Weighing in at an estimated 60g before stringing, the Karakal BN-60 has got to be the lightest racket I've ever laid my hands on.
The design is simple, underrated, and lends a sense of mystery to the latent potential that the BN-60 can bring to one's game.
Note. This review is my opinion of the racket from using it in my games. Take this with a pinch of salt since we all play the game differently. 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.
Est. Dry Weight: 60g (6U?)
Grip Size: Slightly thinner than the Yonex G5 size
Balance: Head Heavy
Strings: Yonex BG66 Ultimax @ 25lbs
I recommend this racket if you want a great game.
Being super light, the Karakal BN-60 is naturally a naturally defensive racket at first try. The swings with the racket are super fast, lending a sharp swish sound to every swing.
The racket allows you to inject a lot of pace into your shots, imparting the full flow of your movement and wrist flicks into the shuttle at the very last minute without too much of the racket's weight slowing you down. I've found myself deep in defense, forced into a long stretch but still able to push off the shuttle with a backhand flick to the end of the court.
With such a quick reaction, taking the opponents on with counter-attacking drives is no problem. It's your reaction against his smashing stamina. With the lift to the back court coming so easily, toying the opponent around the two sides of the court is a breeze.
One thing I've noticed throughout the experience is that the BN-60 doesn't impart a lot of power on the drops and net blocks. I've been unable to use the weight of the racket to perform a nice net block when I needed it. It's either too high or I hit the net.
With the help of the head-heavy orientation, the Karakal BN-60 is able to pull off quite a mean attacking string. The first attack may not be the killer, but the subsequent follow-ups will have no lack of power since the racket is so light to yield.
Being so light also means that the wrist smashes can come down a lot faster, contributing to a very nice angle when you need the element of surprise.
Drives can be a problem though, without much weight in the overall racket to punch through. Although taking the return and putting it at another angle is totally in the equation. But I'd rather not factor in countering my opponent's return drive as an offensive strategy.
I think the racket shines when playing doubles. The BN-60 is the perfect weapon you'd want to have when covering the front court, being able to raise and drop without any difficult. This really adds up the threat level, especially if you've got a nice smasher taking the back court.
The Karakal BN-60 might also be a draw for the more creative players, what with the weight not being that much a consideration when performing last minute racket head movements or the occasional double movements. With head heaviness will ensure that you get enough depth when you're trying to force the opponent the wrong way, even if you're taking it later.
Being able to hit all four corners of the court with ease gave me a very good feel about the BN-60. There was a level of comfort in my strokes, even when the occasional forced movement calls for a lesser-hit.
Be it coming down or going up, the Karakal BN-60 is able to meet most of my expectations. Although there might be a little problem with the net play...
Much like in defense, I've been unable to completely grasp the tight net shot with the BN-60. It's either too high or it hits the net, and I've even dropped the racket in frustration mid-game because of that.
I saw this problem in the Karakal SL-70. There was the pure lack of kinetic energy that I'm used to feeling from the heavier rackets.
I'll nickname it the Black Widow. The BN-60's black frame is sprinkled with red accents, lot allowing the paint to add any more weight to the frame. The usual silicone grip at the cone has been substituted with what seems to be a cheap sandpaper-like material, also red. The red strings complete the look - a lethal weapon that's small and light.