With the cost of living raising everywhere in the world, let’s take a look at some budget LiNing badminton rackets, namely the LiNing G Force 3500 Superlite, G Force 3700 Superlite as well as the Superlite Max 9 badminton rackets.
LiNing has quite a few badminton racket series on the international market, such as AxForce, Aeronaut, Tectonic, Calibar, BladeX, TurboCharging and Windstorm. Each of these series have a wide variety of racket models, ranging from top-end to more budget-friendly options. However, in order to adapt to localized market demands, LiNing also produces rackets that are only available in certain countries, for example, the Wind Lite, XP and G Force series.
The LiNing G Force Superlite series badminton rackets are widely available in southeast and central Asia, but are not available in Europe. The significantly higher labour and administration costs and higher tax rates in Europe make selling these rackets in this region not commercially viable. Also, badminton is significantly more dominant in Asia, so naturally demand for badminton rackets is much higher in Asian markets.
For this post, I would like to thank Sunlight Sports for providing me with these sample rackets to test. For those of you in India, remember to use my discount code “CKYEW” when you shop with LiNing Studio for additional savings!
So the LiNing G force Superlite series would be considered as an entry-level fully moulded graphite badminton racket. These G Force Superlites are around 2000 to 2200 rupees in India whereas the top-end rackets such as the AxForce 90 Tiger and Dragon which I’ve reviewed recently are around 15000 rupees. Here’s the link to my LiNing AxForce 90 review. Local prices would differ slightly but I’m just using this as a reference.
The G Force Superlites are also split into many different model numbers going from 3500, 3600 all the way up to 3900 before ending with the Superlite Max 9. From my understanding, the 3500 to 3700 models are the 78g rackets; the 3800 and 3900 are 79g, and the Max 9 are 80g. I’m not sure how LiNing sorts these rackets as on their stickers, they say they have a 5g tolerance but then LiNing classifies the rackets with a 1g difference at 78g, 79g and 80g. In any case, the Superlites 3500 to 3900 would be considered 5U rackets while the Max 9 is a 4U racket.
In terms of looks, there are several different colour schemes for you to choose from for each model and they all look pretty flashy with matte finishings and striking colours. The 3500 Superlite demo racket I have is the black and green model, while the 3700 Superlite I have is the navy and orange model. For those of you looking at the Max 9, you will have 8 colour options to choose from so you’re spoilt for choice. The demo I have here is the navy-blue version.
I am also very impressed that even with these entry-level rackets, LiNing still uses their logo-embossed grommets, which I find very cool. With the 3500 Superlite and 3700 Superlite, you’ll even find top-end racket techs such as the Aerotec Beam System and the Dynamic Optimum Frame being employed on their frames.
In terms of measurements, the 3500 Superlite, the 3700 Superlite and the Max 9 all have shaft diametres of 7.4mm and shaft lengths of 21.5cm. They also share the same racket frame heights of 24cm and frame widths of 19cm, making them some of the widest badminton rackets I’ve ever reviewed on my channel. All 3 rackets also have a top-half recessed frame which LiNing labeled as the Compressed Groove frame. Interestingly, on the 3500 Superlite and the Max 9, you will find that the frame is gradually recessed around the 3 and 9 o’clock region, but on the 3700 Superlite the recessed part is an abrupt straight cut.
For racket frame thickness, the 3500 Superlite is thinnest at 9.8mm, then comes the Max 9 at 9.9mm, and ending with the 3700 Superlite at 10mm. For the record, a frame thickness of 10mm is still considered very thin so if you are looking for speed, these rackets will be fast.
Additionally, all 3 rackets have grip lengths of 16.5cm. They also come in S1 grip size which is equivalent to Yonex and Victor’s G6 and personally, I do love G6 grips a lot. You can always make a small grip thicker but not the other way around. The 3500 Superlite and 3700 have silver butt caps with a red embossed LiNing logo, whilst the Max 9 has a 3D effect black butt cap.
All 3 rackets are rated to withstand 30lbs tension. I strung them with the LiNing No. 1 string at 27lbs by 29lbs and they all held fine. They did flex slightly under tension but ultimately, they were alright and I had no issues with them at all.
One thing to note about these rackets would be their length. They are only 670mm long, which means they are 5mm shorter than the usual full-length badminton rackets. Again, if you like speed, slightly shorter rackets would usually swing faster.
LiNing categorizes the 3500 Superlite, the 3700 Superlite, and the Max 9 as even-balanced rackets. However, personally, I wouldn’t consider them as even balanced rackets after testing them.
I started with the 3700 Superlite and my first impression of it was that it was a head-heavy racket. It was pretty easy to play with and had decent power too. The LiNing No. 1 string felt fine with a good steady and predictable feeling coming off the racket. It also felt fairly stiff with not a lot of pliability from the shaft and you will feel its stiffness as soon as you hit a shuttle with it. If you are used to playing with a normal full-length racket like me, you would certainly notice the shorter size too.
For the 3500 Superlite, everything felt the same as the 3700 Superlite for me, except it felt head lighter. Bearing in mind that LiNing also classifies this as an even balance racket, I thought this was slightly closer in that regard. Again, the 3500 Superlite had decent power and the strings reacted well to the shuttle. It was predictable and decent to play with. Nothing to shout about in terms of performance but considering its price point, it’s a pretty good racket.
The Max 9 certainly stood out to me as the head-lightest and the stiffest racket out of the 3 rackets. I was surprised by how stiff the racket felt overall. It was also obvious to me that the racket was shorter as I had a noticeably shorter reach. It’s certainly fast but it doesn’t have as much head weight as the other 2 Superlites so it lacks some punch. I thought it felt slightly better than the 3500 Superlite and the 3700 Superlite but only very marginal.
In conclusion, if you are looking for power, go for the 3700 Superlite. If you want more speed, go for the Max 9. Something in between, the 3500 Superlite is your racket there.
Some of you may ask how are these rackets different compared to top-end rackets and why they differ so much in price. Well, technically, the Superlites and the Max 9 rackets will do everything you would want them to do. Clears, drops, smash, blocks, net, etc. are absolutely fine with them. However, there are significant differences when it comes to playability and comfort when comparing these 3 budget rackets to their top-end counterparts.
For example, I mentioned the 3700 Superlite has a stiff shaft and it actually reminded me of hitting with a plank. The whole thing felt stiff throughout with very little pliability and feel. It felt like it was manufactured with a single material, whereas its top-end rackets are usually layered with different carbon layups which will give you a much better feel, feedback, and response from the shaft. This results in a good amount of controlled pliability. It’s like riding bikes with rim brakes for budget rackets and comparing them to bikes' hydraulic disc brakes for top-end rackets. The performance, response and modulation you get from the top-end rackets would be significantly better than the budget rackets. Essentially, with the top-end rackets, you are paying for better outright performance, response and feel.
The 3500 Superlite, 3700 Superlite and Max 9 are amazing in terms of value if you want something pretty consistent but at a fraction of the cost of a top-tier racket. If your budget doesn’t allow you to go up a tier, I would recommend that you opt for the best strings you can on these rackets as they will improve the racket’s response and feel. Thinner strings generally feel better but they are also less durable so it’s a balancing act.
I don’t normally review rackets at these price points but I feel that they certainly bring a lot of value, especially if you are someone who is looking to not spend a lot on a hobby. Let’s face it, a top-end racket could be 10 times more expensive and it’s impossible to tell if that translates to 10 times better performance compared to these budget rackets. So why not give these budget beauties a chance? In the meantime, remember to use my discount code if you are purchasing from LiNing Studio and I’ll see you in the next post!