Tuesday, 3 June 2008

Carlton Badminton Rackets

Carlton badminton rackets are one of the most popular badminton manufacturers around today. They differ from Yonex because they only deal in badminton, so they have coined the phrase "specialists at speed". I must admit, i am a Carlton fan, and i have used their rackets down the years. The new Carlton range includes the Fireblades and the Aeroblades. These rackets replaced the Powerblades and the Airblades. Got that? Now, because Carlton have introduced the new ranges, it means there are savings to be made on the older rackets. My personal choice is the Airblade Tour, which you can pick up for around £30-£40 from the right places.

Carlton have suffered in the past from quality problems, especially with the shafts and handles. I have had a few that have twisted in the area where the shaft is joined to handle. A little super glue usually does the trick, although they do tend to replace them if you kick up a fuss. The Airblade Tours are especially prone to this as i have learned from experience. What Carlton offer are well designed badminton rackets, and in my opinion, they are a great alternative to Yonex. They are also a bit cheaper, so if you are on a budget you could be onto a winner here.

Ok, let's look at the Fireblade series first. There are six rackets in this series:-

CARLTON FIREBLADE ELITE/ISO ELITE

The technical jargon states that this is made from nanopulse carbon. Normal carbon made rackets have billions of tiny little voids between the fibres, but the new nanopulse carbon has a nano resin that binds the fibres together, giving more stability and consistency. This results in a pulse of energy on impact, which gives more power and control. This sounds great, but Carlton are basically now saying that all their previous rackets lacked stability and consistency!

The more important things we need to know are that it weighs 84grams, has a head heavy balance and has an extra stiff rating. There are two different head shapes, the classic head shape and the isometric head shape. This is a new offering from Carlton, as they have usually never had isometric head shapes in the UK.

This badminton racket is unforgiving, being extra stiff. The head heavy balance will help you generate a bit more power from the back of the court, but you will lose a bit of manouverability at the front with a head heavy balance. If your looking for a bit of help delivering power then go for the isometric haed shape, it gives a slightly bigger sweet spot. Expect to pay around £80.

CARLTON FIREBLADE TOUR

This is made from the same technology as the Elite, but only has the classic head shape as far as i can see. It is used by Nathan Robertson if this is any help to you. It weighs 86grams, so it's a bit heavier than the Elite, and it has an even balance and a stiff flex rating. The marketing crap says it is designed for the player who combines offensive and defensive tactics. A bit of an all rounder then. This racket is a bit more forgiving than the Elite.

CARLTON FIREBLADE S-LITE/ISO S-LITE

Features an extra head light balance, weighs 84grams and has a medium flex rating. This is aimed at defensive players due to the head light balance and the light weight. It will be a little more difficult to generate power with this racket due to the light weight, but the medium flex will help a little bit. However, this medium flex will take away some of the control, the racket will flex more on impact.

CARLTON FIREBLADE ISO S-LITE GAIL EMMS

As used by Gail Emms, it weighs 84grams, has a head light balance and a flexible rating. This is quite interesting. Can we match the racket with the style of player? Gail Emms is arguably one of the best net players in mixed doubles play, her achievements back this up. You would think that Gail would need a racket that will give her the maximum amount of control, as she plays most of her shots in and around the net. But this racket has a flexible flex rating, meaning it will not offer the most control, in theory it will offer the least amount of control. Flexible badminton rackets are usually aimed at beginners, as they offer more forgivness towards power. The head light balance would make sense, as this will aid reflex shots in fast, flat rallies. You would expect that a player like Gail Emms would choose a very stiff flex for more control at the net. The trade off would be less power from the rear court, but if the tactics are right, she would not be spending too much time there.

This example just shows that this technical stuff can be misleading. You must choose your racket so that you are comfortable with it, no matter what the marketing people tell you. If it feels right for you, then that is the most important factor.

CARLTON AEROBLADE SERIES

There are seven rackets in this range as far as i can tell. We have the Aeroblade Ti/ISO Ti, the Aeroblade TT/ISO TT, the Aeroblade FX/ISO FX, and the Aeroblade Carbon TT. Prices range from around £56 for the TT, £42 for the FX, and £30 for the Ti rackets. You can get good discounts on this range, but the Fireblade series has sold like hot cakes, many of them are out of stock, from a quick look at the online badminton stores. High demand means you will be lucky to get any discounts on the Fireblade range.

Look for the now obselete Airblade range for the best discounts, that's what i do, although in the future i will probably look at the Fireblade range when the Airblade Tour's become harder to get hold of. In future posts i will look at all the other badminton rackets from the many different manufacturers.

7 comments:

Les from ukwinefinder.com said...

Antony, which Carlton rackets would you recommend for a 13 year old?

I know the shaft needs to be fexible, and have spotted the following offers which look like bargains:

Iso Graphite £24.99
Iso Pro £39.99

Any advice gratefully received.

antony said...

Les
Sorry i have not got back to you, i must have missed your comment. Both of those rackets will do just fine, in fact i would probably go with the cheapest one because kids can change their minds very quickly as you probably know! At that age it's all about just playing and getting used to hitting the shuttle properly, and Carlton badminton rackets are among the best value for monay, i play with them as well.

Huy said...

Hi Atony,

It's me again. I've just read this thread and some of the great reviews of Carlton Airblade Tour.

Find it really interesting. It this the ONE: http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/Carlton-Airblade-Tour-badminton-racket-RRP-170_W0QQitemZ290275309013QQcmdZViewItemQQptZUK_Sporting_Goods_Badminton?hash=item290275309013&_trksid=p3286.c0.m14&_trkparms=72:1298|66:2|65:12|39:1|240:1318

Is this still a decent racket since it was made some time ago? Can u briefly tell me the functions of this one (for smasher or defenser or all rounder)? 3U or 4U?

Generally, I wanna to improve to be an arounder (a bit more offense than defense, let's say 60% of offense and 40% of defense), dies this racket suit me?

Can you tell me a bit about Carlton brand? made in uk or china or somewhere else?

At last, what is the good deal and where can we get that? my friend promise me to send me this as Xmas gift. So eager... waiting for ur reply.

Thks and thks a lot

HP

Badminton Rackets said...

What's the best thing about Carlton brand? i have been playing badminton for 3 years now and my brand has always been Yonex. I'd be waiting for your response. More power to you and to your site.

antony said...

HI there "badminton rackets" ie the SEO guy for apacs-sports.co.uk? Hehe!

Fiona said...

So many interesting entries on this blog. Nice of Apacs to send you all the free rackets! I think I actually arrived at this site while looking up Tactic rackets but I only found out about them 'cos I was looking for a new racket bag... I love an internet meander but finding this site has been an eye-opener.

Anyway, I have a Carlton Aeroblade Ti as a spare racket. I did have a Carlton Fireblade as my main racket, sadly it didn't survive a run in with a Forza LEAD racket ;)

My main racket is now a Yonex Arcsaber 10 (Peter Gade Edition) which has been strung to a high tension. Some nights it works like a charm but other nights, I chuck it to one side for the Aeroblade which is less tightly strung and cost a fifth of what the Yonex did! It's definitely old reliable.

One other thing that I sometimes find effects my game psychologically is my grip - on the Yonex, I have a duo grip and there are times when the extra ridge gets on my nerves so I revert to the Carlton with a single colour grip and it feels more natural. I'll definitely avoid the duo grip next time around but may opt for the love grip, I had one put on my tennis racket and it's very comfortable.

Anyway, after reading all these reviews, I've decided I want another fall back racket. You know what though, I'm not sure I can be *rsed with all the head heavy, stiff flex palava so I've just decided I want a RED racket! I can be such a girl sometimes :)

Thanks for your insight into the world of badminton rackets/ string tension/ shoes (I have Yonex SHB85 - they're pretty decent) / where to shop / etc. keep up the good work - on and off court.

antony said...

Hi Fiona

Thanks for the nice comments. Hope you enjoy your badminton!