Victor Thruster K9000 Badminton Racquet Review

  • Thruster K900 Badminton Racquet

Background

Victor Europe have recently launched their new catalogue, timed for release with German Open and All England tournaments.

There’s a number of new badminton rackets available this year including the eagerly awaited Thruster K 9000. As usual, most Victor rackets are launched in Asia first, with a select few heading for Europe, rather than the entire range.

Having tested and thoroughly enjoyed Thruster 6000, which has already sold out twice in such a short period since release in 2013, I’m curious what the Thruster 9000 has to offer considering specs are identical.

All higher priced Victor racquets are delivered unstrung but with a single set included. I like this idea as most players prefer custom stringing. The racquet was strung at 25lbs tension without prestretch using Victor VS850 string, a 0.68 gauge string. I’ve used this string a lot and really enjoy is lively feel.

This is a 4U G5 version which I believe worked incredibly well with Thruster 6000, providing much need speed and maneuverability. Colours are superb with a blend of black and almost electric blue. In my opinion this is the best-looking Victor racket I have ever seen, and many others have agreed with me.

According to Victor, this racket is a stiffer version of Thruster 6000 which was initially confusing considering specs are identical. However, a side-by-side analysis confirms the handle is around 0.5cm longer, which means the shaft is shorter. This, coupled with slightly different construction creates the additional stiffness.  So let’s test this out…

It’s hitting time…

The initial feel is very similar to Thruster 6000 although there’s more sense of the head weight. Additionally, it still retains the feel of the fast frame which I was delighted with, as I almost expected a slower frame like Thruster 8000.

Victor Thruster K 9000 Badminton Racquet ReviewWithin a few shots I was smiling. The extra stiffness in the frame felt great. For me it was like playing with an old friend that’s undergone a few pleasant upgrades. Timing was easy and there’s a greater feel of strength to this compared to Thruster 6000. The overall flow was just that little bit better and yet there was still the speed in the frame for the snappy shots when late onto the shuttle.

For me the additional stiffness in the shaft just felt right, but there again I’ve a long history in this game going back to times when all badminton rackets were relatively stiff. For those players that need the flexibility in the shaft to provide a touch more power, then it’s likely Thruster 6000 will suit them better.

What I enjoyed most here was that there wasn’t too much of anything. The frame isn’t too stiff that it’s only for a select few players. It’s also not too head heavy that your arm feels exhausted after a few points. Also, the feel on the shuttle remains rock solid which I believe is important and generally lacking on lighter headed rackets,
although I concede that’s my taste.

I compared Thruster 6000 to AT900T and there’s certainly a leaning towards this racket too. It probably sits somewhere between 900T and 900P getting the best of both.

Drop shots were so solid, crisp and a real delight because the combination of speed with strength works so well together. The solid frame presents such a great feel on impact that provides confidence in off center hits still finding the target.

Onto the smash and I have only good things to say here. I’m far from being the biggest hitter and so I have to consider placement first. However, like the Thruster 6000, I enjoyed the ability to snap a smash using mainly wrist or alternatively use a full arm swing. When I caught the shuttle well, my smash was pretty good. What I found useful here is the knowledge and confidence with the racket that I also had with Thruster 6000. There’s plenty of power in the racket.

Fast, flat rallies and drives were simply amazing. Lots of control, easy to get over the shuttle, change the angles on the racket face, pull a few from behind me and yet there’s still that solid powerful strike. Also, unlike with some head heavy rackets, you don’t need a big swing to generate speed when you need it. At times, the mere squeeze of my fingers was enough to take the shuttle where I wanted it to go – fantastic!

Defensively the Thruster K9000 is a star performer in the head heavy category, just like 6000. Whilst I’m comfortable defending, there wasn’t an occasion when I didn’t get my racket to the shuttle, unless I was pulled out of position. The speed generated gave the power for drives and low trajectory lifts, or powering up to the rear court with loads of height. And yet, the head weight ensured I could control blocks, steering the shuttle where I wanted. Again, the rock solid feel on the racket face upped the level of control and placement. With the slightly stiffer shaft, there seemed to be a slightly faster response in defense which particularly pleased me.

Around the net, TK9000 continued to mimic the exceptional performance of TK6000. I really enjoyed the ease and speed this racket worked whether I was playing shuttles below or above the net. There’s so much control and speed that there’s never a feeling of forcing the racket to perform or be in the right place at the right time.

Summary

Having enjoyed Thruster 6000 so much, the question is whether Thruster 9000 is that much better. For me, I think it is, but not by much. This is simply down to personal choice and the fact that I’ve grown up with stiff frames and therefore the stiffer frame feels better for me.

I also thought Thruster 9000 had more to give and therefore I restrung the racket to 28lbs to give it another few hours. The additional control and liveliness of the string bed was amazing.

Going beyond this, I have integrated TK9000 into my new demo bag and the last three demos I ran, the player chose Thruster 9000 as their racket of choice and subsequently placed an order for it. That speaks volumes for the racket. I also received so many positive comments on the other rackets in the range which confirms my thoughts that Victor has a tremendously strong range this season.

RRP is £190 which makes Thruster 9000 Victor’s most expensive racket, Online retailers are selling for £150 which is a fair chunk off the price. So, 9000 is a good £20-30 more than TK6000. Is it worth it? For me, that’s a simple YES! However, it’s really down to personal taste whether you need the stiffer 9000 or the slightly more flexible 6000. That said, this combination of head heavy, medium/stiff  flex, 4U works like a dream.

Onto the tricky part, rating this racket. I gave TK6000 my highest ever rating and I feel TK9000 plays even better. That said, it’s slightly more expensive…but it looks amazing!

Taking all of this into consideration, I’m sticking to my guns rewarding Victor Thruster K9000 Badminton Racquet a 5 star plus rating to match TK6000. It would be unfair not to. If you get the opportunity to test TK9000 or TK6000 then please do so because you may discover two amazing rackets that are well worth the price.

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30 Comments

  1. plasticbirdies April 26, 2015 at 9:49 pm

    Hi Paul,

    I am having a difficult time choosing between the 3U or 4U version of this racket. I know for Victor Brave Swords you recommended the 3U, do you have the same recommendation for the thruster 9000?

    Thanks,

    Jimmy

    • plasticbirdies April 26, 2015 at 10:05 pm

      Forgot to add that while I was leaning towards the 4U based on your review, it’s also about $50 more expensive for me, so I am hoping a ~87g 3U might do the trick?

    • Paul Stewart April 27, 2015 at 10:07 am

      Since writing this review i have tested the 3U version and my comments remain the same about the quality of this racket. Here’s what you need to consider. 4U equates to 80-84g and 3U is 85-89g. Technically there is the possibility of a 1-9g difference between the two frames. If it’s this close I would select 3U. If you already play with a 3U frame then I’d select 3U.

      The only reason for selecting a 4U is if you are using a lighter racket.

  2. PatVex March 18, 2015 at 12:04 am

    Hi Paul

    Im pretty used to Yonex rackets, but ive heard from 2 person that I play with that Victor rackets can be pretty fragile cause they broke many of them comparate to their Yonex. I wanted something new and this 9000 was attiring my attention. Is there anything in those rackets that make them vulnurable?

    Thx in advance

    • Paul Stewart March 19, 2015 at 2:01 pm

      Pat – many thanks for your enquiry. The statement just isn’t true. Victor rackets are very strong. However, like ALL rackets, they are built to hit shuttles and not the floor or your partners racket. 90% of rackets that are involved in a collision will sustain damage. Some damage is immediately visible and others is not. However, the frame is weaker and it’s only a matter of time before the frame will be compromised.

      I could easily find players who could confirm they have broken many Yonex rackets and very few Victor or other manufacturer rackets. At the end of the day, rackets are supposed to hit shuttles, nothing else.

      • Pibad April 5, 2017 at 9:31 am

        I think this is a relative sort of answer. I have broke 2 tk6000 and 1 jetspeed 10 in recent years. All clashes with different partner rackets. The breaks were all at the 4 or 8 o’clock position. Conversely a another partner broke their yonex fb ( i think) on my voltric 80. My voltric 80 has huge chunks taken out but is still great to play with. The heavier racket seems more resilient . i tend not to play with thinner rackets with unfamiliar partners .

      • Paul Stewart April 6, 2017 at 7:08 am

        I think you’d love the new TH9900. I’m finding it so easy to use. Every player i lend it to says the same about it. So, perhaps this is the next racket for you?

  3. Belgian January 18, 2015 at 8:40 am

    Hey,
    I was wondering if you might know where I can buy a TK 6000 or 9000 here in Belgium. All the Belgian webshops I know who sell Victor don’t have these rackets, so I was wondering whether you know a (web)shop that has it and ships to Belgium for a reasonable price.
    Thanks in advance,
    Belgian

    • Paul Stewart January 27, 2015 at 6:45 am

      I have no idea where you can buy TK6000 in Belgium. However, the stores in England will ship abroad so this may be your best option.

      Good luck

      Paul

  4. konww002 September 8, 2014 at 6:53 pm

    Hi Paul,
    Thank you for your review on the TK9000.
    I tried my friend’s Vt80 4U G5 and it was amazing! How does the VT80 compared to the TK9000 or TK6000?

    • Paul Stewart September 15, 2014 at 6:16 pm

      In the UK we only had 3U VT80’s and therefore I cannot compare properly against 4U TK6000 or 9000.

      In my opinion VT80 is one of the best rackets Yonex has made and credit to them. I do wonder whether it will remain in the range much longer as I have a suspicion it will be withdrawn. It may be the new Voltric 70 E tune will be so popular that there is no need for a VT80 or alternatively Yonex may update the VT80 into an e tune version.

      My thoughts on both the Thruster rackets are well documented.

      Sorry I cannot answer your question directly.

      Paul

  5. Jose September 2, 2014 at 12:57 pm

    Thanks Paul, I have ordered the grip, Let me ask you a doubt, does the victor tk9000 racket comes with unstrung with a separate packed string. Because I bought a racket from Centralsports Uk. The label attached to the case showing

    THRUSTER K9000
    4UG5
    SEPARATE VS-850A

    I have chosen the free upgrade option as well. My question is if the racket comes with a separate string then should the the retailer pass it to the customer,

    • Paul Stewart September 4, 2014 at 11:06 am

      Jose

      Being fair to the retailer, they have custom strung your racket in a string of your choice. They have therefore swapped the string that came with your racket to give you exactly what you want. In this case I think the retailer is entitled to retain the other string and use it to custom string another racket over time.

      Paul

  6. Jose August 29, 2014 at 11:57 pm

    After reading paul’ s review I have ordered it without doubt, Sometime back I bought a MX60 after seeing the review in this forum and I wasn’t disappointed. After all For me this is the right time to buy a racket, had a disappointed week broke my VTZF2 due to a clash, not my mistake but had to accept with a smile because accidents do happen. Then the next day my MX80 wooden handle broke at the middle I have no idea why this happened never heard about it before, hopefully I could buy a handle from somewhere. Now I am waiting to have a go with TK9000

    • Paul Stewart August 31, 2014 at 2:26 pm

      Jose

      Handles can be replaced but Victor handles are very difficult to remove. You will need to carefully chip away at the wood until you have removed it. You can purchases handles from http://www.mybadmintonstore.com. Retain the Victor butt of your old racket and then you can use it on the new handle.

      Good luck with your purchase of TK9000. I hope you love it as much as I do!

      Paul

  7. Legitmeister June 15, 2014 at 5:47 pm

    Hi Paul,
    The reason I’m looking for a racket replacement is beacuse my coach advised me to. He said my body is too “stiff” and would not benefit from the Z Force as it is also stiff. He said to look for something med flex? I’m not sure of his reasoning What is your take on it?

    Thanks

    • Paul Stewart June 15, 2014 at 8:05 pm

      I understand the reason but I haven’t seen you play to comment on what your coach is saying. It may be better to look at TK6000 as it is more flexible than TK9000.

      Paul

  8. Legitmeister June 15, 2014 at 7:15 am

    Dear Paul,

    Do you think the Tk 9000 is a good racket for me? I am an advanced 16 year old badminton player from California. I’ve been playing the sport for 5+ years in local tournaments and for my high school as well. Currently I’m using a 3UG5 Voltric Z Force 1st gen 26 lb nbg 99 and everything is good, no problems so far. My coach is telling me that its not the best racket for me as my body is stiff and would benefit from a med flex shaft that is slightly head heavy making my drives and other shots quicker? Z force is x-stiff and x-heavy. What recommendations do you all have? Any brand is ok

    Here’s a little bio about my playing style:
    118 lbs 5’5” mesomorphic build, kinda short compared to my peers, need to bulk up
    I’m an offensive player that goes for speed, power, and accuracy
    Power is solid, but could use a little more control and accuracy(shot placement)
    Defense is on the WEAK side, need more work
    Recovering from shots needs more work as well
    Prefer to manipulate opponent and force errors
    1 shot kills are a bonus but not necessary
    Stamina is not a problem, speed is very fast but could be even faster
    Like playing around net, tricks/deception, pushes
    Smashes are powerful but not good enough IMO, need to build muscle
    To sum it up I’m a quick offensive player

    Thanks!

    • Paul Stewart June 15, 2014 at 3:55 pm

      Many thanks for your question. First of all please read my article on choosing a racket. Second, please ensure you are doing my armchair exercises every two days as this will help your defence.

      I’m not sure you need a new racket and cannot say whether TK9000 will be better for you although I do think it’s an excellent racket.

      Paul

  9. AlexLaw April 25, 2014 at 6:25 pm

    I’ll buy and test one for myself and see how it works for doubles. The way you said it seems I can’t go wrong!

    I’m heading back to Hong Kong. The price of VTZF (and ZF II too) is only 1200 HKD/~150USD (including stringing). To top it all off, Hong Kong is one of the rare places where tax doesn’t exist. I don’t expect the Victor to be that much more expensive than either racket.

    If it’s that great, I might buy a lot more to give to my friends. Save them a bit of money too!

  10. AlexLaw April 25, 2014 at 12:42 am

    Hey Paul, what’s the specification for the VTZF II that you will be testing/tested? (3/4U)

    I was initially bent on getting VTZF II but after the 5*+ rating…
    Ergh, you really make my life difficult.

    My ‘perfect’ racket would have the following stats:
    stiff (not super stiff)
    excellent swing speed
    excellent smash (head heavy)

    I don’t really care about the other factors of the racket.

    How do you think these two rackets compare against each other for each of those factors?

    Again, I really appreciate the free help and advice.

    • Paul Stewart April 25, 2014 at 9:36 am

      Alex

      I am testing 3U. ZFII feels very strange with the combination of super-thin shaft and yet retains the head heavy balance, albeit it’s not as weighty as the original ZF. This racket almost feels like a heavier AT900T, although it’s reasonably quick due to the new aerodynamics.

      That said, Thruster 9000 is more conventional in looks and feel. I think the 4U with this head weight is a perfect combination. The racket does everything so well. My testing partner Mark has just posted a comment after testing his 3 9000’s and he just cannot speak highly enough of them.

      So far I’ve run four demo sessions with all of my rackets which amounts to nearly 17 rackets. Every player chose TK9000 and one of them ordered two. I can’t really say more than that can I?

      Paul

  11. Mark Appleton April 24, 2014 at 10:47 pm

    Can’t go into too much detail – not enough room here by half – so I’ll just say that very column inch of hype about this racket is 100% deserved: it’s absolutely BRILLIANT. All that’s good about the TK6000 with better looks, extra power and more stability thrown in.

    If you try the demo, you will end up buying one, so make your peace with it!

    • Paul Stewart April 25, 2014 at 9:37 am

      Mark

      I can only agree with your statement. You’re now the TK9000 expert seeing as you have three!

      Paul

    • Joseph antony January 29, 2017 at 2:16 pm

      which is better for mens doubles 3u or 4u ?? i know i can handle 3u will 3u brinf down defense and speed of the racket too much for doubles play ??

      • Paul Stewart February 23, 2017 at 3:57 pm

        the better racket is the one you prefer to play with. I do not have access to both weights to test. Apart from that, I may prefer 3U and you may find 4U is best for you. There is no such thing as the best racket in the world…only the best racket for you right now. And, only you know which racket this is by testing

  12. […] I see Mark’s had a relatively quiet time aside from stringing Shin Baek Choel’s five Victor TK9000 rackets the previous day. This gave him plenty of time to devour his digestive biscuits and another loaf of […]

  13. 7un4tran April 14, 2014 at 7:57 am

    Hi Paul,
    Awesome to know that the Thruster K9000 is given a 5 star plus racket alongside the amazing K6000. So you say its more powerful than the K6000, and has the steep angle smashes that the K6000 offered as well? This sounds like a good upgrade regardless of the price. It’s 192 USD where I live. Oh, before I forget Paul, I have a Z Force II as well which I mainly use in singles but is feels like the smash is less powerful than the K6000 but is looks like the shuttle doesn’t slow down as much as most other rackets. An observation I noticed from defending against one of my friends while they were borrowing the Z Force II and Thruster K6000 and he hits hard! Did you find that to be the case when testing the Z Force II? Thanks
    -Tuan

    • Paul Stewart April 17, 2014 at 7:19 pm

      Tuan

      Interesting observation. I noticed that the smash wasn’t as quick for me but I always ask other bigger hitters at the club to have a go. This allows me to “feel” the power by defending. I haven’t finished testing ZFII yet so will look out for this on my next and last test.

      Paul

  14. Mark Appleton April 11, 2014 at 10:37 am

    £150 is dear for a Victor, certainly, but put it next to, say, a Voltric Z-Force or that abominable new Nanoray… suddenly £150 doesn’t hurt as much:).

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