Butterfly Timo Boll ALC Review

The Butterfly Timo Boll ALC is the official blade of Timo Boll and was made especially for him and his style of play.

I used the Butterfly Timo Boll ALC for about a year with Tenergy 05 on both sides and the thing that stood out for me was the sheer quality of this blade. I already regard Butterfly products as high quality products and this blade is as high as it comes.

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This is one of my favourite carbon blades because of its outstanding looping ability combined with its speed. It is also widely regarded as one of the best selling blades in the world and with good reason.

Manufacturer’s Description

The Timo Boll ALC is the blade of choice for the European Triple Champion, Timo Boll. Timo working with Butterfly’s technicians, helped design his new blade which offers a touch more speed than his previous model but still allows for the production of the heavy topspin strokes Timo is known for.

Using his new blade along with Butterfly’s new Tenergy rubbers, Timo successfully defended all three of his Titles at the 2008 European Championships. Timo plays fair and wins and so can you. The Timo Boll ALC offers the maximum blend of speed, heavy spin, and Control.

Structure

The Butterfly Timo Boll ALC blade infuses lightweight Arylate Carbon onto a wooden blade with several high quality wooden layers.

The blade has 7 plies:

  • 2 outer layers of Koto
  • 2 layers of Arylate Carbon
  • 2 inner layers of Limba
  • Central layer of Kiri

The carbon layer is close to the surface of the blade which gives the Timo Boll ALC a large sweetspot and makes this an outer carbon construction blade. The outside koto layer gives this blade its crisp feeling when looping.

Thickness: 5.7mm

Head Dimensions: 157mm x 150mm

Weight – 85-90g

The Timo Boll ALC is on the medium-heavy side especially when loaded with 2 heavy Tenergy rubbers. I must admit although it is heavy it didn’t feel too bad when you were playing shots, it just felt solid. This could be down to a good blade balance.

Speed | OFF

Timo Boll ALC is a fast blade but it isn’t the fastest of the Timo Boll Series. It has that raw, core bouncy pace that you get with all carbon composite blades but there are certainly quicker blades. The magic of this blade is its speed combined with its looping performance. Comparing it to other blades – its faster than a Joola Fever and its faster than the Viscaria but its slower than a Timo Boll ZLC and a Tibhar VS Unlimited. It does not lack pace at all away from the table, the catapulty nature of the blade means it suits mid distance really well.

Control

For a carbon blade the Timo Boll ALC has a good amount of control but its a little bouncy. I found it very hard to keep those short shots tight, you need to have very good touch. The outer layer is Koto which is one of the harder woods for an outer ply and for touch shots, blocks and pushes (slow speed shots) it can be tricky. As the blade bites the ball really well it can be tricky to handle incoming spin and you have to compensate for the incoming spin well otherwise errors start to appear. This blade is meant for looping and when your looping everything is clicking but when you slow things down this blade can be hard to handle and requires a lot of touch and skill to tame.

Shots

Looping – When I think of looping blades this is the blade I think of. For me personally this is the best carbon looping blade I have used. At mid distance the boll ALC is in its element. It is so easy to loop with so much spin it feels effortless and the quality of the loop is breathtaking. I have never known a single blade to have this much influence over the spin and arc of the ball. Its truly something you have to try to believe. Epic looping blade, epic looping rallies.

Serve – Good feeling and dwell you can really produce some spin loaded serves however it can be a real challenge to keep them short.

Smash, Flat Hits & Blocks – Not the TB ALC’s best shots. This blade just wants to loop but it certainly packs a punch when it needs to. You need to be very accurate and have good touch to get the best out of these strokes.

Flick – Pretty nice, the harder Koto outer layer gives you a nice crisp contact so you can really feel the ball on the blade which gives you really good feedback but its harder than Limba so the ball doesnt sink in as much on slow strokes.

Touch

This blade doesn’t have the best touch if I’m honest. The shot that I struggled with most when playing with this blade was the touch short. Because the Arylate Carbon layer is so close to the surface of the blade the Timo Boll ALC just felt too bouncy at close range and I could never keep the ball low to net or short. You need a high level of skill to play a good touch shot with this blade and your technique has to be spot on!

Stiffness

This blade is quite flexible for an attacking carbon blade and i put this down to the following reasons:

1) The inner wood layers are quite soft (Limba)

2) The carbon layer (ALC) is quite flexible as carbon layers go – the Arylate Fibres in particular help with this

3) Fairly thin structure.

All of this makes the setup quite flexible and this certainly helps in the looping department.

I would rate the dwell time as medium to medium-high you really get the feeling of the blade holding onto the ball waiting for you to do the business and put something nasty on it. This adds to the feel.

Balance

The blades weighted towards the head of the blade. The blade is head heavy but with the progression of Butterflys ALC Series – Viscaria then Boll Spirit then Boll ALC the weight has been slowly shifting towards the handle which I believe gives it a better balance than the viscaria but still head heavy enough to be a lethal looping weapon.

Handle

The Timo Boll ALC has quite a square straight handle which some people prefer and some dont, I personally quite like the squarish handle as it adds to the grip. The older flared handles were also very nice and comfy but again this recent momentum shift to smaller flared handles has started to occur and the flared handle you get now is smaller and more uncomfortable than it once was. Its still ok but nothing to write home about.

Feel

Butterfly Timo Boll ALC gives you quite a bit of feedback when you are playing your shots it gives quite a bit of vibration but in a good way. Butterfly’s ALC has a unique feel to it and I personally love it. The contact feels very crisp and crunchy like the blade has really got hold of the ball and the feedback for a well hit loop is delightful. It’s a nice feeling to have in a blade. The feedback lets you know how clean your shot was, how much contact you got with the ball and the type of contact. Its constantly telling you how you hit the shot and giving you subtle indicators on how to play it next time. Maybe im reading too much into it but all I can tell you is this blade has a very special feeling.

Arc

one word – fierce. As I said earlier I have never known a blade to be able to have such an impact on the arc produced as Butterfly Timo Boll ALC. The Arc is high and gives wonderful margin for error.

Playing Style

Loopers line up! This is a loopers dream of a blade, its produces a high arc and suits players than rely on a heavy spin game. If you play very aggressively early off the bounce really close to the table you might struggle to get this to work as its hard to get the ball up and over the net quickly with this blade as it has a high throw. However If you are a 2 winged looper from mid-distance you need to try this blade – its phenomenal and you wont regret it. This blade will add an extra dimension of spin to your game and driving and counter shots are not bad either.

Quality

This blade is super high quality. There is a reason why this is one of the best selling blades in the world even with it being so expensive. The quality is just unrivaled, near perfection and you can feel this in the game. The consistency of the shots are magnificent you can play the same shot twice and it will go exactly where you expect. A true masterpiece.

Price/Performance

Sadly this looping performance comes at a cost – Butterfly prices. Yes this blade is expensive but with Butterfly prices you get Butterfly quality. With rubbers its a little harder to see but Butterfly blades are just made so well, it feels like each blade was precision engineered. I would say this blade is well worth the money, but is it value for money – Nooo…

Overall

This blade is brilliant and personally one of the best carbon blades I have used to date. Its feel, quality and looping ability are soo good and to combine that with its pure carbon speed is a winner in my eyes. Its truly unique quality (and in my eyes the bast part about this blade) is the way that the blade influences the spin and arc of the ball. I have used Tenergy 05 on several blades but on this blade the ball just spins and dips so much more and the arc it can produce is outstanding. All of these combining factors make this blade a true weapon that can turn loops into works of art. One of the best in the world.

Have your say and leave your review on the Butterfly Timo Boll ALC below!

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