Yonex Astrox 88S vs Astrox 88D
Two of the new Astrox badminton rackets range from Yonex – you’d be forgiven for not even noticing the difference in the name!
We asked one of the Withers Team, who owns and plays with both rackets, what the difference was.
QWould you be able to tell which was which if you picked one up and hit a couple of shots without looking at the racket?
ADefinitely! I would know after a couple of shots of any type but the difference would be most obvious if I hit a couple of overheads.
QWhat’s the difference when you are playing with the rackets?
AThe Astrox 88D feels more head heavy which, with my style of play, makes it feel more powerful. The 88S on the other hand, because of the light head to the racket, feels more manoeuvrable around the mid and front of the court.
QWhich would you choose if you could only have one?
AI would rather have the 88S. In my opinion, it has a lot more all-around playability and suites my style better as it gives me a little bit more control when I need it. Sometimes I find the 88D a little bit wild – it might be like adding petrol to a fire, it gets out of control easily!
QWhat sort of player are you – does that affect your answer to which racket you’d choose?
AMy style is “powerhouse” and I love to hit the shuttle as hard as I can at any given opportunity. That is why I have chosen the Astrox 88S as it gives me all the power I want, or need, from the racket. At the same time, due to the technology Yonex have put in the racket (Namd), it gives my game the control element I need. While the 88D stokes up the power, even more, it doesn’t offer me any increase in the control aspects of the shots.
If you have the power but no control I would suggest the 88S. If it is the other way around, and you want more power but already have the control, then I think the 88D would be more suited to your game and playing style.
Stringing the Astrox Rackets
QHow do you have your rackets strung?
AFor me, the 88D & 88S are strung exactly the same. Using Yonex Aero Bite @ 30/31 lbs. (See info box for more details on the string). I have the main string, the Aero Bite at 30lbs and the cross string the Aero Sonic at 31lbs. I find that this string and tension combination has an amazing combination of power and control/feel.
Q30/31lbs isn’t that a bit tight?
AYes very tight. If you’re a tennis player then this might not seem tight at all but for badminton rackets, the recommended tension on the top end Yonex rackets max out at 29 lbs and on some, they even max out on 24 lbs -depending on the racket you have chosen. On both the Astrox 88 rackets the max tension Yonex recommend is 28 lbs. so for me to put this tension in my rackets puts a lot of strain on the frame and I risk my racket breaking. But I find this is the best tension for me and gives me the best playability. This tension might not work for other people. The average tension we put in badminton rackets is somewhere ranging from 22lbs up to 24lbs. The reason for this being the ‘normal tension range’ is that as you go tighter the risk of the strings breaking fast grows so you will lose out on durability. It also becomes harder to use because the tighter you go the smaller the sweet spot gets. The sweet spot is the point on the strings from which you will get the most out of hitting the shuttle. So tighter isn’t always best but if you can use it then you might feel the benefits.
Aero Bite – a hybrid badminton string.
Hybrid meaning two different strings.
- The main string is actually called Aero Bite and that has a thickness of 0.67mm this string is slightly textured and if you have strung with it you will notice it actually gips to your hands really well. This means when hitting a shuttle it will allow more bit on the shuttle allowing you to hit with more slice.
- The cross string in this hybrid is called Aero Sonic, you can get this string by itself and its currently the worlds thinnest string going, so it offers maximum power for players.
The Astrox rackets are a development from…?
Q You’ve played with Yonex rackets for a good while now – which of the Yonex range are the 88D & 88S a development of?
AIt is very hard to compare new rackets to older ranges, however, I would say the Astrox 88D would play like the old racket Voltric 80. My reasoning is that they are both very head heavy giving people the most power possible and the flex in the shaft were the same across both rackets. However, I would still say the Astrox 88D and the 88S play like nothing Yonex have made before and should be separated from older and new rackets. Really these two rackets are pretty much a new development in their own right rather than an extension or change to any of the previous Yonex ranges.
QGiven that the rackets are slightly different lengths how do you know that they conform to the rules of badminton?
AOops – I hadn’t realised that they were different lengths and I have no idea what the rules say about the permitted dimensions of the rackets!