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PostPosted: 01 Aug 2009, 11:12 
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Review: Giant Dragon Karate soft & hard (2.2mm black) on a TSP Balsaplus 4.5 blade

1. The reviewer:
Intermediate to high level club level player, modern defender (Chinese style looper on FH). Blade TSP Balsaplus 4.5.

2. Physical Properties:
Very nice packaging as with all Giant Dragon rubbers. Sheet looks of decent quality. It has a plastic protection sheet which reveals a medium soft mildly tacky matt topsheet. It is not shiny like most other Chinese sheets, and feels it does not have a much grip right on the surface. The 'soft' version has a measured hardness of 35deg (with respect to other rubbers in my Sponge Hardness table) and the 'hard' measured around 39deg. The sponge feels quite springy and a little brittle... I had to take care in cutting the rubber as it seemed to tear more easily, particularly the soft one. The rubbers came with a glue sheet.

3. Speed:
The topsheet of this rubber feels quite slow and the fairly low throw makes brush loops slow and spinny. When you loop a little harder, the spingy sponge kicks in giving it some more power. The soft version seemed to bottom out too early for my liking, so on harder loops you're basically hitting with the wood. This makes this rubber not really suitable for looping, so the Karate soft is more suitable for - don't laugh' :wink: chopping :lol: It felt very nice and controlled for hitting and blocking though. The 'hard' version is a lot better in this respect, and feels more linear and has pretty decent speed on medium-fast loops, similar to something like Sriver.


4. Spin:
When you make soft contact, it did not seem to grip like most Chinese tacky rubbers do, but when you dig in a little more, it really grip and you get very good spin. On loops the spin was decent but not high. Only on chop and pushes the spin generated was very high. The upside of this is that it seemed quite insensitive to spin, making return of serves particulaly easy (the dead feel and insensitivity made is remarkable easy to return serves actually).


5. Control:
Control on this rubber is excellent. As I mentioned, it's not particualtly fast, it's quite insensitive to spin, making this a high control rubber.

6. Other Playing properties:
Throw of the rubber is fairly low to medium. It does not have any significant glue feel but particularly the soft version has a bit of a 'clicky sound. The 'hard' sponge is firm enough to not bottom out on even the hardest hits, the soft bottom out a little too easy, making it unsuitable for an all-round looping game.

7. Reference:
I can only really compare these rubber to other Giant Dragon rubbers, as they do feel quite unique. The 'hard' version is a little faster than the Taichi. For the short and low impact part of the game, it feels similar to typical Chinese rubbers although less tacky, but when you start hitting hard, it feels more euro, probably due to the springy sponge.

8. Other comments Other unique properties...
This rubber has not been released as yet, I got a sample to test and evaluate.

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PostPosted: 22 Feb 2011, 23:51 
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Hi

Do you now anything about the durabilty?

How long time is this rubber good?


Best regards

Karl


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PostPosted: 23 Feb 2011, 00:50 
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haggisv wrote:
Review: Giant Dragon Karate soft & hard (2.2mm black) on a TSP Balsaplus 4.5 blade
8. Other comments Other unique properties...
This rubber has not been released as yet, I got a sample to test and evaluate.


Strange, one of our club's top player has been using this rubber for several weeks and I don't think he was sponsored, he bought them online.


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PostPosted: 23 Feb 2011, 01:01 
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tatlwai wrote:
haggisv wrote:
Review: Giant Dragon Karate soft & hard (2.2mm black) on a TSP Balsaplus 4.5 blade
8. Other comments Other unique properties...
This rubber has not been released as yet, I got a sample to test and evaluate.


Strange, one of our club's top player has been using this rubber for several weeks and I don't think he was sponsored, he bought them online.


The original post is 2 years old Tat...

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PostPosted: 23 Feb 2011, 01:50 
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Ha, silly me.

Got to look at the date next time. :)


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PostPosted: 28 Oct 2012, 04:32 
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I have been playing with Karate Soft 2.2 mm Black (FH) for the last two weeks (on BBC Ultima) and I should say this is an undeservedly under-appreciated rubber.

Pros:

1) lighter than Karate Hard - the cut piece of 2.2 mm rubber is about 43-44 g (compare that to 49-50 of KH)
2) same low-sensitivity topsheet
3) better opening loop and better overall control on non-flat strokes
4) more or less same speed and more spin compared to KH
5) good FH block

Cons:

1) on really hard killshots bottoms out slightly sooner than KH but barely noticeable for an old geezer like me

I used to play with Yinhe Mars II 42 deg or (later) Xiom Omega IV Asia on FH for the last half-year or so; and I should say that apart from slightly lower throw angle than O4Asia (higher than Mars II), this rubber is as suitable for me as O4Asia. Very minor adjustment was needed.

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PostPosted: 28 Oct 2012, 11:33 
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Hello,

I also think that Karate soft is an excellent rubber and often recommend it to my students who are looking for a good replacement for Butterfly Sriver at a much better price. Karate has good speed, adequate spin, and excellent control, it is just an excellent all-round rubber.

Coach McAfee

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PostPosted: 30 Oct 2012, 01:49 
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CoachMcAfee wrote:
Hello,

I also think that Karate soft is an excellent rubber and often recommend it to my students who are looking for a good replacement for Butterfly Sriver at a much better price. Karate has good speed, adequate spin, and excellent control, it is just an excellent all-round rubber.

Coach McAfee


Not to mention that Sriver is really kind of a dry rubber unless you boost it up (which is forbidden now), while Karate doesn't need that. I have had (and occasionally used) a sheet of Karate Hard 2.0 for about 18 months, and when a clubmate borrowed it from me (and subsequently refused to give it back... no kidding!) about two weeks ago, it was still playing fresh and springy.

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PostPosted: 03 Nov 2012, 10:01 
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Posted a short review of Karate Soft on MyTT

http://mytabletennis.net/forum/forum_posts.asp?TID=54559

My conclusion: very nice and suitable (for me) rubber which I continue playing with. However it would ideal (not just for me) if Giant Dragon started making Karate Medium which has a sponge of hardness in the middle between KH and KS.

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