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Dreamwalker
07-12-2010, 03:04 PM
I've been researching and obsessing over racquets on this forum for about a month now and my wife is threatening divorce if I don't pick one soon. :) From my research, here's a short list of racquets that interest me. I'd love to narrow this list down to 4 racquets so I can do a one-round demo and then just buy one. Which 4 do you think I should go with? Any that I should avoid? I've included some information about me below. Thanks for your help.

-Dunlop 4D 300
-Boris Becker Delta Core London
-Head Youtek Radical MP
-Babolat Pure Storm GT
-Volkl V1 Classic
-Volkl Power Bridge 10 Light (295)
-Wilson BLX Pro Open

About me:
-35 yo male
-3.5 (self rated)
-Played on high school team for 4 years
-Currently using Prince CTS Synergy DB 26 (11.7 oz unstrung) - finding this racquet t0o heavy for me
-Eastern grip forehand
-2HBH (sometimes lacks depth)
-Serve (spin & flat)
-Net game needs work

diggitydawg
07-12-2010, 03:15 PM
Excellent list. Looks like you have a solid idea of what your looking for. These are all great sticks.
1. Wilson BLX Pro Open
2. Head Radical MP
3. Babolat Pure Storm
4. Dunlop 4D 300

OldButGame
07-12-2010, 04:48 PM
And I'd narrow that^^^^ list even further to...
-Babolat Pure Storm Ltd(nonGT...my only experience)
-Head Radical MP....
....2 really great racquets IMO

Both at great prices i might add,....:)

Dreamwalker
07-12-2010, 05:03 PM
And I'd narrow that^^^^ list even further to...
-Babolat Pure Storm Ltd(nonGT...my only experience)
-Head Radical MP....
....2 really great racquets IMO

Both at great peices i might add,....:)

Thanks. I sure do like the price of the Pure Storm Ltd but from the TW description I worry that it might be too advanced/demanding for me (it says it's for 4.5+ players). Also, I think it might be on the heavy side for me.

OldButGame
07-12-2010, 05:17 PM
I'm only about a 3.5,...and it works like a charm for me,..in fact i just bought a second backup to it,....given its static weight and headlightness,...it doesnt feel nearly as heavy as many of my racquets,....but i dont add lead either...always just stock,....

Matz03
07-12-2010, 05:54 PM
I would even consider a Head Instinct for a demo, same weight as radical but 18x19 instead of 18x20, little bit bigger sweet spot and very underrated. Can't go wrong with radical mp either tho.

esgee48
07-12-2010, 09:33 PM
Head Instinct or Radical MP or OS. The Instinct will definitely provide more power than the Radical.

getsby
07-12-2010, 09:42 PM
dunlop 4d 300 or a head radical

Jim Hendricks
07-13-2010, 04:10 AM
I'm only about a 3.5,...and it works like a charm for me,..in fact i just bought a second backup to it,....given its static weight and headlightness,...it doesnt feel nearly as heavy as many of my racquets,....but i don't add lead either...always just stock,....

I second that opinion. I've always liked traditional players frames but lately I've had trouble getting them through the contact zone consistently, until I came across the PSL. It gives me everything I've always looked for in a racquet but one that is maneuverable enough to get it through the contact zone consistently. Don't write it off because it is recommended for 4.5 players.

Dreamwalker
07-13-2010, 05:38 AM
Firstly, thanks for all the replies. Based on what you've said, I feel comfortable allocating two of my 4 demo spots to the Head YT Radical MP and Dunlop 4D 300. I think a 3rd spot should probably go to a Babolat just so I can see how they feel. I'll either go with the Pure Storm GT or the PSL that a few of you mentioned. The Head Instinct is one that I completely overlooked so I need to go back and do some homework on it.

Also, I noticed that no-one mentioned the Volkl or Boris Becker racquets I listed above. Is that because they're not as good as the other racquets or some other reason?

slide13
07-13-2010, 06:11 AM
BLX Pro Open is worth checking out too I think, I'm demoing one right now and really enjoying it. Forgiving, good power but still controllable, and just a nice feel.

athiker
07-13-2010, 06:51 AM
Thanks. I sure do like the price of the Pure Storm Ltd but from the TW description I worry that it might be too advanced/demanding for me (it says it's for 4.5+ players). Also, I think it might be on the heavy side for me.

That's a pet peeve of mine with these so called recommended ratings. I'm beginning to think it is a deliberate marketing tactic, like some luxury brands "for the discriminating buyer" or "demanding" or whatever. My non-expert opinion is to basically ignore them and do what you are doing. Narrow down based on specs and some feedback as best you can and then try some and pick the one that feels best to you.

If your current racquet feels a bit too heavy I would first see if you can determine what its swingweight is. It may not be the 11.6 oz static weight as much as the a balance that gives it a fairly high swingweight and thus makes it feel "heavy". Maybe someone here can tell you for that model, or try Googling for it. I would stick to a racquet maybe 325 or under swingweight if you are looking for a racquet that is easier to come around...as a maximum. If you go too light with static weight you may feel like your racquet gets pushed a bit when you run up against a heavier hitter, even at the 3.5 level IMHO.

You mention leaving 2HBH short sometimes so to up the power I would go a bit stiffer than the most flexy racquets....maybe 64 or 65 as a minimum on the low side. Since you have a 2HBH hopefully you won't have to worry about tennis elbow and can enjoy the power of a stiffer stick (there may be some feel/touch trade off however). Of course power can be adjusted significantly with string type and tension as well.

Anyway, overall I'd look for something in the 98-102 headsize range, high 10s to low 11s static weight, swingweight of maybe 315-323, and stiffness of maybe 65-70. Good luck and let us know how what you think when you demo.

Dreamwalker
07-13-2010, 07:41 AM
That's a pet peeve of mine with these so called recommended ratings. I'm beginning to think it is a deliberate marketing tactic, like some luxury brands "for the discriminating buyer" or "demanding" or whatever. My non-expert opinion is to basically ignore them and do what you are doing. Narrow down based on specs and some feedback as best you can and then try some and pick the one that feels best to you.


Thanks for such a thorough reply. I'm starting to realize that I may have prematurely eliminated some good racquets from my search based on these ratings.



If your current racquet feels a bit too heavy I would first see if you can determine what its swingweight is. It may not be the 11.6 oz static weight as much as the a balance that gives it a fairly high swingweight and thus makes it feel "heavy". Maybe someone here can tell you for that model, or try Googling for it. I would stick to a racquet maybe 325 or under swingweight if you are looking for a racquet that is easier to come around...as a maximum. If you go too light with static weight you may feel like your racquet gets pushed a bit when you run up against a heavier hitter, even at the 3.5 level IMHO.



My current racquet is 11.7oz unstrung and I guess 12.2oz-ish with my Prince Syn Gut strings. At that weight, I never had any arm issues but there were times where I felt that I couldn't quite get around on some shots. Recently, I had the grip built-up because I felt that it was too small and the racquet would twist in my hand on mishits. This build up involved a heat shrink sleeve, replacement grip, and an overgrip. Now the grip size is perfect but the racquet leaves me with a sore shoulder after each session (I've stopped using it). It must be much heavier now and probably more HL but not sure of the amount. Whatever it is, my body is telling me to stop using it.



You mention leaving 2HBH short sometimes so to up the power I would go a bit stiffer than the most flexy racquets....maybe 64 or 65 as a minimum on the low side. Since you have a 2HBH hopefully you won't have to worry about tennis elbow and can enjoy the power of a stiffer stick (there may be some feel/touch trade off however). Of course power can be adjusted significantly with string type and tension as well.

Anyway, overall I'd look for something in the 98-102 headsize range, high 10s to low 11s static weight, swingweight of maybe 315-323, and stiffness of maybe 65-70. Good luck and let us know how what you think when you demo.

This is interesting because there were several stiffer racquets (AeroPro Drive GT, Volkl PB8, Dunlop 4D 500T, for example) that I didn't even consider because I was afraid of the stiffness and the possibility of developing tennis elbow or other arm issues. You mention that because I have a 2HBH, I don't need to worry about tennis elbow. Is it generally more prominent among 1HBH players? In any case, I'm glad that my current selections generally match your advice with regards to headsize, static weight, and swingweight. The stiffness, however, is something I'll need to reconsider and maybe I'll need two rounds of demos to really get a feel for the different types of racquets ... can't wait to see my wife's reaction. :)

athiker
07-13-2010, 09:01 AM
I may have jumped the gun a bit on the tennis elbow thing, a 2HBH won't make you immune. I personally play with a racquets on the flexy end of the scale due to TE issues. Yes, 1HBH makes one more susceptible to classic TE but there is also "golfer's elbow" which happens on the inside of the elbow from the fh or serve as well as shoulder issues to consider. If you are just getting back in the game and conditioning it may in fact be good to err on the cautious side and go flexy. You'll have to gauge that yourself based on your current conditioning, how you feel after a demo, how often you plan to play, etc.

Stiffer racquets do tend to be more naturally powerful though so that's why I steered you in that direction based on your initial comments. As mentioned though, you can use more powerful string strung at lower tensions to generate power as well.

It does sound like your current racquet has gotten up there in weight. Quite a few on this board like heavy racquets so its not necessarily a bad thing, but if you are getting tired then no reason to punish yourself. My current racquets are listed below in my sig. I really like my BB11 but I've found the swingweight to be a touch high for me personally, not quick enough on fast reaction shots, so ended up buying the other two. I still use the BB11 for singles sometimes b/c of its great solid feel, but almost never for doubles anymore.

As I said they are all on the flexy side b/c I had pretty bad TE for a while. I was using a Babolat AeroPro at the time. Liked it fine, but just couldn't get well with it even with a multi string. Plus it just felt too powerful with a multi to me. I really liked it w/ a hybrid poly set up, but my elbow didn't!

I've demoed quite a few racquets, about 15 when I got back in the game a few years back. Specs only get you so far, I was quite surprised how different various racquets felt. That said, a racquet can only do so much for you of course. You can probably play ok with most any racquet within reason, so to me the most important thing is getting one that "feels" good and is healthy for you long term.

athiker
07-13-2010, 09:06 AM
One last thing. Like I say, I did do the demo thing and bought new for starters and am happy I did. That gave me a good base. But once you get back in the game (EDIT: sorry for some reason I thought you were restarting after a long layoff like I did, but I don't see that in your OP now...oops) and get a better feel for what you like and don't like about your racquet buying used is a relatively inexpensive way to try out some racquets. You buy something for $65 - $100 and if you don't like it your loss on resale should be relatively small compared to the other costs of tennis.

jsomrak
07-13-2010, 10:24 AM
I'm too lazy/ busy to read all the threads but; I think you should try a technifibre vo2 max 320. It's slightly lighter than what you have. It's a great all around frame. If you don't like that, try a Dunlop frame. But remember Dunlop is comming out with new stuff soon. Also buy from the classified section on TW. You wil find what you want sooner than later and as your game evolves you'll want something new. People turn frames in very quickly, which will be good for you.

Ronaldo
07-13-2010, 10:42 AM
Like most posters here, buy them all.

Edward DFW
07-13-2010, 05:55 PM
try the head liquidmetal radical... its a sweet stick and should be light enough for you, if its too light its easy to take the trap door off the butt cap and add some lead... and its cheap!

Limpinhitter
07-13-2010, 08:10 PM
I've been researching and obsessing over racquets on this forum for about a month now and my wife is threatening divorce if I don't pick one soon. :) From my research, here's a short list of racquets that interest me. I'd love to narrow this list down to 4 racquets so I can do a one-round demo and then just buy one. Which 4 do you think I should go with? Any that I should avoid? I've included some information about me below. Thanks for your help.

-Dunlop 4D 300
-Boris Becker Delta Core London
-Head Youtek Radical MP
-Babolat Pure Storm GT
-Volkl V1 Classic
-Volkl Power Bridge 10 Light (295)
-Wilson BLX Pro Open

About me:
-35 yo male
-3.5 (self rated)
-Played on high school team for 4 years
-Currently using Prince CTS Synergy DB 26 (11.7 oz unstrung) - finding this racquet t0o heavy for me
-Eastern grip forehand
-2HBH (sometimes lacks depth)
-Serve (spin & flat)
-Net game needs work

First, my question is, if you really are a 3.5 level player, do you plan to devote a significant amount of time working on improving your game? To my knowledge, all of those sticks, except 1, is fairly demanding player frame best suited to a more advanced player who takes a long hard swing at the ball. Most H.S. players around here are 4.5-5.5 level players. If you're not at that level, then you could benefit from a less demanding, more powerful tweener stick.

The only one of your choices that I think could be called a tweener racquet is the Wilson BLX Pro Open. I demo'd it and found it too powerful for my game. But, for a genuine 3.5 level player, it's a great stick, light, maneuverable, stable, powerful, large forgiving sweet spot.

On the other hand, if you are planning on spending the time, effort and sacrifice needed to significantly improve your game, then a player frame may be justified. JMHO. In that case, I've used the the Dunlop 4D300 (not the 300 Tour), and I highly recommend it. It's light and forgiving enough to work well for 3.5 level players, it has great feel and touch, and, doesn't have too much power for a more advanced, hard hitter. In the future, when you find yourself playing against hard hitters, you can always add weight to it.

Dreamwalker
07-14-2010, 04:23 AM
First, my question is, if you really are a 3.5 level player, do you plan to devote a significant amount of time working on improving your game? To my knowledge, all of those sticks, except 1, is fairly demanding player frame best suited to a more advanced player who takes a long hard swing at the ball. Most H.S. players around here are 4.5-5.5 level players. If you're not at that level, then you could benefit from a less demanding, more powerful tweener stick.


When I was in HS, I was probably a 4.0 level player. I don't think I ever got higher than that. At this point, I'm a rustier version of that player and hence the 3.5 rating. I would like to at the least get back to that level and am willing to put in some effort to get there.



The only one of your choices that I think could be called a tweener racquet is the Wilson BLX Pro Open. I demo'd it and found it too powerful for my game. But, for a genuine 3.5 level player, it's a great stick, light, maneuverable, stable, powerful, large forgiving sweet spot.


Wouldn't the Volkl V1 Classic also fall into the tweener racquet category? When selecting these frames, I wanted to try to avoid getting a rocket launcher so I tried to pick frames that offered control and some power. The sense that I got from reading this forum and customer reviews was that while these may lean towards being player frames, they were also on the lower end of the spectrum when it came to being "demanding". I could be wrong here but I'll find out for sure after the demo. I don't mind using a racquet that is a little bit beyond me so that I have some room for growth. On the other hand, I also don't want something so advanced/unforgiving. I will definitely take a look at the BLX Pro Open.


On the other hand, if you are planning on spending the time, effort and sacrifice needed to significantly improve your game, then a player frame may be justified. JMHO. In that case, I've used the the Dunlop 4D300 (not the 300 Tour), and I highly recommend it. It's light and forgiving enough to work well for 3.5 level players, it has great feel and touch, and, doesn't have too much power for a more advanced, hard hitter. In the future, when you find yourself playing against hard hitters, you can always add weight to it.

I've so far heard very good things about the 4D300 and it's one I'm definitely going to demo. I also saw on another thread that this racquet's predecessor (Aerogel 300) is on sale on another site for around $80. That's one that I may also look at.

Limpinhitter
07-14-2010, 06:53 AM
. . . Wouldn't the Volkl V1 Classic also fall into the tweener racquet category? When selecting these frames, I wanted to try to avoid getting a rocket launcher so I tried to pick frames that offered control and some power. The sense that I got from reading this forum and customer reviews was that while these may lean towards being player frames, they were also on the lower end of the spectrum when it came to being "demanding". I could be wrong here but I'll find out for sure after the demo. I don't mind using a racquet that is a little bit beyond me so that I have some room for growth. On the other hand, I also don't want something so advanced/unforgiving. I will definitely take a look at the BLX Pro Open.

I took a look at the specs of the V1. I would call that between a tweener and a game improvement (rocket launcher), stick. If anything, I'd go with a more moderate stick like the Pro Open.

I've so far heard very good things about the 4D300 and it's one I'm definitely going to demo. I also saw on another thread that this racquet's predecessor (Aerogel 300) is on sale on another site for around $80. That's one that I may also look at.

I'd go with the AG 4D300. Someone might have more insight, but, my understanding is that the newer AG 4D Dunlops have perimiter reinforcement/weighting that corrects a bit of tortional instability in the older AG's. If you consistently hit dead in the sweet spot, it's not an issue. But, if you're contact point is slightly off, you'll get some twisting and a less desireable result. Of course that can be corrected by customizing with led tape at 3 & 9 o'clock. But then you'll have to add weight to the handle in order to maintain the balance of the stick. The net result will be a heavier stick which might not be what you want for now. Hope that helps.

Dreamwalker
07-26-2010, 09:21 AM
Thanks to all for your suggestions. I ended up choosing to demo the Head Youtek Radical MP, Dunlop 4D 300, Babolat Pure Storm GT, and Boris Becker DC London. The racquets arrived on Friday and I've since had two sessions to play with them. Here are my impressions so far:

Head Youtek Radical MP: With each ground stroke, I felt a significant "trampoline" effect accompanied by a loud ping (this is with a vibration dampener). Too many of my shots sailed on me and I quickly had to put the racquet down. I suspect that maybe the strings are at too low of a tension but I guess that highlights one of the downsides of demoes. I still have all week so I'm not giving up on this racquet but honestly, it's not looking good so far.

Dunlop 4D 300: I didn't have any control issues with this racquet. I was able to hit my ground strokes reasonably well but the racquet (or possibly the strings) just didn't feel right. Whenever the ball hit the stringbed, there was a metallic sound and the strings seemed to crackle or crunch. Weird, I know, but I'm not sure how else to describe it. Even solid hits just felt OK. I don't know if the strings are dead or if this is really the way the racquet feels. I even did a simple test where I held the racquet in my hand and just repeatedly bounced the ball off the strings. Each of the other racquets had a normal ping or thud type sound except for this racquet. Has anyone else experienced this? Would a different set of strings (and tension) maybe resolve this issue?

Babolat Pure Storm GT: With one caveat, this racquet felt good right away. My groundstrokes had depth and spin and I felt like I could place them where I wanted (roughly of course as I'm only a 3.5 player). I didn't try too many serves and volleys so I won't comment on that for now. I plan on focusing on that throughout the week. This is the only Babolat I've ever tried and I found that I really liked the grip shape. Now the caveat: I felt like the racquet vibrated a bit more than I'm used to. I had a vibration dampener on the racquet but it would still ping. It didn't affect my play, but I'm not sure how I feel about it.

BB DC London: I really enjoyed playing with this racquet. It felt solid and I feel like I was able to generate spin without modifying my stroke at all (I normally hit a flatter type ball but am trying to work on more topspin). My control was good too as I felt like I could swing out at the ball and it would still land in. The other thing that stood out to me was the way this racquet felt and sounded. I found it to be pretty comfortable and it didn't create a pinging sound on impact like some of the other racquets. It was more of a duller thud-type sound which I like.

Anyway, these are just initial impressions. I plan on testing out my serves and volleys a bit more during the week and we'll see how it goes.

GorillaPeanuts
07-26-2010, 01:32 PM
Youtek Radical ((:

HiroProtagonist
07-26-2010, 02:00 PM
DO NOT GIVE UP ON THE RADICAL-i just finished a similar demo quest, however i was looking for a bit more of a players stick(check sig for final choice), but i felt the same way about the radical at first. Then gave it another try, went slightly more western on FH grip and the thing was money! tremendous spin potential and control. I am also a 3.5-4.0 player and the Radical was my second choice, personally just wanted a bit more heft for stability, but the Rad seems perfect for what ur looking for.

wrxinsc
07-26-2010, 03:23 PM
I've been researching and obsessing over racquets on this forum for about a month now and my wife is threatening divorce if I don't pick one soon. :) From my research, here's a short list of racquets that interest me. I'd love to narrow this list down to 4 racquets so I can do a one-round demo and then just buy one. Which 4 do you think I should go with? Any that I should avoid? I've included some information about me below. Thanks for your help.

-Dunlop 4D 300
-Boris Becker Delta Core London
-Head Youtek Radical MP
-Babolat Pure Storm GT
-Volkl V1 Classic
-Volkl Power Bridge 10 Light (295)
-Wilson BLX Pro Open

About me:
-35 yo male
-3.5 (self rated)
-Played on high school team for 4 years
-Currently using Prince CTS Synergy DB 26 (11.7 oz unstrung) - finding this racquet t0o heavy for me
-Eastern grip forehand
-2HBH (sometimes lacks depth)
-Serve (spin & flat)
-Net game needs work

neat. i just finished my demo process over the last couple of months. i had been playing with the CTS Synergy 28.

i ended up choosing the Prince Hybrid in my sig. fwiw.

JackB1
07-26-2010, 04:11 PM
I am also a 3.5 and love the Dunlop 300 Tour and the Pacific XForce Pro.
I would definitely put the XForce Pro on your list to demo. It's a great all around stick with no weaknesses. The Radical MP does have a ping sound to it. I experienced the same exact thing. It also vibrates a lot on contact.
The Pure Storn GT is another great stick.

JackB1
08-25-2010, 10:30 AM
BB DC London: I really enjoyed playing with this racquet. It felt solid and I feel like I was able to generate spin without modifying my stroke at all (I normally hit a flatter type ball but am trying to work on more topspin). My control was good too as I felt like I could swing out at the ball and it would still land in. The other thing that stood out to me was the way this racquet felt and sounded. I found it to be pretty comfortable and it didn't create a pinging sound on impact like some of the other racquets. It was more of a duller thud-type sound which I like.

Anyway, these are just initial impressions. I plan on testing out my serves and volleys a bit more during the week and we'll see how it goes.

Did u settle on a racquet? Still liking the London? That racquet is getting an awful lot of praise around here lately.

Dreamwalker
08-26-2010, 05:32 AM
Did u settle on a racquet? Still liking the London? That racquet is getting an awful lot of praise around here lately.

Yeah, I ended up picking the London. I demoed it for about 2 weeks and out of all the racquets I tried, it was the one I felt most comfortable with. I also found it to be very maneuverable which had a positive effect on everything (groundstrokes, serves, net game, etc). I put my order in last week and am waiting for it to come in (actually, TW is waiting for their order from BB). I plan to play it stock for a while and then decide if it needs any lead (there seems to be plenty of room for customization which is nice).

JackB1
08-26-2010, 07:04 AM
Yeah, I ended up picking the London. I demoed it for about 2 weeks and out of all the racquets I tried, it was the one I felt most comfortable with. I also found it to be very maneuverable which had a positive effect on everything (groundstrokes, serves, net game, etc). I put my order in last week and am waiting for it to come in (actually, TW is waiting for their order from BB). I plan to play it stock for a while and then decide if it needs any lead (there seems to be plenty of room for customization which is nice).

Cool. Post your impressions when you get them.

I am going to try moving more towards a "tweener" myself. I am considering the London, PB9, & RDS003. It's tough to find a tweener that's not too stiff or too heavy. The London seems to have pretty unique specs...kind of like a "super-tweener" or a lighter players stick.

OldButGame
08-26-2010, 07:46 PM
Jack;
The LM Radical has been a miracle for me as of late,....im gettin another one,...:)

JackB1
09-03-2010, 01:08 PM
Yeah, I ended up picking the London. I demoed it for about 2 weeks and out of all the racquets I tried, it was the one I felt most comfortable with. I also found it to be very maneuverable which had a positive effect on everything (groundstrokes, serves, net game, etc). I put my order in last week and am waiting for it to come in (actually, TW is waiting for their order from BB). I plan to play it stock for a while and then decide if it needs any lead (there seems to be plenty of room for customization which is nice).

So how is it going with the London? Did u ever try the BLX Pro Open?

JackB1
09-14-2010, 06:37 AM
Hey Dreamwalker...how about an update? We seem to be very similar in what we are looking for from a racquet and I am curious how the London is working out for you? The specs make me drool, but my only concern is that is it a "player's stick" disguised as a "tweener" :) Do you find it relatively easy to use? Is the power level enough so that you can easily hit deep groudstroke rally balls all day? How is the sweetspot? Dors it have a firm, crisp, plush or flexy feel on impact? I am SOooo tempted to grab one of these, but I can't remember the last time I paid full retail for a racquet :) Maybe it's time to loosen up the pockets and take the plunge?