Tuesday, 10 June 2008

Wilson Badminton Rackets

Wilson are well known in the tennis world for producing quality stuff, but they also produce badminton rackets too. Being an American company they are not as popular in the UK as they are in the US, but the technological know how that Wilson have, is crossing over to badminton. Now, i am here in the UK and the rackets that i can see are all differently marketed to the US one's, so it makes things a little more complicated, but what the hell.

From the official Wilson badminton website 2008 there are two ranges of racquets, the K Factor and the N Code. I will take a look at the K Factor range first. It gets a bit annoying to actually find out what technology is in the K factor, as i just see a very flasy demo type advert all about it, and then it goes away, and the only way to get this back is to leave the website and come back again. Once is enough for me, so i will find about about the racquet technology from an online store. So i googled "wilson badminton racquet" and in number one spot is badminton alley, one of the biggest racquet suppliers in the US. Alas, there is little information about the elusive K factor. So i search in the UK and find something at last at sweatband.co.uk, who i have had dealings with in the past, all good i might add.

The K factor technology is now a bit more clear. The "K" stands for 4 key factors in these rackets.

[K]arophite Black - New structures created at the nano level for more feel and ultimate [k]ontrol.

[K]ontour Joint - New frame and shaft technology that enhances stiffness at t-joint area for improve torsional stability.

[K]onstruction - New frame construction provides a more stable hoop and allows higher string tension.

[K]ap - New top cap design on the handle for more flexible shaft resulting in increased power.

Why don't Wilson just call this the "C" factor instead, because three of the four factors begin with "C"? Send your questions to Wilson badminton.

There are seven racquets in this range and these are:-

KFactor KPro

Level: Intermediate/Advanced
Type: Offensive (Smashing / Power Play )
Flex: Medium Stiff
Head: Square / Isometric
Weight: 84gm(4U-)
B.Pt: 7 (Head Heavy)


This is the entry level racket and is already aimed at higher level players. The head heavy balance, with a medium flex will aid power, but not control. Also, this is a light weight anyway, which will also take away some power.The price in the US is $89.95, UK is £55 with free delivery. I have considered buying from the US and then shipping to the UK before. I have done this once before with a Dunlop squash bat, and i think i saved about £10. The problem is the shipping costs from the US usually mean there is little difference between the two prices in the end. If we take this KPro as an example, and if i take the exchange rate as being around 2:1, ie $2 = £1, then the KPro is aound £45 in GBP from the US, without the shipping costs. If the delivery cost is less than $20 you may save some money. (after a little snooping about the current exchange rate is 1.95). You will have to do the maths here.

Wilson KFactor KPower



Level: Intermediate/Advanced
Type: Offensive (Smashing / Power Play )
Flex: Stiff
Head: Square / Isometric
Weight: 86gm(3U-)
B.Pt: 7 (Head Heavy)

It is aimed at attacking players looking for power and control. The racket provides control through its stiff shaft and power through its head heavy balance. It is pretty unforgiving but the isometric head shape will help with mis timed shots. Prices are $99.95 in the US, and i could not find one store that stocked this in the UK.

Wilson KFactor KStrike

Weight: 84g
Balance: 29.5 cm
Flex: Flexible
Player Type: Control Player/Doubles

Could not find anyone who stocks this in the US, i have no idea why. Wilson say this badminton racket is geared for control, but it has a flexible rating which is not associated with extra control. It costs about £63.99.


Wilson KFactor KBlaze

Level: Advanced
Type: All Around (Attack and Defence)
Flex: Medium Stiff
Head: Square / Isometric
Weight: 82-86gm(4U-)
B.Pt: 6 (Centre Balance)

Apparently this is an all rounder as it has an even balance, is average weight and has a neutral flex rating. You will have to rely on technique to get more power with the light weight and even balance, but let's face it, everything relies on your technique. Price in US is $109.95 and £69.99 in England. The price varies quite a lot in the UK, so be sure to shop around.


Wilson KFactor KTour

Level: Advanced
Type: Offensive (Fast Attacking )
Flex: Stiff
Head: Square / Isometric
Weight: 85-89gm(3U-)
B.Pt: 7 (Little Head Heavy Balance)

The most popular racket in the range, it is used by Jonas Rasmussen, the Danish international player. The stiff flex, extra weight and head heavy balance are designed for more power, which is why this is aimed at attacking play. Expect to pay around $129.95 or £69.99.

Wilson KFactor Kblade

Level: Advanced
Type: Offensive (Smashing / Power Play)
Flex: Medium
Head: Square / Isometric
Weight: 87-89gm(3U-)
B.Pt: 8 (Head Heavy)

Ok, designed for pure power due to even more weight, more head heavy balance and the medium flex. May lose a little control with the medium flex. Wilson say this is an all round racket aimed at singles players? Prices around $139.95 and i couldn't find one in the UK.

Wilson KFactor KLite

Level: Advanced
Type: All Around (Fast Play)
Flex: Medium Stiff
Head: Square / Isometric
Weight: 80-82gm(5U-)
B.Pt: 5 (Even Balance)

One of the lightest racquets around, with an even balance and a stiff flex, this should give more control, at the expense of power. The most expensive of the range at $149.95, again, no sign of the KLite in England, so we won't know how much it costs.

The next series is the NCode and there are three in this range on the Wilson 2008 website, although there are quite a few others on sale such as the NCode N1-6.

The technology is our good friend the nano, which is seen in Yonex, Carlton and virtually all the top end badminton rackets these days. NCoded racquets are twice as strong, twice as stable, and 22% more powerful than ordinary bats.

The three NCode racquets on the website are now called NForce, and we have the 400, 600, and 800. From what i can tell, they are lower priced than the actual NCode 1-6. Prices in UK are from £42.99- £59.99. I could not find any stockists in the US.

However, the NCode is on sale everywhere, and there are six to choose from.

Wilson NCode N6

Level: Intermediate/Advanced
Type: All-Around / Defensive
Flex: Medium Flex
Head: Square / Isometric
Weight: 80-84gm(4U-)
B.Pt: 5 (Head Light Balance)

Very light and head light balance will make this very manouverable, but not much power unless you have good technique. This is the starter level and you can expect to pay about $109.99 or £59.99.

The NCode N5 has the same spec as the N6, but is heavier with a stiffer flex, so more it's designed for a bit more power. Price is the same as well.

The NCode N4 has a stiff flex, is a bit heavier than the N5, but has an even balance. Aimed at more defensive players. Cost is $119.95. and this is because there is more hyper carbon in the design, $10 worth to be exact.

NCode N3 has a stiff flex and an even balance, aimed at all round play, but is $10 more, you get the picture.

NCode N2 has more hyper carbon than the others, and has a stiff flex and head heavy balance. Costs $139.95 so quite expensive this one.

The Wilson NCode N1 is the range topper, and is virtually the same spec as the N2, it costs the same as well, so i don't know what the difference is really.

The NCode range has proved popular, but the same can be said of all the nano ranges from all the different manufacturers. As this is the same technology it would be wise to go for the cheapest offerings because you are getting the same thing basically. Wilson badminton rackets will only improve in popularity in the future, so watch out Yonex.

6 comments:

AJ said...

Hi Antony
I'm wondering if you can help me with a possible purchase.
My son has been offered a second hand Wilson racket but I can't find details anywhere online to get an idea of its quality or if it's a fair asking price. It's a 'Force' graphite shaft from the 'Morten Frost Autograph Series'. Do you know anything about this range or of a comparable/similar model?
Thanks for your time in reading this.
Andy

antony said...

Hi AJ

DO you know what the asking price is? I suspect that it is a very old model as Morten Frost stopped playing badminton about 20 years ago. Either way, the racket would be very old so i would not offer more than a few pounds for it.

aj said...

Many thanks,
I thought it may be older than told but it is in very good condition but I did wonder. He's asking far to much for it (£25)so you have comfirmed this for us as a poor buy and have saved my lad a considerable amount of hard saved cash.
Thanks again for that, and such a speedy reply too, fantastic.
Cheers
Aj.

Nev said...

Hi. I see other wilson k rackets such as k boom, k slam, etc. Can you add them to your list?

antony said...

Hi Nev

I know this post is a few years old now, so the Wilson ranges are totally different now. In fact i think all the old posts on the different rackets are now out of date, Yonex being a good example.

Nev said...

Oh ok. Its because I'm more fond of buying old rackets because they are on sale. I usually wait for them to release new ranges so that their previous releases will get cheaper.