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Li-Ning 3D Calibar 900C Review

Discussion in 'Badminton Rackets / Equipment' started by llrr, Aug 16, 2018.

  1. llrr

    llrr Regular Member

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    Hey guys, I decided to create a separate thread for this review because I intend to be as thorough as my DZS review and didn't want it to get lost in a mega thread. This way it's easier to add to it later.

    First just some background: This is my first LN racquet. I've mainly used Yonex and a couple Victor racquets earlier. I don't usually fall for marketing hype so this was purely because I wanted to try out LN and their new range really interested me, plus not many people use LN here because it's expensive and let's face it, their marketing is awful. Racquets I will be comparing to in this review will include ZF2, DZS, 88D, 88S, BS12, and N9ii (tried a friend's). All racquets I use are 3U.

    Preview

    Racquet: 3D Calibar 900C
    Strings: BG80 30lbs
    Grip: S2 (G5) Base grip removed, one layer of electrical tape, then AC402DX towel grip
    Weight: W3 (3U), approx. 100g with strings and grip (not measured as no scale available but quite confident with my estimate)
    BP: 310mm with above setup

    I just got the racquets today so I can only provide an initial feeling so far. More will be added to this review later.

    First impressions

    The paint job is spot on, and the trapezoidal frame shape is very interesting. This is probably old news for LN users but for me, it's quite a difference to all the other frame shapes. I would consider it more sword frame than box, which I assume will be more aerodynamic but suffer some of the deficiencies of an aero frame, namely a lack of feedback when hitting the shuttle and a slight reduction in the "solid" feeling you get with box frames. Admittedly I already knew this beforehand so let's see how it goes when I take them to the court.

    When flexing the racquet the shaft is actually nicely stiff, which is a great thing for me personally because I like stiff shaft racquets. It's not as stiff as the ZF2 though, but I didn't expect LN to suddenly make something extra stiff. Dry swinging it at home I can already tell two things - it is surprisingly similar to the swing feeling of ZF2, and surprisingly quick. The head weight though is not as heavy as ZF2, and definitely not as concentrated like a hammer, but it's pretty close to the feeling of ZF2 and that's getting me very excited.

    One other thing I have to mention here is that both racquets feel identical, with the same setup giving 310mm BP for both and the same weight. I can't actually tell which is which if I close my eyes and held them both. It's another plus to their quality control (or maybe I just got lucky!).

    Hitting Impressions

    As soon as I started hitting with the racquet, I felt that there's a noticeable difference to the usual box frames I use from Yonex. The racquet is fast through the air and the head weight becomes not very noticeable. I felt like swinging a 88S despite the relatively high bp (and yes this is different to how I first felt when I swung it at home). The shaft also flexes more than I thought it would. It all resulted in a feeling of lack of power and head weight on all of my usual shots. Clears were harder to execute than say 88D or ZF2, smashes felt "hollow", and drops were okay. Net shots were awful for me because being used to the solidness of box frames, I couldn't really feel the head when I played the net. This resulted in some terrible net shots. I have to say that the frame shape behaves more like a sword frame than a box frame, and the reduction in solidity is quite noticeable.

    For me personally, this racquet is going to take some time to get used to, because the head heavy stuff I usually use all feel very solid. This racquet is good for people who want something in between a full box frame and a full sword frame, but do note that the racquet overall feels hollow when hitting the shuttle as compared to a "thud" from box frame HH racquets.

    I must admit, this racquet being my first LN experience, has not been a positive one. I'm already looking to use it only for doubles for its speed, and stick to my good old zf2 for singles. The solidity is simply not there.

    Comparisons are going to be not very useful here from my perspective, because in the list of racquets I've used, only the BS12 felt worse than this one when I first started using it. A bit concerned about the 75C that's coming next week!
     

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    #1 llrr, Aug 16, 2018
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2018
    Saru, fug4234, swsh and 3 others like this.
  2. llrr

    llrr Regular Member

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    Updated. My plan is to provide an updated post on this racquet in a few weeks, to see if my feelings change or not.
     
    #2 llrr, Aug 18, 2018
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2018
  3. Leo tan

    Leo tan Regular Member

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    please compare with DZS, 88D and N9ii.
     
  4. llrr

    llrr Regular Member

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    I refrained from making too many comparisons in my review because my first hitting impressions really haven't been that great, but I can give some comparisons if you really want to know.

    Flex of 900C during hitting felt like 88S, not too stiff at all. 88D, DZS, and ZF2 are far stiffer. N9ii is even less stiff than 900C.

    The head weight felt like 88D when I was holding the racquet, but when I played with it the head weight was nowhere near as heavy because of the frame shape I think. I strongly suspect this is also why N9ii is head heavy but is still a very fast racquet.

    The hollow feedback is comparable to N9ii and BS12, and I suspect to all sword frame shapes. Overall if you like a solid "thud" feeling in your shots you need to avoid these racquets. Also for once, I could really feel the difference in hold time on the stringbed. The racquet requires a high level of directional accuracy because the shuttle does not stay on the stringbed for very long at all.
     
    Leo tan likes this.
  5. Leo tan

    Leo tan Regular Member

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    thanks for the review, so far which racket you like most from your collection? Any thought of getting astrox 99?
     
  6. llrr

    llrr Regular Member

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    I've sold most of my racquets in order to try new ones. As of now my favourite by far is zf2 for singles. Getting a couple more before they disappear. Hard to say for doubles.. I liked the 88D and was looking forward to getting some of the new LN stuff, but I've cancelled my order for 75C for now and these 900C might be for doubles for now. They feel quite fast. Probably not getting the AX99 due to the incremental update feeling. Might check out AX-Z.
     
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  7. Okaharu

    Okaharu Regular Member

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    Check out the Aeronaut series for us if you want a boxy frame!
     
  8. llrr

    llrr Regular Member

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    I'm not sure haha...
     
  9. llrr

    llrr Regular Member

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    Not sure why this is the case so any avid LN users please give some insight. When flexing the 900C it really feels as stiff as ZF2. I'm flexing the two side by side and they both feel quite stiff. When hitting though it's really noticeable how much more flexible the 900C is in comparison. Any particular reason why the hitting feel can be so different? Is it coz the head is faster being less boxy? Do LN racquets just flex easier when swinging the racquet hard?
     
  10. robfitsy

    robfitsy Regular Member

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    Just guessing: LN rackets flex differently with their inner-cone shafts. The inner diameter of the void in the shaft is larger at the head than at the handle.
     
    llrr likes this.
  11. llrr

    llrr Regular Member

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    Thanks. Interesting technical information!
     
  12. HyperJun

    HyperJun Regular Member

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    Lining racket plays very differently to yonex. Lining tend to have much better aerodynamic with their sword shape frame but all Lining racket has never had the same im boxy feel as yonex. Also the stiffness rating that lining uses is more flexible. A lining stiff shaft would probably be equivalent to yonex medium stiff.

    3d calibar 900c is rated as 3u, stiff shaft (probably medium stiff on yonex rating) with 302 balance point. Im not sure if this is true, but 900c could a repaint of the N90iii (exact same specs).
    As for your comparison between your rackets, ZF2 has a balance point of 316, compact head and extra stiff shift. It wouldnt a close comparison to 900c at all. I have never tried the ax88s or the bs12 so im not going to compare them here.

    N9ii has a much lower balance point of 292-298 and considered lining best selling racket cause of its even weighted feel but plays like a head heavy. Im not even sure reading half the reviews on badminton central on this racket would be fair comparison as im not even sure if people are using this racket correctly. Lining implemented a ball bearing technology on a lot of their racket, but most of them is not noticeable and im not even sure if they are still continuing this or not. The ball bearing technology is supposed to have a heavier weight on the frame head on the ball side of the racket (On the cone of the racket if you have a ball on it, its supposed to have this tech). Just like the duora system, when you pronate your hands the heavier weight of the head is supposed to give the racket a heavier hit which generates more power. This was especially noticeable on the n9ii. Slightly noticable on the n99 and not noticable on the n7ii. Due to this tech it is extremely difficult to get used to lining rackets especially if youre coming from a different brand racket. I have owned 3 n9ii and the 1st generation was very noticable while the later models had a less noticable head weight different. This could also be a factor with the overall weight of the racket as my 1st n9ii had a more head heavier weight.
    So if you own a Lining racket with a holo looking ball on the cone, THE RACKET BALL SHOULD BE FACING YOU.
    I dont think many poeple knew about this and presume a lot of the reviews on this racket would have had a impact.


    I think the ax88d would be closest racket to compare with the 900c and i would like a more indepth review between the 2 rackets.
    Thinking of the 3d calibar 900. Looks like a 4u zf2 comparison racket.
     
  13. llrr

    llrr Regular Member

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    Thanks. This information is really helpful.

    I had a suspicion that the 900C is basically the N90iii repaint, but can't be sure because I've never used a N90iii before. I was comparing the shaft to zf2 without hitting, as in, I would bend both racquets with my hands to feel the stiffness of the flex. When I bend them both, the stiffness feels quite similar actually, so the 900C surprised me with it's "stiffness". On court though, the 900C's stiffness whilst hitting felt like the 88S. I would say whilst hitting the flex isn't as stiff as 88D. The head being a sword frame I think definitely contributes to the feel as well. For me, both my 88D and 900C had the same BP of 310mm with my setup, but when I used the 900C it was much faster through the air and I couldn't feel the head weight nearly as much. I think it's accurate when people say despite N9ii's head heaviness, it feels like an even balanced racquet when swinging. This is how I feel about the 900C too, the head heaviness is noticeably less when swinging the racquet.
     
  14. alana07

    alana07 Regular Member

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    What colour is the first gen N9ii?
     
  15. HyperJun

    HyperJun Regular Member

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    Mine was the pink blue black N9ii. Tried the totowi and the green/brown colour model as well, which had the less noticable head weight difference.
    But i wouldnt rely on this, as lining changes the model number a lot. Lining marketing is really really ****, and doesnt follow any patterns.
    They change the product code for every item multiple times, and its really hard to follow. eg: AYPL202-1, AYPL202-2, AYPL202-3, AYPL202-4. Not sure if this is a different batch but the model number change for different rackets. (i just used APYL202 as an example and not sure if there is multiple versions of this model), Tho i have seen the n7ii white go up to -4 before.

    Also on top of that they have the China Version and the International Version.
    https://www.shopliningbadminton.com/li-ning-chen-long-air-stream-n99-badminton-racket-black-red.html
    https://www.shopliningbadminton.com...tream-n99-badminton-racket-black-red-995.html

    Same site, different prices, The only difference is the model number. China version cost more - but can also string at 2lbs higher than the international version. They also said that Rackets made for specific users are able to string 2lbs higher as well. Hence why you can find N99 with max tension 26/28, 28/30 and 30/32. Go figure out which is which. Cause i dont have a clue.
    Just consider China Version like the Japan Version of Yonex racket.

    If someone can figure knows how this work please let me know..... taking forever to find the racket i want from lining.
     
  16. s_mair

    s_mair Regular Member

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    It's the first time ever that I read anything about that technology in here or anywhere else. Is there any official source for that?
    And besides, what exactly do you even mean by "heavier weight on the frame on the ball side"? Do you mean that one half of the head (meaning from 12 to 6 o'clock) is heavier than the other half?
     
  17. HyperJun

    HyperJun Regular Member

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    No i dont have a offical source for it, a friend of mine told me about it. And when i had my n9ii there was a noticable different on the head.
    Yes i do mean from 12 to 6 o'clock is heavier than the other half. Its more around the 9 oclock vs 3 oclock position.
    Ive tried 3x n9ii, 2x n99, there is a difference and i have 3x n7ii now.
    If you have a n9ii go try it, im pretty sure some people will post back that theres a difference on both sides.
     
  18. s_mair

    s_mair Regular Member

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    Mate, no offence, but that doesn't make any sense whatsoever. A different weight distribution on the head as you desribe it would result in a massive and easy to feel imbalance if you spin the racket in your hand. And as it happens, I directly jumped off the breakfast table, grabbed both of my N9II (one black/pink, one purple/green) and my N7II and spun them. Result: All three are spinning perfectly even, there is not the slightest sign of any imbalance. So I'm sorry to say that, but I seriously think that you and your friend are on the wrong way there.

    And besides, I also think that you got the wrong idea about the Yonex Duora concept if you think that it works the same way.
     
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  19. HyperJun

    HyperJun Regular Member

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    2 of my other friend confirmed this as well. Are you spinning 180 degress or 360? N7ii didnt have any difference.
     
  20. HyperJun

    HyperJun Regular Member

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    What i ment was with the duora you had to hold the racket the correct way. I didnt mean it was going to play the same as the duora.
    If you dont hold the racket the right way up, the extra head weight wont be utilised when pronating for the shot. Its not going to imbalance the racket as its only a slight head weight difference.
     

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