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Friday, November 12, 2010

Victor Super Waves 35 vs Yonex Armortec 900 Power comparison

I decide to dissect the performance of these two racquets.
Victor Super Waves 35 (2010 model) vs Yonex Armortec 900 Power (2007 model)
Both are roughly similar at 3U weight, G5 Yonex grip/G2 Victor grip with BG66 at 25lbs.

Why this comparison?
answer: both occupy a niche in the attacking player's style: Head heavy and stiff

Round 1

Both have some metallic-like tape/structure at the top of the frame.
Victor named it E-Titanium whereas Yonex named it Power Armor system

The thickness of the shaft; I found are similar.
The Victor racquet has slightly longer shaft/shorter handle whereas conversely is true for the Yonex.
Victor adds Nanotec resin to stiffen the flex of the racquet to extra stiff whereas Yonex has elastic titanium in it, to stiffen the flex. Not much to choose between the stiffness of the two. The Yonex felt just as stiff perhaps of my perception owing to the shorter length of the shaft. The SW35 is in my rating considered very stiff.

Regarding the frame: Both are roughly similar in thickness. The differences are:
1) The armortec has a more boxy frame at the lower-half portion of the frame
2) The SW35 has a more aerodynamic lower-half portion of the frame

Round 2
Feel: 9.5/10
Control: 9/10
Power: 10/10
Defense: 6.5/10
Maneuverability: 8/10

Feel: 9/10
Control: 9/10
Power: 9.5/10
Defense: 6.5/10
Maneuverability: 7.5/10

Summary: I find that the feel of the Yonex marginally better than the Victor, but 'feel' is very hard thing to describe. The Yonex armortec 900P has one of the better 'feel' even among the Yonex range, but on the other hand SW35 holds it's own. Control wise roughly similar. Power wise marginally similar, not much to choose. Defense I rated on par, but on court, the AT900p felt easier to defend owing to the longer handle, facilitating backhand defense. Possibly the difference in handling of the racquet is the longer handle of the AT900P, made it better suited for doubles game (especially maneuverability near the net and in driving and maybe a 'faster' racquet).

Conclusion: On court and in theory, the Armortec 900P wins marginally over the Victor SW35. But in the hands of a good or advanced players, it boils down to preference, negating the marginal differences in performance. On performance/price ratio, the SW35 wins hands down, e.g. for every 2XAT900P, one can get 3X SW35.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Relegation of my SW35 to a training racquet...

Am now using it for warm up...and as training racquet.

Probably should have gotten the 4U version...but hey lesson learnt.

4U should retain most of the head heavy balance and stiffness but with easier or more agile (wrist/finger) handling.

With a heavy 3U version, it's harder to do those reflex based half-court drive shots seen in doubles. Here the professionals exchanging drives to force the others to lift, to kill the shuttle. e.g.


Monday, November 8, 2010

Asian games 2010

With the conclusion of the Denmark and France Open super series, the focus is now on the 2010 Asian Games.

This time, Lin Dan, Chen Jin, Lee Chong Wei on the Men's singles are taking part...

Likewise for the top men's doubles players like KKK/TBH, FHF/Cai Yun and Lee Yong Dae/JJS...

Victor Super Waves 35 review

Super Waves 35
Review Date : 09 November 2010
Racquet Type : Victor Super Waves 35
Specs : 3UG2
Flex: Stiff+++
Balance: 295+ mm
Strings: Yonex BG66
Tension: 25lbs , 1 Piece Stringing
Grip: Karakal contact PU grip + Victor overgrip
Technology : Aerodynamic Frame, E-Titanium, Super Waves and Nano-tec
Shuttles used: Yonex AS40, speed 2

First Impression: Am eager to try this racquet, since practically the whole Korean men's team are using it. This racquet looks like a marriage between Yonex Nanospeed 9900 and ASG Tornado 800. It has the shaft that looks like NS9900 and the frame of ASG Tornado 800. The shaft is overall black whereas the frame is black at the bottom and red at the top with white and silver color in between. The racquet felt head heavy and felt rather very stiff. The dry weight of the racquet is rather heavy close to 90g (sub-2U) and the frame felt solid and very heavily constructed. The swing felt that it had momentum and weight into it.

Warm Ups: Warming involves baseline to baseline clears. However, owing to the new/high tension of the new string, I have to adjust to the timing. Initially the racquet felt too stiff to hit a defensive high long clear, instead produce a short and flat clear effect, like a punch clear. Without proper technique like pronation of the forehand, the racquet felt like 'deadwood'. But adjusting to the weight and flex of the racquet with proper forehand pronation, this racquet felt really solid.
Clears are long and far owing to the solid frame and weight of the racquet. If one word is to describe this racquet is 'solid'.

Game Time: The racquet has a good feel to it and solid feel owing to its weight and stiffness. It took me a few games to get use to draw some conclusion. I'm still trying to get a feel on the timing and hitting the sweetspot when hitting shots. This racquet definitely need good arm power (pronation) to handle well and definitely not a wristy player's racquet who uses a lot of backhand (supination). The 3U racquet doesn't handle fast near the net or halfcourt position especially push shot and fast flat drives...possibly the 4U version handles better. Generally, overhead shots using forehand (pronation) is excellent...owing to the weight/stiffness it is very good like drops and smashes. The smash (power) of SW35 is one of the best amongst mid to high-end racquets in the market. It is very good in control like sliced shots and checked drops. The defensive strokes like lifts are slighly less responsive as expected by a head heavy racquet. For drives, this racquet maybe weaker/slower owing to the weight. Nevertheless, as a niche attacking racquet it is one of the best...as must be recognised as such so that one is not disappointed.

Conclusion:This racquet's playability is excellent owing to its feel, control and power. The thing that strikes you quickly when wielding a SW35 is how stiff and heavy it felt. As such it has loads of power for smashes. It's an attacking racquet meant for singles or backcourt players who need power for baseline clears and smashes. The stiffness also made this racquet accurate as well, handy for singles player aiming for the tramlines or the corners. Definitely not beginner friendly racquet as the stiffness of the racquet discriminates against weaker badminton players. Oh...come'on? the pros like Lee Yong Dae, Park Swung Hwan etc...are using it. Oh wait!...they are pros. Lastly, I also find that SW35 plays roughly similar to Yonex AT900P as well for comparison sake.

Feel: 9/10
Control: 9/10
Power: 9.5/10
Defense: 6.5/10...(possibly 4U is better)
Maneuverability: 7.5/10... (possibly 4U is better)

Pros : Reasonably priced, excellent power, control and feel (the 3 parameters of a great singles racquet)

Cons: almost none, except for slightly sluggish in backhand defence and halfcourt drive. Not suitable for beginners.

Suitability: intermediate/advanced players for singles 3U...(4U for doubles)

Player type: attacking and aggressive player for singles and doubles

Footnote: this review was done as a hobby and as an interest to inform fellow badminton enthusiast. This is my personal opinion and in no form to promote this racquet.

Conflict of interest: None

Reference: Victor website (accessed @ 09/11/10)
Badmintoncentral.com (accessed @ 09/11/10)