View Full Version : play test: dunlop ag300 tour, donnay x-red 99, black ace 98, pacific x force pro

06-08-2011, 07:12 PM
context: After 18 years away from the game I'm a 3.5 tuning up to 4.0. Still playing my Wilson Sting, 12.5oz, 88". Big Hitter Blue Rough 17 mains / Gosen 17 crosses. Demoing another group of racquets from TW. First session today and just wanted to rotate through them all for initial impressions.

Dunlop Aerogel 4d 300 Tour: 20 minutes.
Groundstrokes: felt solid, predictable, not too powerful but able to generate pace when needed, fast swinging, felt good on my SHBH.
Volleys: quick to position, solid and nice feel.
Serve: Great pace on first serves, decent spin on second serves. Haven't worked out the timing completely but feel I could dial this one in quickly. Will turn up the topspin volume next time out and see how much kick I can generate.
General: This is very promising. Feels like a more forgiving ag100 with better volley performance and (I think) better serve performance.

donnay x-red 99: 10 minutes.
General: demo came with what I consider a terrible hybrid string setup that somehow managed to feel super tight and at the same time overpowered. I HATED it. But I'm pretty sure it isn't the frame's fault. I don't think I know where to go from here. Now what?

ProKennex Black Ace 98: 5 minutes.
Volleys: solid and rewarding.
Groundstrokes: I found it tremendously difficult to get this thing moving, was hitting all my balls late, especially backhand.
General: Kind of felt pointless. I want a relatively light racquet that plays heavy but doesn't feel heavy. This racquet just felt slow and cumbersome and that's coming from a guy who normally plays a 12.5oz frame. There is no reason this frame should feel like it does. Based on reputation I had high hopes for this frame. I will invest more time before setting it aside so that the PK groupies won't put a curse on me.

Pacific x Force Pro: 10 minutes.
Groundstrokes: Lots of relatively manageable power. Felt a lot like my old Prince Graphite II OS. Easy to swing, came around quick on backhands, good spin, easy to send the ball long which I did with aplomb.
Volleys: not yet.
Serve: not yet.
Return: not yet.
General: Intriguing. Reminds me of the Babolat Roddick GT. Probably too much power and elbow pain for me.

Out of the 8 racquets I have under consideration right now the current leaders are: Boris Becker London, Dunlop ag300 tour, Wilson BLX Blade 98.

I will update this thread after more court time this week.

06-08-2011, 08:55 PM
Sometimes I wish the demo racquets would come with better strings in them. I do believe the racquet that you either like or hate can be based just on the strings alone. Please keep us posted.

Timbo's hopeless slice
06-08-2011, 10:34 PM
may I ask why the Ag300Tour and not the biomimetic?

Just curious.

06-09-2011, 11:06 AM
[QUOTE=Timbo's hopeless slice;5732150]may I ask why the Ag300Tour and not the biomimetic?

Almost identical specs except one is much cheaper.

06-09-2011, 12:06 PM
[QUOTE=Timbo's hopeless slice;5732150]may I ask why the Ag300Tour and not the biomimetic?

Almost identical specs except one is much cheaper.

DIFFERENT swingweight!

06-10-2011, 01:29 AM
Different swingweights... And if you could, you should probably give each racket a few hours over a few sessions.

Power Player
06-10-2011, 06:22 AM
I agree on the Donnay demo strings..they are horrible. Try and see if you can demo a 99 gold, I think you may like that better even with the bad strings.

Good news is the Donnays feel a lot better once you put in your string preference.

If you want low power, the dunlop 300 has no juice. It is fine for a demo but after a 2 hour match I would be wiped out from swinging so hard.

06-11-2011, 05:41 PM

Dunlop Aerogel 4d 300 Tour: about 1 set worth of play.
Groundstrokes: same comments as before, needs better string but you can tell it is just string.
Volleys: same.
Serve: Only hit kick serves this time out. Big kick on par with BB London. Didn't think this would stand up so well to the London with its' denser string pattern but it did.
General: This is a great racquet that I would gladly play with. I feel confident it would improve with an ideal string setup and about a 1/2 oz of lead. However, it doesn't send a tingle up my spine either. Love the racquet but no tingle. Not a deal-breaker, just sayin'.

donnay x-red 99: I really wanted to like it but (for me) the strings doomed it from the start. I will add that PJayhawk really liked it. And all reports are that this racquet would change drastically with different string setups.

ProKennex Black Ace 98: 20 minutes.
Volleys: same.
Groundstrokes: Found my timing this session and came to appreciate the frame more. Predictable, solid, rewards preparation. Pretty good slice. Still a bit slow to get it around on my backhand.
Serve: Really stood out on serve. I could crush the ball on first serves and was finding plenty of kick on second serves.
Return: very good at blocking back first serves.
General: More impressed than last time. Very predictable. Makes me think of a mid-plus version of my Wilson Sting Mid. If I were looking for a singles only racquet this would be a great candidate.

Pacific x Force Pro: 20 minutes.
Groundstrokes: Gobs of power that I did not find manageable this time.
Volleys: great volleying racquet. Would be a great choice for doubles.
Serve: still haven't served with it.
Return: still haven't returned with it.
General: Too light and powerful for me. Though I can see how someone could be rewarded for dialing in the ideal string and weight setup.

Overall Demo Status: BB London is fading to third place. Dunlop ag300 tour does everything the London does plus is better on serve for me but isn't making my heart beat fast. Wilson BLX Blade 98 (which I demoed a few weeks ago but have not written about) is still calling my name. In fact, I'm pretty much decided, my only hesitation is that I really, REALLY wanted to fall in love with a cheaper racquet. C'est la vie!

06-11-2011, 05:56 PM
Sometimes I wish the demo racquets would come with better strings in them. I do believe the racquet that you either like or hate can be based just on the strings alone. Please keep us posted.
Agreed,...good point!!

06-11-2011, 05:57 PM
Try the Dunlop 4D version of the 300. Subtle improvements make it a better racket.

09-01-2011, 07:49 PM
took you up on your suggestion re: 300. didn't make the cut for me but thanks for the recommendation!

09-01-2011, 07:49 PM
finally chose a racquet, you can find it under the "rackets" section