With the review of the Tibhar Evolution FX-D, I can once again say that I have reviewed all of the Tibhar Evolution rubbers. Together with the Tibhar Evolution EL-D, which was reviewed at the same time, I count ten rubber versions within the series.
Whether Tibhar will still expand its Evolutions, I dare to doubt, at least from today’s perspective. Except for a few minor improvements, there are no more expansion options that really make sense. Furthermore, they shouldn’t compete with other Evolution rubbers.
It will be much more interesting to see if the other “Pro Player Version” rubber series called Tibhar Infinity will be launched on the market in the near future. After all, two versions are already included on the ITTF approval list LARC: The Tibhar Infinity MX-P and the Tibhar Infinity MX-S.
It will be interesting to see if I am right.
A rare species: medium rubbers
In general, there seems to be very little choice in rubbers of the medium range (44-45° EUR). Very frequently, rubber series with hard (50°), medium-hard (47.5°) or medium-soft (42.5°) versions offer a broad selection for table tennis players. Only medium lovers are many times left empty-handed.
And if there is a medium rubber, it often has high catapult characteristics. I think of the andro Rasanter R45 or andro Hexer Grip, but also of the Tibhar Aurus Select.
I personally consider this a great pity, but I can understand the context. Looking at the different player types, experienced attackers get along well with harder rubbers. On the other hand, those who have difficulties with their technique or simply want to disguise a weaker backhand side don’t perform badly with softer rubbers.
Furthermore, a softer medium rubber fits into the comfort zone of many passive players, but still offers good attacking qualities.
However, I think that medium rubbers with good performance and a moderate ball impact are overlooked too much by the brands. I personally am enthusiastic about the Xiom Omega V Euro and recommend this rubber on a regular basis. A Nittaku Fastarc C-1, Tibhar Evolution EL-S, Donic Bluefire M2 or Xiom Vega Japan are among the most popular table tennis rubbers.
Labeled Medium – But Soft Inside
When I take a look at the product description and the perceived hardness of the Tibhar Evolution FX-D, it seems obvious that it is a rather soft medium rubber. The total hardness of the rubber should correspond to 43.0-45.0° EUR.
Therefore, a comparison to the faster medium-soft rubbers should not be forgotten. Especially modern rubbers like the Tibhar Evolution FX-S, andro Hexer Powergrip SFX or Donic Bluestorm Z3 come to mind. In the process of the review, I’ll see which other alternatives to the FX-D come to mind.
Expectations on the FX-D
Based on the experience with the EL-D and the described characteristics on the part of Tibhar, I expect a rubber that will offer me plenty of catapult and support. It will also be interesting to see how soft the combination of the rather flexible Evolution D top sheet with a medium sponge will feel.
Another interesting question to me is whether the Tibhar Evolution FX-D can be an upgrade to the FX-P. Because I considered the concept of soft sponge with powerful top sheet already exciting at that time, but I always wondered if there might be a better balancing between top sheet and sponge.
I will clarify the following questions, as well as others, during the review of the FX-D: What are the strengths of the FX-D? What about weaknesses? Where does the Tibhar rubber rank in the jungle of table tennis rubbers? Are there good alternatives or for which rubbers is the FX-D a good replacement? Which type of player should take a closer look at the rubber?
Technical characteristics of the Tibhar Evolution FX-D
As quite with its harder variants, the Tibhar Evolution FX-D uses a relatively elastic top sheet. At first glance, a grippy top sheet can be found. It is slightly matt, with still visibly shining through pimples.
The pimples are comparatively wide, but not short. Moreover, they are close to each other.
The sponge hardness of the rubber is within the medium range. Due to the medium-sized pores, however, it can be squeezed quite easily.
During the compression testing, this combination proves to be very elastic. A real hardness can only be determined at maximum compression. Especially in the first third, it feels more like a soft rubber.
I was somewhat surprised by the high weight of the rubber. I would have expected 1-2 g less. With packaging, my tested rubber (red 2.1-2.2 mm) weighs 109.39 g. So there is not much less weight than with the EL-D.
The uncut rubber comes to 70.51 g. Cut on the main testing blade (Tibhar Offensive Premium), 46.21 g remain on the racket.
Playing characteristics of the Tibhar Evolution FX-D
With the initial strokes, it is obvious that the feel with the Tibhar Evolution FX-D tends in a very soft direction. Counter strokes are played comfortably and accompanied by a rich sound.
The rubber seems very smooth, although the basic pace is not that low. I was able to determine a high level of support with every stroke. Overall, I would place the FX-D within the mid-range as far as general speed is concerned.
The rubber also accelerates the balls well, but just within the bounds of the soft feel. The strong owned catapult predominates the good, but not overarching dynamics of the rubber.
Topspin game & offensive action
You can play very safe and medium fast when playing topspin. Especially the slow topspins performed well. In all offensive strokes, control and support are not lacking.
At a faster pace, especially on final strokes, the Tibhar Evolution FX-D has obvious limitations. You can accelerate the ball well at first, but it lacks hardness and power to force direct points.
Instead, the FX-D offers a very variable game. Although the rubber doesn’t necessarily have the best precision, I was able to outplay my opponents well. The high safety in offensive actions and the strong, but not exaggerated, dynamic of the rubber make every stroke look very easy.
Counter topspin, half distance & rotation
In open play you can compete very well. Counter topspins are quite reliable, but noticeably harmless. From half distance, the Tibhar Evolution FX-D looks very comfortable. There is just enough speed to control the rallies and to set own accents.
The spin performance in general is good. With slower strokes, clearly more rotation can be brought into play. During the faster play, the arcs seem rather flat and harmless.
Preparing your own attacking strokes suits the FX-D, whereas finishing with a faster stroke side makes more sense. Emergency strokes succeed outstandingly well. The mixture of high catapult, appropriate dynamics and pleasant feel even cover up incorrect positioning to the ball, which is something I’m only used to from soft rubbers.
Service & return
When it comes to serving, the Tibhar Evolution FX-D can produce a good amount of spin. More important than a dangerous serve, however, is the good feel for the ball. With it, I was able to produce very accurate and reliable serves.
On short-short, I could establish a good touch, allowing me to place the ball behind the net without any problems. What I missed was the extra spin on such strokes. In addition, the returns turned out to be a bit too high sometimes.
When returning the serve, the FX-D impressed with its outstanding feel and hardly spin-sensitive playability. I was able to return even difficult serves from the opponent at a high rate.
The placement proved to be more difficult. I managed to produce reasonable returns, but not always as I wanted. The rubber is sometimes just too soft and flexible. A more direct touch wouldn’t hurt, especially in connection with a lot of wrist movement.
On active returns, I was able to flip almost every ball. The flips weren’t particularly dangerous, but they broke the rhythm of my opponents. And when I did play a backspin, they didn’t know what it was anymore 😉
The banana flip works very easily and possesses a nice curve. Openings above the table also work. But I had to get off the demand to make direct points with it.
The biggest strength with the Tibhar Evolution FX-D can be found in the blocking game. Due to the mixture of dynamic and catapult characteristics, any kind of block is applied safely and accurately. It is also possible to pressure the opponent.
For active blocks, the ball can be kept quite flat. The length is sufficient to keep opponents busy. Personally, I would wish for more direct feedback on the ball, but if it works, you can’t complain.
Passive blocks allow all topspins to rebound well. Even late blocks don’t get too high. Only the speed on the late blocks is too low to force the opponent into defense. Errors are provoked mainly during long rallies.
Shooting & high defence
The Tibhar Evolution FX-D feels very comfortable in the shooting game. The rubber is just fast enough to keep the opponent at a distance. Without the welcome assistance of the opponent, however, the rallies cannot be completed.
From the high defence, there is a lot of fun to be had. I was able to operate so confidently that long rallies were inevitable. Unfortunately, height and length are not too dangerous for the opponents, so they had fun chasing me around the court.
Counter-attacks are more possible over two or three steps, by moving further towards the table. The FX-D simply lacks the power for sudden changes of pace.
Alternatives to the Tibhar Evolution FX-D
There is no lack of alternatives to the Tibhar Evolution FX-D. Not only do I encounter a few candidates with medium rubbers, but I also have to consider quite a few among the medium-soft rubbers.
Depending on which playing characteristics are important, either the elastic top sheet or the dynamic medium sponge stands at the centre of attention. Furthermore, there are some Evolutions among the series that I consider as alternatives under certain conditions.
Tibhar Evolution FX-S & FX-P
I’ll just start with the other flexible Evolutions. The overall feel of the FX-D is even softer than with the FX-S during slow strokes. Especially passive return strokes are easier to handle. The spin-sensitivity of the Tibhar Evolution FX-S is significantly higher.
The catapult is not as effective. Apart from the fast offensive play, I would assign the FX-D more stroke support and control. However, in the attacking game, more security can be brought into play with the FX-S via the stable ball trajectory and the lower closing speed.
The FX-S builds up its dynamics later and appears more poisonous during spin play. They are simply completely different rubber concepts, but they are tangent to each other in certain areas. I can imagine switching from FX-D to FX-S and vice versa, as the demands are similar overall.
The question is whether I would rather play a faster rubber with more support, which is also very variable from half-distance. Or would I rather play a slower, more spinny rubber, which seems a bit more dangerous, but which shows off more through your own arm movement, without requiring much more physical effort.
It simply depends on the player type.
I prefer the Tibhar Evolution FX-P as an alternative rubber. What has always bothered me about this rubber is the fact that it can be played fast, despite the low hardness, but is ultimately too soft to make use of the implied power.
A bit more hardness, speed and a smoother feel would be desirable in my opinion. And that is exactly what the FX-D offers compared to its softer counterpart. The top sheet is a bit more flexible, but this is easily compensated for by more dynamics with the harder sponge.
Both rubbers do not have a high arc, but can be played with a high performance in certain playing situations. In addition, the FX-D is simply more consistent and can create a more pleasant feel with its mixture of catapult and feeling for the ball.
So if you like the FX-P but consider it too soft and unbalanced in some playing situations, you can take a closer look at its flexible-dynamic brother.
Tibhar Evolution EL-D
A good comparison can be done with the harder Evolution version Tibhar Evolution EL-D. The differences between FX-D and EL-D are not as great as between Tibhar Evolution MX-D and EL-D, but still clearly noticeable. This is primarily due to the more similar sponge hardness and the influence of a softer top sheet with softer sponges.
In combination with a medium sponge, the rubber concept seems quite flexible. I already had the feeling with the EL-D in some playing situations that a harder sponge could not do any harm.
What gets almost completely lost with the FX-D is the dominating dynamic of the harder rubber versions. This means that I receive a lot of control, feeling and a rich sound, but above all less dangerousness. While the EL-D was still able to set the tone within its limits, with the flexible version it is more of a friendly playing along.
What I like is that dynamics no longer set in too early. In passive play, this made a big difference.
Overall, I think the Tibhar Evolution EL-D is the better rubber, no question. On the other hand, the Tibhar Evolution FX-D is much more useful for players who want to feel a high level of support from a good inherent catapult and who also want to somehow play along with the fast game.
andro Rasanter R45 & Rasanter-Evolution Evaluation
Compared to the andro Rasanter R45, there is a softer feel. In general, the FX-D seems more controlled and smooth. The softer touch and the less spin-sensitive feel provide reliability from all angles.
The R45, on the other hand, is more powerful and much faster to play within its limits. In addition, I experience the ball trajectory as higher and spin-stronger, especially on slow openings.
With both rubbers you can play safely from half distance, but the R45 delivers more power.
As a softer alternative, the FX-D comes in slightly below the R45.
You can generally consider the new D-Evolution as a more flexible and variable alternative to the newer Rasanter rubbers. An MX-D offers more spin dynamics & consistency compared to the faster Rasanter R53. The EL-D is softer and more spin dynamic than the Rasanter R48. And the FX-D qualifies as a more controlled alternative to the Rasanter R45.
andro Hexer Grip
What I think is very interesting are the parallels and differences to the andro Hexer Grip. First of all, both rubbers have this very soft and catapult-like ball impact in common. Therefore, I personally see a similar control with both rubbers.
The difference is that the Hexer Grip is not quite as spin insensitive. On the other hand, a more beautiful arc can be produced. The faster and more intensive you play, the more differences between the rubbers become apparent.
While the andro Hexer Grip loses control during offensive open play and the rubber seems less consistent due to its catapult characteristics, the FX-D offers a smoother feel.
The RG seems to have its strengths at the table, although it can also be played variably at half-distance. With the FX-D, on the other hand, you can build on a lot of safety during long rallies at the table and from half-distance.
Tibhar Aurus Select
Another comparison rubber is the Tibhar Aurus Select. Both rubbers play softer and more flexible than most medium rubbers. The Select, however, does not have the same dynamics, but offers more security in the spin game.
Especially when opening at the table, the Tibhar rubber contributes more rotation and danger to the game. Passively, both rubbers forgive a large portion of mistakes.
The catapult of the FX-D is a bit more prominent. This makes it possible to build on a bit more support during strokes. Both comparison rubbers are perfectly suited for a typical backhand play and are rather faster alternatives to the softer medium-soft rubbers.
More of an alternative for medium-soft rubbers
As quite pointed out above when comparing to the Evolutions FX-S and FX-P, a Tibhar Evolution FX-D compares quite well to medium-soft rubbers. The rubber simply lacks the overall hardness to compete with high-performance medium rubbers, such as Xiom Omega V Euro, Tibhar Evolution EL-S, Nittaku Fastarc C-1, Donic Bluefire M2 or Xiom Vega Japan.
In contrast, the rubber offers more potential than a Tibhar Evolution FX-P, andro Hexer Powergrip SFX or Donic Bluestorm Z3 in terms of offensive characteristics. But without to really dominate.
Ideal blade-rubber combinations for the Tibhar Evolution FX-D
I experienced the best blade-rubber combination with an inner layer carbon blade (Xiom An JaeHyun TMXi). With this combination, I was able to compensate the weaknesses in terms of power and break through abilities, but also ball trajectory and spin development, without losing the touch for the ball.
On the other hand, the combination with all-wooden blades (Tibhar Offensive Premium, Butterfly Primorac) was rather counterproductive. I simply could not hit any dangerous final strokes. It was fun to play with such a combination, especially because of the good sound, but in the end I want to score effectively.
When playing with an outer layer carbon blade (Butterfly Viscaria), I couldn’t cope at all. The rubber simply lacks ball trajectory or hardness to carry the balls ideally. Only playing from half distance was excellent. But that’s simply because of the Viscaria, which I always consider as good there.
Conclusion on the Tibhar Evolution FX-D
On the whole, I had a positive impression with the Tibhar Evolution FX-D. Especially the support on slow strokes and the balanced dynamic development pleased me quite a bit.
The great strength of the rubber resides in the passive play, especially in blocking. With little spin-sensitivity, all controlled strokes can be hit well. In addition, it is possible to play well in the open game and from half-distance.
However, the rubber is not as powerful as some other medium rubbers and offers mainly medium-soft players an alternative. The comparison to medium rubbers with soft ball impact is equally good.
As a good upgrade to a Tibhar Evolution FX-P, the FX-D offers a smoother feel, more predictable play and ultimately a great playing enjoyment.
I see the rubber primarily with players who rather operate sensitively and want to avoid mistakes, but also want to have the potential to play faster at times. Especially variable power allrounders or former soft tensor players can be happy with the Tibhar Evolution FX-D.
It simply depends on the right blade-rubber combination, where I consider inner-layer carbon blades to be the right choice. And there is a wide range of choice within the moderate offensive spectrum, which means that a skilful allround offensive play, which the FX-D supports best, can be implemented well.