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
Strings: Yonex Nanogy 98 @ 24lbs
I use this racket for singles play.
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.
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.
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.
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