the Joola 40+ball.

Both of the rubbers have been glued a few times (water, not speed) so that could be having an impact too. Also the shrinkage and stretch of putting on and taking off might have affected inital performance.

We've got a couple of weeks before the new season but I'm thinking of getting a new rubber in at least 2.0mm to put on. Might even just get a used one from somewhere to test.

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