The arcsaber 11 pro is a worthy direct upgrade to the adored Arcsaber 11 used by many of the greats of badminton in all disciplines. Upon using, you immediately recognize the refinements and what modern technology has done for a decade old idea: the premise of having a racket with enhanced control while providing a stable and comfortable experience in all other aspects.
While this is a good racket and upgrade to the OG, I have since sold my racket after making my review and will continue to use the 100zz into the foreseeable future. Let’s talk about that.
If you just want to see footage of me playing with this racket, here’s a lesson I did with my coach where I used it.
Sexy as hell. Sleek and matte. Looks horrible on camera, looks amazing in person. I would still use it even if it was ugly, and appearance has no weight into how I think of a racket but I wanted to just mention.
Obviously if you’re reading this review or looking at this racket, this is what you care about. Can gladly say it doesn’t disappoint here.
Spinning net shots is where I personally the greatest benefit. My setup is 100zz with xb63 at 27 (now 28) and while I can get sufficient spin to force lifts, this was next level. The string feel I had felt reminiscent of when I used aerobite. Exbolt isn’t a slippery string like 65ti or 66, but it isn’t grippy like bg80. On the arcsaber 11 pro I was pleasantly surprised with how much bite it felt I had.
Line placements on smashes were a delight. After adjusting to the different swing speed and timing, line placement was basically on par with my 100zz. And this was like the first time I was using this racket compared to my years of using the 100zz.
Drops took a lot of work adjusting actually. I was used to a very small wrist/swing action with the 100zz’s repulsion to get fast drops to go over the net and land on the T. Initially a lot of the drops were going into the middle of the net – not a good sign. Even after I got used to the timing and was getting back to my baseline level of accuracy, it was still unsettling using this much swing for a drop – guess I’ve gotten so accustomed to repulsion setups. On the plus side, sliced drops were spicy and I got tons of slice thanks to the shuttle hold and string movement.
The shuttle hold came into play when doing clears and lifts too. The shuttle hold felt like I could change my mind at the last minute and change shots or directions entirely.
Meh. And it’s not a lack of head weight or swing speed – it’s the lack of repulsion. I’ve gotten more oomph out of headlight rackets or 4U/5U rackets. But it’s just physics. The more you optimize for shuttle hold, the less repulsion you have. In a game where speed trumps all, the I imagine this racket will see the most use in either singles or other specialized situations like mixed doubles front.
Full on smashes don’t suffer the worse IMO – it’s the more wristy and finger power shots that take the most beating here. Half smashes, Drives, flat pushes, hold and flicks, fast lifts, flick serves, etc.
Smooooth swing. A delight to hold in the hand. Balance is great, frame is not the quickest but def not slow. Has a stable acceleration which gives confidence to the user. Racket maintains the same design language of the OG by providing a consistent and predictable swing time and time again.
This doesn’t even have a fully recessed frame which is the craziest part for me.
Repulsion or Control? You Can Only Have One
This isn’t necessarily a ding against the Arcsaber 11 P, so feel free to skip this. It’s more my thoughts and an open discussion about the main attributes a racket can really have.
In my opinion, repulsion/power rackets will always be more favorable/easier to sell because it’s something naturally desirable in the sport of badminton. Badminton favors speed above all else – movement speed in singles, and racket speed in doubles.
While the case is weaker in singles, a repulsive racket means the shuttle is reaching the ground faster which keeps opponents on their toes. In doubles where the point of the game is to hit the shuttle through opponents, faster shots will make their time difficult.
When it comes to control, it doesn’t scale as much IMO. If you’re hitting the lines already, you can’t hit the lines more. If you’re nets are tumbling already, more tumble doesn’t help. Conversely if you add another 10,20,30 km/h to your smash that’’s always desirable (all other things the same).
Personally I continue to work on my skills and see the fruits of my labor – my clear/lift shot quality is getting frustratingly good, hitting the lines more consistently. Drops are right on the T, spinning net shots sufficient. For me there is little incentive to change from a repulsion racket to a control racket, for marginally improved attributes in an area where I already excel at (especially at the expense of another attribute – repulsion/power).
Arcsaber 11 Pro is a worthy successor and if you are a fan of the OG you will love this upgrade. I would recommend upgrading to it. For anyone else, I would carefully consider what attributes you like most about your current racket, as well as your playstyle. How do you win your points in a game? What disciple do you play the most? If you are the kind of player this racket is intended for, I have no doubt you will shine and love this racket.