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Butterfly Timo Boll Spirit Table Tennis Blade Review

Will the Spirit Move You?

By

Photo of Butterfly Timo Boll Spirit Blade - Front View

Butterfly Timo Boll Spirit Blade - Front View

© 2007 Greg Letts, licensed to About.com, Inc.
The Butterfly Timo Boll Spirit blade is one of Butterfly's most popular blades, and with good reason. In this article I'll take an in depth look at the Timo Boll Spirit, and see if I can explain what makes it such a favorite, despite its price tag (typically around US $120). Just what do you get for your money?

Specifications

The Timo Boll Spirit is an offensive blade, with 5 plies of wood and 2 plies of arylate/carbon fibers. Although the blade is not the fastest in the Butterfly range, it is still fairly quick, but this is compensated for by the fact that the arylate/carbon layers give the blade a softer feel, resulting in a fast blade that has plenty of dwell time and very nice touch. In general, carbon fibers give great speed along with bigger sweet spots, but tend to be stiff, while arylate expands the sweet spot and gives good vibration control with a soft feel. Put them together and you get a blade with a big sweet spot and a nice touch since the feel of the stiffer carbon and softer arylate should even out.

The blade is available in a straight, flared and anatomic handle, so there is pretty much one to suit everybody. Here's the vital statistics for all you blade nuts out there:

Speed 8.3, Control 7.9, Class OFF, Ply 5 Wood 2 Arylate/Carbon, Weight 89g, Height 157mm, Width 150mm, Thickness 5.7mm.

For some reason the handles are all of different measurements, with the anatomic being 102x25mm, the flared 100x24mm, and the straight 100x22mm. Go figure.

Out on the Table

Not being a blade nut, I'm going to find it difficult to compare the Timo Boll Spirit to other blades out there in terms of speed or spin, control etc. So I'll leave that to anyone else who would like to send me their comments, and I'll add their experiences to the Comments section at the bottom of this review. Instead, I'll talk about how I find it in play. I currently use this blade to play a combination bat style of attack and defence - you can see my personal resume page for videos of what my style is like. I've also used the blade to play a speed glued two winged looping style, so I'll comment on both.

Attacking Thoughts
As a two winged looper, I used the Timo Boll Spirit blade for over a year with Joola Tango 2.0mm and thicker rubbers, along with Tibhar Rapid Deluxe Clean speed glue. Although I'd hazard a guess that my two winged loop attack isn't quite up to Timo's standard(!), I enjoyed using this blade with glued up rubbers. I prefer to spin the ball a bit more than the standard looper, with a bit less speed, and the Timo Boll Spirit gives that extra bit of dwell time, really allowing me to 'feel' the ball on the bat and rev up the spin. The control and touch is excellent, even with speed glue on both sides.

I had a small problem at first adjusting to smashing with the Timo Boll Spirit - I kept hitting off the end of the table. It took me about a month or so to get it right. In hindsight, I think the flat smashes may have got me 'hitting wood' a bit more, and so the extra speed in the Timo Boll Spirit compared to my old blade caused me to hit off the table. Once I had adjusted I had no further problems.

In conclusion, I would recommend the Timo Boll Spirit to any aggressive player who wants the option to really put a heavy topspin on the ball, while maintaining good speed and excellent control and feel.

Combination bat Attack and Defence
At first, it seems to be a strange idea to use such a clearly offensive blade for defending, but I've used the Timo Boll Spirit with a couple of different defensive setups, and it has worked well with both. I started out using the Timo Boll Spirit with Joola Tango Defensive 1.2mm and TSP Curl P-2 1.0mm medium pips, and achieved excellent results. I have since changed to Dr Neubauer Domination 1.5mm and Stiga Destroyer OX long pimples, and once again the Timo Boll Spirit has behaved very well as a defensive blade. Used defensively, it allows me to chop with good control, and use spinny counterloops and attacks, with the occasional hit with my long pimples.

The Timo Boll Spirit caters well to all my requirements. My control with the inverted rubber is very good for such a fast blade, and the extra dwell time helps my spin variation as well. My counterattacks are fast enough considering I'm not using speed glue, and they are definitely spinny enough. Looping with this setup doesn't feel very different to attacking with a thicker sponged rubber, which is nice as well, and the bit of extra speed doesn't hurt when hitting with the long pips either.

Conclusion

The Timo Boll Spirit justifies its favored status as a looper's blade, giving good speed and spin along with outstanding feel. If you are an experienced player, you probably know that already - but what you might not realize is that the Timo Boll Spirit can be a good defensive option as well. I know it works great for me, allowing me to blend defence and attack with confidence. Modern defenders might want to consider giving it a try - although I would suggest that traditional defenders should look for something a little slower.

Interested in Purchasing a Butterfly Timo Boll Spirit Blade? Buy Direct

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