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.

Anonymous said...

I am a county level player at 14 years old. I am getting this racket very soon I think. I play a wide variety of shots and often like to keep my opponents on the run. My main concern is the racket bieng too light and lacking any real repulsion.Advice?

Arthur Wong said...

Hey there. I think the racket will be a little too light for you, seeing how you're probably going to grow even faster and stronger in time to come.

Unless you're very used to very fast speeds and taking the game to a fast-paced flat battle, I'd recommend something you can conserve energy with. Otherwise the lower repulsion from the 60g racket might end up draining your strength in the long run.

Anonymous said...

I like attacking with speed in doubles games which is why I chose this racket, if I were to string with something of high repulsion like bg66 um or nanogy 98 would it compensate for the lightness, thanks for your advice I really appreciate it

Anonymous said...

Also how does the racket feel when performing clears and other overhead shots from the back of the court, I read on karakals website that the head speed constitutes towards more power and it can also be strung to quite a high tension. Once again your advice is much appreciated

Anonymous said...

Sorry dude I meant bg65 ultimax on one of my previous questions about string and repulsion not bg66 ultimax

Arthur Wong said...

You should have no problem with shot-making when you're using the BN-60, and it can be strung as high as 27-28lbs.

What I really found trouble with is the attack, especially from the back court.

Give it a test run if you're able to. I really didn't get positive returns with the racket in the back court.

Anonymous said...

Thank you once again I don't really try to attack from the back anyway apart from the odd tight drop shot and I only really smash from mid court anyway. I would use this racket for doubles to get on the attack with speed as it is my main game. As long as I'll be able to pull off a decent clear and drop with this racket I'll be fine.☺👍✌

Arthur Wong said...

All the best dude! Seems like the racket fits your requirements.

Anonymous said...

Got the racket today... Loving the weight of it,fits my play style perfectly. The power generated by the head speed is incredible and I love the addition of a thumb print. On the racket it says string tension 16-30 but on the manufacturer website it says 28 max recommend , whats this about??

Arthur Wong said...

Probably means the guy who made the racket in taiwan and the guy who updates the website in Japan didn't talk...

Anyway, string it whatever tension you want. I think you're an experienced enough player to know what racket handles what tension.

Yonex has a 26lbs recommendation but we all string at 30lbs anyway..

Anonymous said...

Okay thank you

Anonymous said...

some sites say the grip is 3 1/2.


do they manufacture different grip sizes?

in philippines it's 3 1/4.

Arthur Wong said...

Generally the grip sizes for Asian countries are smaller.

Anonymous said...

I'm a 14 year old guy. I use my sister's yonex ti10 and now I want my own personal racket, would this be good for me? I started playing weekly sessions with my friends who are mostly, from what I consider advanced beginners. I mostly play doubles with focus on the back court but would consider singles. And I like to play defense. Would this suit me just fine or should I consider something heavier or even the bn 65? And also if this has any relevance I'm 6 feet and 102 kilos (~212 pounds)

Arthur Wong said...

I'm thinking a big strong guy like you would benefit from a head heavier racket. I would start off with a Voltric 80 if you can get your hands on one.

How do you find playing with the Ti-10 at the moment?

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, my racket choices are limited since there are only a few stores that sell that kinds of rackets and those stores have like only 3-4 types of rackets available. As for the experience of playing with the Ti-10, it's underwhelming because there is more weight on the grip rather than the head and everytime I want to smash there's not enough power for me;not sure if it's my technique or the racket. I also have my eyes on the Black knight 35X (can't seem to find reviews for it since it isn't very popular in the philippines), Babolat X-act 85, Babolat N-tense blast and this one. So do you recommend this to me as I consider myself like an advanced beginner or should I look for something else?

Thanks for taking your time to reply.

Anonymous said...

And also the new rsl m15 1250, m15 1450 and m15 speed 7

Anonymous said...

And finally the yonex z force 2 lin dan

Anonymous said...

Correction*Voltric z 2 lin dan 4U

Anonymous said...

Correction again* voltric 2 Lin dan 4U

Arthur Wong said...

I don't have experience with the rackets you've listed, so I can't comment. But your situation with the head light Ti-10 is just like to would have guessed.

If you've got the cash to spare, I would go for the Yonex VF2LD. I've confidence you can handle the 3U version so go crazy.

It's got a smaller head frame than the Ti-10, and it's significantly heavier, so you're going to have to get used to the slight drop in defense.

But once you get through it all (hang in there!) you'll be surprised at how good a head heavy racket is for attacks.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the reply, The vfz2ld is not readily available and is way out of my budget but I have a slight change of heart, just a few hours ago I played the ti10 again and realized that I had already good power especially in smashing but still it isn't enough for me. Now I want a balanced racket and I think the Yonex voltric 2 Lin dan edition would suit me just fine since it has the same range of tension like the ti10 3U (19-24) pounds which is more than enough for me. I have no plans to go above than 24 pounds since I'm just starting to develop my technique. I tried my friend's Babolat satellite 6.5 stringed at 28 pounds and I have to say, that was intense so I think I'll just go with the Yonex voltric 2 Lin Dan edition. Once again I would like to thank you for your feedback.

Note:Have you tried the Voltric 2 LD edition?

Arthur Wong said...

OK I think there's a little confusion here. ZF2LD is the Z-Force 2 Lin Dan.

It's a head heavy racket with a thicker head frame than the ZF2.

Compared to the Ti10, you're looking at a stiffer shaft, smaller head frame and heavier weight distribution to the head. Over higher power and control, but potentially slower defense and movement around the court.

Anonymous said...

Thanks again and btw the model I bought is the voltric 2 LD edition. This is still in the same lineup as the ZF2 LD but a different model and correction it's head heavy. It feels a lot different than the ti10 since it's head heavy but my smashes have gained more power but at the expense of control loss. Thanks again for your inputs, I'm satisfied with my racket now but still getting used to it.

Anonymous said...

Hey Arthur, not sure if you'll see this, but I currently play with a Yonex Muscle Power 22 which is a great even-balanced flexible racket,but what I'm wondering is When I string this with a BG66 ultimax will it compensate the power? Is it only for doubles? And how are the drop shots? Thanks!

Arthur Wong said...

Hey there, I've never used the Muscle Power 22 so I can't answer most of your questions.

Generally BG66UM is a high repulsion string. Most players whom I know like to be offensive tend to gravitate to the string.

All rackets are suitable for doubles, as long as the player who uses it uses it well. Drop shots are a technical feat, and require practice with the same racket to obtain a certain level of proficiency.

Keep at it, and all the best in your games!