This review is produced in conjunction the GOSEN Customedge Type V review. Hence, the two reviews will bear similarities.
GOSEN is a company we hear about, but don’t see much of in the international arena. GOSEN has a very long history and are a name synonymous with racquet strings. Those with long memories for names and smells(!) will remember Hy-Sheep and Hy-O-Sheep.
Moving on to the racquet range, I remember GOSEN as being a brand that specialist badminton stores would carry. Unfortunately, GOSEN have not made a big push for a significant presence in the badminton racquet market. They did sponsor the Malaysian badminton team in the year 2000 and in addition, players such as Wang Chen and Boonsak Ponsana. From my search on the internet, I found also a youtube promotional video with two Japanese men’s doubles players – H Saeki and R Taohata.
Recently, GOSEN launched the top of the line Customedge range. Looking up the racquet on the internet, there isn’t much information to be found. Online prices are around 23,000 Yen RRP, or AUD$190.
Other information comes from badminton forum itself.
GOSEN Customedge Type V and Type X
I received the Customedge Type X through the post a few weeks ago with some other products. It was immediately off to MyBadmintonStore (MBS) to be strung. By good fortune, the stringer at MBS is proficient in the Haribito method of stringing direct from GOSEN. Therefore, it was appropriate to have the racquet strung as such. The racquet was strung with Yonex BG66 (my standard testing string) at 24lbs for the purposes of this review.
As can be seen from the photo, the racquets come in a rather snazzy soft case. There is a little zip pocket underneath the GOSEN lettering.
The whole package came with a small plastic bag containing spare grommets, plastic weights and a rubber ring. It is a nice gesture from the manufacturers to help keep customers happy. The rubber ring goes around the bottom end of the racquet handle making it wider. That helps the hand keep hold of the racquet on swings.
The spare grommets, weights and rubber ring are from the Customedge V and are exactly the same for both racquets.
Design and Aesthetics
When first seeing the Customedge X, glance away and get some sunglasses on. The few pictures on internet are no justice to it. Did I say bright or did I say bright? You will be immediately noticed – or to put more accurately, the racquet will be noticed from adjacent courts. The bright matt orange background dominates with silver and black accents.
The GOSEN Customedge Type X has an isometric shaped frame. As you may be able to discern from the picture, it is described as stiff and head heavy but the racquet itself averages to 83grammes at 675mm length. Overall, the racquet has a very fast swingweight. I was unable to confirm the weight not having the proper scales for such a function.
The following picture shows the hole design to avoid sharing holes of the strings. There are markings on the frame to indicate where the knots should go. The grommets at the top of the frame are in a strip of six.
MBS kindly put a fresh set of strings in the racquet. I asked for white BG66 at 24lbs and it was strung using ECP. The racquet was strung with the Haribito stringing method. MBS is close to where I live, hence them being the choice of stringer. I also thought it appropriate that the GOSEN racquet be strung using the Haribito method.
With a few swings of the racquet, there is a nice feel to it. Due to its lightweight, it does fly through the air very quickly. It is described as head heavy but it is very easy to manipulate the racquet. The racquet is rated as stiff – it’s fairly stiff but not the stiffest racquet I have had.
With drive shots, the racquet is very responsive. I can get a nice control of the shuttle coming off the racquet with a flick of the fingers and going in my desired direction.
For clears, I need to really concentrate on the fingers to get the shuttle deep. Now this really depends on your own technique. I found it is not a problem when playing doubles. However, playing singles was totally different proposition. I discovered I had to be quite careful with my technique to get the shuttle high and over the opponent. Of course, some of the difficulty was due to getting used to the different playing characteristics. In addition, the shuttles during the test were slightly slow and this might be the main factor with my control over the height and depth of the clears.
Moving on to smashes, I have had to be careful about putting full power as I have been recovering from Golfer’s elbow. Golfer’s elbow highly limits the acceleration that can be used for a smash. I was quite careful to build up the speed of the smashes gradually. Very quickly, I was able to adjust to the racquet to produce well timed smashes. Similar with other very light racquets, I was not able to produce the “heavy” smash with a lot of weight behind it. Again, this was playing with the slightly slow shuttles so it is noticeable that the shuttles do lose some pace and “float” a little towards the end of the flight path. Another issue I found with Golfer’s elbow is that the inflamed tendon is very sensitive to vibration transmitted from the racquet. I am pleased to report that there was very little vibration and the Customedge X felt very comfortable not irritating the Golfer’s elbow in the slightest.
Dropshots were quite interesting. Straight drop shots and stop dropshots were quite good straight away but my reverse slice crosscourt dropshots needed some adjustment. Initially, they were flying outside the court.
I had a great time and a lot of fun at the forecourt. The Customedge Type X is a racquet with a very fast swing. Even when arriving late on the shot in the forecourt area, I was still able to have control over the racquet head. Netshots, drives, pushes, disguise shots were performed with ease.
Defending attacks were a delight. I found it very easy to control the opponent’s smash with flicks and or change direction. Those players who like to defend and use the opponents own pace of shot against them will be very happy.
In actual gameplay, I found the Type X working well for doubles. The back of the court was less comfortable as I felt I could not get my weight behind the shuttle. In singles, I really had a difficult time with the timing of the dropshots losing a lot of points on errors. I attribute this to the very quick speed of the head. It would take time to get used to it.
In conclusion, the Customedge Type X is lightweight and robust racquet that is very easy to adapt to. It really is a delightful racquet to use. Players who like to control the game with sudden changes of pace and/or dominate the forecourt will like this racquet. Many other players complimented the colour scheme. When the shuttles are slightly slow, players may have difficulty generating solid shots on clears. Then again, when shuttles are slightly fast, it would be very easy to play the flicks and disguised shots. Personally, I prefer it for doubles rather than singles.
Rating: Highly recommended.