1. Introduction

Tibhar Aurus P&S 01
In summer 2017, Tibhar announced two new rubbers – ‘Aurus Prime’ and ‘Aurus Select’. Due to the names, two rubbers may be thought as new members of existing ‘Aurus’ family which was announced in early 2011. However, the fact is that ‘Aurus Prime’ and ‘Aurus Select’ are two of the most advanced German rubbers at present, and are fundamentally different from existing three models – ‘Aurus’, ‘Aurus Soft’ and ‘Aurus Sound’ – of ‘Aurus’ family.

For that reason we can easily expect that the performance of two new rubbers will be equivalent to or better than that of ‘Evolution’ series which is current top rubber family of Tibhar. Probably Tibhar will also launch new version of ‘Evolution series’ equipped with same kind of technology as ‘Aurus Prime/Select’ in near future.

The key factor of the newest German technology is to reduce the thickness of upper sheet. In fact, the rubber technology for ‘New Generation’ tension rubbers by the adjustment of chemical formula had already reached perfection in 2013, and we couldn’t have seen any kind of improvement of chemical formula during these four years. However, ‘chemical’ formula isn’t everything of table tennis rubber. As we know that there are many kinds of pimple geometries of ‘New Generation’ tension rubbers (About the details of pimple geometries, please refer to “Three typical pimple geometires of ‘New Generation’ tension rubbers“), there is much room to adjust the physical dimension of top sheet (upper sheet + pimples) or sponge. New idea is to improve feeling and performance of rubber by the reduction of the thickness of upper sheet. Please see following picture.

Tibhar Aurus P&S 02

Maximum thickness of rubber that is allowed by table tennis rule is 4.0mm including glue layer. Currently the thickness of top sheet (= upper sheet + pimple) is generally 1.6mm because the thickness of upper sheet is 0.8mm and the height of pimple is 0.8mm for most of ‘New Generation’ tension rubbers. Because we have to consider the thickness of glue layer, the actual maximum thickness of rubber isn’t 4.0mm but 3.7~3.8mm. Then maximum available thickness of sponge can be 2.1~2.2mm. Some table tennis makers express it as ‘MAX’ on the packaging of rubber. The other makers just write it as 2.1mm or 2.2mm. However, the maximum thickness of sponge can be 2.3~2.4mm if the thickness of top sheet can be reduced. By the increase of the thickness of sponge, we can get bigger sheer deflection of sponge at the moment of impact for topspin. Therefore we can expect higher power of topspin. That is the idea of the newest German rubber technology.

There are two general ways for the reduction of thickness of top sheet. One is to reduce the height of pimple, and the other is to reduce the thickness of upper sheet. (Of course we will be able to reduce both of the thickness of upper sheet and the height of pimple. But, I will ignore it because it isn’t a general way.) The former is being applied some rubbers including Nexy Karis that was previously posted. And, the latter is being applied for the newest German rubber technology for Aurus Prime/Select. The thickness of upper sheet has been reduced from 0.8mm to 0.6mm. Therefore, overall thickness of top sheet (upper sheet + pimples) has been also reduced from 1.6mm to 1.4mm. As a result, applying the sponge thickness over 2.1~2.2mm has become possible. ‘MAX’ of sponge thickness is available for ‘Aurus Prime/Select’ over 2.1mm, 1.9mm and 1.7mm. Differently from conventional German ‘New Generation’ tension rubbers for which ‘MAX’ means 2.1~2.2mm, ‘MAX’ means 2.3~2.4mm for ‘Aurus Prime/Select’.

Tibhar Aurus P&S 03

The expected advantages by new idea are :

  • Better spin performance thanks to thicker sponge.
  • Better feeling thanks to thinner upper sheet.
  • (Reduced weight.)

The weight reduction by thinner top sheet will be compensated by thicker sponge. However, we will be able to enjoy lighter weight if we don’t select ‘MAX’ and just stay at the thickness which we have selected so far while using conventional rubbers. I.e. we can select between enhanced performance and reduced weight.

If we select ‘MAX’, it is expected that we will be able to enjoy enhanced spin performance. In my expectation, the maximum amount of spin will be increased by more than 5% (maybe 5~10%) in case all factors except for those concerning thickness are the same as convention rubber under comparison. But, we’d better forget that kind of value and just examine the characteristics of new rubbers, because there can be various kind of performance settings for rubbers and we don’t know which conventional rubbers can be directly compared with ‘Aurus Prime/Select’.

Then, let’s examine the feature of ‘Aurus Prime’ and ‘Aurus Select’.

 


2. Features

Tibhar Aurus P&S 04

‘Aurus Prime’ and ‘Aurus Select’ were announced at the same time, and a new rubber family is composed by those two models. At a glance it looks like that ‘Aurus Prime’ and ‘Aurus Select’ are the variation of identical model, and are just distinguished by sponge density. However, the fact is that the top sheets of those two rubbers are not identical to each other. ‘Aurus Prime’ isn’t just a harder version, and in the same manner ‘Aurus Select’ isn’t just a softer version. Those two models don’t share top sheet, and play different roles. What those two models aim at is as follows:

  • Aurus Prime : ‘Spin’ and ‘Power’
  • Aurus Select : ‘Control’ and ‘Ease of Use’

In fact, above is not the claim by Tibhar but the conclusion of this review after examining and court testing. But, I show it before explaining the details, for clearer understanding on those two rubbers. I felt that the relationship between those two rubbers is somewhat similar to that between Butterfly ‘Tenergy 05’ and ‘Tenergy 64’, but a bit different. ‘Aurus Prime’ is a bit faster than ‘Tenergy 05’, but ‘Aurus Select’ is a bit slower than ‘Tenergy 64’. However, in my opinion, that difference can be easily covered by training. Nowadays, if two top models are launched, in general the target of one model is ‘Tenergy 05’ and the target of the other model is ‘Tenergy 64’. And, the case of ‘Aurus Prime/Select’ is not an exception. If you consider it, it will help your understanding of difference between ‘Aurus Prime’ and ‘Aurus Select’.

Then, let’s examine the appearance of ‘Aurus Prime’ first.

Tibhar Aurus P&S 05

‘Aurus Prime’ is provided with sealed plastic packaging. (Plastic is used only for the front side of packaging. Back side of packaging is made of paper.) This kind of plastic packaging was first applied for ‘Rapid D.TecS’ in 1998, and has become a tradition of Tibhar rubbers. But, for some time Tibhar hasn’t used it. ‘Q’ series and ‘Evolution’ series haven’t launched with this plastic packaging but with common paper packaging. However, plastic packaging was revived with ‘Numbus Delta’ series, and then ‘Aurus Prime’ and ‘Aurus Select’ have also launched with plastic packaging.

The name of ‘Aurus Prime’ is printed in gold color at the center of packaging. (‘Aurus Select’ is printed in silver color. That helps us to distinguish one model from the other quickly.) Four sponge thicknesses are written on the front of packaging. ‘MAX’ is written at the right side of ‘2.1’.

Tibhar Aurus P&S 06

The color of the sponge of ‘Aurus Prime’ is purple. It reminds me the color of the sponge of currently discontinued Butterfly ‘Ekrips’. But, the color of the sponge of ‘Aurus Prime’ is much darker and much more saturated.

Average density of sponge is 47.5º in German standard, and it is same as the sponge density of most top class rubbers. In Butterfly standard it is about 35.5~36.0º. (Please note that Butterfly and DHS are writing sponge density under different standard which shows lower value.) So the sponge density of ‘Aurus Prime’ is similar to that of Butterfly ‘Tenergy 05’ whose sponge density is written as 36.0º in Butterfly standard (= 47.5~48.0º in German standard.)

Available sponge thicknesses are 1.7mm, 1.9mm, 2.1mm and MAX. MAX means about 2.3~2.4mm which makes total thickness of rubber 3.7~3.8mm. In case the total thickness is identical, the sponge of ‘Aurus Prime’ is one step thicker than that of ‘Evolution’ series.

Tibhar Aurus P&S 07

Of course top sheet is available in two color – red and black. And, red top sheet is not transparent but opaque. Opaque red is common with ‘Evolution’ series or ‘Q’ series those are also made by most advanced chemical formula. (Again, we can’t notice any improvement of chemical formula of German ‘New Generation’ tension rubber from 2013 until now. ‘Aurus Prime/Select’ is made by new idea which is only the adjustment of physical dimension of top sheet.)

ITTF approval number of ‘Aurus Prime’ is 74-029.

Tibhar Aurus P&S 08

From above picture, we can notice that the shape of pimple is cylinder. The distance between the center of one pimple and that of adjacent pimple is about 2.2mm. I.e. the pimple geometry is Type A which is very similar to the pimple geometry of ‘Evolution MX-P’ or ‘Tenergy 05’. (Again, please refer to “Three typical pimple geometires of ‘New Generation’ tension rubbers” for more details of pimple geometries.)

Also from above picture, we can notice that the thickness of upper sheet is smaller than the height of pimple. That is the most important difference between ‘Aurus Prime’ and conventional ‘New Generation’ tension rubbers.

Then successively, let’s examine the appearance of ‘Aurus Select’.

Tibhar Aurus P&S 09

‘Aurus Select’ is also provided with sealed plastic packaging. The name of rubber is printed in silver color. And, it is distinguished from the gold color of ‘Aurus Prime’. I can’t deny that this color difference makes the image that ‘Aurus Select’ is placed at lower position than ‘Aurus Prime’. And, actually the price of ‘Aurus Select’ is lower than that of ‘Aurus Prime’. It apparently means that two models aim at different target customers. ‘Aurus Prime’ is for professionals or skilled amateurs, and ‘Aurus Select’ is for the players of lower class. Tibhar is also explaining it by following picture.

Tibhar Aurus P&S 20
Copyright by Tibhar (http://www.tibhar.com)

And, probably that is the reason why the sponge density of ‘Aurus Select’ is 45.0º.

Tibhar Aurus P&S 10

The color of the sponge of ‘Aurus Select’ is pink. It isn’t as saturated as the purple of ‘Aurus Prime’.

Average density of sponge is 45.0º in German standard, and is similar to 33.5~34.0º in Butterfly standard. Available sponge thicknesses are 1.7mm, 1.9mm, 2.1mm and MAX. MAX means about 2.3~2.4mm which makes total thickness of rubber 3.7~3.8mm.

Tibhar Aurus P&S 11

ITTF approval number is 74-030. Top sheet is available in two colors – red and black. The red color is transparent. Here, we notice that there is difference between the top sheet of ‘Aurus Select’ and that of ‘Aurus Prime’ in appearance. Please see following picture.

Tibhar Aurus P&S 12

In above picture, the difference between two rubbers is noticeable. The red of ‘Aurus Prime’ is opaque, but the red of ‘Aurus Select’ is transparent. Although it can’t be expressed by picture, I also feel those two rubbers are different from each other when I touch the surfaces of those two. Different feeling means that those two rubbers are made by different chemical formula. I’m not sure, but probably ‘Aurus Prime’ is the formula for better spin, and ‘Aurus Select’ is the formula for higher speed.

Color and the feeling of surface are not all differences between two models. There is also the difference of pimple geometry.

Tibhar Aurus P&S 13

Above picture shows the pimple geometry of ‘Aurus Select’. We can notice that the shape of pimple is not cylinder but truncated cone. I.e. the pimple geometry of ‘Aurus Select’ is Type A’ which is the pimple geometry of ‘Genius’, existing ‘Aurus’, ‘5Q VIP’ and ‘Tenergy 80’, while the pimple geometry of ‘Aurus Prime’ is Type A which is similar to the pimple geometry of ‘Evolution MX-P’ and ‘Tenergy 05’.

I.e. there isn’t any similarity between the top sheet of ‘Aurus Select’ and that of ‘Aurus Prime’. Those two are fundamentally different from each other.

Tibhar Aurus P&S 14

Above is direct comparison by folding two rubbers. We can notice following facts:

  • Aurus Prime : Color is opaque. Pimple shape is cylinder.
  • Aurus Select : Color is transparent. Pimple shape is truncated cone.

 

‘Aurus Prime’ is equipped with 47.5º sponge and top sheet of Type A geometry (High density + cylinder shape). This specification is basically aiming at best spin performance. Although feeling is somewhat hard because of densely arranged cylinder-shaped pimples and hard sponge, high rebound speed is not the fundamental concept of this type. Many rubbers of this geometry in the market including Butterfly ‘Tenergy 05’ are concentrating at spin performance. High power is achieved not by hard hitting but by making strong spin. It is apparent that ‘Aurus Prime’ is developed for the comparison against ‘Tenergy 05’ and many top rubbers with similar specification.

‘Aurus Select’ is equipped with 45.0º sponge and top sheet of Type A’ geometry (High density + truncated cone shape). Type A’ geometry provides the characteristics between Type A geometry and Type B geometry. The rubbers with Type A’ geometry provides a bit less spin than the rubbers with Type A geometry, but instead faster than the rubbers with Type A geometry (and, more spin + less speed than the rubbers with Type B geometry) in case sponge density is identical. But, because sponge density of ‘Aurus Select’ is lower than 47.5º of ‘Aurus Prime’, we can expect that ‘high speed’ is not the goal of ‘Aurus Select’, and instead ‘Aurus Select’ is aiming at better ability of control.

Thanks to a bit softer sponge, the feeling of ‘Aurus Select’ will be close to that of ‘Tenergy 64’ or similar rubbers equipped with 47.5~48.0º sponges. (When compared to those rubbers, ‘Aurus Select’ is equipped with softer sponge and harder top sheet.) For that reason ‘Aurus Select’ will be able to compete with ‘Tenergy 64’ or similar rubbers. But, differently from ‘Aurus Prime’ whose target is apparently ‘Tenergy 05’, ‘Aurus Select’ is not directly aiming at ‘Tenergy 64′. With harder top sheet (Type A’ geometry gives harder feeling than Type B geometry) and softer sponge than ‘Tenergy 64’, ‘Aurus Select’ is more concentrating on ‘control’ instead of ‘speed’. It will be advantage of ‘Aurus Select’ for entry ~ middle class players. We can expect that ‘Aurus Prime’ is for professional/skilled players and ‘Aurus Select’ is for entry~middle players. And, it coincides with what Tibhar is explaining about those two models.


3. Court Test

For testing of ‘Aurus Prime’ and ‘Aurus Select’, I selected two blades – Tibhar ‘Samsonov Force Pro Black Edition’ (I will usually call it as SBE) and Butterfly ‘Timo Boll Spirit’ (= same as ‘Timo Boll ALC’). At this time I didn’t use Butterfly ‘Korbel’. But, those two blades are sufficient for understanding the basic characteristic of covering (= rubber). I also used another blade but I can’t reveal its name because it is a prototype blade of an European maker. I used ‘Nittaku’ poly ball for testing. (I want to try more blades and various poly ball if there is chance. Unfortunately I couldn’t have got a chance yet.) I tried to especially compare ‘Aurus Prime’ with ‘Tenergy 05’.

In fact, the kind of blade doesn’t have big meaning in my testing. I always try to remove my feeling that is biased to my own blade and my own rubber. If I don’t do it, my own rubber and my own blade will be always the best ones, and no other rubber or blade will be better than my own. By using at least two or three blades those are not my own, I can forget the feeling that is biased to my blade. Also using many blades for testing gives averaged result that is not biased to any one blade used in the testing.

But, interestingly I couldn’t feel that the fundamental characteristics of ‘Aurus Prime’ and ‘Aurus Select’ differ by combined blade. Differently speaking, ‘Aurus Prime’ and ‘Aurus Select’ doesn’t select blade. Therefore, if you at least understand the characteristics of your blade to be combined with ‘Aurus Prime’ or ‘Aurus Select’, the combination itself will not be difficult. I think that there will not be any noticeable ‘inharmony’ between blade and rubber.

Then, I will explain the result of ‘Aurus Prime’ first.

Tibhar Aurus P&S 15

The feeling of ‘Aurus Prime’ is softer than expected from its sponge density (= 47.5º). ‘Aurus Prime’ is noticeably softer than existing Tibhar rubbers with 47.5º sponge and Type A geometry. For example ‘Evolution MX-P’ or ‘Evolution EL-P’. If you don’t know the sponge density of ‘Aurus Prime’, you may think that its sponge density is 45º or lower. Apparently it is thanks to reduced thickness of upper sheet, and it means that German rubber of Type A geometry has finally achieved same level of softness as Butterfly ‘Tenergy 05’. So far that softness has been the advantage of ‘Tenergy 05’ only, but it isn’t from now on. Maybe the improvement of feeling is more important factor of this newest German technology than the improvement of performance.

Regarding performance, at first the performance of ‘direct hitting’ is not remarkable. From basic attack stroke without spin to very hard smash, ‘Aurus Prime’ provides ordinary speed. I’m not saying that ‘Aurus Prime’ is slow rubber. In fact it provides ‘sufficient’ speed for smash. However, hard hitters will not be fully satisfied with ‘Aurus Prime’. (In fact, in general we can’t expect high speed of direct hitting from the New Generation tension rubbers with Type A geometry. Type A’ and Type B are better than Type A for high speed of direct hitting.)

However, the story dramatically changes if we start to perform table tennis technic that is concerned with spin. Especially attack with topspin. ‘Aurus Prime’ catches ball firmly with optimum deflection of top sheet. Because it isn’t excessively soft or excessively hard, I could always feel comfortable whenever I try topspin. Every kind of topspin can be performed very smooth. Ball easily draws high parabolic trajectory, and enters opponent’s court with high safety. Also the amount of spin is always bit, and it makes the ball heavy. Topspin is not only easy but also powerful. Ball stretches very strongly after the bounce. The extraordinary balance between the ease of use and the power of ball is very impressive. Simply, it is impressive.

When compared with the topspin by ‘Tenergy 05’, the overall speed of ball with topspin from ‘Aurus Prime’ is higher than that from ‘Tenergy 05’. I think that top players can cover it by there strong power. However, amateur players of middle~high class will easily notice that ‘Aurus Prime’ can make faster ball with topspin. Before the launching of ‘Aurus Prime’ that is made by new idea of German technology, of course there have been many German tension rubbers those provide higher speed or better spin than ‘Tenergy 05’. However, all those rubbers have had shortcomings. For example, (1) a rubber that is powerful than ‘Tenergy 05’ is harder than ‘Tenergy 05’, (2) a rubber that provides more spin than ‘Tenergy 05’ is slower than ‘Tenergy 05’, and (3) a rubber that provides similar performance as ‘Tenergy 05’ feels worst than ‘Tenergy 05’. But, I couldn’t notice those kinds of shortcomings from ‘Aurus Prime’. Softened top sheet thanks to the reduction of the thickness of upper sheet improves feeling, and thickened sponge provides improved spin performance. Those two advantages are noticeable. (But, unfortunately ‘Aurus Prime’ isn’t perfect. Still it is somewhat heavier than ‘Tenergy 05’ even in case of ‘2.1mm’ sponge version.)

Because the topspin by ‘Aurus Prime’ is so comfortable and so powerful, I decided to replace my own forehand rubber by ‘Aurus Prime’.

Regarding block, at the beginning I felt the block by ‘Aurus Prime’ somewhat uncomfortable. The block by ‘Aurus Prime’ against opponent’s topspin tends to draw somewhat long and fast trajectory. It looks like counterattack. Unfortunately, I couldn’t adjust the length of the trajectory of block easily. That is the reason why I felt the block uncomfortable at the beginning. (Maybe that was because I usually use the rubbers with softer sponge on my backhand side.) However, by the practice of some minutes I could get accustomed to it soon, and I could notice that the block by ‘Aurus Prime’ is very easy and effective. Trajectory is always long. But, although the trajectory of block long, the ball enters opponent’s court very well, even with much energy that gives opponent difficulty. My conclusion is that ‘Aurus Prime’ is very good for ‘active’ block. It is also the difference from ‘Tenergy 05’. For me, adjusting the length of trajectory of block by ‘Tenergy 05’ is very easy. But, the block by ‘Tenergy 05’ is not as fast as that by ‘Aurus Prime’. Maybe this will be important difference because it will affect playing style. But, I’m ready to change my playing style because I like the speed of block by ‘Aurus Prime’ very much.

Stop and push are also very easy and effective. And, I could easily make service with strong spin. I could enjoy variety of spin service. But fast long service is far from impressive. Probably that is because ‘Aurus Prime’ isn’t a rubber than is aiming at high speed. I think that the lack of speed of long service will not be serious problem for most of skilled players. But, it will be problem for some amateur players who frequently use long service.

As we can expect from its good performance of topspin, ‘Aurus Prime’ is also very good for flip. Most of all, it is very easy. That makes receive very comfortable and very active. However, I felt that flip by ‘Aurus Prime’ is not better or worse than that by ‘Tenergy 05’ or ‘Evolution EL-S’.

‘Aurus Prime’ is a very good rubber for ‘topspin’ from all area of court. Topspin by ‘Aurus Prime’ is really comfortable, and at the same time very powerful. Maybe the power itself is not extraordinary because there have already been rubbers those provide same level of power of topspin as ‘Aurus Prime’. However, ‘Aurus Prime’ can make that powerful topspin so ‘easily’. The price of excellent spin performance + comfortable feeling is the speed of direct hitting. Therefore, ‘Aurus Prime’ is not a rubber for everybody. If a player want higher speed or harder feeling, there are better solutions than ‘Aurus Prime’. However, if a player plays mainly with topspin and wants moderate feeling, without doubt ‘Aurus Prime’ will be one of current best rubbers.

Basically ‘Aurus Prime’ is a rubber for professional or highly-skilled amateur players. But, because it is so comfortable and easy-to-use, ‘Aurus Prime’ can be recommended also for ordinary amateur players, especially if those players play mainly with topspin.

 

Then successively, I will explain the result of ‘Aurus Select’.

Tibhar Aurus P&S 16

The feeling of ‘Aurus Select’ is much softer than expected from sponge density (= 45º). If you don’t know the value of sponge density, you may think that its sponge density is about 40~42.5º. The pimple geometry of ‘Aurus Select’ is Type A’ which is softer than Type A. And, additionally the sponge density of ‘Aurus Select’ is reduced by 2.5º from 47.5º of ‘Aurus Prime’. As a result, the actual feeling of ‘Aurus Select’ is close to that of New Generation tension rubbers with Type B geometry and 47.5~48.0º sponge, for example ‘Tenergy 64’.

When the ball is directly hit by impact of low~middle speed (= i.e. basic attack stroke without spin), the speed of ‘Aurus Select’ is a bit lower than that of the rubbers with same pimple geometry & 47.5º sponge – for example ‘Aurus’ and ‘5Q VIP’. Probably that is the effect of softer sponge. But, instead, ‘Aurus Select’ provides better feeling and better stability than ‘Aurus’ or ‘5Q VIP’.

In my personal opinion, increasing the sponge density of ‘Aurus Select’ will not hurt the feeling and stability of ‘Aurus Prime’. Maybe it will make the overall balance between ease of use and power better. However, probably Tibhar didn’t do it because ‘Aurus Select’ doesn’t aim at professional or highly skilled players but at the players of lower class. As the result, ‘Aurus Select’ is very soft, and extremely safe. (Note : Of course I don’t mean that ‘Aurus Select’ is as soft as the rubbers with sponge density under 40º.) It is the characteristic of ‘Aurus Select’.

Topspin by ‘Aurus Select’ is better than expected. Of course the amount of spin is not as big as that from ‘Aurus Prime’. But, I couldn’t feel that the spin from ‘Aurus Select’ is insufficient. ‘Aurus Select’ can make more spin than the New Generation tension rubbers of Type B geometry (= Tenergy 64 type). Also, it is very easy to perform attack with topspin.

I felt that the trajectory of topspin tends to be short in case I concentrated on ‘spin’. In that case, I couldn’t expect high speed. But, the relatively short trajectory of topspin can’t be a weak point of ‘Aurus Select’, because it makes very aggressive topspin at close-to-table area very easy. I could easily make severe topspin that crosses side line after bounce. Also, on-table topspin and flip are very easy and safe, with sufficient spin. Therefore, if we understand the characteristics of ‘Aurus Select’ and use it properly, it can be very useful rubber in actual match.

By the way, if player tries to make fast topspin with very strong impact, the trajectory of ball becomes linear. Differently from dramatic arc of fast topspin from ‘Aurus Prime’, the linear trajectory of fast topspin from ‘Aurus Select’ looks somewhat unstable or dangerous. But, in fact ball enters opponents court very well, although its trajectory doesn’t look safe.

In all kinds of topspin, the feeling of impact is ‘catch & draw’. I felt as if I catch ball once and then draw.

Smash by ‘Aurus Select’ makes sufficiently fast ball. It is faster than expected from the soft feeling of ‘Aurus Select’. But, it isn’t the level that I can say ‘destructive’. I think that smash could be better if the sponge of ‘Aurus Prime’ is a bit harder. Of course, the feeling of smash is very good thanks to soft feeling. Although ‘Aurus Select’ can’t make extremely fast ball by smash, the speed of ball is sufficient for aggressive play at close-to-table area.

On-table-technics such as stop, push and flick are also very safe. I couldn’t experience any difficulty that is generally caused by soft sponge of rubber. Despite of soft feeling, the trajectory of stop doesn’t tend to be high, and push is always precise. (Of course, although the feeling of ‘Aurus Select’ is soft, its sponge isn’t ‘soft’ sponge. 45º is categorized as a medium density.)

As is expected from the feeling and rebound speed, block against topspin is very safe and very stable. And, as is the case of topspin, the feeling of block is also ‘catch & draw’. I felt as if I catch ball once and then bring the ball to the place that I want. Astonishingly, ball placing is very accurate and very precise. Before testing I hadn’t expected that level of precision of ball placing because in general precise ball placement of block is difficult to be achieved by the rubbers whose feeling is soft.

The price of the precision and the safety of block is speed. Active block by very strong meet doesn’t make sufficiently fast ball. But, it can be covered by performing counter-topspin instead of active block if a player wants to defend more actively. Counter-topspin at close-to-table area or on table is very safe and effective.

The overall impression on ‘Aurus Select’ is that it is very good rubber for aggressive play at close-to-table area. Low~middle class players will be able to enjoy the safety of hard smash and block. Also the players of higher class will be able to enjoy the safety of topspin or counter-topspin at close-to-table area.

At mid-distance area, ‘Aurus Select’ works as very good rubber for classic all-round play. Powerful topspin from mid-distance area is somewhat difficult. But, instead high topspin from mid-distance area can be performed very smoothly.

‘Aurus Select’ is very comfortable rubber with moderate speed. I personally think that a bit harder (= 47.5º) sponge may make the overall balance of the performance of ‘Aurus Select’ better. But, at the same time I can understand what Tibhar aims at with ‘Aurus Select’. The position of ‘Aurus Select’ is set to the place under ‘Aurus Prime’. And, the performance ‘Aurus Select’ is optimum for ordinary amateur players while ‘Aurus Prime’ provides the best spin performance for professional or highly skilled amateur players.

‘Aurus Select’ is recommended for players who play at close-to-table area and lay emphasis on safety. It will also be a good solution for players who suffer from the lack of safety of ball due to low level of skill. Additionally, ‘Aurus Select’ can be a good rubber for backhand side. Attaching ‘Aurus Prime’ on forehand side and ‘Aurus Select’ on backhand side is highly recommended if you don’t have any preference of combination of rubbers.

 


4. Summary

Tibhar Aurus P&S 17
Tibhar ‘Aurus Prime’ and ‘Aurus Select’ are tension rubbers those are made by most advanced German technology of ‘New Generation (= Tenergy type)’ tension rubber. The key factor of two brand-new rubbers is the reduction of the thickness of upper sheet of top sheet by 0.2mm. The effect of new idea is the improvement of spin performance by increased maximum thickness of sponge. Additional effect is the improvement of feeling.

‘Aurus Prime’ and ‘Aurus Select’ doesn’t share top sheet. ‘Aurus Select’ isn’t the soft version of ‘Aurus Prime’ but completely different rubber that aims at different target.

‘Aurus Prime’ provides top level of spin performance, with its Type A pimple geometry and 47.5º sponge. ‘Aurus Prime’ is suitable for playing with topspin from all area of court. It isn’t suitable for playing mainly with smash. However, it will not be a problem because skilled players will be able to easily make destructive shot just by topspin. Basically ‘Aurus Prime’ is recommended for professional players or highly skilled amateur players. The players of lower class will be able to enjoy the spin performance ‘Aurus Prime’ as long as they play mainly with topspin, because the topspin by ‘Aurus Prime’ is not only powerful but also easy and comfortable.

‘Aurus Select’ is very comfort and controllable rubber. Pimple geometry is Type A’ which is softer than Type A geometry. Sponge density is 45º. But, actual feeling is much softer than we expect from the value. ‘Aurus Select’ is suitable for playing at close-to-table area with various technics such as topspin, block and smash. It is also suitable for classic all-round play at mid-distance area of court. Topspin with full power is not effective. But, it will not be problem for the playing style or level of players that ‘Aurus Select’ is aiming at. Basically ‘Aurus Select’ is recommended for players of low~middle level. However, there will be professional or highly skilled amateur players whose playing style fits for ‘Aurus Select’. Also, ‘Aurus Select’ is highly recommended as the rubber for backhand side.

 

 

Tibhar Aurus P&S 18 Aurus Prime

Aurus Prime

PROS
• Excellent spin performance. It can easily make heavy topspin that draws dramatic arc.
• Every technic concerned with spin is very safe and very effective.
• Optimum feeling for topspin. (Personally I think that the feeling is perfect.)

CONS
• Direct hitting doesn’t make very fast ball. Therefore, not suitable for smash.
• Block against topspin tends to be long. It is difficult to adjust the length of the trajectory of block. (The good point of this character is that block always gives much pressure to opponent.)

Verdict
• Excellent rubber that is very well optimized for playing with topspin.

Recommendation
• Players of all level who play mainly with topspin.

 

Tibhar Aurus P&S 19 Aurus Select

Aurus Select

PROS
• Soft and comfortable feeling.e.
• Not sensitive to player’s mistake. It results in very high level of ease of use.
• Very good for aggressive play at close-to-table area by topspin, block and smash.

CONS
• The trajectory of fast topspin by strong impact tends to be linear.
• It could be faster and more powerful rubber if sponge were one step harder.

Verdict
• Highly controllable rubber which is especially good for play at close-to-table area.

Recommendation
• Players who want to improve safety of aggressive play.

 

 

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