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Thread: Babolat X-Feel Review
12-07-2011, 11:07 PM #1
Babolat X-Feel Review
A discussion in another thread discussed some recent Babolat rackets and the dearth of reviews for this particular brand. I will hereby review two of my most used rackets, the Babolat X-Feel Power and X-Feel Blast, used two to three times a week over a period of about a year since I bought them. Babolat is a French company which sponsors players like Tine Baum, Juliane Schenk, Joachim Persson, and Pi Hongyan.
First, some disclosures. I would consider myself an Advanced player, playing mostly doubles (and some singles) two to three times a week on weekdays and the weekend. I am also a racket whore, and have a stable of rackets that consists mainly of Yonex (VT80, Arc 10, Z-Slash, and Nanospeed 9900) and two Tantrum 300s. I will be comparing these Babolats to my other rackets where I see some similarity. I saw these two Babolat rackets in a store about a year ago, liked what I saw when I handled them, and decided to buy both. Both are strung to 28/28 lbs using BG-66 (as with most of my other rackets), even though the recommended maximum string tension is 26 lbs.
First some statistics from the Babolat website:
X-Feel Blast (3U)
Length: 26.57 in
Flex: Very stiff
Balance: 11.42 in (290 mm)
Weight: 3.10 oz (88 gm)
X-Feel Power (3U)
Length: 26.57 in
Flex: Very stiff
Balance: 11.22 in (285 mm)
Weight: 3.03 oz (86 gm)
My previous "go to" racket was the Z Slash, and I liked the weight combined with the long handle which resulted in a racket that had a lot of power without the associated fatigue that I tend to get with stiffer rackets like the Arc 10 or Voltric 80. I actually got used to the head speed after a while, but one thing that I never really got used to was the size of the head. In short I was looking for a something light, packed a lot of punch (head heavy/long shaft), and had a standard head size. Enter the Babolat. Both the Blast and Power were advertised as head heavy rackets which packed a lot of power at the expense of a bit of control. My first impression after using them for the first time was how light both rackets felt. That both were head heavy was apparent. The handle wasn't as short as some may make it out to be, but still short enough to give the impression of a lot of flex although the manufacturer's website listed both as very stiff rackets. What do all these translate to? Great baseline clears (both forehand and backhand) and great smashes without the fatigue of say a VT80. No they don't have the head speed of a Z Slash, but the control is a lot, lot better. Not as good as an Arc 10 or Tantrum 300, for instance, but good enough in my book.
Both Babolats use a peculiar stringing pattern (20 main/21 cross) for the isometric head which they claim to give a considerable increase in contact and spin. This may very well be true but lacking hard data I will not debate the merits of this string arrangement since other factors can contribute as well (string tension being one of them). However, I do find that smash clears using these rackets are much more effortless compared to the Arc 10, for instance. The shuttle gives the impression of just "bouncing off" the strings during a smash clear. They don't use grommets near the sweet spot, a technology they coined HG Tech, or Hybrid Grommet Technology. Carbon Xtreme is the name of their proprietary materials used in the frame to provide stiffness and stability. Of the two rackets the Blast is slightly heavier but during play one can use one or the other and not feel any significant difference in performance. Vibration was also minimum even strung at 28 lbs. There is no sound filtering or anything of the sort - just a good, honest racket designed to make play easier and a lot of fun.
In summary both rackets are suitable for basic and advanced players, and I would characterize these rackets as low work due to the low weight and power. For the price (slightly over 100 US dollars per racket) I think they're a steal, and they're some of the best and funnest rackets that I have ever used. It is suitable for my doubles game and is very, very responsive and I certainly don't feel the fatigue that I would get after a couple of sessions with the Arc 10 or VT80. I am not sure how much staying power Babolat will have in the badminton world but I will enjoy their product offerings for now and hope they keep making good rackets. Highly recommended.
Tine Baum with the X-Feel Blast.
12-08-2011, 02:19 PM #2
Nice review. How would you compare the power output between these 2 rackets, and compared to what you have in your Yonex arsenal? As I said in another thread, I'm still looking to add a powerful racket to my "collection" and I am currently looking at Black Knight and Babolat (also for brand diversity).
12-08-2011, 05:43 PM #3
Yes really good review.
X-Feel Power is said to be only "stiff" not "very stiff". I own a X-Feel Power and a X-Feel Essential and X-Feel Power is like an NS9900, a little bit flexier with pore "Power"
X-Feel Blast is the racket of X-Feel range to generate great power with a lot of control. But, I didn't test it =(
12-08-2011, 05:45 PM #4
Nice. I think I'll be picking up the Blast for Xmas
12-08-2011, 07:46 PM #5
Last edited by Voltric; 12-08-2011 at 07:51 PM.
12-08-2011, 07:53 PM #6
12-09-2011, 01:06 AM #7
Yes, X-Feel Power is well suited for both double and single games contrary to Ns9900 which is a double racket.
X-Feel Blast is said to be a single racket, not really maoeuvrable for double.
12-09-2011, 11:44 AM #8
i cant decide between satelite 6.5 lite and x feel power for my double games.
anyone who own them can advise and provide ur kind review.
i enjoy small diameter shaft to gain speed and replusion.
any chance of ur fre wanna sell as i can find at penang.
12-09-2011, 11:58 AM #9
i've played doubles with X-Feel Power with lot of fun, great precision and not the lack of power of Ns9900. Yet, i haven't tested Satelite 6.5 Lite but it's very different : flexible shaft whith a touch of head heaviness which provides plenty of power but not as much precision as X Feel Power
12-09-2011, 03:52 PM #10
I own a X-Feel Essential (with BG65, 24 lbs). Is a medium stiff and balanced racket. (with overgrip BP about 285 mm). I think its a very good racket for doubles; fast and in spite of the medium flex shaft --> with a good control and manoeuvrability.
The only "problem" for me: I have a passably powerful but "long swing". My smash power is okay, but not very good, so I need a litte bit more head heaviness.
Anyone with an idea for a similar racket, but with a bit more weight in the head?
For players with a good technique the Essential should be a very good allround racket!
12-09-2011, 07:37 PM #11
according to the babolat specs.
xfeel power has a stiff shaft
satelite 6.5 lite has a very flexible shaft
so, they will feel completely different besides the weight.
12-22-2011, 02:00 PM #12
Bought the X-Feel Blast.
I'll review it after I get a few games in.
Comparison will be made against my VT80, N90II, and MX80 (stiff+head heavy rackets).
12-23-2011, 02:33 AM #13
In the Babolat range, I don't know if there is a racket similar to X Feel Essential but slightly more head heavy =s If you want to improve your smash, particularly in single games, X Feel Blast should be the best choice. But it is an extra-stiff racket according to Babolat specifications.
12-29-2011, 07:46 PM #14
how is your x-feel blast working out? I've been thinking of getting a x-feel power to try myself.....
12-29-2011, 07:48 PM #15
12-29-2011, 07:51 PM #16
I look forward to you review. since I have made a promise to myself, no new rackets for 3 months......
01-05-2012, 06:04 PM #17
Just picked up my X-Feel Blast . Thanks again visor!!!!
Took some pics that I'll upload later (too slow to load from my phone). At first glance...the shaft is thick and solid. Thicker than Victor MX80 for sure. Looks almost as thick as my 130g training racket. Probably not as fast as you need it to be for doubles. And the cone on the handle is much longer than Yonex or Victor. A more tapered/slimmer looking cone. If one measures from the butt cap to the top of the cone...it's a few mm shorter than the MX80. Tried a few swings and it feels stiff and slightly head heavy. Interesting that it doesn't have any serial numbers nor a recommend max tension on the cone like other rackets. Comes with a full cover case.
First impression...the design/color scheme looks great but I'm disappointed/let down that it's kinda thick. Beautiful face but kinda chunky.
Specs: 3UG2, 88g, 290mm BP, VS600 @ 27lbs.
EDIT: Just checked the grip size. It says G2 but feels more like a Yonex G4 grip size. Definitely bigger than Victor MX80 G2.
Last edited by CanucksDynasty; 01-05-2012 at 06:13 PM.
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