50 Words or Less
Many people were impressed by Mitsubishi Rayon’s Kuro Kage XT that we reviewed late last year, but not everyone has the swing for a stout, low-launching shaft like the XT. Well those players needing a little higher launch with a little more kick now have an option in the Mitsubishi Rayon Kuro Kage XM shaft. The XM carries over the same attributes as the XT, including Titanium Nickel (TiNi) wire in the tip of the shaft for stability, high quality materials, and ION Plating finish, just with a softer feel to expand the reach of the Kuro Kage shaft line.
The Kuro Kage XM looks differ from the XT’s with a predominantly black color scheme and silver accents. Immediately noticeable is the rainbow foil look throughout the shaft – a result of the ION Plating finish process utilized by Mitsubishi Rayon. What I like about this shaft, and Kuro Kage shafts in general, is that they are fairly modest looking shafts at first glance, but after closer inspection, they have a lot of cool detail and character that leaves you feeling like Mitusbishi really pays close attention to the smallest details.
When Mitsubishi says the Kuro Kage XM has a softer mid-section, they aren’t lying. The Kuro Kage XM has good feel in regards to response and stability but it felt soft in my driver, even in X-flex. The TiNi Wire in the tip does help the shaft stabilize to avoid the dreaded wet noodle feeling, but the softer mid-section made me feel like it was easy to lose control of the shaft. Based on feel, I think people with smoother swing tempos will be the best fit for the XM. I feel like the XM and the XT fall on the far ends of the feel spectrum so I will be very interested to see if MRC drops another Kuro Kage that falls right in between.
Looking at my numbers with the Kuro Kage XM, I would say they are ok but not great. What the graphic doesn’t show is how much I had to work to put those numbers up consistently. Now, let’s be fair, that’s nothing against the shaft, it just wasn’t a good fit for me in a driver. I had to really slow my entire swing down and work to control the club so much that I became very hesitant hitting the ball, often resulting in a shot to the right. If you look through my shaft reviews, I am definitely a “mid” kind of guy for launch, spin, speed, etc. The shafts geared toward the extreme lows and highs don’t seem to get along with me all that well.
Remember earlier when I said the tip section was stable and the response in the shaft was solid? Well that made me think there was still something to the Kuro Kage XM shaft that I was missing. I spoke with Nick Sherburne at Club Champion, and he told me that he has seen a lot of people having success with the XM in their fairway woods rather than their driver. A lot of 105-110 mph swings have found it too soft for their driver, but perfect in their fairway woods, so that’s exactly what I tried. In my 3 wood, I found the Kuro Kage XM to have the same great feel and was easy to launch with good distance. Frankly, the XM just made it easy to hit the ball well with a 3 wood which is a win any day of the week.
Mitsubishi did a good job making the Kuro Kage XM live up to its billing as the softer cousin of the Kuro Kage XT. The XM still has the strong attention to detail, stable tip section, and slick looks found in the XT, but the softer mid-section results in a much different feeling and performing shaft to fit a very different need in the market. In my case, the XM didn’t work out as a driver shaft candidate, but made a solid case to spend some time in my three wood.