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View Full Version : Demo'ing racquets not all its cracked up to be??


coyfish
08-28-2009, 01:51 PM
Ive demo'd about 6 rackets now and I can tell you its a pretty frustrating experience. Most of the rackets come with cheap strings with tensions all over the map. Who knows how long those strings have been on there. Not to mention the grip sizes vary and they always give you the most slippery overgrip possible.

The only benefit really is to feel the swingweight and how the racquet feels in your hand. Hitting the ball itself with a demo racket usually doesn't do the stick justice.

Right now I am demo'ing the notorious dunlop AG 100. Quality stick from what I hear. Good reviews on TW and discounted price for 100 bucks is a plus. Anyways it has some cheap full poly on it. Its like hitting the ball with a piece of wood. Then I switch back to the yonex rqis 1 tour which was strung very loosely with a cheapy syn gut. The ball flies off my strings and feels like butter.


I thought demo'ing rackets would help my decision but im still just going to guess and pray I get a racket that feels good for my game. I guess thats why people accumulate / sell so many rackets.

NickH87
08-28-2009, 02:28 PM
When I used to work at sports authority, most of the popular racquets had the most worn out strings I have ever seen. They only get replaced when they break. I had bought out a K90 for a guy to demo and when I was shifting the strings to look respectable, I though I was going to break them because I saw they tearing. I showed the guy and told him they would most likely break when he used it and said no, that hed rather wait than pay with the chance of it breaking and then have to wait for a restringing to try again.

onkystomper
08-28-2009, 02:38 PM
demoed a APD when they first came out.. the strings looked worn and i pinted it out to the store... they said it would be fine

sure enough about 5 groundstokes in they snapped.. half hour drive back to the store and a wait for a restring... brilliant...

prjacobs
08-28-2009, 02:53 PM
I don't know where you live and what your choices of stores are, and being in New York City, I have many good ones to choose from. Obviously, a general sports store will be different than a tennis specialty store. A good tennis store should be able to tell you the type and tension of the demo strings, when they were put on, and how they play. I guess if you're a total tennis addict, you can try some frames, narrow the choices down and then restring them.... Although I must admit I've never done that:) My first major racquet purchase came from Jay Schweid's in New York City. I loved the demo racquet so much that I asked Jay to exactly duplicate the balance and swing weight with the 2 new frames. It turned out that one of the in store frames didn't quite have the same flex, but 2 others were the same as the demo. I don't remember what it cost me, but I used those racquets for 10 years, so it was worth it. I'd also experienced demo shock and I figured that at least if the flex, weight and swing weight were dead on, I'd be ahead of the game.

baek57
08-28-2009, 02:59 PM
Almost all the demo's I've gotten from TW have come with lightly used or brand new strings. Every one was strung with a multi from the same brand as the racquet at 2 lbs over mid tension. I just assume it was 2 lbs over since that's what they say they do and that's what it felt like. Even though they weren't the exact specs I'd want to try them with, I felt as though I could get a good enough feel of the racquet to make a decision on whether I'd buy it or not.

fattsoo
08-28-2009, 04:02 PM
from what i heard, the demos usually comes with recommended strings that the racquet company provided. and they are usually strung right in the middle of the recommended tension...they can only do quality control up to a point and TW usually send out pretty good conditioned racquets

nkbond
08-28-2009, 04:13 PM
I agree with the OP 100%. I feel strings are a way too critical part of the equation. I don't hit with multis, or syn guts, so demos just don't work for me.

I just buy used racquets and string them up myself. This makes sense if you are a stringer, if not, then not so much. I hit with the racquet with my preferred strings however long I wish, then I just sell it here on the forums or on the bay.

I usually lose around 5-10 dollars per racquet, but that's not a bad price to pay for an extended demo.

And I can tell you from experience the AG100 is definitely tension-sensitive, so getting the right string/tension is critical w/ that one.

Kirko
08-28-2009, 05:01 PM
I agree with the OP 100%. I feel strings are a way too critical part of the equation. I don't hit with multis, or syn guts, so demos just don't work for me.

I just buy used racquets and string them up myself. This makes sense if you are a stringer, if not, then not so much. I hit with the racquet with my preferred strings however long I wish, then I just sell it here on the forums or on the bay.

I usually lose around 5-10 dollars per racquet, but that's not a bad price to pay for an extended demo.

And I can tell you from experience the AG100 is definitely tension-sensitive, so getting the right string/tension is critical w/ that one.

my last demo was the PD GT and I had the owner string the frame with fresh nylon string at my tension & he gave me a month to use it. I got Roddick frame when I made my choice. demoing is kinda a weird world a frame used by countless people with dubious strings and tension. my last demo experience was this "it has to heavier & higher tension" so went with Roddick weighted to 12 oz. better than demoing a frame is reading the "boards" here to narrow down what you want.

mrmo1115
08-28-2009, 05:08 PM
I agree as well. The strings in most of my demos are usually awful and non playable. But I did find the racquet that I am switching to even though they weren't good strings, I just felt that I got the pop and control just missing the strings I use.

pmerk34
08-28-2009, 08:23 PM
from what i heard, the demos usually comes with recommended strings that the racquet company provided. and they are usually strung right in the middle of the recommended tension...they can only do quality control up to a point and TW usually send out pretty good conditioned racquets

Agreed. Is TW supposed to custom string demos for you people?

Virtua Tennis
08-28-2009, 10:13 PM
I never have to demo I can pick a racquet off the wall hold it and know it's the one.

honz
08-28-2009, 10:14 PM
All the demos I have gotten from TW have had multis in them at a good tension and they are always in at least decent condition. They do a great job with their demo program IMO.

GinoGinelli
08-29-2009, 12:28 AM
..............................

fattsoo
08-29-2009, 10:27 AM
I wish I could demo, the few places that offer it here have no sticks I'm even slightly interested in. Limits me to picking a safe racket and not trying something new.


I'm pretty lucky here in Seattle where we have a pro shop that has very good selection of racquet (Avanti :))...and here's the BEST part...FREE DEMO!!! no fees required

Mdubb23
08-29-2009, 03:12 PM
I never have to demo I can pick a racquet off the wall hold it and know it's the one.

Really? Even unstrung? The weight, swingweight, and balance will all feel different after stringing.

star 5 15
08-29-2009, 03:21 PM
I usually hit with a racquet and look for the actual feel of the racquet and If like it at all I'll restring it with mine. Sometimes its hard though with racquets specs sometimes being completely off. I had a MG prestige mp demo when it first came out and it was probably weighing about 325 grams. It felt so hollow and light I couldn't bare to hit with it. Suggestion for TW.
CHECK YOUR DEMOS ON THE RDC TO CHECK THAT THEY ARE ON SPEC. The prestige I had was from TW too.

dantesinferno18
08-29-2009, 04:26 PM
this is why i usually like to demo my friends rackets

domhas1
08-29-2009, 05:01 PM
My local shop is good about their demos, they always have what strings, gauge, and tension recorded for their demos...I got lucky a couple times and was able to be the first person to demo the Head YT Rad Pro and the Pure Drive Roddick GT+...The store generally strings with the recommended company string and they go a few pounds higher than the middle tension to compensate a bit for some tension loss...

Vermillion
08-29-2009, 05:03 PM
you guys don't restring the demos before you play?

pmerk34
08-29-2009, 05:25 PM
you guys don't restring the demos before you play?

I don't string my own racquets and I'm not paying 40 bucks to have a demo strung.

Vermillion
08-29-2009, 05:32 PM
everybody should have a home stringer. best value item for a tennis fanatic.

zeratul90
08-29-2009, 05:43 PM
i'm not sure if its ALLOWED that you restring THEIR demo on your own.

coyfish
08-29-2009, 06:11 PM
I have a home stringer :). If its allowed or not im definately not stringing with my own strings. Too expensive and it takes me 40 minutes (im slow) to string a racquet with my dropweight stringer.

movdqa
08-29-2009, 06:20 PM
I don't demo racquets. I look at the specs and the recommendations by others here and then make a decision and buy one and then work to make it part of my game. I give it three to six months to see if it works. There are so many variables to the combination of racquet and player (and strings) that I think it requires a considerable investment in time to determine whether a racquet will work out or not. In the case of a much heavier racquet, it will require time to improve conditioning to use it efficiently.

pmerk34
08-29-2009, 07:11 PM
I have a home stringer :). If its allowed or not im definately not stringing with my own strings. Too expensive and it takes me 40 minutes (im slow) to string a racquet with my dropweight stringer.

The shop I go to has the expensive electronic stringers and it took the guy 35 mins to string mine and he's strung god knows how many frames. I shudder to think how long it would take me to learn and then properly string on my own on lesser equipment.

I would never waste time or money stringing a demo. Just hit with the darn thing and if feels decent than it will probably feel decent with your own set up.

pmerk34
08-29-2009, 07:12 PM
I don't demo racquets. I look at the specs and the recommendations by others here and then make a decision and buy one and then work to make it part of my game. I give it three to six months to see if it works. There are so many variables to the combination of racquet and player (and strings) that I think it requires a considerable investment in time to determine whether a racquet will work out or not. In the case of a much heavier racquet, it will require time to improve conditioning to use it efficiently.

Why don't you demo frames that fall within your specs?

mrmo1115
08-29-2009, 07:20 PM
^^^

That is what I did and wound up with the new racquet of my choice..

Always go for 95-98 sq inch, 11 oz - 11.9 oz. , 18x20

Vermillion
08-29-2009, 07:22 PM
well, if you want to know what it feels like with your string set up then the only reason that'd hold me back would be the price of the strings.

I use cheap strings so I don't mind stringing a few demos and trying them for a week.

pmerk34
08-29-2009, 07:23 PM
^^^

That is what I did and wound up with the new racquet of my choice..

Always go for 95-98 sq inch, 11 oz - 11.9 oz. , 18x20

I go 95-100 11.5-12 oz range 16x19.

I don't bother with 18 x 20 anymore.

Definitely waste less time once you know what you need.

rfprse
08-29-2009, 07:39 PM
Ive demo'd about 6 rackets now and I can tell you its a pretty frustrating experience. Most of the rackets come with cheap strings with tensions all over the map. Who knows how long those strings have been on there. Not to mention the grip sizes vary and they always give you the most slippery overgrip possible.

The only benefit really is to feel the swingweight and how the racquet feels in your hand. Hitting the ball itself with a demo racket usually doesn't do the stick justice.

Right now I am demo'ing the notorious dunlop AG 100. Quality stick from what I hear. Good reviews on TW and discounted price for 100 bucks is a plus. Anyways it has some cheap full poly on it. Its like hitting the ball with a piece of wood. Then I switch back to the yonex rqis 1 tour which was strung very loosely with a cheapy syn gut. The ball flies off my strings and feels like butter.


I thought demo'ing rackets would help my decision but im still just going to guess and pray I get a racket that feels good for my game. I guess thats why people accumulate / sell so many rackets.
It's hard to say it's really worthwhile. As you mentioned, the strings (and tension) might not be optimal for the racquet or for the player more often than not. Though I have demoed a lot, I cannot help but think that since my usual string set up would make a big difference in terms of feel and playing characteristics, I don't see the point of doing this. I'm a little more pessimistic about the process, since the strings of two k6.1 90 demos from TW broke. One after 15 minutes, the replacement (whose tension was so low that suggested it's near the end of its life) after 2 1/2 hours.

On the other hand, one can still know how a racquet feels and plays in a coarse scale and make some conjectures how it would play given one's usual set up. And you would know what you wouldn't like to use, and that kind of weeding out might be a big part of choosing a racquet for somebody especially if she doesn't know the general range of spec good/favorite to her.

movdqa
08-30-2009, 05:22 AM
> Why don't you demo frames that fall within your specs?

1. I don't want to deal with the hassle of returning them.
2. I think that it takes a good amount of time to determine compatibility.
3. I may want to change my game to adapt to a racquet and this can take months to do

Lefty78
08-30-2009, 05:29 PM
i'm not sure if its ALLOWED that you restring THEIR demo on your own.

You're right, but people get away with it all the time. :twisted:

quest01
08-30-2009, 07:18 PM
The last racquet I demoed was the K88. The racquet had excellent feel and serving was awesome. I actually hit a few aces with this racquet something I don't do very often. (maybe a couple times a match, at that) This is one of the only racquets where I preferred a full natural gut job.

Deck
08-30-2009, 07:49 PM
i'm not sure if its ALLOWED that you restring THEIR demo on your own.

I asked if I could restring a racquet that came with a very loose string job and TW said no, because of the liability factor, if you damage the racquet during stringing etc. Yet I just received a racquet that was full of string savers which means it was restrung by a user. I think if it comes back restrung and not danmaged that they do not worry about it and send it out to be demoed.

Rhinosaur
08-31-2009, 06:33 AM
I've demoed about 10-12 rackets from TW. One time I got a Head Youtek Speed 18x20 that was brand new...plastic on the handle, dampener in an attached baggie. Other than that, the ones I tested had been HEAVILY used.

I tried out a POG OS, thinking it could be the racket for me since I remember playing with it very well when I borrowed it from my friend in high school. It hit terrible. It had really cheap syn gut in it.

When I heard the POG OS was possibly being discontinued, I pulled the trigger and bought one with the strings/tension of my choosing. I hit with it and it felt like a completely different racket. I was generating tons of power with it, compared to pretty much zero power from the demo.

Now I'm thinking about all those other rackets I tested. Were they really good but had terrible strings? I really thought the APDC+ would be a good racket for my style of play, but I couldn't hit anything with it during my demo. Was it the cheap, worn-out strings that was the problem, or was it the racket?

Demoing isn't perfect. I think it may be better to buy a racket, don't take off the handle cover and see if it is a good fit. If not, just send it back and pay for the shipping/restocking fee. It may be more than $20, but you get a better demo experience.

Power Player
08-31-2009, 06:44 AM
I like demoing because it got me to try a Babolat. If I went by my thin beam,12 oz preference I never would have hit with the apdc. So in that aspect, it is a good thing.

The only bad thing is that if you are a good player you are going to have good hits with a lot of racquets. The thing to realize is that you are most likely going to have great experiences with a fair amount of sticks and you have to forge on and only swtich if a racquet just completely grabs you and sucks you in to where you HAVE to have it.

edit..I have to add that I dont use the TW demo program. I have a local one here that is really good and the string jobs are top notch. It makes a huge difference.

GS
08-31-2009, 06:46 AM
Well, if you think you're having bad luck with demo string-jobs, then maybe ask to hit with your friends' racquets or ones that strangers have at your courts. Or, if you know what specs you like, just try to narrow it down to one stick. Then, if you're still alittle unsure, just buy a used one, then string it up with your favorite string and tension. If you're really sure, just buy a new one, at TW, of course.