Mitsubishi KuroKage Driver Shaft Review
In 2014 Mitsubishi reintroduced the Bassara V shaft as the dealer only KuroKage. It is a great looking shaft, Blue ion finished. It has a great history, this was Lorena Ochoa’s shaft. Many years ago I fit a great many of these. It is a Diamana Blue with about a half degree more torque. The radial consistency of all the samples measured was 99.6% with a 0.3% standard deviation. Translation, excellent. Install this shaft in any orientation, use it in a rotating hosel. Shaft to shaft consistency; as good as it gets, the fitter and the shaft your club gets built with will be indistinguishable from each other.
If you are familiar with the Misubishi Blue Board design, you know this shaft. In a former life it looked like this:
Some of the shafts I measured for this review came from the fitters that were still in my shop. I was impressed that many years ago when this shaft was first available that the radial quality was exceptional.
Mitsubishi Fubuki Zeta & Fubuki Zeta Tour Driver Golf Shafts
Callaway Big Bertha 2014 Stock Driver Shafts
Several years ago Mitsubishi Rayon created shaft models for the golf club manufacturers that no longer said ‘made for’ on them. These designs closely resemble the Mitsubishi Rayon premium shafts. The Fubuki Zeta and Fubuki Zeta Tour continue this tradition. The driver market has settled in on a $400 price point and many premium shafts range from $300 to $850. For some, these prices are justified by performance, for others, they are not.
The 2014 Callaway Big Bertha stock shaft is the Fubuki Zeta or simply Fubuki Z. For those that are familiar with Mitsubishi Rayon golf shafts, the shaft design is indicated by the little letter that is left of the weight. The Fubuki Z is indeed a quality shaft, it is just not made in the Mitsubishi Japanese facility. While many of the great shafts of the highest quality are made in Japan, other production facilities around the world are capable of the same level of quality. And many have put in place stringent quality control standards that assure only quality products go out the door. What I have measured in the review samples of the Fubuki Z and ZT indicate this is certainly true on this line of shafts. Radial consistency of the Fubuki Z was 98.8% with a 0.7% standard deviation and 99.4% with a 0.4% standard deviation for the Fubuki ZT. These are outstanding numbers as they should be for a shaft offered in a driver with a rotating hosel. Shaft alignment is not a concern with these shafts. Shaft to shaft consistency is not the same as the awesome quality seen in the Mitsubishi Japan productions, but it is respectable.
The Fubuki Z looks to me much like the Fubuki Alpha. The Fubuki series has been around for quite some time, starting with the Fubuki Tour, then the Fubuki Alpha and most recently the Fubuki K. I have a lot of experience fitting the Alpha. It launches a litter higher than average with a bit more spin. The difference between the Fubuki Zeta and the Alpha is torque. The Fubuki Zeta has about a half degree more torque through out the shaft than the premium Fubuki Alpha. If you demo the Fubuki Zeta and think a little tighter dispersion will come from tighter torque, the Fubuki Alpha is available as a $150 upgrade from Callaway.
The Fubuki Zeta Tour is the stock shaft in the 2014 Callaway Big Bertha Alpha. The profile is similar to the Fubuki Z. The balance point is shifted upward slightly allowing for swing weigh to be maintained with a heavier head. Other than the balance shaft, there is very little difference between the Fubuki Z and ZT. Both are available and interchangeable in a Callaway fitting cart.
An interesting $150 upgrade option from Callaway is the Fubuki K. The Fubuki K resembles the Diamana W series, with a mid shaft stiffness bump creating a lower launch lower spin ball flight.
Mitsubishi Diamana W-Series Third Generation White Board
The third generation Diamana White Board is a departure from previous designs. Like many shafts in the 2013-2014 season of super low launch head designs, it creates a higher launch tendency presentation of the head to the ball.
Three Generations of Diamana White Designs Compared
There was little change between the first generation Diamana White Board and the second generation ‘ahina. Torque was unchanged, weight went down slightly as the era of higher density materials began. A stiffer tip area required an adjustment to the mid section of the shaft and a quicker loss of stiffness in the mid-tip transition zone.
In the third generation Mitsubishi Diamana W Series we see a huge change in the EI profile of the shaft. The Tip to Butt ratio, a simple indicator of launch tendency is unchanged, but the path there is quite different. The signature profile of the White Board, and its cousin, the Mitsubishi Fubuki Alpha, a mid shaft bump in stiffness is gone. What we see now is a profile that is similar to many shafts, a consistent loss of stiffness from butt to tip. The signature mid shaft bump is still there, albeit lower and softer. And, unlike previous generations, there is a slight but significant change in profile as the Diamana W series gets heavier.
UltraLight vs 50 gram models
A 50 gram version has been added to the line. The Diamana W series 50 gram model have higher torque, consistent with creating feel in a light weight shaft. The tips are softer, and in looks much like a stouter version of the ultralight Bassara W series. The line between ultra light shafts and light weight versions of standard Mitsubishi models is blurred with the introduction of 50 gram shafts in both the Diamana W and Diamana B shafts. The Bassara models extend down to 40 gram models, but the 50 gram Diamana’s bridge the gap between the 50 gram Bassara’s and the 60 gram Diamana’s.
Radial quality of all the review samples was excellent. The Diamana W series is suitable for rotating hosels without any regard for alignment. As you can see from the chart above, it does not get any better than this.
Range testing is underway and will publish later this week.
Mitsubishi KURO KAGE Silver with TiNi
The Mitsubishi Kuro Kage Silver has been updated in 2013 with the addition of 8 inches of Titanium Nickel Wire wrapped into the tip section of the shaft. The graphics are slightly different and the tip bears the TiNi logo used on Mitsubishi shafts with Titanium Nickel wire tip reinforcement. The KuroKage line was the first of the Mitsubishi products to use high density pregreg, The Kuro Kage shafts have this high density material added to the lower third of the shaft.
The EI Bend Profile Signature is similar to the Fubuki K. The Fubuki K and its predecessor, the Fubuki Tour continue to stiffen from 11″ to the tip, while the Kuro Kage Silver softens. Both have a slight mid zone stiffness bump, like the Diamana White Board with that bump occurring closer to the tip in the Kuro Kage Silver to promote a little higher launch.
While this is a mid priced shaft, $300 MSRP, in the Mitsubishi family of golf shafts you would not know that by looking at the radial quality. I cannot ever remember having 6 shafts in my hand that at most, varied by 1 CPM from hard to soft plane. Awesome. In a marketplace where every driver shaft has a rotating hosel, we should expect no less. And this shaft proves the manufacturing technology exists. What we do see in the Kuro Kage Silver TiNi is slightly higher torque in the R & S flex models than the Diamana and Fubuki series. Evidence of player profiling design, the players using the R & S will load the shaft less and get more feel from higher torque. Those using the X flex models need the control of low torque.
KURO KAGE SILVER Range Test
The difference between the previous version of the KUROKAGE Silver and the 2014 model is the addition of 8 inches of Titanium Nickel wire in the tip section. That gave us an opportunity to test the fiber by comparing the two shafts with a PGA tour quality ball striker, Mark Maness.
As you can see from this composite FlightScope report, the TiNi material did indeed add distance, reducing launch and spin with a slight increase in club head speed. Mark commented during the tests that the tip of the Kuro Kage with the TiNi felt more stable. That in a shaft with a softer tip than he has in his gamer. Its always nice to see that a technical improvement in a golf product actually results in improved performance and is not just more marketing hype.
Mitsubishi Diamana B-Series Third Generation Blue Board
The third generation of the Mitubishi Blue Board, the B-Series released in late 2012. The original graphics show on the bottom is sold in Asia. A revised graphic, the top image, toning down the floral pattern is sold elsewhere. Same shaft. The Blue Diamana was to my knowledge the first of the Diamana Family of shafts. My first encounter was in a Taylor Made TP driver. It was the beginning of a long lasting relationship. The Diamana Blue profile has been one of Mitsubishi’s best sellers. It is butt stiff / mid soft / tip stiff. The profile has been copied by most brands as one of their models. The second generation Diamana Blue was the Kai’li. It was the first of the Mitsubishi Diamana shafts to use a wrapping technique called Multi Dimensional Interlay. All the the second generation Diamana’s, the Kai’li, Ahina and ilima featured stiffer tip sections than the first generation designs which resulted in longer sections of uniform stiffness. The Kai’li refined the original Diamana Blue profile with a slightly stiffer butt and tip.
In all the Mitsubishi Shafts, weight and stiffness from shaft to shaft ascend uniformly. That means the 70 S shaft is stiffer than the 60 S as you can see in this illustration. This makes it easy for a fitter to move from weight to weight, knowing the bend profile of the shaft does not change. Not all brands follow this design choice. Some change profile with weight.
The third generation Diamana Blue takes the stiffness of the design up a notch.
With the release of the KuroKage model in 2012, Mitsubishi introduced a high density prepreg using more fiber and less resin. The PR talked about adding strength by changing the proportion of fiber to resin. This technology is now being used in the third generation Diamana B-Series. . What I see is a 10 gram weight reduction. The 50 gram B-Series is the same as the 60 gram Kaili. Same stiffness, same bend profile, but 10 grams lighter. Look at the previous chart to understand this. Recall how the Mitsubishi shafts ascend in weight and stiffness. Now, just ratchet the profiles up a notch, lighter is now stiffer. And I am now fitting the player I would have put into the 60 gram Kai’li into the 50 gram Diamana B. The Diamana-B series in available in a wider weight range than former models. 50 gram R, S and X flex shafts are now available.
Where we do see a difference is in torque. The 50 gram shafts have 1/2 degree more torque than the 60 gram models. Still in an acceptable range, 3.0 tip, 4.2 butt in the 50 S. As shafts get lighter, they generally need more torque to transmit feel. With the mix of Kai’li and the B-Series in a fitting cart, the Mitsubishi fitter has an interesting range of options in the search for the perfect fit. The Blue Board design is the a perfect fit for the golfer with a quick tempo and aggressive transition. I view it as a neutral launch, not biased toward high or low. With the addition of a 50 gram model, the gap between the Ultra Lite driver shafts and the typical 60 gram shaft has been bridged.
MITSUBISHI FUBUKI IRON SHAFTS
Introduced in 2011, the Fubuki iron shaft is a member of a family of shafts from Mitsubishi Rayon that include driver, fairway, hybrid and iron. The EI curves, by design, are quite similar. With the current buzz created by top PGA tour players using graphite iron shafts, it is easy to forget that premium graphite has been around for quite some time. The Fubuki AX irons shafts are designated 375, a 75 gram shaft and 425, a 85 gram shaft. With an installed price of around $120 each it was never that popular. Distribution is through Mitsubishi authorized club building distributors. In its limited weight range, it is one of the smoothest shafts available. The quality is outstanding, shaft to shaft profiles are consistent in the sets and the profiles are consistent among the three models.
The stiffness change from butt to tip is uniform, firming up mid shaft into a 12 inch long stiff tip. I see the Diamana Blue Board profile when I look at this. The firm bend profile in the tip is complimented by low torque. This creates good dispersion control in a light weight carbon fiber golf shaft. Radial consistency is outstanding, meaning no benefit to alignment. If your looking for a soft flex, light weight iron golf shaft with a stable tip, it does not get any better than this.
Mitsubishi KuroKage Driver Golf Shafts
The Mitsubishi Kuro Kage (Black Shadow) shipped to dealers in Mid March, 2012. The pregreg has less resin and more fiber, making a design that was not possible in the past. This was the first of the Mitsubishi shafts to use high density prepreg. High density prepreg was later used in the third generation Diamana B.
The Kuro Kage TiNi is a tour quality shaft Mitsubishi. It exhibits the extremely smooth profile and low torque one would expect in a $400 product. The KuroKage Black and Silver are budget priced $175 shafts from Mitsubishi. Like the second brand of a vineyard, a great shaft, but not quite the tight torque typical on the premium models.
All of the KuroKage’s measured had excellent radial consistency.
KuroKage Proto TiNi
The KuroKage Proto TiNi is available only through selected Mitsubishi dealers. The profile is almost a dead match to the third generation Diamana B until 12 inches from the tipl There, the KuroKage TiNi has a softer, more reactive tip. Perhaps a good solution for low spin driver head that have taken the low spin concept a bit to far. Radial consistency is excellent. Tip torque on the 60S is 2.5, butt torque, 3.4. Again, very similar to the third generation Diamana Blue.
The KuroKage Black has the same profile as the KuroKage TiNi, until it gets to the tip. There is where we can see the difference. The stiffness humps slightly at 12 inches, then turns softer. Tip torque ranges from 5.0 in the 50A to 2.2 in the 70X. Butt torque ranges from 5.2 in the 50A to 2.9 in the 70X. The 70 gram shaft is the stock shaft in the Adams Golf 2013 Super S fairway. The low tip torque numbers of the 70 gram versions indicate a low dispersion shaft in a fairway head I regard as one of the best in the business.
The KuroKage Silver release a few months after the KuroKage Black. Its profile is a close match to the original Diamana White Board. It is a low launch design, differing from the Diamana White board in torque. The KuroKage 60S tip torque is 3.1 compared to the original White Board at 2.0.
Mitsubishi KuroKage Hybrid Golf Shafts
The Mitsubishi KuroKage is a 2012 mid season design targeted at a mid price range. The specs on the shaft are in keeping with Mitsubishi Rayon’s tradition of maintaining high quality on any shaft that bears their name. The torque ranges from 3.2 on the 80R to 2.3 on the Proto 100 X. Radial quality is excellent.
The long stiff tip with torques ranging from 2.3 to 1.9 indicate a shaft capable of delivering tight dispersion and distance control. The KuroKage family of Mitsubishi Rayon Golf Shafts is available to club builders. The street price of the Hybrids is $80. The KuroKage Black profile, shown below, resembles the Diamana Blue design.
Mitsubishi Fubuki Ax Hybrid Golf Shafts
The Fubuki Hybrid Ax was redesigned in 2011 to be slightly softer than the previous model. It fits in to the stiffness and weight gap between the Bassara UltraLight and the Diamana Thump. The stiffness of the shaft is a perfect match to the other Fubuki Alpha driver and the Fubuki AX fairway shafts. Weights range from 70 to 80 grams, putting it in a unique range for a low torque hybrid. The tip torque is 2.1 and the butt torque, 2.9. Radial consistency is excellent, with several of the shafts measuring at 100%.
Around 13″ from the tip, the stiffness of this shaft turns up. This has become a popular design, it adds a degree or two of launch without sacrificing dispersion control. This shaft was stock in the Adams Golf Super XTD Hybrid in 2012. That club gives the golfer the experience of a truly great aftermarket shaft in a hybrid golf club costing not much more than the shaft itself.
Mitsubishi Diamana D+ & S+ Hybrid Golf Shafts
The Mitsubishi Diamana plus series introduced in late 2012. We will no longer be seeing the designation ‘made for …’ on stock golf shafts. The + series is the new ‘made for’ design. The profiles shown are bumpy because a single shaft of each model was measured. In the S+ blue shaft we are seeing a higher launch than the D+ gray shaft.
The familiar Diamana logo is there, but we are looking at they typical high torque, lower quality shaft we have seen in the ‘made for… ‘ shafts in the past. That said, the torque of these hybrids was respectable, tips at 2.4 and 1.9, butts at 3.2 and 2.6 on the blue and white respectively.