The big racket news from Yonex this year has been the launch of the Z Force II and the Nanoray 900.
Ever since Yonex withdrew their Nanospeed series replacing with Nanoray, Yonex fans have been waiting for the release of a successor to NS9900. So the big question is, ‘does NR900 fill these shoes?’
The Yonex Nanoray 900 is not a bright, flashy looking badminton racket as we have seen from Yonex in the past. This is a very toned down, simple design which also featured on their Z Force II release. The iron grey colour with green decals is pretty smart although no doubt will not please everyone.
The racket arrived with standard Nanoray cover which I prefer over the cloth covers provided with some rackets. This is a 3U (weight 84-89g) G5 grip size (the standard grip size for the UK market is G4). The NR900 arrived as frame only and was therefore strung at 25/27 lbs in BG80.
Yonex have confused the market over the last year by introducing rackets into a range that generally does not fit correlate with their known characteristics. We all understand the Yonex ranges as:
Voltric – Head Heavy
Arcsaber – Even Balance
Nanoray – Head Light
And yet, the last Nanoray I tested, the Nanoray Z Speed, was head heavy. This racket should have been named a Voltric.
With many Yonex devotees hoping the Nanoray 900 will be the updated Nanospeed 9900 I’m sorry to report that you may be disappointed. This is a stiff racket with a slightly weighty head. It is not as head light as NS9900.
Yonex have found a new way to market this racket too. Rather than the usual speed or power variations, this is the racket that helps you smash at a different angle. Mmmmm…
It’s hitting time…
In many respects Yonex have attempted to make NR900 close to NS9900. The string pattern, handle size, shaft length are identical and there’s not too much difference in the thickness of the frame. However, it’s clear NR900 is weightier in the head which I prefer.
There’s a really nice feel about this racket when striking the shuttle…most of the time.
Clears were crisp and clean which no doubt was helped by the custom stringing. There’s still a lighness to the NR900 which allows for an easy flowing swing speed without having to thump the shuttle hard. But, there’s one slight drawback. There were a number of power shots I hit where the feeling was rather dull. I asked another player who tested the racket whether they experienced anything unusual and they reported exactly the same.
Drop shots were good with plenty of speed although the feel on impact may require some getting used to for NS9900 users. For me that bit of weight in the head provided a more solid connection although considerably short from what I experienced with Voltric Z Force.
Smashes were powerful but I wasn’t hitting sharper angles per the marketing. That said I was happy with the speed and power of the racket. Again, one or two shots felt really dull and perhaps this is a result of hitting off centre.
Flat drives were very responsive and this is where the racket really shines. The power and speed from relatively little swing was superb.
Nanoray 900 continued to perform well in defence too, which was always a great asset of NS9900. It’s fast and easy to manoevre which helps to speed up reaction time. You don’t have to work hard to get a decent result which you do with heavier headed rackets. It’s particularly nice to drive the shuttle and add a lot of pace from the smash.
I was really happy with the performance around the net too. It’s quick, got great feel and has that controlled snap. Again, that extra head weight was nice to have and yet it’s not too much to slow the racket and make it more demanding.
Overall I think Nanoray 900 is a delightful racket but it’s not a NS9900. I think it’s better in some respects with the extra head weight providing additional “punch” where NS9900 was lacking.
RRP for Nanoray 900 is £190.00, considerably more than NS9900. Online retailers are discounting but not at the same levels found on other models so expect to pay around £180,00.
Rating Nanoray 900 has proved to be a challenge. On the one hand I believe it’s an improvement on NS9900. However, those dull shots bother me along with the price. However I liked the NR900 and therefore award it four and a half stars. I recommend adding the Yonex Nanoray 900 badminton racket to your list of should test rackets if your budget will stretch. It may be worth it.
To Your Success