Butterfly Primorac Carbon Review
|Ply:||3 Wood + 2 Tamca Carbon|
|Playing Level (1-5):||4 – Advanced|
There are 2 blades named after the legendary Zoran Primorac (who is one of only 3 players to compete in 7!! Olympic games). One is a high quality ALL to ALL+ all wood looping blade with great feeling – the Butterfly Primorac and the other is the Butterfly Primorac Carbon – a thick OFF++ hinoki carbon powerhouse which is an absolute beast of a blade. The two really could not be much further from each other.
The Primorac Carbon is in the category of hinoki carbon blades – these are blades that are generally thick but only have 5 ply’s making them stiff. They mostly have 2 outer layers of thick hinoki wood 2 inner layers of stiff carbon, they are generally heavy, super fast, have a massive catapult but a great hinoki feeling. There are loads of them out there and they all feel different (TSP Hino Carbon, Joola Aruna OFF+, Xiom Strato to name just a few) but the Primorac Carbon was one of the first and the most widely used and famous. They are a hell of a lot of fun too!
Carbon With An Irresistible Power
• The Primorac Carbon blade features a combination of Carbon Fiber and Cypress layers perfect for power play.
• One of Butterfly’s fastest and best selling carbon blades of all time
• Named after the Croatian legend, Zoran Primorac
Butterfly Primorac Carbon cant really be described as an inner or outer carbon blade because it only has 5 ply’s and the hinoki outer layers are thick. The blade uses the finest japanese Hinoki on the outer layers which is a fantastic wood and 2 layers of Tamca 5000 carbon which is just very thick carbon surrounding the thick core.
The blade has 5 Plies:
2 outer plies of Hinoki
2 layers of Tamca 5000 Carbon
Dimensions: 157mm x 150mm
Thick hinoki, thick carbon, thick core – the whole blade is just thick! This makes the blade feel really rigid but the soft hinoki feeling really balances this out to a certain extent so its not just a ridiculously hard plank in your hand, you do get some great feeling. The whole construction screams monstrous pace. Hinoki carbon blades are the wrecking balls of the table tennis world.
Sweetspot: Friggin huge! The total thickness of the blade helps a large amount in this department, thicker blades will generally have bigger sweetspots because they are more rigid. Combine this with a thick bog standard carbon layer which is rigid already then you have a blade with just the biggest sweet spot. One of the biggest iv experienced and I never worried about not playing a shot in the middle of the bat, didnt need to!
Hinoki carbon blades are a whole level above the speed of most normal blades, they are at the top end of the speed curve – its how they are designed and Primorac carbon is the grand-daddy of Hinoki carbon blades. There was a blade even beefier than the Primorac called the Schlager Carbon which was rumoured to be closer to 100g than 90g and a big 7.2mm thickness. Its a shame I didnt get to try one as they were sadly discontinued before I got serious because this is pretty much considered as the fastest blade ever made according to most people online. In the end the Primorac Carbon was just more popular and is still one of the quickest blades still made today.
In terms of speed delivery I cant really call it a linear blade but its not very un-linear either. Its not as elastic as ZLC blades Primorac Carbon just has a huge catapult on it. In terms of gears it doesn’t have many at the low end, its very bouncy and fast in touch shots and in smash shots, its just fast allround. Smashes are lethal, PC is so quick top end its borderline dangerous for your opponents, flat hits and smashes are explosively fast. It is an experience in speed, very fun.
Is it too fast? There is certainly an argument for that and its not really used much in the professional scene anymore but I think that’s more because of its playing style and its strengths and weaknesses rather than its pace (especially today where everything seems to be getting quicker!)
In terms of speed comparisons its a whole notch faster than even the quickest ZLC blades (Victas ZX-Gear Out, Mizutani ZLC) and a whole two notches faster than most popular ALC blades (Timo Boll ALC, Drinkhall Powerspin Carbon). Compared to Hinoki Carbon blades again its faster than Xiom Strato, Aruna OFF+…. Its pretty much quicker than 99% of the blades out there today. Its even faster than a TSP Balsa 8.5 which is a lightweight cannon.
Primorac Carbon is a super fast, explosive, thick, heavy blade – its not easy to handle or control but its not as bad as it sounds – sure its stupidly quick and you have to have immense touch to keep the ball short but thanks to the hinoki layer it does have quite a soft touch which helps massively. It has one hell of a catapult effect on it but it also again thanks to the hinoki has a good amount of dwell time so for me personally I found it easier to control than some ZLC blades despite the speed as it was less slingy and a bit more consistent with the rebound.
I want to talk about returning opponents shots and blocking because PC is unreal at these shots! Its almost automatic. Just redirect the shot and adjust the angle of the bat and it catapults back to the opponent, its so easy. You cant be that choosy on pace and you cant absorb much pace so it has a tendency to always rebound quickly but if you can redirect it successfully you can block and flat hit all day. This is what the blade is best at and its near effortless. Also because its rigid it doesn’t “bite” the ball that hard so its not overly spin sensitive compared to other blades.
My favourite characteristic of this blade is its consistency- it just does the same thing again and again with a giant sweetspot. The consistent rebound gives you real confidence in big shots when you get used to the blade.
Iv been quite positive about the control aspects of the Primorac Carbon but I feel I do need to emphasise its incredibly hard to control just because of its raw pace. Its got an incredible feeling and a consistent rebound but sometimes this can mask just how hard to control this blade is. The underlying speed and the energetic bounce are so quick and you have to be very precise especially when you are playing active shots to judge the power needed. Its very easy to overshoot the table.
Feel, Hardness & Flex
Feel: Hinoki wood has a special feeling its quite soft but also springy whilst maintaining a crisp feel. I personally love it and the Primorac Carbon has reasonably thick layer of it on the outer ply but a hard carbon layer under it and this combintion gives it a georgeous feel. Slow shots give you a lot of dwell, softness and feedback and then when you swing hard into the ball the crunchiness of the hard thick carbon comes into play and gives you power and a bit more crispness.
The only weakness I feel is that the blade doesn’t really “bite” into the ball. When playing looping brush shots I never felt that the blade was engaging with the ball enough and it felt like whatever rubbers I had on the blade had less grip or I was missing that “biting” feeling where the blade flex’s around the ball. It wasnt a problem with flatter strokes but brush shots didnt feel quite right. You need a flatter contact to get the ball to sink in to the blade.
Hardness: Theres a lot of confusion online about how hard this blade really feels and I can understand why but I think generally this blade has quite a soft feeling due to the thick hinoki outer layer and the kiri core. I think its the thickness and the high rigidity of the blade that fools people into thinking its hard, which is understandable. Hinoki carbon blades are a weird mix but generally have a soft feeling with lots of rigidity and stiffness.
Flex: Stiff as hell!
Not much more to say really, very thick at nearly 7mm and very heavy so you do not get much flex which, I mentioned above, does impact the looping game but helps the blocking game… swings and roundabouts.
It also means at slow speeds the ball doesn’t sink into the blade very much so you dont get very much slow end spin.
Butterfly make great handles. The flared one is good but a tad small and elliptical for my liking but the straight handle is chunky, fairly big and slightly square which is my personal preference.
Serve – 6.0/10: Not a strong point of the Primorac Carbon, its very bouncy at slow speeds so its hard to keep short and control plus because of its rigidity its hard to generate good spin at slow speeds.
Slow looping – 7.0/10: Again not strong for the PC but capable. Never felt like I got a good amount of bite on the ball on thin contact strokes and I got ball slippages on rubbers that I know have plenty of grip so the blade definitely impacted the spin generation potential on slow shots and brush looping & serves in particular.
Fast looping – 8.0/10: Thicker strokes work much better and away from the table it certainly is enjoyable to have loop to loop rallys. especially when you have this much power in a blade
Drive: – 9.0/10: Drives are lethal if you can control them, very consistent and high power.
Blocks & Flat hits – 9.5/10: This is what the Butterfly Primorac Carbon excels at, blocks with a rast rebound are effortless just redirect your oppontents shot and give him back all the pace! It is really easy. You will have a tough time absorbing pace unlike balsa blades but if you want fast rebound blocks this blade is perfect. Flat hits are just as good because of the sheer power you can generate with a super consistent bounce and a large sweetspot. Primorac carbon is just so good for flatter strokes – power, ease of use and control are all great.
Flicks – 6.5/10: Very hard to play decent flicks. Again at slow speeds the blade just doesn’t grip the ball well as there is no flex or dwell time until you swing harder. That means very little spin and not only that you have to deal with the insane catapult! Hard to be precise and spin the ball. Having said that on the rare occasion you do get everything spot on it makes for a great shot.
Smashes – 10/10: Cant this of many better blades in this department, thick, heavy, fast blade that excels in flat strokes… this is a smashing machine – you get both insane power and consistency. One of the best smashers of the ball every made!
Counters – 8.0/10: Surprisingly not that bad as long as your committed as the rebound off the blade is fast. Because PC is very rigid its not as spin sensitive as other blades and this means handling incoming spin isnt too hard, you have to focus mainly on adjusting the power. Also with higher power strokes and Primorac Carbons soft feeling you get a good amount of dwell time which helps you direct your counter shots too.
Chopping – 7.0/10: Not ideal but away from the table its pretty good – big sweetspot, consistent bounce defenders really value and add power to the mix and it makes it pretty easy to chop and float away from the table. Close to the table leaves something to be desired, its hard to control and it doesn’t generate much spin.
Arc – Again surprisingly the arc is quite high, especially in drive shots and loops away from the table, you can get good amounts of arc and safety in your shots. You have to get the ball to sink into the blade which requires a bit of power but when you do yeah the arc is pretty high. I have a feeling this is the effect of a thick layer of Hinoki which provides a soft dwell bit springy nature.
I wouldnt say the arc is as high as something like a Butterfly Timo Boll ALC but I think its quite close. Higher than a Stiga carbonado 145 & Victas ZX-Gear Out.
Who Does This Blade Suit / Playing Style
Butterfly Primorac Carbon best suits players who stay close to the table who prefer to use a combination of active blocks and flat hits to dominate and out power the opponent using the opponents speed against them. This suits a player who plays mainly flatter strokes.
Needless to say Primorac Carbon is not for beginners or intermediates, its not easy to use and its so quick! Its too quick for most pro’s too! Sometimes the speed can be a bit overwhelming.
My advice is if you are looking to improve your game make sure you have a style that suits this blade which is predominantly flatter attacking strokes with some block and counters thrown in – they are the strengths. looping can be tricky. If your just looking for something hideously fast for a bit of fun this is a great choice and I personally had a lot of fun playing with it.
If you are a looper and decide to give this blade a try but you still want good amounts of spin I would recommend giving chinese rubbers a try on the forehand. Chinese rubbers are well known to be quite slow but the Primorac carbon really gave them a bit of speed and life, softened the overall feel and turned out to be a terrific combo. I enjoyed it immensely.
Butterfly blade – Butterfly Quality. High quality blade, cant fault anything, designed to a high spec. Would have liked to have seen sanded edges on the wings but that’s nit picking – its still pretty comfortable in the hand.
Iv heard the Hinoki layers are more of a Cypress layer so not the highest quality Hinoki which I would have to agree with but its still good quality. Its not the famous kiso hinoki though but then again the price would be much higher… Apparently the older ones had a higher quality hinoki and as a result if you can find one they can be a little expensive for an older one.
Price / Performance
As blade prices go these days its in the middle ground. A reasonable price for an interesting blade. I think whether this blade will be worth the money to you is your playing style, some players will love it and others just wont like it or be able to handle it.
For its class there are quite a few cheaper options out there if you are just looking for a easy blocking, flat killing speed monster then TSP Balsa 8.5 and TSP Hinoki Carbon are cheaper options which all perform similarly. So in that vein of blades it can be seen as a little expensive.
In terms of performance while it has tonnes of power I just don’t think it can compete with the precision and spin generation of other well known blades like the Boll ALC, Long 5, Mizutani ZLC. Which I would say is also why we dont see many professionals choose this is their weapon of choice. I think its better just to think of this blade as a different sort of tool. For example you don’t use a wrecking ball to bang a nail and you don’t use a hammer to knock down a building.
In the UK Primorac Carbon is available for £119.99
In the USA Its available for $104.99 which is a great price!
And in Europe its available for €119.90
Butterfly Primorac Carbon is a weapon and I thoroughly enjoyed playing with it. Its an interesting blade with a great great feeling and has become a classic butterfly blade.
It does have some control issues. Keeping it short is a challenge and sometimes an outright nightmare. I found When an opponent is attacking at you then this blade is really good, blocking and countering are great, but when you have to generate your own power, thats when the control issues start to happen. There is no trouble generating the power but its hard to control and direct especially when your creating it.
To me this blade is a bit like alcohol/drugs – it feels amazing and you have a lot of fun but ultimately you know its bad for you and thats why I switched away from it. It doesn’t suit my looping game and it was a bit too fast for me, as much but I had a great time with it. I dont regret using it for a second! My backhand was a weapon! The power this blade has is addictive and I can see why this blade is so popular – unreal power, automatic catapult and a superb feel.
If you do reject the modern day looping game and focus on flatter strokes like actively blocking, flat hitting and you are a power addict then I would definitely recommend you give this blade a try. It will put a smile on your face – even if you cant quite handle it! Phenomenal blade.
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