Adidas Challenge Force & Light Blades Review!!!
The Challenge series blades of Adidas is now complete and this is the first time in the internet that all of them were revealed and reviewed. I have reviewed the Challenge Speed a few weeks ago and now I have the other 2 blades which are the Challenge Force and Challenge Light.
The Challenge series were designed for players who wants a choice between all wood blades depending on their type of play. The Challenge speed is designed for players who wants a very fast all wood 7 ply blade that is excellent in giving powerful shots. The Challenge Force is for a player who wants a controllable 5 ply blade that still can give enough speed and power to his shots at the same time maintain a high level of control. The Challenge Light is for players who has an all around game, who uses pips, those who likes to chop from time to time and to those players who want a control -based looping style.
weight: 86 grams thickness: 5mm blade size: 157x150cm wood plies: 5 plies; limba-limba-ayous-limba-limba speed: off- (personally its between the speed of off- and off-) rubbers used: adidas P7 & Syntec SF, Dawei 388A Navigator, RITC 802-40 short pips
The challenge force blade was designed for players who wanted a flexible yet controllable attacking blade. The designers had in mind a 5 ply blade with 2 outer limba plies and an ayous inner core providing excellent feel and a great amount of control when playing a looping game or a mid distance topspin vs topspin game.
As i have stated earlier, the speed feels like its not a true OFF- blade with a light weight. There are some shots that made me feel that the blade is OFF. I was basing this while using the Dawei 388A Navigator because that chinese rubber is considered as a medium speed rubber. looping with a chinese rubber on this blade offers a high percentage of your shots going in. Its very controllable yet in some extent speedy.
I used the Adidas P7 as a representative of fast rubbers on an off- blade. The P7 is within range of the Tenergy 25, Andro Hexer regular and Tibhar Genius rubbers for its speed and spin. Among the 2 other Challenge blades this combination offers the best balance of speed and control. The Challenge speed being a 7 ply blade offers a medium amount of dwell time. The Challenge Force being a flexible blade offers a high dwell time ensuring your loops to be properly brushed or grazed by your stroke. This is 5 ply looping blade at its best.
In using very soft rubbers I picked Adidas Syntec SF which has the hardness of Joola Energy Xtra Soft. The 34 degreeish sponge hardness is a good test if this blade is good for very soft rubbers. The combination of the 2 produced a bouncy set up with a soft feel. Driving the ball through the sponge with this blade has a very good feel and control at the same time imparting a lot of spin on the ball. Looping with a soft euro rubber is above average with this blade provided you don’t have a chinese stroke.
I opted to test the Challenge Force with a a pip out rubber like the 802-40. As a short pips user also in my spare time the blade didn’t offer any problems when paired with a fast short pip. The blade still had enough dwell time for short pips attackers. Control was very present even in countering or hitting back topspin balls.
I would recommend the Challenge Force to players who choose to have a 5 ply, flexible looping set up, to players who are looking for a balance between speed and control then this is the blade for them. Even players who would want a very fast rubber but wants to maintain total control this blade is excellent with rubbers in the speed range of newer generation tensor rubbers. It is also a good choice for developing players who are in need of a faster racket than their first set up but still using the same medium or slow speed chinese rubbers.
weight: 81 grams thickness: 5mm blade size: 157x150cm wood plies: 5 plies; ayous-ayous-ayous-ayous-ayous speed: off- (personally its between the speed of off- and off-) Rubbers used: Adidas P7 & Adidas Syntec SF, Dawei 388C medium pips, Dawei 388D-1 Long Pips, Dawei 388A Navigator
The Challenge Light as its name pertains is the lightest blade among the 2 other Challenge series blades. With the weight of 81 grams this is one of the lightest blade produced by Adidas but not the slowest. The blade engineers and designers had in mind that they need to have a blade made for players with an all around style of play, those who like to block with pips and to some extent choppers. The wood plies are very soft to the hand and I have not seen an all ayous blade construction with an all+ speed.
A very fast rubber like Adidas P7 seems like an off speed rubber in this set up. I wouldn’t describe this blade as very slow since it has a small amount of extra speed in it. If you would use faster and newer generation tensors in this blade you would have a fast but controlled looping machine with much emphasis on the control part. Rubbers that are very bouncy have excellent dwell time in this blade. The Challenge Light has a very high amount of dwell time.
I was very curious to try a medium pips rubber like the Dawei 388C on this blade. i previously had this mp on a donic epox offensiv blade but find it unstable and unpredictable. With the Challenge Light my blocks and returns using an mp improved drastically. The blade has lots of feel ensuring control on your delicate shots like drops shots, short pushes or even punchblocking.
I’m not a good chopper so I let my friend who is a chopper try this set up with a Dawei 388C-1 long pips and says that the set up is good enough for chopping away from the table. He had very spinny chops against loops and he has an equivalent rating of about 2200-2300 in the US. He attacks with his inverted side and he also says that the P7 attacks great with this all+ blade. I use long pips in my backhand as an LP hitter and blocker. I had to use LP and the like in order for me to teach my students more in handling lp’s,mp’s, sp’s and even anti-spin rubbers. As an LP hitter on my bh I would say the Challenge light presents 2 options in this set up. One is to chop effectively away from the table or attack with pips out rubbers in the backhand or with a fast rubber in the forehand but still maintaining control.
This blade is recommended for blockers who wanted control and some speed on their shots. The Adidas Syntec SF was a good blocking rubber with this set up as well as the pips mentioned above. i would also recommend this blade for players who will be buying this first practice blade but wouldn’t delve into a fast blade. The amount of dwell time for this blade would ensure a beginner to learn the good basics especially in brushing the ball during loops. LP users and the like would enjoy this blade since its not fast and would benefit their game.
These blades will be release in the 2nd quarter of this year probably. The initial pricing on the Adidas Challenge Speed is $80 retail, the 2 other blades I’m not sure but they would be lower than the Speed I think. Please take note that this blades will have a higher quality once they are in full production process. Even at this stage Adidas still do some modifications of their blades to ensure better quality and performance once the blades come out in the market