In the past year we have seen several introductions of steel shafts in the 105 to 115 gram range. I think the reason for this is that the foray into the super light weight 85 to 90 gram steel shafts has not been all that successful, but let’s save that for another discussion. We reviewed the True Temper 105 and 115 shafts against the KBS Tour 105. While we did not do a comparison to the KBS C-Taper Lite and Nippon 950 GH, I will share my thoughts on where those two shafts fit with the XP 105, XP 115 and Tour 105.
First, all tests were done with a Mizuno MP-15 6 iron and a Callaway Chrome Soft ball. The shaft lengths and flexes were within the tolerances of our testers.
Launch Angle: Launch angles for the KBS Tour 105 R, S, and X were .5-.7* lower than the XP 115 R and S. Both the XP and KBS 105 are mid-launch shafts.
Spin Rate: Both the KBS Tour 105 and XP 105 and 115 exhibited mid-spin and were within 50 rpm of each other at roughly 5200 rpm.
Feel: While this is a subjective measure, our testers ranked the XP 105 and 115 better in feel both during the swing and at impact than the KBS Tour 105.
Design: KBS shafts get their stiffness in general as the shaft gets heavier. This could be either from increasing wall thickness or butt diameter, or both. The design of the XP shaft allows the shafts to get progressively stiffer without adding a significant amount of weight. The KBS Tour 105 R, S and X weigh 105, 110, and 115 while the XP 105 R and S weigh 106 and 107 and the XP 115 R, S, X weigh 113, 115 and 117 respectively. So, with the XP you get the weight you want rather than getting heavier as the shafts get stiffer in flex.
Overall, our testers were pleased with the results of both XP and KBS shafts but the final vote was in the corner of the XP 105 and 115.
Other considerations would be ball flight and spin, in which case you would want to consider the C-Taper Lite for lower ball flight and spin or the Nippon 950 for higher launch and spin in the same weight class. That is why you should go to an experienced clubfitter with a wide variety of shaft options before you make your final decision!