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    1. Top | #1
      zeio is offline
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      The "Myth" of Custom Rubbers

      Spinning off from the thread on D05 to address the "myth" of custom rubbers. Not mythbusting here, but merely to show that it's not groundless.

      Quote Originally Posted by AndySmith View Post
      I've been dragged in the past for overreaching about what the Pros use, and what use that info is, so some of this is just me being a bit devil's advocate about it all. I think there has been a (probable) trend in the past of the pros getting custom versions of rubbers (mainly sponge hardness, or best-quality stuff from the middle of a batch, and so on), so it's probable that this will be the case with Dignics as well (I'd prefer a Dignics Hard on the FH, for example, so I wonder if that's available to the Pros because that's a nice thing to wonder about). But it would be nice to have some direct evidence over and above the guesswork.
      As many of you are aware, Tenergy comes in a so-called "professional version," with the extra letters "SP" on the sponge. Some argue SP stand for SPecial, while others argue they stand for SPonsored. Whatever the case, they are not available to the general public. Even more, these are generally about specific hardness. Are there more cases of WH's infamous Sriver topsheet + Bryce sponge? Like real custom rubber?

      AFAIK, Butterfly has never commented on that. The closest "semi-official" answer I could find on the net is from Yuu, editor for Japanese magazine Table Tennis Kingdom, in charge of equipment.

      Yuu


      Below is his response on his blog from 2013. Same answer for a similar question on Tenergy SP from 2017.

      https://world-tt.com/blog/yu/2013/08.../#comment-1296
      おしらさま
      2013年8月14日 7:22 PM
      ・・・ところで質問なんですが、王皓のバックのラバーはスレイバーのシートにブラスピのスポンジを合わせた特注と聞いたんですが、ラバーの特注もバタフライに頼めばできるんですかね?

      ゆう@卓球王国
      2013年8月15日 12:46 PM
      一般の人はできません。
      ラバーの特注はラケットに比べてコストも時間もかかるのです。

      以前、たせいさんが、スプリングスポンジにレイストームのシートを貼ってもらったことがあると言っていました。
      でもテナジースポンジに表ソフトは合わないみたいです。
      Oshira-sama
      August 14, 2013 7:22 PM
      ...By the way, I have a question. I heard that WH's BH rubber is custom-made by combining the topsheet of Sriver with the sponge of Bryce. Can I also order a custom-made rubber from Butterfly?

      Yu @ table tennis kingdom
      August 15, 2013 12:46 PM
      Ordinary people cannot.
      Custom-made rubbers are more expensive and time-consuming than blades.

      Previously, Mr. Tasei had said that he had a sheet of Raystorm put on the Spring Sponge.
      But it looks like shortpips don't match with Tenergy sponge.

      Kunihito Tasei


      LXX's T64 SP
      http://mytabletennis.net/forum/the-h...844_page1.html

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    3. Top | #2
      Airoc is offline
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      Quote Originally Posted by zeio View Post
      Like real custom rubber?
      It would be possible to turn and twist a recipe into a fully individual rubber. You would then only have to stamp number and name of a legal rubber onto its surface. No-one knows if this is done.

      Rather common for a certain level of professional players is custom sponge hardness under regular topsheets, and if so desired even a combination of one rubber´s topsheet with another rubber´s sponge (although I guess this is quite rare).

      Take for example Tibhar Evolution MX-P.
      Its pre-series test rubbers came in 37,5/40/42,5/45/47,5/50/52,5 degree sponge hardness.
      However seven rubbers would be a bit much for the general public, with 52,5 being way too hard for most anyway (let alone 55, rumoured to be Samsonov´s choice).
      The decision was made to sell 37,5 (as FX-P, identical topsheet) and 47,5 (as MX-P). And no, EL-P is not the exact middle, since it has a different topsheet.
      Of course professionals were able to order any of the above hardnesses, and you could of course combine the stiffer EL-P topsheet with a 50 degree sponge, when EL-P regular is around 45.

      Quite a lot to pick from theoretically. But I think the speculation is much wider than the actual customization.
      Last edited by Airoc; 05-15-2019 at 08:50 AM.

    4. Top | #3
      AndySmith is offline
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      Great info, as always.

      My main gripe, and where my post over in the D05 thread came from, isn't that these directly-supplied rubbers exist, it's how different they are in the real world (and how certain people are about that difference).

      Last year a friend of mine ordered a sheet of "team" T64 from prott. It's very hard to fake tenergy (or ESN I would say) convincingly, and when it arrived it looked totally real and had the different coding on the back of the sponge. When I tried it, I couldn't tell any difference between it and regular T64. Now I admit that I'm biased here - my skepticism makes it really tough to convince me of things and I always tend to presume someone is trying to rip you off at some point in the chain - but we talked about it at length and my friend felt it played better (could be because he'd spend $100 on it of course), and I felt it played the same as any old T64 you could buy from official channels. The different coding could just mean SPonsored, as you've already mentioned, and could be there to avoid these rubbers being re-sold as opposed to meaning they're custom, or special, in some way. I do lean more towards the black market mythology of hype, rather than outright lies about these things existing at all. If prott (or anyone) got hold of sponsored players' rubbers, they can say anything they want about them to inflate their price - how would we be able to check? What if they're just standard topsheets, standard sponges, sent directly to sponsored players and then resold at a markup?

      So back to my issue with it, and why I popped that in the D05 thread, which isn't really about people being potentially ripped off (I mean, you take that risk when you buy these things from a shop like prott IMO - I'm sure people understand there are no guarantees about anything). If we want to discuss what the Pros use in any meaningful way, we have to have some faith that they're using equipment which roughly matches what we can buy and use ourselves commercially. We already know this can be really tough with blades because of handle swapping and the like. And although there is history of truly "custom" rubbers, I think (hope?) this is in the minority in the real world (and I wasn't really considering these when I posted). I think the discussion started because I said I was surprised that Harimoto was using D05 on the FH side (it's a nice surprise, not a shock or whatever) - I'd expected him to be using it on BH - and one response was that someone doubted that he was using the same rubber that we get in shops, and someone else guessed (I presume) the difference would be hardness and tension. Now if we're going to go down this route, then we can speculate forever about what's actually being used by the Pros, and how different it is, without the need for evidence. Not evidence that SP rubbers exist, or that sponsored players can pick their sponge hardness to some degree, or that they can have the "pick of the batch" of a production run. But evidence that in a specific case - Harimoto - he's using something non-standard, and that it's meaningfully different enough that we can't draw any meaningful conclusion from what we see him using. Otherwise there's no point discussing what the Pros use at all (and maybe there isn't, that's a valid position). And going from there, we must surely then say that Butterfly's decade-long use of "look at all these players using Tenergy in the top 100" marketing also becomes super dubious and sketchy (well, more so that I already think it is) because it won't have any real bearing on what we as non-sponsored players can get ourselves.
      Last edited by AndySmith; 05-15-2019 at 08:54 AM.

    5. Top | #4
      yogi_bear is offline
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      The implication is that ITTF will just let the pros use the customized rubber even if the original approved rubber has a different sponge.

    6. Top | #5
      langel is offline
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      My presumption is that there is a difference between "custom personal" rubbers, made for very few of the elite, and "ordinary SP" rubbers for the greater mass of Sponsored Players. And I asume that the non-personal SP rubbers are just the same as the market ones.

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      this is all speculation (as everyone else on this forum), but if you are Bty wouldn't you select the better cut of any sponge as the "sponsored' ones? so in theory they are at least the best of the regular ones. In any case some people would want to pay more for equipment that is special - in various ways - even if they might not play better

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      thom is offline
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      as for custom rubbers for top players - it does not mean for the masses they will play better than the regular combinations - but then again they are 'special'

    10. Top | #8
      AndySmith is offline
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      Quote Originally Posted by thom View Post
      as for custom rubbers for top players - it does not mean for the masses they will play better than the regular combinations - but then again they are 'special'
      Absolutely. I can understand why people would want to buy the SP rubbers from prott, because they're special and cool and whatever. A fun, expensive experiment. But I can't understand how they know what they're actually buying when they order one. Perhaps that's part of the fun?

      I just find that the jump from "SP rubbers exist" to "all the pros are using crazy stuff you can't buy" a bit of a stretch. And I like to talk about what I see the pros use, so I don't like having all that invalidated because it makes me sad.

    11. Top | #9
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      I know most ITTF approved Chinese rubbers have varying sponge hardness available for public purchase.
      So I assume ITTF regulation must be quite lenient on sponge hardness. I guess as long as the topsheet is approved, then the rubber is basically good to go.
      It makes sense that pros would be able to order specific sponge hardness for rubbers from their respective sponsors.
      However, I do think custom rubbers with topsheet and sponge from different rubbers sounds a bit far fetched.
      This level of customization is on par with the personalized rubbers DHS makes for a few top Chinese players. And I have a hard time believing that this is common among many pro players.

    12. Top | #10
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      Antonin Galvas plays with custom
      Rhyzm tech with 47.5 sponge i can show sponge and even bounce from rubber

    13. Top | #11
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      BUTTERFLY ONLY PRODUCING COMMERCIAL RUBBERS. ONE CAN GET THOSE FROM A CASUAL SHOP.

      According to ITTF T4 Technical Regulations, the section regarding rubber legality,
      -- it is the commercial version of rubber that is solely allowed for international events.

      And that's more,
      -- only packets of uniform design (as approved by ITTF officials) is a legit. Manufacturer is strictly forbidden of making any postapproval alterations to the rubber+sponge combination, once the product having passed the ITTF approval procedures. Nor could manufacturer make any changes to the packet design (letterings, images, etc.) once it received the approvals.

      Butterfly Tamasu manufacturer of crystal reputation, is known to religiously obey all the current ITTF directives and regulations, far in contrast to the DHS manufacturer, the dishonest one.
      Last edited by igorponger; 05-15-2019 at 09:14 PM.

    14. Top | #12
      thom is offline
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      Quote Originally Posted by igorponger View Post
      BUTTERFLY ONLY PRODUCING COMMERCIAL RUBBERS. ONE CAN GET THOSE FROM A CASUAL SHOP.

      According to ITTF T4 Technical Regulations, the section regarding rubber legality,
      -- it is the commercial version of rubber that is solely allowed for international events.

      And that's more,
      -- only packets of uniform design (as approved by ITTF officials) is a legit. Manufacturer is strictly forbidden of making any postapproval alterations to the rubber+sponge combination, once the product having passed the ITTF approval procedures. Nor could manufacturer make any changes to the packet design (letterings, images, etc.) once it received the approvals.

      Butterfly Tamasu manufacturer of crystal reputation, is known to religiously obey all the current ITTF directives and regulations, far in contrast to the DHS manufacturer, the dishonest one.
      I usually IgnorePonger but how do you explain the widely circulated story of the various players using BTY rubbers for months or years before they were available to the public if only "commercial" versions are to be used in Intl events

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      You guys should dive into the Ma Te thread on OOAK if you're into this kind of speculation and conspiracy theories. Is he using Palio CK531a with TSP sponge? Is it SP? Is it Curl P1R? Is it Dtecs? Is it some unknown DHS rubber? The thread just goes on and on. Super entertaining.

    16. Top | #14
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      Its Butterfly sponge propably

    17. Top | #15
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      Quote Originally Posted by AndySmith View Post
      Absolutely. I can understand why people would want to buy the SP rubbers from prott, because they're special and cool and whatever. A fun, expensive experiment. But I can't understand how they know what they're actually buying when they order one. Perhaps that's part of the fun?

      I just find that the jump from "SP rubbers exist" to "all the pros are using crazy stuff you can't buy" a bit of a stretch. And I like to talk about what I see the pros use, so I don't like having all that invalidated because it makes me sad.
      it just shows that people are willing to pay $105 for a tenergy.
      they are willing to pay $650 for a dhs w968.
      and so on.

      should we feel bad about it?
      no.
      do you feel bad when someone buys a ferrari for $250.000 ?
      no.
      people do whatever they want with their money.

      this is leaving ethics aside of course....

    18. Top | #16
      Astorix is offline
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      Quote Originally Posted by yogi_bear View Post
      The implication is that ITTF will just let the pros use the customized rubber even if the original approved rubber has a different sponge.

      isn`t the approval only about the topsheet anyway??

    19. Top | #17
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      My information is a bit outdated as I'm no longer with my old club.

      Custom rubbers were available to the public upon special order. There was actually an information on the Butterfly web site how to order your own customized rubber. Basically, you can choose certain top sheet with certain sponge as long as it's not extreme and spring(or tensioned) sponge. I'm pretty sure you could order one until 2018 but somehow it disappeared from the website in 2019. Probably because of price (more than Dignics per sheet, and with min order qty) and popularity.

      As for SP rubbers, what the Sales person of Buttefly said was that it was purely for traceability as they are one of the toughest bunch when it comes to sponsorship and misusage of their product. Most high profile Japanese players visit the factorty to handpick their rubbers but some (and overseas players) get theirs sent. As you know, rubbers vary in hardness even in same model and sponge thickness. It's just a part of manufacturing process because of the inconsistancy in sponge thickness. And sponsored players get to choose the hardest rubber out of the line.

      Now, that was the information form around 2016-2017 so it could well be different now especially when Tenergy Hard was available provided to pros before it hit the market.

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    21. Top | #18
      ttpshot is offline
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      Found the text (but not URL in Internet Archive, sorry!)

      --------------------------------
      Q「特注ラバーを作製することはできますか?」

      A「ハイテンションラバー以外は、基本的に作製可能ですが、ハイテンションラバー以外でも、一部作製ができない組み合わせもございますので、事前にお問い合わせください。なお、価格は定価の40%増、納期は40日~50日程度いただいております。なお、ご注文は1枚から承ります。
      詳細につきましては、お客様サポートセンターへご確認ください。」
      -------------------------------

      In short, it says the customized rubber can be made with an exception of tensioned rubber. 40% increase from normal retail price, L/T 40 to 50 days, minimum order of 1pc.

    22. Top | #19
      Airoc is offline
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      Quote Originally Posted by thom View Post
      I usually IgnorePonger but how do you explain the widely circulated story of the various players using BTY rubbers for months or years before they were available to the public if only "commercial" versions are to be used in Intl events
      In theory, this is easy. Either you have this rubber on the LARC, which means there has been an approval process including sales packaging etc., so you basically have a sales-ready product but just don´t sell it just yet. This is totally ok with the rules.

      Or you would have to manufacture a rubber and make it appear like one that is approved - a very gray area where you could have for example a tenergy80 with 05name and number on it.

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      Airoc is offline
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      Quote Originally Posted by usualsuspect View Post
      This level of customization is on par with the personalized rubbers DHS makes for a few top Chinese players. And I have a hard time believing that this is common among many pro players.
      And you a very probably totally right here. But imagine a top level player like Ovtcharov going to Donic and demanding a bluestorm topsheet on a Baracuda sponge and I guess the machines would start rolling.

      So, I also doubt it is done frequently or even rarely, but it would be possible.

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