As I work for a badminton retailer, I am occasionally asked to review other manufacturer’s racquets. Against this backcloth, I recently tested a Victor Spira 21 badminton racquet.
A few years ago, the Victor brand was extremely small in UK, mainly considered a European brand. We knew very little about their products and level of quality. That changed just over a year ago when it was announced that they were the new sponsors of the Korean National Badminton Team. This was a serious leap forward for Victor and ultimately gave them an international seal of approval in terms of quality. After all, if a racquet is good enough for Lee Yong Dae, current Olympic Mixed Doubles champion and World Mens Doubles Silver Medallist, and his team, then it must be good!
On to my review…
The Spira 21 is the latest racquet from Victor. As I write, I’m not sure where this racquet sits within the increasing Victor range. I expect it’s somewhere at the top end close to the excellent Bravesword series.
It’s a good looking racquet in black and grey, with red, white and orange graphics. As you would expect, it arrived in a really good looking full length, high quality racquet bag in black and red with silver piping and bold writing.
Grip size is G3 which is the smaller of the two grip sizes on Victor racquets. It’s equivalent to a size 3.5 inches or Yonex G4, which is a bit confusing. Weight is unknown as I write this review and will be updated when I have the data from Victor. Maximum recommended stringing tension is 30lbs so it’s got to be very strong and should be extremely popular in the Asian market where strings tensions are so much higher.
This is a head heavy racquet, slightly head heavy with a balance point around 315mm. The slim shaft is designated stiff.
I expected this badminton racquet to perform well because it’s a Victor racquet. I wasn’t disappointed.
The combination of a slim shaft on a head heavy racquet works very well. Clears were effortless, smashes remained true in terms of direction and power, and there was plenty of touch for drop shots.
Spira 21 has a completely different feel to a Bravesword – it’s similar to an Arcsaber which I’d say is a compliment. Whilst you can feel there’s weight in the head, the racquet doesn’t perform in a clumsy fashion. There’s just enough weight to bring the racquet head through well but not enough for it to feel heavy. And with the new slim shaft, it doesn’t play like a super stiff racquet, but one that gives the shot a bit more punch.
On performance, it’s difficult to judge whether Spira 21 will become a favourite with singles players or big-hitting doubles specialists as it’s powerful and doesn’t tend to tire the arm.
Defensively this racquet was easy to use which came as a nice surprise considering it’s deemed head heavy. The racquet was easy to manoeuvre and again, I didn’t get the impression that the weight in the head would become a burden of any kind if you’re defending a lot. Drive returns felt really meaty and easy to perform.
A racquet that performs well in defence always performs well around the net area. After all, we’re talking about generating controlled racquet speed here, in very short bursts with the slightest touch for the really tight net shots. Surprisingly, Spira 21 delivered here too, although having just played with new Bravesword 169, it couldn’t quite match the speed of that racquet, although it was still fast.
I said earlier in my review that I wasn’t sure where this racquet fits in the excellent Victor range. Having tested the racquet I’m still not sure, which actually is a compliment. It’s not a one trick badminton racquet, but not quite the 5 star all rounder of the Bravesword 10.
Spira 21 certainly performed to a high standard in every area I tested. Whether this new technology in a series will signal the demise of other racquets in the range remains to be seen. It could be the replacement for SW35 although doesn’t quite have the power of that racquet.
RRP for this Spira 21 in UK is £120. Online discounters will probably sell it for around £109 which is excellent value for money. It’s the same price as top-of-the-line Bravesword 11 so it’s competing with a great racquet. On this basis I rate the Spira 21 a 4 star racquet because of the quality. Time will tell where it finds favour with players.
The only minor irritation I had with this racquet was the speed at which the stencil ink was flaking off the racquet. There is obviously a compatibility issue or a fault in the ink as we all know the quality of Victor string.
There’s no question that the Victor brand is now world class. Whilst it’s relatively unknown in UK at the moment, I’m sure that their quality and pricing will easily find a way into the market. You’d be wise to test Victor’s Spira 21 if you can find one, because this level of quality deserves a place next to the most well-known brands.