Friday, 7 May 2010


Yonex have taken quite a hammering over the past year or so. First they either lost or decided to stop sponsoring both the Chinese and Korean national players. They lost out to Li Ning and Victor. One thing yonex had going for them as far as advertising went, was that they could always rely on showing a few action shots of the best players in the world using their rackets. They have used this tactic since time began and it helped to make them the dominant force they are today. Today they have a new tactic to shift all those rackets, and it is a focus on what the rackets are capable of.

Case in point is the ArcSaber Z-Slash, which is the most powerful racket ever made, achieving a world record smash speed of over 400km/hour. In the right hands it is i suppose, but it would be interesting to have the same player use other rackets and see what results we get. Yonex have pulled a master stroke with this marketing, but it is a one off unless they aim to get the same pkayer to smash with all the new rackets they bring out, and create new world records. You can imagine what the average player thinks when they see that the ArcSaber is the most powerful racket ever made. They think they can achieve somthing pretty spectacular as well, and hey, even if it isn't 400 and odd kilometres an hour, it must still do something for my smash, and make me more powerful. The answer is- forget it, you will come home with a sore shoulder or even worse, an injury that wrecks your shoulder because you put everything behind that smash to obliterate the shuttle in one glorious moment.

All the online stores that sell this racket (all at exactly the same price in the UK by the way- something wrong there i feel) have this great big slogan that the z-slash achieved this smash speed. The ArcSaber range has also grown, and they now have an ArcSaber 8DX. I can see why they have come up with that name. The Cab 8DX is an all time classic racket. I actually had a hit with one a few months ago and it still felt great, despite all the advances in technology. The 8DX name is very symbolic, so to name an extra stiff new ArcSaber after it is a bit false if you ask me. There is no way the new racket will have any resemblance to the old one. Perhaps we will see an ArcSaber 21, named after the old Cab 21? The point is that older players like me (38) remember the older rackets, so just the name sparks a bit of interest. Again, pretty clever marketing from yonex.

Yonex have gone back to basics by emphasising the quality of their rackets. The prices are still very high, and i did think they would come down a little as they took the hit from rivals such as Li Ning. The problem is that those Li Ning rackets are at stupid prices in the UK. Honestly, i cannot see how they are going to break into the European market with such high prices. I need to get my hands on some to test them out and see if they are any good. The top end Li Ning Woods N90 is selling for £159.99, which is more expensive than the z-slash, and no-one in the UK knows a thing about them, so why would they shell out all that money on an unknown brand with unknown rackets? They won't, simple. If some rep from from Li Ning UK is reading this then send me some rackets.

I am still waiting for a new supply from steve at Apacs, and i want to test the Tantrum 200 or whatever the latest version is. My lethal 70 is still going strong and i am still lovin it, best racket i have ever had the pleasure of wielding. More new posts to come by the way.


the honest lord said...

I find your posts very interesting. Thanks for putting them up.

I don't know your email so am writing here. I've been using a Browning Big-Gun, which is a very good racket - I prefer it even to the Browning Oxylite, which you have reviewed.

The Big-gun is now fractured and doesn't feel as good as it used to. I need to get a new racket but don't want to spend too much money. So far, I've liked the Carlton Aeroblade Ti, which I tried cos somebody had it where I play. Also have liked almost all the Yonex but they are expensive, unless I get an imitation, which is tempting.

I can't find the Aeroblade Ti near here, but can get the Aeroblade Fx for £20 near where I live. I read somewhere there isn't much difference between the 2 except that the fx should be more expensive as it's lighter.

I'm in my 40s and play about twice, or more, per week.

Can you tell me your thoughts please. It would be greatly appreciated.

Cheers :)

the honest lord said...

Also, if you have any recommendations, eg, rackets from APACS, then I would be interested. I want to spend about £20-£30, but prefer £20. Then, when I get better, I'll buy a better and more expensive racket.

dave said...

great post!

antony said...

@Honest Lord

The older Carlton rackets are very good value for money. There is an ebay seller called racketworld who specialise in older carlton rackets, i got my carlton airblades from them a few years ago, and they always have some very good deals at low prices. It may be worth giving them a shot. Racketworld also sell loads of browning rackets too.The Apacs rackets are a bit more expensive so they would probably be out of your price range.

Cheers mate!

the honest lord said...

Thanks for your reply mate!
I actually got my Brownings from Racketworld on eBay.

I didn't make it clear, but I was actually asking your opinion on difference between the
Carlton Aeroblade ISO Fx (£20 at & V. convenient for me)
Carlton Aeroblade ISO Ti (£31 thru cheapest internet shop)

Any thoughts?


antony said...

From looking at specifications for both rackets it looks like the Ti has titanium in it, so it will be the reason for the extra cost. The Ti is an even balance, and the Fx is head light. The difference is minimal so i would go for the cheaper one. Remember, you can play around with string tension as you get better, this will make the racket feel totally different without costing much money.

the honest lord said...

Many thanks for your reply Antony.

As it happens, the website where the Ti is for £31 including delivery, has the Fx for £40+ including delivery.

Anyway, for the money, it's not worth faffing around any more. You've made some great points, so I'm just going to go for the Fx.

Just so I know, what is the difference between the "even balance" of the Ti and the "head light" of the Fx?
Is it in the smashes, control at net or..?

Once again, many thanks. It's great getting info from someone that knows.


antony said...

An even balance means the racket is a bit of an all rounder, so it will be fine at the net, and the rear court. Head light balance is just that, so it will be easier to use around the net and for fast reaction shots, but you lose a bit on smashes. However, you can alter the balance if needed with some tape. The difference is only slight in most cases so i would not worry too much about this. The main thing is to improve your technique, then you will gain power, control and everything else!

bob said...

Thanks for this blog. I think you just saved me somewhere between £50 and £130.Did usual stupid blokey thing. Looked online, went 'Oooh' at the expensive stuff with esoteric materials and dynamic aggressive sounding names.

The reason for a new racquet though, is that my 14 year old Wilson snapped in two places on meeting concrete last night. 25 year old steel Carlton backup is fine as a spare, but it's heavy. It's not entirely implausible for another racquet to bite the dust in a similar manner, and I can't afford many £160 incidents.

I play with mates two or three times a week. Not up to club standard, but competitive.

So I thought, before I spend all that money on something, I'll see if I can find some reviews, found your blog and as a result, I've just ordered the cheapest Apacs racquet, standard strings, slightly high tension.

I'll let you know how I get on next week.

the honest lord said...

Can I also add that this is a great blog and thanks for putting it up.

I got the Carlton fx and used it yesterday. You were right that it loses a bit of power on the smashes, but I really did enjoy playing with it. Very pleased to have got it, and your comments were very much appreciated.

Many thanks again.

antony said...

Hope you find the Apacs racket to be ok, there is no need to spend big money on any badminton racket, just improve your skills first, then you can look for a fancy racket, even then there is no real need, it all comes down to you.

@The honest Lord
Good luck with the new Carlton racket, and improve your technique so you can start to smash harder!

CW Ye said...

Thanks for a great blog, especially on Apac rackets, which I find is a great value. I just wish that you have more opportunities to test and share your opinions on other brands such as Li Ning and Victor as well.

Just to share my experience at the recently concluded Thomas cup/Uber cup finals in Kuala Lumpur. Besides Yonex, Li Ning and Victor are both having booths at very prominent locations. From what I could see, they were both doing brisk business on the few days I had attended the event. Taking a closer look myself at their products, I must admit that quality wise they are right up there with the best of the world. Both these brands may not be making any in roads in European market, but with the prominent Chinese and Korean players endorsing their products, they are certainly steadily gaining ground in Asian markets for sure.

antony said...


Could not agree more, the likes of victor and li ning are pushing like mad to get a greater market share and have invested a lot of money on marketing and sponsorship, so they a return on that investment.