Adidas Badminton racquets 2018

Discussion in 'Badminton Rackets / Equipment' started by Ditbayki, Apr 22, 2018.

  1. Borkya

    Borkya Regular Member

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2016
    Messages:
    428
    Likes Received:
    401
    Occupation:
    teacher
    Location:
    Xiamen, China
    Okay, here is my review finally. I won't post pictures because dikbayki already did. I'm reviewing the Wucht P8. I'll have a longer post about Adidas badminton on my blog on wednesday (with lots of pics), but I told Matt I'd put it up on BC today. I also know NOTHING about rackets in terms of technical features, so this is a real layman's review. I just know how a racket responds in my hand, I don't really know the mechanics behind it so please excuse the ignorance and lack of professional terms. I had it strung at 27 pounds with Lining #1 string (my usual). This is specifically the stuff I wrote about the racket:

    First off, it looks good! It was also the first thing everyone who saw it said. It’s not a subtle looker, it’s a good looker and it knows it. The gold, red and dark gray coloring is classy and and there are small details (like a raised Adidas logo at the bottom of the handle) that just add to its "coolness." I passed this racket around to a lot of people to get their opinion and the first thing anyone said was, “Wow, looks great!” The second thing they said was, “feels strong.”

    So what’s it like to play with? Well, to me, this racket feels like a tank. I can literally both see and feel the difference when I play with it in terms of my clears. They go much higher and further with the help of this racket. Does it make my smashes faster? Maybe? That’s a little harder to measure without some sort of speed tester but it feels like it does. My (male) partner Azhi used this racket a lot and felt the same way. He noticed a difference in the speed of his hits as well as an added depth to his clears and lifts.

    I’m naturally an aggressive, heavy hitter player so this racket appeals to me. When I played a women’s competition I originally wanted to be really careful because I had the flu and playing against women requires a lot more precise shots instead of relying on strength and speed. So I used my normal racket. But we were losing and my last game I just said “**** it,” grabbed this racket and unleashed my inner beast (well, the beast with a flu). It actually worked! It was the game I played the best.

    But this racket demands strength to give strength, and if I don’t have strength in me, I just hit duds. All the benefits feel like they work against me if my arms is tired as the rackets weight slows me down and when you hit a weak shot there is no added speed. Like last week I played three days in a row. The first day I used this racket most of the night with success. The second day I did training with my lighter racket, then switched to this one for a few games, and when my timing began to feel off I switched back to my lighter one. The third day my body was tired, and my arm muscles sore from training, so I didn’t use this racket at all. I’m a girl though, so perhaps it is not the same with guys as it is for me.

    Overall I really like it and it is now my second most used racket (Admittedly I only use three regularly but it beats out my Yonex nanoray Glanz in terms of my preference to use in games.) It is also my most borrowed racket because everyone wants to give it a try since they all know (and like) Adidas, but rarely see Adidas rackets on the courts.
     
    s_mair likes this.
  2. Charlie-SWUK

    Charlie-SWUK Regular Member

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2014
    Messages:
    4,438
    Likes Received:
    1,229
    Occupation:
    N90 sycophant
    Location:
    SW UK
    They gave you a head heavy racket when you use the Nanoray Glanz?
     
  3. Borkya

    Borkya Regular Member

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2016
    Messages:
    428
    Likes Received:
    401
    Occupation:
    teacher
    Location:
    Xiamen, China
    I got the Glanz when I was having tennis elbow problems and heavy rackets were exasperating it. But when I met him we played around with several of the rackets and I preferred the Wucht's over all the other ones. And like I said, my Glanz is now my least favorite racket to use. ;)
     
  4. Charlie-SWUK

    Charlie-SWUK Regular Member

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2014
    Messages:
    4,438
    Likes Received:
    1,229
    Occupation:
    N90 sycophant
    Location:
    SW UK
    I'm actually a little bit disappointed. I thought Adidas had done R&D for these products. But from something recent I've found with a company I've been discussing deals with, I've found products that are very similar, but without their special grommets.

    It looks like they're buying these designs from a factory, which is awkward because I now feel like we're going to see similar rackets from Ashaway, Yehlex etc. etc.
     
  5. Borkya

    Borkya Regular Member

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2016
    Messages:
    428
    Likes Received:
    401
    Occupation:
    teacher
    Location:
    Xiamen, China

    Well, I don't know where they got the designs, and I'm confused about the corporate structure in general, but if you are talking about me and the Wucht, it's the one I said I preferred and the one I played best with when I tried them all. So in terms of ME they did their R&D, haha.
     
  6. s_mair

    s_mair Regular Member

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2013
    Messages:
    3,757
    Likes Received:
    1,942
    Location:
    Germany
    I asked Mat to disclose some information regarding the structure of R&D and QC topics for the Adidas badminton stuff. And here's what he answered:

    ---
    "The R&D is all in-house, we have our own design and development team that develops all molds, briefs in materials and specs. We have also just signed a strategic partnership with Loughborough Sports Institute (considered the No1 sports technology institution in the world) to further support our developments. We have recruited our own QC team and define all QC standards to FTYs.

    This is not what we call me-too products.

    adidas does not contribute to the technical development of the rackets. It does actively contribute to design DNA both on a macro level and individual racket level. adidas is responsible for the trade and retail launch / marketing and distribution / merchandising of the rackets.
    (...) adidas acknowledges it needs support on the development/manufacture of rackets and we deliver that engineering competency – we work exclusively with adidas. We do not doing anything else other than provide this engineering solution to adidas."
    ---

    I have to say that this is a really interesting concept and a lot different from what I thought too. tbh I assumed that all they did was paying Adidas for the license to print their logo on the rackets. And it looks to me as if Adidas was dead serious about entering the badminton market properly this time and it's good that they have set up a cooperation with people who really know and care about the sport.
     
  7. Charlie-SWUK

    Charlie-SWUK Regular Member

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2014
    Messages:
    4,438
    Likes Received:
    1,229
    Occupation:
    N90 sycophant
    Location:
    SW UK
    Could they please post this is in English?
    • we have our own design and development team that develops all molds
    • adidas does not contribute to the technical development of the rackets
    • It does actively contribute to design DNA both on a macro level and individual racket level
    • adidas is responsible for the trade and retail launch / marketing and distribution / merchandising of the rackets.
    • We do not doing anything else other than provide this engineering solution to adidas.
    The green indicates it's in-house, the red indicates otherwise, and the pink makes statements that could be inferred either way. I understand they want to project a certain image, but this isn't a clear statement to me.
     
  8. s_mair

    s_mair Regular Member

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2013
    Messages:
    3,757
    Likes Received:
    1,942
    Location:
    Germany
    Mate, why so cross?

    When he's talking about "we" then he means "Marque Makers", the company he's chairing. With "Adidas" he means the real Adidas AG in Germany.

    In short, Marque Makers are the design and development partner for Adidas, while Adidas is talking care of sale, marketing, promotion, visual designs and all these overhead stuff. Marque Makers also builds the link to the OEM and defines QC standards.
     
    #28 s_mair, May 15, 2018
    Last edited: May 15, 2018
  9. Charlie-SWUK

    Charlie-SWUK Regular Member

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2014
    Messages:
    4,438
    Likes Received:
    1,229
    Occupation:
    N90 sycophant
    Location:
    SW UK
    Right that makes a lot more sense. I dislike it when I read things that feel very unclear, but still put in things like 'DNA'. Makes me feel like they're leading me on a cognitive goose chase for the answer.
     
  10. DuckFeet

    DuckFeet Regular Member

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2012
    Messages:
    1,670
    Likes Received:
    94
    Occupation:
    Computer rebooter
    Location:
    Swindon
    Please wait to read this while I re-add the photos, they have not copied out of my document.
    Apologies Mat / Readers if this is an eyesore. I'll refresh my memory on HTML and reformat if needs be.
    Grab a coffee if you plan to read this, its a 3-poster. Enjoy! (there's a TL;DR summary in post 3)

    Kalkül A5 review by DuckFeet
    [​IMG]

    PRECONCEPTIONS

    I heard this from someone else I mentioned the racquet to: “Adidas make badminton racquets”? I was expecting it would feel like an entry level Carlton, nothing really great, just a token effort.

    I had held an Adidas P370 recently, it had some features on the frame which looked interesting but I didn't get chance to try it. There was a lot of sword frame, which appeals. Mat commented that they have moved on since then so I was interested to see exactly what they had done.

    I gave Mat my racquet history, and tbh I was expecting a Wucht given that I mentioned a TK9000, mx60 and N9ii. Or an Überschall as I mention a lot of (3U) Braveswords and Jetspeed 10, so I was surprised to receive such a light and even racquet.

    I see that the racquet production has been outsourced or done under licence. SO we can ignore my preconception about just throwing out any old racquet into a gap in the product line. Marque Makers website looks very professional and I see most of their senior staff are ex high level players. Both of these are good signs to me.

    PPT – SO much tech described. It was overwhelming and not clear how much of it was gimmicks or genuinely innovative. I mean, can anyone else name SEVEN frame shapes? At least it is an indicator of how much thought someone has put into frame design. Not wanting to come across rude, I applied some benefit of doubt here. I did clock the four grades of carbon, which reminded me the work Dan has done with Panda racquets which I have enjoyed a fair few of now. Starting to bode well...?


    LOOKS
    Bag – I'm not one to particularly comment on bags, I usually chuck these in a cupboard straight away and they only surface if I get a request for one from my coach for some kid who needs a bag. This one is quite a looker though. Some nice thick padding and woven carbon fibre effect. Nice that it easily holds 2 racquets though – this is the only thing I ever really look for in a bag. Perhaps rain resistant, one to try maybe.

    Taking the racquet out of the bag, the packaging screams quality. A solid cardboard cover with some embossing (I believe it is called) and on the back the details of the 14 technologies listed as being used in the frame.

    Weight, balance, grip size are present on the shaft. And what's this? Who uses velcro to hold the cardboard cover together?! A nice touch showing quality and on resale you can make the racquet look like new by easily replacing the packaging. Someone is really putting some effort into making a good impression here.

    There are authenticity marks all over the packaging and the racquet itself. Given the number of threads I see about confirming if a racquet is genuine, this would be very reassuring to me as a buyer. A slight downside here: You cannot check the authenticity code twice, not quite sure why.

    Removing the cover, The racquet is a sleek black with green and white accents. Nothing too over the top, but the white stripey bits do look out of place to me as they remind me of the camouflage used on unreleased new car models. Overall it is a mostly black frame which when paired with white string and yellow or green grip really floats my boat. It's a box frame, thinner at the top, and we can see the octaframe of the Victor MX series around the T joint.

    The shaft looks incredibly thin. Its not so striking as the N9ii with its crossover sword frame, just a very basic 'does the job' look to it. Reminds me of the Panda Revelation already. On closer inspection the paint is actually a very dark oil-blue, which sparkles. Looks like a high quality job*. There are also some very subtle brown tribal style accents which I do like. The trademark 3 stripes are very noticeable at the top of the frame.

    Laser etched serial number at the top of the shaft is a little hard to read, but nice that we have another indicator of a genuine product alongside the holograms on the packaging. Tech details are also present on the frame, as well as maximum tension rating. All these accents feel like additional layers of paint and do not scratch off easily (yes I tried it. Very thorough am I) unlike the stick-on holographics on the Bravesword series for example.

    (*If any Brits here have had/seen an 2001-2005 MG I'd bet money this is the same 'Anthracite Grey' paint as I had on an old ZS. The Green stripes are not helping distract me from this comparison as they are an exact match for Xpower green. Do we have an MG fan in the design department??)
     
    #30 DuckFeet, May 16, 2018
    Last edited: May 16, 2018
  11. DuckFeet

    DuckFeet Regular Member

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2012
    Messages:
    1,670
    Likes Received:
    94
    Occupation:
    Computer rebooter
    Location:
    Swindon
    UNSTRUNG
    FEEL
    Light. SO very light. Honestly, after going all in on the Li Ning N9 and N9ii, my heart sank when I saw 83g frame weight. I had instant flashbacks of when I first tried an 83g JS10 coming from a 3u flexible monster that hit with some serious power. Oh well. Lets give the shaft a flex... Stiff. Again, another JS10 comparison, they feel very similar to me. I'm expecting a complete lack of smash power to ruin my game and make me not like this racquet. Stiffness rating 5/7, I would expect there could be some wild untameable racquets at the top of this rating. Balance was quite pleasant - light overall but just enough headweight to meet my absolute mimimum, same as JS10. Its not looking good for me at this point. Oh well. I promised a review so lets keep going.

    Grab both sides of the head to give it a wiggle to see how stiff it is. Notice the grommet channel starts at B13 (JS10 B18. Armortec framed PP Titan B20!) so I thought this is going to wobble like a BS12 and I'm not going to like it. I've already ruled out getting any power from this and its selling point is accuracy which comes from a stable head. Hmmmm. Give it a wiggle. Holy smokes that's solid. I'd say that's my #1 prioirty in a racquet, so this one has my attention now. The quality of carbon must be very high if I understand it correctly, to get this level of solidity from what seems to be a very thin, and light frame.

    The handle feels hollow. I've removed rubber bungs from a few racquet handles and this has the same feel. Not entirely pleasant but at least it helps feel the headweight.

    I'm not 100% certain but it seems to have a slightly small head design. Not the shrunken bottom of the ZF2 or JS10, but the egg/pear shape I've seen used by Carlton a lot, and Arcsaber Z slash. The frame is rated to 30lb and I wouldn't even shrug at being asked to put at least 32lb on this frame.

    At the T section I can see an aerodynamic/octagon shape throat, there is a tech present called T-LOK which is actually a raised section like voltric bumps but less pronounced, and the shaft inserted higher into the hoop. It seems pretty rigid (@visor!).

    The cone is an odd shape, very square and the sides have some odd ridges. But it feels nice enough to put one's thumb on when serving.

    STRINGING
    Those trademark 3 stripes are a bonus, right on the machine without even a second glance at which might be the centre 2 holes!

    Mains are all equally spaced and parallel. Made my life easily especially as I'm using flying clamps due to slipping fixed clamps (replacements on order). The frame stayed rock solid with no distortion at 27lb. Very nice to see and more reassurance that this is going to be nice to play with. The grommets are very sturdy, keeping a 0.65mm string well off the frame to the point that I'm wondering if they can handle a second string job before requiring rotation. I do hope these are freely available as I may have to stock them when grommets need replacing in other racquets. Upon stringing the crosses we can see that the centre crosses are closer together (please excuse this very clear photo of my laminate flooring).

    I was a little disappointed by the overlapping shared holes after finding staggered holes so pleasant to string. However, they are aligned PERFECTLY (precision hole drilling tech), which screams of quality, and if it is required for frame stability then it's justified. Exposed string at 10 and 2 o'clock – this is going to cause premature breakages from shuttle scoopers. It's quite a common design though. I thought how nicely I was able to string and tie off at the top.

    Upon re-reading the stringing instructions, I have missed a top cross. And maybe a bottom cross. I will continue to leave this top cross off as I wont be able to clamp or tension it to my satisfaction.
     
    #31 DuckFeet, May 16, 2018
    Last edited: May 16, 2018
  12. DuckFeet

    DuckFeet Regular Member

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2012
    Messages:
    1,670
    Likes Received:
    94
    Occupation:
    Computer rebooter
    Location:
    Swindon
    PLAYING
    GENERAL
    Due to the weight, this is very much a 'point and pop' racquet. Very wristy and fast. You can feel what the frame is doing and where it is. It's surprisingly fast given that it is a box frame, 9/10 the speed of JS10, so it is excellent in defense. Gone are my objections at not being sent the Überschall! 6.5mm stiff shaft and thin hoop (hoop = head part of the frame, not a term I've heard before but I like it) will be helping here. I would say that this is an allrounder, a play maker, fitting of its 'accuracy' classification. Since using it I've been trying a few more deceptive shots. I'm not known for being deceptive but they've been working well.

    During warm up it was noted by the club captain that my racquet sounded incredibly nice. To me this suggests that the hoop is not deforming and that the string it doing all the movement, maximising the sound and kinetic energy. Or at least, this racquet with make your string sound nice. In my case, Li Ning #1. So very nice indeed.

    It is a very forgiving racquet. I do like a racquet that shrugs off a mishit and delivers an OK shot. You can feel that you didn't hit it quite right but if doesn't instantly stab you in the elbow and spit your shot into the net. My ideal is a racquet that does exactly what you want to the point that you stop thinking about it. You start paying more attention to your footwork, recovery after a shot, what your opponents are doing and your game improves because of this. What more can you ask of a racquet than to make you play your best? Akin to playing on the new blue floors we have around here. I get SO much traction that I'm not worried about slipping, I'm just eyeing up the shots in the far corner thinking “yeah I can get to that”.

    FEEL
    There is definitely a very solid feel, I do like how you can tell when you have mishit, exactly WHERE you mishit it so you can adjust. Reminds me of the Victor MX JJS. You are still rewarded with a decent shot, just slightly lacking in power. The main feeling I got was that of the weight of the shuttle which I felt helped to control it. The kickpoint of the shaft is lower down, same as I felt with BS10 and JS10. This is definitely in the “short handle, long shaft” rather than “long handle, short shaft” camp. In fact, I just laid it on a JS10 and its a good few mm longer shaft. Yet it feels really nicely responsive and not at all wobbly. If there is a slight hint of the shaft moving while readying for a shot then it is just enough to know where the head is and not even remotely laggy. Good quality carbon/design paying off here.

    ACCURACY
    So the benchmark here has been set VERY high indeed, by the Panda Power Titan. I found with that, I could almost clip the tape repeatedly on drive exchanges whereas usually I end up giving it a bit much height and eventually a drive battle becomes smash/defence. The titan has a tapered shaft, forcing a higher kickpoint which suits my swing when it comes to accuracy. As the A5 has a lower kickpoint I thought it would be 'OK' at best. A few sessions in and I'm hitting the tape more frequently, really putting a smile on my face. “Line hunter” indeed! I'm also feeling a lot more confident in my net exchanges.

    POWER
    As I'm adjusting back to lighter frame weight I'm finding the power is not bad at all for the weight and for a frame not designed for power as such. Its very easy to generate a lot of swing speed so this is more suited to clip-smashing than all out rear-court full-body smashes. I've since reduced my grip size to exaggerate this and see how far I can go with it. It's still about popping the shuttle into the space rather than brute forcing it through the defence, but it's still hitting the target with a satisfying speed. It's still “too light” for a couple of others who have tried it, but I'm glad I've recently (re)adapted to lighter racquets. In short, there is enough power generated that it doesn't feel like I've sacrificed much in power for the gain of speed in defense. It works nicely for my playstyle of only 2 shots: “smash” and “not-smash”.

    TECH
    So the amount of forged, milled, drilled, heat-treated, different grade and shape of carbon strikes me as a LOT of RnD has gone on here. 14 different techs listed on the back of the packaging. It's not clear to me what some of these even do. I do not believe it is gimmickry. Whether you think it is or not, I believe a lot of it works. Either way the result is a very stable frame however it has been accomplished. The overall build and choice of carbon has made a very solid and nice feeling racquet and the design has helped make a very splendid racquet indeed. They have also made efforts to make racquets consistent spec-wise. For someone who can feel 0.5g of lead tape make a difference I do find this a plus, and given the perceived quality of the rest of the manufacturing I would be confident in buying a second and finding it within tolerance. Not 3 grams difference, as I was disappointed to find in another (top) brand.

    OVERALL / ADDITIONAL
    edit: changing grip does not void the warranty. I misread that completely.

    Its a shame that Adidas brand is mostly “Not known for badminton” as this level of build quality should be noticed and appreciated. I am strongly reminded of how solid my Li Ning racquets feel (ahem, felt) and this makes the recent Victor racquets feel flimsy and cheap. Sorry to bad mouth them, but I am voicing my disappointment at the issues with what was potentially my ideal racquet in the JS10. Comparing to the models and brands above I thought we would see a RRP of around £150, and at least £120. So what with wanting to purchase one of these A5 myself, I held my breath and asked Mat. I was very pleasantly surprised as it is nearer second hand prices for flagship models than their RRP.

    Two points I will have to revisit: Consistency between models, and any sign of sinking frame under the grommets.

    So I'd have to describe this racquet as an improved Jetspeed 10. Or a PP Revelation Mk2. It has a very similar feel, fast and stable, with the emphasis on control and not power. Very forgiving but also perfectly capable of a decent smash. I very much doubt I will find any sinking grommets or a collapsed frame at the first hint of a clash (I have not clashed it, I'm not THAT thorough).

    I think this may need to be available in a 3u and well as 4u, 87g+/-, as I believe the majority go for heavier racquets but I see the Wucht series as reviewed by @s_mair has this weight category covered. If this racquet wasn't in my weight preference already I'd have covered it in lead tape by now and expect it to feel just as nice to use.

    In the first two sessions I didn't even consider using another racquet. In fact my mind already started wandering and considering what if my shiny new N9ii was not a good match for this A5 and could I really decide to sell it already? (now traded for a JS10 which is a better match, until I can buy another A5) I've been very fickle about swapping racquets over the last few years, trying to pick ONE to stick with. I think I've found it.

    Release date: July 2018, RRP: $140 (Around £100).
     
    #32 DuckFeet, May 16, 2018
    Last edited: May 16, 2018
    Khamenman, kwun and s_mair like this.
  13. DuckFeet

    DuckFeet Regular Member

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2012
    Messages:
    1,670
    Likes Received:
    94
    Occupation:
    Computer rebooter
    Location:
    Swindon
    TL;DR
    So I'd have to describe this racquet as an improved Jetspeed 10. Or a PP Revelation Mk2. It has a very similar feel, fast and stable, with the emphasis on control and not power. Very forgiving but also perfectly capable of a decent smash. I very much doubt I will find any sinking grommets or a collapsed frame at the first hint of a clash. Its also a looker with some really nice paint work.

    I will be buying another when they are released.
     
    #33 DuckFeet, May 16, 2018
    Last edited: May 16, 2018
  14. Charlie-SWUK

    Charlie-SWUK Regular Member

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2014
    Messages:
    4,438
    Likes Received:
    1,229
    Occupation:
    N90 sycophant
    Location:
    SW UK
    How many crosses is it supposed to have?! I counted on the one with cardboard and (with a tiny bit of estimation where the cardboard covers it at the top) I counted 21, which is pretty normal for modern frames.

    Also, removing original grip voids warranty? Please change that, I understand not accepting returns if the racket has been modified like that, but it shouldn't void the warranty.

    Edit: Looked at your updated pictures, it looks right to me compared with other rackets. Don't think you missed any crosses.
     
    #34 Charlie-SWUK, May 16, 2018
    Last edited: May 16, 2018
  15. DuckFeet

    DuckFeet Regular Member

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2012
    Messages:
    1,670
    Likes Received:
    94
    Occupation:
    Computer rebooter
    Location:
    Swindon
    23 Crosses Knot at 5 and start at 6. I did 21, knot at 5 last cross at 7.
     
  16. Charlie-SWUK

    Charlie-SWUK Regular Member

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2014
    Messages:
    4,438
    Likes Received:
    1,229
    Occupation:
    N90 sycophant
    Location:
    SW UK
    Wow 23, really? That's interesting.
     
  17. s_mair

    s_mair Regular Member

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2013
    Messages:
    3,757
    Likes Received:
    1,942
    Location:
    Germany
    For the record, here's the pattern diagram from the booklet (sorry for stealing your pic Sam):
    WhatsApp Image 2018-05-16 at 11.32.30.jpeg

    My money's on a simple mistake in the pattern diagram. I don't know any machine that allows to string that close to the top.
     
  18. Charlie-SWUK

    Charlie-SWUK Regular Member

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2014
    Messages:
    4,438
    Likes Received:
    1,229
    Occupation:
    N90 sycophant
    Location:
    SW UK
    Just in case they're looking at this thread

    Small error, arrow on cross start is the wrong way round.

    And something you might want to add to your booklet are recommended knots. Stringers should know, but it's pretty common to see knot instructions with pattern instructions.
     
  19. s_mair

    s_mair Regular Member

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2013
    Messages:
    3,757
    Likes Received:
    1,942
    Location:
    Germany
    Adidas Kalkül A2 racket review


    Before we start…

    Along with the Wucht P6, I also received a second racket to test. It’s called the Kalkül A2 and is part of a whole new racket series which will be released beginning of July. As you can already read in @DuckFeet’s review of the Kalkül A5, the series is designed to provide maximum accuracy. I don’t know any other of the big brand’s rackets that is marketed that way, so that makes it all kind of interesting.

    Specs and construction details

    The A2 comes in a mainly dark blue color with green and light blue/turquoise accents. No grommet strips and no other feature that clearly identifies it if you see it on court.

    SM6_5953.JPG SM6_5955.JPG
    [click to enlarge]

    The A2 comes in 4U weight and is supposed to have a medium flexible shaft with a slightly head light balance which is a fairly unusual combination these days. Most manufacturers tend towards shifting the weight more towards the head with their lighter rackets to give it some more beef in the overhead section.

    SM6_5973.JPG

    Here is the manufacturer’s spec sheet:
    - frame weight: 84 g ±2
    - balance: 285-290 mm
    - shaft stiffness: 8.0-8.5
    - shaft diameter: 6.5 mm
    - length: 675 mm
    - handle size: G5
    - max. tension: ≤30lbs/13.5kg

    And here are the dry measurement results (unstrung, with original grip)
    Total weight: 83.20 g
    Head weight: 35.96 g
    Balance point: 291 mm

    So that confirms the promoted light head.

    The head seems to be normal isometric in size, the frame profile is a rather slim boxy one. So Adidas is clearly sacrificing a bit of head speed of a more aerodynamic frame there in favor of having the better stability and solidity of a box frame.

    The shaft is indeed very slim. The T-joint looks pretty standard are also quite slim, so it made me wonder already how they want to give it the needed stability to provide the promoted surgical accuracy.

    SM6_5966.JPG

    Looking through the endless list of technical gimmicks, I found the so-called “T-Lok” construction which is best described by an Adidas marketing picture:
    T-Lok joint.JPG

    So what they do is to insert the shaft deeper into the hoop and hence create a bigger contact area between the two to minimize twisting. Sounds logical and indeed the A2 is really strong in terms of twisting and tilting movements.

    The grip length is about 1 cm shorter compared to the Wucht P6 and N9II which makes the shaft a tad longer. The cone has rather flat surfaces but apart from that looks quite standard.

    SM6_5972.JPG

    Overall build quality again seems to be top notch and on the same level as the Wucht P6. Paint job is flawless.


    Stringing

    Now this is going to be a weird chapter. According to the promotion material, it has a so-called “Compressor 76” pattern, which means that the distance between crosses is less at the sweet spot area and bigger towards top and bottom. Again, this is supposed to enhance accuracy since there will be a higher string density in the sweet spot and hence a bigger contact surface between strings and shuttle. Sounds logical, makes sense.

    When I first got the racket, I simply mounted it on the machine and strung it the usual way with LN1 @13 kg. It has a 76 hole 2+3 pattern, so why wasting time to look at the pattern diagram in the booklet that came with the racket? Pleeeease… I’m a bloke, I don’t believe in manuals for god’s sake!

    Stringing went smoothly (even if the single pass grommets again are not staggered…) and it ended up as a common 22 x 21 string bed. Gaps to the frame looked normal too, so I didn’t bother about it at all.

    SM6_5977.JPG

    Then came @DuckFeet’s review of the A5 and him mentioning something about extra crosses at the top and bottom, so I looked at the stringing instructions too and behold, there it was written in black and red on white:
    Adidas A2 stringing instructions.jpg

    Forget the extra cross at the bottom –that’s I thing that is also recommended on some Victor rackets and easy to do– but just look at that freaky extra cross at the top! What… the…. hell? @DuckFeet has already shown that it’s impossible to weave this extra cross on his machine since there won’t be enough distance left for the support plus load spreader, but nevertheless I wanted to try that one too. And as expected, there is also no chance on my machine (even with the slim T-shaped load spreader) and I doubt that there is any machine around that allows stringing this racket according to the instructions.

    Adidas A2 stringing top.jpg

    If you ask me, this just has to be some kind of mistake in the booklet. Otherwise all users will have flushed their warranty down the toilet with the first string job already. The guys at Adidas are currently checking on this, so let’s see what happens.

    And there is another interesting detail if you look at the grommets. The grommets are made of a reinforced polymer to increase stability and reduce friction at the contact points with the string. Adidas calls this “Glide inserts”. If you take a really close look at them (well… more sort of into them…), there are some circular structures and the surfaces indeed seem to be very smooth and glossy:
    SM6_5957.JPG

    The grommet heads are pleasantly big and indeed they appear to be quite sturdy. I don’t know if it was a result of that glide stuff, but I had zero issues with threading the shared holes. Nice.


    How does it play?


    This is where it is getting difficult. I started to be concerned by looking at the specs only. Strung, it has a head weight of 38.23 g which is about 2 g less than the already quite head light JS10 4U.

    The first dry swings confirmed my concerns that this will be a hard review to do and to write. Yes, that A2 is fast (and when I say fast, I mean REALLY fast!), but how should this flimsy piece of nothingness be able to provide any acceptable results in the power department?!

    And -spoiler incoming- these first impressions were again fully confirmed on court. It was clear as day after the first 10 clears that this will not become a review of a potential go-to racket, but a review to describe the racket best possible and in a neutral way.

    So let’s start with the good things first. Coming from the JS10 4U, the A2 is even quicker to maneuver. Defenses are mental. It happens that the racket is in the right place before you even had the chance to think about it. The control in blocks, lifts and drive returns is indeed remarkable. You barely know if you’ve hit the shuttle off-center, since the shuttle flies in the desired direction until it’s very close to a frame hit.

    Normally, I don’t really shine being in front in a doubles match. I’m just lacking some reflexes to perform consistently good interceptions. But with this scalpel in hand, I earned some raised eyebrows from both partner and opponents for pulling off some surprisingly good intercept stunts. And speaking of accuracy, fast and flat play is a joy too. You start to feel like a sniper once you got used to hitting the shuttle consistently just millimeters over the net or at the lines. This is even more surprising if you consider the medium-flex shaft and the expected accuracy-issues that normally come along with it. This tells me that the overall design and construction of the racket is indeed super solid and that the advertised accuracy has been a serious goal in the development.

    The downside on the other hand is obvious: The A2 plain and simple lacks power in the overhead department. It’s not that obvious in clears since there is still the shaft flex to support, but smashes are a hard piece of work. During the first session, I tried it with big swings and forced it too much – which was rewarded with a minor strain in the shoulder area.
    Remembering the JS10, I tried to keep the swing compact and snappy during the next session. This was working better, but still I couldn’t achieve the power that a JS10 can produce. My guess is that it’s the extra stiff shaft that creates that incredibly sharp bite on the JS10 which the A2 just can’t provide.

    Also, I’m missing the confidence that a heavier head gives me in drop shots from the back court. The feel on impact is less solid than on the Wucht P6 or other big guns like N9II/N7II, but it’s not really bad either. But still, the light head makes it hard to control especially outward sliced drop shots. Sometimes you feel like you have hit the shuttle well, but still it barely reaches the net.

    To end on a positive note, it has to be said that once I had accepted the limitations regarding shuttle speed, I started to notice again the importance of accurate placement when it comes to smashes. And again, that’s where the racket does shine. And once you have learned that the possible power is limited (or rather mainly a question of technique), you start to also enjoy all sorts of half- and stick smashes that require close to zero backswing. All you need is a sharp underarm pronation and good finger power to achieve 80% of the max. shuttle speed.
     
    #39 s_mair, May 23, 2018
    Last edited: May 24, 2018
    kwun, DuckFeet and badmintony like this.
  20. s_mair

    s_mair Regular Member

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2013
    Messages:
    3,757
    Likes Received:
    1,942
    Location:
    Germany
    Summary

    I’m not going to lie – overall, the A2 is far from becoming my personal favorite. Even if it keeps its loud promise regarding accuracy in every possible situation, I still can’t shake off the feeling that it’s missing some weight in the head.

    So who could this racket be made for? First of all, it’s a doubles racket, no doubt about that. And if your typical hunting ground is around the net and you have the reflexes it needs, the A2 could be a serious weapon. Knowing that the Arcsaber FB is still quite popular, I have the feeling that there are quite a lot of people who are looking for exactly this kind of racket. Although the A2 might still be slower than the ArcFB, I’m sure that the solidity of both, shots and frame, more than make up for it.

    As said, the Kalkül series is supposed to be released around July. And the good news for us Europeans – they are announced to come to Europe around the same time too. The planned RRP of the A2 is around 110 USD, which I consider to be really fair.
     
    badmintony likes this.

Share This Page