Kim Taek Soo 920 Blade
Weight: 89 grams
Plies: 7 (Koto outer – ZL Carbon – ayous? – core ayous)
I remember a few years ago I received the prototypeversion of the KTS 920 blade. It had a rougher profile and there are no logos or lens in the blade. It was simply a blade out of different tests that they were making. I am not sure if they made the blade into a production model but as far as I can remember, they have not. The blade, even at a prototype stage, plays really great although the handle back then was not that comfortable yet. When the KTS came out, the handles were made into having an ergonomic feel. Some may not like the squarish handle of the KTS series but after a lot of my clubmates have tried the 3 KTS blades, all actually liked the FL handle. The KTS flared handle has bulky part in the neck in which a lot of other brands have a somewhat more slender or smaller part. If you have bigger hands, there are times you would want a bigger handle. My blade was a bit heavier than the 86-gram average weight but the weight variance is not that big with blades usually having +5/-5 weight variations.
The KTS 920 is the fastest blade among the 3 KTS blades I have tried. The ZLC layer gives it a good amount of speed increase compared to the KTS Core ALC and KTS 760. I tested the blade with the TCore Master X rubber among other Euro and Chinese brands that I have tried with it. The blade felt stiff even at about 5.6mm average thickness (mine is at 5.7 -5.8mm). The speed is very much noticeable compared to the 2 other mentioned blades. Basically, this is a TB ZLC or ZJK ZLC blade on a budget. The quality is on par with much more expensive Butterfly blades. If the blades are covered and you can only see and hold non-colored handles, the KTS handles have a smoother feel. Yes, I own the Viscaria to compare with KTS blades and the smoothness of the KTS blades is much more obvious compared to the Viscaria handle. Performance wise, the KTS 920 is a very fast blade. It is comparable to the ZL Carbon blades in the market. The speed it offers is comparable almost to pure carbon blades but it does not feel as stiff nor it feels uncontrollable. I would not say the speed is blazingly fast but it could be fast enough far from the table yet near the table it is so easy to use and control.
Despite the stiff nature of the ZL Carbon combo with the koto and ayous layers, the KTS 920 still excels in looping the ball. I did not expect too much on spinning the ball through loops on counters but with the MasterX as the forehand rubber, the combination is more than what I was expecting. When looping, the KTS 920 has a somewhat lower arc than both Core ALC and KTS 760. What I like about the 720 is that even with hard Chinese rubbers such as MasterX or DHS Hurricane 3, the stiffness of the blade does not impede one from looping the ball easily. I would say for a lot of players who are used to ALC blades, they would need some minor adjustments to the low arc but I do not think this is a problem. With short shots like flicks or drop shots, the off+ speed does not hinder one from doing controlled touch shots. Overall, this ZL Carbon blade is one of the best TB ZLC or ZJK ZLC alternatives in the market today.