Jetspeed S 12 Badminton Racket

Background

The exciting news from Victor in 2016 was the launch of Jetspeed S 12 Badminton Racket. We first saw this racket without decals at the beginning of the year. The mystery racket fuelled speculation amongst Victor fans but nobody could say for sure what it was.

I finally felt and restrung the Jetspeed 12 racket during the All Englands in March when Korean player Kim Ji Jung delivered his rackets to us. Before then, we had only seen the non-decal version.

On to my review

Time moves on and the Jetspeed 12 is now available in shops around the world, having been launched in August. This version arrived in a full length Jetspeed cover – so much better than the cloth bags.

JS12 is a good-looking racket in what I describe as dark purple and florescent yellow – it’s really tasty. This is a 4U version (80-84g) G5, small grip. The racket arrived pre-strung in Ashaway Zymax Fire 66.

It’s hitting time

Having been familiar with a range of Jetspeed rackets, I expected Jetspeed 12 to be different, especially following Jetspeed 10. A quick comparison tells me that it has a standard size head, more isometric in shape. Additionally, the shaft is more flexible.

I’m not a great fan of 4U frames, especially if the racket isn’t head heavy. This frame is only slightly head heavy so I’ve a few concerns that it will lack that extra beef compared to a 3U… let’s see.

Overhead performance

jetspeed-12-badminton-racket-head-wsAfter a few clears it is evident this is a completely different feel compared to Jetspeed 10 or HX800. The hitting surface is really solid and presents a very strong face to the shuttle. I really like this. There’s a lag in the head compared to a stiffer racket, which again wasn’t a problem, merely an observation. It’s also slower than Jetspeed 10, although still generates good swing speed.

Drop shots were really quick and controlled. Again, the solid hitting surface is fabulous which makes the shot so much easier to play, and provides great feel on the shot.  The lag in the head wasn’t as noticeable here. Being a slower frame than JS10, you have to work your hands a little to play the range of drop shots but this can sometimes be good ensuring correct execution. Occasionally a very fast frame can result in lazier technique. I enjoyed hitting slice returns which were still crisp – I simply had to dial in a little more effort.

Onto the smash. Yes, this racket is powerful and my testing partner for the day hit the shuttle a lot harder than me. Being honest, I wanted more and felt the different weight would have given me what I wanted. So, whilst smashes were good and felt strong off the face of the racket, they were a little slow compared to other rackets I’ve used.

Flat drives and pushes were so easy and took very little effort. The 4U weight means that the racket is not too heavy to tire racket arms quickly. But, hands had to work harder, especially when trying to force that extra speed in the shot.

Defence

Whilst this is a fast frame, JS10 and BS12 are faster. I didn’t feel any lag whilst defending and could happily drive, lift or block. Good preparation is essential if you wish to improve your defence and this racket demands this of you, but not as much as a head heavy beast. That fabulous strength in the head really helps here to feel the shot.

Net area

The solid hitting surface made any net shot or kill a delight to play. There’s a heightened feel in the shot which adds to the touch. That said, the slightly heavier head means you need to exercise control and watch the speed.

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Summary

Players who were thinking JS12 will be an upgrade from JS10 may be disappointed to read that I do not see it this way. We are discussing two completely different frames. The lightning speed of JS10 is not in the JS12 DNA. Yes, it’s fast but JS12 is definitely a slower frame. The medium flex shaft plays great and for me the overall feel of the JS12, especially the strength and sturdiness of the racket head is a big plus.

Js10 was a significant jump in racket manufacturing for Victor and I was expecting more great rackets to follow. It’s a hard ask to expect such a jump again so soon. What JS12 does is provide more breadth to the Jetspeed range and takes another step forward in the march to succeed the excellent and virtually extinct Bravesword range.

For my current racket preferences, which have changed a lot over the last few years, I consider JS12 to be the best racket Victor has produced. But, I have to add that this is my personal opinion based on my circumstances. I have thoroughly enjoyed playing with JS12, moreso than JS10 or HX800.

Placing my personal thoughts to one side, I need to review this racket based on overall performance and price. RRP is a hefty £200. Online retails have discounted down to around £150. It’s at the top end of the price spectrum. The 4U version lacked the extra beef in the power department to achieve the rating of JS10. So, for me I am happy to provide a rating of four and a half stars for Jetspeed 12.