Alex Table Tennis - MyTableTennis.NET Homepage
  New Posts New Posts RSS Feed - Review: BBC X-Fusion prototype blade
  FAQ FAQ  Forum Search   Events   Register Register  Login Login
tabletennis11.com

Review: BBC X-Fusion prototype blade

 Post Reply Post Reply
Author
JimT View Drop Down
Forum Moderator
Forum Moderator
Avatar

Joined: 10/26/2007
Location: United States
Status: Offline
Points: 14806
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote JimT Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Review: BBC X-Fusion prototype blade
    Posted: 12/27/2012 at 5:13pm
Formal introductions first:

Brand: BBC (Blades By Charlie, www.bladesbycharlie.com)

Model: X-Fusion (as in Cross-Fusion; don't look for it on the website yet; we both thought that simply "Fusion" was a very good name as Charlie combined so many new things together in this prototype blade but then it turned out that TSP and some other manufacturer already had a Fusion blade, so...)

Class: OFF
Handle: FL, 100 mm
Weight: 88-89 g
Face dimensions: 159 x 148 mm (about 1 mm less than regular Butterfly dimensions; Attack-II shape)
Thickness: 7.1 mm (HD), 7.3 mm (TC)
Plies: 9 (yes, nine): 5w+4c, see construction below.

Charlie was trying to make a relatively thick blade (for better blocking and fast flat game) but with improved flex and looping capabilities. Basically, a hybrid-compromise between BBC Ultima and BBC Ramin Cross... and here it is.

Charlie made four prototypes so far: I will call them HD (high-density), TC (triple-carbon), DS (double-soft) and FC (flex-carbon; revie wand facts on it will go separately in one of the following posts):

HD-prototype: HD(*) WRC outer (1.5 mm) + soft pico-carbon (**) + cross-oriented Ramin (0.5 mm) + soft-pico-carbon + HD WRC core (2.25 mm) + soft pico-carbon + cross-oriented Ramin (0.5 mm) + soft-pico-carbon + HD WRC outer (1.5 mm)

(*) HD WRC means a very dense (High-Density) Western Red Cedar, which is noticeably heavier than regular WRC.

(**) soft pico-carbon is a new (for BBC) very thin and rather soft carbon which allows the blade to flex while providing very good sweet spot

TC-prototype: WRC outer (1.5 mm) + soft pico-carbon + cross-oriented Ramin (0.5 mm) + triple soft-pico-carbon + WRC core (2.25 mm) + triple soft pico-carbon + cross-oriented Ramin (0.5 mm) + soft-pico-carbon + WRC outer (1.5 mm)

DS-prototype: WRC outer (1.5 mm) + double soft pico-carbon + cross-oriented Ramin (0.5 mm) + double soft-pico-carbon + WRC core (2.25 mm) + double soft pico-carbon + cross-oriented Ramin (0.5 mm) + double soft-pico-carbon + WRC outer (1.5 mm)

Great quality of craftsmanship from Charlie, as always; very nice and comfortable FL handles.

Pictures:
https://picasaweb.google.com/JimT2008/BBCXFusionPrototypes

Latest (and it seems, the last) X-Fusion prototype has only (LOL) 7 layers. See below my review on it - it is called X-Fusion FC.
Single Ply Hinoki Club, Founding Member
Say "no!" to expensive table tennis equipment. Please...
Back to Top
JimT View Drop Down
Forum Moderator
Forum Moderator
Avatar

Joined: 10/26/2007
Location: United States
Status: Offline
Points: 14806
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote JimT Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12/27/2012 at 5:13pm
Some photos:

HD prototype





TC prototype:




Single Ply Hinoki Club, Founding Member
Say "no!" to expensive table tennis equipment. Please...
Back to Top
JimT View Drop Down
Forum Moderator
Forum Moderator
Avatar

Joined: 10/26/2007
Location: United States
Status: Offline
Points: 14806
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote JimT Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12/27/2012 at 5:14pm
I have so far only played with HD prototype yet but I have in my hands TC version as well (currently sealing it and then putting some of my standard rubbers on).

HD is certainly much flexier than all of those BBC blades I have used before. Which is not a surprise - Ultima is 8.1 mm thick and has regular (thick) micro-carbon layers, Cypress One-Ply is about 9.4 mm thick and is absolutely stiff; 9-10-9 is about 7.6 mm thick with same carbon layers etc.

Use of soft-carbon in all the synthetic layers resulted in a blade which has very nice, almost entirely wooden feeling, due also to soft outers which are not as fast as you might have assumed looking at the 6-9-6 formula used here. Ramin cross-layers play some role here as well, I bet.

Blade has some noticeable (for me, that is - I am used to very stiff blades) catapult.

Speed: OFF. About as fast as Galaxy W-1. A touch slower than Ultima. However, when you loop (especially with tensors) you will immediately feel the flex. There is a kick coming at the end of a faster loop that will add some speed to X-Fusion's reaction

Spin: better than Ultima, similar to W-1

Control: it has same soft outers as Ultima and other Hinoki blades. Closeness of carbon to the surface doesn't really show - after all, this is a different kind of carbon.

Sensitivity/catapult: a little more than Ultima; slightly better than W-1 or TBS. You will feel a little extra kick and might pop the ball more than intended. However this should not be a problem for players used to thinner, flexier blades. If anything they might feel this blade has less of a catapult
than blades of similar structure like Clipper,  NCT VII or TBS - this should be a sensible compromise between 5.8 mm loopy flexy blades and super-stiff monsters like DS90 or thick Balsa based blades.

Short game: seems as good as my usual stiff soft blades (Ultima, Darker Speed 90) unless your push/slice is done with some throwing motion. Needs some adjustment

Looping: much better than regular stiff blades of mine.

Chopping: it's more or less OK in chopping for an OFF player; this is after all a flexy attacking blade, don't expect too much there.

Blocks and flat hits: quite good for a thinner (than 8 mm) blade! Still, some adjustment was needed. But after two sessions with X-Fusion I got much more comfortable there.

Overall, good analogy for the properties of this blade is - a slower and somewhat softer version of Schlager Carbon. It also behaves relatively close to blades like Xiom Zetro Quad or Nittaku Narcus  (but is just a bit slower, especially in flat game; not in looping).

So far, I like it more with non-tensor rubbers - to eliminate extra kick. However, after some adjustment I started feel more comfortable with non-MAX tensors which do not have a lot of their own catapult (like Xiom Omega IV Asia 2.0, or Palio Blitz 2.0). I used it with Giant Dragon Karate rubbers (2.0 mm, not more) and with LKT Rapid Speed 2.0-2.2 mm.

Overall: this is a great blade for two-wing loopers who employ flat game as well (as in flat punches, quick pushes, smashes, blocks). I know that my Ultima is certainly not for everyone (it is too thick and too stiff... but it suits my style very well) but this one should satisfy a bunch of OFF players who do a lot of everything - which sometimes requires good looping-flexing and sometimes rigidity for blocking and flat game. A long sought happy medium! Smile

I really hope Charlie will standardize it and put it into his public lineup - there is nothing there similar to it really. By design it is relatively close to his Anvil but it plays very differently due to soft outer plies of WRC and flexibility with almost no vibration (Anvil is stiffer and harder, for uncompromising all-out-attackers only).
Single Ply Hinoki Club, Founding Member
Say "no!" to expensive table tennis equipment. Please...
Back to Top
Carryboy View Drop Down
Silver Member
Silver Member
Avatar

Joined: 05/12/2009
Location: United States
Status: Offline
Points: 741
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Carryboy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12/28/2012 at 5:22pm
Nice blade JimT
Spin Master Carbo Power (Stefan Elsner Custom)
Donic Acuda S1 Max
Donic Acuda P1 Blue Max
Back to Top
JimT View Drop Down
Forum Moderator
Forum Moderator
Avatar

Joined: 10/26/2007
Location: United States
Status: Offline
Points: 14806
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote JimT Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12/29/2012 at 11:50am
Originally posted by Carryboy Carryboy wrote:

Nice blade JimT



Thanks. But it is 100% Charlie's design - I had nothing to do with it. He simply chose me as a tester probably since I prefer playing with thicker blades.

Some extra info

Vibration - closer to none. It's not annoying like you have in some other blades with soft carbon or glassfiber. Probably because it is thicker.

I played more with it - with Galaxy Mars II 41 on FH and LKT Rapid Speed on BH - it is a good combination, although I suspect that RS would play better for me on FH as I am not overly fond of tacky (even slightly) rubbers on my BH.

My mastery of the blade has certainly improved over the three hours of the practice - for instance I have lost my first match to player X but an hour later defeated him with much better confidence.

I still think that a slightly stiffer blade will work better for me but I bet that for 90% of offensive loopers of my level X-Fusion HD is somewhat less flexible than their regular blades. However I think it is indeed an extremely well designed compromise which on average will play better for a majority of advanced offensive players.

I will post my thoughts on the second prototype - TC - after New Year's day.
Single Ply Hinoki Club, Founding Member
Say "no!" to expensive table tennis equipment. Please...
Back to Top
JimT View Drop Down
Forum Moderator
Forum Moderator
Avatar

Joined: 10/26/2007
Location: United States
Status: Offline
Points: 14806
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote JimT Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01/04/2013 at 1:11pm
I played two full practice sessions with TC prototype.

I liked this one a little better - for now, at least. I intend to play them both with the same rubbers at the same practice and see if I feel a lot of difference, and in which aspects.

For now, however, I recommended Charlie to include the first X-Fusion (HD version) into his public lineup - I am not sure however what his intentions about this blade are. Generally not a lot of offensive players like thicker blades - if the choice is between 7.3 mm (TC is approx. 0.29") and 7.1 (HD is approx. 0.28") the thinner will be more suitable for them. It is thicker than majority of the regular blades anyway.

I should say that vibration is a bit more pronounced for the thinner one as well - probably both because of the thickness and because TC has triple carbon in the inner layer. I am not sure if it is possible to get rid of some vibration in HD without changing its flex and thickness. Probably the answer is no.

In speed they are about the same (TC has tiny edge), and in control I feel that TC is a bit better in the short game as it has less of an unwelcome catapult effect. Overall feeling -  TC has a little crisper feeling (although not as crisp as Ultima [7-16-7]) which I like, and a little better block.

Still I am pretty sure most players would prefer HD. Perhaps the core layer should be made of regular WRC, not of VHD type - that way the weight could be lowered a bit to give the customers a wider range of weight. Also very small shift of balance a tiny bit into the handle could be achieved.

Overall: both blades are very very good. I am sticking with X-Fusion TC for now and will try it out now with my regular rubbers, Xiom Omega IV Asia on both sides. It already has one O4A 2.0mm on BH but I was using Giant Dragon Karate Soft 2.2 mm on FH and while it was great playing close to the table, it lacked just a tad of oomph when away from table... that is a matter of small readjustment of course but I like to stick with familiar rubbers which I always have at hand and whose reliability and accessibility is as consistent as possible.
Single Ply Hinoki Club, Founding Member
Say "no!" to expensive table tennis equipment. Please...
Back to Top
JimT View Drop Down
Forum Moderator
Forum Moderator
Avatar

Joined: 10/26/2007
Location: United States
Status: Offline
Points: 14806
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote JimT Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04/17/2013 at 12:33pm
Finally, the one I am sticking with - X-Fusion FC (Flex-Carbon).

This one is 7 mm thick and has only (LOL) seven layers. Here is the construction schematics:

1.75 mm (WRC) Western Red Cedar - Carbon (regular) - 0.5 mm Ramin (cross-oriented layer) - 1.75 mm WRC - 0.5 mm Ramin Cross - Carbon - 1.75 mm WRC

This one takes the cake. Not only does it play better (for me, of course, not for you Wink buddy!) than all the previous 2-3 prototypes, but I have actually stopped ordering and testing new versions of X-Fusion and ordered TWO (2) more FC models, which I already got from Charlie and playing with them now (testing with different rubbers).

Weight: from 88-91 g

Vibration: very close to zero (perhaps it is zero but I am not sure now)

Speed: OFF. It is a bit faster than the previous X-Fusions and also has a crisper feeling that I love.

Control: hmm, how do we measure it here? oh well... comparable to Yinhe W-1, and to Xiom Zetro Quad which I am also testing right now. Same can be said about Spin and Throw Angle. XZQ might have a slightly harder feeling, and X-Fusion feels a little better in short game/touch but that could be easily just a matter of habit/technique.

As a matter of fact this blade plays basically the same as Xiom Zetro Quad. Having tested them with the same rubbers I can attest to that. That is why I will be probably trading XZQ pretty soon... unless I change my mind again Smile

That means there is nothing really more to write about it - you can take any laudatory review of XZQ and say the same words about BBC X-Fusion FC. It might be that XF-FC has a tiny little bit less speed than XZQ but I feel that is not a disadvantage. Same flexibility, same great looping (for a relatively thick blade), same wonderful blocking (for a relatively  - viz Speed90 or BBC Ultima - thin blade), same huge sweet spot, same reliability, same comfortable balance (X-Fusion is a little better I think), same price (more or less; although XZQ can be had cheaper from some discount TT stores or second-hand here).

Rubbers I had tried: Xiom Omega IV Asia (both sides), Sword Backoff 42 deg (both sides), Tibhar Aurus (both sides), Giant Dragon Karate Hard/Soft (mostly FH). Best combo was with Sword Backoff 42 deg FH and O4A BH, but Aurus on both sides was not far behind.

Pictures: https://picasaweb.google.com/JimT2008/BBCXFusionFC
Single Ply Hinoki Club, Founding Member
Say "no!" to expensive table tennis equipment. Please...
Back to Top
 Post Reply Post Reply
  Share Topic   

Forum Jump Forum Permissions View Drop Down

Forum Software by Web Wiz Forums® version 12.01
Copyright ©2001-2018 Web Wiz Ltd.

This page was generated in 0.109 seconds.

Become a Fan on Facebook Follow us on Twitter Web Wiz News
About MyTableTennis.NET | Forum Help | Disclaimer

MyTableTennis.NET is the trading name of Alex Table Tennis Ltd.

Copyright ©2003-2019 Alex Table Tennis Ltd. All rights reserved.