Limba 7-ply all wood blades have existed for several decades now. The combination of Limba outer plies with inner layers of Ayous wood is a proven blade construction across the years. The limba and ayous combination blades have won world championships. I am a 7-ply all wood blade promoter. I have said this over and over again, a 7-ply all wood blade is and should be fast enough for most average level players provided that the rubbers are fast enough and appropriate for the user. Enter the JOOLA Xylo 7 which is the newest 7-ply all wood blade from this famous US brand, formerly a European brand. The Xylo 7 may have similar construction with blades in the market, but it ends there. The Xylo 7 offers characteristics that make it stand out from other usual similar blades. Both the Xylo 7 and and Xylo 5 have been meticulously constructed to be comfortable when being gripped and the wing part on each side of the handle are slightly sanded making the grip a little much better and won’t need sanding. The handle is smooth and just right for the hand.
The Xylo 7 is thick, though as not as thick as the Xylo 5, giving it enough rigidity, speed and some amount of flex due to the softer ayous inner layers. I was bouncing the ball on the bare blade and compared it to the ball height and bounce of the PD 437 Purple Dragon which I also own. The Xylo 7 seem to offer a slightly higher bounce than the Purple Dragon blade and seems to have a higher pitch when the ball was bouncing on the bare blade. For added info, the Purple Dragon is also a 7-ply all wood blade that has a similar construction with the Xylo 7. Once again, I used the Rhyzer 48 and Rhzyer 50 plus a Chinese rubber for the test. It is quite fast and gives a lot of extra kick when when driving and doing counter top spins away from the table. The Rhyzer 50 felt right as a forehand rubber away from the table and I did not feel a significant reduction of speed and power on my shots about 10ft away from the table.
I tested various long and short strokes with the Xylo 7. I did thorough tests especially on the short strokes because I was concerned about the control. With a Chinese rubber, all drop shots and short pushes were never a problem but with faster ESN rubbers, some adjustment has to be made due to the bounciness of the blade and rubbers combined. For an experienced intermediate level player, this is not hard. I made adjustments by contacting the ball much earlier and also loosen my grip with the handle and after that it was fine. With the Chinese rubber this was much easier due to the tackiness and less bounciness. For loops, using both Rhyzers, I did not open my racket angle much anymore against underspin. I would say when I loop using the said rubbers with the Xylo 7, I only use an angle of 30 to 40 degrees the most. Mostly the arc against looping is medium to medium high. The Xylo 7’s feel is a mix of hard and soft feeling beautifully combined in order to produce the best control while giving the player the speed and power he or she needs.
This is a good blade for me to keep in my collection of 7 ply blades. It is a blade for advanced players that should never be underestimated due to being an all-wood blade. This one is a blade to watch out for.
Disclaimer: This blade was sent to Yogi_Bear by JOOLA. This review is not paid and all views are his own.
Known in the industry by his username, Yogi_Bear is a table tennis influencer, equipment expert, and frequent contributor on the table tennis forum Table Tennis Daily. He is an International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) Level 1 Coach and ITTF Level 1 Coaching Course Conductor.
You can find this review, originally published on Table Tennis Daily, here.