Author Topic: Mr Babache 'ALU ST' 'ST Flex '& 'CARBON' 'Diabolo Stick' - thoughts/mini test  (Read 18412 times)


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I sometimes help out Butterfingers at festivals and conventions, I sometimes get the chance to play with some equipment before it makes it onto the market. I haven't been over to Butterfingers since last year but today I received a package of handsticks in the post and a request to test them and report back. I thought I might as well tell the forum about them as well.

Steph kindly sent me 2 sets of sticks, 1 set of aluminiums (Alu ST 50) and a set of  carbons. Here are my initial thoughts.

I'm an ally man at heart so I'll start with these. They are very similar to the Henrys Aluminiums (that I have used for 5+ years) with a few tweaks.

Alu ST
They come in the usual Babache packaging of a plastic sleeve with an instruction sheet and 1 length of Babache coloured string.   
They seem to be improving the instructions these days, they have some handy little hints on what knots to use, how to deal with the excess string and a hint about what to do about knicks. All fairly obvious stuff really but still not a bad idea if you realise that it's not allways hardcore diaboloists buying these products. I might slightly disagree with the lengths of string advised for different numbers of diabolos but it's nice to point out that diaboloists do use different lengths of strings (no more 4' high kids with 6' long strings :) )

When I first saw a picture of these sticks I was a bit worried by the look of the handles, they looked pretty chunky but now I've tried them they're not that huge. The handles feel a touch chunkier than the Henrys allys but feel better and smoother than the Babache 'classic' foam grips. (IMHO)
The grips sat in my hands well, I hold sticks pretty lightly and these contoured grips lock into my palm and the skinny bit feels like it will stop slippages and prove useful when catching an inverted stick (suicides etc). The ends of the grips extend further than the internal metal bit so know more 'donk' when the end hits the ground :P
The Mr B line on the grips is 'Ergonomic handle for little and big hands' - I'm looking at them more as a grown up and someone who looks at props in detail but the 10/11 year old beginners who used these sticks at todays workshops seemed to find them comfortable enough.

The method of string adjustment is similar to the Henrys method. Where as Henrys have an angled hole to insert the string the Babache ones have the hole drilled in at 90 deg with a secondary slot at an angle. It's a small change in the design but a useful one. I like to have my string rotating if possible. It usually takes some messing about with a lighter or a worry about a slim knot pulling through but I got spinning string first go with these (with chubby Mr B string). The slot also makes getting the string out again nice and handy.

For those that care about these kind of things, the balance and grip size etc. feel pretty nice for flipping and twiddling

I didn't have any Henrys allys with me to compare in general use today at work but to me they felt pretty similar. I haven't done a side by side check for size/weight etc but here are the stats from the packaging.

Length 32cm
dia 7mm
weight 30 grms/pce

(online non Henrys stats for Henrys Allys = 33cm long 86g/set)

Colours, silver with white or black handles
anodised to be released later(?)

Pretty cool sticks, Think I'll be using these a lot.

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I first tried these at the EJC. They seemed nice enough to me then although I'm only an occasional user on plastic sticks.
I think Mr B has done a long run of testing with these so hopefully they come to market with the kinks worked out.
I dont own any Henrys Carbons so I'm comparing these with Henrys Fibres and Sundia  Carbons.

The grips are the same as you find on their Alu ST so no real problems there,
they are a touch shorter than Henrys shorts and the tubing is to my eyes a touch thinner.

The 2 main ways in which these sticks differ from other carbons is the use of a screw end cap to attach the string and the the use of a solid carbon rod thru the length of the stick within a protective sleeve. I'm hoping the use of a solid carbon rod reduces the chance of snapping. The sleeve appears to be a touch harder than the sleeve on my fibres.

Attaching the string was a doddle, I got nice rotating string and the end caps appear to be an improvement on the energy/xtreme versions.
I thought I might get some string hangups but so far I haven't really. I'll report back on this with further use.

On a flex front, they are less flexy than the fibres but not as stiff as the Sundias. I'm guessing they might be between Henrys Carbon and fibres for stiffness but I cant check that out just now.

They play nice enough. Sit well in my hand and behave like other plastic sticks of a similar size. The cheap part of me likes the fact that I won't be wasting (sorry Ceri Anne) the extra string other sticks have running thru the middle. Also I won't be worrying about having the knot pulling thru into the tubing.
Time will tell about how they last lonterm but I havent felt like I should be nursing them. I'l see about finding somebody at the juggling club who might have some thoughts about how they measure up to the old school sticks and report back.

They gring really nice and smoothly for those who like that kind of thing.

They come with a length of Mr Babache string and decent instructions with tips for which knots to use, use of teflon tape if you get loose ends with protacted use, advice on stringlength etc.

From the packaging
Length 34cm
Dia (shaft) 7mm, tip 9.5mm
Weight 30 grms/pce

(online non Henrys stats for Henrys carbon short = 35cm long 62g/set)

Classic: all black, all white.
Contrast: white and black, black and white.
Color Classic: orange or yellow shaft, black or white handles
(white, yellow and orange shafts UV reactant)

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view of ends

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Comparision with Henrys Fibre short and Sundia carbons.

Steph says that the sticks are available now on the Butterfingers site. The Black and Purple G4's are also in stock now. The New finesse hub kits soon and the titanium sticks due anytime.
Other shops should have these in stock as soon as they order them. 


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great review. it was very informative.

just one question about the aluminum sticks: are they solid or are they hollow? from what you said, they seem to be solid, but you never directly said if they were or not


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Yup solid, simmilar to Henrys Allys


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thank you very much. tis much appreciated


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Cool, thanks for sharing! I'd love to try out the allys :)


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I really appreciate the detailed review and photos. Definitely would like to try out the aluminums.


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i am very concerned with the durability aspect of the carbons from a physics standpoint.

if you attach the string onto the end of the stick, stress is distributed heavily to the middle and end parts, causing more succeptability to breakage.

there is a reason why henrys sticks have the string tied off at the bottom of the stick, that causes even distribution of stress, and a much more even flex to the stick.

my .02 (allys look nice though)
can't believe its not butter


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You're right
I bought my MB carbon sticks on the ejc and only 2,5 months later they broke :(
(nice sticks though)

I would like to try some alus


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@Pieter-jan, they have been working on the sticks since the EJC because of problems like yours, which is why they are being officially released now (6 months after the planned release) so hopefully they won't break as easily.
Time will tell no doubt though but I'm not writing these off just yet but when you get down to it the only stick design I know that doesnt break is the simple ally design


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@ séan
thanks for the information :)
awesome review


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Might get me a set of the carbons they're screw off tops?



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the alu's look awesome, any information when they will hit the shops?
also, are they really lighter than the henrys alus? the data on the babache hp isn't that trustworthy most of the time


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Yeah, the aluminum looks awesome!I really want to use the MB Carbon, i already used the Henrys Carbon...and i think it's pefect, but..just testing to say which one is better.

if anyone have already used both, please leave your opinion!

The day came!I can do 3 diabolos!


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In at least one UK shop that I know off Valium (see first post). They'll be in other shops as soon as they get round to ordering them. Should be a similar deal in other countries distributors get the products from MrB, then whenever the shops they deal with place orders they get them next. But as of now Mr B has released the plain Alu ST and carbons sticks to market.

Took the sticks along to juggling tonight. No other diaboloists there :( but had a decent session, no problems with stick hangups with the carbons doing the stuff I'm into. Allys behaved sweet. I cant wait to get some Henrys Yellow on them though, still not a fan of the soft string.
Part of me feels like I want to go easy on the carbons but to be fair I feel like that with most plastic sticks being an ally user at heart. I think like a few props we use it's down to how you treat your gear.

Guiz, I should be at Chocfest this Saturday (thanks Nev) so I'll have them with me for others to have a go with. Be nice to get some other opinions on them. (especially if there are some string wankers there.)


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Part of me feels like I want to go easy on the carbons but to be fair I feel like that with most plastic sticks being an ally user at heart. I think like a few props we use it's down to how you treat your gear.

to be clear, carbon-fiber is an elemental-material (basically layered graphite, one of the three forms carbon takes) while plastic is either a nylon base or acrylic base where oxygen, hydrogen and carbon could be contained within.

the reason fiber sticks have many breaking problems is because of properties of the graphite at an atomic level. it is amorphous, meaning not every part is uniform, causing weak points within the molecular structures themselves, which makes me even more aware of any durability problems these sticks will have. i dont trust them.

gotta love chemistry.
can't believe its not butter


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A problem with this product or all cf sticks?

To be clearer layered graphite is exactly that, layered graphite, the most obvious example of that is the graphite in pencil lead,

With carbon fibre however there's a bit more to it than that Mike n'est pas? We're not talking about simply carbon here are we? It's a composite material including a 'plastic' (you might want to throw a few other letters that C H and O into a plastics discussion- N, S, Cl?) be that epoxy, polyester, nylon or whatever (who knows there may be some silicone in the mix bringing elastomers to the party). It's disingenuous to break real world engineering materials down to purely elemental properties. And whereas the amorphous properties of graphite have a part to play in this don't forget that there is a macro amorphous aspect to CF which could also be argued to have a bearing on strength. (not even getting into how pure the carbon itself is)

If we were talking about sticks made purely of graphite/carbon I doubt they would have survived the first Chinese snap. We can only hope that a material scientientist/engineer had some say on what particular form of CF* or CFRP (carbon fibre reinforced plastic/polymer) is in use here. wether the fibre is unidirectional or not.
I'm assuming hybrid turbostratic/graphitic form of carbon fibre myself, I won't speculate as to which polymer is in use and whether there's more to the mix on the fibre front, (para-aramid maybe?).
Not to mention if were not comparing apples to oranges here you get 'pure' carbon fibre, and products such as fibreglass wrapped in carbon fibre all coming under a catch all/the gen public doesn't really need to know what they are buying name

But as I say I'm more of an Ally/metal man myself. If I can drag up the old suppressed memories there's probably some tasty stuff about the crystaline props of ally and titanium sticks to be explored.

Bottom line is whether the material will be up to the job. the interesting part for me with the new sticks is the first use of a rod over a tube and the choice to go with an end fitting. The latter and it's bonding being my chief concern. I'd be interested to know if that where Pieter-jans sticks went or if it was the shaft, and if it was the shaft weather this version has has changed enough to limit failure or not.

(2 hated years of inorganic and organic chem. followed by 4 years of engineering study specialising in material science and manufacturing/production technology. with more chemistry, believe me, you don't gotta love chemistry)


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the minute a titanium stick goes on sale i am buying it, my lacrosse stick (titanium) is the most durable thing i have used, which is why i would love a Ti stick
can't believe its not butter


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I would like some glass sticks. The moment they go on sale (I'm pretty confident) I'm snapping them right up.


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I have a pair of titanium handsticks. They're pretty much flawless, except they're too heavy for my taste (a bit more than regular alu's).


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crackers where did u get them from and how much are they?


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