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 Post subject: Training rubber
PostPosted: 25 Feb 2014, 15:45 
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If you browse through AliExpress stores you'll find several varieties of what they call "training rubber". Most of these can be had for under $5 a sheet, some for under $4 a sheet in quantity. Three orders showed up at the same time yesterday (along with a 729 C3 blade):

ImageImage

Quite an interesting assortment. In general, they pair a topsheet with a medium-ish sponge (in Chinese degrees, 39 to 44), and the sponge, with one exception, is 2.2mm. What are they for? Probably, as they say, "training" - i.e. for development of juniors and new players and such. Since the topsheets (at least in a couple of cases) are also used in other combinations, I expect they'd play just as well for more advanced players, too. They're middle-of-the-road, something beginners can use but can be used by others as well. The fact that the sponge is 2.2 in most cases is strange, to my thinking, but apparently many coaches feel that max sponge is normal for beginners. Also, with many Chinese brands, 2.2 sponge seems to be the only option.

In any case, these aren't rec rubber, or rubbish rubber, like Butterfly Addoy or Yuki - this is the real thing (or at least, MOST of it is, as we'll see later..).

Anyhow, here's a rundown of what I have.

1) 729 "Batwing" "General Sponge"

ImageImageImageImage

red 65.1g 165x164mm 0.241 g/cm2
black 63.4g 164x164mm 0.236 g/cm2

Comes two sheets to a package. The packaging is the usual printed manila card, in a foldover cellophane cover (the sort with a sticky strip for sealing). The topsheet is the regular 729 (not the Super 729 FX). Quite tacky when new. The sponge is 42 degrees. As in usual practice, they put the blue sponge under the black topsheet, while the sponge under the red topsheet is sort of salmon-colored. The colors in the photos are quite accurate (at least on my monitor).

How does it play? Like 729, I guess - not very fast, but fast enough. I can say one thing about 2.2 rubber, though - it's HEAVY.

2) 729 XL

ImageImageImageImage

red 62.37g 166x164mm 0.229 g/cm2
black 60.70g 162x164mm 0.228 g/cm2

Comes one sheet to a packet. Packet is printed manila card, but this one is covered in a sealed cellophane envelope. Interestingly enough, the black topsheet is regular 729, the red is Super 729 FX. That's for the two packets I opened. I wonder if it's the same for all packets. The sponge hardness is given in Chinese characters, but it is "+/- 2". The black sheet has an orange sponge, the red sheet a red sponge. The orange is like a tangerine rather than salmon, as in the Batwings rubber.

Have not played with this one yet.

3) Reactor Corbor

ImageImageImageImage

red 58.75g 164x168mm 0.213 g/cm2
black 59.45g 172x169mm 0.205 g/cm2

The packaging here is "cheap" - flimsy paper in a foldover cellophane envelope. Two sheets to a packet. The sponge is a bright yellow, listed as 41 degrees. Have not played with this yet.

To be continued.

Iskandar


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 Post subject: Re: Training rubber
PostPosted: 25 Feb 2014, 16:18 
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I'm never quite sure what to make of 'training' rubbers. :o Are they rejects or just old stock without packaging perhaps?
No doubt there's probably some bargains to be had, but if you find one you like, you chances of getting another one just like it might be quite low. :lol:

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 Post subject: Re: Training rubber
PostPosted: 25 Feb 2014, 16:52 
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My little buddy always used Haifu shark II training version. They say sometimes they have marks in them or whatever but his sheets always looked fine. Played the same as the one in the normal packet.

I've used 729 General quite a bit, it comes in a packet and is just as high quality as all friendships rubbers. I even used it at a tournament last year. It's a good rubber, always flawless. It's just about the same as 729 fx imho. With the 729 blades, I bought the C1,C2 and C3. C2 and C3 I couldn't really pick a difference but the C1 feels slightly better.

I liked both the A1 and A2 blades.I used an A1 with Globe 999 and it was a beast.

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 Post subject: Re: Training rubber
PostPosted: 26 Feb 2014, 01:43 
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I don't think they're low quality at all (even when you get to the, uh, questionable ones, as we shall see later). What I think they are is rubber marketed to those with lower income - mainly students buying rubber on lunch money, or (Chinese) factory workers, and such. Or perhaps to institutional purchasers such as schools and youth clubs (who would stock them in the school bookstore or club pro shop). In the last two weeks, I've seen packets of General Sponge 729 in Chinese bookstores, at prices quite a bit higher than you'd find on AliExpress, but QUITE a bit lower than you'd see for the few sheets of Tibhar on the same shelves. Butterfly rubber was pretty much non-existent (kids can't afford it).

Why would they sell high quality rubber (I suspect the General Sponge stuff is identical to 729 in individual packs) at a lower price? To sell more of it. Wouldn't it eat into sales of the more expensive but identical stuff? It might, but not if you convince the general public it's not as good!

It pays to sell the same stuff with minor differences in packaging or appearance at different price points to different people. Is there a huge difference between all those types of topsheet 729 sells (729, 729 FX Super, 729-1, 729-2, 729-3....729-n)? There may be, but I doubt it. Why does Eacheng operate three or four separate "shops" on AliExpress? Marketing. An extreme example. Those of you who were PC enthusiasts in the early 1990s probably remember a trade rag called PC Week. You got it for free if you filled out a huge questionnaire. In each issue (every week!) there would be about a dozen to fifteen ads for PC clones - all from purportedly different shops. The PCs in the ads all looked different - - different grilles and bezels and nameplates. Yet, all of these ads were from two companies - Everex and PCs Unlimited (which later changed its name to Dell). Why bother with this subterfuge? It sold more PCs.

Makes you wonder about the other end of the scale - "National" rubber!

I rubbered up the C3 (ALL+) this afternoon with a sheet of Corbor and a sheet of 828. To tell the truth, there was little difference - both were great for looping (when I didn't miss the ball altogether.. :oops: ), serving and hitting, lousy for pushing (the sponge is just way too thick, I often ended up pushing too high or too long). It's that 2.2 sponge at work. The 828 actually has 2.0mm sponge despite what's on the packet, I measured it, it was a little better for pushing than the Corbor. Both felt soft compared to the sheets of 729 I've been trying before this.

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 Post subject: Re: Training rubber
PostPosted: 27 Feb 2014, 16:55 
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More training rubber.

Kokutaku Blutenkirsche 828 Pink

ImageImageImageImage

red 58.36g 166x165mm 0.213 g/cm2
black 53.23g 165x165mm 0.196 g/cm2

Two sheets to a package, classy (if a little dog-eared by the time I got it) manila card/foldover cellophane packaging. Note large difference in areal density between red and black. (If I order more I'll maybe get only black sheets.) The sponge is thinner than they claim, I measure 2.0mm (not 2.2). Light cream-colored sponge, packet says 40-43 degrees.

Timo Boll Training With Rubber ("Boll Warheads")

ImageImageImageImage

red 64.99g 162x164mm 0.245 g/cm2
black 57.47g 162x164mm 0.216g/cm2

Two sheets to a package, very classy manila card packaging in foldover cellophane. Sponge is blue under black and orange under red - just like 729. No indication of sponge hardness on package, no printing on sponge. Topsheet headstamp is interesting - claims to be made in Germany, and has the "Tensor" marking (enlarge to see). Doesn't seem to be listed on ITTF website, no ITTF stamp, but does have a "ITTF" ID number". It says "Boll Warheads".

Wonder what the provenance of this rubber is - I'll bet it's an OEM product from 729 or something of the sort. Haven't played with it yet, it doesn't look like a low quality rubber to me. Probably shouldn't be used in tournament play if its not ITTF certified, but probably plays just fine for all that. It actually cost more than the others did, per sheet.

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 Post subject: Re: Training rubber
PostPosted: 27 Feb 2014, 20:18 
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The "Warheads" rubber looks to be "GTTA approved" if I am reading the label area right. According to my best search effort, that indicates validity for use in either Guyana or Gloucestershire. :up: ;)

Where did you get that?

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 Post subject: Re: Training rubber
PostPosted: 27 Feb 2014, 21:50 
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CTTA, actually... :D

It came, like the rest of them, from AliExpress.com. All were bought in multi-sheet lots (up to 10 sheets per lot). Not sure what I'm going to do with it all, but I have enough to mount simultaneously on the many blades I plan to build and test head-to-head. I also have enough for crazy experiments, and they cost so little I don't care if I ruin a sheet or three.

But what I'll probably do is sell off some of it, cheap, to friends. One of the departmental rec players spent about $35 on a Butterfly Biriba bat this afternoon (with Addoy rubber!), thinking it was "expensive pro" equipment. I showed him one of the online vendors (the drive-up one a mile from where we work) where you could spend considerably less than that for a quality blade and rubber to go with it. (I also showed him the $70 sheets of Tenergy and the $150 carbon blades, which I assured him was NOT suitable until he learned to play with something slower, and maybe not even then.) I guess I could sell him a couple sheets when the time comes.

Iskandar


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 Post subject: Re: Training rubber
PostPosted: 28 Feb 2014, 12:23 
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Weight roundup.

Batwing
red 65.1g 165x164mm 0.241 g/cm2
black 63.4g 164x164mm 0.236 g/cm2

729 XL
red 62.4g 166x164mm 0.229 g/cm2
black 60.7g 162x164mm 0.228 g/cm2

TimoBoll
red 64.99g 162x164mm 0.245 g/cm2 cut weight 49.07g cut area 200.6 cm2
black 57.47g 162x164mm 0.216 g/cm2

828-pink
red 58.36g 166x165mm 0.213 g/cm2
black 53.23g 165x165mm 0.196 g/cm2 cut weight 39.21g cut area 200.5 cm2

Corbor
red 58.75g 164x168mm 0.213 g/cm2 cut weight 42.06g cut area 197.2 cm2
black 59.45g 172x169mm 0.205 g/cm2

Quite gratified how the TB and 828 cut areas came out so close. The Corbor was mis-cut, there's maybe 3mm between the end of the handle and the base of the rubber. All rubber was cut to fit the LKT and 729 blades I have (they're all identical in size and shape).

What's interesting is how much of a difference there is between rubber sheets. And even between black and red sheets of the same "model". The black is, in all these cases, lighter than the red. The black 828 has the lowest areal density of the lot, the red Boll is fully25% heavier. This would add up to a difference in 20g of mounted weight, for two sheets.

I had the Corbor (red) and the 828 (black) mounted on the C3 blade last night. Weird - the A3 blade weighs 5g more than the C3 blade, yet when I weighed the two rackets the C3 racket (with T88 and Batwing) weighed a good 15-20g more. Noticeably heavier. The Corbor was decidedly slower than the 828 - I could loop successfully with both, but blocks and counter drives with the Corbor would end up in the net until I adjusted my stroke. The 828 felt particularly good. I've taken the Corbor off and am in the middle of Seamooning it to see what happens. Meanwhile, I put a sheet of Boll Warheads on to replace it temporarily.

If you're actually thinking of buying some of these rubbers, I'd suggest the 828. I see two deals currently, one has 10 sheets for about $37, another 8 sheets for $34.

Iskandar


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 Post subject: Re: Training rubber
PostPosted: 02 Mar 2014, 02:48 
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The Boll Warheads actually feels quite good. Very much like 729, as I had guessed. A bit harder than the 868 (which, I suddenly realized, I'd been calling "828" all this time!).

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 Post subject: Re: Training rubber
PostPosted: 04 Mar 2014, 22:45 
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Another training rubber.

Sanwei T88 Top Speed

ImageImageImageImage

red 70.66g 163x165mm 0.263 g/cm2
black 69.57g 160x166mm 0.262 g/cm2

This one wins the prize for classy packaging - note the sealed plastic pack (and it's heavy plastic, too) and the see-through window. It also wins for the professional-looking rubber stamp on the back of the sponge. Unfortunately it also wins the prize for the greatest weight - it WEIGHS A TON!! One sheet on my 729 C3 and it weighs more (a lot more) than my A3. The A3 blade was heavier than the C3 and the C3 ended up weighing a lot more. Sponge is 39 degrees. Not terribly tacky topsheet, you can generate quite a bit of spin with it, and it Seamoons nicely (if you're into that sort of thing). 2.2 sponge only.

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 Post subject: Re: Training rubber
PostPosted: 04 Mar 2014, 23:33 
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iskandar taib wrote:
[...] Unfortunately it also wins the prize for the greatest weight - it WEIGHS A TON!! One sheet on my 729 C3 and it weighs more (a lot more) than my A3. The A3 blade was heavier than the C3 and the C3 ended up weighing a lot more. [ ... ]

I agree, the T-88 rubbers are possibly the heaviest you can get...

I guess it is because of the rubber topsheet. Large pips and narrow spacing between them, so there is simply more rubber there. (As i said, this is a guess. I haven't actually separated topsheet from sponge to determine the weight distribution.)

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 Post subject: Re: Training rubber
PostPosted: 05 Mar 2014, 22:06 
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The red sponge 729XL (red 729FX topsheet) responds very well indeed to Seamoon, even with the med-hard sponge. Put on two layers, next day it was curled up like a pretzel. I left town for a week, when it came back the dome had pretty much dissapeared. I put another thin layer on, the next day it was dry with a moderate dome. I mounted it on my 729 A3 blade (the OFF+ one with the cork layer in the middle). Feels really nice, I was suddenly making a lot of loops I'd usually miss. Also I seemed to have gained a topspin drive against backspin I didn't know I had.

Can anyone, incidentally, read this?

Image
Image

It's the sponge hardness for XL and Boll Warheads. I'm pretty sure the first character means "middle" or "medium" (it's the first character in "China", which is rendered "Middle Kingdom") and I'll bet the second means "hard" or "firm" (though it might mean "hardness". And I'm pretty sure it doesn't mean "finger".. ;) ). Wonder if this translates into degrees somehow.

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 Post subject: Re: Training rubber
PostPosted: 19 Mar 2014, 14:09 
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Palio Random Dragon

Don't know if these qualify as REAL training rubber, but it seems to follow the format somewhat - low price, packed two in a packet (no real packet here, though), medium hard sponge. When I ordered them they were slightly more expensive than my ceiling price at $6 a sheet, now they're $8.64 a sheet. According to the blurb you'll get two random sheets of Palio Dragon (might be Emperor, Drunken, etc.) - I ended up with two sheets of Emperor. Black has a very pale orange-tan sponge, red has a pale mauve sponge. 2.2mm. Came in a foldover-seal cellophane bag.

red 67.51g 169x167mm 0.239 g/cm2
black 65.03g 167x168mm 0.232 g/cm2

Not very light, not that heavy either.

Image
Image

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 Post subject: Re: Training rubber
PostPosted: 19 Mar 2014, 18:47 
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I've never heard of anyone using training rubber. Is it a popular practice?


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 Post subject: Re: Training rubber
PostPosted: 19 Mar 2014, 20:00 
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Carbonman I've seen the Haifu seconds "training rubber" used a lot in videos that are made in Chinese clubs. Seems to be the only rubbers they do use (both whale and shark) they have huge piles of them being glued up. I guess for them it's all about the price and they are a lot cheaper than the full price Haifu rubbers which are probably out of reach for most Chinese.

A $10 second of shark ii is probably the highest performance rubber you'll get at that price. Fairly heavy tune on them and its not a bad rubber with out booster anyway. I prefer it once the booster has worn off, bit too much pop for me when it's new.

I used shark ii for a while I beat players rated over 1350 with it, I felt it was a nice rubber, really good control for its speed. I wanted to keep using it but was accidently sent a black sheet before a tournament which meant I needed to quickly change to a locally ordered tensor. That's the only reason I stopped using it.

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