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07-18-2013, 05:51 AM #1
Adidas Badminton - Melbourne (Australia) Demo Day report
Okay so I'm sitting on a train waiting to go home after attending the (Jols p/l) Adidas Badminton demo day. It was very well organized and I was impressed with all the gear, to be honest. It just seems very well thought out and looks good, and there's some real cracker rackets in the line up, too.
I'll write up a mini review of the rackets I played with later, but suffice to say I was super impressed with the Power Hybrid strings and the Adipower Tour.
07-18-2013, 07:23 PM #2
Okay, so I'm all rested up and ready for some reportage!
I guess the rackets are of the most interest, so I'll do some quick overviews of them first. Jols were very generous with their court time and I got there at 6:30 and left at about 8:30, so I had a good chance to have a decent hit with about six rackets, but I'll give my thoughts on 3-4. All rackets were factory gripped with Power Hybrid strings (0.72/0.69) at a pretty low tension I think (about 22lbs), but surprisingly the repulsion was good and the net play was simply amazing. I thought the transition game with VS850 and BG66UM was good.....this string is on a whole other level. Amazing control and touch. One of the lovely women assisting last night slipped me a packet, so I'm going to lace up my go-to with it at perhaps 25lbs and see how it does. I'm expecting great things.
Another thing to mention was the quality of the shuttles. Very, very nice quality of flight. The first shuttle I used was way too fast, but the ones after that all had a very consistent flight and really good longevity. I need to find out what model they were because I forgot to ask, but if the price is on-par with Aeroplane Black Labels, I think I'll get a tube and see how they go. It was actually a shame nothing was for sale because I would've easily bought some goodies.
Precision Pro and Precision Tour.
If you like head-heavy singles bangers, then these are the rackets you should be looking at. They have a vaguely Voltric feel about them, and as far as I could ascertain, the only difference between the two is the level of shaft stiffness. Both have the same colour scheme which made it difficult to remember which one I was playing with! As with all the Adidas rackets, the tactility and feel is super nice. Good balance between directness and damping. If you like Victor Meteor type metallic-ness, then you probably won't like these, but if you're used to a (not quite) Yonex level of damping, you'll like these straight away.
Don't be confused as to their specs. On paper they look liked they could be good for me because they're quite light - 85g IIRC - however they do carry all their weight in their head so they're a little more demanding than they look on paper. I think if you like the Voltrics but are looking for slightly less weight and more manoeuvrability, then you should definitely look at these. Especially back court doubles and singles players.
This is the racket I was most looking forward to playing with - again, because the paper specs looked right up my alley - but there just wasn't enough weight in the head for my likings. I thought it was reasonably quick as you would expect, but surprisingly I didn't like how it felt for drives. The head feels light and 'tinny'. But again, if you like headlight rackets, you should definitely consider it.
This racket surprised me the most. I expected it to be unplayable for me, like the 3U Z-Force and AT700 is, but it's actually a very accessible racket with great balance and feel. Don't be confused though - it's not a head heavy sledgehammer. The Precision range is the head-heavy range. The AdiPower range is more moderately head heavy (300-305mm, probably 41-42g swing weight if I was to guess), with really nice tactility. I think if you like say the MX80 but want slightly more weight in the head and much better tactility, then check this out.
This was the standout for me, a really cracking all-rounder. Same feel as the Pro, just slightly less stiff, which for me was a better match and gave a slightly better chassis balance for my ability. I was just super impressed with this racket, I just got on the court and played, and played well, straight off the bat. The great hybrid strings didn't hurt either - I was doing unheard-of (for me) net shots. Backhand drops were telepathic. If I had to guess the specs, I'd say same as the Pro except maybe slightly less swing weight in the 41g mark. It really did feel like a slightly heavier and 'tighter' version of my go-to.
A quick word about the shoes and clothes. In a word - awesome. The clothing is really sharp and the quality is leaps and bounds above the normal licenced Yonex/LiNing/Victor crap. The blue and fluro red colourwayed stuff looks fantastic. Definitely on my shopping list. Same with the shoes. It's nice to have another option in my size (13) which is great, but they look the business and would be well worth trying on if you're in the market. Pricing is very competitive (surprisingly), too.
All-in-all though, I was very impressed by Adidas' first foray into Badminton. The products are quality, well polished, and well presented, and I look forward to seeing more of this stuff on court.
07-18-2013, 07:34 PM #3
Yeah the APP is surprisingly maneuverable!
I may have measured it wrong but the head weight with ZM62 was around 39g.
07-18-2013, 08:22 PM #4
Seems a bit low to me, but yeah, it's a nice piece of kit that's for sure.
07-18-2013, 08:23 PM #5
Yeah not sure how accurate that is but my TK8000 is 42g and Legend II is 43g.
07-18-2013, 08:52 PM #6
Did you ask them which stores are going to be retailing these?
great report btw
07-19-2013, 01:07 AM #7
Seems a bit low to me, but yeah, it's a nice piece of kit that's for sure.
07-19-2013, 06:53 AM #8
To be honest I'm a bit shocked at the shops. Seems a bit gutless from where I'm sitting, but I don't know exactly how all the politicking and business BS works.
07-19-2013, 08:09 AM #9
I think from a business standpoint, it's a big risk to purchase a lot of stock from a mostly unknown brand (granted, Adidas is known, just not in the badminton world). The risk is acceptable enough if the product is cheap and likely to sell based on this and customer curiousity alone, but from what I've read on social media, Adidas are pricing their gear at top end Yonex prices. Just my 2c.
07-19-2013, 06:08 PM #10
I agree with all that. I also think that many companies miss the opportunities of grassroots marketing by just getting rackets out there and on the courts. A few cut price rackets in the hands of early adopters and influential gear heads does a huge amount to boost credibility.
From my experience, the badminton market is very conservative unless price driven, and as you mention the top end Adidas models are priced right up there with Yonex, so they need reviews and grass roots promotion very early on to get some traction.
07-19-2013, 06:30 PM #11
This can be a good or bad thing.
Maybe Adidas will come to their senses and start pricing competitively like Victor or be stubborn and stick to Yonex pricing.
07-19-2013, 07:14 PM #12
07-19-2013, 11:12 PM #13
Agree on the motoring analogy but BMW are able to pad their bottom line with some of the lower end brands that they also own (Volkswagen belongs to them I believe). I'm hoping Adidas will have some suitably priced entry level racquets to go alongside their top end premium gear. Only time will tell.
07-19-2013, 11:36 PM #14
07-20-2013, 12:32 AM #15
07-20-2013, 02:09 AM #16
The Adidas range extends down the line, but my fear from my studies of the badminton market this year, is that it's predominantly (outside of China) driven by quite parochial 'me too' ism, with a big slab of the market very un-evolved and still caught up in basic idol worship to drive their purchasing behaviour.
I think sponsoring a lot of up-and-coming young players is a good way of getting new players and younger players away from the Yonex vernacular, but they seem to be relying too much on their global 'reputation' as a brand with traction in other sports to drive their overall brand acceptance in this new field of badminton.
Without looking at it too hard, I seem to think that they should've thrown a lot of cash at taking the Korean team away from Victor to cement themselves in the sport (much like LiNing did with China) but I'm not sure if that's part of their longer term strategy or even on their radar at all. Assuming it's even contractually and culturally possible.
At this stage as far as I can ascertain, Adidas has two things on their side - the younger cashed-up market, and those that are hungry for something new (or at least, are aspirational in terms of western brands and their perceived value system).
Last edited by Maklike Tier; 07-20-2013 at 02:11 AM.
07-23-2013, 10:43 PM #17
Scored some Power Hybrid strings so I'll be giving them a try tomorrow. Strung at quite low (for me) tension of 23x25lbs, only because the demo rackets were strung quite low yet felt so nice. However, they were much lower than 24lbs, so it will be interesting to see how they go at this tension.