Fleet badminton rackets have been going since 1985, so they are now fairly well established on the badminton scene. They trade under five different names, these being Fleet, Yehlex, HiQua, apacs and Pro Tech. Why i do not know, but what i do know is that they offer the whole badminton package, ie, rackets, clothing, shuttles, bags, shoes and even stringing machines. Their clothing is unbelievably low priced, they currently sell polo shirts for just £6. I currently use one of Fleet's thermo bags, and i think it cost me £10 about 3 years ago, and it's still going strong, so it is good quality.
All their bats come from Tiawan, from a huge wholesale factory that produces all sorts of sports equipment. I think the owner has landed on his feet here, as this factory does produce good stuff. I have often wondered where all these rackets are made, and it is in the far east. If you can find a good supplier you are onto a winner. Just visit them, tell them what you want and hope they can produce good quality gear. As you buy more, the price goes down, and you make more profit, simple eh? I have thought about this, you know, finding a supplier in the far east, buying a shed load of racktets, and then selling them in the UK. Well this is exactly what Fleet have done. My guess is that this factory mass produces badminton rackets and then a few different companies have their own brand put on them. I reckon that the exact same rackets are in circulation with different graphics for different companies, and all at different prices, for the exact same thing. Makes you wonder eh?
Anyway, back to the Fleet range. The starter racket is the Fleet FT330Ti, which is on sale for £30. It has a medium flex and weighs around 88g, with an isometric head shape. It is made from ultra high modulus graphite. It comes pre strung with Fleet titanium string at 24lbs tension. This is a great option, because factory strung bats from most of the main manufacturers are crap, and at low tension. If you wish to specify the tension you will probably pay a bit more, but this is for the entry level model, and you usually do not get this, so well done to Fleet.
Next up is the Fleet FT 85S, which has our old favourite, nano technology in it. The flex is stiff and it weighs 86g, with the isometric head. It is designed for control, hence the stiffer rating. You can string up to 31lbs tension, and there is a choice of string from Fleet, Ashaway or Yonex. The price to customize is vry cheap, for example, you can have Ashaway Rally 21 for just £3 at your own tension. The racket costs £58 though, so it is a bit expensive, but Fleet do some good multi buy offers.
The Fleet FT 85X is the next model, and it is the same as the FT 85S, apart from the fact that it has a more flexible rating, so Fleet say this is aimed at more power. It cost the same too, at £58. However, there is a special offer with this badminton racket. You can buy two for £66. This is a no brainer, i mean, you can buy one for £58, or have two for an extra £8, the choice is yours.
Fleet also have a nano power range, like everyone else these days. The first is the Fleet Nano Power 600, which has a wide body design, isometric head shape and a flexible rating for extra power and head speed. Weight is 88g. Cost is £50.
The Nano Power 700 is next and is a bit lighter at 81-81g, it has the same technology, but less weight means this is ideal for fast reaction shots, but less power unless you have a very fast swing. The price is £56.
The top of the range is the Nano Power 800, which weighs 88g and has nano power system flex, whatever that is. It is designed for attacking players, and it costs £62.
No i have used Fleet for a number of years and have found them to be pretty good value for money, with the exception of the Top Power model. They don't make this anymore, and thank god for that, it is rubbish, but bear in mind it only cost around £30, so you live and learn, but at least it was not an expensive mistake. I may well look at Fleet again in the future, but always go for the two for one deals, they are always there. Don't be put off by the fact that they are not so well known, you need to find the right racket for you, regardless of the name. The only problem i can see with the current Fleet range is that it has got a little bit more expensive if you buy a single model, they are getting closer to the other badminton brands, who have a better reputation, so all things being equal, most people will go for the more well known make, and this will hit Fleet harder than before. I guess they will just have to let their rackets do the talking, if they produce a quality product it will sell, usually by word of mouth. This is how i started using them, a few club members used them, i tried a few models out myself, and liked them, so i bought a few, and they didn't let me down. Fleet badminton rackets are a good alternative to the more expensive brands and i do recommend them from past experince.