Yonex ArcSaber FlashBoost (FB) Racquet Review

Hi everybody, hows it going? And welcome to badminton-reviews looks at the Yonex ArcSaber Flashboost (AFB). One of the most exciting racquets to come out in recent memory. Boasting some snazzy new Yonex technology the main feature being its unbelievable weight.

This racquet weighs just 73g, YES! you heard me right, a ridiculous 73g. It feels like your holding almost nothing in your hand. As you would expect then it has awesome handling abilities, but the real surprise here is it's branded as an ArcSaber racquet. That means it should have power also, hmm.. a racquet as light as this being powerful? Lets get it on the court later and find out. 

Value for Money: 2.5 / 5

Performance: 2.5 / 5

RRP: £160 (£145 as tested): Not cheap!

The AFB comes in a very striking bright blue finish with flashes of neon yellow and green, a real refreshing look for a special racquet, well done Yonex! As far as I know, this racquet only comes in the 6U grip size worldwide. The racquet comes in the usual ArcSaber full cover bag, which is naturally expected of a racquet in this price category.

The weight loss comes from extensive use of a new alloy called Nanometric. By using using this alloy, less carbon fibres are needed and the shaft can be 60% thinner while retaining stiffness. 

That brings me nicely onto the power generation of this racquet:
The racquet is head light biased, the lightness and stiff shaft of this racquet means most of the power comes from you. I feel there is a small sweet spot with this racquet and you really have to time your shots to get the most out of it. This also automatically means your positioning has to be top notch too. You have to know where you are intending to place it and move your body very deliberately. To help with the power generation from fast swings, this racquet is slighter longer than most. If you are expecting to hit some fire breathing smashes, forget it, you are better off going for something else.

Forward drives are probably where this racquet really shines, the weight of the head offset by the overall lightness of the racquet means it is incredibly easy to maneuver and direct with speed. The AFB comes with BG65TI strung from factory which provides good feedback and power. I think it would be ill advised to take the tension up on this frame considering how thin it is. Yonex reckon the max tension is 24lbs. From factory it comes with about 20lbs, which seems perfectly sufficient for me.

As you would expect, this racquet is lightning fast around the net. It really is superb to pull off delicate drops and settled dinks. If you've been used to head heavy or even balanced racquets like I have, it takes quite some time to work out how much effort you need to put in, once you do though it is sweet! 
Clears from mid court are well directed, but you have to be strong in your grip. The lack of weight and stiffness means the racquet vibrates quite a bit. The shots themselves aren't very evolving however, you don't get that sting you would get with a Voltric racquet say. 
This racquet has bemused me a lot. With all the hype surrounding it, I expected an extraordinary racquet. Whilst it is a very unique, that doesn't necessarily mean its a good racquet. Unless you have a fast and strong swing, from the rear of the court it is useless. Branding it in the ArcSaber range is also confusing as this series is associated with a bit of power.

It seems to me if the AFB is designed for a player who has very good technique but is looking for the handling edge by having a light racquet. This seems like a very small niche of players, but if this is you and you must have the ultimate handling at any cost, you've found your ideal racquet; the Yonex ArcSaber FlashBoost 2013.

Other racquets I would consider instead...
Since reviewing this racquet, I've heard some off-putting news; because of the new thinner alloys used in the frame of this racquet, it seems it is more prone to breaking and bending. I've heard horror stories where players have clashed their AFB with their partners racquet and come off worse. Or mishitting a smash and catch the frame and bending the frame. 

The picture on the left is an extreme case. Perhaps this new alloy technology needs more research and testing before such a compromise to weight reduction is made. 

Singles players should be less put off however.