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 Post subject: [REVIEW] BBC 2-CarboFlex
PostPosted: 28 Mar 2010, 17:25 
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Liquid Evil Chopper
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Introduction & Description

BBC's 2-CarboFlex is a modified version of the CarboFlex Alpha. It's a 7-ply blade with a criss-crossed layer of carbon in the centre, then balsa (with 1 side thicker than the other), then birch I think, followed by mahogany. With the softer balsa surrounded by carbon and harder wood, it's interesting to feel how they relate to each other (see below).

The blade supposedly weighs 90g (it is slightly oversized) but it feels much lighter to me. Workmanship is absolutely top notch - the best in any blade I've seen. :up: The flared handle is also the best for my hand, better even than the Joo Se Hyuk. The blade comes pre-sealed already which is a plus. I should also mention that I find the blade incredibly well-balanced even with rubbers no, not head-heavy unlike many of the oversized blades.

Initial Impression


My first impression is how slow the blade is especially in view of the carbon in the middle. In this regard I agree with Charlie's rating of ALL for this blade. As it's a 7-ply blade, it feels relatively stiff, eventhough there's balsa in it. Its stiffness reminds me of Stiga Clipper, but is of course much slower. What is really interesting is the surface hardness. As I mentioned in the BBC thread, overall the surface feels quite hard, yet I could feel alot of dynamics with the soft and hard wood layers working off each other. At times I feel the minor catapult effect of the balsa, other times the harder layer is more prominent. It is by no means a bouncy blade like TSP balsa+ 5.5, as the balsa is very well tamed by the outer plies. At times it's very difficult to feel the balsa at all. Setting up the blade is interesting accordingly, and therefore I spent 4 sessions trying out different rubber combinations.

Besides the high quality build, another plus for the blade is its stability across the blade surface. The sweetspot is certainly bigger than wood blades. Bouncing a ball on the blade, there's no hint of carbon ping at all. In fact, it sounds close to the Joo Se Hyuk but with a lower pitch.

The Reviewer

I'm a "modern defender" (see my signature for equipment) who started off using OX LP. I'm currently playing in B grade in my local league in Australia (defending doubles title this season). I've play tested many blades, including brands such as Butterfly, Nittaku, Galaxy, 729, DHS, Darker, TSP, Joola, Hallmark and Dr Neubauer.

In my play test, I will use several blades as benchmarks. They are:

Stiga Clipper - for overall feel of 7-ply.
BTY Joo Se Hyuk and Defence II - blades commonly used by modern defenders.
BTY Petr Korbel - as it's medium in everything.
Hallmark Aurora - for its blocking capability (balsa blade)
TSP Balsa+ 5.5 - for its comparatively similar blade construction ideology (balsa + something hard i.e. fiberglass)

1st Play Test - Sponge LP Setup

In the first and second TT sessions, I tested out the blade with Tackiness Drive 2.1mm and Feint Long II 1.1mm. I like the stiffness of the blade as it's very similar to my blades, but first thing I noticed is that, with Tackiness Drive, I wasn't able to generate enough speed to put balls past my opponents. Nevertheless, its softness pairs well with the blade - might be useful for a LP blocker who defends at the table. In terms of overall loop and smash ability, the blade feels like the Clipper but minus the speed. The Clipper is also a tad harder. But in terms of stiffness both blades are comparable, and they are both more stiff than my standard benchmark blade i.e. the Korbel.

Fattchoi is my testing partner in these sessions. I found the speed and stability of the blade conducive for chopping. It's also easier on the chopping motion since the blade is so well-balanced. Unfortunately, Fattchoi feels, in both test sessions, that the LP is not doing much for him and that he has no issue returning my chops compared to my usual setups. On reflection, one possible reason why the blade couldn't generate as much spin on the Feint Long II is that its outer plies are harder than my own blades. Since the ball doesn't sink as much into the blade, there's less dwell time and hence less spin. We tried alternating between the BBC and my usual setups and came to the conclusion that BBC's 2-carboflex isn't particularly well suited for the modern defensive game (too slow and not enough spin). Having discovered more about the blade, given its characteristics, I thought it might be more suitable for the OX LP game.

2nd Play Test - OX LP Setup

This time I paired the 2-carboflex with Neptune OX and Tenergy 64. This setup is much better on the blade. The ALL speed and stability of the blade assist greatly in blocks. There's decent spin reversal though it's hard to tell if the balsa in the blade contributes to reversal at all. The harder outer plies and blade stiffness certainly help in this regard. Playing against a regular partner, he had difficulties with the spin reversal and dumped many balls into the net (it's interesting because there are better spin reversal OX LP than Neptune). Blocking with the Neptune requires good discipline and technique as the relatively harder pips made it harder to block well without popping the ball up - but that's not the blade's fault.

I also used the Hallmark Aurora for comparison as it's another balsa blade - with the Aurora the balsa effect is more pronounced. It will be interesting to see how a user of TSP balsa+ feels about the 2-carboflex (Charlie - I suggest Haggis who is using the TSP balsa 4.5).

On the forehand, I love the feel of Tenergy64 on it. It's not as fast, but it's not slow either. The stability assists in counter-looping and forehand blocks.

Overall Comment

The BBC 2-CarboFlex is a light-weight, ALL speed, 7-ply with a specially constructed criss-crossed carbon layer surrounded by 2 layers of balsa core of variable thickness. It is incredibly well constructed, well-balanced and has great stability across the playing surface. It has an excellent flared handle to boot! Its relatively slow speed coupled with its stiffness and harder surface renders it a good candidate for the LP blocking game. Clipper lovers who want something similar but at greatly reduced speed would also find the 2-CarboFlex worthwhile to try ouy. If it's less stiff and hard it'd be suitable for an ALL player. I think that the carbon layer/balsa combination is interesting, and I believe by tweaking the outer plies, BBC could change the blade's fundamental characteristics to suit different playstyles. While the blade is not suitable for my own playstyle, the quality of the blade suggests BBC is a well established blade maker has got great potential to make more great blades. :up:

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PostPosted: 28 Mar 2010, 21:36 
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Blade: Re-impact Tachi + (ABS)
FH: Nittaku Fastarc G-1 1.4mm
BH: DMS Elite Long OX
It's interesting -- the issues you identified with using this as a chopping blade are exactly along the lines of what I'd been saying earlier in the main BladesbyCharlie thread, which is that a chopping blade, at least for a chopper who uses LP on the backhand, should be soft, not hard, on the backhand, to permit spin creation and variation, while being a bit harder on the forehand, to permit both chopping and hitting. I wonder what would happen if you switched the forehand and backhand sides on this blade. Perhaps the forehand would still be too slow for you that way, but maybe the backhand side would now have the softness you need. Just a thought.

_________________
I. Re-Impact Turbo; FH: Spinlord Sandwind 1.5mm; BH: DMS Kamikaze OX
II. Re-Impact Smart; FH: TSP Spinpips RED 2.1mm; BH: Dr. Neubauer Gangster OX
III. Sauer & Troger Firestarter; FH: Spinlord Waran 1.8mm; BH: Giant Dragon Snowflake OX
IV. Sauer & Troger Firestarter; FH: Yasaka Rakza 7 Soft 1.8mm; BH: Joola Badman Reloaded OX
V. Victas Koji Matsushita; FH: Yasaka Rakza 7 Soft 1.8mm; BH: TSP P-1R 1.0-1.3mm
USATT Rating: 2037


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PostPosted: 29 Mar 2010, 10:29 
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TraditionalTradesman wrote:
It's interesting -- the issues you identified with using this as a chopping blade are exactly along the lines of what I'd been saying earlier in the main BladesbyCharlie thread, which is that a chopping blade, at least for a chopper who uses LP on the backhand, should be soft, not hard, on the backhand, to permit spin creation and variation, while being a bit harder on the forehand, to permit both chopping and hitting. I wonder what would happen if you switched the forehand and backhand sides on this blade. Perhaps the forehand would still be too slow for you that way, but maybe the backhand side would now have the softness you need. Just a thought.


Hey there - well both sides of the blade are essentially the same in terms of hardness despite the BH side having a slightly thicker balsa ply. So I'm not sure if changing sides will change anything. :)

I guess with def blades in general (for the modern def style), the wood plies allow the ball to sink into the blade, thereby imparting spin. Everything else being equal, softness is generally a desirable trait for choppers, and is the reverse for LP blockers. In the BBC thread, I argue that too much softness is not a good thing for the modern def style as it compromises the FH side (can't put balls away). If I was a "two-wing chopper" I'd definitely opt for soft blades. I have noticed exceptions by the way: I still don't quite understand why the Septear is not as spinny as I'd expected.

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PostPosted: 29 Mar 2010, 15:18 
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Chopoleon Bonaparte
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Blade: Re-impact Tachi + (ABS)
FH: Nittaku Fastarc G-1 1.4mm
BH: DMS Elite Long OX
Quote:
In the BBC thread, I argue that too much softness is not a good thing for the modern def style as it compromises the FH side (can't put balls away). If I was a "two-wing chopper" I'd definitely opt for soft blades.


Yes, I completely agree that too much softness compromises the forehand, which is precisely why I said that a chopper's blade should be softer on the backhand, a bit harder on the forehand.

_________________
I. Re-Impact Turbo; FH: Spinlord Sandwind 1.5mm; BH: DMS Kamikaze OX
II. Re-Impact Smart; FH: TSP Spinpips RED 2.1mm; BH: Dr. Neubauer Gangster OX
III. Sauer & Troger Firestarter; FH: Spinlord Waran 1.8mm; BH: Giant Dragon Snowflake OX
IV. Sauer & Troger Firestarter; FH: Yasaka Rakza 7 Soft 1.8mm; BH: Joola Badman Reloaded OX
V. Victas Koji Matsushita; FH: Yasaka Rakza 7 Soft 1.8mm; BH: TSP P-1R 1.0-1.3mm
USATT Rating: 2037


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PostPosted: 29 Mar 2010, 16:33 
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i like your review! and i've had haggis in mind, from the beginning, to try out the 2-speed C-flex.
i noticed on your beautiful pictures that i took some makers license and put on two different kinds of wood on the handle. this was to point out that the sides were different and to show the types available, as well as a weight adjustment for balance.
i'm thinking with your way of looking at the blade... although the sides have the same hardness of surface wood, the different thicknesses of balsa and the offset carbon, cause one side to flex more than the other. this translates to different dwell times, suiting different rubbers. i think that longer dwell can act as a "softer feel".
i still suggest that you use the thicker balsa side for pips and the thinner for inverted. but, please do try it the other way around also. i can't tell you how many times i've been surprised on how different things have been, from time to time, to my expectations.
the mahogany skinned C-flex is a softer wood than the usual birch. i'm looking now for an even softer wood to use, possibly a cypress combination (very thin).
talk soon, thanks! charlie

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http://www.bladesbycharlie.com
BBC 9-10-9, Palio Blitz, RITC 563 1.5


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