cole_ely on 3/15/2008
I call this blade a "poor man's w6," so you can apply a lot of the w6 review to this blade. However, the outer plies are a bit cheaper ayous, and the overall craftsmanship isn't quite up to the w6. However it's a steal at the typical price. Very spinny and geared for a topspin looping game. I don't recommend this one for beginners despite the price and speed ratings. It's a bit springy in the short game. But for someone wanting to learn to loop, this will do it with the best of them and at a steal of a price.
Obi on 11/3/2014
5 plies wood: kiri-meranti-kiri-meranti-kiri
Speed: Medium (all+), weight 81 g, 5.8 mm thick.
This blade is considered loop machine and it is - up to a certain point. It plays well when things are nice and slow. If you are advanced player and play goes more serious there are problems. Blade loses control, not enough speed from distance, block not accurate nor dangerous.
After a great blade (such as PG7), this can seem to you like a toy. Push requires adjustment of angle, and it is hard to perform. There are vibrations present and not the good kind.
896 is good for learning how to loop but for serious play not recommended.
Shirazir on 11/21/2012
There's surprisingly not as much information floating around about this blade as there should be. All I could deduce was that it was a great looping blade and not much else. Well, here's my take after spending a couple of days with it.
This is without a doubt a step up from the Instinct, it's faster, seemingly more flexible and thus offers great dwell time. In addition to this, it offers decent control though tends to be a trifle unassured in the short game.
As for looping, it certainly lives up to expectations. With great spin resulting from good dwell time and a reasonable amount of speed from mid distance, it's not going to be the racket's fault if you keep hitting long . This said, it isn't a particularly light blade and while it may well be middle of the weight range, you do notice it after playing the Instinct.
What I can say for this blade is as follows, it's not the worst blade to start out with but it's much more potent when used by someone who understands looping and countering incoming spin well.
zhuangcorp on 3/25/2008
For a low price, this is a very impressive blade. I definitely recommend using tacky rubber on this blade, because the pushing game will be very difficult with more springy rubber. Pushing with Japanese rubber will be frustrating as it will create lots of long and high balls. Smashing is fine, but the loop is really the best thing about this rubber. There is lots of speed and spin when looping, especially from midrange. Very easy to create high-arc loops also. Flips are also very good.