Leading on from our general article on Decathlon Hockey, Decathlon promote themselves as being the market leader for sports retail across the globe (read the article here). We managed to get our hands on some of the products on offer by Decathlon’s Hockey Range, called Kipsta. In this first review, of many, we will be looking at their top of the range stick on this occassion, the FH900. The stick comes in two general colours and has a black with a carbonbraid effect on the curved side and either a yellow or red flat side of the stick. The one I tested was yellow although I don’t think there is any difference in the them besides the colour. The stick is a duel rod, low bow with 95% carbon, 5% aramite. The balance point is about 40cm and the weighs in at around 539g.
The balance is lovely, akin to Adidas or Dita in my experience. Great for dribbling and receiving the ball at awkward angles, the awkward angles might just have been me and my positioning. I found no trouble in understanding where the head of the stick was and found it quite simple to dig the ball out from my feet when receiving the ball under pressure. Despite the high carbon ratio receiving the ball at speed is seemed good enough and controllable. It does not feel like a high carbon stick when passing and receiving but you can definitely find that it is when hitting at pace.
It lacks the satisfying “thwack” you get from hitting with the likes of a Gryphon stick but that is made up for, by the fact, you can receive the ball so softly. The stick still generates a lot of power transference and you will find that while it isn’t as strong a strike as the aforementioned Gryphons. It compares well to Grays and Adidas. The toe feels a bit weak, if you don’t strike clean you lose a lot compared to carbon plate sticks, but for a dual rod this is consistent and holds up well.
I found that this is probably better on the reverse than on the strong side! The sweet spot seems fairly wide and the power transference is good. This stick has been tested well now, I’ve used it a lot and not felt any issue with it. The weighting means striking on the reverse, either at full strike speed for a shot on goal, or when dribbling and playing a lower speed pass, are both easy and powerful. It’s not the hardest strike I’ve witnessed on the reverse, but it is consistent and does the job well.
Flicking Due to the weighting and balance of the stick, coupled with the low bow 3D skills like light lifts and low flicks seems easy and consistent. It’s not an ultra low bow like some brands have, not everyone likes them anyway and there are better ones out there for 3D skills, but it’s simple enough to do what you need to do when playing. I had a go at doing penalty strokes with it and found it was fine in terms of accuracy and power, though deception was harder than some due to the low bow vs ultra low bow.
This compares well to the TX24 from Adidas, which I have used in the past, it doesn’t have the groove technology some brands have started to use. Consequently, it is great for all rounders who want to drag at goal, while still able to perform general skills when playing. Accuracy was very easy, in fact going top right and top left was probably one of the easiest I have used. Aerial wise I found 25-50 yards quite easy, accuracy not compromised, but anything beyond this was a stretch without an ultra low bow.
So now down to the nitty gritty… The stick is £109.99 and for what it is this is an incredible bargain. This is possibly one of if not the most competitive stick on the market at the moment for quality, performance and price. I honestly believe it has the same quality as a stick at £250-£400. The graphics are plain but also quite good. The toe does change colour over time which is a shame but if you want good reliable stick, it has been so far, that will help you develop your game this is going to be hard to beat. I would suggest visiting Decathlon and trying it out yourself, it’s always about preference but I think you will like what you see and feel, it won’t break the bank balance either!