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February 2nd, 1999

The question of Chinese vs. Japanese rubber was on the table at the WMTTC practice session this morning.

Renowned table tennis Celebrity Don Iguana was in town to compare Avalox Purot, a 999 variant mounted on medium soft Japanese and used (in various branded forms) by many at-the-table hitters on the Chinese national team...and Sriver FX, a classic soft sponge rubber for European style "technical players".

As Diego Shaaf predicted, the Avalox needed two gluings to get up to speed. The control the testing variables, the rubbers were mounted a soft 5 ply Kreanga as an unnamed looper felt more able to perform the test with a familiar blade (The first effort was mounted on the hip new Blue Thunder 555 which will be covered in a coming test).

Here's the test rig:

Rubber: Red Sriver FX 2.1, speed glued for six of seven sessions (42 grams trimmed and dry), black Avalox Purot 2.1 (47.6 grams trimmed and dry), speed glued for two sessions.

Attachment: Speed glued ASTI EX and Booster to medium dome and try tack mounted to an EX coated blade thirty minutes before session.

Blade: Krenga ST, soft 5 Ply, 85 grams without rubber, 175 grams fully shod.


These are both high spin, high grip rubbers, but with different strengths.

The Avalox has incredible "sticky" grip on the surface rubber and even with the medium Japanese sponge it is still a fast blaster. Speed and spin are directly connected. It is hard to do one without the other, which means this a great rubber for at the table looping and loopkilling.

Like a V-8, Avalox Purot has stump pulling torque at mid speeds, encouraging opening loops and flat attacks against backspin. At the high end, it rewards your hard swings with a sharp crack and delivers stall proof hitting.

The down side of this macho killing machine is that it's thick top sheet and medium sponge noticeably limit dwell time compared to the softer and thinner top sheeted Sriver FX, making it a little more difficult to vary speeds from all distances and making it wise to count on the "kill" part of a cranked up finishing stroke, more than the "loop" part.

The Sriver FX is more like a European sports car, being more sensitive to racket angle and hand speed. At low and medium rackets speeds it does not generate as much pure spin as the grippy Chinese rig and it is not as fast off the bounce. But it does, as advertised, reward "technical" play allowing spin and timing variation at all speeds.

Just like a smaller turbocharged motor, FX plays more powerfully if you can keep your foot on throttle (racket speed!)...and it is ultimately capable of more spin than the Avalox from all distances...as long as you swing fast and avoid stalling it with too steep blade angles.


More with the FX. The Purot rebounds with a more straight line response to the speed of the incoming ball. It encourages hitting, more than hard spinning, as the point speeds up.


It depends on what kind of looping. Purot rewards fast looping off the the push and loop killing. When asked to counterloop it was harder to control ball speed, compared to the FX.

The Sriver's softer sponge is a more controllable surface for medium range all-around top spinning. The Sriver also ultimately allows, IMHO, for more top spin on the extreme fastest loops because of its longer dwell time. Hardest swung loops generally had more top spin with the Sriver and more speed with the Purot.


Edge to Purot. Solid cracks and rewards for lively wrist action over the top of counters in fast exchanges. The Sriver is more "finicky", stalling out if you're a little flat on forehand drives or blocks.


Tough call. The surface grip of the Purot is makes for very spinny table play but it has downside in being more susceptible to carry-over spin from services and heavy pushes. It does have a very dependable feel, albeit at one speed.

The FX is kinda sluggish a slow speeds because the soft sponge is not corking but it offers less susceptibility of incoming spin and can be varied easily to produce slower speed, no spin pushes.


Similar to pushing, the Avalox is very spinny but offers fewer speeds than the FX.


Avalox Purot and Butterfly Sriver FX are not plug-and-play equivalents.

Sriver FX is a most wonderful brush for top spin shotmaking artists. If your game is based on controlled top spinning and counter looping against blocks and loops, Purot doesn't paint in as many colors. When thing get "bang-bang" fast, the FX's longer dwell time offers choices from mid-distance that the slightly denser Purot does not.

Purot is a better choice for power spinners and off the bounce hitter/blockers. It outperforms the FX in terms of countering speed, blocking speed and by being stall proof when hitting the high ball.

Purot is sandwiched in the range of 999 hybrids between Avalox Sogno, which has the same sponge with less surface grip and Xu Shaofa 999 which features the same sponge and a thinner-still sticky top sheet. Those who grew up with the 729/999 family will find Purot to be a thoroughly modern evolution that is lighter and softer than its venerated ancestors.

Courtesy of About.com - TT


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