First impressions here.
I've been writing badminton racket reviews for quite some time. I've seen the rise of the Yonex Voltric, the Li Ning wave and then the Victor conquest with their sponsorship of winning doubles pairs.
And then Yonex came in with their lowest price strategy and knocked the ball out of the park. Like the quartz watch brought affordable mechanical watches out the picture in the 1970s, Yonex all but destroyed the smaller badminton racket makers like Toalson, Hart and Prince.
Which left a gaping hole in racket innovation. Badminton enthusiasts like me were left to the whim of whatever the bigger players could pry out of their research vaults. For a long while, the best they could do was sonic metal. I was to scare my opponents into defeat with a sharp sounding smash.
That leaves me to the significance of the Yonex Duora 10. The two-sided racket can be said to the one true innovation to hit the market for a long time. Apart from fiddling around with the stiffness-balance ratio, Yonex finally decided to throw out something experimental for the fans.
I love experimental. It's not always a big bang (everyone remember the eTune and its customizable weight system?), but it's something to keep the passion fresh, and passion pays for itself.
How did the Yonex Duora 10 fare in my review. Here goes.
Oh yes, before I continue, a few disclaimers I must make. First off, my Duora 10 has been customized to be a little more head heavier than one that's off the shelf. I also play with the green side up instead of the orange one. This comes after experimenting several games both singles and doubles with the two sides.
Note: This is a review of my experience after using the racket for a few sessions. I am by no means a professional player, and so you should take my judgment with a pinch of salt. I welcome comments of any sorts.
Yonex Duora 10
Est. Dry Weight: 85g (3U)
Grip Size: G5
Strings: Yonex Nanogy 98 @ 27lbs
If you've read my first impressions of the racket you'd know that I was quite critical with the Duora 10. It hints of promise, but under delivers in a few aspects. One of the better qualities of the racket happens to be my favorite - defense.
The Yonex Duora 10 opens up an amazing array of defensive shots for me, which to me is a great plus. So much so that I find myself being in utter calm whenever I have to take an incoming smash. Somehow I was always able to steer the shuttle into an empty space with a slight flick of the wrist.
I credit this quality defense to the flexible shaft and light weight. Unlike the head heavy rackets that I am used to, the Duora 10 allows a very quick response to attacks, being smashes or the fast drive rally.
Such dexterity in defense also means that there are plenty of chances for you to turn defense into offense - throwing the game in your favor and giving a little pressure to your opponents.
Unfortunately the opponents will have nothing fear about your attacks. The Duora 10 fails miserably in this aspect in my opinion. Anything further behind the mid court might as well be a practice shot for them.
I am unable to gather any amount of power from this racket, whether it is orange or green side up. It's sad really, given it's amazing performance in the front court and defense. I compare the racket then to the Nanoray 900, which is a far better racket when you want to attack. There's a reason the NR900 is and remains my current doubles go-to, and given the lackluster caliber of attack from the Yonex Duora 10.
Somehow, flexible shafts and even-balance do not give a good punch. I suppose Yonex could have learnt a thing from the Flash Boost, but hey, experimentalism trumps practicality!
Carrying on the responsibility of getting lower ratings from me is the racket's lack of control from the back and front court. Not being able to throw a big punch leaves me pretty much with alternating play with fast drops and quick smashes to force a mistake from the opponent.
While I was able to pull off a continuous volley a drop shots, I never felt confident doing it. Some might know when I say there's this lack of "feel" in the racket. This low response rate from handling the shuttle leaves more to be desired when I find myself trapped in the back court.
The experience in the front court is a little better, as long as I'm on the offensive end ready to intercept a drive defense and tap home the winner. When the time came for a tight net shot or a little trick shot, the racket head's lack of response once again rears its ugly head.
Another thing I noticed was that backhands with this racket come off better than forehands. This is of course welcome for lazy players like me who like to turn their backs to the opponent.
Yonex did a good job with the Duora 10. The two sides of heat and cool (while it was quite the opposite for me) are clearly labelled "heat" and "cool" according to their marketed quality of box or sword frame. The racket was designed to look primarily orange or green, in what must be the first time I've seen any sense of practicality in a badminton racket. Kudos to the design team at Yonex.
Yonex Duora 10
"Don't bet on it."