SOTX badminton rackets are a relatively new name in the badminton world, however, they have been growing at a fast rate in China. Now they have entered the UK and US market, selling a wide range of badminton equipment such as rackets, shuttlecocks, bags, clothing and shoes. SOTX was formed in China in 2002, and now have many outlets throughout many major chinese cities. SOTX has also expanded globally, into 20 other countries, and are extremely active in promoting the sport of badminton. This can only be good for our sport, extra competition doesn't hurt anyone, and it may well help to lower costs for those who purchase badminton rackets.
I guess it was inevitable that a major badminton racquet company evolved in China, the only mystery is that i didn't happen sooner. Yonex is the most successful manufacturer in the far east, selling millions of rackets each year. However, SOTX appear to making quite an impact, and are already eating into the market share. This rapid growth has now seen SOTX badminton come to the west, in the UK and in the US.
There are nine ranges in the SOTX line up, and the flagship rackets are the CP series, which stands for Commax Power, or circle power. These racquets are made from high modulus carbon, and also include a new technology exclusive to SOTX, force pro nano. Force pro nano technology is designed to minimize vibration which can cause injury and strain to wrist, arm and shoulder muscles. The CP series is designed to withstand higher stringing tensions, as high as 31lbs. This tension produces excessive vibration in normal badminton rackets, but with the force pro technology, this is no longer the case. The benefit to badminton players could be huge, and SOTX appears to be the only current manufacturer offering this protection for players. I guess the only way to tell if this technology works is to try it for yourself. String your racket at 31lbs tension and see if your arm aches after a few hours play. The only other problem is finding a string that can take this stress without breaking.
The downside to this engineering is the price. The top of the range CP 7000 retails for around £109 in the UK, and $300 in the US. This puts SOTX in direct competition with the top Yonex offerings, who already have a solid reputation for quality and innovation. The CP 7000 is also very stiff, which adds to the vibration, and as such is only recommended for experienced players, who are able to get the most out of these types of racquets.
At these prices i think it will be difficult for SOTX to sell many rackets, but in time, as their reputation grows and more online retailers stock their products, the prices will fall to more reasonable rates, in line with most of the competition. The rest of the CP range are the 6000, which is a bit more flexible, the 5000 which is yet more flexible and lighter, all the way down to the CP 1000, and even this entry level racket will set you back around £60.
Things get even more expensive with the SOTX Woven range. The Woven 16 costs a whopping £129.99. . . gulp. It is developed from high grade carbon fibre and glass fibre which make it more stable and easier to control. It can also be strung to high tensions, but it does not have the force pro technology so you will most likely feel all the vibration at high tensions. Cue the arm and shoulder injuries. There are another 9 rackets in this range, which are all very similar, and the bottom of the range is the Woven-2i, which still costs £49.99.
The SOTX Diamond Fighter range is made from special memory alloy which reduces the ageing process of the racket. How it does this i do not know, but it does seem very similar to the Yonex ArcSaber range.
There is also the super light range, which, as the name implies, offers very light rackets, down to just 75 grams, which is in direct competition with Karakal badminton equipment, only SOTX is more expensive. The choice is yours. . .
It appears that SOTX is the new kid on the block, and the more established brands could come under threat. The main stumbling block for SOTX badminton rackets is gaining an honest reputation for quality and durability, and only time will tell if they are successful.
Find out all you need to know about SOTX badminton rackets at the badminton racket blog.