Yonex UK have again introduced a new batch of racquets, namely Arcsaber 5DX, Arcsaber 9FL, Nanospeed 6600 and the eagerly awaited Voltric 70. Timing for these releases falls almost a year to the day since the launch of the highly successful Arcsaber Z Slash. In other words, Yonex are trying to repeat a winning formula. But, can the Voltric 70 match up to Arcsaber Z Slash in terms of performance and initial sales?
As you would expect, the Voltric arrived in a full length bag, which, no doubt will become standard amongst the Voltric range. Yes, this is the first of a new range, which will eventually succeed the extremely popular Armortec range. To do this, the Voltric range has got to deliver. Expect more Voltrics in 2011 commencing with Voltric 5 and Voltric 7.
The racquet is striking in appearance, but not too flashy, with a winning combination of black, white and red.
This particular model is only available in 4U (weight 80-84g) in UK, and grip size G4 which is the smaller of the grip sizes usually on offer in UK.
This is a remarkable racquet in terms of what it’s meant to do. In essence, Yonex have combined the aerodynamic qualities of a Z Slash with the thin frame of a Nanospeed 9900 and given the racquet the head weight of an Armortec. Ingenious. But, does it actually deliver something special?
Let’s complete the section describing the racquet and get on court and give it a workout.
Balance wise, this is a head heavy racquet, but certainly not as heavy as AT700. It’s almost bordering on a cross between Armortec 900 Power and Technique in feel.
This racquet has a medium flex shaft and therefore may not appeal to the hard hitters who are looking for a yet another super stiff racquet. That said, I saw some very powerful hitters really enjoy the racquet and there were no negative comments whatsoever. In fact, one tester bought it immediately and he doesn’t buy new racquets.
The frame is certainly thin like Nanospeed 9900 except in 10 and 2 o’clock positions where there is a noticeable bulge. This is where there is added strength in the racquet. The weight is at the top. There are also sound filters in these sections. Whilst the racquet does make a slightly different sound from other racquets, I’m yet to be convinced the filters are actually doing anything other than giving Yonex a different angle for marketing.
Maximum recommended tension on this racquet is 24lbs. This is a little disappointing bearing in mind the market trends have been increasing over the last few years. That said we know the pro players will have their Voltrics strung tighter.
Whilst on the one hand I think Yonex should now reconsider their stance on recommended string tensions to meet market demand, on the other hand I have to applaud them because there are too many players using string tensions beyond their technique capabilities, which will eventually result in injury.
On with the review…
The string tension on this racquet feels OK at around 18-20lbs which is more than adequate for many league players. I do tend to like my racquets strung tighter but readers of my reviews know that I also like to test racquets “straight out of the bag.”
It’s hitting time…
Having spent some time off court with this racquet, I knew there was something about this racquet that was going to be different. It felt great, mind you, I like head heavy racquets. So onto court with a great sense of anticipation…
I’m not too keen on G4 grip sizes so I had to build the grip prior to playing. I know this changed the balance a little, but it had to be done.
After getting used to the spongy feel of a factory strung racquet compared to my custom strung Arcsaber 8DX and I really enjoyed this racquet.
In the power department, clears were effortless. I didn’t need to make any adjustments to my timing so at least the mis-timing issues with Z Slash did not occur with Voltric 70.
Now here’s where it gets very clever. First of all, I really couldn’t tell that I had a medium flex racquet in my hand. Voltric 70 just felt really nice. So what’s clever? Well, I did say that Yonex have combined the aerodynamic qualities of Z Slash and boy the head was quick. Remember, this is a head heavy racquet and yet it was really fast through the air. This is like a combination of Armortec 900 Power and Technique with go faster stripes on it. Fantastic!
Clears, drops and smashes were delivered beautifully and I was soon reminded of my love affair for AT900 Power. Mmm, do I feel a shift away from my Arcsaber 8DX already?
So, we know this racquet packs a mean punch, although not quite up to the hitting power of Z Slash. But, it’s got far greater consistency and control and that’s counts for so much more. What about in other areas of the court?
Defensively this racquet delivered every time and reminded me of the speed of my Nano9900 although it’s not as light in the head. The combination of better aerodynamics and the new frame work really well here. I could manoeuvre the racquet really fast without any drag or delay caused by additional weight in the head, and yet I could feel exactly where the head was moving.
As I said in my Arcsaber 8DX review, there’s always a trade-off between weight in the head for power, and a lighter head for speed. Yonex seem to have got the combination just right for this racquet with that added weight but superior aerodynamics.
As you would expect, if the racquet delivers in defence, then it’s got to be good around the net. Yes, no surprises here, it was magnificent! I didn’t need to make adjustments for the weight in the head although again, I was acutely aware where the head was moving. It just played net shots or kills with ease and a fast recovery too. Exactly what I want from a racquet.
Will Voltric 70 suit every style of play? Absolutely. But, that doesn’t mean it will suit your game. As you know, choosing a racquet is very personal and I can imagine for some there will a few frowns, possibly thinking the head lacks that added weight a.k.a. AT700 to elevate it into the serious hitting league. That’s what personal taste is about.
I’d disagree with this kind of thinking as there are power players using very light-headed racquets. As for me, I consider Voltric 70 to be a bigger hitter than my Arcsaber 8DX and certainly on a par with AT900 Power. However, it’s also really quick, which in my book gives it the edge over the Armortec series. In some respects it’s like an AT600, but way faster and slightly heavier in the head.
As you can tell, I really like this racquet. Whilst it’s early in our relationship, I can’t wait to get back on court and do it all again. However, I have to give the racquet back to my retailer. So, just when we were getting to know each other, and have fun, we’ll be separated.
With an RRP of £160, this is a pretty hefty price tag, especially for a racquet that I believe has to break into the market and establish itself as a successor to the popular Armortec range of racquets. I also believe it’s on the pricey side for a racquet that will not be the flagship racquet for the range.
No doubt the online discounters will be selling for considerably cheaper than that, so expect to pay around £130, maybe less. That’s still a lot of money for a racquet, which will turn many players away.
As much as I like this racquet, the price will push players away and therefore I need to reflect this in my scoring system. Consequently, I’ll rate this racquet 4.5 stars in my 5 star system.
For me, Voltric 70 reminded me why I initially chose Armortec 900 Power when I began coaching again. It’s got so much more than AT900 Power and a bit extra than I thought I needed from Arcsaber 8DX. It makes me realise how much we change as players in terms of our preferences and sometimes we make decisions about racquets that we think are correct, only to be reminded that we’re missing something that we really liked in a racquet. For me, I was missing that extra weight in the head and had compromised for the sake of speed. I don’t need to compromise anymore because now Voltric 70 is here, I can have my head weight and speed too.