Wednesday Night Smashtest! It's been about 6 months since the last time I spent a night on the court doing nothing except having a casual dink and trying out some rackets and talking to other players about their gear. Last night, I decided it was high time to have a big session, playing one game with each of the rackets in my gear bag (and a few games with some new ones), with the aim of consolidating my opinions but also to get some back-to-back feedback while the info was fresh in my mind. On with the show! HEAD Metallix 8000 Tour / ZM67 @ 25x27lbs I bought this racket nearly two years ago, and after a not so good experience with the numb and slippery Nanogy95, I've restrung this racket with Zymax67. The Head is a nice racket, but it doesn't have the impact absorption of a top tier racket. It's very hollow and zingy feeling, but in it's defense is has a nice feel, big sweetspot, and is quite stable. Good power too for a racket at the light end of 3U. If the new Heads have the vibration damping sorted, they'll be a killer option. Li-Ning 100C / BG80 @ 25x27lbs I've been playing with this racket now for about 2 months and for what it is, it's brilliant. It's highly affordable, fast, packs a good punch, and has a huge sweetspot. Only place it's let down slightly is head stability, which isn't completely rock solid. Although it's a 'C' class racket ('Stiff' in Li-Ning speak) it's not super stiff. A cracker of a doubles racket. Now only if they could make it a bit more blingy. Yonex Armortec 900 Technique / BG80 @ 24lbs The 900T is a solid racket, and a great all-rounder. It has good punch, awesome feedback, and is fairly quick. I do however wonder about the real benefits of head heavy rackets, as I'm not convinced the weighting produces any more power than less head heavy rackets, especially if it comes at the expense of head-speed. At least it doesn't for me. I'm also not convinced the T's headshape is particularly fast through the air. Despite all this, if you like head heavy rackets, it's hard not to recommend. Victor Brave Sword 11 / BG80 @ 25x27lbs I've only had this racket for two weeks, but I think I have a feel for it. It has a very crisp feel, great directional stability, and the every so slight head heaviness feels purposeful. Probably the most 'different' aspect of this racket, is that it seems to have two sweetspots. High up the racket it has good power and the shuttle literally launches off the stringbed, but in the 'normal' area of where you think the rackets sweetspot should be, it's 'reserved' and has fantastic feedback, but is down on the power. Serving with this racket is like nothing else - I've literally won nearly half the points in a game on serve alone with this baby. Carlton Vapour Trail Tour / Ashaway PG65 @ 25lbs The Carlton has a modified ISO headshape, similar in concept to the ArcSaber Z-Slash, but more successful in it's execution. It's just simply a solid racket, with the only real downside being the smaller sweetspot compared to ISO, but this shouldn't be an issue with more well drilled players. I was surprised in back-to-back comparos that this was the siffest racket I own. It also feels much tighter than 25lbs. A light, crisp, purposeful racket. So now, the all magical, but no doubt soon to change, but still current, rankings! 5th -Head M9k Tour (Get the damping sorted and these things will be world class.) 4th - Yonex AT900T (Great racket for a stronger, backcourt doubles player.) 3rd - Carlton VTT (Solid performer, it's what the Z-Slash wish it was.) 2nd - Victor BS11(Real personality, unique design, solid serving and net game.) 1st - Li-Ning 100C (Speed, forgiveness, affordability, with the only downside being slight lack of head stability makes it a real winner so far.) No surprises here, the 100C is still be best all-round racket in my bag, which makes me very keen to string up the 300C and give that a fair crack. The Victor is a very close and closing second, mostly because serving with it is a complete dream, but I'm yet to fully tap it's power and personality. The Carlton is a solid racket and in all honestly only looses out because of the Li-Nings all pervasive sweetspot means you can get a bit sloppy and/or tired and won't get punished too much. No such forgiveness with the Carlton. The one thing I walked away from on Wednesday night, was that with almost all rackets, when you compare them you're really just talking nuances. You can adapt to and play well with almost anything given the time and almost more importantly, the mental commitment. Still, there's nothing like a light, fast, killer serving racket to slay doubles opponents with. No use bringing a sledgehammer to a knife fight! Thanks for listening!