Adidas Kalkul A3

Discussion in 'Badminton Rackets / Equipment' started by Mark A, Jun 5, 2018.

  1. Mark A

    Mark A Regular Member

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    (I didn't get paid for this).

    Adidas KALKUL A3 (3UG5) review

    Impressions

    Kalkul (German for “calculation”) is apparently defence/control product line, and this is immediately obvious. After a few dry swings I had it down as headlight-to-even/stiff, pretty close to Adidas’ prescribed headlight/extra-stiff. I measured it at 290/83.5.
    upload_2018-6-5_9-10-26.png
    The head is normal-sized with rounded box section. The shaft is thin, around 6.5 mm. Frame and shaft torque are low and the hoop is strong on the diagonals. The grip is supposedly G5, but I think it’s more of a G4.5; my custom grip setup doesn’t sit quite the same way in my hand. I do like the flat cone, though.
    upload_2018-6-5_9-10-39.png
    Looks wise, it’s not ugly, and there is a theme of sorts (“tribal”, I’d call it), but there are too many colours and the design is too intricate - it won’t “wow” from a distance like, say, a (green) Astrox. My mate Lewis immediately clocked it as an Adidas, though, so my thinking that it wasn’t “Adidas-y” enough was clearly wrong.
    upload_2018-6-5_9-11-11.png
    upload_2018-6-5_9-11-22.png
    upload_2018-6-5_9-15-33.png
    The shaft is strangely bare – needed some lettering on it besides the specs.

    Stringing

    The advised tension is 30 lb. This being a freebie, I didn’t fancy breaking it before being able to comment on it – 29/30 (BG80) it is. It moved around more than some during stringing but it came out of the machine pretty easily. Would have taken a couple more pounds (and it will next time).

    The pattern is 2+3, but it’s Li Ning’s variation - an extra shared hole at the top for an additional cross - the standard top cross is quite low, so I might do this next time - and an extra at the bottom (only available with a one-piece job).

    No holes are out of place and the grommets are sound, but there are no offsets on the single holes. The pattern looks a bit denser than usual in the middle, to my eye.

    Power

    Taking the balance and weight into account, power was surprisingly good. Like any stiff headlight it prefers a short, jabby swing. I’m not a rear-court player any more by any means and I’ve pretty much given up trying to hit winners, and this racket works very well with that attitude – it hits as hard as I need it to and is most at home in the mid-court. It seems to love my backhand smash, for some reason - I’ve never hit those better.

    It’s not a very demanding racket, either – I could play with it all night without losing any clout.

    Defence

    This was great. I had a noticeable sense of “time” on defence and found myself more and more deciding where to return stuff. It’s a quick frame, but a deliberate one; the (4U) JS10 was faster, but that one was probably too fast – the head moved on its own.

    I was dubious about this “boxy” frame on a speed racket but it doesn’t look to have slowed it down. Defence is very obviously the “point” of this one, and it’s not far off of a top-end Nanoray.

    Control/stability

    The low frame and shaft torque make it fairly precise. I had a knock with it between games and hit a few drives down the tramlines to see what kind of spray pattern it had, and it kept its shape well. Very rarely did I aim for a line and put it wide.

    The control helps the defence as well – it’s is fast enough to get to the shuttle and stable enough not to bend under incoming power and be able to turn a shot. That box frame is looking more and more like the right move.

    Feel

    Given the relative lack of material and low weight I was expecting better. It doesn’t ring very consistently – bright one shot, dull the next. Could be the lower-than-usual tension, I don’t know, but the serve is my go-to for feel testing and it was a bit numb. Every cloud, though: I barely noticed frame hits.

    Conclusion

    After testing the last Adidas rackets I came away with the distinct feeling that they were only out to establish any sort of presence in badminton – “let’s have a go”, basically. The new range is a lot more serious. I don’t know who the new OEM is (I have my suspicions) but on the KA3, at least, they’ve done a pretty good job. This is a very credible Nanoray/Jetspeed competitor – excellent defence/control with some bonus power in the mid-court. Only the feel comes up short, for me.

    As far as pricing goes, I have absolutely no idea what they’d want for this, but I think £110-120 would be reasonable.
     
    #1 Mark A, Jun 5, 2018
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2018
    Super85, LenaicM, DinB and 2 others like this.
  2. LenaicM

    LenaicM Regular Member

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    Good review! After one year, any new feedback one should take into account regarding this racket?
     
  3. speCulatius

    speCulatius Regular Member

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    If you like rather stiff, even balanced, maybe even slightly head light rackets, you cannot go wrong with it. I thought the feel was quite nice, as expected from boxy frame with such a sense stringing pattern. Head size is maybe a little smaller than the 'regular' isometric head, but the P8 and ZF II size still is a little smaller. A lot reminds me of the Babolat Satelite Essential (in France you might have seen it), but the A3 feels stiffer. I think the A3 sells around 100€? That's a fair price for such a racket.

    Meet me in Germany and try for yourself.
     
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  4. LenaicM

    LenaicM Regular Member

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    Thanks for the feedback. I'm checking the Adidas range since a few days as prices are rather friendly (except the P8). Correct, it sells at exactly that price in France.

    Reviews says Adidas rackets are less stiff than their characteristics are supposed to be (like a stiff Adidas = a medium stiff Yonex) except that model and you confirm it's on the stiff side too which is what I'm looking for. It might be Adidas' stiffest racket?

    Hehe good idea! Would be perfect to try first but I might just take the risk to buy without trying. I plan to get it strung with Kalkul 0.68 for maximum control. It's that or Astrox 88S 3U.
     
  5. speCulatius

    speCulatius Regular Member

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    I cannot say anything about the AX88S, sorry.

    I just tried bending the A3 and the P8, They have a similar stiffness, but the shaft of the P8 is thicker. I just had to go further and put the some weight (slightly more than 2kg, so enough to see some differences) at the T, they bend about the same amount, maybe the A3 even sightly less. That combined with the lighter head will not be too soft for most players.

    Maybe it's time for you to write a nice review instead of going just mainstream? ;)
     
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  6. LenaicM

    LenaicM Regular Member

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    Thank you! That's plenty of information and feedback already + the detailed review of @Mark A .

    If I pull the trigger I'll definitely add my feedback here for other potential buyers. I tried and liked the Astrox 88s but it's 70 euros more than the Kalkul A3 which I didn't try but specs correspond to what I'm looking for (stiff, 3u and headlight). Now I need to make a decision!
     
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  7. speCulatius

    speCulatius Regular Member

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    3U is not very precise. It sits just in between a clear 3U and a clear 4U. 85g +/- 2g
    PSX_20191204_014548.jpg
    PSX_20191204_014720.jpg

    Just in case you're a player who needs to have the 3U, otherwise the brain starts going crazy...
     
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  8. Super85

    Super85 Regular Member

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    Hmmm...maybe something for me to try. I have been looking and bought every old Adipower duoforce I can find, but soon will my favorite rackets be in a loving memorial! :confused:
     

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