Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Badminton Racket Review: Li-Ning Woods N90-II


Before I got one, I've not had a good impression for Li-Ning rackets. They're really over-priced, and their design sense could really use a little improving. All of the rackets that I've seen hanging off the racks at the sports store are usually dusty and not really in a rush to go anywhere.

But that was until I got one of these babies. The Li-Ning Woods N90-II proved to be a really good racket both offensively and on the defense. While weighing a tonne, the racket somehow allows a very delicate and overwhelming sense of control and speed.

I might even say that it's right up there in terms of usability with the Yonex Voltric 80 (which in my opinion is the best racket that Yonex has ever made).

First off, the N90-II looks like a very fiery dream. It screams CHINA, and might even impart some of the skill of their best players to you (patent pending). Ha.

It's taken me awhile since getting my hand on a Li-Ning Woods N90-II to write this review, mainly because I don't really want to use it too much in case I damage the very awesome paintwork.

But enough of my vanity and onto the review proper.

This review's my opinion of the racket from using it in my games, my style. There are a lot of ways to play badminton, so take this with a pinch of salt. I'm here to tell you, in as much accuracy as I can, how my games went with the racket. Comments welcome!

Ok here goes.

Li-Ning Woods N90-II
Est Dry Weight: 90g (3U)
Grip Size: S2 (eq. Yonex G5)
Balance: Head Heavy
Max String Tension: 28lbs
Flex: Stiff
Strings: Yonex Nanogy 98 @ 24lbs

I use this racket for singles play.

Defense
At first handle, I shudder to think what my defense with this racket would be like. I remember when I first used the Yonex Armortec 900 Power and how the weight of that racket totally destroyed my reaction speed.

The N90-II comes heavier and bulkier than the AT900P, but when it came to swing the racket in the face of a drive or smash, the Li-Ning racket comes off very well. It's able to deflect most of the attacks that come at me with as much finesse as it has power.

The good thing about the weight is the way it helps you deliver a good block or defensive drive to the back of the court without the use of much energy.

On the softer blocks, the weight of the racket head also helps when you want to pull off all those tricky dropping net shots that hug close to the net. A light touch is what it usually needs to tip the shuttle over.

I don't know how Li-Ning does it, or if it's because I got lucky with the weight distribution of this one, but the N90-II is insanely easy to use on the defense, far outclassing any of the other head heavy rackets that I've come across.

Attack
The first smash I threw with the N90-II got a compliment from my playing buddy. I remember how nice it felt coming off the string bed, and how good it sounded. I'm not a power player, so my shuttles don't carry a lot of speed, but the Li-Ning Woods N90-II delivers a rather satisfying speed with the shuttle.

The well-made racket also boasts a nice driving speed, with the shuttle moving a fast speed away with the lightest of touches. Wrist players will especially enjoy this as you get a high yield with very little effort.

Swings on the racket come off really fast as well, and the added weight in the head gave me a very good angle with the natural follow-through that came with the downward swings.

However, I did feel a gradual loss in speed when it came down to the flat exchanges. The wrist won't be able to support the weight of the racket or as long as your other rackets that for sure. The slightly whip-like nature of the shaft helps in this situation, allowing better energy transfer when you need it.

Control
Have you seen Lin Dan throw off shot after shot of impossible angles and velocity? Well, using the Li-Ning Woods N90-II made me feel like I could pull off some of those shots if I wanted to.

The slightly larger head frame of the racket delivers the promise of a wide assortment of shots into your arsenal. Larger string bed, larger surface area to play shots around with.

Need a tighter spin on your net drops? Take aim a little off the center for a harder feel. Want the repulsion to push the shuttle off the the back line? Take the shuttle with the enlarged sweet spot to get maximum distance without using too much arm strength.

Once again, I'll have to credit the heavy head of the racket for the wonder drop shots that it's managed to pull off for me. The shuttles spin off the string bed and seldom fails to find it's way sharply towards the other side.

I judge how good the control is for a racket by how much I'm able to direct the play of a game. The more I can walk around the court, the more control I feel I am getting, the more comfort I'm feeling, the better my shot quality.

The Li-Ning Woods N90-II really made my games a breeze.

Looks
I call this the dragon. It's primarily red, with white yellow and gold streaks running down the head frame and onto the shaft, where gold writing completes the majesty of the Li-Ning Woods N90-II.

Like an emperor sitting on his throne, my N90-II sits domineeringly on my shelf, a power resting within waiting to be unleashed.


Li-Ning Woods N90-II
Defense: 9
Attack: 8
Control: 10
Looks: 10

65 comments:

Anonymous said...

Reading tour review i was wondering if this is now your favorite racket or not?

Arthur Wong said...

I don't have an absolute favorite per say; the flavors change every once in awhile.

But I have to admit that the N90-II comes close :)

Anonymous said...

I am planning to either get a Woods N90II or N90. Reading on a forum page, people said that the N90 offered more power while the N90II offers more control and defense. Reading your posts and ratings, I see you also agree with this. However, do you see a big difference in power, control, or defense and which racket do you like to use more? I play singles.

Arthur Wong said...

The stiffness of the N90 basically gives more power than the N90-II. Control-wise, I feel the stiffer rackets will tend to give that as well.

Defense is generally a measure of how fast you can move the racket head around, so I'll give that to the N90-II since it's slightly (but only just) head lighter than the N90.

I like the N90 to the N90-II because of the slight edge in power. But the difference to me is only just.

Both are really good rackets, and when it comes to choosing one over the other in this instance, I'd go for the one whose design I like more :)

Anonymous said...

How much is the price for this n90 II ?

Arthur Wong said...

It differs inbetween stores. I suggest you ask around.

Anonymous said...

I am from indonesia. It is very difficult to find this racquet in my hometown. What is the price in singapore ? thanks

Arthur Wong said...

It varies between stores. I've not been to one in ages so I'm not a good person to ask on this.

You might want to ask around the Badminton Central forums for this.

Anonymous said...

Hi, which one do you prefer more or think is better?
Yonex Voltric Z-force
Or Li-Ning N90 ii
Thank you =)

Arthur Wong said...

I've not used the Z-Force as much, so I'm going to say that I like the N90-II more.

It's got a good feel to it, and the weight gives me a better sense of control.

Anonymous said...

Hello

I read in other website that this n90 II had a blue version

Is that truth ??

Thanks

Arthur Wong said...

Not that I know of, no.

Anonymous said...

Thanks a lot for your review. It's make me a huge difference when i read others. However,I'm looking forward to see your next review on N90-IIS also if you please :).

Arthur Wong said...

Thank you for reading, and for also liking what you read!

The N90-II is indeed a very nice racket to use, with loads of power at your disposal.

Not really keen to try out the S-Type, coz if you know I'll only try out rackets that look good ;)

Since the two look identical, it's not really in my list of rackets to review.

But keep reading, I've got a few more lined up!!

Anonymous said...

In terms of power/defense/control, which one do you think will do better: N55ii or N90ii?

Arthur Wong said...

N90ii will probably feel better in attack and control.

Anonymous said...

the rackets are fine
u r a bad player

Arthur Wong said...

You don't see my name on the list next to Lee Chong Wei or Chen Long, so indeed I am a bad player.

But what good is a hobby if you can't even enjoy it? :)

Anonymous said...

Hello Arthur

According to you, it seemed that the N90ii was a more control based VTZF, so what do you think about this compared to the ZT80? You gave both high marks in control, with the VT80 a high rating in power.

So my question is whether you have trouble getting the "extra edge" with the N90ii as it is one of the hardest rackets, which you probably shouldn't since you we're able to control the N90 which is the hardest racket to control thus far.

Or have you suffered timing problems?

Maybe I should just stick with my Flymax Extra Power 550, the cheap rackets work the best haha.

I got a VTZF recently, but I kept mid hitting due to the smaller head size and the extreme head heaviness did not really work for me either, felt no increase in power.

Overall, what do you think is the best racket for me? I am a player that is mostly aggressive, but loves to surprise the opponent but with bad drop shots. I am looking for a racket with high power output as control can be honed via skill. I heard N90ii has a larger head size, would be good as my accuracy can improve.

But is the N90ii really a good racket for high beginner players such as I or is the VT80, which is in your description a good racket to use better for me.

Awaiting your response.

F.y.i to the other member: if he is a bad player, then why is he capable of controlling rackets such as the VTZF whereas people that claim themselves as "advanced" cannot? Pls think before you speak.

Arthur Wong said...

Thanks for reading!

I think we're all subject to our views, and I'm not admitting I'm a good player so no one's in the wrong here. Let's keep this open and accepting :)

I've found the Voltric 80 a joy to use. It probably has a less steep learning curve than the other rackets you mentioned.

I'm sorry I've not had experience with a Flymax racket, so I can't give an opinion on whether you should stick, or how the racket should perform.

If you've got the finances, you can try out a VT80 (second hand even!) and see if it works. It's the easiest to use and the power it can deliver is pretty good.

To me the N90 and the VTZF probably comes out tops in terms of power, but I'll lean towards the N90 because it's easier to tame.

The N90-II is similar to the N90, but it's got a little more flex in the shaft that makes it more forgiving on your mis-timed shots.

Timing problems can be fixed once you take a few swings with the racket. Just be sure not to switch between too many rackets per session :)

Anonymous said...

Hi

I want to ask your opinion Mr Wong. I am using zlash but i can generate a powerful smash with it. Now i am considering change to N90II, hopefully can give me more power. Do you think i can control N90 II ?

thanks

Arthur Wong said...

That sounds like a natural progression. The N90-II is a head heavier racket than the Z-Slash and could probably give you a stronger smash.

Anonymous said...

Hello Arthur

Thx very much for your response. Several more questions, does the N90ii have a bigger head size than VT80 and is N90ii better than VT80 in terms of power? Thank you :)

Arthur Wong said...

It feels the N90-II has a slightly larger head size, and a little more on the power.

But it's also a tad slower.

Anonymous said...

Hi , I would like to ask which one would you recommend between N90 and N90II ... I play doubles ...

Arthur Wong said...

Well they're both pretty similar to me. But I'm thinking the N90 is able to give you a better defense.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the reply .... I first expect N90 II to be better in defense .... So , which of the racket produces better smash ?

Arthur Wong said...

The N90-II for me.

Anonymous said...

alright , thanks !

Anonymous said...

Hi Arthur,
Have you tried N90-II(S-type)? What's the difference between N90-II, N90-II(S-type) & N90? I'm looking for one which can have a good defensive & attacking play. I also uses alot of wrist play.Pls advice.Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Hi Arthur,
Have you tried N90-II(S-type)? What's the difference between N90-II, N90-II(S-type) & N90? I'm looking for one which can have a good defensive & attacking play. I also uses alot of wrist play.Pls advice.Thanks.

Arthur Wong said...

No I've not tried the S-Type. But between the other two, I think I'd prefer the N90.

Saurav Bhagwat said...

i tried The Lining NS 95 strings pretty cool can hold up to 30 lbs

Arthur Wong said...

Nice! How did it feel?

Anonymous said...

Hi Author
In your opinion is the n90 better or the n90ii as I am intending to buy either one of them.

Arthur Wong said...

I prefer the N90. It's less heavy so I can move around easier with it.

Devatman Kumar said...

hello

which is better?? n90ii or n90iii.

i play singles as well as doubles. i am very good in defence and in attack also.which racket would be better??

Arthur Wong said...

Well, if you're very good in defense and offense, then I guess you've progressed to choosing whichever color racket you like..

narendran said...

Hi Arthur
How much weight will lead tape add to your racket? Will it give a 4u yonex voltric z force 2 the power and feel of a 3u version?
Have you tried the victor thruster k9000 ? Can you compare it to the zf 2
Thank You

narendran said...

Hi Arthur
Which racket has more power li ning n90 ( one ) or yonex voltric z force 2 ?
Which racket do you prefer?
Thank you

Arthur Wong said...

I prefer the ZF-II to the N90.

Lead tape will add as much power as you can give the racket. I suggest you play around with a current racket you own so that you can experience it for yourself.

Anonymous said...

Hi there, I'm not sure where to start. I've read your review on the N90 ii and see it recommended elsewhere, but I'm struggling to make a decision. Around 7 years ago I had a serious injury on my wrist that needed an operation to shorten my hand ligaments. With that in mind my flexion isn't brilliant. I've recently started playing badminton as the nature of the sport really forces me to work my wrist and in theory keep it stretched and supple. For christmas I want to buy a new racket as I'm truly loving the game. As a more experienced player what type of racket should I be looking for. My worry with the N90ii is that all the weight is in the head and I won't be able to generate the power well enough. Would I be better off with a racket where the balance is further down the shaft. Flexion in the shaft may be better or maybe a stiffer racket is required. So what balance is ideal for someone who hasn't got full flexion in their wrist: one where the weight is in the head or down the shaft; one which has a flexible shaft or one that is rigid. Haven't got a lot of money to spend, but I'm seeing offers on the N90ii or the Carlton Razor V1.0. What do you think. I really hope you have some advice for me.

Arthur Wong said...

Hey there! Thanks for reading.

The N90-ii is probably the most head-heavy of the Li-Ning rackets, but it makes up for it with a slightly flexible shaft. This gives the user a little more help on the attacks but takes away from the control.

I have not had the chance to use the Carlton Kinesis, so I can't comment on that one.

But more than the rackets you decide to use, I would like to advise on the types of shots you choose to play during your game.

Losing a few degrees off your wrist means you won't have as much angles as you would like. This can be compensated by taking the shuttle earlier or jumping to take your shots.

As for power, you can take a look at how Lin Dan smashes - the use of his shoulder when he smashes.

These are often better ways to improve your attack than to get an expensive racket :)

Happy smashing!

Anonymous said...

That's brilliant advice and very much appreciated. I've found the N90-ii for around £80 and it is within my price range.

At that price and bearing in mind my last message, would you recommend it as a purchase or do you have another racket in mind that may serve (no pun intended) me better.

Really do appreciate your advice. It's fantastic to find a website that actually has good reviews. Too many sites out there just sell.

Hear from you soon.

Mark (Birmingham)

Arthur Wong said...

Hey Mark, the N90-ii is actually mad heavy. Give it a swing before you put down the money.

As an alternative, the N55-II is actually a pretty good smasher as well. The shaft is as flexible as the N90-ii.

As with all rackets, you might want to give it a swing to see if the weight and flex suits you.

With that I wish you all the best and happy smashing!

Rajat Nayak said...

Which is the best strings for this racquet bought it yesterday played with it today strings are quite loose I am a power player my game is fully based on my powerful jump smashes so I need to know which is best strings please mention its tension also....

Arthur Wong said...

Hey there Rajat, thanks for reading the blog!

Stock strings right off the stores are usually tied at a very low tension of about 20lbs, and it's no wonder you find them lacking.

Attacking players are very particular about their strings and tension. What did you use before the N90-ii?

Rajat Nayak said...

I have used ashway force tour 8800 nanotech and yonex carbonex 8000 light.....

Arthur Wong said...

Those are rackets, not strings.

What strings and tension are you used to playing with? It'll give a good basis on where to start recommending you new ones.

Rajat Nayak said...

Yonex bg 65 with 26 or 27 lbs tension

Arthur Wong said...

BG65 is a durability string, not a power one.

You might want to give BG66 Ultimax or BG80 Power a go if you're looking to up your attack.

Be warned that the 66UM is very thin and will break a lot sooner, though a lot of players swear by it.

Anonymous said...

i have bought this online. not sure whether it comes with string or not. if not what is the bast string and best tension for this racket?

Arthur Wong said...

Strings are a personal issue, I'm afraid. What works for some might not work as well for others.

My N90-II was on Yonex NBG98 @ 27lbs.

Shiren Tan said...

Hello is this the classic version?

Shiren Tan said...

Hello is this the classic version?

Arthur Wong said...

Yup, this review is for the classic version. The other cash-cow rackets didn't get my attention.

Shiren Tan said...

Cool thanks arthur

Shiren Tan said...

Hello arthur, did you do any bending of the racket to test the stiffness on the racket? I tried to bend and I heard cracks coming from the racket is that bad? Thanks

Arthur Wong said...

Erm... you don't have to bend the racket that much to feel its stiffness. Just enough to know how much it takes to bend the racket will do.

Also, over time the graphite in the racket will get brittle and less strong structurally. So for older rackets, it is important not to bend it manually. The graphite in the shaft has already formed according to the bend of the racket in swing and won't take to another angle well.

The more experienced players (or those who have too many rackets) will be able to feel the stiffness of the racket by taking a few practice swings. It is also more accurate because the shaft is being bent according to the swing.

Shiren Tan said...

So the crack is nothing serious?

Arthur Wong said...

You probably just loosened the integrity. Common with old rackets.

Shiren Tan said...

Ohh ok thanks arthur

manash kumar said...

Lining woods ld90ii or artengo 920p in this both which one is the best racket
I am regular player and i like smashes and hard hitting shorts can u plz suggeat me the best racket below 3500rs thanx

manash kumar said...

Lining woods ld90ii or artengo 920p in this both which one is the best racket
I am regular player and i like smashes and hard hitting shorts can u plz suggeat me the best racket below 3500rs thanx

Arthur Wong said...

Hey there Manash, I don't know how much 3500rs is so can't really comment on that.

As for looking for a "better racket", I would examine what's missing in your game before attempting to upgrade yourself in terms of equipment with expectations of better performance.

That said, I have not used an Artengo before.