Victas are relative newboys to the equipment arena having branched off from TSP. Their flagship rubber which all their sponsored players are using is the Victas V15 Extra. As this was a fairly new offering and there were little reviews about this rubber online I decided to give it a try and see what Victas were all about.
The rubber has a cream coloured 47.5 degree sponge with a medium level of factory tuning. The rubber is produced in Germany by ESN and the sponge pores are small/medium, the rubber topsheet is medium soft and quite grainy.
The ultimate weapon for aggressive offensive players! V > 15 Extra is a high-end offensive rubber, which will enable you to perform on a new level in topspin rallies. Feel the ultimate power and high-efficiency energy conversion of the innovative 47.5 degree offensive sponge and experience the unlimited potential of the spin-optimized top rubber sheet! Demanding offensive players who rely on aggressive topspins as well as topspin-to-topspin rallies will take their play to a new level with V > 15 Extra!
Spin is high as you would expect of a soft grainy topsheet, Victas V15 has a lot of grip and no matter what angle you play at it will grip the ball. Despite this though I found it quite hard to produce the spin compared to other top rubbers. Normally when rubbers dont spin easily its because it hasnt got enough surface adhesion and its doesnt grip properly but with every shot you can feel the grip its just hard to generate the spin, you have to swing very hard. I think the sponge lacks a bit of synergy with the topsheet because I felt like I had a choice with every shot – do I choose power or spin – its was hard to generate both in the same way other top rubbers do like Evolution MXP, Tenergy 05 or the modern rubbers like Rhyzer or Bluestorm.
I think the more you add power the less this rubber manages to add spin which is something MXP & Tenergy 05 particular has managed to avoid.
In terms of Comparison to other rubbers around it I found the following
Spin: Rhyzer 48 > Bluestorm Z1 > MXS > Victas V15 > MXP
Topsheet grip – The topsheet has a fantastic amount of grip due to its soft feeling nature and its grainy surface, it feels reminiscent of Evolution MXS and Rhyzers topsheet, quite soft and flexible which means it can warp around the ball well. But the topsheet does feel quite dry and not very tacky. Without wanting to do V15 a disservice the topsheet feels a bit lifeless at times.
Arc: it has a pretty good medium arc, infact the more you engage the sponge the more arc it has which is great for finishing shots. It has more arc than most ESN rubbers including the Evolution Range, I would say its only just slightly higher than Rhyzer and Bluestorm series
This rubber is quick – like Evolution MXP quick! Its speed delivery is much more linear though, slow shots can be much more controlled and I think this is down to the relatively soft topsheet giving you a bit more flex and feel. But when you engage that sponge just watch the ball fly, fast arm shots deliver high speeds. In fast flatter shots I believe Victas V15 Extra is a tad faster than Evolution MXP but when looping, even power looping, with the same effort it feels slower than MXP.
Sometimes especially when you are trying to loop and kill of points with spin it can feel like you just cannot add enough power, you swing harder and harder and you just cannot get anymore speed without sacrificing spin or angle and that was sadly a bit of downside of this rubber for me. Loopers really have to work to win the point, much more than normal.
Victas V15 is super controlled, it can absorb a lot of pace and it has so many gears to choose from. Shots feel safe and amazingly consistent. I feel like out of nearly all the rubbers I have tried over the years I made much less mistakes with V15 and just got more balls on the table. Its not massively spin sensitive, you can absorb and redirect pace, the arc is medium/high so you get a good margin of error and you dont get a lot of power unless you take away a lot of the angle and spin so loops stay relatively medium paced so you can rally for what seems like an age. It is a very controlled consistent rubber and is very predictable, the ball goes where you expect it to go everytime.
However one draw back to this magnificent control style rubber is that you have to be active with your shots. If your opponent catches you out and you have to play a nothing shot, it really will be a nothing shot and you will offer your opponent an easy kill. If you dont do anything with the ball like add spin or power V15 seems to gift your opponent high loose balls.
Feel & Hardness
The way Victas V15 feels reminds me very much of DHS Goldarc 8. They feel quite similar to me with only small differences in speed, spin and feel. Its feels just a tad softer than its 47.5deg sponge rating but just a tad. The feeling is a little bit mushy and less crisp than other rubbers like Evolutions, Rhyzers etc. its feels like this rubber is under less tension and that is why you have to do more of the work. The topsheet feels a little dry and limp when looping and you feel a little disconnected from the shot but when you have a thicker contact everything seems to sharpen up and be a lot more crisp. Drives and powershots have a particularly nice feeling and you get good feel.
Serve: good serving ability. Topsheet feels maybe a little too soft and flexible and I couldnt get as much spin as I wanted to on most serves but position and power I could always vary very well.
Slow Loop (Brush Loop): I struggled to master slow loops with V15 more often than not it seemed to pop up quite high for the opponent with not much spin and I struggled to get the balance right between how thick to contact the ball. In the end I started to abandon this shot and favor either a thicker contact drive or touch play. Just could not get it to work as well.
Fast Loop: Fast loops from mid distance were really good, not that potent but really consistent, good amount of spin and you can be very precise with placement and maximise angles
Drive: Best attacking shot for the rubber was the drive. The contact feels crisp, you can get good power and the arc helps with safety, you can produce pretty deadly drives with V15.
Block: This was tough, it absorbs pace well but spin sensitivity was tricky to predict. When you play an inactive shot with Victas V15 it has a mid of its own, spin sensitivity goes up and you offer nothing shots for your opponent. I hated blocking with this rubber I just could not seem to compensate and I offered some embarrassingly easy balls to the opponent.
Flicks: Ok. Nothing to write home about, V15 grips the ball no matter what angle you give it but the more angle the less you feel you can do with it. e.g. power or spin. So flicks went on but were not very dangerous at all.
Smash: This is a very good rubber for smashing, with flatter contacts you can really unleash the sponge and it is very quick and it still has good arc. Smashing is fun.
Flat Hits: good, you could add a lot of speed to shots as long as you were commited
Counter: Really effective. The soft topsheet helps massively with this shot and you can just grab the ball from any angle and add your own spin and direction to it. You can take it pretty early as well. You have to be active though and play a fully commited shot. Anything else and the ball will fly off. The second your not active with this rubber it punishes you.
Chop: Not good, just could not get good range or spin, again brushing shots dont seem to work that well with V15
Arc: Medium/High. The more you engage the sponge you get a better arc, its higher than Evolution range, lower than Tenergy 05 & Fastarc G1. I would say slightly higher than Rhyzer 48 and Bluestorm Z1
Towards the end of using Victas V15 Extra I started to realise that it suits a much thicker contact on strokes and started to favour a less brushy motion and more horizontal. For some reason despite feeling like I had lots of grip I just could not get thin contacts to work very well in terms of placement or spin so I started to favour flatter thicker contact strokes. I think V15 Extra just suits these shots better.
Who Does This Rubber Suit / Playing Style
Victas V15 Extra suits the controlled attacker. Its got a good balance of everything and does everything well but its biggest advantage is its consistency and control mixed with its power, spin and attacking nature. It suits someone who stays quite close to mid-distance from the table and uses a variety of shots to mix it up and beat the opponent with tactics and consistency while playing predominantly attacking strokes.
Quality & Durability
Really good quality as you would expect with ESN. Sometimes it can be prone to shrinking on your bat which indicated to me there is a good amount of booster on the sponge. I must admit iv had different sheets over the years and the more recent ones have less booster and are less likely to shrink – which I prefer. The shirinking isnt too bad – nowhere near as bad as Evolution MXP. Another thing I noticed is I think the quality of the sponge could be better. It was quite brittle when taking glue layers off and had a low quality feel to it. Its got a very coarse quality to it.
Good news is durability wise this rubber is outstanding. It lasts a long time. That soft topsheet remains grippy for a long time and the speed lasts for a long time to so i was really impressed with Victas V15 Extra longetivity. The topsheet also looks like its resilient too. Some rubbers look like they have physically been beaten when they are worn but V15 holds up well aesthetically. This rubber will easy last a season or about 6-7 months (playing 2-3 times a week) and its performance remains very stable.
Price / Performance
Value for money is Ok but considering its an ESN rubber with similar performance to other ESN rubbers buts its more expensive its not the best value for money rubber out there. Its currently available for around 50 Euros in Europe so its still ok but very average and one of the more expensive ESN rubbers.
So a solid effort from Victas to add another variety of ESN rubber to the market. Victas V15 Extra feels like a jack of all trades in terms of performance, it does everything well but nothing exceptionally well and its only your playing style which will determine how this rubber works for you. Its very safe and comfortable to play with.
I think the best way to describe this rubber in comparison to other popular rubbers is it feels like a good cross between Evolution MXS and Evolution MXP. Its got a good grippy topsheet like MXS and the power of MXP. This makes it sound like the perfect rubber but its not quite as good as it sounds. Its still a fantastic rubber but it has its flaws. I think one of its biggest flaws is probably one of its biggest advantages as that is how all rounded this rubber is.
Victas V15 plays very safe and consistent and I mean super consistent. Sometimes the bounce on some other rubbers with porous sponges can give slightly unpredictable bounces but V15 is super predictable iv only felt consistency like this with Tenergy and thats a very good compliment. However Victas V15 Extra never felt like a dangerous rubber to me, it just didnt feel as strong at hitting winning shots as other rubbers. I used this rubber right after I was using Tenergies and it felt like I couldnt hit winners any more. It was a weird feeling, I was getting more shots on but more shots were coming back, a lot more. Sometimes you can put this down to the Tenergy effect but even when I was switching between Evolution MXP and Victas V15 Extra I always gravitated more towards MXP for its shot making ability and potency. Im an attacking player and I want to hit winners and I feel V15 is just not as good as many other rubbers in this field.
While it doesnt suit out and out attackers I still appreciate how good V15 Extra is and I think it is a little underrated. Consistency is one of the hardest aspects to master in any sport and is underrated as a skill. Victas V15 Extra will help with shot consistency and while it doesnt have all the glory and showmanship of being able to hit venomous screamers as much as other rubbers it would probably benefit many many players to use V15 Extra instead and just get more balls on the table.
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