Readers of my reviews will know by now that I am a huge fan of Voltric racquets. Having tested and reviewed so many racquets, I have reached the conclusion that head heavy racquets suit me best. So, I was delighted when Yonex announced the launch of another addition to Voltric range, VT9.
Voltric 9 is made in Taiwan rather than the high-end Voltrics which are made in Japan. This doesn’t necessarily mean they are a lesser quality, and generally the mid-price racquets are simply the best value for money.
Voltric 9 was launched in March 2012 at All Englands and is a very striking racquet in a cool black, gold and “gloss blue” – great colour combination. As usual, the customary full length racquet bag is included which is standard across the range, rather than individually named.
This particular model is only available in 3U (weight 84-89g) in UK, and grip size G4 which is the smaller of the grip sizes on offer in UK. This also seems to be the standard grip size on offer.
Balance wise, this is a head heavy racquet, but certainly not as heavy as the other high-end Voltrics. I’d say this is very close to the weight on Armortec 900 Power although wouldn’t say the weight is all at the top. Potentially it could be a good alternative to AT900 T.
This racquet has a stiff shaft and therefore may appeal to those players who do not require the additional flex of a medium shaft and also are looking for a good racquet within a certain budget.
Maximum recommended tension on this racquet is 24lbs which appears to be a typical feature of Yonex racquets. I do consider this odd in todays market that Yonex have only revised their maximum string tension on certain models. That said, maybe this is a good thing. There are too many players who regularly increase string tension to the detriment of their game, but are happy to do so either because they prefer the additional control or they’re on an ego trip – a “mine is bigger than yours” type scenario.
On with the review…
I always test racquets straight out of the bag, so there’s no surprise that the tension on this racquet is around 18/19lbs mark and very suitable for club and league players, especially those playing with plastic shuttles. The racquet is strung in Yonex BG55 string which is an thicker gauge string for endurance rather than feel. It’s ideal for social, club and league players, especially those playing with plastic shuttles.
It’s hitting time…
Having liked both Voltric 5 and Voltric 7 racquets, I was expecting this racquet to be the stiffer version – oops, I got that wrong! Yes, it’s certainly a stiffer frame than the other budget end racquets, but there was a different feel about this racquet, and sadly it wasn’t good…
Naturally, as the specification of this racquet is close to that of my beloved Voltric 80, I was expecting something a little closer in performance. Perhaps it’s unfair to compare and judge against a racquet that is so familiar to me.
I always begin my reviews with power shots and this racquet was very good with clears. I tend to expect this of most racquets these days. Bearing in mind, the lower string tension, the shuttle isn’t coming off the stringbed as crisply but that’s to be expected. The racquet certainly showed there was power, although as there isn’t as much head weight as the Voltric 80, to carry through the same.
The good news is that there is sufficient head weight to feel the head of the racquet which I believe is important to a player. There’s very little drag which is good too.
Again drop shots were good and would certainly sharpen up a little with a restring.
Onto the smash.
This is where I expected more from this racquet and I felt it wasn’t quite there. Even allowing for the string tension, I didn’t feel the power with the Voltric 9. What I did feel was a lot of vibration – not good…
Flat drives were fine although nothing special. I really struggled to add pace to shot.
Defensively the Voltric 9 is easy to manoeuvre if you’re used to head heavy racquets. But, I could still feel this vibration, especially when I lifted the shuttle to return the smash. There were no issues with blocks, however drives presented the same issue in terms of generating power and then there’s that annoying vibration again.
Around the net the racquet was fine. It won’t be as fast as Nanospeed 9900 but I do like the solidity of the Voltric. You don’t need to generate much speed to hit a solid net kill. Net shots were fine too and in some respects I feel perform better compared to lighter headed racquets because you don’t need much movement to play the shot.
I have to say, this racquet disappointed me. I expected far more from it and all I got was a bit of a sore arm – I never get a sore arm. The vibration was really niggling me and made me wonder whether I have a bad racquet. However, research into other reviews suggests there are others who’ve suffered from this vibration too.
So, in essence, whilst the racquet looks brilliant, it doesn’t play as well as it looks. With an RRP of only £100, this places the racquet in the top of mid-range pricing.
With online discounters you’ll probably pick one up for around £80. Having tested a lot of mid-priced racquets, this is one racquet I’ll leave off my list. Whilst it’s good looking, performance is sadly lacking, especially with power shots because of the vibration.
So how do I rate this racquet? I’m extremely disappointed because I expected the Voltric 9 to play similarly to Voltric 7 and take the title of a good budget replacement for Voltric 80. Instead I’m left wondering why it’s so different and why there is so much vibration through the shaft into the handle. Clearly something isn’t right. On this basis and I would not recommend this racquet. Despite my praise of Voltric racquets, this one simply does not measure up. In this respect, I am giving the racquet a 2 star rating.
As with all my reviews, they are based on my personal thoughts on a racquet. My likes and dislikes will not be the same as yours. Also bear in mind my technique, style, physical build and muscle structure are different so I will always feel a racquet different to you.