DHS W968 review

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Well I tried my W968 National last night and I immediately fell in love with it, which is a relief considering the price. It appears as if my search for the holy grail is over, though I will still test blades here and there for fun, I don't anticipate changing anytime soon or ever. I will also purchase a second one as a backup and to try other FH rubbers on it like H3 and Young Shine Dingtian boosted, though I'm very satisfied with Z2 on it at the moment and will keep T05 FX on the BH for sure.

Ok now on to the nitty gritty, I really wished for something along the lines of an Innerforce ZLC that is to say a flexible crisp yet controllable carbon blade, but with a more organic feel rather than the mechanic/metallic one I get from Butterfly carbon blades, and with that, if I could get all the things i could wish for, an amazing feel on both wings including in the short game, an a more confortable handle that allows me to hold the blade easily as a continuation of my hand and easily switch between FH and BH. Well, for me, it's got it all, and I couldn't be more satisfied.

I was surprised by how much feel it has, the first 5-10 minutes I thought I was holding a nice 5-ply all-wood blade on the thinner side but crisp, then I started going through the gears with relative ease and I couldn't believe how many gears it offers. And the handle is neither thick nor thin but instead had a very nice curve with the wings on the higher side, kinda like Stiga blades. i normally have to send and smooth the wings on all my blades but it won't be necessary here.

It was really easy to adjust to from my IF ZLC, went straight into some matches and it felt very comfortable, more than I was ever accustomed to. I was excited to receive it after 2 weeks, then I looked at it when it arrived and told myself, hey it's just a blade, then I tried it and felt like "holy shit" this thing is good and I kept looking down at it like how!? All that to say that I think it lives up to the "myth".
Very nice! I'm glad you like it. Hopefully I'll meet you in person soon someday and I can see how you are with it.

My personal holy grail would be a very cheap clone of the 968. My personality is that I like to find hidden gems that others don't know about. I already have a Fang Bo Carbon which I really really like. I recently just ordered a Stuor HL5 clone blade to see how it is. My hope is that it matches the speed of the Fang Bo but has a softer feel
 
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says Addicted to Spin!
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Very nice! I'm glad you like it. Hopefully I'll meet you in person soon someday and I can see how you are with it.

My personal holy grail would be a very cheap clone of the 968. My personality is that I like to find hidden gems that others don't know about. I already have a Fang Bo Carbon which I really really like. I recently just ordered a Stuor HL5 clone blade to see how it is. My hope is that it matches the speed of the Fang Bo but has a softer feel
Thanks! That'd be great.

And let me know if you find it. My guess is that while you might find a 968 clone with the same comp and specs (thickness of plies), the quality of the wood, fiber and carbon used in the 968 and the selection process it's going through is second to none, it really feels artisanal. The fact that this quality or selection process is hardly found in say expensive Butterfly blades leads me to believe this is why the 968 is so special. I think the closest thing you could get would be a 968 clone made by SDC or Gerry. I've yet to try one of my Viscaria Golden (the one I bought used) to see if it raises the quality of Viscarias having gone through a more hands on and selection process as well.

One thing I forgot to mention is that 2 of my practice partners, 1 higher level than me, the other lower level than me, both equipment aficionados in their own right, both enjoy trying the blade and immediately noticed its nice feel, the clicky sound it makes on impact, and the amount of spin and power it produces on both wings with relative ease. On the receiving end, even their shots using 60-80% strength produce a nice bite that would skid off the table when I couldn't return, and I would feel the bite when blocking or counter looping.
 
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Well I tried my W968 National last night and I immediately fell in love with it, which is a relief considering the price. It appears as if my search for the holy grail is over, though I will still test blades here and there for fun, I don't anticipate changing anytime soon or ever. I will also purchase a second one as a backup and to try other FH rubbers on it like H3 and Young Shine Dingtian boosted, though I'm very satisfied with Z2 on it at the moment and will keep T05 FX on the BH for sure.

Ok now on to the nitty gritty, I really wished for something along the lines of an Innerforce ZLC that is to say a flexible crisp yet controllable carbon blade, but with a more organic feel rather than the mechanic/metallic one I get from Butterfly carbon blades, and with that, if I could get all the things i could wish for, an amazing feel on both wings including in the short game, an a more confortable handle that allows me to hold the blade easily as a continuation of my hand and easily switch between FH and BH. Well, for me, it's got it all, and I couldn't be more satisfied.

I was surprised by how much feel it has, the first 5-10 minutes I thought I was holding a nice 5-ply all-wood blade on the thinner side but crisp, then I started going through the gears with relative ease and I couldn't believe how many gears it offers. And the handle is neither thick nor thin but instead had a very nice curve with the wings on the higher side, kinda like Stiga blades. i normally have to send and smooth the wings on all my blades but it won't be necessary here.

It was really easy to adjust to from my IF ZLC, went straight into some matches and it felt very comfortable, more than I was ever accustomed to. I was excited to receive it after 2 weeks, then I looked at it when it arrived and told myself, hey it's just a blade, then I tried it and felt like "holy shit" this thing is good and I kept looking down at it like how!? All that to say that I think it lives up to the "myth".
When you're in love, you're in love lol!

Part of the reason I switched from the YSE to the HL5 is because how much it feels like an all wood blade. Even the cracking sound it makes when hit hard is so woody sounding than the ping of most composite blades.

I should be getting mine tomorrow, can't wait! Reviews from high level Chinese players seem fairly consistent in saying that the 968 offers a smoother gear transition compared to the commercial HL5, which abruptly shifts from dull to rocket with harder loops. Let's see if that's indeed the case.
 
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When you're in love, you're in love lol!

Part of the reason I switched from the YSE to the HL5 is because how much it feels like an all wood blade. Even the cracking sound it makes when hit hard is so woody sounding than the ping of most composite blades.

I should be getting mine tomorrow, can't wait! Reviews from high level Chinese players seem fairly consistent in saying that the 968 offers a smoother gear transition compared to the commercial HL5, which abruptly shifts from dull to rocket with harder loops. Let's see if that's indeed the case.
Love it is!

The W968's feel and touch is insane and so are the gears. It doesn't feel mushy or hollow like the HL5 can and has an amazing crisp yet soft feeling. And the handle is purrrfect lol. To me, they're too completely different blades.

Eager to see what you think.
 
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Very nice! I'm glad you like it. Hopefully I'll meet you in person soon someday and I can see how you are with it.

My personal holy grail would be a very cheap clone of the 968. My personality is that I like to find hidden gems that others don't know about. I already have a Fang Bo Carbon which I really really like. I recently just ordered a Stuor HL5 clone blade to see how it is. My hope is that it matches the speed of the Fang Bo but has a softer feel
I used to be like you, but then I got tired of always adjusting to new equipment and stuck with TB ALC w/ T05s on both sides until I last quit playing due to work/study. After picking TT back up 5 months ago, I intend to settle on a setup as quickly as possible, so I went for the popular blades. Tried my TB ALC again, Viscaria, YSE, and HL5 for blades. For rubbers it's the Tenergies 05/64/05FX/64FX, Dignics 05/09C, and H3P/H8-80.

I fell in love with the 09C immediately and I've settled on that since the first month for my FH. I fell in love with the HL5 immediately too, but found it too fast for someone who hadn't played in I years, so I trained with the YSE for 3 months first. I think with the 968 my blade will be settled, and I suspect that the D09C or the T05FX will also be settled for my BH. It'll depend on if the 968 is crisp enough to tolerate a softer rubber.
 
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Love it is!

The W968's feel and touch is insane and so are the gears. It doesn't feel mushy or hollow like the HL5 can and has an amazing crisp yet soft feeling. And the handle is purrrfect lol. To me, they're too completely different blades.

Eager to see what you think.
So do you find that the 968 is stiffer and faster than the HL5?
 
says Addicted to Spin!
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I used to be like you, but then I got tired of always adjusting to new equipment and stuck with TB ALC w/ T05s on both sides until I last quit playing due to work/study. After picking TT back up 5 months ago, I intend to settle on a setup as quickly as possible, so I went for the popular blades. Tried my TB ALC again, Viscaria, YSE, and HL5 for blades. For rubbers it's the Tenergies 05/64/05FX/64FX, Dignics 05/09C, and H3P/H8-80.

I fell in love with the 09C immediately and I've settled on that since the first month for my FH. I fell in love with the HL5 immediately too, but found it too fast for someone who hadn't played in I years, so I trained with the YSE for 3 months first. I think with the 968 my blade will be settled, and I suspect that the D09C or the T05FX will also be settled for my BH. It'll depend on if the 968 is crisp enough to tolerate a softer rubber.
Definitely crisp enough for T05 FX and not bouncy.

I think it's well suited for harder and softer tension rubbers as well as Chinese tacky, so a wide range of rubbers which is not very common.
 
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Just got the 968, some first impression upon unboxing.

It weighs 90.1 - 90.2 grams. The head of the blade is pretty massive at 161mm. Rubbers that fit my TB ALC perfectly look tiny on this blade. My rough balance point is at about 121mm, also pretty towards the head. This is gonna be a pretty head-heavy blade I'm sure.

The handle is shaped more like the old Long 5 I have, which is a bit thicker than the new regular Long 5, but mostly at the end. The center of all 3 are on the skinny side. I'll probably put on some grip tape to make it thicker and to combat the head-

The plies look rather differently distributed. The 968 appears to have a significantly thinner but less porous core, while the top 2 layers are thicker.
 
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I sealed the entire blade, handle included, with 1 thin layer of quick drying polyurethane, which I immediately wipe off with a makeup sponge after application. I then put the blade over the heating vent for a few hours, waited for it to dry completely, then sanded the whole blade lightly. First with 1000 grit sandpaper, then for the blade face 600 grit gently, then for the blade edge and blade face edge with 320 grit very, very gently.

I then glued an used sheet of D09C and T05FX and got some short testing done with my Amicus Prime. First impressions:

Short touch is shockingly good. It's got excellent feel and the ball noticeably bounces less than the old HL5. I've been practicing the short off the bounce pushes against half-long pushes, the goal being to have my push bounce at least twice even though the incoming push would be half long. I clearly had a better success rate than the HL5. That was even the case when I switched to the T05FX, a bouncier rubber. I suppose that part isn't very surprising since these shots are more blade dependent as the sponge is not very engaged.

To complement my short push training I've been training the FH flick too. With this shot it was also immediately apparent that the 968 is more crisp. There's a noticeably more "ping" sound with medium strength shots in general. The ball gathered a good bit more pace than the HL5 with a light flick. I use the same heavy backspin, half-long serve from the robot to practice this shot, so it's difficult to perform a power flick, so can't compare there.

Moving on to BH practice, the increase in crispness and the more apparent "ping" sound is again evident with BH counters. It's a bit quicker, but not as noticeable as with flicks. The level of crispness is still definitely less than the Viscaria or TB ALC, but it's a significant improvement over the HL5. I'd say it's about halfway between the HL5 and Viscaria. T05FX is indeed a playable rubber on the 968 now, but against heavier topspins I think I still prefer the dwell D09C offers. The D09C just really grabs onto the ball when facing high speed/spin shots. On BH loops from mid distance, it starts to feel much more like the HL5, with a more pronounced cracking sound, and speed feels similar as well.

Moving on to FH counterloops, I set the robot to 23 speed (max 25, too unreliable at that speed), and spin +5 (+6 IMO is a bit unrealistic and +7 is just ludicrous). This actually feels similar to the HL5. The loud cracking sound is back, the high dwell is back as well. It does feel faster with a bit less dwell than the HL5, and if you don't hit it quite right or with full power, you'll hear a bit of ping sound creeping in. This is one part where it's not immediately better and took a bit of adjustment.

TL/DR comparison between 2022 W968 (numbers version) vs 2014 HL5:

Short game has a softer touch, and more crispness with flicks, overall big improvement.

BH is a lot crisper, but not at Viscaria level.

FH feels like a faster, stiffer blade, but not by much and remains a high dwell blade with a woody cracking sound when looped hard.

Overall a more balanced blade than the extremely FH dominant old HL5 and thus more suitable for the modern game.
 
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To tylko zgadywanie, Super ALC z cieńszym ostrzem może działać lepiej w niektórych przypadkach, aw innych może działać gorzej. SALC jest twardszy niż ALC.

Możemy zgadywać, czy lepszy byłby CNF, czy potrójny splot węgiel - akryl - zylon, z którym teraz



salc is softer than alc

 
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I sealed the entire blade, handle included, with 1 thin layer of quick drying polyurethane, which I immediately wipe off with a makeup sponge after application. I then put the blade over the heating vent for a few hours, waited for it to dry completely, then sanded the whole blade lightly. First with 1000 grit sandpaper, then for the blade face 600 grit gently, then for the blade edge and blade face edge with 320 grit very, very gently.

I then glued an used sheet of D09C and T05FX and got some short testing done with my Amicus Prime. First impressions:

Short touch is shockingly good. It's got excellent feel and the ball noticeably bounces less than the old HL5. I've been practicing the short off the bounce pushes against half-long pushes, the goal being to have my push bounce at least twice even though the incoming push would be half long. I clearly had a better success rate than the HL5. That was even the case when I switched to the T05FX, a bouncier rubber. I suppose that part isn't very surprising since these shots are more blade dependent as the sponge is not very engaged.

To complement my short push training I've been training the FH flick too. With this shot it was also immediately apparent that the 968 is more crisp. There's a noticeably more "ping" sound with medium strength shots in general. The ball gathered a good bit more pace than the HL5 with a light flick. I use the same heavy backspin, half-long serve from the robot to practice this shot, so it's difficult to perform a power flick, so can't compare there.

Moving on to BH practice, the increase in crispness and the more apparent "ping" sound is again evident with BH counters. It's a bit quicker, but not as noticeable as with flicks. The level of crispness is still definitely less than the Viscaria or TB ALC, but it's a significant improvement over the HL5. I'd say it's about halfway between the HL5 and Viscaria. T05FX is indeed a playable rubber on the 968 now, but against heavier topspins I think I still prefer the dwell D09C offers. The D09C just really grabs onto the ball when facing high speed/spin shots. On BH loops from mid distance, it starts to feel much more like the HL5, with a more pronounced cracking sound, and speed feels similar as well.

Moving on to FH counterloops, I set the robot to 23 speed (max 25, too unreliable at that speed), and spin +5 (+6 IMO is a bit unrealistic and +7 is just ludicrous). This actually feels similar to the HL5. The loud cracking sound is back, the high dwell is back as well. It does feel faster with a bit less dwell than the HL5, and if you don't hit it quite right or with full power, you'll hear a bit of ping sound creeping in. This is one part where it's not immediately better and took a bit of adjustment.

TL/DR comparison between 2022 W968 (numbers version) vs 2014 HL5:

Short game has a softer touch, and more crispness with flicks, overall big improvement.

BH is a lot crisper, but not at Viscaria level.

FH feels like a faster, stiffer blade, but not by much and remains a high dwell blade with a woody cracking sound when looped hard.

Overall a more balanced blade than the extremely FH dominant old HL5 and thus more suitable for the modern game.
I never understand when people say HL5 is not good for bh. If you loop with bh, you benefit from dwell time as well.

And if you drive with bh, i dont really see where HL5 is worse. I often hit power drives with inner blades.
 
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I never understand when people say HL5 is not good for bh. If you loop with bh, you benefit from dwell time as well.

And if you drive with bh, i dont really see where HL5 is worse. I often hit power drives with inner blades.
You hit BHs in front of your body, while FHs are to the side of your body. This means less time to prepare for a loop. In a fast paced game you don't have nearly as many opportunities to loop from the BH side, which is why most BH topspin shots are counters rather than loops or drives. For counters, a more crisp blade is generally better.
 
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You hit BHs in front of your body, while FHs are to the side of your body. This means less time to prepare for a loop. In a fast paced game you don't have nearly as many opportunities to loop from the BH side, which is why most BH topspin shots are counters rather than loops or drives. For counters, a more crisp blade is generally better.
Maybe thats true for higher level.

For me, I still often face players who do nothing but push backspin to my bh. I still appreciate the extra dwell time to loop bh against these players.
 
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I played possibly my last league day with the old HL5, did fairly well. I did lose to a guy I beat last week, and got 3-0'd by a guy I lost 3-2 against last week, but I made up for it by beating the highest rated regular at the club. Ended up with my first winning record since becoming a regular in the top group.

It's time to move on to the 968. After I got home I had a training session with the 968. None of my opinions have changed about it. Everything felt the same as the first impression, so I got to work on the part I need the most adjustment with, full-powered FH loop vs high topspin.

I found that in order to avoid excessive brushing and thus not accessing the blade and the rubber's full power, I have to flex my elbow more during the swing. I used to maintain a relatively straight (relatively, it's not terribly straight) arm throughout the swing, but now I need to actively flex the elbow more right as I contact the ball. The cracking sound and the flex I feel give affirmation that this is the right thing to do. By the end of the session I could execute a 3-point FH counterloop drill with the same consistency as before. Hopefully in a week or two this new motion will be part of my muscle memory. This is a relatively new skill, one that I haven't been able to employ in matches very often anyway (average like once a match), so I don't think it'll affect my play that much.
 
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I played possibly my last league day with the old HL5, did fairly well. I did lose to a guy I beat last week, and got 3-0'd by a guy I lost 3-2 against last week, but I made up for it by beating the highest rated regular at the club. Ended up with my first winning record since becoming a regular in the top group.

It's time to move on to the 968. After I got home I had a training session with the 968. None of my opinions have changed about it. Everything felt the same as the first impression, so I got to work on the part I need the most adjustment with, full-powered FH loop vs high topspin.

I found that in order to avoid excessive brushing and thus not accessing the blade and the rubber's full power, I have to flex my elbow more during the swing. I used to maintain a relatively straight (relatively, it's not terribly straight) arm throughout the swing, but now I need to actively flex the elbow more right as I contact the ball. The cracking sound and the flex I feel give affirmation that this is the right thing to do. By the end of the session I could execute a 3-point FH counterloop drill with the same consistency as before. Hopefully in a week or two this new motion will be part of my muscle memory. This is a relatively new skill, one that I haven't been able to employ in matches very often anyway (average like once a match), so I don't think it'll affect my play that much.
About what rating would you be?
 
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