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12-20-2014, 03:48 AM #1
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Review: NDBoer (Snow Boer) 501 shuttlecock
I have been meaning to post a review on these shuttles for a while now. Got 5 tubes from Taobao for testing, and wanted to give them a good run before posting a review. I have always felt that in a playing group that is a mix of intermediate and beginner players, using a high quality shuttle like RSL supreme/tourney or Aeroplane black is just overkill and a waste of good birdies. So I'm constantly on the lookout for reasonable priced ones that don't adversely affect play.
First, the basics. These are duck feather shuttles with two layer cork base. I ordered the speed 77, since 76 wasn't readily in stock. The 77 is not really very much faster than other 76 speed shuttles, but I feel it helps improve my reaction time . These are very popular on the mainland, along with Wecan. Here is the link, for those who can read Mandarin:
Before use, I humidify the shuttles using a clothes steamer or a hand held steamer and let them stand for a day. I play with two groups, one of intermediate players who are a mix of heavy smashers and technical players, and the other which has beginners and intermediates. So these shuttles have been subjected to hard smashes, heavy slices, frame hits and feather hits.
Physical attributes: These come in a good, foil lined tube, 12 each. The shuttles themselves have a black sticker with NDBoer and 501 mentioned. Feathers are thick, not RSL supreme grade, but on par with RSL tourney 4 and better than AS20. String quality is good, and no excess glue noted.
Flight performance: Straight out of the tube, in a simple toss test, these have a very consistent, predictable flight pattern. Cork is just right, and does not get heavy/soggy after steaming. In play, these give a very nice, crisp thwack sound. No wobbling noted, though the shuttle tends to get a little faster as it starts wearing out.
Durability: This is where these little birdies shine. One shuttle stood up to 1.5 to 2 games of heavy smashing and mishits, with no deformation of the shuttle body or cork. The only reason we changed the shuttles is because a feather broke in half after a heavy mishit or the feathers got too ruffled. In comparison to the RSLs, where the feathers are quite brittle and prone to break in half due to mishits, these are truly sturdy, without being heavy or having a weird feel. The closest would be RSL 4/MB 500.
Cost: I paid 60 SGD for 5 tubes, including shipping. That's cheap by any standard, with even substandard shuttles like the Ashaway Red and Lining Champ costing 15 SGD here.
Overall: Very happy with these shuttles, and I consider them true hidden gems for recreational and club players. There are quite a few such brands from mainland China that are not popular here, next up I intend to get some red Wecans to test against these.
NB: I've played with AS40,30,20, RSL Tourney 7,6,5,4, Classic and Supreme, very short time with sealion, ashaway red, victor champion and gold no.1 and protech pt-10. Also, disclaimer, I am not an agent or reseller of these shuttles, so just trying to give a little spotlight to these excellent shuttlecocks.