A few weeks ago, Sanwei Company sent me some table tennis equipment for doing reviews, and one particular rubber, Gear Hyper, caught my attention. I had heard about the Sanwei Gear Hyper rubber before, but the price of 40 euros was a bit expensive for me, so I didn’t buy it when I was in Spain. Now, I finally have the opportunity to give it a try.
According to the information on the Sanwei Sports official website, the rubber I received has a sponge called a “Mid-hole cake sponge.” This sponge has great benefits—it reduces energy loss and has a strong bounce when the ball hits it. It offers both elasticity and firmness to the top sheet. Choosing the harder sponge version becomes a powerful option for attacking shots with your forehand or backhand.
On the other hand, the mid/soft sponge version allows for more precise shots to control the ball’s placement. The Mid-hole cake sponge works perfectly with the Pixel Treatment enhanced top sheet.
The Sanwei Gear Hyper rubber comes in three different hardness versions: 38, 39, and 40 degrees. I received the 39-degree version, which has moderate hardness. I have glued this rubber to the Sanwei Echo, a classic all-wood blade produced by Sanwei Sports as well. For the review of the Sanwei Echo, you can click on the link to read our previous article.
Who is Sanwei Gear Hyper for?
The Sanwei Gear Hyper is a highly versatile rubber that offers a comprehensive performance comparable to the classic DHS Hurricane 3 and even surpasses it in certain aspects. This makes it suitable for both amateur and professional players. Additionally, players with attacking or control-oriented styles can benefit from this rubber, as it provides excellent speed and spin. Lastly, the Sanwei Gear Hyper can be used on both all-wood and carbon fiber blades, allowing players to choose according to their preferences.
The Appearance of Sanwei Gear Hyper
In China, we commonly refer to this rubber as “Gear,” and I personally appreciate its packaging design. The gear pattern showcases its precise craftsmanship and attention to detail, hinting at its excellent spin capabilities. The rubber I received is black with an orange-red sponge, clearly displaying “39 degrees” on the back.
When I touch the rubber’s surface, it doesn’t feel excessively sticky. It’s different from the typical tacky rubbers commonly found in China, resembling more of a European-style rubber. Interestingly, many people in China consider the Sanwei Gear Hyper as a great alternative to the popular DHS Hurricane 3 rubber. Is it really true? Let’s explore and find out.
In the usual sequence of training exercises, I started with practicing my forehand shots near the table, which is the fundamental step to assess the overall performance of a new rubber. Knowing beforehand that the Sanwei Gear Hyper is a half-sticky rubber, I was concerned that its nature might affect the speed. So, I intentionally increased my swing speed and paid close attention to the sensations while hitting the ball.
During the test with medium to low power shots, the ball quality was quite good. The sticky surface of the rubber slightly affected the speed of the shots, lacking the typical speed of common cake-sponge rubbers.
However, the difference was not significant compared to DHS Hurricane 3 or other similar rubbers. The ball had a solid and powerful feel without being floaty. The ball placement was consistent, and the trajectory was normal with a moderate arc. When I applied more power, the trajectory flattened, and the ball placement lengthened, but the stability remained good.
The Sanwei Gear Hyper combines the advantages of traditional Chinese sticky rubbers and European tensor rubbers, especially when it comes to generating spin. The 39-degree sponge provides excellent ball-capturing ability, and when paired with the tacky topsheet, it delivers great spins, which are on par with DHS Hurricane rubbers, whether it’s for loops or pushes.
The half-tacky surface of the rubber allows for more forgiving topspin shots. You can use its stickiness to brush the ball lightly and create spin. The ball quality may not be the best, but thanks to the solid sponge, it still gives you a good chance of keeping the ball on the table. So, when using medium to low power for topspin shots or transitions, although the ball quality is average, it offers great stability and a controllable arc.
When you want to do a spinny loop shot, you need to slightly adjust the racket angle and press the ball more compared to using the Hurricane 3. This reduces the arc and keeps the ball closer to the table. Once you find the right angle, just focus on hitting the ball with enough power.
If you move back to a medium or long distance from the table, doing consecutive topspin shots feels light and effortless. The rubber enables the players that they don’t need to adjust their upward force too much. Just hit the ball with enough power, and you can easily overwhelm your opponent.
Short and long pushes are among the most important techniques in table tennis. Their significance is just as crucial as a powerful attacking shot. Therefore, high-level players are constantly striving to improve the quality of their push shots in order to have better control in the games.
The combination of a solid sponge and a hard and resilient rubber surface provides sufficient support during backhand and forehand drives. It offers precise control, allowing players to generate good speed and power when leveraging their strength. If the opponent gives a weak shot, players can immediately apply more force and add quality to their shots. This enables effective execution of strategic intentions when engaging in active defense or transitioning from defense to offense.
In terms of defense, I find that the Sanwei Gear Hyper performs well in active defense. When blocking, adding some extra power can significantly increase the ball speed and create more variations in ball placement, thereby putting pressure on the opponent. However, the sponge of this rubber lacks sufficient absorption ability, which can sometimes lead to the ball popping up too high during passive defense or going out of bounds during short pushes. Therefore, it’s important to be cautious and ensure proper control of power during defensive play.
However, I’m quite satisfied with its performance in chopping. The Sanwei Gear Hyper has a moderate hardness and can generate deep and spinny shots, whether it’s a forehand or backhand chop.
As a rubber designed for forehand play, the Sanwei Gear Hyper excels in its primary function: relentless attacking. Attack requires speed, spin, and power, and the Sanwei Gear Hyper delivers on all these aspects. It offers speed comparable to the Hurricane 3, while its spin and power capabilities are on par.
The Hurricane 3 might have a slight edge in generating greater power on powerful shots, but let’s be realistic—how many amateur players can effortlessly penetrate the DHS Hurricane 3? Moreover, the solid sponge of the Sanwei Gear Hyper has wider adaptability, performing well on both carbon fiber and all-wood blades, without encountering any major compatibility issues. What’s even more appealing is that the Sanwei Gear Hyper doesn’t require booster or oil application, making it a blessing for players who are tired of using boosters.
Of course, the Sanwei Gear Hyper is not without its flaws. Weight is one of them. After cutting and gluing, it weighs 51 grams, which is 5 grams heavier than the Hurricane 3. This might pose some limitations, especially when using a penhold racket. Additionally, the sponge’s solidity is still not quite up to par. Compared to the provincial Hurricane 3, it falls slightly short in generating sufficient power on forceful shots, resulting in average ball quality.