As I work for a badminton retailer, I am occasionally asked to review other manufacturer’s racquets. Against this backcloth, I recently tested a Victor Meteor 60 badminton racquet and got a huge surprise.
A few years ago, the Victor brand was extremely small in UK, mainly considered a European brand. We knew very little about their products and level of quality. That changed when it was announced that they were the new sponsors of the Korean National Badminton Team. This was a serious leap forward for Victor and ultimately gave them an international seal of approval in terms of quality. After all, if a racquet is good enough for Lee Yong Dae, current Olympic Mixed Doubles champion, 2012 All England Mens Doubles Champion, World Mens Doubles Silver Medallist, and his team, then it must be good!
On to my review…
The Meteor 60 is the “third” racquet in the Meteor series, the rising stars of the Victor badminton range, sitting “behind” the 70 and 80.
The colours and graphics on this racquet are striking, very reminiscent of MP99 and similar to Victors Kerf. It’s nice to see bold colours once in a while and this racquet delivers using a nice combination of yellow, black, grey and red. As you would expect, Victor offers a high quality racquet bag in red with the Meteor graphic.
Grip size is G3 which is the larger of the two grip sizes on Victor racquets. It’s equivalent to Yonex G4, which is a bit confusing as it would be nice to have standardisation across the industry. This is not a slant on Victor as other manufacturers follow similar sizings. Weight is 3U (84-89g). Interestingly, this racquet has a maximum recommended stringing tension of 30lbs so it’s got to be very strong and should be extremely popular in the Asian market where strings tensions are so much higher.
I do like the clear description on the ferrule of the specifications for the racquet. Vicor use a 5 dot system which is simple to understand. Meteor 60 is a medium flex shaft with slight weight in the head.
Usually when I test and review racquets, I like to play with the racquet factory strung. On this occasion, the Meteor 60 was delivered as a frame only and I therefore had the racquet strung in VS850 to 23lbs, which is a standard demo tension for the retailer. It would have been nice to have my preferred tension but at least it’s fair to test on this basis.
The Meteor range uses Victor’s 80 hole stringing pattern, which I think really works. There are less shared holes and whilst stringing may be a little fiddly, the new pattern ensures a more consistent weave over the stringbed.
It’s hitting time…
Having already tested Meteor 80 and Meteor 70 racquets, I was looking forward to testing this racquet in the hope that the medium flex shaft would add a welcome new dimension to the playability of the Meteor range. I am delighted to confirm that the racquet performed beautifully and considerably above my expectations.
Do you ever pick up a racquet and just know it’s going to be good? When I walked on to court with Meteor 60, I had one of those moments that I had previously had with Bravesword 10 – I just knew it was going to be good.
The first hit confirmed that this racquet had that special quality. Clears were effortless and there was plenty of touch for drop shots. The racquet really cuts through the air quickly which allows for great speed, although the control is still there. The string tension felt “right” for this racquet and the beauty here is that it can be strung a lot tighter too, so there is potential for even greater performance.
There’s a little weight in the head, which is good as you can feel the flow of the racquet in the swing, and enhances performance and control.
The combination of the air resistance qualities of the racquet, the medium flex shaft and the slight weight in the head, generate a lot of power. Yes, this is definitely a powerful racquet. It certainly delivered more than I expected, not quite as much as a heavier head would but that’s not a bad thing because this type of racquet is generally regarded by many as a great all-rounder.
Clears were easy with Victor Meteor 60 and the touch of weight in the head wasn’t over-bearing. I think it’s a good feature because it allows the player to have more feel of the shot, something light-headed racquets do not deliver. The aero-dynamic qualities of the frame reduce any drag that some more “boxy” shaped frames suffer from, which ensured speed and precision in the more subtle overhead shots.
Defensively this racquet was easy to use. Again, the air resistance qualities of the head made the racquet easy to manoeuvre and the slight weight in the head did not counter this speed. In fact, the combination worked very well indeed as you felt there was some meat behind drive returns. I feel the racquet gives you confidence to step in a little in defence rather than have to sit back and wait for the shuttle. I could feel the flex in the shaft occasionally when I was asked to really whip a return, but there were no mis-timing issues whatsoever, with the racquet performing admirably whenever called upon.
A racquet that performs well in defence always performs well around the net area. After all, we’re talking about generating controlled racquet speed here, in very short bursts with the slightest touch for the really tight net shots. It’s the type of racquet that lifts your confidence and wants you to continue attacking with every opportunity in order to dominate the net. Again, Meteor 60 was outstanding.
It’s been a long time since I’ve had the pleasure of testing another manufacturer’s racquet of such quality. The Meteor 60 was outstanding in every area I tested. I expect RRP to be around £130.00 which is incredible for a racquet of this quality, especially as other manufacturers are now offering racquets with RRP in excess of £200.00. I say this as the racquet is due for launch around August 2012 in Europe. Retailers will discount to around £110 so you’re getting an absolute bargain here.
The Bravesword 10 had the accolade of being my first 5 star racquet in the Victor range and also my first 5 star racquet out of all the other manufacturer’s ranges I’ve tested. Since then Victor have collected a few other 5 star ratings and I have to say that Meteor 60 is certainly deserves a place alongside Bravesword 10 and therefore I have given this racquet my 5 star rating. Credit to Victor again for producing such a brilliant racquet.
Putting my known affiliations aside, and my usual preference for heavy-headed racquets, I would certainly select this as my racquet of choice if I was selecting from Victor range.
There’s no question that the Victor brand is now world class. Whilst it’s relatively unknown in UK at the moment, I’m sure that their quality and pricing will easily find a way into the market. You’d be wise to test Victor’s Meteor 60 when it is launched later in the year if you can find one, because this level of quality deserves a place next to the most well-known brands.