Having recently reviewed Bravesword Lee Yong Dae signature, it only seemed right to review this players current choice from Victor range, Bravesword 12. Taking a look at the worlds best who use Victor products I was amazed how many have selected BS12 as their racquet of choice. Whilst I accept these players receive a customised version, this is still based on this racquet. So could Bravesword 12 be Victor’s secret weapon that would suit a good proportion of badminton players if they’d only give it a go? Let’s find out…
I’ve become a huge fan of Victor’s Bravesword series as I really enjoy the speed of the frame. The potential for increased swing speed means the racquet is fast in defence and attack – which is a great combination.
On to my review…
The Bravesword 12 arrived in a smart red full length racquet cover with the racquet name clearly showing. It’s good quality too. The racquet looks good in grey, red, black and white, a nice combination which was updated from blue version which the Korean players prefer.
Victor has a rating system for shaft flexibility and head weight. BS12 scores 3/5 for shaft flexibility which translates to medium performance and the same score for head weight which means even balance.
Weight is 3U (84-89g) and grip size is G4 which is equivalent to a Yonex G4 – standard size. All top-end Victor racquets arrive unstrung, so this particular model was strung by the retailer at 23lbs (their chosen tension for all demo rackets) in Victor VS850. The good news for players who enjoy higher tensions than this is that BS12 can be comfortably strung up to 28lbs. It would have been great to test at my preferred tension however that’s for another day.
It’s hitting time…
The great thing about even balance badminton racquets is that they tend to do many things very well. Covering this middle ground is very helpful for league and social players who want a great racquet, don’t want to pay top of the range pricing and delivers well in all areas of the court. This racquet certainly fits the bill but has more to offer.
BS12 feels strong in delivery of overhead clear with the super-fast frame cutting through the air to delivery additional speed to the shot. This is one of those racquets where you feel you could play all day and not be fatigued. The shaft feels stiffer than LYD version although is rated more flexible and I guess this is due to the difference in the mass of the frame in the head. BS12 employs standard sizing of the frame in the head which really makes this a very fast and manoeuvrable racquet.
With my preference for head heavy racquets I would always want this kind of speed and agility but with more beef.
This racquet is especially good at hitting the clip drop shots from the rear court. The speed and feel of the head make these a delight to play and I can imagine a good player really enjoying the deception that is possible. All of the slice and reverse slice shots are so crisp.
BS12 delivers a good powerful smash too so what it misses for me in the weight in the head, it makes up for with increased swing speed. Even with the smash, I really couldn’t feel the flex in the shaft like I could with LYD.
With such a fast frame it was also a delight to enter into fast attacking rallies, punching nice and strong in midcourt to pressurise my opponents. This is something I like to do but with heavier headed racquets you really have to work hard. With BS12 this was so much easier.
Having played with so many racquets, there is sometimes a trade off between speed of frame and power. In this case there isn’t but Bravesword racquets have a different feel in the hit. It’s almost like the difference between a karate chop and a punch. One is fast and effective and the other which delivers more mass of force. Both, when used correctly are extremely effective, however they feel different.
Defensively this racquet was easy to use. Again, the air resistance qualities of the head made the racquet very easy to manoeuvre, ensuring my defence remained tight and accurate at all times. Surprisingly there’s still plenty of punch with drive returns which sometimes is a weaker area for even balance racquets.
BS12 is very easy to use around the net and does not disappoint. Regardless of ability at the net, this racquet is going to help you improve. It’s quick and could almost let the racquet do the job for you. The slightest touch to a strong net kill is simply a delight with BS12. Without detracting from its capabilities in read and midcourt, this is racquet that any player with good net skills should check out.
BS12 is an extremely good badminton racquet and I’m amazed how little I see this in clubs. This would be an ideal racquet for many club, league and tournament players because it has so much to offer in all areas of the court.
Are there any niggles not mentioned so far? To be honest, the only question I have in mind is why Victor don’t offer more versions and possibly a stiffer and more head heavy version without the additional head mass (if it’s possible), or flexible for those players who need that little extra from the racquet.
RRP on BS12 is £150.00 which places it close to the top-of-the-range price bracket. However, online retailers are selling in the region of £110-120 so the racquet represents excellent value for money.
With this in mind I am rating this racquet 4 and a half stars. I believe it’s a treasure that should be seen in many players hands with the only possible downside being the feel of the it to players who are used to a slower, more “boxey” frame. For me, it was a delight which got me wondering how it would play with a bit more weight in the head.
I decided to perform a test for the first time using Victor Powerizer which is basically small strips of self adhesive lead tape. Initially I placed a tiny strip at 12 o’clock position on each side of the frame. There was a noticeable improvement adding more beef for rear court shots without detracting in any area such as the net. I liked this so I tested again…
This time I added a strip at 10 and 2 o’clock positions but only on one side of the face. Again an improvement although there was a slight fall in speed for defence which I can live with. So I went the whole hog and placed the final strips on the other side of the face in the same 10 and 2 o’clock positions for balance. This racquet took on a completely different feel and yet was still fast. I really liked it and this test elevated the racquet into my top three.
As a quick aside, it’s no secret that some players use lead weight tape to customise their racquets. Victor Powerizer is a great tool and inexpensive. I would certainly recommend testing this on your racquet before deciding to change it. You may find you’ll save a fortune and completely transform your racquet – it certainly worked for me with Bravesword 12.
If I was to play with the Bravesword12 frequently, I would probably remove the weights from 12 o’clock position to test again. They can be removed easily. I think this will be a test on my next outing…