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BUTTERFLY TACKIFIRE SP - CATAPULT TEST

Don Iguana

TACKIFIRE SP

For Butterfly, adding SP to the Tackifire family completes their line of high grip products.  Players who already prefer hard sponge 729 and 999 Chinese products now have a comparable sheet made completely with Japanese quality and technology.

Tackifire SP is as advertised...equally sticky but faster and harder than other Tackifire and Tackiness offerings.  It is the heaviest sheet of rubber (60 grams per side cut to a compact head size!) and the stiffest sponge yet encountered by Iguana Labs.  Reminding Don of a cold IHOP pancake, this is one serious slab of rubber.

For anyone nurtured on Japanese rubber (as discussed in the newsgroup) the first few strokes with Chinese hard sponge are like walking on Jupiter. Only after a little table time do you even begin to adjust to the fact that there┬╣s very little throw at low impacts and that the best offensive shots generally use equal portions of spin and speed.

In its first session SP showed little glue effect, with the dense sponge clearly overmatching even the most eager little catechuic molecules trying to burrow inside.  We'll keep gluing and report back.  We've been told persistence is the key to making this sponge jump.

SP plays much like Avalox (999) Purot and very differently from regular Tackifire, whose feel extends comfortably from other Butterfly Japanese style offensive rubbers. With SP in the house, Butterfly can now well serve players in the heavy hitting world of hard sponge grippy rubber. The input that the company took from King Kong himself (rumored to be sometimes less than delicately delivered :-) is a good guarantee that this sheet offers the exact envelope expected.

It's not likely that new players will be recruited to this style rubber just because Tackifire SP has been introduced, but Butterfly can compete effectively for a share of the audience already there for this style with the advantages of a trusted reputation for quality and a good choice of endorsers.  

Rest assured, if you like the "triple number" rubbers, you'll love this stuff.   If you've never visited this part of table tennis country before, you might wanna bum a test drive before your buy your ticket.

CATAPULT

If Tackifire SP represents only a logical line extension in a stable portion of the serious player market, Catapult, by contrast, raises the bar in an expanding category. 

As covered in the July '99 Don Iguana Glue Sound Test, the Desto F1/Tensor family of glue sound rubbers captures some of the elements of the glued experience, but not all...generating great spin but giving up in the speed category when the soft sponge gets down to wood.  Shots get a little unpredictable when really mashed, as if the ball doesn't quite know whether to rotate and just fly like hell.  Glue sounds also tend to lose their flavor on the bed post overnight, aging quickly under the mechanical stress.  

Well school's out boys and girls!  Catapult plays exactly like a comfortably glued sheet of regular rubber and doesn┬╣t indicate it will suffer from the shortcomings seen in the first glue sound generation.  We couldn't help but see a family resemblance when we laid a red sheet of Catapult next to a sheet of Bryce.  Speed may be hereditary.  At first glance, it appears the offspring may have spawned with ever so slightly smaller pips underneath very close together, but it certainly got Daddy's speed.

Time spent with other glue sound rubbers leaves a feeling of fragility, using thinner top sheets and porous sponge mechanically stressed to replicate the glue effect.  As a result, they deliver more sound than substance in many cases.  Catapult, however, is noticeably more substantial and matches the performance of a light to medium glue job more accurately. While Desto F1 seems to mimic the true effect only at low impacts, Catapult allows you crank up and generate more speed without overmatching the sponge.

Will the US National Team forsake gluing for the convenience of Catapult? Nahhhh.  Does it totally replicate a killer corked glue job at full tilt? Nahhhh.  Is it the best glue sound rubber now on the market?  You bet.  Only time will tell if players will "trade down" to it from gluing, but, right out of the box, Catapult is going to be a great move-up for non-gluing players that will immediately stretch the spin-speed continuum. 

Tested so far only on the not-legal-in-40-states Ranato assault weapon, Catapult appears to be a hardy, stable (and faster) solution to this tricky challenge than any of the contenders that preceded it.  We'll report back once we've driven it on the tamer Kong, to see how much dwell time Catapult can claim on a softer, slower blade.

Courtesy of Dave "Lefty" Williams & About.com

 

Last Update : 21 December, 2003

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