New! ITC Impact Blade and Rubber Review
ITC Impact Blade and Rubber
ITC Impact Blade
Weight: 85 grams
Plies” 7 (Limba-Ayous-ALC-Ayous-ALC-Ayous-Limba)
It has been quite a while since ITC released a new shakehand blade. ITC has been consistent with their product quality since the transition from Adidas TT. Although this is a different company, some of the products were continued up to this day like the Challenge Speed, Accelum, Radix blades, etc. The ITC Impact blade is the newest in the line and it is an inner ALC composite blade. Good thing they revealed the composition so that people can be familiar with the blade’s construction.
This blade was precisely and meticulously constructed. The quality is topnotch comparable to Butterfly blades. Their previous blades were already very good but the Impact blade now exceeded my expectations on its quality. The wing or neck part of the handle is slightly sanded so that you do not need to worry about sanding it. This is their first blade which carries their new logo. The overall finish of the blade has a smooth but not slippery feel. The top Limba plies seem to have some sort of seal but it is not obvious. The top plies are also smooth.
I tested the blade using the new Impact rubber and the also their upcoming Hello rubber which is a Chinese semi-tacky rubber. I could compare this to famous blades like Butterfly Innerforce ALC and DHS Ma Long 5 blades. The difference is that this is thinner compared to the 2 blades and also instead of the Limba 2nd layer, it has ayous wood layers. I would say this is a medium-fast blade. It is not as fast as the true off blades like ZLC blades or pure carbon blades but it fast enough not to underestimate its speed and power on strong shots. I would rate the speed as on the same level as that of a Viscaria or slightly slower by a notch or two. The thing with the ITC Impact is that it felt softer than the other inner ALC blades mentioned because of the softer Ayous layers instead of Limba. Considering that the janka hardness difference between Ayous and Limba is about 200, it is not surprising that the ITC Impact blade feels a little bit softer than ML 5 or IF ALC. I think it is just not me but a lot of folks do like the feel of inner-carbon blades because of the woody feeling it gives. The ITC Impact blade has that combination of semi-soft woody feeling mixed with the right amount of stiffness provided by the carbon-arylate layers. With the ITC Impact blade’s design, the speed that the Impact blade is borderline off+ but also not slow to the point that it can be a true off blade only. Basing on the tests performed, the Impact blade has high effectiveness mostly close to the table and middle distance away from the table. You could use it far from the table but it needs a bit of effort or you would need very fast rubbers. If you would use a Chinese rubber on the Impact blade you would need a boosted one to compensate for the distance.
For spinny shots, the ITC Impact blade excels to the highest degree like looping a 7 ply all-wood blade. It spins the ball easily with a good amount of “dwell” that you can graze the ball properly resulting to a good amount of brush contact against heavy underspin balls. I would attribute this mainly in my opinion on the good amount of flex the Impact blade has and the not too fast speed. I sometimes find my backhand loops are more spinny than my forehand loops against underspin when using this blade. I would attribute this to the brushing contact on the ball.
Shorts strokes like drop shots and short pushes are very controllable because you could feel the ball properly due to the blade’s flex thereby giving you enough control. Blocking is also highly controllable due to the mixed of softness and rigidity of the blade. It is fairly stable for blocking but not as much as heavy and harder blades like the Strike carbon.
Overall, this is a cheaper and good to other inner-carbon blades. This is only about 125USD basing on its price on the official site of ITC and EMS worldwide shipping is already included in the price. This can be a good transition blade from all wood to carbon blades if a player is not sure about control issues.
ITC Impact Rubber
Weight: 69 grams uncut
Sponge Hardness: 47.5 ESN Scale
Spin: Very High
The ITC Impact product name is not only for a blade but also of the newest rubber that they are offering. This is a very new product and was just released this July if I am not mistaken. Here is the thing with the previous rubbers, they are all very fast but some people feel the previous line of rubbers needed more grip. I believe the Ultra Powercell 48 was very spinny and is as spinny as other Euro rubbers but I think people are sometimes deceived by its spin if they are basing on the texture of the topsheet. Daiki rubbers are made from Japan and they have this smooth and shiny look that you can say they are almost non-spin sensitive to incoming spin. The topsheet of the Impact rubber looks obviously different from the previous ITC rubbers wherein you can almost mistake it for an ESN rubber. The previous rubbers from ITC have this distinct Daiki look which is smooth and semi-translucent while the Impact’s topsheet looks like that of matte red ESN rubbers.
I glued this on to the Impact blade together with the ITC Ultra 48 rubber and also change it to the Ultra 45 rubber. This is a very fast rubber but I think the ITC Ultra Powercell 48 is still faster by a few notches. The sponge of the Impact is very reactive and it produces a good amount of power away and middle distance from the table. Even with partial sponge compression during drives or loop drives, you can feel the speed it produces and this is with the Impact Blade which is not too fast. I would put the speed of the ITC Impact rubber exactly with that of the MX-P rubber. It is very bouncy and lively when you are doing drives and smashes near the table. I also noticed that the Impact rubber has a somewhat shorter trajectory with somewhat higher arc than that of the Ultra Powercell 48 rubber. The Ultra Powercell has this long and semi-low flying arc which is about 2 inches passing over the net while the Impact has about 3 inches height when passing over the net.
OK so you would definitely ask for the spin level of the ITC Impact rubber and I would understand the concern but let me assure you that it is as spinny as an MX-P. As what I have stated earlier, the topsheet is very grippy that you can mistake it as a popular ESN rubber without the logo and label. If in the past Daiki rubbers seem to need more grip on the ball, the rubbers now produced by Daiki seem to achieved the level of popular ESN rubbers like MX-P although the Impact is easier to produce spin because the combination of the sponge and topsheet seem to produce tons of spin even when you have not fully dig into the sponge. The Impact’s arc is medium low but it clears the net easily on loops. I could also see the ball kicks the moment it bounces on the other side of the table. It also has excellent push chop spin as well as serving underspin.
I think other capabilities of this rubber is that it blocks well to the highest degree because it is not spin sensitive being a Daiki type rubber despite being grippy. It does not have this grainy feeling that ESN rubbers have but rather a smooth matte topsheet that does not let the incoming spin react violently. The reactive sponge also helps in defending well either passive or active blocks. Compared to the Ultra 48 rubber, I think the Ultra 48 rubber is still a better punch-blocking rubber because it is faster and has a lower arc.
People should definitely take a look at this rubber and try this. It will surprise a lot of people with its capabilities. At least in my opinion, ITC finally has a rubber that can spin better than Mantra or Ultra rubbers which Daiki produced. Highly recommended for intermediate and advanced level of players who seek to produce spin but maintain a good degree of control and less sensitivity to incoming spin.