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  1. #1
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    Default Yonex Armotec vs Muscle Power vs Carbonex

    Hi there. New to the forum and joining the throngs here in search of a new and hopefully improved racquet. Even though I've been playing for a long time, this will only be my second real racquet purchase and the first time I'm doing racquet research before buying so experts here, please forgive my rather basic questions!

    First, some basic info about me as a player:

    Style: More offensive than defensive. Fond of smashes and power shots, weaker in drop shots and forecourt.
    Level: Intermediate? Hoping to become more advanced, naturally! Played competitively in school teams and recreationally for many years but never much formally coached. Enjoy singles and doubles.
    Build: Petite Asian girl so I'm inclined towards a lighter racquet which still generates a good amount of power. Weight will factor into my decision. (Though I play tennis as well, so a bit more weight isn't the end of the world.)
    Budget: less than US$60 (around HK$500 max.)
    Previous racquet: a Prince Destroyer from ages ago that was on sale!

    A few questions:
    1. I am inclined towards buying a Yonex racquet because it seems to be the leading brand in badminton racquets and having never owned one, I would like to see if they really are better. But I open to recs from all brands as long as they are of good quality and good value for money.

    I have noticed there are brands such as Winex and Fleet which seem to be ripping off Yonex racquets and technology for a fraction of the price, so my first question is are these brands any good and how do they compare to the real thing? My budget would not allow me to get a top of the line Yonex racquet, but I'd probably be able to get it under these brands. Good idea or no?

    2. In terms of Yonex racquets, what is the main difference between the Ti, Armotec, Muscle Power and Carbonex series? Sadly, staff at the shops were only either able to tell me that some of them were newer or had more materials mixed into it- and hence better . What are their relative strengths and weaknesses? Since there are racquets in each series which would fit my budget, I'm looking for more info to help with my decision.

    3. I was told that the 'higher' the model no. in a series, the better the racquet was because it was newer and had more advanced technology. I'm not going to just accept that assumption so I'd like to know if there are particular model nos. recommended in these Yonex series that are within my budget?

    For example, I was trying to decide between Ti3, Ti5..vs Muscle Power 44 (i think) and it was hard to feel the difference in a shop!

    4. I was told that Ti3 was definitely better than the cheaper Ti1 and 2 because starting from Ti3 onwards, the racquets were Made in Japan rather than Taiwan. Does that really matter?

    5. The racquets I saw were mostly unstrung and the shop offered to string them with Yonex BG 65. Since I've never bought a racquet unstrung before, I don't know if that's a good tension to suit my style or should I pay a bit more for something better?

    In much need of advice from the experts here, thanks! And pls excuse the long post.

  2. #2
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    1. Refer to Dan's excellent and consolidated racquet review here for basic if not in-depth racquet analysis of many types (although the lower range models of Yonex haven't been tested) of badminton racquets, from Yonex and not Yonex alike. If there's a guy's word in badminton racquets you can trust, it's Dinker Dan.

    The link itself: http://www.badmintoncentral.com/foru...ad.php?t=45209

    Well your budget severely limits your options, but if you can find a good Yonex Ti, MP, etc. at that price, then go for it (I have not in Canada). Of course having you said 500 HKD, genuine Yonex racquets do go for A LOT cheaper in HK than here, you could get some of the top Yonex ones for ~80-120 USD, the absolute top ones go for no more than ~160 USD. That being said, best to buy in HK if you can, 500 HKD for the models you mentioned above can be obtained quite easily, just be sure to buy from a reputable racquet dealer (there are many fakes in China, some naked to the human eye). There are many good trusted shops listed here, just do a search in the Market Place area of the forums.

    Yes Yonex is the leading brand, and most popular. The company itself dominates over 80% of the professional badminton events, and most pro players get sponsored by Yonex. However, there are many brands that are cheaper, less-known, but just as good as Yonex, if not better. This varies though through models, best to read up, as some clones (copies of Yonex racquets by other companies) aren't as good, though as said before, some are just as good if not better. In short, Yonex is the baseline for racquets, you can't really go wrong with YY, but there are choices out there that may surprise you in a good way.

    2. The Yonex lines Ti, Armortec (AT), Muscle Power (MP), Carbonex (CAB) are just names of various racquet lines by Yonex. Each line always has 1 feature that will be in all racquets in that series (eg. MP having MP frames, CABs having oval head), usually associated with the series name. Though the high end models often have crossovers and incorporate features from other lines into their own (go to www.yonex.com to see the various features to racquets and flashy descriptions of what the features do). From what I know:

    Graphite carbon is the black stuff you see in the lighter racquets in comaprison to the cheap steel/aluminium racquets.
    Flexible racquets in short, give easier power, less control. Stiff racquets are harder to flex (obviously), but if you're very strong, they have the potential for more power, but also give higher control, because the racquet isn't always swaying while in swing. I'd say you're a flexible racquet type of person (best for you to check yourself however), and most racquets are Stiff, 3:1 of most racquets are stiff to flexible.

    MP - Muscle Power frame, rounded edges on the grommets of the frame, said to retain tension. A very broad but good line of racquets, depending on the model, can be flexible or stiff, head light, balanced, or head heavy. Often incorporates features from other lines to make higher models, all models are made of graphite carbon, with increasing quality as you go up the line. I would say this line is Yonex's modern baseline series.

    Head heavy racquets are somewhat harder to play if you're not used to it, but give greater power and offensive capability, especially in smashes and drives. Oh, and Head Heavy racquets have a heavier head (the frame).

    Head light racquets have lighter heads, don't give as much offensive, but are often faster and give better control. In short, more defensive. It really comes down to your own skill first though, before racquet tech.

    The Ti series is an older line, you probably won't find US versions in North America anymore, only in Asia. However they still are great racquets and used with great popularity, the top racquet in its line, the Ti-10 is still widely used and adored by many for its high offensive power. As for actual specs, all racquets in this line have the Titanium Mesh feature at 3 'o clock and and 9'o clock of the racquet's frame. This Ti Mesh are probably what gives the Ti series its name. It's said to give more control and comfort to the player, less shock and vibration following impact with the shuttle (but for most of us, it's unnoticable anyways). All racquets are made with graphite, with the quality increasing with higher models. What defines this series though, is that all (well not sure about Ti 1-5, someone clairfy?) racquets are head heavy, and are generally an offensive series.

    Armortec series is a newer series, associated with many features including CSC (a fatter wider cap for better control and maneuverability), and the Power Armor System. PAS in short is aerodynamically ridged frame to improve speed, with a Titantium strip at the top of the frame to further this purpose. To me, it's all marketing gimmicks that play a minor role really. Best to read up on the official site. But Armortec is for sure an offensive series. All racquets are stiff to very stiff, and very head heavy (the AT-900P and AT-700 especially). I'd say this is the most offensive series Yonex currently has out.

    CAB series was one of the earliest series out by Yonex, and still is a great seller. Known for durability and their oval heads (one of the two remaining series by Yonex that uses oval heads). Oval heads are the old traditional play, though now the isometric (square) head is taking more prevalance in the badminton industry. Oval heads have a smaller sweetspot, so less forgiving for shots, but are, as said before, more durable in case of clashes and such, and some say they generate more power because of this oval head. They vary from extra flexible (usually the cheap ones), to stiff, and are balanced to head heavy (but nowhere near Ti-10 or Armortec series). If you've been playing with an oval head racquet until today, CABs just may be right for you, they're also cheaper than the other Yonex lines.

    3. Not always. The high number models often have more features and are made with higher quality materials, many favour them, and as a whole, are better to use. However there are also models aren't as high that are good, it really comes down to feel and preference, as each model is different and may suit different people. (eg. The AT-700 is more headheavy than AT-900T, thus can generate more power and offense, and it's cheaper, but the AT-900T has better defense). I myself often play with my MP-44 over MP-100, because I find it easier to use, I prefer its feel, and it suits me better on most occasions. Try out some racquets if you can, or find your playing style. Answer these questions to better suit your racquet preference:

    Do you consider yourself an all-rounder, offensive, or defensive/control player?
    Do you prefer head heavy, head light, or balanced racquets?
    Do you like flexible or stiff racquets?

    Owning an MP-44 myself (though MP-44 was discontinued this year and replaced with MP-45, the difference being minor, a new paint job, and 1 number), I can say the MP-44 is a flexible head-light racquet. Best for quick shots, control and defense. I'm not really that strong so power doesn't matter that much to me, but if you're an offensive player with a lot of smashes and such, then the MP-44 isn't as good for power. I don't have experience with Ti-3 or Ti-5, so ask someone else about those.

    4. It varies. Quality control in Japan has generally been better than in Taiwan or China, and the high end racquets are made in Japan as a result. As a whole, yes, Made in Japan is better, but this is hardly noticeable apart from product defects. I would say no, it does not matter. I guess Yonex has less risk by placing lower cheaper racquets in production in TW or CN. In short, Japan for high end racquets, Taiwan for Mid-Low Racquets, China for low racquets.

    5. You didn't say a tension. BG-65 is only the name of a type of badminton string Yonex produces. It varies with type, but BG-65 is the baseline Yonex string, good durability and repulsion. Not the best, but not bad, an average string, most factory strung facquets are with BG-65. As for tension, it varies, for beginner-intermediate, 20-23 is good, though I'd say 23-24 is best. Just be wary, as stringing above the racquet's recommended tension (as said on the sticker on the cone) will void your warranty should the racquet break. Most racquets it's up to 22 (for obvious reasons, so Yonex doesn't have to pay up as frequently for such a low tension due to breakage). 90% of players go higher however, the higher the tension, the lower your racquet lifespan, but it is only a very small decrease and generally won't affect as much. Only clashes and impact at high tensions or defects will break your racquet. Most racquets, with proper care, can safely endure up to 29 lbs.

    Generally, the lower the tension, the more ease of power, but less control (similar to flexibility of the racquet). Longer racquet lifespan as said above.

    The higher the tension, the tighter the string, the more control, but it also becomes harder to generate power. High tensions are used by most pros, as their power comes from their trained arm, and control is highly important in pro matches. Lower racquet lifespan as said above. As well, if you're a fan of that loud pop sound when you strike the shuttle, higher tensions will produce a better sound.

    This lifespan lessening varies though. With proper care, the difference will only be a 1-2 months to 1-2 years with heavy usage. As a whole, as long as you treat your racquet well, it won't matter and won't break as likely as you think under high tension, many people can tell you that.

    I hope I was able to shed some light on your questions.
    Last edited by Midget_Boy; 07-18-2007 at 04:58 PM.

  3. #3
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    holy smokes, that's a long post!

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    Yeah, I often get carried away when I start typing, :S

  5. #5
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    Karma++ for the long and detailed response from Midget_Boy.

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    Midget_Boy, shed light? You've more than shed light, you've more than answered my questions thoroughly, you've effectively written a very informative and useful primer on badminton racquets! Thank you so very much for taking the time and effort to do that, I can't express my appreciation enough. I will definitely bear all your advice in mind before making my selection this time and in the future. In fact, I'll probably print it out to take to the shop with me as a reference guide!

    With my limited budget, I'll probably take a closer look at lower end AT models or lower to middle TI models that are not head light, not too stiff and not too heavy overall. I'll try to take a swing in the shop with some of the top of the line racquets I see discussed here to see if I can feel the difference!

    At the end of the day, more time on the court should be the most important ingredient towards becoming a better player. So all success to you on the court and thanks again!

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    excellent! excellent reading midget boy.

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    With limited budget (US$60), it's hard to end up with a good Yonex racket in north america. In Asia (or ebay), the price might be cheaper, but the risk to get a fake is much higher as well. If you don't have a lot of experience to identify racket, I will say stay away from Yonex.

    There are many non-Yonex brands (i.e. SOTX, Yangyang, Winex, BK, Kason, Victor, Fleet, Carlton, etc) are very reputable manufactures. Yes, some of them might "copy" some Yonex technology, but the quality vs. price ratio is very much acceptable. Also, the chance to get a fake non-Yonex is almost none.

    My suggestion is to look around (if visiting Asia, even better chances) and demo as many rackets as possible, and select the ones fit your own style and budget. I think you might be able to get a better deal from non-Yonex, but still reputable brand.

    Regarding which racket is better than the other. I will say, once its come to an well made all graphite racket, it's really your own preference, rather than, using the price tag as the indicator. As long as it is suitable for your playing style, it's your good choice.

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    Hi Midget_Boy, that's a very informative piece. I also own the MP-45 and it has been a number of years now and am in the market for a new racquet. I wonder what would be a good equivalent in today's market? I too like the feel and accuracy of the MP-45 balanced with a decent amount of power. Appreciate if you can help shed some more light

  10. #10
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    Brilliant answer Midgetboy! I can only stare open mouthed at the sheer content and then meekly raise my hand and say, "I second him"!!!
    Bravo!!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by madmaverick View Post
    With my limited budget, I'll probably take a closer look at lower end AT models or lower to middle TI models that are not head light, not too stiff and not too heavy overall. I'll try to take a swing in the shop with some of the top of the line racquets I see discussed here to see if I can feel the difference!
    wow, it's rare for me to see a girl to search for Armortec model.....
    why dont u try voltric range coz to me it's just like enhanced Armortec range...
    just my suggestion....:-)

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    Quote Originally Posted by sting.kl View Post
    Hi Midget_Boy, that's a very informative piece. I also own the MP-45 and it has been a number of years now and am in the market for a new racquet. I wonder what would be a good equivalent in today's market? I too like the feel and accuracy of the MP-45 balanced with a decent amount of power. Appreciate if you can help shed some more light
    i think Arcsaber series is the nearest to MP series as both series are known for even balance head....

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gunnersfan View Post
    i think Arcsaber series is the nearest to MP series as both series are known for even balance head....
    Thanks. Much appreciated.

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    midget boy writes big! good writeup.

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    Regular Member gundamzaku's Avatar
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    from what i heard arcsaber is the series replacing muscle power, nanoray for nanospeed, and voltric for armortec, i just wish yonex would come out with another line to replace carbonex but keep carbonex in the market, hehehehehehe

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