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BreakPoint
03-11-2005, 10:15 PM
Well, I've had this racquet for a couple of weeks now so I thought I'd write a short review with my thoughts about the racquet so far.

My objective in designing this racquet was to try and create a PS 6.0 90, which many here speculate Wilson makes for Federer but won't sell to the general pubic, so it's not available to me. I wanted the specs to pretty much fall right in between the PS 6.0 85 and the PS 6.0 95, making it truly a PS 6.0 90. Here are the specs that I chose:

My racquet's unique code is: 1-1-1-1-13

Which is:

Headsize: 90 sq. in.
Beam width: 19 mm
String pattern: 16 x 18
Stiffness/flex: 63 RA
Length: 27 in.
Weight (unstrung): 11.7 oz. (330 g)
Balance (unstrung): 12 pts. HL
Other choices:
Color: Matte Black
Handle shape: 3 (Wilson)
Grip size: 4 1/2 (4)
Grip type: Tan leather

Strung with the standard Vantage multifilament string at mid-tension (I estimate around 56 lbs.)
Strung weight (w/ dampener and overgrip): 12.5 oz.
Strung balance: Approx. 9 pts. HL
Strung swingweight: 323 - 325 (my estimate)

These specs fall almost precisely in between that of the PS 6.0 85 and PS 6.0 95 for static weight, swingweight, balance, and beam width. The 16 x 18 string pattern remains the same.

My playtest results (so far):

Groundstrokes:
This racquet has a very nice, soft and dampened feel to it. Shock and vibration are very well dampened. The racquet swings very easily and has a very solid feel at ball impact. There's almost no harshness to this frame and the stiffness feels about spot on at 63. The flex feels fairly uniform throughout the length of the frame rather than being very stiff at the throat and very flexible in the hoop like my usual PS 6.0 95. This is a fairly low powered racquet as the flex demands that you take a full swing. In comparison, it is lower powered than the nSix-One Tour 90, but about on par with the PS 6.0 85 and 95. This racquet excels at hitting flat shots but topspin is also easy to produce, especially off of the forehand side. Slice shots from my one-handed backhand are also pretty good, but perhaps a tad below my PS 6.0 95. I find that hitting with lots of topspin or underspin is just a hair more demanding with a 90 sq. in. head than with my usual 95 sq. in. head. However, flat shots were easier with the Vantage 90 than with my PS 6.0 95.

Serves:
It took me a while to get the hang of it serving with this racquet. The first time I served with it, I thought I served well with lots of pace and control. However, my opponents told me that my serves were not as dangerous nor penetrating as with my usual racquet. The next few outings, I had a little trouble getting the serves down as many of my first serves were going just long. I think this was caused by the slightly higher swingweight, so I might have been contacting the ball a hair late, and by the fact that the sweetspot on the Vantage 90 is higher than on my usual PS 6.0 95. So I guess, in addition to hitting the ball a bit late, I was also hitting it a bit higher where there was more power. Anyway, I was able to adjust and now I serve pretty well with it. Pace is similar to my usual racquet, but spin might be a hair less. I think the higher swingweight is keeping me from whipping through the ball as quickly. This is something that I think I'll be able to get used to and adjust accordingly. I tend to serve better with smaller headed racquets because I'm able to snap my wrist better with them, and I think with some more time, this racquet will be no exception.

Volleys:
The feel on volleys is solid with good control, especially on drop volleys. However, with the smaller head and higher swingweight, I feel I need to concentrate just a little more on hard hit passing shots in order not to frame the volley. The flexible frame means you do need to follow through to place the volleys rather than just punch the volleys and use the inherent power of the frame. However, the control more than makes up for the power in putting away volleys. I also had no trouble hitting well controled half-volleys when approaching the net. Overheads were also solid and controlled.

Returns:
Again, good control and solid shots. This is not a racquet made for swinging wildly at returns, but more for hitting smooth controlled strokes with slice or flat to get the ball in play. If your opponent is rushing the net after their serves, there's enough power to put the ball past them or to flick the head of the racquet to produce sharp angled returns to make it very difficult for your opponent to hit a good first volley. Again, the smaller head requires a bit more concentration on returns, especially if your opponent is serving very hard or with a lot of kick.

Summary:
This is an "old school" type of racquet with a solid feel, great touch, lots of control, but is relatively low in power. Stability and comfort are excellent. Maneuverability is better than expected given its specs. Spin is also better than expected given its small head size. For advanced players that have full swings and can generate their own power, this would be an excellent choice for a control racquet. Probably best suited to 5.0+ players that prefer a smaller head size and high flex. However, it may just be a bit too demanding for me at this point, but I am still adjusting. (I wonder how a Vantage 95 would compare?) I do really like this racquet. The workmanship is excellent - beautiful fit and finish and with a feel of high quality. The leather grip is top notch quality.

So did I succeed in creating the infamous PS 6.0 90? Well, I think the jury is still out on that. It definitely comes very close, but without having a real PS 6.0 90 to conduct a side-by-side comparison with, I can only imagine what a real PS 6.0 90 would play like. The feel is very similar but not exactly like a PS 6.0. Not sure if it's the distribution of the flex in the frame, being 100% graphite instead of 80% graphite and 20% kevlar, not having a box beam (it has a semi-circle beam shape), or something else but it's probably as close as you'll be able to find on the market without first winning Wimbledon and then asking Wilson to make you one.

It's nice to have Vantage as an option for us mere mortals. :D

Coda
03-11-2005, 10:48 PM
to tired to post anything of real value right now, but glad to see you got a review up!

Deuce
03-11-2005, 11:12 PM
... and if you put a Head handle on it, does it magically become a Prestige Classic Mid (albeit with the wrong string pattern) - or an iPrestige Mid? or an LM Prestige Mid?

Perhaps a magic morph into a Wilson ROK with a Wilson handle?

All from the same stock Vantage frame... Wow.

They should have named the company 'Chameleon' instead of Vantage, since some people seem to actually believe that one can 'create' any frame they want just by matching head size, grip shape, weight, and balance...

Of course, if that were the case, and the racquet's ingredients were really irrelevant, then the Prestige Classic Mid, iPrestige Mid, and LM Prestige Mid, when equalized with the same weight and balance, would all feel exactly the same.

Ain't gonna happen.

BreakPoint
03-11-2005, 11:52 PM
Actually, now that I think about it, my Vantage 90 might be closer to a cross between the PS 6.0 85 and the Prestige Classic Mid 93. Now I haven't owned a Prestige Classic Mid for almost 5 years and the last time I hit with one was about 2 years ago so I'm speaking purely from memory. However, the head shape of the Vantage 90 is very, very similar, if not identical, to that of the Prestige Classic Mid. The weight, balance, and flex are also very similar, perhaps just a tad stiffer, which is why I say it might be a cross between the Prestige Classic and the PS 6.0 85.

Is it exactly like the Prestige Classic Mid? No. But I think anyone using the Prestige Classic Mid should be able to adjust to a Vantage 90 with my same unique code fairly easily.

BLiND
03-12-2005, 12:36 AM
nice review and even better reply BP :-)

*BLiND wipes egg off Deuce's face*

Deuce
03-12-2005, 01:21 AM
So... BreakPoint says that the feel of his custom 90 sq. in. Vantage with the Wilson handle is "very similar" to the PS 6.0. He also says that the very same custom Vantage is "very similar" to the Prestige Classic Mid.

Hmmm.... is this even possible, given that the feel of the PS 6.0 is very different than that of the Prestige Classic?

It seems that some Vantage buyers really want to convince themselves that they can have their cake and eat it, too. Perhaps soon, some will claim that on Tuesdays, their custom Vantage plays with a very similar feel to a... oh, let's say an old Max 200G... and on Fridays, the same custom Vantage plays with a very similar feel to a... Pure Drive.

It also seems very obvious that some people merely see - or feel - what they want to feel with Vantage frames. They convince themselves beforehand that, because it is a 'custom' racquet, it will feel like whatever racquet they want it to feel like. Kind of like Tofu. It is amazing what psychosomatics are capable of.

'Blind'... your username describes both your perspectives, as well as your reading comprehensions, with uncanny precision.

Your bias in favor of Vantage comes through loud and clear.

I, on the other hand, have no bias either for or against the Vantage product. My only bias is against erroneous and misleading information.

Once again, I commend you on a perfectly selected username.

BLiND
03-12-2005, 01:35 AM
Now now, lets not get childish, otherwise Mr & Mrs Spank will take a trip to botty land.

lol sorry I could help it :-)

GuyPerez
03-12-2005, 02:46 AM
I like my Vantage because it seels just exactly like a..... Vantage.

Pro_Tour_630
03-12-2005, 05:25 AM
Nice review BP, glade to hear that vantage 90 is stiffer than the prestige classic.

Man I am late; "and if you put a Head handle on it, does it magically become a Prestige Classic Mid"

Breakpoint, if you had only chosen a Head handle and did not like it and wanted to unload it I would have offered $75 just for kicks, just kiddin

Donít know about the resale price of all these unwanted custom vantages that are going to be popping up, Maybe Vantage should be buying them back, you know to keep the price up, not a bad idea :-) sort of how a company buys back its stock. Now I see why die-hard vantage proponents are scrambling to have them as demos.

Anyone knows hom much the one on **** went for, I think midsouth had one also?

TennisD
03-12-2005, 05:31 AM
Does Vantage have a website?

BLiND
03-12-2005, 05:42 AM
http://www.vantagetennis.com/

thejerk
03-12-2005, 10:01 AM
What does it cost to have one sent here. I don't know the conversion. It looks like something around $260 before shipping.

BreakPoint
03-12-2005, 10:31 AM
Deuce,
I didn't say that my Vantage 90 feels exactly the same as a PS 6.0 85 nor a Prestige Classic Mid. I said it feels more like a cross between the two. If a PS 6.0 85 and a Prestige Classic Mid got together and had a baby, the baby, when it grows up, might be something similar to a Vantage 90. It has some attributes of both its parents. It is in the same category of small-headed, low-powered, high-control player's racquet.

My Vantage 90 was not meant to be a replacement for either a PS 6.0 85 nor a Prestige Classic Mid. If what you really want is either one of those racquets, then just go out and buy one. They can still be found, and for a lot cheaper. No need to fool around with a Vantage, and no reason to spend that much money just to make something that's exactly the same as either a PS 6.0 85 or Prestige Classic Mid, which can be bought for much less. But if you want something different but still has some similarities to both, then Vantage is another option.

Let's put it this way, in my opinion, it would be much easier for a current PS 6.0 85 or Prestige Classic Mid user to switch to a Vantage 90 (with my specs) than it would be to switch to a Pure Drive or Prince Shark.

ollinger
03-12-2005, 02:25 PM
Let's put it THIS way: Insofar as Dunlop-Slazenger seems to now be owned by the British equivalent of K-Mart, or so I've read, it's time for a British start-up to fill the void for serious tennis players who appreciate well-made and understated (read as "not Babolat") quality frames. Vantage seems poised to do that nicely. They've found an interesting niche for themselves in the marketplace and I wouldn't be surprised in 10 years to see them as a large player and to see people asking "what's a Slazenger?" I've been wondering when a tennis company would follow the business model of, say, Honda or Toyota by having a mass-market division and a boutique-luxury division (i.e. Acura and Lexus, in this case). The "boutique" division in this case would sell custom-spec racquets. Vantage is a work in progress, I suspect.
________
Wellbutrin class action (http://www.classactionsettlements.org/lawsuit/wellbutrin/)

BreakPoint
03-12-2005, 07:53 PM
I have to say that my opinion of my Vantage 90 just went up a notch today. I played a best of 5 sets singles match today and won in straight sets against a very tough opponent. I played the first two sets with my Vantage and the third set with my usual PS 6.0 95. I think I played just as well with the Vantage as with my PS 6.0 95. The Vantage felt more solid and accurate and I could really nail some great DTL backhand passing shots with it. The one problem I had with it was getting enough spin or kick on my second serves. My PS 6.0 95 was slightly easier to play with when blocking returns of serves back and also in hitting with a bit more spin, but it didn't feel quite as solid as the Vantage. I'd say the Vantage is a bit more lower powered than the PS 6.0 95, and it uses it's weight to power the ball. The PS 6.0 95 was also more maneuverable due to the lower swingweight and a little easier to hit slice and kick second serves with. I'm still a bit more comfortable with my PS 6.0 95 at this point but the Vantage is coming on strong.

Deuce
03-12-2005, 11:00 PM
I've got nothing against you, BreakPoint - I actually find you to be one of the more sensible posters on these boards. It's just that I find it rather ridiculous that some people seem to have to compare their Vantage frame with some other racquet - even having a 'target' racquet that they try to create by customizing a Vantage - saying that the Vantage feels "very similar" (your words) to this racquet and/or that racquet. It is simply not possible for the Vantage frame to feel like dozens of different frames, based on the customization possibilities of the Vantage. They offer two frames in each headsize - a 63 flex, and, I believe, a 70 flex. Weight, balance, and handle shape will not make the Vantage feel like other racquets. If that were possible, as I said, the Prestige Classic Mid, iPrestige Mid, and LM Prestige Mid would all feel exactly the same once their respective weights and balances were matched - because they have the same head size, shape, string pattern, mold, and grip shape. This is a much closer match than Vantage can offer - and yet, even with matching weights and balances, the three different Prestiges would remain quite different from one another in how they feel.

I think Guy Perez hit the nail right on the head in post #8 when he said that he likes his Vantage because it feels like a Vantage. That's what it is - it's a Vantage - and nothing else. If people like their Vantage frame, or even love it, then great - more power to them. I have no problem at all with that. But when people start saying (and TommyGun is by far the worst offender in this regard) that by simply matching head size, weight, balance, and handle shape, one can mimick just about any racquet, this is blatantly misleading, and could end up costing ignorant people lots of money, which I don't think is fair.

When I saw your post here, BreakPoint, saying that your goal was to create a Pro staff 6.0 90, it sounded too much like Tommy's posts. Like your Vantage - hell, love your Vantage. Fine with me. Say that it plays like a cross between a PS 6.0 85 and a Prestige Classic Mid - although I find these two racquets to be very different, and can't imagine a cross between the two - still, even this is fine with me. But when you have a particular racquet in mind to try to duplicate with the Vantage, that simply doesn't make sense. If you put a Head handle on a Wilson ROK, and tweak the weight and balance to match the Prestige Classic Mid, would you create a Prestige Classic Mid? Of course not. It would still be a ROK with a Head handle. And a Vantage is a Vantage - nothing more, nothing less - no matter what handle shape it has.

BreakPoint
03-13-2005, 12:22 AM
Deuce,
You're absolutely right! I did say my objective was to try and create a PS 6.0 90, but remember, that racquet does not exist and no one (except perhaps Federer, and that's only speculation anyway) knows what it plays like. So in trying to create a PS 6.0 90, I was not really trying to emulate a real PS 6.0 90 (or any racquet for that matter) because that racquet does not exist. Without knowing what a real PS 6.0 90 plays like, my Vantage 90 could be way off and I wouldn't know since I can't compare it with a real PS 6.0 90. My point is - you can't try and hit a target that is unknown.

So what was the next best thing? I tried to choose specs that fall, as much as possible given the available options, as close to right in between the PS 6.0 85 and PS 6.0 95 as I could. I figured that would be a good proxy. Did I succeed in making a PS 6.0 90? Nobody knows, since no one really knows what a PS 6.0 90 plays like.

And as I mentioned above, my Vantage 90 is NOT a PS 6.0 85 nor is it a Prestige Classic Mid. If you want one of those racquets, just get one. What would be the point of going through the trouble and expense of making something that's exactly the same as something that already exists? My Vantage 90 is definitely a unique racquet. However, it is in the same general category of small-headed, low-powered, high-control, player's racquets as the PS 6.0 85 and Prestige Classic Mid. It is not the same as either of these two racquets, but it does share some attributes of both.

You're right. Some people who like the Prestige Classic Mid do not like the LM Prestige Mid, but some do. The same could be true of the Vantage 90. Some Prestige Classic Mid users might like it and some may not. I was not trying to make a copy of it and it is NOT a copy of it. It really wouldn't make much sense to try and copy an existing racquet anyway, be it a Prestige Classic or i.Prestige or LM Prestige or PS 6.0 85 or PS 6.0 95. Why? Because you can already buy them. I think the whole point of Vantage is to create something that DOES NOT exist and that's UNIQUE. In that, I think I've succeeded. My Vantage 90 is a unique racquet that doesn't play exactly like anything else on the market (that I know of). No one can tell me that my Vantage 90 does or does not play just like a PS 6.0 90 because no one in the world has ever played with a PS 6.0 90, since it doesn't exist. :)

J D
03-13-2005, 12:42 AM
Breakpoint, so what you're saying is that, for twice the price, you've got a frame that may actually turn out to be as good as the cheaper one you're already using. Not to be a downer, but am I missing something here? Why are you so excited about a lateral move that cost twice as much money?

I have to ask this because, unless it's a whole lot better, it would be hard to justify the extra expense, right? And since you're bothering to post positive reviews, it would seem that you're encouraging others to spend a lot of extra money for a frame very similar to, but no better than, those out there at half the price. Does it concern you that you might be helping persuade others to spend a lot of extra money on something that offers no significant benefit? I mean, based on your comments, I would be saying things like, "Wow, you can get two PS 6.0 95's for the price of one Vantage and they're just as good."

BLiND
03-13-2005, 02:39 AM
Extra expense lol, they are the same price as new racquets here in the uk :-)

just you all wait until your dollar is stronger against the pound, then you will be sorted ;-)

Alley Cat
03-13-2005, 03:29 AM
Great review Breakpoint. BLind, if I could buy a Vantage for approx. the same price as a high end frame in the US, I would probably give it a try..good point. It's comical how a thread started as a review of a racquet turns into this.

DoubleHanded&LovinIt
03-13-2005, 08:17 AM
Deuce, you surprise me. Your last post was remarkably more coherent than your previous posts about Vantage.

JD I'm going to agree with you. It's pretty nonsensical to spend that much money for a racquet that plays basically similar to the one you have. But BreakPoint, we live in a free market, more power to you.

Personally, I have two different Vantages. I've found myself missing my Yonex RDX 500 Mid. Even though I play the 63 flex, it still feels stiff. I've tried to tell myself, no, it doesn't feel stiff. And maybe it's not. But I really miss the buttery soft feel of my RDX. Maybe my honeymoon with Vantage is over.

BreakPoint
03-14-2005, 10:47 AM
Breakpoint, so what you're saying is that, for twice the price, you've got a frame that may actually turn out to be as good as the cheaper one you're already using. Not to be a downer, but am I missing something here? Why are you so excited about a lateral move that cost twice as much money?

I have to ask this because, unless it's a whole lot better, it would be hard to justify the extra expense, right? And since you're bothering to post positive reviews, it would seem that you're encouraging others to spend a lot of extra money for a frame very similar to, but no better than, those out there at half the price. Does it concern you that you might be helping persuade others to spend a lot of extra money on something that offers no significant benefit? I mean, based on your comments, I would be saying things like, "Wow, you can get two PS 6.0 95's for the price of one Vantage and they're just as good."

J D,
The PS 6.0 95 is a great racquet IMHO. It wouldn't be my regular racquet if it wasn't. It would be a very lofty goal for another racquet to match or exceed the PS 6.0 95. I have demo-ed many dozens of racquets and have playtested lots more on behalf of TW, and very, very few racquets have even come anywhere close to the PS 6.0 95 IMHO. So for me to say that my Vantage 90 comes very close to my PS 6.0 95 is really saying something. I'm still getting used to the Vantage 90, but for now, I'd say I can perform about as well with it as with my PS 6.0 95. Who knows, after some more time with the Vantage, I may decide that I like it even more than the PS 6.0 95, or maybe not. Adjusting to a new racquet does take some time.

BTW, I'm not trying to persuade anyone to buy anything. A lot of people here have lots of questions about the Vantage racquet, so I'd thought I'd post my experiences so far with it. It's up to others to interpret my review. The only true way to find out if a racquet works for you is to buy one and use it for a while. I had no way to know if the Vantage was going to be better FOR ME than the PS 6.0 95 unless I tried one for myself. How many times have you bought a racquet and then after a while decided it's not the right one for you? The same goes with the Vantage. It's not supposed to be a "magical" racquet or anything.

All I can do is give my opinions on the racquet, and how it compares with my PS 6.0 95, and all opinions are, of course, subjective. Every racquet will be different to different players, depending on their playing style, level, physical attributes, and a host of other factors. The Vantage 90 is no exception. Some people will think it's much better than the PS 6.0 95, and some others will probably hate it altogether. Bottom line is that it's no different than any other racquet. Every player will have to decide if it works for them. As they say "Your mileage may vary". And if you decide that the PS 6.0 95 is better, then yes, you can save yourself some money or get 2 for 1. :)

BLiND
03-14-2005, 11:04 AM
Nice post BP

J D
03-14-2005, 02:17 PM
Thank you, BP. I have to agree with Blind, that was a very nice answer.