Sunday, March 18, 2012

Badminton Racket Review: Yonex Voltric Z-Force

This is the big one. I've never seen a racket sell so well and garner so much attention. So much so that I've been tempted into buying one to try it out for myself and even wrote multiple entries for it here.

The Yonex Voltric Z-Force is the badminton giant's latest attempt to tap on the Asian market's delight for fire power. Boasting a 19KGf smash force on your opponent's racket, the dedicated website for the VTZF even has testimonials from the Malaysian Nationals about how they couldn't resist its temptation.

I knew there was something about the new racket when I noticed World No. 1 Lee Chong Wei adopt an extremely offensive style of play leading to its release at the Yonex All England, and I was proven right when the 10 rackets my stringer got in disappeared in a matter of 4 hours.

Suddenly the badminton world is ablaze about the marvels of Yonex's new haymaker.

But I have other ideas. Not every foot fits in this Cinderella shoe, and this here is one of them.

This review is from my opinions of the racket and of the game of badminton. Take this with a pinch of salt, but feel free to ask me if you have any more questions that my review failed to answer.

Ok, here goes.

Yonex Voltric Z-Force
Est. Dry Weight: 84g (4U)
Grip Size: G5
Balance: Extremely Head-Heavy
Max String: 26lbs
Flex: Stiff
Strings: Yonex BG66 Ultimax @ 24lbs

I use this racket for singles play.

Defense
As expected given its extreme weight distribution, the racket leaves much to be desired when it comes to defense. The slightly smaller head frame and the weight takes your defense down a notch off the get-go, but once you get used to it the extra weight down the front will end up giving you better returns.

But when it comes to defense, I'm not one to make a game of chance out of it. I'd rather be able to take a beating than give one, and the Yonex Voltric Z-Force doesn't give me a good defensive game.

Clearing from end to end is effortless given the balance, but the loss of control leaves more to be desired as I had to mentally calm myself into making safer shots.

Attack
The Yonex Voltric Z-Force feels like a VT80 on steroids. They didn't increase the weight of the racket much, but boy did they perform an overhaul on the weight distribution! Pushing most of the weight into the head frame made this racket extremely head-heavy.

I'd go as far as to say it's pretty much feels like an 80/20 balance.

The result being a very forceful downward stroke. People with a further downswing on the follow-through should watch their swing lest it starts to drill a hole into the net (or ground!).

With that domineering allocation of weight also comes, in a my opinion, a slightly flexible shaft. This gives drive shots and check smashes a whole lot of power as you which the racket to give you an added boost to speed.

This is one amazing racket to attack with, especially if you like to use the wrist to get it that surprise attack.

Control
But all that speed and power comes at a price of control. You're going to need more concentration to keep that shuttle in play. Feedback from the strings feel lost because of the lower density coming down the shaft.

It didn't feel right hitting the shuttle and I couldn't feel the path of the shuttle as well after it leaves my string bed.

People who like that half smash-fast drop will also find that the shots are taken down a lot steeper than with previous rackets, another resultant effect of top-loading the Voltric Z-Force to hell. I'd push a little more forward than downwards with this racket.

Prepare to lose a few points to control till you get the hang of it.

Looks
Weird, is what I said when I first saw the racket. Yonex went off and removed the shiny coating from their rackets, replacing it with a smooth, matt layer that's often accompanied with shoddy finishing.

The distinctive tattoo markings on a Voltric was also diminished, overshadowed by sharp lines that perhaps reflected the company's focus on delivering a devastating downward stroke.

Green, white and black were primary colors of the Yonex Voltric Z-Force, which in my opinion was a good change away from the angrier colors employed in the VT70 and VT80.

Overall, it's pleasing to the eye if you can get past the inevitable bad finishing.


Yonex Voltric Z-Force
Defense: 7
Attack: 9
Control: 7
Looks: 7

59 comments:

Iannn said...

How does it compare to the AT900P? My brother snapped my racquet last night..So looking to get a similiar racquet to my AT900P..Was thinking about the Z-Force or a nanoray. What do you think?

Iannn said...

Or maybe a Voltric 80..

Arthur Wong said...

Hi Iannn, I own a AT900P as well as a VT80 and a Z-Force. Don't have a Nanoray or NS9900, so my experience with head-light rackets is limited to the Carlton VT S-Lite.

If you're looking for something down the lines of your AT900P, bless its shuttle smashing soul, you're better off with the VT80 or VTZF.

The 80 is a lot less punishing, and delivers constant performance for me from day one. I'm still trying to get used to the ZF.

Potentially, the VTZF can have more power, but it comes with a longer learning period in my opinion.

Hope that gives you enough info to decide! Let me know what you choose and how it turned out!

Might also want to read my VTZF 3U versus 4U article if you consider the VTZF.

Eric said...

Hi Arthur,
I have been reading your badminton posts for a few months now and generally agree with most of your opinions on racquets. Where do you live? I have a few racquets that I would be interested in trading if you happen to live in Vancouver! Keep up theses great reviews, I have been enjoying them. I would like to see a review of your arcsaber 10 PG and how it differs from the original racquets.

Eric

Arthur Wong said...

Hey Eric, great to hear that I'm making some sense :) Unfortunately I'm in Singapore; would have liked to see what you have for offer.

I've been neglecting the AS10PG in favor of the head heavies, but I think it's time to write about it since I've already reviewed the rest of the rackets in the series.

Thanks again for the encouragement, and keep reading!

Ivan Liong said...

Hi Arthur, can u show me ur racket both serial number at the top of the handle there and also the hologram sticker that in ellipse size, bcoz i want to buy voltric ZF now~i saw that have a not really clear in serial number which is white in colour, and the hologram sticker is in colourfull colour, so i want to make sure with u since u have the original racket for VTZF oredi~pls reply me asap ya~tq~^^

Karthik said...

Hi Arthur,

I have been using the NS9900 and I find that my smashes are gradually disappearing, the racquet has almost changed my style of play from offensive to defensive, I hardly get any satisfaction from my smashes and I am beginning to show the initial symptoms of tennis elbow which I suspect is because of the combination of head lightness and stiffness of the racquet although I am not a pro and my technique might also be suspect.

I have never used a head heavy racquet like Voltric Z force before and I am confused between buying Voltric 80 and Voltric Z force although both of them are very different racquets. I don’t have that option here in India, all I can do is just to have a feel of the racquet in the retail shop before I buy. And neither do any of my friends here have both Voltric 80 and Voltric Z force which I can play and then compare and buy.

I want to get my smash back..that was the most fun part of the game for me!! Which would you suggest between Voltric 80 and Voltric Z force?

All that hype about Z-force is really tempting me to go for the racquet!!

Karthik said...

By " I don’t have that option here in India" I meant the option of "try before you buy"

Arthur Wong said...

Hi Karthik,

I've been meaning to try out the NS9900 for the longest time, but have not committed myself to getting one.

I've found that I'm able to generate more power from the even-balanced and head-light rackets than from head-heavys.

But if you're saying that you've got tennis elbows using the NS9900, then I can assume it'll only get worse with the extremes of the Z-Force and Voltric 80.

Those two are really head heavy, and any injury that you would have to your arms can only get worse.

There are a lot of videos on youtube about proper smashing techniques. It involves leading the attack with your elbow and then ending with a pronation of the wrist. When to apply a hard grip to the racket also plays an important part.

Proper technique can increase your smash speed more than a new racket can.

But between the Voltric 80 and the Z-Force, I'm more inclined towards the VT80. The Z-Force looses too much control for me.

Hope this helps!

Karthik said...

Hi Arthur,

Thanks for your reply. I will go through the videos in youtube and change my technique and see if it brings about a significant improvement in my smashes.

Thanks,
Karthik

Arthur Wong said...

You're welcome!

Once the technique's better and you want to get a harder smash you can explore the powerhouses of Voltric :)

bjorn_03 said...

Hi.. I have the Yonex Voltric80 Ltd. Edition (3u) and the Victor Meteor x80 (4u) in my bag. When i play, i initially use the VT80 and then switch to the MX80 when my arms get tired. Now, i am contemplating of getting a VTZF (4u) maybe to replace my MX80. Any insights would really be appreciated. thank u

Arthur Wong said...

Hello!

It's been awhile since I've used the MX80 (me having sold it and all), but what I remembered from it was the stiffness and how it didn't actually translate into power for me.

That problem wasn't as apparent in the Yonex Z-Force, even though the racket felt stiffer than the MX80.

If you're worried about the hand getting tired though, the Z-Force may be a problem as it's definitely heavier than the MX80 in 4U.

If you're happy with the VT80 in 3U, I would actually suggest using a 4U as an alternate. the hitting surface remains the same (MX80 is slightly smaller than VT80 and Z-Force is even smaller still) so there's very little time (and points) lost to adaptation.

Hope this helps!

bjorn_03 said...

I just tested my VT ZF 4u today and it delivered well for me... Never lost a set in the first 3 games a played which i think is a good thing... I was only able to compare it with the MX80... The heavier head of the VT ZF compared to the MX80 was really apparent and i was able to deliver consistent smashes with steeper angles than the mx80... On my next game, i would make a comparison with my VT80 3u...

Arthur Wong said...

Congratulations on finding a suitable racket! I know what it feels like to get a racket and have no shots go wrong for you :)

Happy smashing!!

Don Sang Chin said...

Hi, is your racquet SP version or it's the real one, how much does it cost you?

Arthur Wong said...

Hello, it's an SP version. Prices vary throughout the island. Please check with a reputable distributor and make sure to check if the cost includes stringing.

Anonymous said...

Hi, mind sharing whats your serial?

Arthur Wong said...

I've seen sold the racket, sorry.

Anonymous said...

You gave VT-80 a 10 and Z-Force a 9 in offense. However, I don't think there is a significant different between the two in attacking. I am just wondering why there would be a rating difference between the two.

Arthur Wong said...

Well, for starters, I'm grading the rackets based on the performance at that point of time for me and my style of play.

The reviews were written a few weeks apart, and opinions do change. But for this case I'll stand by my VT80 review and say that the racket performs better for me in terms of offense than the ZF.

The ZF also has a smaller head frame, which in my opinion also affects the attack rating for those who can't consistently get the sweet spot right.

Several factors, but I still urge advanced players to give the racket a try to see for yourself.

What I write here is just my experience with whichever racket, and I hope you can get a sort of a preview before you commit money to a $200 Yonex :)

Happy smashing!

Anonymous said...

hi,

what tension u guys prefer to use for sweet smashing racket?
why some people prefer to use lower tension becoz normally i use 28lbs.

Arthur Wong said...

Well, you're right in that there's a tension that everyone's used to.

I've got 2 preferences for mine, depending on the string that I use.

For the Yonex BG80 Power, I personally find 23lbs a good tension; for the NBG99 it's 25lbs.

As you can tell, I'm not a hard smasher, so the slightly lower tension allows me better control to place the smashes instead of going all out for a winner.

Test out your range and see what's a good alternative. For all you know, 24lbs might give you a faster smash than 28lbs; or 32 instead of 28?

That's the fun of it - taking time to try out different variations and finding the right fit.

Happy smashing!

Anonymous said...

hey arthur,
can u recommend me any badminton store in melbourne or online store? coz i wanna buy yonex voltric 80 :)
thanks in advance

Arthur Wong said...

Hello, thanks for reading!

Unfortunately, I'm not able to recommend any stores since I'm in Singapore and have not been to Australia :(

There's a thread on Badminton Central that you might want to direct your question to - there're loads of knowledgeable shuttlers out there who will no doubt help.

Sorry I can't be of much more help! Happy smashing!

vincent said...

harusnya lebih bagus z force dari pada z slash

Arthur Wong said...

Sorry dude, what's that in English?

Francis Teo said...

I think Vincent is asking which one better, the Z Force (I think from APACS) or the Z slash.

To me, there's no comparison as they are different racquet.

Despite what other says about APACS costing 20% of their Yonex equivalent and they play the same, I beg to differ. Most of the lower end APACS are actually the same racquet specs but with different graphics.

Anyway, Z Slash one of the toughest racquet to use. The Voltric 80 is so much better and in fact, when it 1st came out, I rated it the best effort from Yonex but now I tried the Voltric Z force, I am not so sure anymore.

Anonymous said...

Vincent said, "Z Force supposed to be better than Z-Slash"

It is Indonesian. . . .

Arthur Wong said...

Thanks for the translation!

I think it's up to the player for which racket is better. I for one enjoy the smashes I get with the Z-Slash a lot more.

For most others however, the Z-Force seem to be a good upgrade :)

Anonymous said...

Arthur do you mind if you can tell us your personal characteristic? as in Your height, weight, built(Slim,fat, or...) age etc???

Arthur Wong said...

Hello, I'm about 185cm in height, regular built.

30 this year :(

My game's more of a control one than a power-based smashing, but I do enjoy the occassional attacking play.

Hope this helps with the reviews.

Enzo Fx said...

Hi, Arthur. Which racket is the best for ultimate smashing(more power, more initial and final speed of shuttle)? VTZF or N90II or others?

Arthur Wong said...

This might sound strange, but for me, it's the Toalson Ti Max Power Axe.

That thing packs more punch than any top-of-the-line racket that I own...

That said, each player reacts differently to each racket. I suggest you try out the sure-wins like the VT80, VTZF or the N90s.

Enzo Fx said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Enzo Fx said...

OIC, thanks. :-)
It's looking is like a old type racket in 80s-90s. :-X
But Iam living in Hong Kong. Where can I buy it? How much is it? :-)

Arthur Wong said...

Not too sure dude.. I live in Singapore and I'm afraid I'm not at all in-the-know about Hong Kong's badminton scene..

Enzo Fx said...

oic, thanks. :-X

Indeed, I have buy a VTZF Ltd for my latest racket temporary. I feel that it is excellent athough I have not control it perfectly. I feel its disadvantage is have a relatively small frame.

But before I bought the VTZF Ltd, I have buy a racket and re-equip it to a "ultmate racket". It's final weight is heavy. It's weight is 119g. But it's length is 680mm , relatively larger frame, sting tension is 35pds and the balance point is 365mm.

The "ultimate racket" is hard to use but its smashing power is monstrous. I can only use it about half hour and then I have to change to use another normal racket because I am tired to use it and can't bring its power out.

Finally, I feel that VTZF Ltd is the normal version of the "ultimate racket". :-)

Arthur Wong said...

That actually sounds very interesting.

Can you share how you made the racket? If you're willing to send pictures of the racket I will post it on the blog and credit it to you :)

Enzo Fx said...

Sorry, I don't know how to post photo on here. >.<

I can say the racket originally has the length = 680mm , relatively larger frame and maximum sting tension is 35pds. And it's balance point is adjusted by adding some weight on the frame of the racket. :-P

But it is hard to use it perfectly only if you are a ultimate player(Drive it with your monstrous wrist power!) By the way, I can't use it perfectly... :-X
You may hurt yourself if you don't know how to swing a racket correctly.
And don't use it if you are tired. Otherwise you may also hurt yourself. :-X

Furthermore, I have found a racket on internet which I think it is a legend. It's state that that racket has maximum sting tension up to 50pds originally!!!(Normal sting tension of tennis racket!!!) If doing some adjustment on it, I think it is really a "Legend Racket". HAHA~~ :-D

Arthur Wong said...

Thanks for sharing! It does indeed sound like a broken wrist to me :P

Anonymous said...

i Arthur im using a volt80 looking for rackets which are similar to it that I can use once my volt 80 strinf snaps sometimes. I dont have a spare racket. Im looking for cheaper alternatives but I have no idea about other brands other than yonex. Do you have any suggestions? Or do you know of anyone who's selling a 2nd hand volt80

Arthur Wong said...

You can post a request on the Badminton Central forums to ask if anyone's selling a VT80 :)

If you're a fan of the racket, I'd suggest getting the same one so that you don't lose too much of the feel when switching.

Anonymous said...

Hi Arthur may I ask which other model of rackets are similar in nature to the volt 80? Any brand would be fine. Have no idea what is close to volt 80.It seems like no one is selling 2nd hand volt 80 here in sg

Arthur Wong said...

The Li-Ning N55-II is rather close.

As for the cheaper brands, I'd have to go for the Princes. They all kind of have the same properties as the VT80.

Anonymous said...

I know im in the section. but I want to ask if you have any experience with apacs finapi 80?? because im planning to buy one and I cant find any reviews for it.. thanks

Arthur Wong said...

Sorry I've not had any experience with APACS rackets, but there's a APACS thread on the Badminton Central forums you might want to poke around in.

Arthur Wang said...

hey, which voltric do you recommend for a z slash user, the vt80 or the vtzf, I have tried both but not long enough to fully experience both, which one do you like?

Arthur Wong said...

I like the VT80 more. Less punishing, more whippy. A Z-Slash user will get used to the increased power of the Voltric 80 right away.

Anonymous said...

1st sorry if my english are bad
indeed this racket is a powerfull one,if you are hard hitter style but in my opinion,i think if u guys wana buy VTZF,go buy 4U..dont buy 3U because 3U is more hard to use..the swing is to painful if you are just a so so player..but if compare to power..3U is better than 4U...

Arthur Wong said...

No worries about the English :) I think passion is a universal language, and we're all here because of our interest in the game of badminton.

I totally agree with you. The 3U version may end up giving players with less technique an arm aching if not used properly.

The Voltric Z-Force is a very powerful racket, and still has one of the hardest drives I've yet seen.

Albert Wong said...

How does it compare to the woods n90?

Arthur Wong said...

Hey Albert, it's stiffer, heavier, but hits harder.

Albert Wong said...

And which one would you recommend more for a mainly doubles player like myself with an attacking play style?

Arthur Wong said...

I've seen more people use the z-force more than the N90, so I'll go with that. :)

Anonymous said...

hi Arhtur,
how does it compare to lining n9? (Z Force 4U Version)
which one have more heavy smash? and which one have more flexibility shaft?
I don't know my arm can hold the extra stiff flex or not.

My style play
double, love to smash, some cut and drop.

Thank you

Arthur Wong said...

I think the N9 woudl have a heavier smash, owing to the fact that it's overall heavier.

The ZForce has a stiffer shaft thoguh, which lends to its increased accuracy.

Anonymous said...

hi arthur great review, though i may be a little late on reading this one :). very accurate review and i couldnt help but relate to it as I myself use a z force at 3U as my main racquet along with a victor thruster k9000(you should try it out.). In your opinion how does it compare to the li ning N9 with the same weight?

Arthur Wong said...

Hey there, glad you found the review useful :)

I think the N9 is slightly lighter than the ZFII 3U, though the smaller head frame of the ZFII makes it seem slightly lighter on the swing.

If I were to choose, I'd much prefer the ZFII because of the control. I can't remember the N9 as well, but there has to be a reason why I sold the N9 and kept the ZFII :)

That said, the N9 is a much easier racket to use, give it's more even weight distribution and (I can't say this enough) larger head frame.