Victor fans would have heard and expected the launch of the Victor Meteor MX90 over a year ago and some would argue that Meteor JJS signature was the original Meteor 90. I have no idea how much truth there is in this story but thankfully Meteor 90 is now available or coming soon.
Of course there will be comparisons with JJS and in this review I’ll do my best to guide you. However, I must confess that I have really struggled to comprehend the differences between these two racquets despite the use of other materials and slight change in specification, namely the MX90 has a thinner shaft. I wasn’t the only person to struggle identifying clear differences between the two racquets so at least I know it’s not just me.
There’s one other point. MX90 delivered to me was a sample and at the time, the only sample in Europe. Sadly I had to return it to Germany so did not have the opportunity for measurements etc for the more technically minded.
On to my review…
MX JJS arrived in a high quality black full length racquet cover together with new MX80N. I assume there will be a cover with this racquet but it will probably be the now standard grey and black.
As usual, all top-end Victor racquets arrive unstrung. As this is sample it was strung at 24 lbs although maximum tension is stated at 28lbs. Markings suggest this is a 3U (85-89g)– G5 grip size together with 4-5 for head weight and 4-5 shaft flexibility, which means MX90 has a medium stiff shaft and is pretty head heavy. I’m getting used to these smaller G5 grips now and like them but I have no idea whether Victor Europe will stock this racquet in G4 or G5.
Having tested and reviewed JJS recently, MX90 was very familiar in terms of feel. It‘s a very simple design predominantly white with black and gold decals. The shaft is slightly slimmer than JJS.
It’s hitting time…
Having recently tested Thruster 6000, I half expected to go on court and be disappointed. However I should have had more faith in Meteor series. Even with a lower string tension MX90 performed beautifully. Whilst there’s a slightly different feel to JJS, there’s no doubt this racquet is as powerful if not moreso.
The frame felt fast, moved through the air well and delivered the same crisp and powerful clears I witnessed from JJS. You notice there is weight in the head but it’s a same overall solid feel rather than a tip of the head, leading the racquet kind of weight. So we get the best in terms of precision and power in a combination that is so JJS. The medium stiff shaft helps deliver all that is required with perfect timing.
There’s no sense of drag or timing issues here. The shot stays true and even off centre shots remained on target.
Drop shots were again nice and crisp and sharp which is how I like them. There’s enough in the head to really throw in a slice without it feeling as though you’re pulling your arm or placing too much strain on your wrist.
Onto the smash. I hit a number of really good smashes which so reminded me of JJS. Maybe the thinner shaft provides a bit more flex to go into the shot but MX90 was certainly as good as JJS if not better at delivering a great direct smash without fuss. I felt this racquet had more to offer but needed a better tension to really show what it could do. Perhaps this is partially a quirk with Victor strings as they always tend to perform better at higher tensions.
Fast, flat exchanges worked very well and MX90 demonstrated time and again it will release power with a squeeze but it’s just as good at softly taking the pace off the shuttle and pitching the shuttle close to the net.
Defensively I enjoyed MX90. It’s possibly a touch faster than TK6000 and has a different feel too. I can’t say it performed any better or worse than JJS, it just felt very familiar and made defending relatively easy. Occasionally I walked in on a number of smashes and the frame was quick to respond and get into the right place to return the shuttle. For a 4/5 head weight I’m delighted with that.
Around the net MX90 plays really well too. It’s fast and solid and always seemed to be there without me thinking about it. It won’t match the speed of a Bravesword but I don’t need it to be any faster. The connection with the shuttle was always good and I really can’t fault it. Again, tighter string tension will only make this racquet play better.
Again the racquet felt solid and responsive when serving or returning serve. There’s lots of touch and control which is what I like to have in any racquet. A little finger power and it’s easy to punch the shuttle into the corners or down the centre at opponents.
I stated at the outset that I would try to compare this racquet with Meteor JJS and it is has proved extremely difficult. Like the JJS I find MX90 very powerful, very fast and a sheer delight to use. When testing another racquet last Monday, I quickly realised that I was really missing Meteor 90 which is the sign of a good racquet. I was also missing TK6000 too!
Meteor 90 is due to be launched in Europe around February 2014 and therefore I am guessing RRP will be similar to JJS although I’ll add on another £10 for good measure at around £180 which is pretty good for a top of the range racquet. Online retailers will no doubt discount to around £120-£130 which is extremely good and at these prices well worth a test. To be honest I highly recommend you test the racquet anyway as I said in my JJS review even if the specifications are different to your personal preferences.
Meteor 90 will not live in the shadow of the soon-to-be-missed Meteor JJS which has now been removed from Victors Asia catalogue and will not feature in Victor Europe’s catalogue in 2014. MX90 is simply a great racquet and fully deserves to take a place on the 5 star team, which seems to be growing quickly at the moment. If I was asked to use this racquet by Victor I’d be delighted because I really liked it and would happily play with it. It’s a good solid performer around the court, stiff enough for most players and not too heavy for others. Whilst it won’t suit everyone I’m sure it will find a place in many player’s bags and prove to be real winner.
Keep watching www.victor-sport.co.uk for information on where you can test Meteor 90 in 2014 and other Victor badminton racquets.