View Full Version : Prince Hornet Review?

03-24-2004, 02:30 PM
Did TW ever review the TT Hornet? If so, was it the original black and red or the later maroon? What was the difference between these two frames?

Also, does anybody have the link to old TW reviews list?


03-24-2004, 05:31 PM
Prince Triple Threat Hornet Racquet Review

What sets the Triple Threat racquets apart from the rest of the pack of racquets is Prince's Triple Braid Technology. According to Dave Holland, Prince's Marketing Director, Triple Braid is essentially a weighting system that incorporates a bulging braid of graphite, titanium and copper at 2 and 10 o'clock on the racquet head, and at the bottom of the handle. By placing added weight at the upper shoulders (2 and 10 o'clock), Triple Braid increases torsional stability and raises the sweetspot. Triple Braid in the handle enhances longitudinal stability, thus reducing racquet recoil upon ball impact. The Triple Threat Hornets also feature Prince's patented Sweet Spot Suspension System.

As one might suspect, the placement of the 3 Triple Braids results in an overall heftier feel than many of today's superlight frames. How does this affect maneuverability and overall performance? Like many of you, we couldn't wait to find out! Scroll through the complete specs, playtests and customer comments.

Triple Threat Hornet Midplus
Picking up the Hornet MP, one can feel the effects of Triple Braid weighting immediately - the racquet feels very solid. On groundstrokes, this translates into stability and comfort. Drew offers, "these racquets feel as though they have some weight to them. This isn't surprising, considering that's the point of the Triple Braid. As a result, they are deceptively powerful - perhaps a result of the stability and comfort." Most playtesters found the Hornet comfortable. Dan adds, "from the first groundstroke, this racquet was the equivalent of sitting in a big soft Lazy Boy chair - very forgiving on the body. It makes me wonder why every racquet isn't made to feel this plush. It's flexible enough to take big cuts without losing control."

Interestingly, a few playtesters found balls hit high in the stringbed less forgiving than expected, despite the Triple Braid at 2 and 10 o'clock. Granville explains, "I initially had problems finding the sweetspot...the weighting system seems to drop the sweetspot toward the stringbed center, unlike many other long and lightweight racquets." Dan concurs, saying, "if you're on the sweetspot, you barely feel the shot. However, off-center hits toward the top saw a major drop in power and a feeling of vibration."

Spin can be generated with the Hornet MP, however, not all playtesters agreed on this feature. Drew comments, "topspin was a bit of a struggle for me. I couldn't generate the low to high racquet head speed I wanted. When I hit through the ball, the racquet felt great but spin is crucial to my game." Dan counters, "varying levels of topspin were easy to generate and slice stayed incredibly low and bit well. It makes this racquet a natural for chip and chargers, serve and volleyers or all-court players who rely on precision approaches to set up easy volleys." Ron agrees, adding, "the racquet adjusted very quickly to hitting topspin forehands and slice backhands."

Thanks to the Triple Braid weighting and 100 square inch head, the Hornet MP is very stable at net, yet still maneuverable due to its slightly head-light balance. Mark offers, "it was quick but still stable enough to handle the hard hit balls. It also had good control on low or half-volleys. Overheads were solid and I could whip it around quickly. Although my overheads weren't overpowering, I didn't need to work very hard to hit them." Don adds, "it almost felt longer than 27-1/2 inches. I was able to reach more shots than I anticipated. Good stability and power too." Dan continues, "volleys found good placement and control. Due to the soft feel of this frame, long practice sessions at net had little effect on my arm. Maneuverability was excellent and getting down for low volleys no problem. Overheads found good power as long as swing speed stayed high."

Serving with the Hornet MP was easy but placement outperformed power for most playtesters. Dan says, "I felt the softness and weight held my serve speed down a bit but placement was a different story. Slices out wide in the deuce court or up the middle in the ad court continuously found the corners. Kick second serves had good jump but generating enough pace required some pronounced swing speed." Don adds, "I served really well with this racquet. I liked the extra 1/2 inch of length and 100 square inch head - nice combination for flat first serves and good spin second serves."

The Hornet MP is very stable on serve returns, approach shots and reaction shots due to its heft and Triple Braid weighting. Players used to flicking lighter swingweight racquets may find the Hornet a bit heavy, although none of our playtesters commented negatively on maneuverability. Block returns against booming first serves are very solid - the racquet doesn't get pushed around. Slice approach shots can be hit with pace and good bite, without having to swing hard or sacrifice control. Half-volleys are a natural shot with this racquet.

All in all, the Hornet MP is a good choice for players seeking a slightly larger, slightly heavier and slightly longer midplus 'tweener racquet. It offers a nice combination of power, control, stability and comfort but will appeal most to players who prefer a heavier swinging frame.

Triple Threat Hornet Midplus Technical & Statistical Data

(Scores are determined by averaging individual play test scores)

Technical Specifications
Length 27.5 inches 70 centimeters
Head Size 100 square inches 645 square centimeters
Weight 10.8 ounces 306 grams
Balance Point 13.5 inches
34 centimeters 2pts Head Light
Shaft Width 24 mm Head - 22 mm Shaft
Composition GraphitExtreme/Copper/Titanium
Babolat RDC Ratings
Score Grade
Flex Rating 73 Range: 0-100
Swing Weight 349 Range: 200-400
Manueverability 57 B

Triple Threat Hornet Oversize
The Hornet OS isn't just an oversized version of the Hornet MP. Its 10.7 ounces is well distributed along the 28 inches of overall length, resulting in a slightly head-light balance. Jan Michael Gambill was so impressed with the Hornet OS, he switched to it from the ThunderBolt OS during the Australian Open.

On groundstrokes, Granville offers, "the head-light balance contributed to good maneuverability. I was able to drive the ball with good pace both down the line and cross-court. The Triple Braid weighting at 2 & 10 o'clock and at the handle seemed to really reduce torque on off-center shots, something that usually plagues lightweight, oversize racquets." Dan comments, "the Hornet OS is very solid on off-center hits and sports a very robust feeling from the baseline. While many oversize racquets give me problems with 'fly-away' slice shots, this wasn't the case here. As with the 100 version, slice bit well and stayed low. This makes a world of difference when coming in off a short ball." Drew adds, "I found the Hornet OS easier to maneuver and accelerate, allowing me to get the topspin I wanted." Mark continues, "the Hornet OS was very solid on groundstrokes. I had to start my swing earlier than usual because of its weight and length but as long as I set up in time, I could hit good topspin or slice groundstrokes. I felt no shock or vibration and my elbow felt great after playing. The racquet's weight and string pattern make both topspin and slice easy to hit." Don concludes, "it takes a few shots to get used to the extra length and swingweight of the oversize. However, once I found my groove, it felt solid and stable. Good damping and great spin!"

As might be expected, the Hornet OS offers some great benefits at net. Its oversize head and extra length make it difficult not to reach most balls. However, maneuverability is less than ideal. Mark explains, "the Hornet OS is a very good volleying racquet if you can get it to the ball. Its lack of maneuverability can be a liability but if you're quick enough or strong enough to maneuver the racquet, you'll probably like the results when the ball hits the strings. Overheads were a different story. The racquet's weight made it difficult to generate any racquet head speed except on short lobs when I could set up well. " Dan comments, "not much needed here for good volleys. Simple, short stroke form is enough to land the ball with depth. Once again, the soft feel was a bonus - it was very easy on my arm. Also, I felt little or no sacrifice in control or touch, even with the oversize head. I found more than enough power on overheads." Don continues, "the oversize head and 28-inch length make it a natural for doubles players, although its heft might be an obstacle for those used to feathery racquets. It does require good form and players who tend to swing at volleys will likely be late. Short, block volleys are all that's needed for deep, penetrating shots. Good stability and comfort too."

Serving with the Hornet OS drew mixed reviews. Mark liked it, commenting, "if playing tennis consisted only of serving, then this would be my racquet of choice. I served more aces and service winners with this racquet than any other I've playtested. I could serve hard up the middle or spin it out wide with equal success. The racquet provided great power but also had excellent control." Granville counters, "I thought the extra inch of length would benefit my serve by providing more leverage. I found no such benefit with this racquet. The added length just seemed to introduce a greater margin for error and introduced a 'clubby' feel." Drew adds, "both head sizes allowed me to hit serves with pace or spin but the oversize felt easier to really pound serves. Spin serves were particularly fun to hit - the action I could get was incredible!"

Reaction shots and serve returns are stable and solid but, like the Hornet MP, maneuverability may be an issue for some players. The key is to utilize short strokes and allow the racquet to do the work. Stronger players will still be able to swing on returns against big serves. Block returns are still effective, though, and favor doubles players with short strokes.

The Hornet OS will appeal to 3.5-4.5 players with short-medium strokes who are seeking a stable and comfortable frame with some heft. It offers players an alternative to today's superlight weights in an oversize, extended length racquet.

Triple Threat Hornet Oversize Technical & Statistical Data

(Scores are determined by averaging individual play test scores)

Technical Specifications
Length 28 inches 71 centimeters
Head Size 110 square inches 710 square centimeters
Weight 10.7 ounces 303 grams
Balance Point 13.625 inches
35 centimeters 3pts Head Light
Shaft Width 26 mm Head - 24 mm Shaft
Composition GraphitExtreme/Copper/Titanium
Babolat RDC Ratings
Score Grade
Flex Rating 73 Range: 0-100
Swing Weight 359 Range: 200-400
Manueverability 52 B

03-25-2004, 04:37 PM
Thanks for the review butchrey.