The Tibhar Evolution rubber series has been constantly expanded over the years. Now I would like to take a closer look at the Tibhar Evolution EL-D. It was released during the summer of 2022 together with the Tibhar Evolution FX-D.
As a softer rubber version of the Tibhar Evolution MX-D, the expectations are certainly high. Among all the table tennis rubbers I have tested to date, the MX-D was able to achieve my highest awarded rating. I have called the best Tibhar rubber the most complete table tennis rubber on the market.
My experience with Tibhar Evolution rubbers
When I check out which table tennis rubbers are played most often, I can’t get past the Evolution rubbers. In fact, when I saw the Tibhar Evolution MX-P, EL-P and FX-P rubbers on the LARC list, the approval list for TT rubbers, they weren’t available.
Developed especially for professional players, at least according to the legend that Tibhar created around the Evolutions, access to today’s popular rubbers was made possible only at a later time.
MX-P, EL-P & FX-P
As soon as I held a Tibhar Evolution rubber in my hand for the first time, I was so filled with excitement. I couldn’t await the launch in Europe and ordered the rubbers in Asia.
Unfortunately, the delight was followed by a great disappointment. As cool as the MX-P is, including its excellent offensive characteristics, for me, however, the rubber is not suitable. The entire P-series of the Evolutions does not appeal to me as a versatile topspin player.
Accordingly, I could understand the hype about the Evolutions, after all, perfect strokes work almost too often during practice or while testing it. But for me and my playing style, just these Evolution rubbers are not suitable at all.
MX-S, EL-S & FX-S (MX-P50)
What do you think, how happy I was about the Tibhar Evolution MX-S. A rubber that is trimmed for spin and that scores in the topspin play should be interesting to me, right? Unfortunately, I was disillusioned again, because I simply don’t produce the amount of arm movement and body effort that would be necessary to use the rubber to its full potential.
But the Tibhar Evolution EL-S and FX-S are the answer to my prayers to change to a Tibhar Evolution rubber permanently? Of course, in the end, the EL-S was too soft for me and too catapult-like when it came to blocking. The FX-S was clearly too soft on my blade at the time, an old Japan Primo.
At this point I’d also like to mention the comparatively lifeless MX-P50, but I guess that’s reserved for rubber tuners, i.e. not me.
MX-D & FX-D
After that we got the Tibhar Evolution MX-D, which I reviewed pretty intensively. I consider it to be the best attacking rubber on the market. A switch to the MX-D failed because of its heavy weight. I simply have a comfort zone when it comes to the overall weight of the racquet, as well as the head weight. With one or even two MX-D, it’s just too much…
I don’t intend to say much about the Tibhar Evolution FX-D at this point, since a dedicated review will follow. I also have a lot to say about it in the alternatives section of this review, below. To keep it short, I personally consider the rubber as too soft and too catapulting.
Expectations regarding the EL-D
Influenced by my experience with the MX-D, I’m eager to see the effect of the high dynamics in combination with a softer sponge. After all, Tibhar is not just lowering the hardness of the sponge by one step with the EL-D, which would result in a sponge hardness of around 50°. Rather, according to Tibhar, the rubber will have a perceived hardness of 45.0-47.0°.
Why Tibhar doesn’t simply specify the sponge hardnesses for the Evolutions and doesn’t leave the interpretation of the overall perceived hardness to us players is something everyone can ask themselves.
In my review, I will try to answer the following questions about the Tibhar Evolution EL-D: What are the strengths of the rubber? Are there any weaknesses? What alternatives are there? Does the EL-D come close to the performance level of MX-D, MX-S and MX-P? How does it compare to the other mid-range Evolutions EL-S and EL-P? And can the EL-D be a rubber that suits spin players like me?
Technical characteristics of the Tibhar Evolution EL-D
After examining the top sheet, I would guess that all D-Evolutions were equipped with the same top sheet. It is very grippy, slightly matt, but with still visible, translucent pimples.
The pimples themselves are put quite close together, are comparatively wide, but not necessarily constructed to be short. Overall, the top sheet seems relatively elastic and flexible.
The sponge of the EL-D has been equipped with medium pores. In addition, the sponge is very easy to squeeze at first. Very late, the actual hardness comes through. I would guess a 47.5° (EUR) sponge is used, but that’s just my feeling.
Just by the flexible top sheet and the described characteristics of the sponge I suspect a rather softer feeling during gameplay.
In terms of weight, the Tibhar Evolution EL-D is within the expected parameters. With packaging, my reviewed rubber (red max.) weighed 110.71g. The uncut rubber weighs 72.11g. Cut on my blade for the review (Tibhar Offensive Premium), 47.36g remain on the racket.
Playing characteristics of the Tibhar Evolution EL-D
When countering, a decent catapult is immediately noticeable. The Tibhar Evolution EL-D seems to be very lively and possesses a responsive ball impact. With the help of the noticeable dynamics, increases in pace can be easily implemented.
Overall, I had a good feeling with the rubber. However, I have to say that the rubber is still quite demanding to be played with. The overall pace is relatively high. The soft feel during controlled strokes should not hide the noticeable increase in power during faster play.
Topspin & final strokes
During topspin play, the Tibhar Evolution EL-D offers a good mixture of high speed, very good spin development and a high degree of dynamics. Good assistance can be expected at slower topspins as answers to the opponents’ backspins.
However, the ball trajectory is rather on a medium level. The rotation level is in the upper segment, but noticeably below the spin-strong Evolutions like MX-S, MX-D or EL-S. I sometimes had the feeling of obtaining more rotation in my strokes due to the clear feedback with fast topspins than actually reaches the opponent.
This “imposter” became even more apparent on final strokes. I sometimes felt I was hitting the ball with an enormous amount of power, but ended up with less direct points than I had expected.
My guess is that the Tibhar Evolution EL-D is just a notch too soft. But due to the early and strong initiating dynamics, it provides you with the feeling of a spinnier, faster stroke. Ultimately, however, the dynamics of the rubber have obvious limitations at the highest peaks.
Half distance & counter topspin
From half-distance, the EL-D feels very comfortable. You can play fast topspins with a nice sound from all positions. A great strength is the feel on counter loops. Quite intuitive and powerful, long rallies can be performed without any problems.
I think the medium ball trajectory is perfect for a mix of fast and slow topspins, with the Tibhar Evolution EL-D showing a slight tendency towards a tempo-dynamic playing style. Due to the soft setup, I sometimes lack the last oomph or precision on my strokes.
Dynamics & emergency strokes
Despite the early and strong initiation of dynamics, I can’t complain about consistency. All attacking strokes can be played comprehensibly once you get used to the characteristics of the rubber.
Interestingly, I don’t really manage emergency strokes well, although there is a good portion of catapult as support. In addition, the EL-D is not really spin-sensitive. I simply don’t like the strong dynamics of the rubber in such situations.
Service & return
Very easily and without much adjustment, I can deliver my decent serves with the Tibhar Evolution EL-D. Although there are more spinny rubbers for serving, the rotation level is sufficient to cause some mistakes from the opponent. Basically, serves with the EL-D helped more for set-up than for direct points.
At short-short, I had real problems. Either I pushed the returns into the net or they ended up too high or too long. I couldn’t figure out a reasonable solution with my technique over the entire duration of the review.
Attached to a Butterfly Viscaria it worked better, but still not satisfying. The bottom line is that I couldn’t manage to find the right pressure level. That was quite frustrating. So my passive returns were limited to long, flat backspins. When my opponents adjusted to that, the only option left was to play offense unconditionally.
Active returns were correspondingly no problem with the Tibhar Evolution EL-D. I was able to both flip very directly and produce a pretty spin curve with my banana flip. The mixture of spin, speed and dynamics made direct openings over the table look easy. Only the last portion of threat was missing, so that my fast attacks always resulted in longer rallies.
Block, Counter & Shot
When actively blocking with the Tibhar Evolution EL-D, I could achieve a very good length. As a result, my opponents remained under pressure permanently. Especially blocks down the line resulted in a lot of direct points.
Even more active counter strokes gained a lot of dynamics. Although the direct ball impact is somewhat lacking, the precision did not suffer. Especially slow topspins can be contested rapidly and allow the player to take the initiative himself.
The rubber provides good feedback for passive blocks. In addition, not much spin is adopted. Instead, the ball is catapulted forward as if on autopilot. Accordingly, the rubber forgives some mistakes. However, there are rubbers that are easier to play with even more support.
In the shooting game, a good amount of pressure could be brought onto the table. The Tibhar Evolution EL-D is fast enough to keep the opponents on their toes. There is an excellent feel from the high defense. The length and height can be controlled easily and comprehensibly.
Counter attacks are easy to play, but lack the final power or rotation.
Alternatives to the Tibhar Evolution EL-D
The alternatives to the Tibhar Evolution EL-D are numerous. Besides the comparison within the Evolution rubber series, I will mention some other table tennis rubbers, which come along with similar characteristics. In addition, some alternatives bring other strengths into the spotlight.
Tibhar Evolution MX-D & FX-D
First, I would like to compare the Tibhar Evolution EL-D among the dynamic Evolutions. Anyone coming from a Tibhar Evolution MX-D will encounter an extremely softer feeling. What characterized the MX-D, specifically the hard sponge and the consequential power, precision and directness, are only present to a degree with the EL-D.
Rather, the strong dynamics are in the forefront, which was complemented by the MX-D’s hardness. You can experience a similar acceleration with both rubbers. However, the EL-D reaches its limits noticeably sooner.
In comparison, the MX-D is more sharp and dangerous. But if you need more feedback, you’ll definitely be happy with the softer rubber version. Unless, like me, you can’t cope with the early starting dynamics, which make particularly passive returns difficult.
Overall, the MX-D is clearly the better rubber in my opinion, as there is more power and directness. The dynamics can be controlled even more comprehensibly due to the hardness.
Compared to the other D-Evolution rubbers, the Tibhar Evolution FX-D appears as if the handbrake is pulled on. Topspins can be delivered very easily and there is always a comfortable, well-controlled feeling during passive play.
The catapult now kicks in very early, but dynamic development is severely limited. I could also passively just hold the ball without bouncing out too quickly. However, you should not soften the sponge even more by using this top sheet, because otherwise there will simply be a squishy feeling left.
The FX-D is extremely forgiving of mistakes, but is comparatively harmless in attacking play.
Tibhar Evolution MX-S & MX-P
According to the product description, Tibhar says that the Tibhar Evolution EL-D can keep up with the TOP rubbers Tibhar Evolution MX-S and Tibhar Evolution MX-P in terms of performance. I can only confirm that partially. To me, it seemed as if the rubber immediately drops off as soon as the highest peaks in terms of spin and speed are reached.
It simply lacks a nuance more hardness, more power or more spin to be able to confirm the statement from the brand. The rubber thus scratches at the performance level of the TOP Evolutions without really achieving it. At the same time, the rubber scores with its unique dynamics, allowing dedicated half-distance players to perform better with an EL-D than with an MX-S or MX-P.
However, if the goal is to find more rotation in the spin game, the MX-S is the first choice. If absolute power and dominance is needed, there is no way around the MX-P.
Apart from the aspect of performance, which I have clarified hereby, I would never recommend the EL-D as an alternative to an MX-S or MX-P player. There is simply too little in common. The EL-D is probably a softer, more controllable alternative to the MX-P.
Tibhar Evolution EL-S & EL-P
Not to be left out of my comparison are the other elastic versions, EL-S and EL-P. Both have a firmer top sheet. The Tibhar Evolution EL-S comes with a minimally softer sponge, combined with a spin-friendly, medium-hard top sheet. The Tibhar Evolution EL-P, on the other hand, has a significantly softer sponge combined with a hard, powerful top sheet.
A change from the EL-S is advisable when less spin-sensitivity and more dynamics from the half-distance are required. When it comes to pure spin, the EL-S is clearly more dangerous. Both rubbers develop a good portion of dynamics, which, however, kicks in later with the EL-S and does not come through so extremely on all strokes.
Compared to the EL-P, the strengths are clearly in the open game and from the half-distance. It can be played more offensively. At the same time, a more benevolent feel can be achieved with the EL-D. If you want to open very spinny and fast at the table and don’t mind the spin-sensitivity, you are better off with the EL-P.
andro Rasanter R48 & R45
The feel of the Tibhar Evolution EL-D falls exactly between the Rasanter R45 and R48 rubbers. I also see a lot of similarities in terms of playing characteristics, especially with the big strength, the dynamic development.
In comparison, the EL-D has a softer touch compared to the andro Rasanter R48. The basic characteristic of the EL-D is a bit more spindynamic and a bit less tempodynamic. In addition, the R48 has more power on the final stroke. The dynamics start similarly early.
The andro Rasanter R45 is accordingly softer, more catapulting and more forgiving. However, the soft touch is quite similar. Both rubbers lack final impact power. Both can be played extremely dynamically and fast up to a certain point.
Nittaku Fastarc P-1
The Nittaku Fastarc P-1 is a bit more moderate in comparison, but has similar strengths. The medium ball trajectory and a dynamic game from the half distance are well suited with both rubbers. The touch is slightly softer with the Tibhar Evolution EL-D.
In terms of final dynamics, I see the comparison rubbers on a par. With the P-1, however, the dynamics kick in later and there is a slightly more spindynamic feel.
Donic Bluestorm AM
An interesting alternative to the Tibhar Evolution EL-D can also be found in the Donic Bluestorm AM, which I recently reviewed. With the Bluestorm AM, the focus is more on the firmer top sheet, which leads to more spin. However, the dynamics come into play quite early with both rubbers.
With the EL-D, the game can be played a bit more versatile and the feeling comes across as a bit more comfortable.
GEWO Hype KR Pro 47.5
Also suitable for the dynamic half-distance game is the GEWO Hype KR Pro 47.5. The rubber provides a softer feel, due to a softer top sheet. With the Tibhar Evolution EL-D, the dynamics kick in earlier and stronger.
On final strokes, however, I see slightly more advantages with the Hype KR Pro 47.5. I can simply get more power out of it. The rubber serves as a connector to the spinnier, but also dynamic topspin rubbers like the Victas Ventus Extra or andro Hexer Powergrip. Compared to the EL-D, these rubbers are much more spin-heavy.
Ideal rubber-blade combinations for the Tibhar Evolution EL-D
Next, I would like to say a few words about the ideal rubber-blade combination with the Tibhar Evolution EL-D. At first, I had the rubber attached onto a Tibhar Offensive Premium. The rubber and the blade together offered me an excellent feeling.
It was very easy to strike topspins. The sound has not been lacking either. While I considered the feeling to be very good with this combination, the final stroke was missing the last bit of pressure. Also, this quite gets catapulty, despite being an offensive blade and rubber.
The EL-D is much better suited on a carbon blade. As always, I used one of my Butterfly Viscaria blades. The soft feel is somewhat compensated by the directness of the carbon blade. The dynamics and power of this rubber-blade combination is impressive.
However, I had difficulties with the ball trajectory. It is quite flat. Accordingly, too little rotation arrived for my taste.
I guess I just have to acknowledge that the rubber showed both extreme strengths and extreme weaknesses for my play style on my favorite blades or blade types.
Conclusion on the Tibhar Evolution EL-D
With the Tibhar Evolution EL-D, a very dynamic game, especially from the half-distance, can be brought up. Blocks and counter strokes as well as counter topspins and medium fast attacking variations are particularly successful.
Unfortunately, due to its softer feel, the rubber just misses out on TOP rubbers like the Tibhar Evolution MX-S or MX-P in terms of performance. Compared to the MX-D, the rubber is clearly softer and less dangerous.
I see weaknesses with the maximum spin and speed development, as well as with the very early and strong dynamics. The rubber is made for players who always need high support on all strokes, but still want to play at a high level.
In addition, the focus should be on topspin play from the half-distance or during dynamic follow up. The EL-D is not a killer rubber, but still fast and capable of high performance play.
I think the Tibhar Evolution EL-D is a reasonable addition among the rubber scenery. However, I would have liked to see a version that is closer to the MX-D, especially in terms of hardness. This would have been a real competitor to the other TOP Evolution rubbers.
That way, players who can’t handle the hardest rubbers will get their money’s worth and benefit from the mixture of smooth ball impact and high dynamics.