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Butterfly Fan Zhendong ALC Review

Unboxing and review of the Butterfly new blade – Fan Zhendong ALC.

Hello, welcome back to PingSunday. I’m EmRatThich.


Blade review by coach EmRatThich

A player misses my own voice. I miss the days when he did narration! His accent is wonderful.

his accent voice
his accent voice

So I will try to speak more. I hope everything is going well for your studies, your work, and your family!
I’m very busy with the new season.

The new season of table tennis competition is starting very soon!


Why did Butterfly release the new series of table tennis rackets for Fan Zhendong?

Well. Ma Long is going to retire. And Fan Zhendong will be the number 1 leader for China, and will be the next champion in table tennis.

Fan Zhendong will replace the leader role of Ma Long
Fan Zhendong will replace the leader role of Ma Long

So making a series of new table tennis rackets for Fan Zhendong is a very smart move for Butterfly. I think these new blades will be a huge success for the Butterfly table tennis brand. A lot of pro players have used the product of Butterfly.

More than 46% of the pro players used the Butterfly products.

Butterfly Rubber Usage Rate at the 2021 World Table Tennis Championships in Houston
Butterfly Rubber Usage Rate at the 2021 World Table Tennis Championships in Houston

How many blades are there in the Fan Zhendong blade series?

There are 5 new blades with the name of Fan Zhendong.



  1. Fan Zhendong ALC.
  2. Fan Zhendong Super ALC.
  3. Fan Zhendong Super ZLC.
  4. Fan Zhendong ZLC,
  5. Fan Zhendong CNF

The most expensive Fan Zhendong blade is the Fan Zhendong CNF, which costs about 400 USD.

FAN ZHENDONG BLADE SERIES
FAN ZHENDONG BLADE SERIES


Unboxing and review of Fan Zhendong ALC

Here is the most favorite ALC blade of Butterfly, the Fan Zhendong ALC. Which costs about 185 USD.

Compare between Fan Zhendong ALC versus another blade (explained by coach EmRatThich)
Compare between Fan Zhendong ALC versus another blade (explained by coach EmRatThich)

A blade design that many top players, like Fan Zhendong, use. With Arylate-Carbon, the blade is flexible, easy to use, and bounces well, making it a good balance for both offense and defense. The plywood structure of the Viscaria has been proven to be very good, and many of the best players in the world continue to use it with great success. So the structure of the Fan Zhendong ALC is similar to Viscaria.

Viscaria ALC vs Super ALC
Viscaria ALC vs Super ALC

 

Fan Zhendong ALC
Fan Zhendong ALC

 


The logo of the Fan Zhendong ALC

Fan Zhendong ALC (or some players call the “FZD ALC”), has a special logo on it. The logo is “FZD”, which means “Fan Zhendong” (In Chinese 樊振东). That’s why you can call it the “樊振东 ALC”, which is the same blade.

Fan Zhendong ALC with the logo of FZD
Fan Zhendong ALC with the logo of FZD

 


What is the current equipment of Fan Zhendong?

Fan Zhendong’s equipment is sponsored by Butterfly. He is using the Viscaria Golden Tag.

Chen Xintong with Golden Viscaria
Chen Xintong with Golden Viscaria

The Viscaria Golden tag is the same as Fan Zhendong ALC (confirmed by Butterfly).

Fan Zhendong viscaria golden (1)
Fan Zhendong viscaria golden (1)

Fan Zhendong preferred using the Flared handle. As of July 19th, 2022, only his own blade has a gold logo plate in the end of the handle. Yes, only the personal equipment of Fan Zhendong has the golden logo. Many players call this version the Golden Viscaria. But no, it’s the Fan Zhendong ALC blade.


Is Viscaria Golden the same of Fan Zhendong ALC?

So the personal Viscaria Golden is the same of Fan Zhendong ALC. They have the same plies structure (confirmed by Butterfly). (It has 5.8 mm thickness with 5 plies, and 2 ALC (Acrylate carbon)

Fan Zhendong ALC Butterfly blade (3)
Fan Zhendong ALC Butterfly blade (3) – composition
Fan Zhendong ready to win
Fan Zhendong ready to win

 


Is Fan Zhendong ALC a heavy blade?

Yes. It’s a powerful and heavy blade. The weight of this blade is about 87 to 90g.

The weight of Fan Zhendong ALC is 87-90g
The weight of Fan Zhendong ALC is 87-90g

It has same weight of Zhang Jike ALC, Timo Boll Spirit, Viscaria, and Harimoto Innerforce ALC.

Blade weight|Blades|Butterfly
Blade weight|Blades|Butterfly

 

 


Fan Zhendong ALC versus Lin Gaoyuan ALC

Fan Zhendong ALC is thicker than the Lin Gaoyuan ALC. Lin Gaoyuan ALC is 5.7mm. Fan Zhendong ALC is 5.8mm. So the hitting feel is stronger than Lin Gaoyuan ALC. So Fan Zhendong ALC is an upgraded version of Lin Gaoyuan ALC.

Fan Zhendong ALC vs Lin Gaoyuan ALC
Fan Zhendong ALC vs Lin Gaoyuan ALC

 

 

Here is the composition of

Fan Zhendong ALC Butterfly blade (3)
Fan Zhendong ALC Butterfly blade (3) – composition

Fan Zhendong ALC:

 

It has the surface of high quality Koto:

Look at the quality of the outer lier: It’s the Koto wood.

The next layer is the Limba. And the core is Kiri. The total thickness is 5.8mm. Which is thicker than the Viscaria:

The structure of Fan Zhendong ALC (5.8mm)
The structure of Fan Zhendong ALC (5.8mm)
Fan Zhendong ALC Butterfly blade (2)
Fan Zhendong ALC Butterfly blade (2)

 


Fan Zhendong ALC with Flared handle

The handle is very nice.

Fan Zhendong ALC Butterfly blade (5)
Fan Zhendong ALC Butterfly blade (5)

 

Flared handle versus Straight handle. I really like the comfortable feeling of these 2 handles:


Fan Zhendong ALC versus Viscaria

What is the difference between Fan Zhendong ALC versus Viscaria?

Fan Zhendong ALC has a thicker core than Viscaria. The feeling is harder, and more powerful than Viscaria when you play further from the table.

Yes, Fan Zhendong ALC is thicker than Viscaria. It has the same structure, the same composition of Viscaria. But this is the upgraded version. It will hit the ball harder, faster, and stronger. This is a smart move of Butterfly, for the new plastic ball.

Fan Zhendong ALC vs Viscaria
Fan Zhendong ALC vs Viscaria

Because Viscaria was released a long time ago. So it’s a good upgrade for the bigger ball.
Viscaria and Fan Zhendong ALC have the same price, 185 USD. So I recommend you to buy a thicker core, which is better when you play further from the table.

 

Now we can compare the composition, and thickness of Fan Zhendong ALC versus Viscaria, and Viscaria Super ALC:

Here, you can see the difference between Fan Zhendong ALC, and the Viscaria (on the right).

Fan Zhendong ALC vs Viscaria (right)
Fan Zhendong ALC vs Viscaria (right)

 

Fan Zhendong ALC has a little bit thicker handle than the Viscaria. Look at here:

Fan Zhendong ALC handle is comfortable
Fan Zhendong ALC handle is comfortable


Fan Zhendong ALC handle

The feeling is noticeably different from the Viscaria, and the handle is very full and comfortable to hold.

Fan Zhendong ALC has a thicker handle than the Viscaria’s handle. Near the edge where you put your thumb.


Feedback from other players

Watch this personal review, some feedbacks and weakness of the Fan Zhendong ALC here. (Reviewed by coach EmRatThich).

 

Fan Zhendong ALC - Review of new Butterfy table tennis racket [樊振东 ALC]

Watch this video.

The feedback from other players is very good.

Testing with Fan Zhendong ALC - better version of Viscaria
Testing with Fan Zhendong ALC – better version of Viscaria

If you have any questions, you can ask me.


Pro and con of Fan Zhendong ALC

Some players have given me feedbacks.

First, the price tag is too high.

Crazy Price $ 400. There are many cheaper blades that are just as good. This is just a marketing gimmick. I will not buy.

I have both the Viscaria (5.7mm) and the ZJK ALC(5.75mm). ZJK ALC has a more comfortable thicker handle and has more control and spin but slightly slower and softer than the Viscaria. My guess is that the new FZD ALC is very close to the ZJK ALC except with a different handle design.

$400 for a blade !!!!! Nonsense!! It’s just same blade as Viscaria or timo boll alc etc…but nowadays big companies want to make big profits by using different names and different players to promote their products , waste of money

Very good backhand topspin with Fan Zhendong ALC (Butterfly blade)
Very good backhand topspin with Fan Zhendong ALC (Butterfly blade)

I agreed that Viscaria has been around for a long time. The new ABS ball is quite different from the traditional celluloid ball from the previous generations. As the new ball has been around for a few years. As a coach and a player, all must be adjusted by now with the less spiny ball, a rougher surface which cuts down on the rotations generated by the paddle/rubber with the spins. Hence higher bounces and much easier to hit with flips closer to the table, and much more difficult to torque your body to have the same level of arc with the generation of forehand and backhand topspin shots, whether you are doing a light, medium or heavy loop approach or out-right attack shots.

Therefore, unless you are already at a very high level, please DO NOT GO OUT AND GIVING $400 USD AND $200 USD MORE FOR THE DIGNICS 09 HARD because of what Fan Zhendong, Harimoto, LIn Guoyuan, Timo Boll, Ortcharov and Franziska used on their own model. That is money down the drain because you don’t have the skills yet, better getting it developed, knowing how you play your own game, then have a in-depth chat with your own coach to figure out a paddle/rubber combinations that can best suit your game.

It’s too fast for some players

Therefore, what works in the thinner blade and the lower degree of hardness in the tensor rubbers, will simply no longer doing the same tricks as before with the celluloid ball. Hence you need a thicker blade and harder rubber to deal with this ABS ball more effectively to your game.

But here is one thing about Table Tennis that a lot of people have forgotten, like all sports, “POWER IS NOTHING WITHOUT CONTROL“. Just because you spent the money buying the fastest blade and the most expensive rubber combinations, your game will not improve. In fact, professionals can use those equipment to up their games, were simply because they already had the sound fundamentals of skills, footwork, conditioning, plus the sharp mental games to use their arsenal. Better equipment would give them an even higher edge over their opponents. In a close match, often the difference of one or two total point would be the outcome between winning and losing.

You need more time to get used to it

It is the theory of “You need to learn how to craw before knowing how to walk.” Unless you have your fundamentals exactly right. You are not going anywhere, or even worse with that brand new expensive toy you have with that paddle/rubber combinations. Simply put, you can have the best skills out there, but if you don’t have the footwork and the conditioning to get to the ball, even a quarter of a step too early or too late, let alone half steps with most middle range amateurs out there, would miss the ball completely, or making erratic shots because your body is compromising to adjust with the wrong timing, angle, power and everything connected with the best optimum power, spin, timing, efficiency and effectiveness of each shot.

Normally, you need at least 6 months of playing time to get used to your own paddle/rubber combination, and about another 2 to 4 years to fully understand where you are at, before making a significant change and upgrade that would move your table tennis playing even higher to the next level.



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Table tennis coach in France since 2012, founder of pingsunday.com (the best online coaching program for table tennis players). Born in Vietnam in 1983, Ph.D. in Université Pierre Marie Curie. Read more about him.

1 thought on “Butterfly Fan Zhendong ALC Review”

  1. Hi, I am a bit confused. Above you mentioned thickness of Viscaria is 5,7mm and Fan Zhendong ALC 5,8mm. However from Butterfly Specification Chart, both Viscaria and Fan Zhendong ALC has the same thickness : 5,8mm, so both should have more or less the same speed.
    Which one is correct ?

    Reply

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