View Full Version : Demo Program: A waste of time?
06-04-2008, 04:56 AM
Here's my problem with the demo program...too many variables. I take a 5/8 grip and the demos only go up to 1/2. Then there's the string tension. Are all racquets strung at the same tension, somewhere in the middle, say 58? And if so, how many people play with each racquet before I demo it? This will of course change the tension of the strings.
While I realize the demo program is the best way to get "a feel" for future prospective purchases, I'm not sure it is worth the time and money invested.
06-04-2008, 05:00 AM
It's fine to criticise any demo program.... but what on earth is the better alternative? The only better option I can think is buying 5 or 10 potential frames, having them all strung identically and then testing.
Most don't have that sort of money....
i demo'd a head fxp prestige mp before i got it, and it felt great. within a few months i got elbow issues and had to sell it. then i got an rds003 sight-unseen. it's killer. demoing's what they want you to do, you'll end up buying everything.
06-04-2008, 06:47 AM
The demo program is there for the taking. It is imperfect. I've received demos with bad strings, while others had great strings.
But, no one is being forced to demo via this program. It's a good service that TW offers and I think they do a pretty good job shipping racquets all over the country to allow people to test them.
It very well be a waste of time to an individual player, but I don't think it's a waste of time overall.
You're right, those are the same problems I have with a demo program. It was only worth my time when my local shop had free demos... unfortunately he has since changed his policy and the costs do not outweigh the benefits.
06-04-2008, 10:21 AM
Well, though I think it is worthwile demoing before you buy, I do agree with the points mentioned. Demo gripsizes are typically 4 3/8 or 4 1/2 and if you are outside those two categories it is difficult to adapt. However this problem can be overcome if there is only one size difference. Just slap two overgrips on the racquet an you increase the gripsize by 1/8.
Strings are a more tricky issue. You would have to restring the racquet to optimize the setting to your personal preference. But then again it is impossible to know what your favorite string and tension will be on a racquet you are not accustomed to.
I also think that having a bit of lead tape to experiment with while demoing could be a good idea. You can just take it off at the end of the demo session.
However it remains complicated to have a correct opinion on a frame only by demoing.
06-04-2008, 10:31 AM
The service is free. The only thing being charged for is the shipping costs. If that costs a person $20 bucks it's not TW's fault. Move closer. So to criticize a free program leads me to remind that it is free.
Really the only problem I see is that some people will replace the provided multi, originally strung at least at mid range, with some poly or co-poly. Why they do it? They are jerks, and if a person reading this has done that then you are a jerk.
Some seem to think that it is owed to them to be allowed to do that. I've seen some posts where people write that they are spending $200 on a racquet and they are going to put their strings in the demo. Again, jerks. Everyone should familiarize themselves with the basic playabilty of a standard mid level price multi so that when they demo they can understand the demo better. Why are they jerks? It screws up the consistancy for the rest of us.
Some people cannot handle polys co or not. It causes pains, hurts their shoudlers. So to recive a demo racquet, after a month of waiting, that is strung with Big Banger is worthless to them.
then there are the peopel who are late returning demos. I think it is only $2.50 a day charge for being late. Hell, the local tennis shop charges $5.00 a day for a demoing. It's cheaper to be late with TW demos.
So the problem with the demo program is user abuse.
06-04-2008, 10:34 AM
Yeah I feel like demoing would be a waste of time for me. Lets say there was a universal racquet spec range going from 0 to 100 (0 being a PS-85 tightly strung and 100 being a hand-held trampoline granny stick). I can play well (to my potential) with any racquet in the range of probably 30 to 70 on this scale. So that means 40% of the racquet spec combinations will lead to reasonable success. I just buy racquets with certain specs and they are always suitable for me.
06-04-2008, 12:40 PM
I've never paid for a demo. TW and all my local tennis specific shops or clubs offer free demos.
06-04-2008, 01:08 PM
I like demos from my pro shop because I get to play with a different racquet for a while, I save my stringjob, and I have a ready excuse if I lose.
Demos do give an overall feel of the racquet. Add that to the info already available about the racquet, and you can get a pretty good idea.
06-04-2008, 04:40 PM
TW strings the demos at +2 above mid range and use a multi from the company. ie. wilson racquet = wilson multi at +2.
06-05-2008, 12:45 PM
The problem I have with demos is that a racquet that is lighter and stiffer feels great at first, but eventually wears on me. So I have to remind myself what I need/really want. It is like test driving a sports car for a couple of days and not using it to haul groceries.
06-11-2008, 09:52 PM
Well, my demos arrived. Funny, the TW rep I spoke with assured me TW puts new strings on before sending them out. All 4 racquets, however, have the perverbial yellow tennis ball hairs, and strings all out of line, some ridiculously so. Pretty much what I expected though. It is a free service after all, and demoing 4 racquets for $20.00 shipping is still a bargain.
I can't believe anybody would complain about something that's free and helps one a great deal to at least get an accurate idea about how the racket is balanced, how it swings ... the grip shape/head shape, sweet spot location/size ...etc etc. Even if it's strung with a string that you would never ever use in your own frames you still get good information about the racket, information that you can't really get from specs, because two frames with the same measured balance/sw can actually swing differently for a particular person.
Spoiled spoiled spoiled I say...
Some people (like myself) actually have to buy a racket if they want to try it (unless it's owned by a friend...which is a long shot for most newer rackets...especially if it's not a Head or a Babolat).
Consider that we Europeans pay roughly 150-170 euros for a new racket (a "non expensive" one...the Microgel Prestiges, K90 types cost 200), and try it out for a couple of weeks.
Let's say we take good care of it...string it only a couple of times with 2 different strings...and decide we don't like it. Nobody will buy a second hand racket (even if it's "like new"...it's still second hand) for more than 100 euros if it's original price is ~ 150, and nobody will pay more than 130-150 for one that costs 200 new.
That means we just spent roughly 50 Euros for demoing 1 racket (instead of 15-20 bucks for 4). Admittedly we can try it "with our own" string setup, which (as SFrazeur pointed out) happens many times with the TW demos also.
06-12-2008, 12:16 AM
On balance, I think I agree with you; demoing racquets is pretty much a waste of time.
The stringing variable is a massive one and fundamentally changes how a racquet feels.
Added to the points you make is the inherent bias in the process anyway. Since people usually only demo two or three frames they are massively filtering the available pool of options on the basis of very subjective criteria. The chances are that, psychologically speaking, those same criteria drive perceptions of the racquets when they are demoed (confirmation bias).
I've read a golf pro who says that you should only hit three shots with a prospective new club; because if it doesn't feel right after that you start making unconscious adjustments to hit better with it, which changes your game.
Building on this thought, I think there's a strong argument for taking a non-extreme 'pro' racquet spec and just learning to get on with it (assuming you have aspirations to play tennis well, rather than just for recreational fun).
The part that many people (including myself) miss is grip shape too. I bought a Head racquet on the basis of a demo, but within a few months I was doing all sorts of things to get the grip size / shape right; after two years I still couldn't.
In many ways I can understand why people would struggle to specify their own custom frame (as per the Vantage process); but their demo system actually works. Get the fundamentals the way you want them (frame size, grip shape, string pattern) and then tweak the weight as you go along.
Offering people a demo is a good service for a retailer to offer, but it only works if you get the grip size you would choose (so the balance and feel will be the same), string it yourself so that it is as you would want it to be, and then play with it either for three hits or for a protracted period so that you adjust to it.
06-12-2008, 12:45 AM
You guys are lucky to be able to demo. Don't complain.
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