|Playing Level:||Advanced +|
Andro Rasanter R53 is building on the success of the Andro’s Rasanter range which is part of the “thick sponge, thin topsheet” generation of rubbers. Andro is developing a reputation of always being the pioneers or the first to test a new technology that comes out of the ESN factory in Germany. What makes Rasanter R53 different from the previous rasanters is the sponge – it features new Energy Cell technology.
Rasanter R53 has a hard 53° medium pored unique green sponge and a medium level of factory tuning. The topsheet is part of the modern generation of rubbers which thinner than normal allowing the sponge to be thicker (max+ approx 2.3mm). The topsheet is part of Ando’s “R” range which feature a wide and flat pimple structure which is fairly densely packed to get maximum spin and rotation. On initial impressions the sponge is quite different to previous Rasanters and iv got to say has a very nice feeling to it. Energy Cell sponge seems to be the real deal and not just a marketing gimmick.
Your game is powered by maximum spin and high dynamics. You want the point. By all means.
Break with conventions, use the strengths of the andro ENERGY CELL technology: more power with hard topspins and game openings on backspin, high dynamics and longer ball contact time to be felt.
The andro ENERGY CELL sponge with highly elastic cell structure ensures an extremely dynamic energy transfer, especially for fast and hard topspins.
The 53 ° sponge provides immediate feedback on ideal ball contact. You will be surprised how soft 53 ° can feel like.
The R rubber surface for maximum rotation gains additively more impact through the ENERGY CELL sponge.
Spin is great especially when you hit into the sponge with a thicker contact, the spin is high and away from the table it definitely has a Tenergy arc and feel to it. However… I was disappointed with the topsheet which has been my criticism for the whole Rasanter series and this hasnt really been improved with the R53. The topsheet doesnt seem as mechanically grabby as Tenergy and nearly all other “thin top, thick sponge” rubbers. Joola Rhyzer, Donic Bluestorm, Gewo Nexxus etc all to me have better topsheet grip.
Thankfully though (thanks in part to improvement of the sponge) When you have a thicker contact it generates spin super well, the soft/medium thin topsheet warps round the ball well and the cellular sponge has quite a bit of elasticity too so thicker contact high power shots generate tonnes of spin. Definitely more than previous Rasanters like Rasanter R50 so its better to think of this rubber as an upgrade to Rasanter 50 especially in the spin department. Iv got to say in higher power shots Andro Rasanter R53 is at least in the same arena as something like Tibhar Evolution MXP for Spin, I would say more.
Topsheet Grip – in general it has great topsheet grip but compared to newer rubbers the topsheet grip isnt great which is a shame. It doesnt seem to have the grab, whether its the formula of the topsheet or the lack of grainyness im not sure. I just found it doesnt grip the ball that well with thinner contact shots, serves and brush looping in particular were not as good as other rubbers and I definitely has some slippage occasionally when playing compact shots. Id say it has a little more than MXP which is probably down to the thin topsheet arrangement.
Arc – Another advantage of the newly developed sponge. The arc is good, higher than Rasanter 50 despite being harder. I would describe it as medium to medium/high, it gives a great amount of clearance though especially away from the table. I would say the arc is bang in the middle between Evolution MXP and Nittaku fastarc G1
Another advancement to the Rasanter R50 is the speed, Rasanter R53 is rapid! Its very very quick as you would expect for something this hard. Again the new Energy Cell sponge provides a lot of elasticity and bounce, more than the previous Rasanter sponge so not only has it more potential for speed, it has more catapult, which means it feels quicker all round in every department. This does mean some of the linearity of the Rasanter 50 has gone in exchange for catapult and speed.
In terms of comparison I think this is the fastest rubber I have personally tried to date (March 2020), which is a little bit expected considering its hardness. There are not many rubbers out there currently harder than 53° or faster. I think the new Xiom Omega VII Hyper which is a rediculous 55° hardness could be faster and maybe close in speed are Butterfly Dignics 80 & 64, but until I test them all properly I cant confirm. At the moment Andro Rasanter R53 is the fastest iv tested. Rapido!
Unsurprisingly ridiculously fast and hard rubbers are not easy to control so R53 wont be winning any awards in the control department. What I can say though is R53 isnt very spin sensitive so shots that come at you loaded can be returned with enough skill. The biggest problem is just controlling the pace with Andro Rasanter R53 its just pure quick so you have to be able to adjust to compensate for the speed.
One bonus with Rasanter R53 is despite its stated hardness it doesnt actually feel that hard – more on that later but this means you can actually play a shot with feedback rather than the ball rebounding before you have a chance to do anything. It does have a little bit of dwell.
Touch shots are tough to control but thin topsheet rubbers really do help in the touch department allowing you to slow the ball down enough to control and place your shots. This being said the sponge is medium to high catapult so the more you engage the sponge the more the ball will rebound. Despite its speed and 53° hardness I still found R53 easier to control in the touch game than Tenergy, only just…
Andro’s Energy Cell Sponge
The sponge advancement does feel like a bit of a revelation, most ESN sponges until recently have been a litle bit meh… they are linear but they all feel quite rigid and lifeless without hideous amounts of factory tuning compared to something like Tenergy which has been miles better in the sponge department. I feel this new sponge, if they continue to use it, could start to turn the tide as it does feel quite special. Iv been trying the new Joola Dynaryz AGR recently which has a sponge similar to this Rasanter Energy Cell sponge and again im really liking it and I feel this new sponge technology by ESN is really a step up and finally getting close to Butterfly’s spring sponge both in feel and performance.
Feel & Hardness
Here is the most suprising nature of Rasanter R53… it doesnt feel that hard. Andro state on their website that the R53 doesn’t feel as hard as it sounds and its not just marketing nonsense it is true. You would expect a 53° Sponge to feel like a rock (a bit like Gewo Nexxus EL Pro 53 feels) but it really doesnt… it feels more in the region of 49-50° which is not too bad – nice on the forehand. It is also quite spongy elastic and catapulty – its a lively sponge. It feels harder than Tenergy 05 & MXP by a few degrees and to be honest it doesn’t feel much if any harder than Rasanter R50 despite it technically being 3° harder – just shows you the importance of the sponge structure in a rubber.
Combining the nature of the sponge and the hardness you get a great feeling rubber that in my opinion is very reminiscent to Butterfly’s spring sponge. Away from the table Andro Rasanter R53 does feel like Tenergy it was really noticeable to me. That lively nature of the sponge that has huge potential but is not too hard or too mushy. It hasnt got the same kind of spin generation but its the feel of the sponge that is so similar, its got a good amount of dwell and sink but it doesn’t bottom out and the harder you hit the more rebound and energy you get – its really nice.
Serve – 8.0/10: I didnt find it that good for serving, didnt feel like the topsheet had enough grip to generate as much spin as other rubbers and it was tough to keep short sometimes.
Slow looping – 8.5/10: Again didnt feel like I had the best grip so it didnt perform very well especially in the slow ones – not a particular highlight.
Fast looping – 9.5/10: When you engage the sponge things start to happen, shots have a lot more spin, the arc starts to become more prominent and the power comes into play, this a very powerful rubber and is great away from the table.
Drive: – 9.0/10: Drive is very good and solid, the lack of spin sensitivity makes this shot quite easy to play and one of the best shots of R53, powerful.
Blocks & Flat hits – 8.0/10: Not bad, again the lack of spin sensitivity helps massively, not really designed for this its edging towards a looping rubber.
Flicks – 7.5/10: Didnt enjoy flicking with this rubber, it was hard to get good spin or even control, the topsheet wasnt grippy enough and when you did engage the sponge the ball flew!
Smashes – 9.5/10: Yeah that catapulty hard sponge has very good power for smashing. In one word – enjoyable. Lots of power, spin insensitive, just swing away!
Counters – 9.0/10: Overall pretty good, lack of spin sensitivity helps compensate for incoming spin, the only thing I would say is close to the table I struggled but mid distance and away from the table I loved it, definitely better at long range
Chopping – 6.0/10: Not a chopping rubber really, doesn’t have topsheet grip or spin needed or most importantly control – not very linear and very springy. Until power chopping becomes a thing this will be rarely used by choppers
Who Does This Rubber Suit / Playing Style
So I would describe this rubber as a pretty good allrounder but also a powerhouse!. There is no particular set of shots that Andro Rasanter R53 excels at but there is nothing that weak about it either – bit of a jack of all trades. The most prominent thing about this rubber is the power it can generate away from the table – its huge.
Therefore it would suit a player who plays predominantly away or mid-distance from the table who likes to play big shots away from the table and stay in the rally to work to out maneuver or win the point. Im going to make a new category of rubber and im gonna call it – Long range rubbers. R53 just works so well away from the table. Close to the table is average but away from the table its so much fun! Just watch Simon Gauzy (Andro sponsored player) play with it and you will understand.
Quality & Durability
Quality is good – standard ESN. As I said earlier I really think there has been a step forward with the sponge, its got a much better high quality feel to it. Sponge only shrinks a little bit when taken off blades which is good and the sponge seems quite durable. I think the topsheet could be better though. Needs a bit more natural grip.
Durability is ok. Speed stays for a long time which is also a good sign of a high quality sponge and shows you get the pace from the sponge and not just a booster. The problem is the topsheet. Since its not the grippiest topsheet to start with when it starts to get older and loses even more grip slippages occur. After 4 month mark due to the lack of grip it becomes hard to play with so I would say the durability is around the 4 Month mark playing (2-3 times a week)
Price / Performance
For some strange reason Andro Rasanter R53 has very different prices in different parts of the world which makes it quite hard to tell broadly if you get bang for your buck.
It varies differently between each territory but in Europe its a whopping €59.99 which is a lot considering Normal Rasanters, Bluestorms, Rhyzers and Evolutions are still below €50 so that is not being very much value for money and very expensive.
However in the USA its around $45.95 which is so much cheaper and a very good price. Its cheaper than all Evolutions and most Joola rubbers but slightly more expensive that Xiom Omega Vii rubbers.
Also in the UK its a reasonable price too coming in at £42.99 comapred to Evolutions at £44.99
So for 2/3 territories its really good value for money but it depends where you live. In Europe its very expensive which is madness considering Andro is a German company (face palm) and in the USA and UK its relatively cheap… utter crazyness.
I really admire Andro for always being the first to incorporate new technlogies and their new Energy Cell sponge has certainly paid off I think its a real improvement especially over the existing Rasanter series. Away from the table its incredible to play with and feels very much similar to the infamous Tenergy 05 – which is a great compliment to the R53.
I must admit im a little disappointed with the topsheet. As a highly brushy looper I struggled to get high amounts of spin from thin contact shots and had to adapt to a thicker contact stroke to be consistent with it. Plus occasionally with these finer shots I did notice some kind of slippage. I just think the topsheet could have been better and I know they are capable of it.
In my opinion it seems a little pointless to be using R50 over the R53 now, R53 is not much harder (if any) and the performance thanks to the sponge is just better – faster and slightly more spin capabilities. Also in my opinion it just feels a lot better too.
Andro really have produced a powerhouse of a rubber which excels away from the table.
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