The Yinhe Big Dipper is a unique hybrid rubber.
Most hybrid rubbers are released by European manufacturers who aim to recreate the spin levels of Chinese rubbers. They add tacky topsheets to their high-performance, tensioned sponges, resulting in high speed levels and superb spin.
The Big Dipper, however, is an offering by Yinhe that seeks to add the speed of European tensor rubbers to their already spinny Chinese tacky rubber formula.
Perfect for: Intermediate and advanced attackers who like hard Chinese rubbers. 4-10+ years of playing.
Table of Contents
Design of the Yinhe Big Dipper
The Yinhe Big Dipper doesn’t come in a regular package. The Big Dipper comes in a high-quality box.
I had never seen this on a table tennis rubber. This means that even if you break the seal, you can always fold the box and store your used rubber securely in the package.
The packaging looks more like a CD package rather than a table tennis rubber package.
When you open the box, you are greeted with a few surprises.
Inside, you can find the rubber, covered with a protective film on the topsheet and another protective film on the sponge.
Why put a protective film on the sponge, you might ask? The Yinhe Big Dipper comes with a factory-applied glue layer.
I have only tried one other rubber that comes with a glue layer, and that’s the DHS Hurricane 3 NEO. However, by the time the rubber gets to the player, it has sat on shelves for months, and the factory-applied glue is no longer sticky, forcing you to take it off and apply your own.
With the addition of the protective film on the sponge, the glue on the Big Dipper was very sticky and I was able to fix the rubber to my blade without needing to put glue on the rubber.
Added to all this, you also get an additional protective film that is thicker and cut out for the rubber, the kind you buy separately, not the thin ones that come with the rubber.
This is especially nice by Yinhe considering that most manufacturers nowadays are selling expensive rubbers that only last a few months, but this cheaper offering comes with a separate film so that your rubber lasts as long as possible.
The packaging on the Yinhe Big Dipper is among the best I’ve ever seen in a table tennis rubber.
In addition to the rubber, you get:
- A high-quality box to store your rubber after you take it off.
- A usable layer of glue on the sponge.
- Protective films on both the topsheet and the sponge.
- An additional protective film to take care of the rubber.
Imagine my disillusionment once I found out that my rubber was defective. The pimples and the sponge weren’t in contact in the upper part of the rubber.
I notified the seller and they provided me with another copy, which was normal.
The sponge on the Yinhe Big Dipper is an intense blue color. The Yinhe Big Dipper comes in 3 different hardness variants, 38, 39, and 40 degrees. For reasons I’ll explain later, I highly recommend you get the 38-degree version.
The Big Dipper we got was the 39-degree version and it was extremely hard, around 51 degrees ESN.
I tried to rub my fingers across the rubber, but I couldn’t, due to the Big Dipper’s tackiness. My finger stuck to the rubber the moment I pressed on it.
The Big Dipper is about as tacky as the Hurricane 3 NEO and a bit tackier than the 729 Super FX and the Rakza Z. It isn’t as tacky as the Yinhe Mercury 2, though. It can lift the ball from the table and hold it for 1-2 seconds.
The Yinhe Big Dipper weighs in at 49 grams. It’s a lot lighter than I thought it would be.
However, the Big Dipper was weighed after its removal from the blade, that is, without its thick glue layer. Including the glue layer, it would probably weigh a few grams more.
Playtesting the Yinhe Big Dipper
Before testing the Big Dipper, I was expecting it to perform like a faster version of its sibling, the Mercury 2. However, this wasn’t the case.
The Big Dipper is an extremely hard rubber and its sponge is not as dynamic as those present in ESN rubbers.
It’s not dense like the sponge of the Hurricane 3 NEO or the Friendship 729 Super FX, but it isn’t lively by any means, at least not in this 39-degree variant.
Thus, the Big Dipper performs pretty much as I would expect from a hard Chinese rubber. It just has a bit of extra kick.
The Big Dipper, in my opinion, is not a hybrid rubber like people say. It’s more like a modern take on the classic Chinese rubber.
The Big Dipper has a relatively low throw, it is tacky and hard as a rock. Thus, it’s quite hard to use, and only players who know how to hit the ball hard will be able to benefit from using this rubber.
It plays as you would expect from a classic Chinese rubber but its throw is not as flat and it’s a bit faster in the passive game.
We tested the Big Dipper solely on the forehand side since it’s undoubtedly too hard and slow for the vast majority of players on the backhand side.
Even the box says that this is a forehand rubber. Using the Big Dipper on the backhand side is not recommended.
Driving and looping
Driving and looping is an area of strength of the Yinhe Big Dipper, however, it does have its drawbacks.
The Big Dipper is good for drives since it feels really stable and controlled.
It instills confidence in the player in the sense that you can hit quite hard and feel like you won’t miss the table. There’s virtually no catapult effect, the rubber is linear and its throw is rather low.
In terms of looping, you get what you put into the shot. If your swing speed is average, you won’t get much power on the ball, at least with the 39 degrees version. The 38-degree version would perform better in these shots.
Regular 70% speed loops were quite slow with this rubber and it was very hard to play shots past my opponent with speed.
Its relative lack of pace was very evident when playing matches. The Big Dipper doesn’t generate much power if you don’t hit the ball with all your force.
If you hit the ball hard, however, you can get decent amounts of speed and excellent levels of spin.
The plus side is that the Big Dipper will virtually never bottom out because of its hardness.
You can keep adding more and more acceleration and you’ll get more and more quality on your shots.
In terms of counter topspins, the Big Dipper is really good at countering away from the table.
It doesn’t lack speed since you’re hitting hard and it has lots of stability. You feel like you can’t miss the table.
When countering close to the table, the Big Dipper is slightly more unforgiving than average because of its medium-low throw, but this is something you can get used to.
What the Big Dipper truly excels at is spin shots. Because of its tackiness and speed levels, you have lots of time on the ball. The Big Dipper’s dwell time is a lot longer than that of ESN rubbers.
The Big Dipper shines at open-ups and brushed loops. When going for an open-up or a brushed loop, you can graze the ball and load it with as much spin as you want because of its tackiness and dwell time.
Serve and receive
Serving and receiving is amazing with the Big Dipper.
Due to the Big Dipper’s tackiness, it’s very easy to keep serves short and low to the net.
My serves with the Big Dipper were incredibly spinny, and they were noticeably spinnier than my serves with the Fastarc G-1.
You can accelerate into the ball as fast as you want and not worry about your serves drifting long, so you can imprint huge amounts of spin on the ball.
Serving backspin with the Big Dipper is a great idea.
Backspin serves create a winning tactic since they’ll carry very heavy backspin, forcing mistakes and preventing your opponent from attacking.
Your opponents will push the ball and you can open up with your forehand, which creates tons of spin.
Open-ups and serves are two of the Big Dipper’s main strengths, so these two characteristics work together to make the Big Dipper a great 3rd ball attack rubber.
Receiving with the Big Dipper is great. You can play safe and high-quality flicks and pushes. Flicks are super stable but you should hit the ball with good acceleration if you want to get power on the ball.
Touching short is effortless. Short pushes stay very short and low to the net because of the Big Dipper’s tackiness.
Pushing long is also very good, and you can control the depth of your pushes with ease.
Blocking and chopping
Blocking with the Big Dipper was outstanding.
The Big Dipper has great stability, control, and a medium-low throw. I felt like it was very hard to miss a block with this rubber.
One particular thing I noticed with the Big Dipper is that sometimes blocks would come back at the attacker in a really weird way.
It sometimes happens that blocking with Chinese rubbers produces a strange effect, and this was particularly true with the Big Dipper.
My training partner mentioned that shots blocked with the Big Dipper returned in a weird way. I gave him my bat with the Big Dipper and looped against his blocks.
The thing is that the Big Dipper is not grippy, it’s just tacky. Sometimes, the rubber will kill the spin on the ball, returning a relatively fast no-spin ball.
Tacky rubbers don’t grab the ball as grippy rubbers do, so passive blocks can sometimes trouble the opponent because the ball comes back relatively fast and “dead”.
If you perform a passive block, the Big Dipper will neutralize the energy of the shot, returning almost a float ball.
I would say that chopping is another of the main strengths of the Big Dipper. Chops were really consistent and carried tons of spin.
Due to the Big Dipper’s dwell time, I could get a lot of time on the ball. The ball doesn’t shoot out fast as it does with European rubbers, so you can imprint lots of spin on the ball.
Overall reflections on the Yinhe Big Dipper
The Yinhe Big Dipper was very different to what I expected.
The Big Dipper was strong in the areas I thought it’d be weak, and vice versa.
I was surprised that the Big Dipper was such a great blocking, chopping, and serving rubber.
However, I must admit that I expected it to be a faster, more dynamic rubber. The Big Dipper is a lot closer to Chinese rubbers than it is to European rubbers.
In my opinion, it is a stretch to call the Big Dipper a hybrid rubber. The Big Dipper is quite similar to the Hurricane 3 NEO, really. It just has a touch more speed and a more forgiving parabola.
The main advantage of the Big Dipper is spin shots. It truly excels at brushed loops, serves, and chops. If your playstyle revolves around serving with tons of spin and opening up, the Big Dipper is a strong option to consider.
Conversely, if you’re a chopper, I think the Big Dipper is also a very good choice.
I would have liked the Big Dipper to have more pace in the mid gears. Loops played in a match situation were often not fast enough to compromise my opponent. At times, I felt that the only weapon I had was the spin I could generate, and it was hard to close out points.
As I said before, I highly recommend opting for the 38-degree variant. I think the 39-degree Big Dipper is a bit too hard for its own good.
All in all, the Big Dipper is a very balanced rubber that plays like a slightly livelier and more forgiving version of the classic Chinese rubber.
Alvaro’s been playing Table Tennis since he was 15 and is now ranked within the top 200 in his native Argentina. He loves to compete in provincial tournaments and is always looking for ways to improve. Alvaro made his favourite memories with a racket in hand, and he joined the RacketInsight team to share his passion with other players!
Blade: Tibhar Stratus Power Wood | Forehand: Nittaku Fastarc G-1 | Backhand: Rasanter R42
Playstyle: Forehand Looper