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    Dan's review on Butterfly Tiago Apolonia ZLC

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    Reviewer

    Total reviews: 64
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    Review details

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    Product details


    Butterfly Tiago Apolonia ZLC
    5.00 (7 reviews) Price: $205
    06-14-2016
    5.00 [5.00]Outstanding Carbon Blade by Butterfly
    • Superb Dwell
    • Lots of spin
    • High consistency
    Butterfly Tiago Apolonia Blade
    Weight: 90g
    Thickness: 5.7mm
    Type: Carbon OFF
    Composition: 7 ply (Limba, Limba, ZLC, Core, ZLC, Limba, Limba)
    Rubbers used with blade: Tenergy 05

    Hi everyone, in the Video Review below I am joined alongside world number 18 Tiago Apolonia, one of Portugal’s and Europe’s finest players. Together with Tiago, Butterfly launched his new personal blade, the Tiago Apolonia ZLC which has been designed for players looking for a soft touch and lots of spin.

    Video Review:



    Written Review:

    The blade itself has a high quality premium feel which you always expect from Butterfly, it comes in a really nice box and is adorned with the colours of Portugal. This Portuguese theme is continued on the blades surface where it has elements of the national flag printed on to it. The blade’s handle and surface feel super smooth and comfortable to hold.

    The composition of the Tiago Apolonia ZLC is slightly different to traditional Carbon Blades. For example the Zhang Jike ZLC has 1 outer wood layer and then a layer of carbon whereas the Apolonia ZLC has two outer wood layers followed by the Carbon layer. The Carbon layer on the Apolonia blade is placed nearer to the core of the blade as opposed to the Zhang Jike ZLC Carbon layer, which is nearer to the surface. The outer wood layers used in the Apolonia ZLC are made of Limba which is a naturally softer wood which results in high absorption. The Zhang Jike’s outer layer is Koto wood which is harder than limba resulting in a harder contact on impact. The Apolonia blade has a similar build to the Innerforce series where the ZLC fibres are closer to the core of the blade, again promoting a softer touch.



    Both blades we used weighed 90 grams and has a thickness of 5.7mm.



    Topspin:

    As soon as we started playing I could feel the crisp sensation you get with high quality carbon blades. Having reviewed the Zhang Jike and Mizutani super ZLC I could definitely notice more feel and longer ball contact time with the Apolonia. I could topspin with a lot of control and precision and was able to produce ample speed when needed.

    The amount of spin Tiago produced on his backhand was phenomenal. At the beginning I really struggled to keep the ball low to the net. But once I closed the angle more I adapted and really enjoyed the solid feeling and pinpoint accuracy you get with this new blade. Tiago noted that what he liked the most about the blade was how he could topspin early with a lot of speed and spin whilst maintaining the control and feeling.

    During 3 point forehands I felt I could go for maximum power in my shots without the fear of missing due to the blades great balance and large sweetspot.

    Spin:

    The Tiago Apolonia ZLC’s great feeling and long dwell time really helps produce a lot of spin on the ball, especially when playing against backspin.
    The combination of Tenergy 05 and the Apolonia blade works really well and we were both able to produce a lot of rotation on the ball.

    Control:

    Even with the extreme power Tiago produces, I was pleasantly surprised how I still was able to control the ball well with this blade. I had a lot of accuracy even on shots where I had to react really quickly and just get my bat behind the ball.

    Counter Topspin:

    Another outstanding attribute to this blade I noticed was during counter topspins. Due to the ball soaking into the core of the blade countering topspin was almost effortless and this was against a player a thousand levels above me.

    Flicks & Chop Block:

    Tiago really liked and mentioned that his backhand worked really well with this blade, especially when playing a modern backhand flick against my serve or a push ball. The spin and placement Tiago generated forced me into making many errors. The chop block which is used by players occasionally demonstrates the feeling this blade possesses with the ball fizzing with spin.

    Away from the table:

    Although this blade has a woodier feel than faster carbon blades using Koto, the Tiago blade using limba did not lack power from mid-distance to the table and the blade is great for topspin and power shots.


    Conclusion

    The Butterfly Tiago Apolonia ZLC overall is another fantastic addition to butterfly's carbon blade series. The combination of Tiago’s input and Butterfly’s craftsmanship means that this blade will be of a great choice for players who want great control with good speed with a slightly softer feel than their Kotowood carbon blades such as the Boll and Zhang Jike series. The crisp connection you get with this blade is fantastic and provides a soft feeling which aids control.The outer limba plys provide a longer ball contact time and feeling than harder blades using koto which helps in counters, serving and blocking. As well as producing great spin the Apolonia ZLC is also really good at handling incoming spin, a big feature of this blade that I liked a lot. Tiago said before the plastic ball era he used the Butterfly Liu Shiwen ZLF blade, however he felt he needed something a touch faster which maintained the same control and spin. The speed of the Apolonia ZLC is not as fast as a Zhang Jike or Mizutani ZLC and is similar to the innerforce series.
    2 people liked this review
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    simione123
    When will u post the freitas review ?
    amekun
    Hi Dan Great review as always. Since this blade has the same composition as Innerforce Zlc is there a great difference between the 2 in terms of performance, feel etc.? thanks
    Tompa8888
    I'm from Sweden. The only webshop i found was http://www.teessport.com/blades-c5/butterfly-tiago-apolonia-zlc-off-table-tennis-blade-p9392
    Dan
    Hi Tompa, contact your local Butterfly Distributor. Where are you from?
    Tompa8888
    where do i buy one? :/
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