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Thread: RKEP Rackets
01-31-2013, 06:39 AM #18
01-31-2013, 09:33 AM #19
02-01-2013, 03:54 PM #20
To say 'shaft thickness has absolutely no bearing on shaft flex' is just a factually wrong statement. There are no two ways about it.
What you are explaining is that shaft thickness cannot be taken to be the sole indicator of shaft flex/stiffness.
02-03-2013, 05:25 PM #21
02-03-2013, 06:56 PM #22
02-04-2013, 11:14 PM #23
The hockey tape experiment failed. I think I did such a crappy job sticking it the racket lost of a lot speed due to additional air resistance. Tore them off and played so much better. Unfortunately, after a couple of games, I broke the strings on my new XP70 so I cannot really review it for awhile.
02-04-2013, 11:22 PM #24
You probably used too much tape. Next time one layer of 6-8 inches total would be enough. That's about 0.8g for me.
02-08-2013, 09:13 AM #25
Finally managed to try out XP-70 and was impressed. As what others had mentioned, it has both power and speed, as I only had 2 hours I will need more time to give an accurate and unbias assessment....maybe after the Chinese New Year binge
02-11-2013, 10:13 AM #26
Hi all, after quite some time, I finally got around to writing down this review about the XP-70, which I got in January this year!
Let me start this off by stating once more how nice it is to do business with Eric, as the dispatch is rather swift and the pictures of the package that are included in the mail with the tracking code are a nice touch.
That being said, I got my XP-70s at a pretty bad time to do a review – with competition taking up 4 of the next 5 weekends, I didn’t have a lot of time in training to spend with them. This Saturday, however……after breaking the strings on my last go-to (the Bs12) in a Men’s Singles ranking tournament, I was forced to revert to another racket, and the XP70 was about to face the toughest possible test. Competition play!
A few words about my setup: as I normally use a Bs12 with 29lbs ZM65 strings, I set up my XP70s the same way. Without string or any changes to the grip, they weighed in at 84.1g and 84.8g respectively, and had balance points of 295mm and 298mm. After stringing them and changing the grip to my preference – insulation tape on the wood to prevent any splintering and towel grip on top of it – I had the first hour in training with them. Sadly, I discovered they were uncomfortably light, so light that I lost any control over my lifts and pushes from the net and all the timing and power of my smashes. To change that, I added athletic tape (roughly 1cm broad) so that it went down to the 8th cross on both sides. Unfortunately, I couldn’t really test that set-up for more than a few minutes in less serious games for a while and didn’t feel I could accurately judge them.
As I mentioned, that changed this Saturday, when my strings broke in my 3rd match. I had won the first game, and was trailing in the 2nd. It was a really bad time for such a thing to happen, especially since I had lost the last encounter with him in 3 games, and the added nervousness of having to change to a different model didn’t help.
Unfortunately, I couldn’t close out the match in two games and it went into the decider. However, the XP70 took little effort to adjust to and enabled me to win the hard-fought match 21-17 21-23 22-20. That really convinced me of the qualities of this racket – I wouldn’t have been able to win that match with just any piece of kit. It also got me off my lazy butt to finally write up this review – so here it is!
Design and general thoughts:
For me, the least important part of the racket is the design – the best design in the world won’t make a bad racket any better, and if a racket performs really well for me, it can be ugly as hell for all I care. Finish quality is a bit more important though as no one enjoys a racket that loses part of its paint every time you smash. Personally, I don’t really like the design all that much, as the color is not great and I happen to not like the silver dots around the 2, 4, 8, and 10 o’clock positions and the amount of text on the head is a bit too much in my eyes as well. The finish quality is very solid though – there are a few spots where it’s a little uneven or appears to be scratched, but there have been no chips or anything of the sort so far.
I’m also not a huge fan of the stringing pattern, as there’s only one pair of tie-off grommets at the bottom which pretty much forces you to do a bottom-up stringjob and tie off the mains at the 10th grommet. I prefer doing the crosses top-down, so stringing these took me quite a bit longer than usual as it was rather unfamiliar, but just like the design, that’s just my personal preference and has no influence on the racket’s performance. Others might even like it better than more common patterns.
The head shape is the next thing that comes to attention, as it is a noticeable deviation from the norm. It’s not the usual isometric form, appearing to be a cross-over between isometric and oval head shapes, and is a bit longer than a normal head. While others mentioned the sweet spot moved up as a result I cannot say I noticed anything of the sort. For a bigger-than-usual head, it sure is very maneuverable though.
The grip size is right on the thin side of what I can still use, provided I have a thicker reel of towel grip available. If I was stuck with a thinner reel, I’d probably have to beef up the grip a little.
Net play: 8/10
I can’t stress this enough: this is a super quick racket. I know I have a pretty light weight, but even with the tape added it is lightning fast through the air. The only rackets I know that are quicker are my Bs10 and maybe the Arcsaber Z-Slash (although it’s been a while I touched that one). It’s on par with the Bs12 and 09 where drives are concerned, while it has a slight edge in defense and overhead strokes speed-wise. This could be due to the stiffness, the weight or a combination of the two. The gap is not very big though, which is why I was able to adapt quickly after using the Bs12. Once again: this racket being on par or better than the Bs09 and 12 concerning speed/maneuverability is a huge thing. Those qualities are a big part of why I use the Braveswords. The maneuverability is very important for my style of play as I rely on my fingers, wrist and pronation very much and like to play a controlled game using my height to create angles rather than try to smash my way through the opponent with raw power. One of my biggest weapons in singles is my round-the-head stick-smash, so I need the racket I use to be rather quick and a bit flexible to create the power without a big swing and to intercept the shuttle quickly enough in the first place. I can say there’s really no racket I can play that shot any better with than with the XP-70. Again, my go-tos Bs09&12 are on the same level, but no other racket performs that well for me on this shot. It was pure bliss to put away one after another whenever my opponent gave me that slightly flat lift to the backhand.
Generally, this isn’t the most powerful racket on overhead shots though. It’s speedy nature will allow you to get a very decent smash out of it, and if you choose a heavier variation than I did, you may find it to be a bit better in that department – still, this is a speedy racket with a frame shape built for speed, not for maximum stability and power.
Speaking of which – stability is probably the weakest part of this racket for me. Just twisting it in my hand, the torsional rigidity is very decent, but in play, it felt less stable than my Braveswords, especially on overhead shots. Don’t get me wrong, you won’t have to worry about sending the shuttle out by a mile if you mis-time it slightly, but the racket just doesn’t have that stable, nothing-can-move-me sort of feeling of a good box frame, and it’s not quite on the same level as my Braveswords either. Still, it’s definitely stable enough for me, and I dare say a higher weight will help very much with this slight issue.
Generally, I would give this racket a 8.0-8.5/10 rating on overhead shots, as it's powerful enough for me, and the control is decent and will likely improve over time.
Now, we’re getting to the really good part. Namely, defense and drives. This is really the strong suit of this racket. I can’t quite put my finger on what exactly causes it, but with this racket I can produce enormously powerful drives and defend really, really well. In my first session with it, I actually hit the shuttle long of the back line 70-80% of the time when playing a drive, and the high defense landed long of it 20-30% of the time as well. Since the strings have settled a bit and the added tape helped me gain the much needed control, that has –thankfully– stopped. It’s still very powerful and quick on drives, and I still hit a few long of that back line on Saturday, but the longer I played with the racket, the better I could control the length. Another department where this helps immensely is the deceptive net and mid-court play, as I could hold the shuttle longer and send it whizzing past the opponent with a smaller motion. In doubles training, the great speed of this racket also enabled me to intercept quite a few shots at the net I normally wouldn’t have a chance of returning in a controlled manner, let alone whip down onto the floor.
Defense was really good, which is another important aspect for me as I need a solid defense in singles. I was able to defend long more often than with my Braveswords, and lift more of those annoying half-paced smashes I usually send into the net trying to return them short. But somehow, this racket gave me the confidence to attempt the lift, and that alone helped very much. In doubles, where the high defense is much more important, this is one of the best rackets out there if you’re either a defensive player or just want to have a very solid defense as a base to fall back on. For the speed and the ease of the high defense, it thoroughly deserves the 9.5 rating, with very few rackets surpassing it. The only area where I’m not as comfortable with it as with my Braveswords or boxier rackets is short defense, as additional weight gives me more control on those shots, especially defending a crosscourt smash straight to the net.
Net play is another area where I think the light weight worked against the racket, as I lost control over my tumbling net shots quite a few times, at times not even tumbling them – which resulted in a high net shot and easy put-away most of the time. I think that this’ll improve with more court time, but again, this is an area where boxy frames perform the best for me and where it’s not quite on the same level as my Braveswords. It gets a 10 in terms of deceptiveness, but the easier, straight shots are harder to control and get a 7.5/10 from me (which results in a 8.0 overall as they’re much more important than the more flashy, but less effective and reliable deceptive flicks).
Overall, I give this racket a 8.5/10 performance rating – for a 9.0, I’d need a bit more stability and weight for more controlled net and overhead play and a tad more overhead power. The price/performance rating is a 10 though. No racket I know of has this kind of performance for a similar price. I’d definitely recommend ordering a 3U version for all but the most defensive players, as this racket is very speedy due to its frame and will benefit from a little extra ‘meat’. For me, 86g would probably be perfect. If you don’t come from a rather speedy racket 87-88g will probably suit you better.
I hope this helps those of you who have yet to decide whether to buy this racket or not
02-11-2013, 07:18 PM #27
@j4ckie : your experience completely concurs with mine.
It is a damn fast
2-3g more with the same bp295mm would be perfect for me too. Somehow the shaft is just the perfect stiffness and works with me, instead of against me. A bit meatier and this could replace my P Pro as my go to racket.
Last edited by visor; 02-11-2013 at 07:27 PM.
02-14-2013, 12:56 AM #28
I own a lot of high end rackets (including a Panda Revelation on the way), but after reading a review like yours I don't feel competent to write about any of them yet. I've got to become a lot better player before I can write a meaningful review as good as yours.
I already own a RKEP Pro9000 and like it a lot. But based on your review of the XP-70, I am going to order an 87g, 300 BP version of the XP-70. Thanks for taking the time and effort on writing such a comprehensive review.
j4ckie liked this post
02-14-2013, 02:21 AM #29
Thanks! Great to know it's appreciated, and I hope you'll be happy with your XP-70
02-15-2013, 06:41 AM #30
Planning to take a video with me using the XP-70 sometime soon (next Monday, probably)....in the meantime, here's my YT channel for those who're interested (I'm usually the tallest guy on court)
02-15-2013, 11:15 PM #31
Anyone know what's with the 88-hole version?
02-16-2013, 01:31 AM #32
^^ i think that's only a single one-off version... eric's probably checking out feasibility and playability
02-24-2013, 01:46 AM #33
Ok.. Here's my final review on xp80...
Like the racket a lot but have notice a slight instability with the racket... I have noticed it on a few occasions when I need to hit off centre and could feel the racket's instability.. Its Very hard to explain the feeling... But overall, I like the racket a lot.. Thumbs up to Eric
02-24-2013, 02:22 AM #34