Saturday, November 8, 2008

Shuttletalks - RCL Shuttlecocks Review

I was very excited when I was asked to review RCL’s shuttlecocks as this would be my first review on a badminton product on Shuttletalks. Before I start talking about my experience using RCL’s shuttles, let me just talk about shuttlecocks in general.
Firstly there at 16 feathers in the shuttlecock with each feather 70mm in length. Why is it not 18, 20 or 24 but 16? Honestly I dont have an answer but I think the size, weight of the shuttle and the racquet head size was taken into consideration when they developed a shuttle. A badminton shuttlecock weighs around 4.75 - 5.50 grams. The diameter of the cork is 25-28mm and the diameter of the circle that the feathers make is around 54mm.

The feathers from the shuttles come from Geese as their feathers are strong and are suited for durability. The top grade shuttles have their feathers selected from the right wing on the goose and I was told that only a few feathers from the wings have the natural shape to make top grade shuttles.

Ok now for the real stuff… I was given 3 types of shuttles from RCL which are RCL’s Professional, Titanium and No.1. Professional being their second grade shuttles with the flight speed of 77, while Titanium was their first grade - 76 speed and No.1 being their top grade with the flight speed of 77. To me what is important is the flight of the shuttle, how the flight is maintained throughout and of course the durability of the shuttles.

With the 3 criteria’s as above, I went to the courts on Sunday to try the shuttles out with my buddies who normally use RSL shuttles ( I don’t think they are brothers or family). We normally play doubles and what better way to put these shuttles to the test. We started off playing with the Professional grade - At the start of the game, the shuttle had a very nice flight speed. Since it was doubles, there were a lot of smashing and attacking plays. One thing I notice when I was playing was that after a while, the shuttle starts losing its rounded shape at the diameter which is quite common among mid range shuttles. With that the speed of the shuttle was faster which was still alright to play with. After close to 10 points in the doubles game, we had to change the shuttle as the flight of the shuttle was just getting way faster. We used the same shuttle again during the game to give it another shot, this time around, the shuttle kept its shape during the game and we played till it wore out in slightly more than 10 points. A change of shuttle was needed in this set. As you can see below, the shuttle still had its shape but I think the shuttle’s durability is something I would consider to enhance.

RCL Professional

We decided to give the Titanium a chance this time. The shuttle was slower that the professional in general but one thing we noticed was that the Titanium was slightly more durable than the Professional in general. I didn’t like the speed as I prefer the 77 speed compared to 76. With the Titanium, the shuttle speed maintained well during the game. The feathers were durable too which is related to the speed. The shuttle lasted longer compared to the Professional however our arms got tired of the speed of the shuttle and decided to give another titanium a go. The second shuttle maintained a consistent result with the first which was good. If you look closely, you would notice that the feathers were still looks in shape and strong.

RCL Titanium after the game
A couple of matches later I decided to give the No. 1 a shot. Before even hitting the shuttle, you could feel the difference by just holding the shuttle. The feathers were well shaped and it felts stronger than the rest but then again this is top grade right. Putting the top grade shuttle to the test, we continued playing some heavy doubles. The speed of the shuttle was lovely to play with and on top of that, we were smashing extra hard to test the shuttle durability. One thing which I liked was that the shuttle could last us quite a long while with the heavy hitting, the shuttle speed was still close to what it was when we started. We played again using another shuttle just to check its consistency and to me it lived up to it being a top grade shuttle.

RCL No.1 before & after the game

Overall I would say that I would go and buy myself the RCL No.1 compared to the rest as I think it is durable and I like the flight of the shuttle. The cost for the Professional is RM 40 while the Titanium is around RM50 and the No. 1 is RM60. I think I would save money using the No.1 compared to buying the Professional simply because with the professional, it wears out very fast and I think I'll end up buying 2 tubes of the Professional compared to spending a little more for the No.1.

My buddies have mentioned that the price of shuttles in Malaysia is going to go up by RM3-5 per tube.. I think that the hike is crazy as badminton is becoming a more and more expensive game to play due to the cost of shuttles. I really hope that manufacturers would make badminton a less expensive sport so that more and more children can have the opportunity to enjoy with wonderful sport.

Ciao da maoz

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