So I have been in touch with Beikou since the review of the previous seasons sticks (Links here Drag and Pro), and when they told me they were going to be doing custom coloured sticks I jumped at the chance to test one. So starting from the beginning (a very good place to start), I travelled over to the URL for the Beikou Custom test page, which is the same as the live page now it just required login details to access, and was greeted by a few lines of test explaining the pricing and the steps on how to order. As I scrolled down the was the range of colours available and the profile options, and then finally the main event, the interactive stick designer. You can choose the paint scheme and then fill the colours for each section. Once all the colours have been selected then you can add your initials and your shirt number. And then on the final page you can select the length, weight, profile, carbon content, end cap colour and the paint finish (Gloss, Satin or Matte). when you hit next you are given a summary with all the options you have picked, you will then get a code output that you can enter into the custom product form once you add it to the cart.
This is where my journey was different to the normal as the custom products were not linked up yet so I had to send the code to Beikou, the team there then ran this through their custom generator and they sent me the confirmation email that would be received by the customer.
This stick is very nice on the ball. The stick is nicely weighted with a balance point of 39cm from the head of the stick. This balance gives the stick a nice balance for using close skills, with the shaping of the face it holds the ball on the face as you move forward. This hold it very useful for changing direction as you can hug the ball in the face to make tight turns easier. The stick is especially good for using V-drags as the dishing in the face cups the ball nicely on the reverse extension and holds it to the face as you move the stick round before you drag the ball back. The ball is then held on the face as you drag it back, meaning you can easily change from a V drag to and L drag. The shaping also allows for an easy swap to 3D skills.
When I was testing this stick it was very cold, with all hitting and trapping I was doing I didn’t get any painful feedback. This is partially down to the grips on the stick (stock grip for a lot of the testing and adding a Gribbid/BFH Pro Grip for the last bit), but it is also down to the stick itself. The feedback gave you enough feel to know when the ball had come in hard or you have clipped the ground when hitting but not painful enough that you were scared to hit the ball even in the cold.
This stick hits very hard, it is definitely one of the hardest hitting sticks I have used, up there in power with the likes of the Adidas DF24. The stick does feature a subtle dishing of the face to improve flicking (More on that later) but this does not really effect hitting because the dishing is next to none existent on the sweet spot on the face where you connect with the ball. The only time it has any effect is when you are chipping the ball and rotate the stick in your hands to get a small lift, as the dishing means you connect with a different angle to the angle of the face so can vary between not lifting very much to light slightly too much depending on where on the face you hit the ball. This to me was a none issue as in these situations I would rather flick the ball anyway. The power that you can get on straight strikes at goal was excellent, you have a lot of confidence as the stick has very little vibrations at all even on those cold evening training sessions as long as you strike with the sweet spot. It is also very easy to direct the ball into the corners of the goal as the face allows to strike straight through the ball the line doesn’t alter as long as you have a good grip on the stick.
The same is true for slap hitting, you can use the groove in the shaft to generate a little extra power on the ball when playing slider passes and also add spin to the ball to give long passes a slight arch. If you do hit through the ball with the grooved area of the shaft then you will give the ball a small lift, this can vary between a couple of inches off the turf to 2 ft in the air depending on if the head is rocked backwards.
The reverse edge is very thick on this stick. This makes hitting tomahawk shots fairly easy, there is obviously still a level of skill required to pull off a good tomahawk hot. The edge’s thickness makes it very easy to hit the ball hard and flat into the corners of the goal. While also allowing controlled lifts by rotating the stick a little bit to close the gap between the hook of the pitch to give a small to a large lift. I admit that when I overstretch I often struggled with finding the top corner while running and over stretching, I found it very easy to pick direction, nailing the ball into tight gaps between the goalkeeper and the post but the lift on the ball was sometimes a little wayward, leading to rattling the ball against the crossbar or hitting the keeper in the shoulder. The reverse hitting was so consistent when hitting flat however, that I started to use the tomahawk as a passing option to quickly move the ball across goal from the back line, or the left of goal back towards the penalty spot.
For upright hitting the dishing in the face does have a slight effect on your hitting. When you hit an upright reverse it is very easy to put a small lift on the ball, I actually found this to actually be very useful as I often was useful. I only really use the upright hitting for shooting, so I found it often added some height onto my shots which helped making it a bit more tricky for the goalkeeper to save it.
For flicking this stick features a thin head, a low bow and a dishing in the face so it is designed to make flicking easier. The then head combined with the dishing makes getting under the ball very easy. Once you have the ball on the head of the stick its easy to get it to hold in place while you push through the ball to place it into the corner of the goal. The ball can also be picked up on the reverse stick to flick just as easily, sitting the ball into the dishing of the face allows you to fling the ball easily into the corners of the goal. You can also use the bow by rolling the ball up the stick before whipping it back down, this works very well for adding pace to shots at goal where you don’t have enough space to take your stick off the ball but need to put the ball into the roof of the goal. You can also use the whip to fire low passes (single stick height) into the circle for deflections. But what I really enjoyed using this stick for was to play small lifted passes into space for teammates to run onto, this sticks ability to hold the ball on the head meant I could get small lofted passes through gaps in defenders with the right degree of height so that the ball didn’t bounce off uncontrollably but also not too much that the ball wouldn’t make it to them.
It’s a similar story when it comes to using 3D. because you can hold the ball on the face of the stick so well, it is easy to execute small lifts over flat sticks. By rolling the ball towards the face of the stick, you can easily lift the ball on the face of the stick. This allows you to carry the ball on the stick over flat sticks and then play the ball into space to run onto or drop the ball back down in front of you.
The Drag mould is made for flicking, the face has a subtle dishing to help with easy pickups. Once you have got the ball on the end of the stick the dishing of the face helps to guide the ball up the stick into the groove, with the ball in the groove you can accelerate the head of the stick towards the goal. This motion helps you to slingshot the ball down the stick with confidence as the ball stays nicely in the groove and then into the dished face before it is steered off the bottom of the head of the stick. The dishing of the face on the release of the ball helps massively in keeping the ball under control, where as some other sticks with a deep dished face require you to get the ball perfectly into the dish for release or the ball can’t fire off target. The dishing on this stick keeps a subtle concave from the deepest part of the groove to the middle of the face of the stick that guides the ball without affecting hitting. It was very easy to right the ball into all four corners with a lot of power because of this confidence that the ball will stay under control. To keep the ball low with the dishing you do need to rotate the stick hook forward a little to stop the dishing from putting a small lift on the ball (3cm/1 inch) but this is something that it is better to do with any Full Low Bow sticks as a lot feature a slight twist in the shaft so the hook is out of the way of the balls motion down the stick.
For Aerials the sticks features lead to effortless overheads. It is easy to drop the ball 50 yards down the pitch on the end of a team mates sticks. The dishing, groove and low bow all can be used to get a good deal of height on overhead passes. You can use this to great effect by rolling the ball slightly towards the stick before the pickup where you can then more easily get the ball up into the groove then you can whip through to get a lot of power on the overheads. Because the overheads are so easy its important for you to practice to control these long overheads so your not just chucking the ball past your team mates and onto the stick of the defender behind them.
This stick offers amazing value for money, event with the custom option. I think in a blind stick test you would struggle to single out this stick from ones that can cost up to twice as much. The hitting is excellent, the feel on the ball is great with a nice balance to the stick, and obviously the dragflicking is exceptional. This stick has actually found its way into my match day bag so I have this on hand at all games and coaching sessions. This is an excellent stick!
Feel – 8.5/10
Hitting – 9/10
Reverse – 8.5/10
Dragflicking – 9.5/10