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View Full Version : Flex vs Stiff Importance


msalamon
07-29-2011, 07:02 AM
It seems that the most important aspect of any stick is the flex rating-cause this cannot really be modded. We can change the balance/swingweight/ ect with mods-but we cant really change the flew layup.
That being said-I'm wondering what peoples thoughts are on flex- what differences does flex make on a racket?
Low flex rating, say < 60 -- what are the advantages/ disadvantages when compared to:
higher flex rating, say > 60

I know on my Dunlop Bio 200, the flex rating is low-like 57. I can definately feel this -and I really like it. It makes the racket feel soft and plush- a very good feeling. However, I think that it may also reduce the power and cuase me to hit weak shots taht land in the middle of the court- or even worse- inside the service line. This gives my opponents opportunities to rush the net. I love the Dunlop with the exception of this problematic area. I have tried diferent string setups-even tried full multi at 57-which did give it some pop-but it did not really fis the power issue.

I would like to try dunlop bio 300 tour--I noticed that the flex rating is much higher--64 I think.

What difference will this make?

Arthuro
07-29-2011, 07:05 AM
More pop. Think of flex as the hardness of a wall. Higher flex the harder the wall lower flex the softer. Its the same as hitting against a brick wall vs a wood one on the court. On the brick wall the ball comes back quick, on a wood one some of the energy is dispersed first. Same with your racquet. Stiffer means it comes of the frame quick (giving you the sensation of crispness) while a lower flex gives more feedback.

Power Player
07-29-2011, 07:06 AM
Hey man, keep in mind that the 2 and 300 Dunlops are very low powered. So if you are having issues there you may want to look at another stick. I used Dunlop for over a year and switched after a while due to this. I just got tired out from swinging so hard so often. The Dunlop 500 would be the choice for power, but it is stiffer.

You may seriously want to check out the new Volkl 315 when it hits stores..it is supposed to have bigtime power and be easy on your arm.

Not all racquets that have a stiff RA are stiff. For example, like I told you I messed up my wrist and had to switch to a PK 7G. The technology in it makes it play as comfortable as a racquet in the 50s but it still hits big. That is the case with the volkls as well. Sounds like that type of racquet may be what you are looking for.

msalamon
07-29-2011, 07:31 AM
Thanks PP- I may check out the Volkl. I'm also trying some setups with the Donnay Plat 99 too. The Donnay is a good example of a stick that is rated high flex (RA 70 according to Donnay) but is actually very plush feeling. Strangely enough, TW rates it at 61 I think.
The issue with the Plat is that it vibrates and feels a little too heavy--but the verdict is not out yet on it-I'm still using it and liking it.
I am able to return serves much better with it-and can also move it around a lot better than with the dunlop---but the dunlop feels a little better to me- better response/feedback/touch.

So I am still questing for:
18 x 20
98
soft flex--but not too soft where the power is limited
weight =< 11.5 oz

msalamon
07-29-2011, 07:32 AM
[QUOTE=Power Player;5866291]Hey man, keep in mind that the 2 and 300 Dunlops are very low powered.

I think the 300 tour is low/ medium powered

I don't want something too powerful because than I will hit the ball out-or worse- I'll loose confidence and start swinging slower

Power Player
07-29-2011, 07:33 AM
If the platinum is vibrating take out the buttcap and see if it is still vibrating. If not just put a small strip of electrical tape in there to secure the buttcap better and you should be good to go.

I had the 300T and it is looow powered. Really a racquet made to be customized with lead tape to be honest.

msalamon
07-29-2011, 07:59 AM
what Volkl 315 are you talking about--the Power Bridge?

Power Player
07-29-2011, 08:11 AM
Organix 8. Not out yet..I am not sure if it is a closed pattern, but may be worth the demo for you regardless since I am sure E Tennis on Fairbanks will have demos.

More info here:

http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=389060

msalamon
07-29-2011, 09:50 AM
pattern is open--I'm not totally against trying an open pattern. This racket is interesting-I'll check it out- thx

6-2/6-4/6-0
07-29-2011, 10:07 AM
Without knowing your stroke mechanics or how you play it's somewhat difficult to comment, but I can hit the hell out of a Rossi F200 and that thing has a flex of something like 31 or 33 I think. A flexible racket really doesn't have power limitations, and really doesn't rob you of depth on your shots if it is set up well for you. Maybe add some lead tape to the head to increase the swing weight or try gut strings to increase the pop/power of the racket.

I don't own a racket with a stiffness over the mid 40s (Dunlop Max 300i being the stiffest) and I usually worry more about keeping the ball in the court than keeping it deep. Of course, I hit moderate topspin with fairly continental grips. If you are spinning the bejeezus out of the ball, maybe you don't need a stiffer racket, you just need to hit through the ball a bit more and reduce the spin to get your depth?

From everything I've heard, the Bio200 is a great racket - I'd try tuning it before changing it out for something else...

el sergento
07-29-2011, 11:08 AM
Flex vs Stiff Importance

What difference will this make?

Ask your girlfriend.................. :)

....Ok, fine, I'll see myself out of the room.

Mdubb23
07-29-2011, 11:15 AM
Ask your girlfriend.................. :)

....Ok, fine, I'll see myself out of the room.

Read my mind. ;)

msalamon
07-29-2011, 11:21 AM
how 'bout the Organix 8 300g?

The lighter weight (compared to 315) might be a good thing--I could always add some lead-plus it has the added advantage of already being available-----not to mention the red/white pj is better than the Espana colors on the 315

Arthuro
07-29-2011, 11:23 AM
Flacid is distinct from flex...is it not?

FedExpress 333
07-29-2011, 11:39 AM
Thanks PP- I may check out the Volkl. I'm also trying some setups with the Donnay Plat 99 too. The Donnay is a good example of a stick that is rated high flex (RA 70 according to Donnay) but is actually very plush feeling. Strangely enough, TW rates it at 61 I think.
The issue with the Plat is that it vibrates and feels a little too heavy--but the verdict is not out yet on it-I'm still using it and liking it.
I am able to return serves much better with it-and can also move it around a lot better than with the dunlop---but the dunlop feels a little better to me- better response/feedback/touch.

So I am still questing for:
18 x 20
98
soft flex--but not too soft where the power is limited
weight =< 11.5 oz

how about the Head Microgel Radical Midplus? It is 57 RA, 11 ounces, 98 sq in, and has an 18x20 string pattern. Best of all, its pretty cheap.

msalamon
07-29-2011, 12:12 PM
good call-my only problem with the Head MG midPlus is
1) insanely ugly PJ
2) must have newest gear

I know-very lame reasons--I may end up getting this one afterall

-although I'm starting to think maybe I really do need a stiffer framefor more power-especially on service return block backs.


this is why I started this thread-to see what anyone thinks about stiffness/ flex in terms of playability / advantages/disadvantages ect...

movdqa
07-29-2011, 12:19 PM
I think that polarized racquets can increase effective flex.

Also, the arm-negative effects of stiff racquets can be attenuated by high mass.

Strings can help on arm stress with flexible racquets to some extent.

Fuji
07-29-2011, 12:36 PM
Eh I have a lot of arm and wrist problems, so inherently I need to avoid sticks that are 65+ stiffness. They just kill my arm.

Personally I prefer a flex around 61. Flex at 55-57 is just a bit too low for me, and it doesn't offer a lot of "free power" on serves, where I score a lot of points.

Stiffness is them most important spec I look at when looking at rackets, everything else can be changed. :)

-Fuji

Gasolina
07-29-2011, 01:02 PM
The BIO 200 is a great racquet because it fits what you needed, a low powered flexy frame, with a closed pattern. However, these same two factors that you like in the stick causes you to hit inside the service line when not fully prepped.

I had the same problem too, but I went to an open patterned, lighter frame with a full poly setup so I rely on spin to get my ball inside the line.

Obviously that way to go is get lighter so you get more time to prep for a ball and don't get off-balanced shots. I'd try a Radical MP or a Dunlop 4D300T.

fuzz nation
07-29-2011, 02:50 PM
good call-my only problem with the Head MG midPlus is
1) insanely ugly PJ
2) must have newest gear


As for the PJ, if the racquet plays like a dream for you, there's an excellent chance that you'll become a lot more tolerant toward its looks.

Newest gear a must? Only if you're choosing from among the current gear offered by a company that's going to supply you with free racquets. Otherwise, don't be a sucker. Some of the best graphite frames of all time were built one or two decades ago.

Generally, heavier racquets have some extra stability, but also offer extra power or plow-through on the ball. A softer racquet that's too light (for you) can seem especially dead, but a soft option with extra heft that you can still swing okay will still let you thump it.

Even with a heavier frame, too much flex can make for un-lively response that can be bad for blocked shots like compact returns of serves or volleys. That's usually a case of "you know it when you feel it", so you've gotta love them demos. Try to avoid getting hung up on string patterns, just so that you don't miss out on a good test drive.

I played with the oh-so-stiff ProStaff 6.1 Classics (flex rating >70) for a long time and those were great for serve and volley work, but they were rather zippy. I got much better control around the baseline with the softer (flex rating 63) Volkl C10's, which also have some weight to them. So as I see it, while stiffer frames have some power to them in terms of lively response, softer frames have a greater measure of control, which is helpful for me. They let me play with extra power because I can use full strokes and more consistently keep the ball down on the court.

In my experience, frames with flex ratings above 65 are heading toward rather stiff territory, while others rated in the low/mid 60's and below are more on the softer side of the street. My C10's are especially easy on my arm despite their 63 ratings, but they still have enough power for my needs.

msalamon
07-30-2011, 05:48 AM
thanks Fuzz-these are excellent points. Last night I played a set with my donnay and lost horribly-I think the strings have gone completely dead at this point though because I know that this racket has performed well in the past when the strings were fresh--so I will restring and see what happens. then I played with the Dunlop-and while the feel was great-the balls were landing in the middle of the court again and I lost that set. Next I tried a Volkl Prowerbridge 8-which is a completely different racket altogether- very light and manueverable with a gaint beam. I thought I would hate this-but I actually played way better.
I think I will have to try a lighter frame.

It may well be that a lighter frame can be a little stiffer-but a heavier frame should be flexier. The trade off is power vs. control---and it seems to me that what I am lacking at this point is power.

Davro
07-30-2011, 08:09 AM
A few thoughts from a former golf club builder:

A polarized racquet will have more flex than a non polarized one, all things being equal.

Adding weight to the throat area will cause a racquet to flex less in a dynamic movement than the same racquet without the weight added.

The flex of a racquet is also a function of the batspeed of the player.

It cannot be understated the importance of remembering that flex ratings are measured on a static racquet. Once the racquet becomes dynamic, there are an abundance of outside influences that effect the actual flex on a given stroke.

msalamon
07-30-2011, 09:43 AM
I'm leaning heavily towards the Organix 8 300g volkl. what do you guys think? Another option is the 500 Tour dunlop Bio. any thoughts?

I want light (< 11.5 strung) -and am starting to think that flex is not quite as key. The volkl flex is 68--which at first scred me -but now I'm thinkning that this high flex rating may not be so bad- as it could equate to more power.

travlerajm
07-30-2011, 11:46 AM
A few thoughts from a former golf club builder:

A polarized racquet will have more flex than a non polarized one, all things being equal.

Adding weight to the throat area will cause a racquet to flex less in a dynamic movement than the same racquet without the weight added.

The flex of a racquet is also a function of the batspeed of the player.

It cannot be understated the importance of remembering that flex ratings are measured on a static racquet. Once the racquet becomes dynamic, there are an abundance of outside influences that effect the actual flex on a given stroke.

Agree with this. Most people don't realize how much the addition of lead tape can affect the "dynamic stiffness" of a racquet.

Adding mass to the throat region can really stiffen up a flexible frame. And adding mass to the butt can make a frame play softer and spinnier. The effect of mass at the tip can vary, depending on the specs you start with.

msalamon
07-30-2011, 03:27 PM
very int#ersting- so you are saying that if I add the 10g buttcap to the Donnay, I may be able to make the racket flexier? I will give this a try- although my only reservation is that it will make it heavier also.

I also restrug the racket with the following setup:
main: Dunlop Juice @ 48#
cross: Tecfhniber X-ONe @ 55#

this is considerably lower tension-especially the poly. The racket plays very well with this setup. the old poly was @ 54#--this may have been too tense.

travlerajm
07-30-2011, 04:01 PM
very int#ersting- so you are saying that if I add the 10g buttcap to the Donnay, I may be able to make the racket flexier? I will give this a try- although my only reservation is that it will make it heavier also.

I also restrug the racket with the following setup:
main: Dunlop Juice @ 48#
cross: Tecfhniber X-ONe @ 55#

this is considerably lower tension-especially the poly. The racket plays very well with this setup. the old poly was @ 54#--this may have been too tense.

Yes, but the amount of effect depends a lot on the starting setup.