Some of you might have already come across JNICE in online forums. As a young and upcoming brand, JNICE has sponsored this post for me to tell you more about their Elastic Elves 6 Pro racket, one of the flagship rackets they have developed.
* This post is published in partnership with JNICE *
For those of you who are not familiar with the brand, JNICE is actually not pronounced "jay-naise". Because of their Taiwanese roots, JNICE is actually pronounced "jiu-nai-si". However, for those who don't speak Mandarin, this is almost impossible to pronounce correctly. Hence, I’ve fed this back to the team at JNICE saying I’ll be calling them "jay-naise" in my YouTube video to help everyone who doesn’t speak Mandarin!
Before I go in-depth about the Elastic Elves 6 Pro, I want to zoom out slightly and quickly go through JNICE’s racket series as they have a fairly wide range. There are a total of 7 racket series and top of the list is certainly their Legend series. The Legend series is JNICE’s flagship series which includes the Black Panther racket as well as the Elastic Elves 6 Pro! The rest of the 6 racket series are created based on the more traditional badminton racket categories such as speed or attacking capability. There’s certainly something for everyone.
So when JNICE sent over the Elastic Elves 6 Pro, the first thing that I immediately noticed was its compact head, with a super slim shaft alongside a pretty long handle --- all of these features point towards an aggressive, fast racket.
The colour scheme was pretty simple: pearl white, gold and silver. I’ll be honest and say that the font used for the words "Elastic Elves 6 Pro" on the racket shaft isn’t one of my favourites. I personally prefer cleaner, more modern-looking fonts, which to be fair were actually present throughout the rest of the racket but I guess the JNICE team was going for a more mythical, sweet, soft vibe for the words "Elastic Elves 6 Pro".
Regarding the actual product finishing, I like the gold-on-pearl finishing all over the racket, especially when it's matt too. Extra points also go to the textured grip which features a gold JNICE logo and lettering, and the embossed elven wings on the inside of the racket frame around the 3 and 9 o'clock regions of the racket. I think this is pretty cool.
In terms of the actual specs of the Elastic Elves 6 Pro, one of its key standout features is its extra slim solid shaft which I measured 6.3mm, making it one of the thinnest shafts that I’ve measured so far on the channel. The other 2 rackets that share the same 6.3mm diameter shaft are Yonex's Astrox 100ZZ and Li Ning’s AxForce 100. That’s a pretty good company to be in. JNICE also say that the shaft for the Elastic Elves 6 Pro is a solid carbon shaft which provides good repulsion and feeling upon contact with the shuttle. The shaft length for the Elastic Elves 6 Pro came in at 21.5cm too!
In terms of the racket frame, the Elastic Elves 6 Pro has a very compact frame which measures 23cm in height and 18cm in width. That actually makes it the smallest badminton racket frame I’ve come across thus far. And with more than half of the racket frame having a recessed frame profile, the Elastic Elves 6 Pro is bound to be rapid on court. Frame thickness is also measured at 10.1mm which is pretty normal for rackets nowadays. Additionally, some final measurements include an 18cm handle length as well as a slightly longer total length of 675mm. All specs pointing towards a nice racket thus far.
For racket weights, the Elastic Elves 6 Pro is available in 3 different racket weights, from 3U to 5U and obviously, I opted to test in my usual weight and grip size, the 4U G5 model. The specs of the racket is handily printed on the racket cone. For recommended stringing tensions, the Elastic Elves 6 Pro is rated up to 30 lbs of tension and the stringing experience I had with it was very pleasant. Not much flexing around the racket frame under tension and I strung it at my usual tension of 27 lbs by 29 lbs for testing.
Many of you who are familiar with my YouTube channel and blog are aware that I don’t take balance points as part of my measurements as the measurements differ depending on what set-up you put on, such as grips or even strings you use. However, when I mounted the racket strung with no added grip, I was pleasantly surprised when the balance point measurements matched the spec printed on the cone, so well done to JNICE on the quality control side of their production. When I then gripped the Elastic Elves 6 Pro with my usual grip set-up, the balance point, predictably, changed due to the additional grip. For those who are nerdy like me, I plan to publish all these measurements on my website so you can compare them with your own rackets too!
So the key question which you all might be asking is, how does this racket feel? Was it as fast as it looked? And for those of you who have previously used a super compact frame racket before, you might be asking, were there any timing issues or was it challenging to time your shots? Were the strings stiffer due to the smaller racket frame? Don’t worry, I’ll answer all these questions one by one.
First off, yes, the Elastic Elves 6 Pro was fast but also at the same time smooth. The compact head paired with the very slim shaft certainly made the Elastic Elves 6 Pro glide through the air very easily with less drag compared to wider and bigger rackets so swinging the racket around was very pleasant. The longer racket handle also allowed me to hold the racket very high up if I needed more agility during defence or during counterattacks.
Because the Elastic Elves 6 Pro is fast, you will need to adjust your hitting timing slightly as there is a tendency to hit too early due to the fast swings. However, I do want to add that the adjustment period for the racket isn’t very long and within the next game or two, I was able to time my shots properly and did not have too many problems after that.
Additionally, you would think that a solid shaft would feel quite stiff but the Elastic Elves 6 Pro felt quite whippy to me. The scale printed on the racket shaft indicates itself as an extra stiff and super head-heavy racket but from my tests, I thought it wasn’t as stiff and not as head-heavy as the scale suggested. This is actually good news for us, as it also means it's quite a user-friendly racket.
The scale on the racket itself might be an internal scale for JNICE but if we were to compare it with the other brands, I felt the head-heaviness is something similar to a Yonex Astrox 77 Pro, which is slightly head-heavy but not excessively. The stiffness scale again is probably an internal scale as I personally felt the Elastic Elves 6 Pro have quite a soft, pleasant hitting feeling as opposed to a very crisp and sharp feel. Again, in comparison, I’d class this a medium or medium-stiff feeling racket.
I was also pleasantly surprised that the Elastic Elves 6 Pro didn't have a smaller-than-usual sweet spot due to its compact racket head and my strings felt responsive alongside the super cool-looking semi-transparent grommets all around the racket.
So in summary, I certainly found the Elastic Elves 6 Pro to be a very pleasant racket to play with. If you like something that is slightly head-heavy with a medium, medium-stiff hitting feel whilst being very fast and slightly whippy at the same time, then this is certainly for you!
For more information on the Elastic Elves 6 Pro, check out jnice.com.tw (JNICE also have an English site!). For those who are not based in Taiwan, details on where to contact your nearest JNICE retailer are provided on JNICE's website service base page. If you are already in Taiwan, you can certainly buy directly from JNICE.
I am delighted to see newer, younger badminton brands pushing the boundaries with their racket designs. Traditionally, if you look at a racket with a super compact racket head design with a super head-heavy and extra stiff spec (at least on paper), you would think it would be an extremely demanding racket that won’t be everyone’s cup of tea. Ironically, this racket turned out to be a pretty good experience for me.
Have you tried any JNICE rackets before? Let me know in the comments section below and I’ll see you in the next post.