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  1. #1
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    Default REVIEW: FZ Forza Titanium 11.000 Badminton Racket

    Four weeks ago, the FZ Forza distributor in the United States, www.badmintonian.com, sent me the newest FZ Forza gear to review, including the four new rackets under the FZ Forza Titanium 11.000 name.

    The four models of rackets designated by the FZ Forza Titanium 11.000 name are under a common goal: to provide sublime control. The 11.000 rackets are all designed for the high-level tournament play, while providing a gamut of racket characteristics to choose from.

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    Series Overview

    The Titanium 11.000 uses 40 T U-HM CNT Graphite in the shaft. 40 Ton Ultra-High Modulus Graphite is a proven lightweight, highly rigid, material that is stiff and durable. The frames share the same 40 T U-HM CNT Graphite, with a titanium mesh. These materials justify a 26 to 30 pound maximum recommended stringing tension, depending on the retailer.

    FZ Forza uses the 88-hole stringing system, which eliminates shared holes, benefits the life of the racket frame, and adds tension to the stringbed. This stringing system requires no more string than any 76-hole racket.

    These rackets use the 826 aerodynamic frame, purposefully designed to give the racket more power and speed. This sharp frame also plays host to some rounded archways, reminiscent of Yonexís Muscle Power series, giving the racket additional unity.

    Visual/Artistic Design

    The basis for the design of the Titanium 11.000 series was the popular FZ Forza Ti-10000 racket. Most of the rackets feature a gleaming white base, while the stiff version features an elegant copper color.

    The Ti-11.000 has four colorful and bold markings on the sides of the racket, which match the base of the shaft. The black and white (or copper and white, on the stiff version) leave room for the bold markings to accent the racket. On the outside, the rackets are traced with titanium netting and metallic bands. Overall, the accents and base sum to make aesthetically pleasing rackets.

    The computerized shaft lacks refinement. With a couple of the rackets, the shaft design fails to align with the cone and head. Itís a shame that the shaft couldnít live up to the high quality finish on the frame.

    Overall, the racket design seems more on the cutting-edge side of things when seen up close. Bold markings and 3D elements combine to give a futuristic design, with a very solid paintjob.

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    Stringing with FZ Forzaís Titanium Line

    I didnít have the opportunity to string the Ti-11.000 myself, but it seems to be a more refined version of previous Titanium models, which I can identify with. The shapely, smooth grommets are very minimalist and thus easy to work with. The lack of shared holes make these rackets very convenient to string, and comforting, knowing that the frame can take high tensions.

    The racket was strung with Fleet Ultimax Turbo Nano 66, at my usual tension of 22/24 by www.badmintonian.com.

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    General Performance of the Titanium 11.000 Lineup

    The Titanium 11.000 series varies in shaft flexibility and balance point, but is justifiably the same number racket. The common element between all of these rackets is the accurate, rigid racket head. Despite the balance point varying slightly by racket, the feeling of the Ti-11.000 rackets is largely the same: in a word, comfortable. The weight is balanced and distributed well so each racket is proper and very effective for any discipline.

    The racket frames are noticeably isometric, giving more forgiveness for a little speed. That being said, drives will be accurate while relying on the player to generate some power, more so than on less isometric rackets, for the same speedy drives and fast shots.

    Net drops give great security. The extra tension on the string bed given from the 88-hole string power system allows for more leeway and feeling when netplay must be precise. Backcourt drops are also very effective because the wide stringbed slices the feathers optimally while allowing for sublime accuracy: a deadly combination.

    Clears come with general ease especially because the very isometric frame gives solid shots even if the user is off-balance. Players with good form will be rewarded with very easy clears, exploding from line to line. Smashes vary greatly by racket, but are all extraordinarily accurate.

    The following descriptions describe variation along these general guidelines for performance.

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    FZ Forza Titanium 11.000 F

    The flexible version offers a racket that dissipates the speed on the shuttle for an accurate dropshot. In terms of the whole line, the racket offers the best late net drop performance because it is accurate and tolerant at the net. This racket performs very well when attacking or dropping the serve for these reasons.

    Drives rely less on the player for power while delivering high accuracy shots, with a flexible shaft to help push through the opponent.

    The clears and smashes are very powerful for those who need additional power. Clears easily go to the back even without balance and form, and half smashes definitely excel when full-power smashes arenít available. The accuracy is a plus and will reward any intentionally placed smash or clear.

    Recommendation: This racket is suitable for juniors, front players, and tournament-level women, as well as people who find themselves offbalance. Women who prefer very hard smashes may opt for a stiffer option.

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    FZ Forza Titanium 11.000 M

    The medium offers a touch at the net similar to the flexible racket. This racket is the most accurate at spinning netdrops, and very balanced in general.

    Fast shots are just finger turns away with the aerodynamic frame, giving very effective blocks, just as the flexible racket does. Drives are helped some with the medium flexible power, but are slightly harder to push through the opponent.

    Jump smashes feel fluid and natural, while generating more power than the flexible racket. It is very easy to find the lines, too. This racket also delivers easy clears, which can be placed anywhere on demand.

    Recommendation: This racket suits juniors, strong women, and front players, but not very serious smashers. Any player who prides himself or herself on netshots will enjoy this very much.

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    FZ Forza Titanium 11.000 S

    The stiff racket has a confident feeling at the net for tight net drops, and still offers very accurate dropshots as the others do. Although it is focused on offense, the stiff racket also offers incredibly confident complex defense shots (like the crosscourt drop) because of its even balance.

    Unfortunately, as the rackets get stiffer, generating power for drives is more difficult, and it is up to the player to provide power. However, the drives seem to place themselves with even better accuracy than flexible or medium.

    Jump smashes and clears provide easy power to those with good form, even for junior players. This racket could handle the full extent of my power. The strength of the racket comes through with booming smashes, but cannot match the swift power of very stiff, head heavy rackets, like the very stiff version. The stiff version offers even more accuracy for heavy smashers.

    This racket attracts doubles players because of its duality of powerful and accurate offense, and capacity to defend ably.

    Recommendation: This racket suits anyone with strong form and body. Advanced-level defenders will enjoy the even balance while serious smashers will enjoy the power and surprisingly deft drops for such a strong racket.

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    FZ Forza Titanium 11.000 VS

    The very stiff version is the only racket with a head heavy balance.

    Netplay without the even balance, as with other head heavy rackets, is slightly more difficult with the very stiff version. The accuracy is undeniably present, but the shots arenít as consistently close to the net without spin.

    Again, with the stiffest racket, drives rely on the playerís wrist and finger strength. The attack drive feels a lot faster and offensive with this racket because it is head heavy. The head heavy racket feels singles-oriented. The balance point change does not force a commitment to offense.

    Mixed doubles driving was fast and powerful enough. The clears were very accurate but definitely required proper form to make it to the other end with ease.

    The head heavy balance is only slight and is sometimes barely noticeable, but offense is not one of those times. Even with the large sweetspot, smashes fly off of the racket, making 22 pounds of tension seem like 28 for a special occasion. Power smashes feel clean and committed. The combination between accuracy and power is quite impressive. Even smashes sacrificing power for placement really do thunder down. Clears, as with any offensive/very stiff racket, require good form to reach the back.

    Recommendation: The very stiff version has a higher balance point, aimed at highly skilled players who tend towards offense or singles play. Defensive doubles players may want to opt for stiff. This is especially recommended for those who want to control rallies.

    Comments

    I really canít say enough about the accuracy. I have never felt the ability and confidence to clear crosscourt, drive anywhere, and play spinning netdrops until I came across this series. The Ti-11.000 certainly offers something to almost every level, strength, and play style.

    I had high expectations for this racket, and it delivered with its incredible accuracy, fantastic feel, and consistency.

    If you can get your hands on the Ti-11.000, you have the opportunity to learn a lot about the competitive quality of FZ Forza, as well as yourself, and what you prefer in a racket. Surely, with the right marketing, this racket will become a respected racket aimed at control.

    For another look at the rackets, see my youtube video review here:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NtY8ClvjEnw

    Thank you to www.badmintonian.com again for providing these badminton rackets.

  2. #2
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    Please feel free to ask questions about the rackets or anything, really. I'm happy to answer!

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    I wrote another review a little while back. It's added on here.

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    FZ FORZA Ti 11.000 Badminton Racquets

    (Certain parts of the review may bear similarities to other product reviews from the same brand)

    Earlier this year (2014), I happened to have a chance meeting with FZ FORZA in Asia. It is not a brand that is commonly seen around Asia but it has a strong presence in Europe. Looking back, it is a brand I have noticed become less prominent on the TV since its initial flourish in the 1990’s. Those times, you could see a fair number of Danish players using FZ FORZA. After chatting a bit to FZ FORZA, they explained they want to market more in certain Asian countries. However, they will not be going for the big sponsorship deals. Rather, they will be trying to focus on younger talents and up and coming countries. That sound like a strategy that benefits both young professional players trying to establish themselves and also exposure of the brand at a mid-*‐market segment. You may have noticed recently FZ FORZA Facebook in Singapore and Malaysia and a Weibo page as part of their soft push into social media sites. Some of you may have noticed the FZ FORZA website, the facility to personalize racquet bags and differences between the European and Asian catalogues.

    FZ FORZA tell me they put a lot of effort and resources into their products – the premise being able to have higher quality products at a competitive pricing strategy. Certainly, if they are not going to do the traditional marquee player/tournament sponsorship, then their outgoings risks will be smaller. Given that they promise a value for money product, they will be depending on customer loyalty and secondary referrals from this customer base. I will leave readers to investigate if their respective local FZ FORZA retailers are indeed priced more competitively for them.
    I was sent two out of four of the Ti range of racquets to review - the Ti 11.000 S (denoting ‘stiff’) and the Ti 11.000 F (denoting ‘flexible’). Rather than separate reviews on each racquet, I have elected to review of both racquets combined in a single article. The other two racquets in the range are a very stiff version (not surprisingly abbreviated to ‘VS’) and a medium stiff version (the ‘M’). Those latter two racquets are are not part of the this review. The number system is a little strange – does having a 5 digit number (and a decimal point) actually mean anything? When I first went through the catalogue, there are many racquets with different names and numbers and it needs time to digest. The more digits that appear, the more complicated it appears to be.

    Design and aesthetics

    Both the Forza Ti11.000 S and Ti11.000 F come in an 88 hole pattern and the information given on the card indicates both racquets are designed for offensive players. The S version is a mainly gold colour, black accents, red dashes and a few white stripes. On the shaft, the name appears prominently with the words ‘carbon nano tubes’ in slightly smaller lettering. The head of the racquet also has the words ‘carbon nano tubes’ and ‘super control’. There are markings to assist the stringer on where to tie the knots.

    Forza explain that their racquets have the I power design. A little piece from their brochure is explains the shaft is thicker nearer the T joint which pushes the bending point of the shaft further up towards the head. It is noticeable on the review racquets that the shaft is thicker nearer the T joint.

    Around the shaft, there is a bit more technical information on the power, balance point and weight of the racquet. The flex of the racquet is printed as 4 out of 5 (rated ‘stiff’). The words ‘computerized shaft’ appear, and we are made pretty clear that although the racquet is made in Taiwan, that it’s a Danish brand with a small Danish flag also printed.

    The F version is white and black with dashes of purple. No one colour dominates. Again, similar to the S version, we have the same information written on the shaft. The power rating is 9 out of 10 and the flex is 2 out of 5 (rated as flexible).

    Given the colour scheme of the two racquets, the S version looks rather staid – it doesn’t really catch the eye. The F version is slightly better but a greater proportion of white on the racquet would look better.

    Both racquets went to MBS (Mybadmintonstore) for stringing with BG66 at 26lbs for this review. Forza claim that the 88 hole stringing pattern can add 5lbs to the stringing tension.

    Performance

    First few swings without the shuttle and there is a clear difference in the feel of the swing. The S version feels as if having more weight on it and the racquet clearly feels stiff. The F version feels a little more forgiving in this respect. It seems to be just a little bit easier to manipulate in the fingers. Clearing the shuttle initially took me some time to adjust to and I attribute this to the stiffness of the shaft. By Forza’s own rating, the racquet is rated as stiff but my subjective feeling is that the racquet is very stiff indeed. In comparison, the F version was easier to adjust my timing but even so, I still feel the racquet being on the stiff side despite it being classified by Forza as being flexible. There is no universal rating for stiffness (or flexiness) of badminton racquets but this shows users should be aware that two different brands perception of stiffness of the racquet shaft may vary considerably.

    In general, I found the S version harder to adjust with overhead shots. I think it was the stiffness of the shaft that made it difficult for me. I couldn’t quite get the timing right on smashes and in subsequent games, I did end up with mishits. Drives and underhand shots were easier to perform but again I couldn’t really get quite comfortable with the racquet.

    The F version was much easier to adjust to. When the racquet was used for the first time, the racquet has the impression of being hollow when the shuttle is struck. In terms of playability of the racquet, that doesn’t seem to have an effect on any of my shots but it is a rather interesting observation. I get a much better timing with this racquet compared to the S version – I think my swing and timing is less adjusted to the stiff racquets. With the easier timing, my smashes were better and I generated a nice smashing sound from the racquet. With 3U racquets they sometimes feel a little light in the head for smashes but the S version reviewed here seems to have got it right. However, the more I used both racquets, the more I found myself actively searching for the F version in my racquet bag. I found the F version response pretty lively with a good doubles defense, fast reactions for drives and changes of direction in the doubles game. Remember that bit about the hollow feeling? Does that make the racquet less robust? How about if it clashes with another racquet? A clash is exactly what happened during one of the games. My partner’s Yonex nanospeed 9900 did not survive whereas the S version remained as cool as cucumber.

    Damping in both racquets was good with just a touch of vibration noticeable. I quite liked that but if the vibration is too noticeable (not these two racquets) twinges in my Golfer’s elbow can occur.

    Can the 88 hole stringing pattern really give an extra 5lbs of tension? I didn’t check the stringing frequency. The string tensions maintained well during playing but to be honest, I didn’t feel that the string bed has an extra 5 lbs of tension.

    Conclusion

    The Forza Ti 11.000 S and F versions play quite differently. The ratings of stiffness seem to be a step higher than other racquets I have played with so players will have to be aware of this area. After a few sessions with both racquets, I found myself preferring F version more and more. The S version looks to requiring more work by the user to adapt to if you are used to using medium flex or flexible racquets.
    Last edited by Cheung; 08-25-2014 at 03:04 AM.

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    I noticed my review had some grammatical errors so went back and corrected them on the frontpage.

    As mentioned, the Ti 11.000 F grew on me. I bought another two! I am one of those people who need three racquets of the same model in my bag. Using it mainly for doubles.

    PinkDawg, have you bought any of the Ti 11.000 range for your own use?

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    Hello Cheung.

    I have bought the VS model for my own use. I like the feel of it the most and the power is very attractive to me. As a singles player, I've mainly switched from head light rackets to head heavy rackets.

    Surprisingly, I liked the flexible model quite a lot. I had a difficult time deciding between flexible and very stiff, because the flexible's touch at the net was so sensitive.

    If I were low on rackets, I would definitely pick up one flexible and one very stiff. The flexible, in my opinion, is probably what suits me best for doubles. The power is quite impressive and in general, the racket is very versatile.

    On another note, the racket is named the 11.000 because in some European and Latin American countries, the decimal point takes the place of the comma in numbers, so the rackets are said titanium eleven thousand, from what I understand.

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    That slight flexiness does help on netshots. I wouldn't choose different racquets models for singles or doubles myself. Too many in the bag.

    Don't quite get that reasoning for the numbering. I just wondered why the three decimal places. Computer software has more versions but badminton racquets?

    Will we see a Ti 11.001?

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    The eleven thousand just goes up in thousands after the nine thousand, ten thousand, etc., but i don't know why they put the thousand decimal point there either. The decimal point denotes thousands

    I think that FZ Forza will continue to stick with the lines they've made. I believe that there was a moderately popular Ti-555 that people occasionally mention, and it has stuck around until today. I think they discontinued their Kevlar line (generally head heavy and stiff) because there were not any new models this year.

    I expect to see a non-numbered version of the Titanium series soon. The N-Forze series has had the Denmark No. 1 racket (I used to own one), and the Furious (I know someone who owns it but I've never tried it). If I had one request of FZ Forza, I would ask them to add variety to their rackets, like they have here. Lots of the specs of their rackets are medium or slightly HH or HL, but nothing very radical. We'll see.

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    Like PinkDawg, I tend to like using different rackets for doubles vs singles. I also like to use a lighter and easier to use racket late in the session vs early in the session. So for me, my bag usually contains a whole assortment of racket models and brands.

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    I actually have three different rackets at three different tensions. I like them all and the tension isn't too hard to adjust to, but ultimately it's up to how aggressive I want to be in a game.

    During a tournament I was choosing between the Ti-11.000 (flexible), the Ti-9000, and a Yonex Muscle Power. I hadn't had the Ti-11.000 too long at that point, but it seemed like the racket I trusted the most.

    Something similar happened last night- I was off my game (we all have those nights) and then I switched from the Ti-9000 to the Ti-11.000 and it seemed a lot easier to smash down the lines.

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    I'm a social/recreational player so I'm not too picky about switching rackets all day long. I find I can adjust to them just fine, although some are favorites of course due to a certain "feel". If I played like you in tourneys, I would a lot more picky because there's actually something on the line. Hopefully in the future I can find a Ti-11.000 to test out.

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    I do encourage you to try the Ti-11.000 because it was such a great racket series for me to experiment with.

    To be honest, though, if you are interested in feel, FZ Forza has you covered. I used to own the FZ Forza Denmark No. 1 (N-Forze line), which was a really great racket for me, even though it was a head light racket. According to the catalogue sent to me from badminton.com, the Kevlar xPower 10.0 is a racket aimed at accuracy too!

    See if your friends will buy some so you can try them out

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    Unfortunately my friends aren't quite there yet as far as accepting anything other than Yonex or Victor. They'd even go and consider fakes before accepting other brands. It's really too bad because I feel they miss out a lot. Forza does have a great line up from what I've tested.

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    That is really unfortunate. Something that helped me look into other brands was doing it as soon as I entered badminton.

    Were any of them any more convinced after you tested the rackets out with them? My friends thought that the Ti-11.000 rackets were really top-notch.

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    Actually I can't blame them 100% for not looking into other brands. All of them play only recreationally, some don't care about their string tension, some have rackets 5-10 years old, many have clones. They don't see the point in spending money on a newer racket or restringing.

    A few kids in high school that we play with, I see have authentic Yonex brands, those are the ones who are on their high school teams. Of course since they are at that age, they generally stick with what's popular and common with other kids. Other kids, not on teams, who play just for fun, have just clones or even big box store level models.

    There are a few who tested with me that seem to like to change but generally after theirs break, etc. Not many are like us here on BC who love to compare racket to racket, string to string, and different grips.

    Have you converted any players to Forza successfully during this test period?
    Last edited by mater; 09-06-2014 at 10:01 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by PinkDawg View Post
    I actually have three different rackets at three different tensions. I like them all and the tension isn't too hard to adjust to, but ultimately it's up to how aggressive I want to be in a game.

    During a tournament I was choosing between the Ti-11.000 (flexible), the Ti-9000, and a Yonex Muscle Power. I hadn't had the Ti-11.000 too long at that point, but it seemed like the racket I trusted the most.

    Something similar happened last night- I was off my game (we all have those nights) and then I switched from the Ti-9000 to the Ti-11.000 and it seemed a lot easier to smash down the lines.
    I have the three racquets strung at the same tension. To be honest, I feel for a competition, I wouldn't use a different tension. If the clears go out the back, I play the same stroke but hit the shuttle higher. Something that was taught to me by my coach. YMMV of course.

    Mater

    I have not converted anybody. Those around me are free to try racquets out though. Everybody has their own individual preferences including brand loyalty.

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    Correction, I did have about three people purchase Forza rackets, although all lower end and it was all prior to my Forza Shootout review. No conversions to the mid to higher end range.

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