Victor Thruster K9000 Badminton Racquet Review

– Posted in: Badminton Racket Written Reviews, Victor Badminton Rackets, Victor Thruster

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 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 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 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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12 Comments… add one

Mark Appleton April 11, 2014, 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:).

7un4tran April 14, 2014, 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, 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

Mark Appleton April 24, 2014, 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, 9:37 am

Mark

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

Paul

AlexLaw April 25, 2014, 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, 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

AlexLaw April 25, 2014, 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!

Legitmeister June 15, 2014, 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, 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

Legitmeister June 15, 2014, 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, 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