Saturday, 20 December 2008

Browning Oxylite Racket

It has been a while since my last post, so apologies for the delay. I have been playing with a Browning Oxylite Ti 80 badminton racket recently, and i must say this thing is a very good racket indeed. The crazy thing is that it cost just £20. Listen for £20 this represents unbelievable value for money. Now the racket is not actually mine, it is one of my friends, but he managed to get hold of 4 of them for £80. He has now started using the Apacs Edgesaber 10, so i decided to nick his Browning rackets.

This racket has a good solid feel when you hit the shuttle, the head stays true through the stroke, and does not twist at all. There is hardly any vibration either, and you usually only get this with expensive badminton rackets. The fact that it was strung to about 27lbs makes this even more remarkable, you typically see more vibration when you string at higher tensions. Because the Oxylite has very little distortion it is also very forgiving, and the shuttlecock still travels off the head even with off centre shots.

It doesn't exactly look like a world beater, but inside it is very capable. The weight is around 85-89g, and the one i have been playing with felt more like 89g. This is a good weight to get some power, in fact the Oxylite gives great power when you hit the middle of the strings. The weight is an even balance, so it is also good for all round play and touch shots.

At this price i would say it ofers the best value for money of any racket i have tested. The key to getting these prices is to haggle a bit. Don't be afraid to do this, my friend did this and ended up with that deal. Browning are well known for having really stupid recommended retail prices, which are very high, no one would ever buy them for that price. Just concentrate on what the actual selling price is, and then work on that.

An update on the e-mails i have sent out. Well, i have sent one to Yehlex and one to Tactic, neither of them have had the decency to bother replying to me. This is unfortunate because i know for a fact that if i had sent an e-mail about buying a badminton racket, they would have replied right away. Perhaps the answer is to just phone them directly, which is my next option. The Apacs review went so well that they have now run out of Edgesaber 7's, so i really don't know what is wrong with these people. If anyone out there is reading this, and you own a badminton racket company that needs to sell rackets then get in contact with me, you cannot lose, you get a free review and a bit of recognition. I get to test some more rackets and hopefully help people decide on what is good and what is not good.

The Browning Oxylite 80 is a quality racket, i could tell from the first shot i played with it. It may not be your choice because i am different to you, this is just my opinion, but for £20 it defies belief, which is why i am writing about it.

Thursday, 4 December 2008

Badminton Racket Discounts

If any of you are looking for a new badminton racket this xmas, then there are some good deals to be had on the internet. The big discounts are on Yonex badminton rackets, and two in particular, the Muscle Power 99 and the Nanospeed 9000X. It would appear that Yonex is discontinuing these two models, and they will not be making any more in the future.

These two rackets are Yonex's best sellers over the years and have achieved cult status in the badminton world. The Muscle Power 99 is now on sale for as low as £60 in the UK, which is a big saving from around £100 when it first came out. The Nanospeed 9000X, the X stands for extra stiff, is on sale for £80 depending on where you look. I found these at and thy appear to be the cheapest deals so far.

The Nanospeed is offered at half price, which means it should be £160. No chance, it has never sold for this price, this is just the recommended retail price, and we all know that the online stores just pick a figure out of thin air, which is always sky high, and then make you think you have saved a whole load of dosh when you eventually do buy that badminton racket.

If you think you are getting a racket for half price, chances are you will go for it, and the sale is complete. The Muscle Power 99 is a very stiff racket, and it will make your arm ache after playing with it for a long time, ie a season, if you are not used to it. Again it all depends on how good your technique is, to be able to cope with the relentless pounding your arm will get. The Nanospeed does the same thing over time.

I really do think that this is why Yonex tends to change these kinds of rackets earlier than the others. The Muscle Power 100 came out around the same time as the 99, but it soon disappeared in the UK anyway. If you thought the 99 was stiff, then the 100 was even stiffer. It was like hiting the shuttlecock with a block of wood. It was almost unplayable over a period of time. A friend of mine who owns a sports shop played with it when it first came out and basically said it was just too much like hard work. His shoulder was getting sore after a few hours playing with it. Then as if by magic, Yonex stopped selling it in the UK. It was a flop, because it was too much, too much for the average player anyway.

And so the 99 has gone the same way. However, i believe this is more down to it's age. It has been doing the rounds for many years now, and it is now time to retire it. It is less hardcore, and so is more playable, and so it has been more successful. God knows how many have been sold around the world, probably millions. It kick started today's modern badminton racket trend, super stiff and lightweight, and strung at very high tensions. Bang!! That's the modern way, this is how racket technology has evolved, if only shoulders could evolve as well we would all be fine.

The Nanospeed 9000X will come down in price even more i think, as the stocks go down. There are bargains out there if you follow the trend and look hard enough. I am still in the process of finding some more rackets to test, which means finding some more manufacturers out there willing to let me test their products. The best chance i have is with the smaller manufacturers. I very much doubt that Yonex would ever loan me some rackets because they don't have a website that sells rackets, they have their own stockists who sell them for them. So to approach a main dealer would be a bit silly, but you never know.

The fact is that i need to get my hands on the rackets to test for free if possible, so i will try my luck. The one advantage i have is that quite a few people find this blog every day, so it gives the manufacturer a bit of exposure, which may help me when it comes to asking them to let me test their stuff. The test i did for Apacs was very positive and i am grateful to them for being the first. I will send out a few e-mails and see what happens