Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Badminton Racket Review: Karakal BN-60

I've previously stated that this is one good racket, and the surprises just keep getting better. No way would I have guessed that such a light racket can deliver such power. In fact, that's the exact concern that I had before buying the racket.

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.

Karakal BN-60
Est. Dry Weight: 60g (6U?)
Grip Size: Slightly thinner than the Yonex G5 size
Balance: Head Heavy
Flex: Stiff
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.

Karakal BN-60
Defense: 10
Attack: 9
Control: 9
Looks: 8


Anonymous said...

Interesting racket...where can I purchase this?

Arthur Wong said...

If you're in Singapore, you can try your luck at Queensway Shopping Centre. I think there's a store that stocks Karakal rackets there.

Otherwise, there's a guy I go to regularly. 9 Sembong Road, Sembawang. It's one of the terrace houses opposite Sembawang Shopping Centre.

Anonymous said...

How much is the price?

Arthur Wong said...

The price differs between stores, so I'd ask around. I think there's a store at Queensway, Singapore, that carries Karakal rackets.

I'd expect to pay more than $100 for it.

Anonymous said...

hey arthur there are alot of people that says using light rackets will hurt your shoulders more then heavier once.im thinking of getting this rackets and was wandering if this is true, im still trying lots of rackets to see which one suits me well the most.i tried acr 11 10, z slahs voltric 80 zforce, lining n36 n30 n33 n80 n80 n90-2. and was thinking of using a light racket this time.

Arthur Wong said...

In my opinion, having the wrong technique has hurt more shoulders than any racket.

So far the BN60 has great well for me. If you should consider trying one I hope it performs well :)

Martin Van Vliet said...

I have ordered 2 pieces today after a test last night with this racket from a fellow player, i live in the Netherlands and love the gsme of badminton, thank you for you review.



Arthur Wong said...

Thanks for reading Martin!

You've got your hands on a really good racket :)


Anonymous said...

I have playing the game for over 20 years and I find that once you are able to get your technique as close to text book as possible that actually these lighter rackets do start to hurt your shoulder. I have read about a number of players experiencing similar scenario's.


Arthur Wong said...

Hi Jag! Nice to have veteran seasoned players read my blog! Hope the info here has been useful and worth your time.

I'm thinking that the lighter weight rackets take a bit of getting used to. Players who are used to heavy rackets might end up expanding too much force on the swing.

If you see me play you'll find that I'm all about energy conservation. Whatever ways I can find to reduce energy use without loss of result, I'm in.

And the BN60 does that quite well :)

Anonymous said...

good day,
do you have a review about the rsl diamond x7 gold?

Arthur Wong said...

Sorry dude, pretty hard to get my hands on one of those here...

Anonymous said...

You said the racket shaft is stiff. But the product page on the company's website said: hi-flex Precision Shaft. So what exactly is the shaft? stiff or flex?

Arthur Wong said...

The racket feels stiff to me. I've had 3 Karakal rackets so far and they've all appeared stiff.

The website probably lists it as flex in comparison to all their other rackets.

Up to the individual really.

Anonymous said...

How does the power generated by this racket compare to rackets such as Yonex Nanospeed 9900 or ArcSaber FB?

Arthur Wong said...

Feels like it has less power actually..

Elliot Ong said...

Thanks. Last question before I purchase this racket at my local store. Umm.....

1- How would you describe its grip? Cushy? Soft? Comfortable? Uncomfortable? Hard? Sticky? Grippy? Dry?

2- Could you measure the width of its grip? I'm a lottle scared its too small for me.

Elliot Ong said...

I meamt circumfrance

Arthur Wong said...

Can't help ya there Elliot. I usually remove the original grip and use a replacement grip to my referred grip size.

ng si si rose said...

May I know what is the number of the owner ?

Arthur Wong said...

Excuse me?

Racingbeast said...

I've had one of this for more than 8 months but afraid to play regularly with this after a giving it couple of days when I bought it... it was too light and my fear was that if I get used to it I won't be able to get back to my Voltrics.
Anyhow, since the strings on both my Voltrics (Z-force and 80 LTD) gone, and was little bit held up at work that didn't allow me to spend time on stringing, I was left with no choice but to play with this.
It definitely outperformed the Voltrics in the high speed games except for smashing and back court clears... strangely I started getting the pain in shoulder which I never experienced with the Voltrics. Probably I was trying too hard to match up to the smashes with the Voltrics. . But certainly the pain was because of the racquet because when I started playing back with the Voltric 80 again, the pain slowly receded. I'm back on Voltric again but the pleasure of seeing your opponents dumb struck when you return all their smashes and redirect them to attack is definitely worth the pain and will make me use it more often than before. .
Just thought of sharing my views with you. .

Arthur Wong said...

Thanks for sharing! The BN60 is a really fast racket.

Didn't work out for me in the back court too though.