Updated: Oct 4
Today, I'll be talking about my experience and review of the Victor Auraspeed 100X badminton racket, which is the favoured racket of one half of the Daddies, Mohammad Ahsan, and also Wang Tzu Wei.
This would be the first Victor racket I review on this blog. In fact, it's my first Victor racket in many years as it's been a while since I owned the legendary blue Victor Bravesword 12, as well as its black-colour cousin.
For those who are unfamiliar with Victor’s racket series, the Auraspeed models are part of Victor’s speed series. Based on Victor's racket matrix, the Auraspeed 100X is a rather balanced, slightly head-light racket. Contrast this with the DriveX models, which are all-round rackets for players wanting precision and control; and the ultra-popular Thruster series, which are part of Victor’s power series rackets with superstar players such as Lee Zii Jia and Tai Tzu Ying using them.
As always, let's start with the aesthetics of the Auraspeed 100X. I was pretty excited when I first saw its frame as it looked pretty thin and, from experience, means it's going to be fast! Excitement level 2! However, upon closer inspection of its design and colour scheme, I was pretty disappointed at how the Auraspeed 100X turned out. Many of you know that I have a thing for matte rackets, and after looking at lots of super cool Li-Ning racket designs and paint finishes, the Auraspeed 100X just looks normal and can't really compete, in terms of looks, with other top-tier flagship rackets. The design and decals around the frame are fine, it's the shaft that makes it look pretty basic.
I also notice that in the photos of the Auraspeed 100X on Victor's website, the cone and butt caps of the racket are semi-transparent, but the one I have isn't. This is because the racket I have is a special edition with Ahsan’s signature on it. Sorry, Ahsan, I have lots of love for you but I would’ve preferred a semi-transparent cone and butt cap. I think that would be really cool as I would be able to see the insides and into the Power Ring that Victor has been promoting for this Auraspeed 100X.
Another key feature of the Auraspeed 100X is Victor’s Free Core technology, which essentially moves away from the traditional wooden handles and employs a hollow transparent plastic handle to allow for more shaft movement within it. My first experience of playing with a Free Core racket was when I visited Greg and Jenny from Badminton Insight last year and played with Jenny’s Victor Thruster F Enhanced edition. One big plus point I find about the plastic handle is that Victor does not use any glue on its stock grip. The stock grip comes off incredibly easily without leaving any glue residue at all. There's only some double-sided tape on the base of the stock grip at the butt cap section. This means for the first time, I don't have to tape my racket handle to prevent sweat from seeping through the grip and damaging the wooden handles, as I now have a racket with a plastic handle.
In terms of measurements, the Auraspeed 100X’s handle is 17cm long, with a 21cm shaft length and a diameter of 7.1cm. In terms of its frame, it has a 24cm frame height and an 18.7cm frame width, pretty standard on that front. It also has a frame thickness of 10.1mm, which surprised me a little as I thought it would be thinner than that judging by the looks.
A key observation that I always make when I review a racket is the extent of the recession on its frame profile, and the Auraspeed 100X certainly is a unique one in that sense. It only has less than half of the top-half section recessed. Its 3 and 9 o'clock sections aren't recessed. I would say it's only a 40% recessed frame in this instance. Other frame-related features also include 4 sets of single pass grommets around the 10 and 2 o'clock sections of the racket and the inside of the racket frame being slightly recessed at around the 3 and 9 o'clock sections, which is a feature of Victor’s Dynamic Sword frame design.
For stringing, the Auraspeed 100X 4UG5 model is rated to withstand 28lbs tension but stringing it to my usual 27lbs by 29lbs with Aerobite was no issue at all. I'm sure the Auraspeed 100X can comfortably handle higher tensions, although you might void your warranty if it does break.
As soon as you start swinging this racket around, you’ll immediately notice that this thing swings fast! And pretty smooth too! Its frame has "continuous attack" painted on and I think the words do accurately describe the leading function of the racket. The Auraspeed 100X is very easy to play with and its ability to change shuttle angles is great, certainly capable of continuous attack. During testing, I was able to get the shuttle down pretty steeply and get excellent cross-court angles too.
In terms of power, it has a decent amount of power for a 4U head-light racket. I wouldn't say it has as much power as my usual Yonex Astrox 88D Pro, but good amount of power nonetheless. When you have to do a dig-out shot from the rear of the court, the Auraspeed 100X makes these get-out-of-jail power shots pretty easy compared to many other rackets. Racket face stability of the Auraspeed 100X is also pretty good.
The Auraspeed 100X is also easily maneuverable, not surprising since it is marketed as an attacking racket that aims at pinging off and rebounding every incoming shuttle as quickly as possible. I also had no issues with the Auraspeed 100X's defense capabilities and was able to change shuttle direction very easily.
The Auraspeed 100X’s hitting feel is really nice and crisp. It did remind me a little of the Yonex Astrox 100ZZ, although I must say that the Astrox 100ZZ feels stiffer and much more head-heavier. The Auraspeed 100X doesn't feel like it has a lot of hold time like Yonex’s Arcsabers, or even the Astrox 99 Pro, but it has more repulsion.
I traditionally find Victor rackets to have a slightly more hollow hitting feel compared to Yonex or Li Ning rackets, based on my experience with its Bravesword and Meteor series rackets. However, with the Free Core technology that Victor has employed in its current generation rackets, I certainly feel that Victor has made a significant improvement in the playing feel of its rackets. I’m certainly a fan of new innovations like these.
Overall, I am very impressed with the Auraspeed 100X, especially at how easy it is to play with. All this while I have been recommending Yonex’s Astrox 88S Pro and Nanoflare 800 for easy-to-play rackets and this time round I would definitely add the Auraspeed 100X to that list. In my view, it is certainly a great doubles racket. For those who are looking for a bit more punch, perhaps the 3U model would be a better option.
Do you own an Auraspeed 100X and what do you think about it? Let me know in the comments section below and I’ll see you in the next one!