Stiga Mantra falls easily in my top three choice of rubbers. The top sheet is non-tacky but grippy, and makes it very easy to lift backspin balls or open up a rally. I use it on my forehand on the Xiom Zeta Offensive blade. Mantra M isn't an explosive rubber and it doesn't have speed and spin values of MX-P or MX-S. Instead, it is a very linear rubber, with adequate speed and spin, and that helps me maintain the tempo I want. I rarely overshoot the table with Mantra M. My counter game on the forehand has improved due to the consistency of the rubber. I will try the rubber on my backhand soon. I don't find it overly sensitive to incoming spin. One can adapt to this rubber very easily and I think it's a good option for players seeking more control in their game without compromising a great deal on speed and spin.
First off, some background, so you the review it with a pinch of salt if you disagree:
I’m an amateur player with a soft and bouncy balsa 5-ply blade with Mark V max sponge on both sides. My game is heavily spin-oriented with equal emphasis on backhand and forehand.
I tested the rubber when my coach recently got it pasted on his stiff Yasaka carbon blade. I made the following observations.
The rubber is insanely spinny. As in, very, very spinny. The spin I could impart on my serves was arguably greater than what I’d managed when testing an Andro Rasant, and by a noticeable margin. The rubber surface doesn’t have any tack, and is instead quite grippy.
However, it also seemed to be very insensitive to incoming spin. This made passive blocking a bit of a chore for me, since I come from the more spin sensitive Mark V, where I keep a more closed bat angle to block topspins. On the other hand, receiving spinny serves was like a dream in comparison, even when compared to the controlled Skyline 3-60 or the Andro Rasant. With some bat angle changes and a bit more activity while blocking, it became extremely easy and consistent. I almost couldn’t tell the difference with each passing topsin from a short-pips rubber.
The spin when topspinning was incredible. In this department, I felt the Andro Rasant had an edge, but not by much. When brushing the ball, the Mantra produced a much higher amount of spin, but slightly less so when compressing the sponge. However, it was still a significant step-up from the amount I could produce with a soft blade + Mark V setup, so I guess that says something.
The rubber is very fast, and the ball flew off the bat like a bullet. I don’t think I need to say much here. The M version was about as fast as the Andro Rasant, perhaps slightly slower. The Rasant performed far better when smashing, however. On low loop-drives, the speed of the rubber was greater than a Skyline 3-60 with a full-body stroke. But despite this, the most surprising aspect was the huge amount of control I had playing with the rubber, due to the lack of a pronounced catapult that is present in the few ESN rubbers that I’ve tried.
As mentioned, the rubber shone here. Not only were my serves and pushes much, much, much more controlled than with any other of the mentioned rubbers that I’ve tried, the rubber was also extraordinarily accurate. The low flight arc of the ball was quite disturbing at the start, but this didn’t adversely affect the gameplay for anyone but my opponents, who were shocked to see the ball dip low and flat almost as if it were a very fast floater. Oftentimes, I thought that I was going to overshoot the table, used to the greater arc of my own setup, especially on higher power shots, but despite coming from a much slower set-up, my shot accuracy was actually far greater.
An extremely spinny, quick but simultaneously controlled rubber from Stiga, with a low ball arc and admittedly very pleasant aesthetics. The latter was what sold me on ceasing my research into a rubber upgrade for when I purchase my next setup. The rubber topsheet is firm - but easily breakable and nowhere half as sturdy as a Mark V or Rasant - with a creamy and smooth texture, and appealing logo and branding text.
Overall, a definite must-try. Also, my coach says that the rubber lasts him 6 months if he doesn’t bang it anywhere, and this is with coaching, tournaments, etc. I suppose the high proportion of natural rubber in the topsheet means the grip lasts a long time, though the creamy aesthetics, unfortunately, don’t.
STIGA Mantra Medium
Weight: 66 grams uncut, 49 grams uncut
Sponge Hardness: 45°
Blade used: Carbonado 90 & 145 + Infinity
Latest review with myself and Tom reviewing the new rubbers from STIGA, the Mantra series. Last year STIGA launched their new rubbers, the Genesis. This year STIGA have rolled out the all new Mantra rubber series which come in 3 versions, soft, medium and hard. The Mantra rubbers are made in Japan, the same factory that produced the Airoc series. The most obvious difference we notice right away with the Mantra, is that the topsheet is not as shiny as the Airoc. The Mantra seems to have a more grippy topsheet on initial inspection, something STIGA have really improved on over the last few years with their rubbers such as the Genesis.
The soft, medium and hard versions of the Mantra all have the same pimple structure with the only difference being the sponge hardness. The Mantra medium has a 45 degree sponge hardness and comes in at 66grams when uncut and when cut is 49 grams.
From the word go myself and Tom noticed the obvious high speed of the Mantra. This is quite typical of Japanese based rubbers, and the ball shot of the bat fast. Tom has been using Genesis for the last 3 months in his Swedish league matches and noticed the initial increase in speed on the Mantra as he blocks off the table on numerous occasions.
The Mantra rubbers felt really controllable on the backhand. I actually preferred it on this side. I could change direction with ease and had excellent control due to the balance of the speed and spin even when accelerating my arm and wrist at max pace.
During the popular exercise 2 backhands and 2 forehands, tom found a Stable, consistent contact.
When using the hard version of the Mantra rubber the ball sometimes almost felt like it was diving down towards the net due to the low throw produced. Sometimes we both found we needed to finely brush the ball to get the amount of grip needed to get the ball over the net. As you would expect the hard version produced the most speed in the series. When using the medium during 3 point forehand the rubber was a touch slower than the hard version however produced a higher arc, this was even more apparent with the soft version.
When opening up against backspin we were pleasantly surprised with the spin we were able to produce. The grip of the topsheet of the Mantra series is much greater than the previous STIGA Airoc series. This allowed me to pick up low balls with relative ease. The Mantra rubbers are not as spinny as the Stiga Genesis series however pack more punch in terms of speed especially when following up with a fifth ball attack.
I sometimes struggled to pick up wide balls on my forehand side and needed to be in good position due to the low throw of the hard version. I found this easier however with the medium and softer versions.
Tom produced a lot of spin on the backhand side when top spinning balls with backspin. The medium and soft versions grabbed the ball well.
When playing a backhand flick from a service, having a grippy topsheet on the rubber is important to pick up the ball with spin. The mantra series has this grippiness and we were both able to backhand flick strongly with good spin.
When serving Tom was able to impart a good amount of backspin on the ball when using a fast acceleration of wrist.
Initially the ball shot of the end of the table during the counter topspin again this was due to the speed, but with certain bat angle changes we were able to adjust and play a strong shot.
During touch play we had enough bite on the ball to keep it low over the net which helped to stop each other from attacking. Sometimes the ball did pop up a little high as you can see in the footage, but again, with a few adjustments to the bat angle, we were able to keep the ball low over the net.
Top to top
Top to top rallies with the mantra rubbers were fast and direct especially with the hard version. We both found we had good control. However when playing away from the table with the mantra series, you do need a more open bat angle to get the height needed to get the ball over the net.
STIGA’s latest Mantra rubber series are a great advancement to their predecessor Airoc. The major difference between the Airoc and the Mantra is found in the topsheet. The topsheet of the Mantra is a lot grippier, however packs similar speed to the airoc, thus the Mantra allows you to have more safety in yours shots without compromising on speed.
In comparison to other rubbers the Mantra series have similar spin capabilities to ESN based rubbers Donic Acuda and Joola Rhyzm. But less than the previously released STIGA Genesis series, although they do have greater speed. The speed being similar to the recently reviewed Tibhar evolution series.
A key feature we like with the Mantra series is its quality during active blocking and holding against aggressive topspin balls. The rubbers are not too sensitive to incoming spin which gives you great confidence when you need to really control the ball.
The Soft is good for all round offensive players, as it's slightly slower than the medium and hard versions and possesses more control giving greater safety. The Medium is for players who want a equal balance between high speed and good spin. Finally the hard version is good for all out attacking players wanting decent spin but are primarily focused on playing hard offensive shots.
Stay tuned for upcoming TableTennisDaily reviews in 2017.
STIGA Mantra: M
Weight: 63 grams uncut
Spin: Very High
After waiting patiently the new Mantra rubbers are here. I finally got hold of each version S, M and H. To stop the rumors flying about that the Mantra rubber series was recalled due to a low durability. It was due to a factory enhancement with the rubber which I know but do not have the liberty to discuss.
I paired the Mantra M, alongside the Genesis Rubber on a DHS Hurricane 3 for the Carbonado 290 and 245 and the Celero Blade. Out of all 3 versions soft, medium and hard I preferred the hard. The medium version is 45 degrees in hardness. Between all 3 versions the pimple structure between the Soft, Medium and Hard are the exact same the only difference being the hardness of sponge.
The topsheet on the Mantra rubber is a huge update from the Airoc and a great improvement. The Japanese company that produced the rubber has surprised me with is new topsheet. It has a very grippy surface and it does not come with the plastic like texture.
Speed: The Mantra rubbers are fast with the hard version being the fastest. It has similar speeds to the Tibhar Evolution MX-P if not even faster! The Japanese rubbers never had a problem with speed in the past it was that they needed more spin. The M is also fast but on similar speeds to a EL-S. The S is slow and soft, slower than a FX-P.
Spin: The Mantra rubbers are very grippy. This is the first time the Japanese company have produced such a topsheet for Stiga. The Airoc was spinny but not on the levels of the new Mantra rubbers. In comparison to other rubbers the topsheet feels closest to Haifu Shark 3 and Whale 3. They are grippy without the tackiness. The hard version has almost the same amount of spin as the Evolution MX-P but a sharper and longer trajectory. When used with the Carbonado 290 the throw was low but accurate enough to clear the net. The medium version is also very spinny. Both M and H versions of the Mantra are spinny enough that they could pass as ESN rubbers, its this trajectory that makes them different from ESN rubbers. The M produces a medium arc whereas the S has a medium to high arc. You need to hit through the sponge more with the S to produce more spin. The Genesis rubbers are initially more spinny but when you compress more on the sponge and when you do very strong attacks, that is where the Mantra H and M rubbers shine and you can feel the combination of the speed and spin.
Which version do I prefer of the Mantra series? I was really biased with the H version but lately I also like the M version a lot. Let me explain why.
The Mantra H is the most stable rubber of the 3 in terms of attacking and blocking. The H version was placed on a Carbonado 290 which is a very fast attacking blade, a OFF+. I didnt have any problem with blocking the ball. It produced a low return when blocking
Mantra H version is one of the most stable rubber I have tried in terms of attacking and blocking. Take note that the H version was placed on a Carbonado 290 and the said blade is an off+ very fast attacking blade. I had no problem blocking with it. It produced a low return when blocking just an inch higher than the net which is sometimes hard for opponents to attack back. Both the M and H are really easy to block with. The M is a tamed version of the H and is easier to control. The H versions very low throw often upset my opponents with its unique attacking properties. The players who tried it were using the Donic P-Series and MX-P series. The guys using the Donic P-series all said the Mantra H was a more vicious and better rubber in attacking. The guys using the MX-P were very impressed by its good spin capabilities and sharp low arc.
The M version is the tamed version of the Mantra H. It can do everything the M version can but on a more tamed attack and easier to control. The 3 rubbers are never spin sensitive but they spin great with serves and pushes aside from loops. The S version, I would recommend it really for a backhand rubber or for developing players mostly. The H and M versions are really the rubbers to buy.
STIGA Mantra M
Thickness: 2.1 mm
Hardness: Medium sponge
Blade used: Garaydia ZLC
Made in JAPAN
Look and first impression: The rubbers comes in a high quality looking package which gives me a great first impression. When opening the package, I notice that the topsheet of the rubber is covered with a thin paper with the big Mantra logo on it.
The top sheet feels spinny but not quite as grippy as the Genesis topsheet. The sponge looks like a classic red sponge with small air pores when looking at if thru a magnifier.
This is the fastest Stiga rubber I have tried and I directly loved the power in these rubbers. I really liked the feeling and sound in loop from mid and long-distance and Mantra got a high arc compared to many other rubbers.
Compared to Genesis this rubber is faster but does not have as much spin when looping against heavy underspin.
The feeling and high arc remind me of Tenergy and this rubber exactly like Tenergy is suited for experienced players who can handle great power.
Even if the rubbers are very fast I still think the control was okay due to higher arc. I usually prefer medium to hard rubbers and I think the sponge of Mantra gave the ball a nice catapult effect in hard strokes due to the small air pores I think. The feeling and control in the returns and serve felt great in the combination of the Mantra rubbers together with the Garaydia blade.
My conclusion: I’m really impressed with the Mantra rubbers overall, everything from sound and feel to power this rubbers can generate. I really like that Stiga has made two kind of different offensive rubbers, Genesis with tremendous spin and Mantra with extreme power.
I have only played with these rubbers for a couple of practices and my first impression is that these two rubbers are really a great step forward for Stiga. It will be hard to choose but I think I will keep the Mantra on forehand for speed and Genesis on my backhand for spin in my backhand loop against underspin.