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View Full Version : Demoed the PK 5g and Ki 5


cghipp
08-15-2006, 05:13 PM
I really wish I had demoed these two racquets during my first go-round, but I was demoing through a local racquet shop and he doesn't carry PK. Anyway, on the face of it these two racquets are exactly what I was looking for: a little lighter than my current racquet (i.Prestige MP), but otherwise very similar: head light, control-oriented, and arm-friendly.

Really, having both of these racquets to try is like an embarrassment of riches. If I'd just had one or the other, I would have happily chosen it to stick with and not thought twice about it. As it was, I had a terrible time finding enough difference between them to make a decision. I'm sure that if I'd been playing with one of them for a long time, and then tried the other, the differences would have been more obvious. Anyway, here are my observations:

Groundstrokes: I noticed a little more pop on my groundstrokes with the Ki 5. I didn't feel that I was hitting the ball longer (I could still swing away), but there was more behind the ball. And for no reason that I was able to discern, I also felt I had a little more control with the Ki 5. With the 5g, I felt like the sweet spot was smaller, but when I hit it, I ripped the shot and it was smooth as butter, no "negative" feedback whatsoever. But I didn't think it was quite as forgiving on off-center hits. But we're talking about a very slight difference here.

Volleys: I give the Ki 5 the slight edge on volleys. I don't know if it's a little more head light (and I'm too lazy to check the specs right now), but it seemed a tiny bit more maneuverable at net. Some racquets just make you feel like you're a little but taller or have a little more reach, and that was how I felt with this one. I wouldn't say it was as good as the RDS 001 MP that was my previous demo choice (that racquet is kind of the dream volleying stick for me), but I was happy with it. With the 5g I volleyed just fine, no issues either way.

Serves: For some reason I felt I served ever so slightly better with the 5g. Fewer faults, though I wouldn't say the serves themselves were much difference. I didn't notice much difference in spin or power with either racquet. Since I've been playing doubles lately, I didn't really get to serve enough to make a statistically valid (relatively speaking) comparison.

Comfort: Both of these are very comfortable racquets. Looking at the specs and the company literature, I was skeptical of the claims that the 5g is a more comfortable racquet, but I am convinced that it is true. I simply felt no vibration or shock at all when I was using it. With the Ki 5, I used a smaller vibration dampener than I'm used to but I did end up putting in a bigger one than the rubber gasket I started out with. (I always, always use one, and have gotten to where I can't stand to hit with any racquet without one.) So I used the bigger one in the 5g also, just so I could make a more equal comparison. Even though the Ki 5 did have more vibration than the 5g, it's still less than my i.Prestige or the RDS 001, two pretty arm-friendly racquets.

My conclusion: Pick the 5g if you're predominately a baseliner, or if comfort/injury issues are your highest priority. I would also pick it if price was my biggest priority, because I just don't think there's $30 (or whatever the difference is) difference between the two. Pick the Ki 5 if you're more of an all-court singles player or a doubles player, or if getting a little more pop is your biggest priority.

Now, if I can only figure out which of those categories I fit in, I'll be in good shape.

A little about me: 3.5/4.0 female singles player, not a kid anymore, 1HBH (topspin and slice), currently playing 7.0 and 8.0 mixed and 7.5 and 8.5 women's doubles in the fall. I prefer singles, am a hard hitter with long strokes and a pretty hard serve and slice second. Tend to overhit, which is why I prefer a relatively heavy, control-oriented racquet. I previously went with the RDS 001 after what I thought was an exhaustive demo process, but in the end I gave it up after I just couldn't keep the ball in the court when I really went for a winner. Other than that, I have always used the Prestige racquets.

Edited to add one thing (guess I didn't think this post was quiiiite long enough). WHen I first started hitting with these racquets, they felt bizarre to me. I had a Gamma worm dampener on them, and I felt like I didn't even feel myself hitting the ball. I switched to the rubber gasket dampeners and the next time I hit with them they felt much more "normal." In fact, I'm sure I'll have to adjust back to a "regular" racquet while I wait for my new racquet to arrive from TW. So if you demo one of these and they it feels too strange, give them another try. They definitely grow on you.

Polaris
08-15-2006, 10:51 PM
Thanks for the review cghipp. I am waiting impatiently to demo the 5g and am lapping up all the 5g reviews that I can find. I'm in the middle of demoing racquets and the best one so far has been the PK Type C Redondo MP. My next demo will pit the Redondo against the 5g, and then I will be set for a good two-three years at least.

Details about my Redondo demo and accompanying thoughts can be read in the following thread:

http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=113092

At this stage, I'm loving the way I can take a free swing with the redondo, and the racquet just sounds beautiful on impact. The 57 flex is very kind to the elbow as well. Still, the 5g has become the de facto standard for people who have had TE, so I can't make a decision until I try it first. I suspect that, at the point of impact, the 5g might feel deader than the Redondo. But on the plus side, it swings lighter than the Redondo (318 kg.sqcm < 324 kg.sqcm), so it might be kinder to the shoulder than the Redondo, in the long term. Any thoughts?

cghipp
08-16-2006, 03:55 AM
I think that if you're happy with the weight of the Redondo and the weight is good for you, I'd stick with that. I didn't demo it because it's very much like the Prestige Tour Mid I already have and love, and a similar weight than my current i.Prestige MP, but I'm looking for something just a little lighter. I was tempted to demo it, but I had to remind myself what the whole point of the demo-ing was for me, and to stay on task!

The Redondo looks like a great racquet and its specs say a lot for arm friendliness. I think you are right that the 5g will feel "deader" than the Redondo. The swingweights of the Ki 5 and the Redondo are similar, and I do think the 5g swings a little lighter than the Ki 5 (and the Redondo, according to TW specs). If your shoulder isn't sore the morning after playing a regular match with the Redondo, I wouldn't worry about it.

I read your Redondo demo and was interested to read about the issues when making the "last ditch effort" shot. I think the 5g or Ki 5 would give you a little more room for error and help you hit a deeper shot when you're rushed or badly out of position, or you don't have time to change grips.

I was hoping to play with the 5g and Ki 5 one more time today, but it looks like rain, so back in the box they will go. Disappointing, because I'm feeling very wishy-washy on which one I should choose, even as I realize it doesn't matter all that much because I like them both. I think I'm leaning toward the Ki 5, though. At least, right this very minute.

max
08-16-2006, 05:41 AM
Great review; two interesting frames.

netman
08-16-2006, 08:01 AM
I have played both and agree with your assessment. There is not really $30 difference in the 2. In fact, I couldn't tell any real difference. I added 4 grams of lead at 10 and 2 on the 5g and its a great doubles frame that hits very solid groundies, serves and volleys. I string at the low end to up the power a bit and as an added bonus get even more elbow protection.

Interestingly my Ki 5 cracked right above the handle after a few uses. My 5g is over 4 years old and has seen extensive use with no problems at all.

-k-

cghipp
08-16-2006, 08:32 AM
Netman, I called TW and asked about their experiences with the Ki 5 and cracking, and product returns, but the guy on the phone (sounded like some kid) was... less than helpful, let's say. He kept bringing up the Ki 15 when I was talking about the Ki 5 (looking for demo stringing specs), and couldn't give me any information on the Ki 5 reliability question other than "I don't really know" or "We don't really know," peppered with a lot of Ummms and Uhhhs. Definitely not the kind of service I was expecting - I know from experience they are much better than this guy. I have heard/read that PK is good about returns, so I will have to trust that is the case if I go with the Ki 5 and it cracks.

smpalmer
08-16-2006, 09:15 AM
I'd concur with netman that the perfect match for me was adding 4 grams total to the 10 & 2 which added so much more control and shot weight also I use an overgrip and pro hurricaine 16 strings.

cghipp
08-16-2006, 09:22 AM
Smpalmer, thanks for that info on weighting/strings. Netman, what strings are you using? I need to decide what to order, and I'm not a string expert by any means.

Kaptain Karl
08-16-2006, 09:26 AM
cghipp - I called ProKennex last month and asked a bunch of questions about the 5s and the 7. They guy I spoke to sounded reasonable and trustworthy and he told me they were going to (shortly) discontinue the Ki 5. It has not created the "buzz" in the marketplace they'd hoped.

If this factors into your decision, I hope this is helpful info....

P.S. I've spoken to *dozens* of the CSRs at TW. Only one of them struck me the way your guy sounded. Just ask to talk to someone else (or hang-up and call back). I've been VERY impressed with how helpful and knowledgeable TW's CSRs are.

I have also told them right away "I'm a 5.0, blah, blah. Will you have experience with the frames I'm interested in and the level of response I'm seeking?" On three or four calls, the CSR who answered transferred me to another after I introduced myself. I found this to be a very attentive focus on Customer Service....

- KK

cghipp
08-16-2006, 09:31 AM
K.K. - Do you know what they are going to replace the Ki 5 with? I'm wondering if they won't just give the 5g a paintjob makeover again. It really seems like an "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" kind of racquet.

I should have just called TW back and tried to speak with someone else, but I was at work and didn't have time for all that. Thanks for confirming that my experience was not the usual one!

The weather looks to be clearing up, so I think I'll spend more time hitting with the 5g tonight and see what I think then.

fastdunn
08-16-2006, 09:58 AM
I think it's the appearance of Ki 5. Not so inspiring.

cghipp
08-16-2006, 10:12 AM
I thought it was a little better-looking than the 5g. You don't think so?

Personally, I don't care too much about the racquet graphics, as evidenced by the fact that I currently own one of the plainest racquets made in a long time (i.Prestige) and recently bought one of the ugliest IMO (RDS 001). But I do understand how important the graphics can be to overall sales.

netman
08-16-2006, 11:12 AM
Netman, I called TW and asked about their experiences with the Ki 5 and cracking, and product returns, but the guy on the phone (sounded like some kid) was... less than helpful, let's say. He kept bringing up the Ki 15 when I was talking about the Ki 5 (looking for demo stringing specs), and couldn't give me any information on the Ki 5 reliability question other than "I don't really know" or "We don't really know," peppered with a lot of Ummms and Uhhhs. Definitely not the kind of service I was expecting - I know from experience they are much better than this guy. I have heard/read that PK is good about returns, so I will have to trust that is the case if I go with the Ki 5 and it cracks.

PK has always stood behind their products. As long as you have a receipt they will replace any problem frame quickly. Their customer service has been very helpful when I've had to deal with them.

I use Gosen Sheep Micro 17 since I string my own frames and can replace it often. I love its crisp feel and use it in all my racquets. Plus the price can't be beat. Never been a big fan of multis or polys, so can't help there.

BTW, where are you in upstate SC? I'm a Spartanburg native myself.

-k-

cghipp
08-16-2006, 11:25 AM
Rock Hill - I mean, Rock Thrill! Live there, work in Charlotte. Are you still in Sparkle City (why do they call it that, anyway)?

kenyee
08-16-2006, 12:26 PM
Also try putting a gamma shockbuster at the top of the racquet (I have one at the bottom as well). This helps pull the sweet spot upward (yeah, I know it looks bizarre :-)
I've also found that I like BDE Perf gut best on it, but it's apparently no longer made, so I'm not sure what else to try with it; I hated Klip Legend on the Ki5 that I got from TW...felt way too boardy :-P

Polaris
08-16-2006, 01:26 PM
cghipp and netman, thanks for your thoughts.

By a lucky coincidence, I got to play with a Redondo MP again, since my partner was demoing it. She played with a POG most of the time, and I played with the Redondo. This one was strung with Wilson NXT 16, and felt a little softer than than the Luxilon job that my demo racquet had.

Its a little hard to describe, but after playing for an hour, the shoulder feels slightly different. I don't have any pain or soreness or tenderness, not even the sort of tiredness that I had experienced with the Pro 7g and the POG, but it feels ... different. Elbow is great: there is no soreness. I wonder if the wierd shoulder sensation is due to too much tennis during the last week. To get the most out of my demo, I played tennis 4 times and didn't go to the gym. (Ever since recovering from TE 7 months ago, I alternate tennis and gym.)

I just hope that if I end up buying the Redondo MP, I don't have to wait until October like the Redondo Mid customers. Aug 30 and my 5g demo can't come soon enough.

Kaptain Karl
08-16-2006, 01:32 PM
K.K. - Do you know what they are going to replace the Ki 5 with? I'm wondering if they won't just give the 5g a paintjob makeover again. It really seems like an "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" kind of racquet.Good question ... but I didn't ask it. I got the impression they were just going to stick with the 5G ... from the way G____ said what he said, but I didn't press it.

- KK

netman
08-16-2006, 01:34 PM
Rock Hill - I mean, Rock Thrill! Live there, work in Charlotte. Are you still in Sparkle City (why do they call it that, anyway)?

No longer in the big city of S'burg. I hang out in the Greater Atlanta area these days. A great place to be a tennis junkie.

I lived and worked in Charlotte back in the early 80's. Rock Hill was a quiet little town then. I use to play a lot of tennis at the Winthrop courts. I hear Rock Hill has become a very nice town and big suburb of the Queen City. Have lots of friends that live in the Ft. Mill-Tega Cay-Rock Hill corridor.

FYI, my Ki 5 cracked when I shanked a return of a 100+ mph serve off the tip. It was a fluke shot. I wouldn't worry to much about durability. Just keep the receipt in case you have a problem. IMHO, the PK 5 series are some of the best all-court frames ever made. They are not great at any one thing, just very, very good at all aspects of the game. I recommend them to anyone who plays an all court game, regardless of their elbow or shoulder situation.

-k-

netman
08-16-2006, 01:41 PM
Good question ... but I didn't ask it. I got the impression they were just going to stick with the 5G ... from the way G____ said what he said, but I didn't press it.

- KK

Interesting question. I got the impression that they may have gone to a slightly thinner, stiffer material layup. My thought was they were trying to get a thinner wall in the Kinetic area to create more room for the beads to move around, hence the slightly stiffer feel and louder sound.

When my KI 5 broke the CRACK! was so loud folks on the other court heard it as well. When I didn't notice a string broken I played out the set with out noticing anything. It was only at the the end of the set that I noticed the crack all the way through the yoke. Its one tough frame.

-k-