I'm not usually the type to review badminton gear BUT, here we go!
Last month, Jeff & I were at the Altona North Badminton Centre giving free coaching, tips and sharing our brand with the community. We were fortunate enough to run into one of our official partners, Badminton Click!
They had gotten their hands on the Yonex Nanoflare 800, which officially dropped on Friday, August the 30th. Here's a bit of background and technical details about the racquet for those that aren't familiar with this racquet:
The key features that Yonex promotes for this racquet include:
Before you read below, please keep in mind that this is a review of the 4U version of the racquet and not the 3U. As a player who personally prefers 3U racquets, I think it would be hard to extrapolate the same experience for that version of the racquet.
To be honest, I don't typically follow new product launches or racquet announcements in this space (besides our own!) so I had zero expectations when Badminton Click offered to let me test the racquet out.
When I was first handed the racquet, I immediately thought to myself that the racquet looked and felt smaller than normal. While looking at the specs afterwards, I realised that this racquet was designed to have an incredibly thin frame and of course it was also the 4U version.
So at least I got something right!
The other thing to consider with this racquet was that it was strung with BG80 at a fairly high tension. Because the racquet was provided directly from Yonex to the store owner, the tension was not disclosed but I would guess that it would be around 27-28lbs. Due to the relatively high tension and being strung with strings that have high repulsion, you can imagine how much oompf it could generate!
Because I was using BG65TI at the time with my own racquet, the difference was palpable and immediate. On the night, I was having a hit with Jeff (with my own racquet, the Armortec 900 Technique strung at 28lbs) and could really feel a change in my ability to respond and put more speed into my drives. It's difficult to tell whether the extra power was coming from the strings or the racquet OR BOTH. It's likely to be a bit of both the strings and the increased swing speed I had when playing with such a head light racquet.
Overheads were comfortable as well. Despite the lack of weight in the 4U, the momentum that I could generate still produced quality clears. I found a little difficulty with producing drop shots because the head was a bit light for my liking and harder for me to get the right feel. As I said earlier, I certainly had a lot more oompf with the racquet and was producing smashes that I certainly couldn't produce with my own racquet/string combination on the night.
As a 3U guy, I hesitated about my thoughts on this as it challenged my personal views of always getting 3U racquets. This confused me because I really enjoyed using this racquet and while I would've expected much weaker shots with a lighter frame, it just wasn't the case. Like I said above, it's hard to tell whether it was truly the racquet itself or the repulsive strings at high tension that provided the power but I'd like to think that both were contributing factors.
What I really liked about this racquet was that besides the slight lack of feel on my drop shots, everything else felt very solid and easy. Playing with this racquet actually prompted me to upgrade my string/racquet combination to a different string (from BG65TI Nanogy 99 as it still needs to be economical!) as I missed the crisp nature that the BG80 provided on that night! I would be very interested in testing the 3U version of this racquet to see what the difference is but I certainly wouldn't hesitate putting this at the top of 'next potential racquet' list.
For that reason, for those who are interested in scores, I would rate this racquet:
Last year in August, I was lucky enough to travel to Basel, Switzerland to coach the Australian Team at the 2019 World Championships.
Being a former player that has competed at such tournaments such as the World Championships, I found that the experience was vastly different as a coach compared to an athlete.