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  1. #1
    Regular Member visor's Avatar
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    Default Head weight: an easier, simpler appoximation of swing weight

    Preamble:
    Over the past 2 years, I’ve gone thru purchasing many rackets in an effort to search for the perfect racket for my men’s doubles games at high intermediate level. In chronological order, I’ve had 3U’s of:
    Yonex TiSP SS 1st gen;
    Panda Power 2x Trinity 2, Trinity Pro, Precision;
    Victor MX80, 2x MX70, MX60, BS12, SW30;
    Yonex VT80, VTZF (4U’s);
    RKEP 2x Pro 9000, XP70;
    Panda Power 4x(!) Precision Pro, 2x Revelation.

    I’m sure I’m not the only one to have gone thru this search, but through this experience and trial and error, I’ve come to realize there is a narrow range of spec that I can play really well and effortlessly with. I know that for my swing style, play style and balance between attack and defence, I prefer a racket that is moderately head heavy (4.5/5) with moderately high stiffness (4.5/5) with a moderately heavy weight (87-88g dry). Out of that list of rackets above, my current favourites are Revelation, P Pro, XP70, and MX70, but only after carefully trying out and choosing my specs after culling out the copies that didn’t work for me. The two Voltrics despite being 4U weighing only 82.5g are just too head heavy for a solid defence, and the other rackets are either too flexy or too head light for a good attack. For me.

    When buying rackets, even when choosing one from within a wt class (eg. 3U), there’s a certain degree of luck and uncertainty involved, since there is a possible +/- 2.5g variation within a wt class. The variation can theoretically be even up to 4.9g(!) if one is so unlucky as to get the extremes of the range. But it is most likely that manufacturers and designers choose a target range and work around it within the inevitable tolerances of the manufacturing process.

    Hence, it is good to see that some brands such as Panda Power and RKEP sell their rackets with measured and labelled specs of weight (wt) and balance point (bp), so the chances are much higher that the racket you choose will be the desired swing weight. If you already know what that is. But even then, I find that the measurements and labelling a tad off spec sometimes, either because of error in measurement or labelling or both. I know because I actually weigh my bare rackets with a digital scale and measure bp before I string and overgrip them. Some people may not notice 1g or a few mm bp difference, but I’m quite picky and it’s noticeable to me when I play with it. (For those who are not as sensitive to their equipment, I thank you for reading this far... you may now stop reading and go to the next thread. )


    Method:
    So what does one do then to get the racket with the right swing wt? As discussed above, it'd be luck of the draw if you blindly pick one off the shelf at the store. And most swing weight measurement machines are not only too expensive but are also not sensitive enough for measuring badminton rackets, as they’re designed for tennis rackets and golf equipment. (My guess is that it’s more lucrative in tennis and golf as the equipment in these sports are more expensive and are more customized.)

    Out of desperation then, what I’ve started doing is to measure the weight of the racket head in order to get an accurate, consistent and most importantly simple way to get a handle on the racket’s swing wt. Since the tip of the racket head is the furthest away from the fulcrum of the handle, this measurement should at least be directly proportional to swing wt, even if it is not a direct measurement of swing wt. Hence, with this single number, it'd be easier to compare different rackets, rather than using the current wt and bp measurements.

    My setup would be as in the pic below, with the tip of the racket head on the scale, on a level surface. The handle tip would be on the edge/corner of the scale’s box, for simplicity and consistency of placement. I’m aware that there may be a slight tilt of the shaft and that the fulcrum point is a few cms up the handle, but for simplicity, consistency and reproducibility of measurement of a racket and between different rackets, this method works very well. I'm aware that several people on the forum have been using this method already and I want to just put it out there for general awareness and discussion.

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    My preference:
    With this method and thru various combinations of measurement with and without strings and grip, I find that the white RKEP Elite G09 overgrip adds 0.7g and the white ZM62 string adds 2.6g to the head wt respectively. After much experience, I find that my bare head wt preference lies in a very narrow range of 38.0-38.6g. For some reason, for feather shuttles I prefer the lighter end; and for plastic shuttles I prefer the heavier end. Yes, that means that 37.4g or less, my clears and smashes suffer; and 39.0g and above, my defence and maneuverability suffers. The Revelation example in the pics above has a playing head wt of 41.6g, which translates to 38.3g bare and it plays perfectly well for me.
    Last edited by visor; 02-17-2013 at 03:21 AM.

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by visor
    ... I’m quite picky ...

    I'd hate to be the chef in any restaurant you frequent. ("This rice is 2% too moist!")


    But I do admire that you have found a simple way of identifying your optimal practical specifications. A box, a scale and a level surface. It couldn't get much simpler. Bravo.

    (For some of us, the variability between any two rackets in our bags is nothing compared to the variability of how the old body holding the racket feels from one day to the next.)

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    -double post, sorry-
    Last edited by Fidget; 02-17-2013 at 06:54 AM.

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    actually i do some of the measurements your style, but with the fulcrum/pivot not at the end, but at the position of the handle that is central to my hand when gripping the handle

    i made a little support up of glueing some bass-strips to the height of the balance


    and correspondingly this racquet at the head gives a reading of 31.60 grams


    balancing a tape strip on the butt capp


    the weight at the head becomes 30.95


    although in principle with the tape the racquet becomes, 2U instead of 3U, however it decreases the weight on the head making it appear more headlight

  5. #5
    Regular Member betazone's Avatar
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    Hi vajrasattva, does it mean then that weight of grip plays a significant part on swingweight?
    I guess it is tough to quantify but definitely there is a difference.

    Quote Originally Posted by vajrasattva View Post
    actually i do some of the measurements your style, but with the fulcrum/pivot not at the end, but at the position of the handle that is central to my hand when gripping the handle

    i made a little support up of glueing some bass-strips to the height of the balance


    and correspondingly this racquet at the head gives a reading of 31.60 grams


    balancing a tape strip on the butt capp


    the weight at the head becomes 30.95


    although in principle with the tape the racquet becomes, 2U instead of 3U, however it decreases the weight on the head making it appear more headlight

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    Quote Originally Posted by betazone View Post
    Hi vajrasattva, does it mean then that weight of grip plays a significant part on swingweight?
    I guess it is tough to quantify but definitely there is a difference.
    hey betazone,

    yes there will definitely be a difference caused by changing the weight at the handle/grip area, on the contrary to some beliefs from simulating a system by theoretical calculations

    since you're in singapore, if you are interested in experimenting, i can send you 2 strips of lead tape (free, postage included), for you to tape your butt cap and for you to feedback differences (or the lack of) if you are interested to experiment on this

    a single karakal PU grip is.. scary! its abt 18 grams, whilst sometimes i use 2 x supergraps on my handle that is abt 9 grams only

  7. #7
    Moderator cobalt's Avatar
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    Great thread, great illustrations!
    Noob question coming up.... just wondering, what results would you obtain if you reversed the positions? i.e., butt on the scales, tip of racquet-head balanced on edge of the box...

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    Regular Member visor's Avatar
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    ^^ easy... that'll be the total racket wt minus head wt. (I know because I've done it )

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    Regular Member visor's Avatar
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    @Fidget : 2% variation in rice moisture content I can't tell, but 10% I can.

  10. #10
    Regular Member visor's Avatar
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    Double pos..... t
    Last edited by visor; 02-17-2013 at 12:16 PM.

  11. #11
    Regular Member visor's Avatar
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    @vajrasattva : very similar setup you have there, just a slight variation where you have the end directly on the actual fulcrum point. However I find that your way causes problems with accuracy and reproducibility as a 13mm shift results in a 1.0g change of head wt. So if you're off by 1mm, that would translate into 0.08g error in head wt.

    Regarding adding wt at the handle tip, I haven't been able to discern much noticeable difference in the past. Perhaps I can try it again, with a large coin taped to the butt cap.
    Last edited by visor; 02-17-2013 at 01:53 PM.

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    Wouldn't your swing weight preferences differ with different swing speed? For example, with Bravesword racket, your swing speed would be faster since the frame is designed that way. That kind of stuff should change the swing weight preference right?

  13. #13
    Regular Member visor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SSSSNT View Post
    Wouldn't your swing weight preferences differ with different swing speed? For example, with Bravesword racket, your swing speed would be faster since the frame is designed that way. That kind of stuff should change the swing weight preference right?
    You're very correct. I have a 3U MX70 and P Pro, and a 4U VZTF with very similar head wts of 38.7g, 38.9g, and 38.6g. And yet on swinging them, the one with the head heaviest feel is the 4U VZTF, either due to poorer aerodynamics or perhaps also wt distribution being closer to the top as compared to the others. So the conclusion would be that you can go heavier swing wt if you're choosing a racket with an aero frame design.

  14. #14
    Moderator cobalt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by visor View Post
    ----snip-----
    So if you're off by 1mm, that would translate into 0.08g error in head wt.
    I was always looking for a real-world definition of "nit-picking." Thank you!

  15. #15
    Regular Member visor's Avatar
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    .
    Quote Originally Posted by cobalt;204I5
    I was always looking for a real-world definition of "nit-picking." Thank you!
    for sure I'll never be accused of being sloppy

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    visor, your racket preference is similar to mine, 4.5/5 of head heaviness and stiffness. Just wondering, would MX80 fit the bill nicely, but you own 2xMX70. Do you prefer MX70 over MX80 ?

  17. #17
    Regular Member visor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Licin View Post
    visor, your racket preference is similar to mine, 4.5/5 of head heaviness and stiffness. Just wondering, would MX80 fit the bill nicely, but you own 2xMX70. Do you prefer MX70 over MX80 ?
    i loved the mx80 when i first got it, but the extra stiff shaft started causing me shoulder pain... so yep, now the mx70 is one of my faves, next to the revelation and precision pro and xp70.

    somehow my preference is also towards fast but solid aero frames ... so the voltrics and braveswords didn't work out for me, as they were either too much head wt and slow, or too little head wt and lack heft and substance on strike.

    yep... i'm pretty picky, i know...
    Last edited by visor; 02-18-2013 at 03:18 AM.

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