Joola Fever Review

The Joola Fever is a offensive blade using 2 layers of Meliorate carbon in an 5 + 2 outer carbon construction. Meliorate Carbon is Joola’s version of Arylite Carbon found in the popular Butterfly range of blades – Timo Boll ALC, Viscaria etc…

At first I was sceptical because the Joola Fever seems to be the only blade using this particular composite material (Meliorate Carbon) and I have had bad experiences from Joola’s crystal carbon structure which was used in other Joola blades like the Joola wing passion extreme. However after speaking to various players using Joola fever who got on well with it and the fact that it’s said to be a cheaper version of the Timo Boll Spirit, I decided to give it ago.

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After using this blade for over a year as my primary blade back in 2014 and dabbling with it recently. I can say that this blade is a brilliant all round attacking blade. The sweetspot on this blade is huge, bigger than the Timo Boll Spirit & Timo Boll ALC . The best way I can describe this The Joola fever is that it feels like a harder, slower, Timo Boll Spirit with a larger sweetspot but with less arc. The control in attacking rallies with this blade is great, you can place the ball really accurately. This blade is ideal for someone who finds the Timo Boll ALC a bit too quick and uncontrollable but wants to loop and attack in a similar way. A fast carbon blade with maximum control, good feeling and a large sweetspot.

Manufacturer’s Description

* first JOOLA blade with Meliorate Carbon

A 7 ply build blade featuring 2 plys of meliorate carbon which gives not only an extra large sweet spot but also perfect balance. The limba, ayous and kiri wood veneers allow you to feel the ball when playing all varieties of shots, and combined with the meliorate carbon permits extreme precise strokes and gives excellent ball feeling. Designed for a driving spin game where you need confidence at all times. The blade weighs in at a traditional 85g.

Structure

The Joola Fever incorporates carbon meliorate onto a wooden blade with high quality wood layers.

The blade has 7 plies:

  • 2 outer layers of Limba
  • 2 layers of Carbon Meliorate
  • 2 inner layers of Ayous
  • Central layer of Kiri

Head Size: 155mm x 151mm 

Thickness: 5.9mm 

The carbon meliorate is a harder lightweight carbon variation of the popular Arylate carbon. The carbon layers are close to the surface of the blade giving it an extra large sweetspot. Despite this hard feeling the Limba wood on the outer layers gives this blade just a little bit of softness so it feels great when performing brush strokes like a slow loop or a chop. The limba allows the blade to really bite and spin the ball whilst the hard carbon and ayous layers provide the hardness and stability. It has a really good balance.

Weight | 80-85g

Joola fever is a pretty light blade for an attacking blade. Its well balanced and easy to swing. For me as a 2 winged looper I like my blades around the 88g area so 85g is a little under weight for me but not by much.

Balance – for a looping blade its weight distribution is closer to the handle which I personally found to help in the control side of the game but ultimately takes away from the looping side.

Speed | OFF-

I would rate this blade in the upper sections of OFF- which is a good area for looping blades to be in. The blade feels very linear – the more effort you put in the swing the faster the ball flies off the bat but it does sometimes lack a softness when playing touch shots close to the net. It’s definitely slower than all of the Classic Butterfly outer ALC blades (Viscaria, Timo Boll Spirit, Timo Boll ALC).

If I’m honest the reason why I moved away from this blade was that I found it a tad too slow for my style and didnt have enough flex. While I used this blade for a year and fell in love with the levels of control and consistency I always felt that I was lacking a bit of speed in my attacking shots.

So is this blade too slow? Absolutely not! Its all about what level of speed you are comfortable with. For me having come from the butterfly blades I mentioned, this blade was slower and whilst the Fever improved my consistency and control I started to miss the potency of my loops and the attacking shots I knew I could get with the Timo Boll ALC.

I feel the weight impacts the speed of this blade too. Joola Fever is a light for a looping blade (80-85g) and combine this with a slightly smaller head face than average then overall you get a lighter set-up. This reduces the speed as there is less weight behind the shots but will add control and recover speed. I believe this is the significant factor behind the Joola Fever being a notch slower than both the Timo Boll Spirit and the Timo Boll ALC despite the structure being similar.

Control

The control and consistency is the real beauty of this blade. Joola Fever is so controllable, you can place attacking shots so precisely and accurately. This is partly down to the huge sweetspot that carbon meliorate offers. The sweetspot does seem bigger than the Timo Boll Spirit and this gave me a bit more safety in my shots compared to the Spirit. This level of consistency is rare and a very desirable quality to know exactly how your blade is going to react. I haven’t played with many blades that offer this level of consistency and feel.

One thing that Joola Fever does seem to struggle with is the short play. Because the blade is fairly hard and rigid short touches and serves are a little bouncy and can become a little loose at the net and its very hard to keep them under control. This is one thing that the Timo Boll Spirit is better at because it’s softer but overall Joola Fever is more controllable and ultimately the biggest thing that changed in my game when using this blade was my consistency. I got alot more shots on the table, especially attacking shots.

Stiffness

The Fever has quite a hard and rigid feel especially on slow speed shots because of the hard carbon and hard Ayous layers next to the core. This does decrease dwell time which i would describe medium. It’s definitely got less dwell and flex than the Timo Boll Spirit or TB ALC but you do get a more precise feeling in your shots. Because the ball doesn’t dwell on the blade so much the arc is not as pronounced and the blade tends to give shots a flatter trajectory. This is down to the Fever being slightly thicker than the TB ALC and having harder carbon and inner layers. This does increase stiffness.

One thing that was definitely apparent was that it did not affect the spin generation too much i would put this down to the soft limba outer layer. If anything, it made the spin I was putting on more deceptive. Quite a few opponents commented that despite the low arc the ball was kicking alot more on the table than they thought it would and most people expected the spin to produce a more pronounced arc. So despite the low dwell time and arc spin generation was seemingly not affected too much and you can generate good spin with this blade. Brush shots are very nice, a particular highlight.

Handle

Now here is where I moan about Joola. The Joola Fever (and a lot of joola blades) had a lovely handle. The flared was thick and round and Joola produced some of the most comfortable handles iv played with. In 2017-2018 (like a lot of manufacturers are doing) they decided to try and cater for the chinese market and the handles became alot smaller and more elliptical. These new flared handles have become one of the most uncomfortable handles I have ever played with (for a guy with regular sized european hands) so when I picked up this blade again I had to get it in a straight handle which to be fair is not bad but im really annoyed Joola have made the flared handle so uncomfortable when it was so good. My advice would be to get the straight handle.

Sweetspot

Huge. One of the biggest sweetspots out of all the outer carbon blades I have tried. I would say bigger than Boll Spirit and Boll ALC.

Shot Selection

Looping: This is primarily a looping blade but I have been spoiled with the Timo Boll ALC which is probably one of the best looping blades ever made. The Fever excels at looping and driving – it is modelled after the Timo Boll Spirit after all. However there are better looping blades out there.

Driving: Fever’s best shot because you can be so precise and accurate. It is also quite deadly because of the flatter trajectory, drives are more penetrating.

Flat Hits: Suprisingly not the easiest shot to pull off, but its feels really good when you do

Blocking: In a word, easy. So easy to block you can absorb pace and put the ball where you like with maximum accuracy.

Countering: Very good at this particular shot because of the low dwell time. Shots are easy to perform and you can be very accurate.

Serving: Not bad. A little bouncy and you can’t as much spin as you would like. Again this is because of the low dwell time.

Touch: Not bad but not great either, a little bouncy and rigid when close to the net.

Flicks: very good. Good feedback, easy to get full contact and overall easy to perform with good penetration

Chop/Pushes: excellent. I can play really spinny chops till the cows come home with this blade, it’s so easy to control and place, and unexpected perk.

Brush shots: Really good, the soft limba outer combines with the stability of the carbon very nicely and you can really feel the blade bite into the ball.

Feel

The blade has a hard feel. I personally like harder feeling blades because it gives a slightly more predictable rebound. You can really feel your shots on the blade, everything that you hit feels really crisp and clean cut, even loops and chops its feels like you get full contact whatever the bat angle.

Quality

The quality of the blade is very good, normally I am suspicious of some Joola products but this one is very high quality, the surface is perfect and the handle edges have been lightly sanded to give a better feel. Very high quality, very nice. My only beef is with the Joola logo on the forehand side, its used on some of their cheaper range blades and gives it a cheap look. Also if you use the blade for more than a year the likely hood is it will fall out. A minor point but the devil is in the detail.

Price/Performance

Joola Fever is great value for money for a high quality carbon blade. At the time of writing (April 2019) this blade is £82.99. Considering its main rival is the Butterfly Timo Boll ALC which costs £139.99 and the performance is not too far off, the Joola Fever is an absolute bargain. Its one of the most underrated blades of the table tennis community and thoroughly deserves a lot of praise in the price to performance category.

Playing Style

This blade is suited to an allround attacking game with a primary focus of looping, but ultimately playing a mix of shots. Unlike many pure looping blades Drives, blocks and counter hits are all easier to perform and it suits someone who stays closer to the table. If you find the Timo Boll ALC a bit too hard to control I strongly recommend the Fever.

Overall

I was really impressed by the Joola Fever it far surpassed my expectations and is a superb blade. It offers so much control for a looping blade. The sweetspot is huge and the control is amazing. You can be so precise in attacking rallies and this blade has a great hard crisp feeling. You don’t have to have perfect technique to get the best out of this blade, it is very forgiving away from the table. It’s great for players that are primarily loopers, aggressive and play a varying attacking style. definitely a Timo Boll ALC alternative for a much cheaper price.

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