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PostPosted: 05 Aug 2007, 19:56 
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Haggisiv asked me to do a minireview on this blade and I'm bored.


Chapter 1: A few stats for you to peruse...

TSP Balsa 8.5 Top Speed, Straight handle, 5ply, Balsa core, 2xGlass Fibre, 2xWood outer ply (Don’t know the wood type)

Weight: 72.5g +/- 0.25g
Head size: 156x152mm
Overall Thickness: 9.7mm
Balsa core: 8.2mm
Handle length: 100.75mm
Handle width: 27.85mm
Handle thickness: 23.075mm


Chapter 2: First impressions

Very, VERY chunky. The handle is slim-ish though and smaller than Stiga Peter, Butterfly Kong Ling Hui Special Straight handle, Andro Super Core Kinetic Explorer Off- Straight handle. Very comfortable. The top right part of the handle is lightly sanded (on both sides) for comfort, gives you a place to put your thumb.

The balsa core is huge, gives me the impression that they cut a circumference chunk out of a balsa tree trunk and trimmed it into a blade shape. I can’t help but wonder where the 8.5 designation came from; mine’s a full 0.3mm thinner if we’re talking about the balsa core, or a 1.2mm thicker overall. The sides of the core are soft, very soft; I can dent it with my fingernail if I'm not careful. The top ply is soft-ish too, not as soft as a KLHS but softer than a HWL, Andro SC KE, etc. Bouncing a ball on the bare blade makes it feel soft and slowish. No high pitched ping here.

The blade is light, almost stupidly light. Combined with my well used sheet of Tango Extrem and Mark V (2.1 and 2.0mm respectively), the paddle comes to a total weight of... 159g. Head size is normal, not overly large or compact (i hate these!), a good size. Slightly smaller than standard butterfly blades. My rubbers are overhanging, though not as much as when they were on an Andro SB Kinetic Explorer.


Chapter 3: Playing with the blade.

The lightness emphasises quicker arm movement and I find my forehand loops are going on without putting much effort into the stroke. The ball's just rebounding off the Tango Extrem though, so I'm getting decent speed with poor (compared to what I'm used to) spin. I'm a bit confused; is this fat balsa blades feel like? My coach pushes me to start looping harder so I grit my teeth and loop harder. A bit of "hit it you skirt" self-name calling helps me along and I begin to feel the ball dig into the tensor sponge that the spin starts to come back. The difference is remarkable, I guess these are the “gears” of the blade. The ball starts accelerating off the paddle at a blistering pace; this is definitely not a blade I’d want to play passively with.

Backhand looping is another story for me; I don’t do it that often but when I do it I really lay into it. The Mark V I stuck to the backhand has been my backhand rubber of choice for a while now (at least until my Desto F1 and Revolution Quad 450 arrive), I like the speed and spin I can get out of it. Backhands with this rubber and blade combo really shoot off when I put effort into it. More speed than spin though. Bugger. I can imagine that something a bit softer might do the trick, so I flip over my blade (Noo! There’s no comfy thumb rest on this side of the blade!) and have a go with the Tango Extrem. There’s my spin!.

Tonight was a social doubles competition, so I bravely take this quick new weapon into battle, clad in old, chipped rubbers. People stare at the fat blade. Can’t say I blame them.

These games tonight were the perfect opportunity to test the blade in battle. We won the toss and I took up the ball to serve first. Forehand pendulum serves felt a bit awkward initially; the blade and rubbers are so thick it feels slightly odd to grasp the head directly between thumb and forefinger. Not a problem though. Pushing was the next test; I failed miserably. The thick balsa core combined with the glass fibre layers dampened out extended reach feel, on both forehand and backhand. Not to worry, as the night wore on, I grew used to the different feel and touch. Blocking came next. I do not know whether it was due to the extreme lightness of the blade or just the blade being more stable, but blocking directional control was extraordinarily easy. I add a touch of speed to one of the higher blocks, get the ball to dig into the rubber and the ball returns well and disappears over the barrier and into the next court. Excellent. Almost a hitter’s dream.



Compared to…

My coach had a hit with this blade, coincidentally he was using the exact same rubbers (though different colours and in better condition!) than mine on a Joola Kool. A perfect opportunity to compare these blades head to head. After a few hits, he discovers the secret to this blade; lay into it a bit; and lets me in on it. His Kool was faster, bigger, heavier, harder than my Balsa 8.5. Just wait until my MC1 arrives…

Compared to my baseline blade (it's always good to have a baseline blade you can fall back to), a Nittaku DHS HWL I use for normal play, this blade is far, far ahead. I still prefer the touch of my all wood blade and the fact that I can hit as hard as I want, but it can’t touch this Balsa 8.5 blade speedwise. Similarly against the Clipper Wood WRB, Viscaria/KLHS/TBS, Kinetic Explorer, 729 Blue Thunder, even the Tube Carbo, this blade is faster.


Final thoughts

Slow blade. Oh wait? Fast blade for the enthusiastic. Laziness & weak shots do not bring out the best of this blade. Fragile, yes, very fragile. At the end of the night I was pushing underspin to a beginner and lost concentration. Blade bumped the edge of the table, right in the middle of the balsa core. Net result: dent in the core. #&^@ @$%&@$ &%$%&% $##$&(* [email protected]#^* #$^%& #$!#&% &*@$*

More cursing continued…

Yep, minireview. 1018 words. I hope it entertained you as much as it did me when I was writing it.

Review Errata:
EDGE TAPE IS REQUIRED

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PostPosted: 05 Aug 2007, 20:13 
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Blade: Trinity Carbon
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Wow that was quick! I said it before and I'll say it again.... this is one great review! Hope you get bored more often :lol: Cheers mate!

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PostPosted: 15 Aug 2007, 14:02 
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@Silver Your writing style is fairly attractive. I like to read your articles.


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PostPosted: 15 Aug 2007, 21:07 
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Dark Knight
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Hmm actually Silver did this review several months ago already elsewhere... but I like your reasoning.... :D

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PostPosted: 15 Aug 2007, 21:09 
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Silver wrote:
The ball's just rebounding off the Tango Extrem though, so I'm getting decent speed with poor (compared to what I'm used to) spin. I'm a bit confused; is this fat balsa blades feel like?

Excellent. Almost a hitter’s dream.

Blade bumped the edge of the table, right in the middle of the balsa core. Net result: dent in the core. #&^@ @$%&@$ &%$%&% $##$&(* [email protected]#^* #$^%& #$!#&% &*@$* EDGE TAPE IS REQUIRED


Great review, my 10mm thick Buterfly Layer Speed-R was similar, I preferred the thickest, softest rubber possible so I used Dodnic Supersonic S40 2.6 to get a little dwell time and spin out of it.

It was a hitters dream, even better with short pips.

I also treated the edge with epoxy to protect it and then put edge tape (TSP makes a thick one) on top of that to protect it.

-- Andrew


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PostPosted: 15 Aug 2007, 23:52 
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I am Legend
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haggisv wrote:
Hmm actually Silver did this review several months ago already elsewhere... but I like your reasoning.... :D


I did that review over a year ago :P

I could do a review on the wavestone, but I have a distinct lack of wavestones. Anyone care to donate? :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:

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PostPosted: 19 May 2009, 22:52 
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I tried this last week with Omega3 and Grass Ox, and Tat I would say it would rival that of your mighty R1!

It's just insanely fast to put a pimple at the end of it

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