Wednesday, December 06, 2017

New Badminton Racket Launch: Yonex Astrox77

Well, here's where I get a little excited. The new Yonex Astrox 77 boasts a greater ease in swing transition, steeper smash angle and sharper drives. It's designed and built to fit today's fast-paced badminton games, and from what I've experience so far, it's pretty much whatever it promises.

But before I go into the First Impressions, I would like to put up a post to try and explain why this racket might be the next big thing.

All images from www.yonex.com


The rackets packs the heat with a few technologies

  • New type of graphite
  • Rotational Generator System
  • Enhanced sweet spot


With one in hand, and some time on the court with this already, I will attempt to dissect the different marketing claims of the racket.


1. New graphite material - Namd


What it is:
The short of it all is that the new material allows the shaft to flex more during hard swings for more power, and flex less during sharp swings for more accuracy. 

By bonding the resin material directly onto the graphite instead of having them fill up the space in between, the shaft of the Yonex Astrox 77 takes on its dynamic properties that allows for fiercer attack. 

How this translates: 
I definitely feel it on the drives - they hit very quickly and sharply. Even the smashes appear to be a little more steep than usual. For now I do feel that the racket makes a difference when it comes to attacking, to the extent that I look for chances to utilize the drive. 

2. Rotational Generator System


What it is:
Ok Yonex this is a little too much marketing. Even the graphics above are trying a little too hard to explain that this racket is easy to swing around. So basically the "system" works like a swing, where the counter weights at either end contribute to reduce the inertia in reversing the motion - sort of like that perpetual motion device that you buy for your desk.

How it translates:
As campy as it sounds, the system actually works. Although this isn't new to the world of badminton (RSL and Prince both have similar weight distribution systems), the application of this in a complementary style to the flex properties of the shaft makes a rather lethal weapon on the court.

While I've not had the chance to test this racket extensively in doubles play, the ease of turning might actually give your defense game a boost too.

3. Isometric Head Shape


What it is:
This is a timeless classic. When the isometric head shape was introduced to the badminton world it allowed players all over the world to hit harder, faster and more accurately. 

By using a flat top on teh racket head instead of the conventional oval shape, the string bed stretches to increase the sweet spot, allowing a higher repulsion rate for that extra bit of punch in your swings.

How it translates:
The best way to witness the isometric head shape at work is to get your hands on a conventional shaped racket and have a go. You'll notice two things - that your hits aren't as accurate as they used to be, and that they tend to have a little less power than compared to a modern shaped one.


With that said, all that's left is for me to introduce the newest addition to to the Yonex line of rackets - the Astrox 77. 


To sum it all up, the new Yonex Astrox 77 may be very well fitted for the new BWF rulings that make games a matter of attack. With its offensive traits and its quick movement potential, the racket is set to make waves. 

First Impressions soon.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Badminton Racket Review: Yonex Duora Z-Strike

Hey guys, found out some other site's been taking my article wholesale, so be a sport and bookmark the original site - http://everythinggoeshere.blogspot.sg

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First impressions here.

This took awhile didn't it?! Because of the lack of court time I could only get enough experience with the racket now to give a fairly justifiable review.

Given the lack of racket makers now, the speed at which new rackets and innovations are pushed out are sorely lacking compared to back in the days when guys like Hart, Toalson and Prince were in the game.

That leaves Yonex with a lot of leeway to produce and push out innovations like the Duora at their own pace. When the new frame was released I wondered how much it could help with my game.

The Yonex Duora 10 proved to be a little of a disappointment, with my preferring the backhand side of the racket for regular play. I wondered what would happen if I were to use a similarly weighted Victor Bravesword instead.

My sentiments towards the gimmicky innovation carried on to the Z-Strike. The shaft of this one was a little thicker, and the head a lot heavier and bulkier. This was probably to make up for the lack of attacking prowess in the Duora 10.

Having had enough time on the court with this guy, I am going to say that I've not really changed my opinion on the whole Duora thing, but this has a few needed improvements over the Duora 10 that will make it a good addition to a player's arsenal.

Here goes.

Note: This is a review of my experience after using the racket for a few sessions. I am by no means a professional player, and so you should take my judgment with a pinch of salt. I welcome comments of any sorts.

Yonex Duora Z-Strike
Est. Dry Weight: 88g (3U)
Grip Size: G5
Balance: Head Heavy
Stiffness: Stiff
Strings: Yonex Nanogy 98 @ 27lbs

Defense
Not really good, like with any head heavy variants that I've used. If any of you were old enough to have used the Yonex Armortec 900 Power you will find a striking similarity in this racket. The bulk frame does not give much to your movement on the court and the racket speed becomes compromised when you try to lift or move it around for defense.

As someone who prefers the defensive game - turning the tide around with a well-placed block or drive - the Yonex Duora Z-Strike is a little tricky to handle. At times I lift the racket for a block to find that I'm just that little off the ideal hitting spot, resulting in a less effective response.

This is especially relevant when your opponent is coming in at you hard with his attacks, leaving you with less time and more opportunity to get that dreaded frame hit off a defensive attempt. At the end of the day I suppose the racket was built with offense in mind.

Attack
For me the racket was an improvement over the Duora 10, offering several boosts to the head frame construction. It feels surprisingly like a Voltric, and many a times during the course of the review I had wanted to go check it it's a Voltric Duora Z-Strike instead.

First of all the head frame got a boost in thickness. This really gives it a good extra amount of punch when it comes to hitting the shuttle. A slightly thicker shaft also adds to the energy transfer, resulting in a more powerful stroke towards the opponent.

Following the recommendations of the Duora technology, the flat broad side is held as the forehand stroke. This results in a larger downward force (which translates to a larger upward force during defense) on the hit. This really works on the court when you put in a smash, as you can feel a substantial amount of pressure coming from a smash.

People who like to smash will really like this racket. The extended attacking capability of the Yonex Duora Z-Strike is a very good improvement over the more dainty Duora 10.

Control
This is where it gets funny. While heavy racket rackets offer a more stable frame that contributes to better control, I experience a very peculiar phenomenon when swinging with the Z-Strike, particularly on the long clears.

With this racket I am not able to aim my long clears well at all. The shuttle seems to sway very awkwardly to the sides, resulting in a straight out or a less the optimal angle (that means I get attacked). While I can chalk this down to my lack of game time, the same feeling does not come when I switch the racket.

This situation presents itself again when I try to smash down the line. There are times when the shuttle wouldn't be as accurate as I wanted it to.

On netshots and drives the racket performs as a head heavy one should - giving the shuttle a good stable base to bounce off on the soft shots and allowing a great transfer of energy on the fast flats.

Looks
We've not had a white racket for awhile, and the fresh combination of white, black and streaks of orange and red make the Yonex Duora Z-Strike a nice racket to look at. What I can perhaps pick at is the lack of the backhand/forehand decal that was so very helpful in the case of the Duora 10.


Yonex Duora Z-Strike
"The new glass cannon"
Defense: 7
Attack: 9
Control: 8
Looks: 8

Saturday, August 05, 2017

Badminton Racket First Impressions: Mizuno JPX 8.5

Hey there badminton fans! I know it's been awhile since I wrote anything - I've been recovering from a strained knee and haven't been able to play. Seriously think that my time is near and it won't be long till I'm reduced to watching videos and wishing I was prancing on the court instead.

Sad thoughts aside, I've managed to get my hands on the new Mizuno racket. Striking blue and black artwork aside, the racket offers a peculiar head frame shape that produces an odd performance on court.

The shaft is slim and flexes towards to the cone, making it a very nice racket to do those check smashes that I love. As the strings go on the racket and the tension is pulled across the head, the frame sharpens and you're left with a nice sharp head shape akin to the Z-Smash.

It felt lighter than expected on the swing, and there seems to be a little weight loss during the swing. Perhaps it's the sword/box hybrid of the head frame that made it really ergonomic. It doesn't make the sharp swish of the Victor Bravesword, nor the loud woosh of the Yonex Voltric Z-Force.

On the court the strangeness continues. The racket is amazingly efficient for backhands. I repeat - the Mizuno JPX 8.5 gives amazing backhands. I was able to reach any corner of the court without much effort. However, the forehand shots barely reach the end.

What?!

It took me a two games of singles and a lot of hitting to finally get the whole point of it all.

I'll lave you guys to figure out and guess why as I prepare for the review. :)

Coming soon is also my review on the Yonex Duora Z-Strike. Stay tuned!

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Badminton Racket First Impressions: Yonex Duora Z-Strike

Hey guys, found out some other site's been taking my article wholesale, so be a sport and bookmark the original site - https://everythinggoeshere.blogspot.sg

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Because I'm not in tip top condition I find it harder to write reviews and first impressions as often. I usually get down to writing once I feel I have a good grasp of the racket and what it can do.

But enough excuses! You came here to know a little more about the Z-Strike, and know about it you shall! I've had a few sessions on the court with this and am ready to give a quick first impressions on it.

I used the 3U version of the racket, with most of my experience in singles play.

In short, the racket is as unexceptional as its design. The Duora Z-Strike adds the much needed hitting power into its predecessor - the Duora 10 - but that comes at the cost of overall agility and quickness.

Physically, you're looking at a slightly thicker and stiffer shaft than the Duora 10. Being a Z-series racket, the head frame is also pressed in that egg-shaped look. While previous Z=series rackets compensated for the smaller sweet spot with a flexible shaft, the Duora Z-Strike seems to want to turn the formula around to see how it went.

Having the racket in my hand and swinging it around felt clumsy and slow. I wasn't able to get around the shots as quick as I did with my lighter rackets. While the shots were able to come off nicely most of the time, I did find myself throwing a few points with the occasional mishit. Those usually came in when I had to rely more on reaction. Small head frame be damned.

I also found that holding the racket with the right side made a tremendous difference. While this wasn't very prevalent in the Duora 10, the Z-Strike actually performs quite different for me when I hold it the right way.

To recap, the USP for the Yonex Duora rackets is the duo-purpose frame. One side (the forehand) being more boxy (think Yonex Armortec), and the other (the backhand) being more sharp (think Victor Bravesword). This allows the player to throw hard on the forehand for heavier attacks, and also to snap faster on the backhand for more weight.

The heavy weight, stiff shaft, and smaller head frame will make it a nightmare for anyone who's not confident in hitting the sweet spot consistently - but what really makes the difference is the amount of power you can get into one swing. That being said. I would suppose someone with significantly more arm strength than I do will have a grand time with this racket.

While I might be consistent with the hitting, I am in no way ready physically to use this racket to its full potential. Those who share my level of competence in skill, while also being fairly strong in arm strength, can of course give this a try.

I have a feeling it might actually turn out well. Nonetheless, I have better feelings towards this one than the Duora 10. Read my blistering review on the Duora 10 to find out why.

That ends the first impressions. Stay tuned for the full review!

Monday, April 03, 2017

Badminton Racket First Impressions: Yonex Voltric Lin Dan (LD) Force

Hey guys, found out some other site's been taking my article wholesale, so be a sport and bookmark the original site - https://everythinggoeshere.blogspot.sg

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This will be the first of the two rackets that I have lined up for review. I had not wanted to get too many new ones since I can't play at the previous level for awhile, but caved because this racket was too awesome to begin with.

Full on black with silver, red and gold accents, the Yonex Voltric LD Force is the lighter, more manageable variation of the Limited Edition heavy weight. Like all the rackets in the Voltric series, the LD Force has the iconic tri-voltage weights in the top corners as well as the bottom half of the head frame, contributing to an increased swing weight and speed.

The LD Force also has the linked grommet system of its Z-Force 2 brethern, albeit only in the top half of the racket. These I assume will add more weight and support a higher string tension since the linked grommets will prevent the strings from cutting in the racket.

Unlike the Z-Force rackets, the LD Force seems to come in a more flexible shaft, which makes games for beginners like me optimal. Coming off a spine surgery and months of inaction, I am not able to generate enough power in my swings to carry off a match well. The added whip from the shaft of this racket is noticeable and welcome.

Having purchased the 4U version (I got the 3U version of the other racket for review - the Duora Z-Strike) I can also attribute a high defense rating from it's lighter frame. Of course this also meant the attacks from the back suffered a little. Anticipating this, I had it strung with the Yonex BG66 Ultimax at 27lbs.

After an hour on the court today, I could feel the same overwhelming sense of control that comes with the Z-Force family of rackets. The shuttle is extremely obedient, coming off and sticking to the string bed at will. The head heavy orientation and flexible shaft provided much of the attack, while the light weight 4U frame made sure I am not too much of a punching bag.

But like the 4U Z-Force 2, I feel this racket is more suited for doubles play. While packing enough punch for a fast-paced exchange, the lack of full court coverage may prove too much for the singles player.

More time on the court will reveal its true potential. I might actually try to get a proper singles game going for this one.

Till soon!