1.  ‘Fortino Force’ and ‘Fortino Performance’

Fortino P and F 01.JPG
Fig.01 The sample of ‘Dyneema Carbon’ is included in the package of ‘Fortino’ series.

In 2019 Tibhar introduced new family of fiber blades – ‘Fortino’ series. ‘Fortino’ series is composed of three models – ‘Fortino Pro’, ‘Fortino Force’ and ‘Fortino Performance’. And, the fiber for all three models is new ‘Dyneema Carbon’. (Tibhar is just calling it as ‘Dyneema’. However, it is in fact the composite weave of Dyneema fiber and Carbon fiber.) Among three models, ‘Fortino Pro’ which is the fastest model in this family has already been analyzed. For the details of ‘Fortino Pro’, please read article “Tibhar Fortino Pro – Lab Test“. Successively, the other two models – ‘Fortino Force’ and ‘Fortino Performance’ will be analyzed in this article.

Fortino F and P 02 Fortino Force
Fig.02 Tibhar ‘Fortino Force’

Fig.02 shows ‘Fortino Force’. Differently from ‘Fortino Pro’, the surface of ‘Fortino Force’ is not painted but natural. Also differently from ‘Fortino Pro’, the construction of ‘Fortino Force’ is not 5+2 ply outer fiber but 5+2 ply inner fiber. ‘Dyneema Carbon’ is placed between middle (= 2nd) layer and center layer. The top layer is Limba. ‘Fortino Force’ is slower than ‘Fortino Pro’, and faster than ‘Fortino Performance’.

Fortino F and P 03 Fortino Performance
Fig.03 Tibhar ‘Fortino Performance’

Fig.03 shows ‘Fortino Performance’. Like ‘Fortino Force’, ‘Fortino Performance’ is also an inner fiber blade. However, its construction is not 5+2 ply but 7+2 ply. ‘Dyneema Carbon’ is placed between the 2nd layer and the 3rd layer of ‘Fortino Performance’. And, the center layer is 4th layer. Although ‘Fortino Performance’ has more plies than ‘Fortino Force’, ‘Fortino Performance’ is slower than ‘Fortino Force’.

Fortino F and P 04
Fig.04 Constructions of ‘Fortino Performance’ (left) and ‘Fortino Force’ (right)

Fig.04 shows the constructions of two blades. Left is the construction of ‘Fortino Performance’. And, right is the construction of ‘Fortino Force’. The thickness of ‘Fortino Performance’ is around 6.3mm. And, that of ‘Fortino Force’ is also around 6.3mm. But, the fiber of ‘Fortino Performance’ is placed noticeably deeper than that of ‘Fortino Pro’. That makes the distance between fiber and fiber of ‘Fortino Performance’ relatively smaller, and that reduces the influence of fiber on bending stiffness. That is the reason why ‘Fortino Performance’ is slower than ‘Fortino Force’.

Fortino F and P 05
Fig.05 ‘Fortino Force’ and ‘Fortino Performance’ share graphic design.

‘Designed in Germany’ is printed on the head of ‘Fortino Force’ and ‘Fortino Performance’ instead of ‘Made in Germany’ that is printed on the head of ‘Fortino Pro’. ‘Fortino Force’ and ‘Fortino Performance’ are made in Slovenia, as most of traditional Tibhar blades such as ‘IV-S’ and ‘Samsonov Alpha’. By the way, if we don’t see the edges of two blades, it is very difficult for us to distinguish between ‘Fortino Performance’ and ‘Fortino Force’ because the graphic designs of two blades are perfectly identical to each other. The printing on the head is identical. And, the design of handle is also identical.

Fortino F and P 06
Fig.06 The nameplates of ‘Fortino Performance’ (left) and ‘Fortino Force’ (right)

The only difference is at the one character – ‘P’ vs ‘F’ – written on nameplate. ‘Series P’ is written on the nameplate of ‘Fortino Performance’, while ‘series F’ is written on that of ‘Fortino Force’. There isn’t any text that directly expresses the name of blade. It is very interesting approach. However, if we don’t have prior information that P and F mean Performance and Force, we will not be able to rightly call ‘Fortino Performance’ or ‘Fortino Force’.

Fortino F and P 07
Fig.07 ‘Fortino Force’ (upper) and ‘Fortino Performance’ (lower)

 

Then let’s examine the characteristics of ‘Fortino Force’ and ‘Fortino Performance’ by ‘Performance Indices’ and compare two blades with ‘Fortino Force’ and some inner-fiber blades in the market.


2. Blades to be compared

Following blades will be compared with ‘Fortino Force’ and ‘Fortino Performance’.

  • Stiga Allround Classic – Reference for Performance Indices
  • Tibhar Fortino Pro (Outer Dyneema Carbon)
  • Butterfly InnerForce Layer ZLC (Inner ZLC)
  • Butterfly InnerForce Layer ALC (Inner ALC)
  • DHS Hurricane Long 5 (Inner ALC)
  • Stiga Centric Carbon (Inner TeXtreme)

 

‘Allround Classic’ is the representative of traditional all-round blades. And, it is the reference blade of Performance Indices in TTGear Lab. All indices for ‘Allround Classic’ is 1.0.

‘Fortino Pro’ is the faster brother of ‘Fortino Force’ and ‘Fortino Performance’. ‘Fortino Pro’ is an ‘outer-fiber’ blade whose Dyneema Carbon is placed directly under the top layer. (‘Fortino Force’ and ‘Fortino Performance’ are ‘inner-fiber’ blades.)

‘InnerForce Layer ZLC’ is a ZLC fiber blades with 5+2 ply inner-fiber construction. And, ‘InnerForce Layer ALC’ is an ALC fiber blades with 5+2 ply inner-fiber construction. Both of those are the representative blades of Butterfly ‘InnerForce’ series.

‘Hurricane Long 5’ is also an ALC fiber blades with 5+2 ply inner-fiber construction.

‘Centric Carbon’ is a new inner-fiber blade from Stiga. TeXtreme which is famous as the fiber of ‘Carbonado’ series is placed between middle layer and center layer. It is assumed that low density version of TeXtreme is used as the fiber for ‘Centric Carbon’. Regarding TeXtreme and ‘Carbonado’ series, please refer to former article : “Stiga Carbonado series – Overview & Lab Test“.

 

Comparison will be done by performance indices. Concerning the detail of four performance indices, please refer to following articles in ‘Background’ section :

 


3. Comparison by Performance Indices

Fortino F and P 08 Graph A
Fig.08 Comparison by Elasticity Indices

Fig.08 shows the comparison graph of Elasticity Indices.

Ep (Primary Elasticity Index) is directly concerned with the rebound speed of blade. Ec (Central Elasticity Index) is concerned with additional ‘kick’ when player hits ball very hard.

From the graph, we can make it certain that ‘Fortino Pro’ is the most elastic one among three models of ‘Fortino’ series. And, ‘Fortino Force’ is more elastic than ‘Fortino Performance’.

It is noticeable that the Ec of ‘Fortino Pro’ is extremely high. The Ec’s of all the other blades are under 1.80, while the Ec of ‘Fortino Pro’ is 2.70. It means that the elasticity characteristics of ‘Fortino Pro’ is very unique. On the contrary, ‘Fortino Force’ and ‘Fortino Performance’ don’t show that kind of unique characteristics.

The Ec and the Ep of ‘Fortino Force’ are 1.88 and 1.72 respectively. Among the blades in this comparison, ‘InnerForce Layer ZLC’ has similar values : Ep = 1.90 and Ec = 1.73. We will be able to regard ‘Fortino Force’ as the competitor of ‘InnerForce Layer ZLC’. With Ep’s those are close to 2.0, both of those two are quite fast ones as ‘inner-fiber’ blades.

We can find similar relationship between ‘Fortino Performance’ (Ep = 1.71, Ec = 1.53) and ‘InnerForce Layer ALC’ (Ep = 1.62, Ec = 1.45). Although ‘Fortino Performance’ is somewhat more elastic than ‘InnerForce Layer ALC’, the difference between the values of two blades is not serious.

The Ep of ‘Hurricane Long 5’ (= 1.63) is also close to that of ‘Fortino Performance’ (= 1.71). However, there is big difference between the Ec of ‘Hurricane Long 5’ (= 1.24) and that of ‘Fortino Performance’ (= 1.53).

The Ep of ‘Centric Carbon’ (= 1.32) is definitely lower than those of ‘Fortino Performance’, ‘InnerForce Layer ALC’ and ‘Hurricane Long 5’. ‘Centric Carbon’ may be the best fit for players who want even safer blade than those three models.

 

Examining Ec/Ep is also a easier way to understand the tendency of elasticity of blades. Fig.09 shows the relationship between Ec/Ep and Ep.

Fortino F and P 09 Graph B
Fig.09 Ec/Ep vs. Ep

Ec/Ep expresses the ‘tendency’ of the elasticity of blade. By examining Ec/Ep and Ep at the same time, we can easily understand the behavior of blades.

On the graph, all the blades in this comparison except for reference blade and ‘Fortino Pro’ are placed in ‘Hold’ (Ec/Ep < 1.0) range. ‘Fortino Pro’ is in ‘Strong Kick’ range, while the other two models in ‘Fortino’ series – ‘Fortino Force’ and ‘Fortino Performance’ are at the border between ‘Mild Hold’ (0.9 < Ec/Ep < 1.0) range and ‘Deep Hold’ (Ec/Ep < 0.9) range. We can easily notice that ‘Fortino Pro’ is very unique blade. On the contrary, ‘Fortino Force’ and ‘Fortino Performance’ are not that unique.

It is very interesting that four blades – two models of ‘Fortino’ series and two models of ‘InnerForce Layer’ series – are on the border between ‘Mild Hold’ (0.9 < Ec/Ep < 1.0) range and ‘Deep Hold’ (Ec/Ep < 0.9) range. And, those four blades are divided again into two groups – ‘relatively higher Ep’ group and ‘relatively lower Ep’ group. ‘Fortino Force’ and ‘InnerForce Layer ZLC’ are in former group, and ‘Fortino Performance’ and ‘InnerForce Layer ALC’ are in later group. ‘Fortino Force’ and ‘InnerForce Layer ZLC’ are especially close to each other. And, although ‘Fortino Performance’ is somewhat faster than ‘InnerForce Layer ALC’, we will be able to consider those two blades as ‘similar’ ones. Although there will be difference in feeling due to the difference of thickness, it is expected that the change between ‘Fortino Force’ and ‘InnerForce Layer ZLC’ or ‘Fortino Performance’ and ‘InnerForce Layer ALC’.

‘Centric Carbon’ and ‘Hurricane Long 5’ are noticeably different from those four blades. ‘Centric Carbon’ is less elastic, and holds ball deeper than ‘Fortino Performance’ and ‘InnerForce Layer ALC’. It will be the blade for the players who don’t need high speed but desire extreme safety in the rally. ‘Hurricane Long 5’ provides similar primary elasticity as ‘Fortino Performance’ and ‘InnerForce Layer ALC’. However, when player hits ball very strongly, it will provides definitely different characteristic because it holds ball even deeper.

 

Then successively, let’s compare Vibration Indices. Fig.10 shows the comparison graph of Vibration Indices.

Fortino F and P 10 Graph C
Fig.10 Comparison by Vibration Indices

Vibration Indices are concerned with feeling. Vp indicates primary feeling which is transferred to player’s palm. And, Vl is the feeling at the wing of a blade. It is felt by player’s index finger or middle finger.

Again, the graph of ‘Fortino Pro’ looks different from those of ‘Fortino Force’ and ‘Fortino Performance’. Differently from ‘Fortino Pro’ whose Vp is extremely higher than its Vl, the Vp’s of ‘Fortino Force’ and ‘Fortino Performance’ are lower than Vl’s of those two. The primary feeling of ‘Fortino Pro’ is much harder than that of ‘Fortino Force’ or ‘Fortino Performance’. On the contrary, the edge feeling (= the feeling that is transferred to player’s index finger) of ‘Fortino Pro’ is softer than that of ‘Fortino Force’ or ‘Fortino Performance’.

The Vp and Vl of ‘Fortino Force’ are 1.28 and 1.38 respectively. Those values are close to the Vp and Vl of ‘InnerForce Layer ZLC’ (1.24 and 1.21). However, we can find the difference of the shape of graph. The Vp of ‘Fortino Performance’ is smaller than that of ‘InnerForce Layer ZLC’, while the Vl of ‘Fortino Performance’ is bigger than that of ‘InnerForce Layer ZLC’. Although the difference in values isn’t significant, sensitive players will feel that those two blades are definitely different from each other.

The Vp and Vl of ‘Fortino Performance’ are 1.19 and 1.27 respectively. Those values are close to the Vp and Vl of ‘InnerForce Layer ALC’ (1.15 and 1.23). Although the values of ‘InnerForce Layer ALC’ are a bit smaller than those of ‘Fortino Performance’, the difference is not significant. And the shape of graph of ‘Fortino Performance’ is very similar to that of ‘InnerForce Layer ALC’.

‘Hurricane Long 5’ and ‘Centric Carbon’ are very close to each other in feeling. Both of those are one step softer in primary feeling than ‘Fortino Performance’ and ‘InnerForce Layer ALC’. However, in edge feeling that is represented by Vl, those two are not much different from ‘Fortino Performance’ and ‘InnerForce Layer ALC’.

 

Examining Vl/Vp is easier way for the comparison of the tendency of feeling. Fig.11 shows the relationship between Vl/Vp and Vp for easier comparison.

Fortino F and P 11 Graph D
Fig.11 Vl/Vp vs. Vp

On the graph of Vl/Vp, ‘Fortino Force’ and ‘Fortino Performance’ are placed in ‘Relatively sharp at finger’ range (Vl/Vp > 1.0) while ‘Fortino Pro’ is placed in ‘Relatively more comfortable at finger’ range (Vl/Vp < 1.0). It is very difficult to find the blade that is similar with ‘Fortino Pro’. Some very unique blades such as Butterfly ‘Amultart’ shows similar characteristics with ‘Fortino Pro’. On the contrary, ‘Fortino Force’ and ‘Fortino Performance’ are not that unique as far as we just observe performance indices. Those two can be easily grouped with existing blades.

‘Fortino Force’ and ‘Fortino Performance’ can be also regarded as ‘Near Uniform’ blades because Vl/Vp’s of those two are between 0.9 and 1.1. In that case, we can consider that Vl/Vp is ‘close to’ 1.0, and it is interpreted as ‘near uniform’. ‘InnerForce Layer ZLC’ and ‘InnerForce Layer ALC’ are also in ‘Near Uniform’ range. But, ‘InnerForce Layer ZLC’ is somewhat different from ‘Fortino Force’, while ‘InnerForce Layer ALC’ is very close to ‘Fortino Performance’ on the graph.

We can also notice that ‘Hurricane Long 5’ and ‘Centric Carbon’ are close to each other on the graph. It means that ‘Centric Carbon’ gives at least similar feeling as ‘Hurricane Long 5’ although there is difference of elasticity. ‘Hurricane Long 5’ and ‘Centric Carbon’ are noticeably softer than ‘Fortino Performance’ and ‘InnerForce Layer ALC’, and gives even sharper feeling than ‘Fortino’ or ‘InnerForce’ blades. We will be able to consider those two blades as extra group.

From the graph of Vl/Vp, we could observe again that ‘Fortino’ series except for ‘Fortino Pro’ can be compared with ‘InnerForce Layer’ series.

 

Fortino F and P 12

 


4. Summary & Conclusion

  • ‘Fortino Force’ and ‘Fortino Performance’ share the new ‘Dyneema Carbon’ with ‘Fortino Pro’. However, the actual character of those two blades is completely different from that of ‘Fortino Pro’. Differently from ‘Fortino Pro’ which is extremely unique blade, ‘Fortino Force’ and ‘Fortino Performance’ provide very familiar characteristics to us. Also, ‘Fortino Force’ and ‘Fortino Performance’ can be compared with ‘InnerForce Layer ZLC’ and ‘InnerForce Layer ALC’ respectively.
  • ‘Fortino Force’ is very close to ‘InnerForce Layer ZLC’ in elasticity. Both of ‘Fortino Force’ and ‘InnerForce Layer ZLC’ are similarly faster than ‘InnerForce Layer ALC’, and hold the ball in same level of deepness when player hits the ball very strongly. However, ‘Fortino Force’ is somewhat different from ‘InnerForce Layer ZLC’ in feeling. ‘Fortino Force’ is a bit harder than ‘InnerForce Layer ZLC’ in primary feeling, and gives noticeably sharper feeling at the edge of blade which is touched by player’s index finger.
  • ‘Fortino Performance’ is a bit faster than ‘InnerForce Layer ALC’. Sensitive players will be able to feel the difference of elasticity. But, it holds ball in same level of deepness as ‘InnerForce Layer ALC’ when player hits the ball very strongly. Also, ‘Fortino Performance’ is a bit harder than ‘InnerForce Layer ALC’ in primary feeling.  However, it provides the same level of relative sharpness at index finger as ‘InnerForce Layer ALC’. Although ‘Fortino Performance’ is a bit harder and faster than ‘InnerForce Layer ALC’, those two blades can be considered as ‘similar’ blades, as far as we just observe performance indices.

 

In fact, there is another very important difference between ‘Fortino’ series and ‘InnerForce Layer’ series. That is the difference in thickness. The thickness of ‘Fortino Force/Performance’ is about 6.3mm, and the thickness of ‘InnerForce Layer ZLC/ALC’ is about 5.8mm. The difference of 0.5mm is big difference, and it can make players feel ‘Fortino’ and ‘InnerForce Layer’ different. However, if we can ignore the influence of thickness on our personal feeling, we may be able to change between ‘Fortino Force/Performance’ and ‘InnerForce Layer ZLC/ALC’ very smoothly because of the similarity in mechanical characteristics.

 

Fortino F and P 13

Fortino F and P 14

 

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