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View Full Version : Head factory in Austria - Racquets made by hand says Ernests Gulbis


dincuss
03-26-2010, 01:38 PM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T-UMMxn3buQ&feature=channel

At 5:40

QC must be crazy good there...

DavidGarcia
03-26-2010, 01:58 PM
They do the same in China and I guess any other country which produce tennis rackets.

jazzyfunkybluesy
03-26-2010, 01:59 PM
This is why I hate Head as a company. The pros can get the high quality racquets made in Austria but the everyday rec player can only get the sheet made in China.

And with Wilson the pros can get the sheet made in China as well as a rec player.:)

El Diablo
03-26-2010, 02:31 PM
What makes you think "made by hand" is better? Machines seem more dependable than most of the people I know.

OliverSimon
03-26-2010, 02:38 PM
Head is from Austria?

mikro112
03-26-2010, 02:51 PM
Head is from Austria?

Sure. What did you think?

rovex
03-26-2010, 03:08 PM
60 frames a year get broke? Surprising, considering he rarely makes it past the 2nd round in tournaments. :)

DavidGarcia
03-26-2010, 03:14 PM
60 frames a year get broke? Surprising, considering he rarely makes it past the 2nd round in tournaments. :)

He breaks them during practice then! :twisted:

Kick Serve 14
03-26-2010, 03:23 PM
60 frames a year get broke? Surprising, considering he rarely makes it past the 2nd round in tournaments. :)

That's probably why...

vsbabolat
03-26-2010, 03:51 PM
I have posted before photos of the Head factory in Austria. If there is interest I will post them again.

mdqm
03-26-2010, 04:10 PM
I have posted before photos of the Head factory in Austria. If there is interest I will post them again.

please!!!:)

vsbabolat
03-26-2010, 04:18 PM
Compare this to that Prince video in China..........
http://i173.photobucket.com/albums/w50/vsbabolat/HEADFactoryTour1-1.jpg
http://i173.photobucket.com/albums/w50/vsbabolat/HEADFactoryTour2-1.jpg
http://i173.photobucket.com/albums/w50/vsbabolat/HEADFactoryTour3.jpg
http://i173.photobucket.com/albums/w50/vsbabolat/HEADFactoryTour4.jpg

OliverSimon
03-26-2010, 05:06 PM
Wow! Really awesome stuff there!

mdqm
03-26-2010, 05:08 PM
thank you very much vsbabolat,really very interesting

raging
03-27-2010, 01:51 PM
:cool: loved the photos...I worked for Head 1989-96, Had my own sports agency In Oz. Always wanted to visit the factory in Kennelbach. Interested to know vs did you manage to get a tour there? Or are the photos from another site?
Thanks.

Rorsach
03-27-2010, 02:03 PM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T-UMMxn3buQ&feature=channel

At 5:40

QC must be crazy good there...

There's a post somewhere in the racquet forum that has footage of the Prince factory.

Exactly the same stuff, mostly handmade.

I'm looking for the link.

Edit; Found it: http://www.facebook.com/video/video.php?v=105298276165511&ref=nf

GameSetMatch
12-10-2010, 05:36 PM
Anyone got the link to the video of the prince factory when it posted a few months back?

Cooper_Tecnifibre4
12-10-2010, 06:49 PM
That's probably why...

:lol:

+10 Characters

TennisAddict121
12-10-2010, 06:49 PM
This is why I hate Head as a company. The pros can get the high quality racquets made in Austria but the everyday rec player can only get the sheet made in China.

And with Wilson the pros can get the sheet made in China as well as a rec player.:)

Why hate head because of that? Why waste more money on people who are the targets of the market as opposed to people who are advertising the product. Also it takes so much time do you know how much money they would lose? Besides a handful of the people on the board, no one really is good enough to need complete matched and high grade racquets.

duusoo
12-12-2010, 01:06 PM
When they had the microgel line, if you bought the Instinct, about 1/2 of them were still made in Austria. I don't believe any other model was. I'm a dealer, and it just seemed that some came from China and some from Austria. Anyone else aware of this?

roger nadal
12-13-2010, 10:52 AM
i really wish china could make quality products

BreakPoint
12-13-2010, 01:04 PM
What makes you think "made by hand" is better? Machines seem more dependable than most of the people I know.
ALL tennis racquets are made mostly by hand no matter where in the world they are made, be it in China or Austria or anywhere else. That's one major reason why it's so much cheaper for companies to make them in China because the manufacturing process is so labor intensive and labor is cheap in China.

Rabbit
12-13-2010, 01:08 PM
^^^^^^^^^
yep, there's a video floating around of a Chinese factory where they're building Prince frames. I was really amazed at how much manual labor goes into a frame from beginning to putting on grips to the guy who sits there all day and puts the dot in the 12 o'clock between the first two mains.

BreakPoint
12-13-2010, 01:30 PM
^^^^^^^^^
yep, there's a video floating around of a Chinese factory where they're building Prince frames. I was really amazed at how much manual labor goes into a frame from beginning to putting on grips to the guy who sits there all day and puts the dot in the 12 o'clock between the first two mains.
There's also a Wilson "infomercial" that they show during commercial breaks on Tennis Channel that talks about how Wilson develops new frames from the initial engineering to the prototype testing to the manufacturing and they mention that most people think that tennis racquets are made by machines when in fact they are mostly made by hand.

Bhagi Katbamna
12-13-2010, 02:39 PM
I guarantee that what is wrong with our games wouldn't magically get better with a racket made in Austria.

Rabbit
12-13-2010, 03:19 PM
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
Correctomundo!

make it into a Pepsi challenge....we wouldn't know the difference

vsbabolat
12-13-2010, 03:46 PM
http://edition.cnn.com/video/#/video/sports/2010/04/15/open.court.head.racket.cnn?iref=videosearch

jura
12-14-2010, 12:57 AM
Interested to know vs did you manage to get a tour there? Or are the photos from another site?
Thanks.
These pics can be found on the Head media database if you have an access.

jura
12-14-2010, 01:05 AM
I guarantee that what is wrong with our games wouldn't magically get better with a racket made in Austria.
I can agree to this. I played Head stock frames and I have TGK sticks now. There are only two differences: First you can get rackets that are not sold as a YT Prestige MID in 695mm length (as I have and what is the reason that I don't use stock frames). And second at Kennelbach they don't put (that much) lead inside the handle before baking the racket. They fill silicone into the grip which gives the racket a different touch.

jmverdugo
12-14-2010, 06:09 AM
i really wish china could make quality products

They do, for instance I am pretty sure you are writting from a computer made in China.

TheRed
12-14-2010, 12:40 PM
i really wish china could make quality products

Fischer racquets had amazing quality control - they were made in China. Head racquets, the ones previously made in Austria, had terrible quality control. Don't listen to amateurs talk here about chinese and austrian racquets. They don't know racquets, they don't know the manufacturing process and they don't know what quality control means.

To be honest, I prefer the old racquets because I love the graphite/twaron feel. That has nothing to do with China or quality control. The decision to make "poor quality" racquets lies with the racquet company, not the country.

rovex
12-14-2010, 01:16 PM
Where anything is made has no bearing on the quality.

big bang
12-14-2010, 01:23 PM
Fischer racquets had amazing quality control - they were made in China. Head racquets, the ones previously made in Austria, had terrible quality control. Don't listen to amateurs talk here about chinese and austrian racquets. They don't know racquets, they don't know the manufacturing process and they don't know what quality control means.

To be honest, I prefer the old racquets because I love the graphite/twaron feel. That has nothing to do with China or quality control. The decision to make "poor quality" racquets lies with the racquet company, not the country.
LOL oh really??:)

TheRed
12-14-2010, 01:26 PM
LOL oh really??:)

yes, really. What is your insight?

rufusbgood
12-14-2010, 02:34 PM
Fischer racquets had amazing quality control - they were made in China. Head racquets, the ones previously made in Austria, had terrible quality control. Don't listen to amateurs talk here about chinese and austrian racquets.


I am inclined to agree. The Austrian made racquets were prone to losing their shape. They were also prone to collapse between string holes. I've always thought of that as a design flaw, but since moving their manufacturing to China, Head's racquets have been worlds better in this regard.

vsbabolat
12-14-2010, 08:31 PM
I am inclined to agree. The Austrian made racquets were prone to losing their shape. They were also prone to collapse between string holes. I've always thought of that as a design flaw, but since moving their manufacturing to China, Head's racquets have been worlds better in this regard.

Well, I have had many many years of experience with Austrian made racquets. In that time I only had one frame that cracked due to it being defective. While 3 out of the 4 Microgel Prestige I had crack in the same spot at the shaft just above the grip. On the Youtek Prestige Mid I have 1 that is cracking in the same spot as the Microgel Prestige.

The China made frames still go round if mounted incorrectly on a 6 point mounting system and or strung from throat to head which was the same situation with the Austrian made frames. I don't think quality improved or got worse.

Never, Never have I had a Austrian Made frame collapse between string holes.

I guess I have very different experiences than you guys........

rufusbgood
12-14-2010, 09:29 PM
Never, Never have I had a Austrian Made frame collapse between string holes.

You've never noticed something like this?

http://i56.tinypic.com/2i9sho0.jpg

coyfish
12-14-2010, 10:13 PM
I had 3 austrian made radicals and let me tell you they were the worst QC ever. All 3 played basically like different racquets. Swingweight was different, impact felt different, weight was different . . . I have 2 youteks and both play identically.

Bhagi Katbamna
12-15-2010, 07:58 AM
The improvement may have to do with more advanced machines that the rackets are made on rather than where they are actually made.

Fedace
12-15-2010, 08:11 AM
Which Youtek does he use ?? and do they make his racket specially for him on the side ?

Pioneer
12-15-2010, 09:55 AM
It's not about how "good" you are it's about what is advertised and what is sold. When you get a 4pts head heavy K6.1 95 or a 370g strung Prestige MP you don't need to be that good to be ****ed off that the specs say "320g unstrung" and you get this crap. It's also unfair when they say someone plays with a Radical for example but his radical is hand-made with top quality control whereas the radical you buy has been made in a Chinese sweatshop factory, and the pro using a Radical would rather use a racquet from a less well known European-based company if he wasn't paid to lie.



Why hate head because of that? Why waste more money on people who are the targets of the market as opposed to people who are advertising the product. Also it takes so much time do you know how much money they would lose? Besides a handful of the people on the board, no one really is good enough to need complete matched and high grade racquets.

Pioneer
12-15-2010, 09:57 AM
Still, your game will be more likely to improve with a quality frame that suits you and that you've customized for yourself

I guarantee that what is wrong with our games wouldn't magically get better with a racket made in Austria.

rufusbgood
12-15-2010, 10:39 AM
Besides a handful of the people on the board, no one really is good enough to need complete matched and high grade racquets.

Agree. Even on the tour. I strung for a top 100 player who was using the APD. Six racquets varying in weight from 322 to 329 gms and varying in swingweight from 306 to 322.

adidasman
12-15-2010, 10:55 AM
I'm so glad to see holes being blown into the whole myth of the "customized" racquet making such a huge difference. It's like the guys killing themselves to put the Head Prestige grommets on their Wilson frame or whatever. You can spend your time tinkering all day long with your sticks, guys, but the truth is that even the most discerning player at the highest level probably can't tell the difference between a frame that weighs 320 grams and one that weighs 310. If you think you can, it's probably all in your head. Again, it's fine if you want to have fun customizing your frames, but don't try to convince the rest of us that it really makes a world of difference. Because it doesn't.

DavaiMarat
12-15-2010, 11:07 AM
http://edition.cnn.com/video/#/video/sports/2010/04/15/open.court.head.racket.cnn?iref=videosearch

Great video! I always wondered where my TGKs were made. Now I know. Man I love that forehand at 2:41. Lol I think that was a 100mph forehand.

retrowagen
12-15-2010, 12:18 PM
Fischer racquets had amazing quality control - they were made in China.
I agree; Fischers from Austria or their Chinese subcontracting OEM were both excellent in terms of fit, finish, and consistency of spec.

Head racquets, the ones previously made in Austria, had terrible quality control. Don't listen to amateurs talk here about chinese and austrian racquets. They don't know racquets, they don't know the manufacturing process and they don't know what quality control means..

Having had (and played at a fairly high level) literally dozens of Austrian-made Heads from 1986 through present, I disagree.

ART ART
12-15-2010, 02:12 PM
Agree. Even on the tour. I strung for a top 100 player who was using the APD. Six racquets varying in weight from 322 to 329 gms and varying in swingweight from 306 to 322.

This is a valid post here.

But are those rackets customised ?
If yes, by who?

In this case, those values are far away... to much difference bettwen them.

But you are right, most ATP players have different specs in theyr rackets, close ones but still different.

I once spoke to Nalbandian at RG, and he told me that he was getting some trouble with some rackets, because they feel somehow different from eachother. At that time he was using just 3 rackets, and other 5 rackets ware not used...

But again, pro's rackets only differ in quality control, and specific points for flex. That is why they feel different.
All materials used are the same.

But someone sell them at higher prices... a fool and his money...

:twisted:

15_ounce
12-15-2010, 02:54 PM
Fischer racquets had amazing quality control - they were made in China. Head racquets, the ones previously made in Austria, had terrible quality control. Don't listen to amateurs talk here about chinese and austrian racquets. They don't know racquets, they don't know the manufacturing process and they don't know what quality control means.

To be honest, I prefer the old racquets because I love the graphite/twaron feel. That has nothing to do with China or quality control. The decision to make "poor quality" racquets lies with the racquet company, not the country.

My Bosworth Rossignol is made in China. It is very solid and tough and almost every ball that I hit with it just feel very solid. It feels as if it's been really carefully designed with attention to details.

vsbabolat
12-15-2010, 03:49 PM
My Bosworth Rossignol is made in China. It is very solid and tough and almost every ball that I hit with it just feel very solid. It feels as if it's been really carefully designed with attention to details.

Which Rossignol is it?

TheRed
12-15-2010, 11:25 PM
I agree; Fischers from Austria or their Chinese subcontracting OEM were both excellent in terms of fit, finish, and consistency of spec.



Having had (and played at a fairly high level) literally dozens of Austrian-made Heads from 1986 through present, I disagree.

I agree somewhat with you. I've used the PT 280, Original Radical, I radical, iprestige, fxp prestige, prestige classic 660 and the youtek prestige. fxp and on were china racquets. I found their tolerances to be quite good. The PT 280 was ok, but I series were better in QC. the original radical was terrible. the racquet I got was significantly head heavier than specs.

Azzurri
12-16-2010, 06:24 AM
I had 3 austrian made radicals and let me tell you they were the worst QC ever. All 3 played basically like different racquets. Swingweight was different, impact felt different, weight was different . . . I have 2 youteks and both play identically.

I have had the opposite experience. I have had 4 different Head racquets in pairs the last few years and not one single pair felt the same. On the other hand, I have played with at least 6 Radical Twin Tubes and every one of them felt exactly the same as the other.

2 Microgel Prestige MP...matched in specs but felt different in feel.
2 Microgel Prestige Pro MP..."matched in specs but felt different in feel."
2 Microgel Prestige mid..."matched in specs but felt different in feel."
2 Youtek Prestige MP..."matched in specs but felt different in feel."

That is not a coincidence. I just can't believe I have never had 4 sets of matched Head racquets (newer models) feel the same.

DavaiMarat
12-16-2010, 06:31 AM
i really wish china could make quality products

I don't. We'd be sooooooooooo screwed if they got German/Japanese quality but Chinese production power.

I'm not talking about tennis racquets. I believe the western/european retail infrastructure would collapse. Buy chinese, 1/2 price same quality. Bad Bad and bad.

Azzurri
12-16-2010, 06:41 AM
I agree somewhat with you. I've used the PT 280, Original Radical, I radical, iprestige, fxp prestige, prestige classic 660 and the youtek prestige. fxp and on were china racquets. I found their tolerances to be quite good. The PT 280 was ok, but I series were better in QC. the original radical was terrible. the racquet I got was significantly head heavier than specs.

do you mean one racquet? I have owned over 10 Radical Twin Tubes since 1995 and every single one of them felt the same and had the same feel in balance/SW. Trust me, I have a curse (some may not view it this way) that I can feel the slightest difference in a racquet. For example:

A few years back I ordered a matched set of Wilson K90's from TW. They came and just as I tok them out of the box, I immedietly knew these were not matched. I felt a difference. I called them and I had to ship them back. They admitted no one had matched these. If memory serves me, the difference was like a few grams and 1 pt balance..not much at all. But I notice the slightest difference in a racquet, not as much on strings for whatever reason. But the newer frames tolerances are much, much worse than what was made in Austria. Below are the specs (found the email), so again pretty close but no cigar. I felt a major difference. I am cursed!

Racquet with the star:
Static Weight: 12.6 ounces
Balance: 8 points head light
Swing Weight: 337

Racquet w/o the star:
Static Weight: 12.8 ounces
Balance: 9 points head light
Swing Weight: 338

Sampras Fan
12-16-2010, 06:47 AM
I have had the opposite experience. I have had 4 different Head racquets in pairs the last few years and not one single pair felt the same. On the other hand, I have played with at least 6 Radical Twin Tubes and every one of them felt exactly the same as the other.

2 Microgel Prestige MP...matched in specs but felt different in feel.
2 Microgel Prestige Pro MP..."matched in specs but felt different in feel."
2 Microgel Prestige mid..."matched in specs but felt different in feel."
2 Youtek Prestige MP..."matched in specs but felt different in feel."

That is not a coincidence. I just can't believe I have never had 4 sets of matched Head racquets (newer models) feel the same.

If they are matched in specs, strings, balance and feel different then its all in your head that you can feel the difference. Give me a break.

Do you get your racquets strung by P1 and give them hell because they just dont feel right?

Azzurri
12-16-2010, 07:09 AM
If they are matched in specs, strings, balance and feel different then its all in your head that you can feel the difference. Give me a break.

Do you get your racquets strung by P1 and give them hell because they just dont feel right?

as I stated, I am cursed. Yes I truly feel the differences. I have 2 Wilson K88's I just got a month back and one I bought when they first came out. The matched pair feel exactly alike and the older one is a few grams lighter, but same SW and balance. But all three feel exactly the same..no issue. One of the reasons why I like playing these racquets. You have no idea how difficult it has been the past few years finding 2 or more racquets that feel the same in swing and contact. I never had this issue with my Max 200g's, Ultra 2's, Radical TT's and PS85 St. Vincents. I took a break from tennis (played a lot of golf) in 2000 and slowly got back into it in 2004 and full-time in 2007. Since 2004 I can't count how many racquets I have played. It has to be in the 60-70 range. But yes, I can feel the smallest difference. In fact, I still have the emails to prove it. I had no idea what the specs were because TW did not do the matching. When they got the racquets back, they sent me the specs of the two racquets (as I listed) and I chose the lighter one.

Lastly, feel is a bit different than matching a racquet by specs. Its actually a seperate issue. just because two racquets are matched in specs does not mean they will feel the same (especially today's racquets). this has been noted by many other posters so its not that odd. the thing that is the "curse" for me is I can feel the weight difference to the smallest amount of grams..that is the issue for me more so than feel. You would think more racquets feel the same but have different specs...not true for me anyway.

Sampras Fan
12-16-2010, 07:23 AM
Good enough. Do you have a balance board? I know sometimes I can add weight to different parts of the racquet to match up a pair and even though the specs and the balance match, the weight being distributed unevenly I think is the reason for the difference in feel.

0d1n
12-16-2010, 07:51 AM
I'm so glad to see holes being blown into the whole myth of the "customized" racquet making such a huge difference. It's like the guys killing themselves to put the Head Prestige grommets on their Wilson frame or whatever. You can spend your time tinkering all day long with your sticks, guys, but the truth is that even the most discerning player at the highest level probably can't tell the difference between a frame that weighs 320 grams and one that weighs 310. If you think you can, it's probably all in your head. Again, it's fine if you want to have fun customizing your frames, but don't try to convince the rest of us that it really makes a world of difference. Because it doesn't.

I'm sorry, but that is just plain false. I can feel the difference between 2 of my frames which are 4 grams apart blindfolded. They have similar swing weight/balance though ... and as a result I can't be bothered to match them further in mass ... because the results aren't really different and I can switch between them in the middle of a set...so I don't care.
Can't feel 10 grams apart...get outta here.
I'm with you with the general idea that most people would be best served working on their game rather than putting half a gram in their "buttcap" for a more headlight balance which should give them more swing speed, which should give them more spin, which should "make their balls heavier" ;), which should elevate their NTRP rating from 3.5 to 5.0...but I don't buy the idea that one can't feel a 10 grams difference between otherwise similar racquets.

Azzurri
12-16-2010, 08:49 AM
Good enough. Do you have a balance board? I know sometimes I can add weight to different parts of the racquet to match up a pair and even though the specs and the balance match, the weight being distributed unevenly I think is the reason for the difference in feel.

I don't have one, but I should have gotten one years ago. I have used the ruler method and it seemed to work fine. It could be the weight, but I don't have that issue with my current sticks...I am planning on playing these for a long time. we'll see I guess.:)

RacquetCraft
12-18-2010, 07:40 AM
In the good old days,frames were designed and production overseen by craftsmen of long standing and of unquestionable expertise. Many of the workers who actually built the "old frames" you guys chat about on these boards worked for many years at the same job at the same factory. The remaining staff still producing prototypes and certain pro stock at Head's Kennelbach factory are such craftsmen or where trained by craftsmen of longstanding experience.

Most other frames are produced at OEM's in China and Taiwan. Take YMA for example-this OEM produce both Dunlop's and Technifibre's frame runs. Is the racquet playability and/or the quality control of the racquets they produce any different? In my opinion, although the frames that the OEM's produce are very good racquets, these racquets are not as good as the frames once made by craftsmen?

cheers,

racquetcraft

BLACKOUT
12-18-2010, 02:34 PM
Great video, and Adidasman, a little customization does go a long way. You just want the racquets to play as well as possible.

Rabbit
12-18-2010, 05:18 PM
I'm so glad to see holes being blown into the whole myth of the "customized" racquet making such a huge difference. It's like the guys killing themselves to put the Head Prestige grommets on their Wilson frame or whatever. You can spend your time tinkering all day long with your sticks, guys, but the truth is that even the most discerning player at the highest level probably can't tell the difference between a frame that weighs 320 grams and one that weighs 310. If you think you can, it's probably all in your head. Again, it's fine if you want to have fun customizing your frames, but don't try to convince the rest of us that it really makes a world of difference. Because it doesn't.

Great post and I agree 100%. If folks spent as much time playing tennis as they do thinking about tennis, they'd be playing much better.

DrewRafter8
12-28-2010, 04:21 PM
I can agree to this. I played Head stock frames and I have TGK sticks now. There are only two differences: First you can get rackets that are not sold as a YT Prestige MID in 695mm length (as I have and what is the reason that I don't use stock frames). And second at Kennelbach they don't put (that much) lead inside the handle before baking the racket. They fill silicone into the grip which gives the racket a different touch.

This is what drives me crazy. I've been playing with extended frames for a while now. Best stick I ever hit with was a TGK that was 695mm. I've been trying to find more, but availability is very limited. I've got my hands on a 28" radical tour zebra that I'm going to try and make work. These Austrian sticks seem to have a really plush feeling. Very unique.

If I can't find the TGK's, the old Babolat APDC+ (can you say opposite of plush?) will just have to continue to work....

bobijam
12-28-2010, 06:31 PM
High quality control means you dump racquests do not fit the high quality level, means you'd hire more experienced workers, means higher salary, higher cost.

So it's not where the racquet come from decides its quality, it's how much the company would pay and how much they'd profit which determines their product quality.

t-swede
12-31-2010, 02:45 PM
if some people here would spend the same time on improving conditioning and athletic ability and stroke mechanics as the do with the whole racket tinkering the most likely would be in the top 500 in the world or at least playing challengers .

come on folks there isnt any racket thats going to turn you in to a 5.0 player if only have the 4.0 player capacity.