Apacs Finapi 88 – Carbon For The Common man.
Apacs may not be a name commonly come across in the badminton world. But they are up and coming, and for all the right reasons. With the market flooded with highly endorsed stupidly expensive rackets from manfacturers such as Yonex and Li-Ning, its comforting to know that theres one brand that caters to the common man with well built, well designed and affordably priced rackets. You may want to think that with its meager asking price that it simply cant be any good… but in fact there are gems in their line up that can compete with the best of them and make you just that much better on the court. The Apacs Finapi 88 is just such one racket.
It may have taken some doing but manufacturers have figured out the essential ingredients to make a racket play well. While top end rackets from the major makers favor stiff shafts and exotic materials, Apacs has taken a different approach with the Finapi 88, making a racket thats relatively easy to play with without being Lee Chong Wei or Lin Dan. And the secret formula seems to consist of a light racket with a flexible shaft that is slightly head heavy. You would have thought that they would have figured it out sooner, but later is better than never. Several of Apacs rackets are designed around this principle and they all play very very well indeed.
Where a stiff, heavy racket may do well for the professionals, most if not all recreational badminton players are no where near conditioned as the pros and need every bit of help afforded by the tool that makes the game. Many intermediate players who have used this or the very similar Apacs Lurid Power have come away dismayed at just how much the racket helps their game over using the likes of a Yonex Voltric or other top dollar brand. Well, they cant be blamed can they,… a lot of folk walk into a store and buy the best that they can, after all if it works for Lee Chong Wei, it should work for anyone who wields it. That, is simply not the case. Racket selection entirely depends on the fitness and skill level of any given individual. Realise that even the most advanced player will be beaten soundly by any of the champions using this racket or even a frying pan for that matter. There is simply no reason to spend multiples of hundreds on a racket that was designed for a professional that will only hinder a less than professional badminton player.
The Finapi 88 weighs in at 85 gms and is rated as stiff. I cannot imagine by what metric Apacs measures its stiffness because its far from stiff, its more medium-flexible, which is a good, as thats one part of its secret sauce. The flexible shaft helps to generate power. It is also slightly head heavy helping the swing which in turn aids in generation of power. It’s very easy to swing and feels comfortable in hand. While it has a claimed maximum tension of 32 pounds , it does best with a more reasonable tension. I found mine to work quite well at 25 pounds using 0.67mm string. The flexibility of the racket makes up for the stiffer string bed provided by a slightly higher tension, which in tandem are responsible for two important aspects – The flexible shaft aids in generating power and the stiff string bed which helps accurate placement at the net. You would think that this was rocket science.
Playability, which is what counts most, is above par. The sweet spot is large and forgiving. This racket will not hold you back irregardless of skill level. Perfect for the beginner or enthusiast alike. I own many rackets by various major brands and while i do have my personal favorite, if i only had to make do with this, it would be no bad thing. Its that competent.
Build quality, fit and finish are good and Its not bad looking either, taking most of its visual cues from Yonex’s Voltric 80. Its no coincidence that it has “88” in its name and features a color scheme that easily passes off for the one adorned on the Voltric 80. But it does not claim to be a clone and neither is it one as it does not play in any way like the Voltric 80. It plays very much like a mid tiered Apacs, which is a good thing. For some unfathomable reason the Finapi line is only available in the Asian market, not that it makes much difference in this current global market place. I sourced mine off of ebay for the princely sum of about $50 USD. That includes custom stringing with my choice of tension, shipping from Malaysia, and a grip. Honest to goodness graphite has never been so affordable, and for its asking price, it does no wrong.