I used to consider the built-in ZLC structure as one of the perfect baseboard structures, especially for a long time after Zhang Yining won the Grand Slam. From Zhang Yining ZLC to today’s Innerforce Layer ZLC, this structure has not only given birth to Grand Slam players, but also made many champions, famous players and classic tournaments. Liu Shiwen, Tanhwa Takashi, Lee Sang-soo, Mattei, etc. are all fans. This structure combines ball-eating spin and high speed in a friendly and almost perfect way, with very few shortcomings.
However, the new Zebarate from ASAKA is different again. Let’s take a look.
Appearance and Construction
The Zebarate has some similarities to the Innerforce Layer ZLC. For example, the main colors of the handle are black and yellow, and the handle of the Zebarate has the same shape as the ASAKA Alnade, which fits well in the palm of your hand. The grip will feel thin. This kind of handle tends to make people feel that the center of gravity is on the head of the racket. The measured weight of the Zebarate is 82.4g, but the actual feel of the Zebarate exceeds this weight by a few grams. The board surface is 158*150mm.
The structure of Innerforce Layer ZLC (hereinafter referred to as Inn ZLC) is Lemba face material + Ayus force material + ZLC fiber layer + Ayus core. The soft lambal is good enough to eat the ball with small force, and the fiber is built in to strengthen the grip, and the power has a sense of spraying, so the structure is undoubtedly “both offensive and defensive”. If you look closely, you will find that the Zebarate structure is different. The lightweight, high-elasticity PB carbon fiber used is actually ZLC, but its core is tung wood.
In order to give players a more accurate sense of what this Zebarate is really like, we will compare the Inn ZLC to the famous board in this article.
The construction of the Inn ZLC is a bit jarring, and so is the Zebarate. At the same time, the Zebarate is 5.8mm thicker than the Inn ZLC because it uses a large core of tung wood, so it is still a little jarring, but it seems “weaker” than the Inn ZLC. That is, Inn ZLC is relatively solid, Zebarate is relatively weak. The combination of built-in fiber and tung wood core, if you want to do not false play, the core is thick enough (for example, Super Tomohiro Harimoto did 6.2mm).
Of course, it’s not that it’s not good to have a little bit of false play. It’s just that we need to do something with the rubber. In the actual test play, I found that when playing with a two-sided jacket, this kind of false vibration makes people feel that it is not quite right. However, if the forehand is paired with a hard sticky sleeve, the effect is completely different.
On the field of play
Backhand: Grape 475 (high density rubber), T80 (cake sponge); Forehand: T05 (cake sponge), Thor special super sticky rubber.
Bounce, Bounce, Bounce
This board is really bouncy. On one hand, the built-in ZLC structure tends to have a sense of power amplification. Although it is a tung wood core, it is not made to be soft. The bounce is more pronounced than Inn ZLC. The reason why it feels this way is because the Zebarate is faster off the board. The first speed is more out of the ball. It’s a little hard to control at first, so I need to get used to the rhythm of the ball. It is indeed a spring.
The elasticity is similar to that of the ZC. But the ZC is more rigid.
Eats the ball and then jets
It still eats the ball quite well. But because it comes off the board faster, it doesn’t take as long to touch the ball. But the spin performance is still quite good. The backhand has a bit of weight on the racket head. But it has a good ability to bite the ball. The Zebarate is relatively fast, and the quality of the shot is still not bad.
The overall feel of the ball is a bit weak and shaky, so the small ball control is also a bit weak. If you pair it with a sticky sleeve, it will be just right to make it more solid and linear.
Two-sided swing speed
This is definitely suitable for a two-sided swing style. It is faster than the Inn ZLC and has a high accuracy in hitting. Both popping and snapping are problematic. Medium power is pretty consistent, but you have to get used to the fact that it’s “fast off the board and has enough pop”.
The Zebarate core is not as stiff as the Ayos core, but the overall power is still very strong. It has both speed and power. The forehand with the sticky sleeve Jupiter 3 is a perfect complement to the effect.
It was once thought that this structure of the built-in ZLC was not ideal with the domestic sticky sleeve. The feel of the hand is not transparent enough, a bit like a layer of cloth, bored. But now it is found that the Zebarate with a large core of tung wood alleviates this stuffy phenomenon. It is surprisingly more effective with a sticky jacket than a high elasticity astringent jacket. The spin, speed and power are well balanced. The high elasticity and quick release characteristics may require amateur players to get used to it, and the sticky cover can make it easier to adapt.
In terms of overall standard, Zebarate may be a bit picky, but the standard is really good.