GAMBLER BALSA KNIGHT is a high power TWO SPEED attacking/defending blade utilizing the benefits of high-grade carbon construction. Made to the most exacting standards, Balsa Knight features an attacking side utilizing 60K Micro Mesh Graphite, and a backhand using a wood combination geared toward control (scroll to image above for wood and carbon layout). All Balsa Knight blades come with a hand lacquer finish (no need to seal the blade), 3 high quality lens inlays, and a manufacturer backed guaranteed weight range (the only kind in the industry). Gambler is able to achieve precision weight range by using a proprietary grain density testing method and exacting moisture content regulation. Not your grandpa’s balsa blade! This is NOT your typical oversized balsa fly swatter; Gambler Balsa Knight has a normal head shape and generates real power and spin.
- Speed: 90 (OFF) 65 (ALL)
- Ply: 6 PLY (6 wood + 1 60K Micro Mesh Graphite Carbon)
- Flex: low (typical balsa flex)
- Weight: 77-84 grams (guaranteed weight)
- Thickness: 8.9mm +-.2 (5mm+balsa core)
- Head width: 149mm +-2
- Head height: 155.6mm +-2
*BALSA KNIGHT was very loosely based on a discontinued balsa core blade I had seen at the first Gambler Competitor Open. I have not seen anything else currently on the market that draws a comparison. (Tom, Gambler CEO)
Steve S. –
I’ve had this penhold blade for 3+ months now and I quite like it. It’s my #1 main blade. It truly is quite unique of any Cpens I’ve ever hit with before.
So the most defining characteristic of this blade is that it’s 8.9mm thick. 3ish mm thicker than your standard blade. So this blade is a pinch stiffer and has power for days. The best way I can describe this blade, and also verified from a near 2300 UTATT player at my club, is the everything on this blade is very forward. The thickness & power jumps everything off fast.
It also has a unique ply setup. On the Forehand side, it has a carbon layer. On the Backhand side, it’s all wood. So this would make a great combination blade or you could play it duel inverted. The idea being the Forehand is your power side while the backhand is your control side. Although the blade has so much power, don’t be fooled into thinking the backhand side lacks power. That’s certainly not the case.
I’ve covered power. It’s great. Touch & control I think is very high. I play my best table tennis with this blade over other blades. Perhaps this blade just suits me but i get the best feeling & control with this blade. My consistency in testing compared to other blades is the highest with this one.
Spin is very good. Now it is 8.9mm thick. Naturally it’ll have a pinch less flex. So there is an adjustment. Do I have other 5.something carbon blades with more flex that spin it better? Sure. That just makes sense. But I’m a spin based player and this blade spins it up very nice once you turn in your control from the power.
Because the blade is a pinch stiffer, I like to pair this with rubbers more on the medium sponge hardness level. I don’t think I’d recommend a super hard sponge, or super fast rubber (the blade is fast enough), with this blade. I don’t think you’d get enough dwell time to hit your shots.
If you’re a hitter, this absolutely is the blade for you. If you’re a single winged penholder using TPB, 100% get this blade. The TPB naturally having less power is made up for with this blade. I play duel inverted penhold and this blade simply plays great. It can do just about anything you you’re looking for.
Arbitrary rating based on my experience: 1-10
Power – 10
Control – 9
Touch/Feel – 9
Spin – 8
Overall Quality – 10
Stephen Good (verified owner) –
I’ve been using the FL model for a month now with Volt-M 2.1 and GXM 2.1, with the inverted on the power side for 2 weeks, and then switching the inverted to the control side for the last 2 weeks.
I love the shape, the weight, the balance, and the handle shape for the FL model is perfect for me.
The power side has two distinct gears. Brush and touch shots seem to be protected from the blasa effect by the carbon, so second gear starts a higher than the control side.
Dwell time on this side is short, and the speed is really fast, as such it’s not good for spin, and the margin for error is small on spin shots. Great for drives and power blocks, and underwhelming for everything else. Serves with the Volt underperformed.
The speed and power is very fast, I would call it Off+ overall.
The control side has three district gears. In first gear ALL speed is dominated by the soft wood on the outer ply. Great dwell time for serves, pushes, chops, and slow loops.
Second gear the balsa bounce effect kicks in for an OFF- speed. Because of the large difference between the first and second gear, the margin for error between them can be problematic. When my opponent goes into it fast with heavy spin, second gear often kicked in unexpectedly causing passive blocks to go long.
Third gear is a really fast OFF speed. With slams the full effect of the balsa and carbon is realized, and hitting winners is easy. Third gear is never reached by accident, you need to crush the ball to get there.
In conclusion the Power side excelled at drives, power blocks, and slams. It was not so good for touch, spin and serves, which limited my options using it for my forehand.
The control side rewards big strokes, and was not good for passive blocks. I’m forehand dominant, so my backhand strokes with pips are short, and often called on for passive blocks.
So the obvious choice for me is to put the Volt on the Control side, and the the GXM on the Power side. I really love this combination, no problems whatsoever hitting winners with either side. Great spin on my inverted serves, and a full range of options on my return of serve.
I suspect that this is a high variance blade in terms performance with different rubbers and play styles, so your mileage will vary.