Blade 98 16x19 2013 Short review

Discussion in 'Racquets' started by teocem, Dec 18, 2012.

  1. teocem

    teocem New User

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    I played with Blade 98 16x19 for the first time and for 3 hours today. I think it is a perfectly balanced racquet and expect it to be very popular among above avarage level club players. Almost even balance after stringing, good plough through and lively string bed has impressed me. Serving neeeded adjustment after my Pure Drive 2012 (with total of 2 grams of lead at 3 and 9) but was very consistent after several tries. Drives were very impressing from both sides, achieving good depth. Volleys and overheads were also a breeze. This is a proper balaced stick with no gimmick, it gives you back more or at least what you put into it. I have ordered the second one an will preffer it over my slightly modified Pure Drive because of its thinner profile, enormous feedback and overall performance. I will post more as I play and also answer questions on this thread.
     
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  2. jjs891

    jjs891 Semi-Pro

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    Thank you for the nice review.

    I'm interested to hear from others who have tried it as I see some for sale in the classified section already.
     
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  3. Bartelby

    Bartelby G.O.A.T.

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    One slight problem with TW reviews these days is that they review the two blades and find the 16/19 very lively, but really you need to know how lively/powerful it is up against something like a PD, so this was helpful.
     
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  4. teocem

    teocem New User

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    Pure Drive has a more crisp feeling, more lively in a way but Blade is more flexible, more feedback and as much power. Blade is more of a players stick for me.
     
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  5. dgdawg

    dgdawg Professional

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    Thanks for the review. I'm looking to get out of my Blade Team (I broke one). My local pro shop owner suggested I demo the Steam 99s. I liked it but felt it more of a "fad" frame.
    I've been a Blade player since the nBlade (skipped the kBlade).
    I'll be giving this bad boy a thorough workout, for sure.
     
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  6. Pure Babs

    Pure Babs Rookie

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    I thought this update to the blade is closest they've gotten back to the feel of the nblade, and I'm loving it! Can't figure out if I like the 16/19 or 18/20 more though..
     
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  7. JackB1

    JackB1 G.O.A.T.

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    did you have any issues with the heavier swingweight of the new Blade vs your PD? I would imagine you saw an increase of around 10 sw points.
     
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  8. Power Player

    Power Player G.O.A.T.

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    I feel like the 18x20 pattern really adds advantages to a lighter frame, but I may demo the 16x19 if I get a wild hair. I just value control so much. The Blade has a lot of spin and nice power, so when you add the control of the tight pattern, it becomes a rather unique racquet. Still has tons of spin.
     
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  9. dflores

    dflores Guest

    I've had my Blade 98 16x19 for a week now and am really enjoying it. I've always loved the Six-One 95's but changed to a lighter racquet a year ago. I find this new Blade offers a very solid feel like the Six-One but in a lighter package, probably because of the higher swing weight. As far as the higher swing weight, I really don't notice it that much compared to the Juice 100 that I replaced. It's very maneuverable for an even balanced racquet.
     
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  10. royfrombigd

    royfrombigd Rookie

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    Great mini review, thanks. Got a 16x19 on the way and will chime in once I hit with it. I've been playing with older BLX 18x20 Blade 98 and have found it to be one of the most versatile sticks I've ever played with. My only complaint might be I wish it had a bit more ooomph on serve and my hope is the 16x19 will help there but still keep the other attributes of the 18x20. Probably too much to ask for. Can you elaborate on how serve compares to the 18x20? As a side note, I've also been playing with Pro Staff 95 BLX and it is great on serves and volleys, but I find myself struggling on depth on groundies which has never been an issue with the Blades.
     
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  11. teocem

    teocem New User

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    Singles with Blade 98 16x19

    Today I played singles for the first time and I completely adored the racquet. First time in the last 5 years I had a rally longer than 30 shots :)
    For the first 10 minutes I had some balls sailing out but increasing the spin got rid of that. The only glich in my mind is that I now want to try 18x20 version too; it may still have enough spin capacity and may be lively enough with better control. I am in a way in heaven and looking for a better heaven.
    Maybe somebody who tried both can comment on this ?
    I also would like to state that this stick definitely does not have a manuevrability (I am very sensitive on this) problem even though it has a high swing rate.
     
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  12. JackB1

    JackB1 G.O.A.T.

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    Do u find it more demanding than the Juice?
     
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  13. Doublebounce

    Doublebounce Professional

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    I would also like to know if the 18/20 has as much spin potential , just with a little more control. I'm really interested in both of these racquets.
     
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  14. teocem

    teocem New User

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    I have not tried the Juice but I can say that this is a racquet suitable for players over 3.5 NTPR at least. It is a very slightly demanding stick, much less demanding than a Babolat Pure Storm for me. I would call it a tweeners stick who has set his mind to improve the shots.
     
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  15. Power Player

    Power Player G.O.A.T.

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    I have not played the 16x19 blade, but coming from other 16x19s I can tell you that the main difference is the trajectory. The ball is going to be a lot lower. I hit with more precise control, but I can clip the net more as well. That being said, I am still able to whip the racquet and loft the ball when I need to hit deep moonballs.

    If you hit with a lot of spin, than the 18x20 will produce a heavier ball that kicks towards the opponent and is very difficult to attack. If you find yourself hitting balls that bounce and kick straight up with a 16x19, than an 18x20 is most likely going to remedy that and provide you more weight behind your shots.

    The lightness of the racquet just makes it unfair almost. It does all the things that the heavier, control based players sticks do - amazing feel, solidity, stability, but you get that extra racquet speed so the spin will be better than you think.
     
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  16. Doublebounce

    Doublebounce Professional

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    Thanks for the insight. Right now I'm using a Youtek Radical MP and I am looking to generate more spin on my shots and am struggling to get enough pace on my serve.
     
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  17. dflores

    dflores Guest

    Jack, as best I can describe is: Imagine how the Juice would feel with lead at 3 and 9; more even balanced and a more solid feel. The Blade 16x19 has very good power, just below the Juice and Pure Drives ( not a fan of the PD feel).

    It just feels good in your hand and when swinging.
     
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  18. teocem

    teocem New User

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    I do not think Blade 98 has a tolerance for customization, did anybody try ?
     
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  19. reekster34

    reekster34 New User

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    I plan on customizing soon, but am wondering the same thing, especially whether adding weight to the handle would affect the amplifeel.
     
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  20. parasailing

    parasailing Hall of Fame

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    My concern with adding weight is an increase in SW from 330 to something higher and not sure many people could handle such an increase.
     
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  21. Power Player

    Power Player G.O.A.T.

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    Just put most of the weight in the handle and you will be fine.
     
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  22. Pure Babs

    Pure Babs Rookie

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    I'm struggling picking a string pattern to stay with. Each one has its own strengths and weaknesses... I might have to get one of each!
     
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  23. parasailing

    parasailing Hall of Fame

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    Same here though I am also tempted by the Tour 93 as well. Argh, so many new racquets, so little funds :).
     
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  24. JackB1

    JackB1 G.O.A.T.

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    question for anyone with the new Blade....I found a used one that has some of the foam in the handle dug out to make room for some rolled up leadtape to be placed under the buttcap. I don't want the lead there so I can remove it, but do you think that little bit of removed foam will have any effect at all on the racquet? Thanks.
     
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  25. teocem

    teocem New User

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    It would have no effect at all weightwise but for the sake of ease of mind you can just fill into the place similar foam :)
     
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  26. JackB1

    JackB1 G.O.A.T.

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    tried the 16x19 again today.....

    its a very nice stick....feels great on impact...slightly flexy and comfortable. Almost plush. I just feels it's a little out of my ability range and I hit better with my Juice. The swingweight was SLIGHTLY high but nothing I wouldn't eventually adjust to.
     
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  27. mrmo1115

    mrmo1115 Hall of Fame

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    ^ Have you tried the 18/20 ? Any racquets out there that you find similar to the 16/19?
     
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  28. dgdawg

    dgdawg Professional

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    I hit the 16x19 yesterday for a couple hrs. It really is an awesome stick.
    I was a little worried about the stiffness (66 compared to the BLX Team @ 53). Absolutely a non issue. The 16x19 was strung w/Sensation (don't know the tension) and had ample power and I felt like I was placing the ball well. Groundies were deep & heavy, 1H backhand was clicking, volley's were chrisp....I just hope it wasn't an anomaly!!!
    I promptly ran to the pro shop to get the 18x20. I have both to demo over the weekend.
    I've played the Blade "team" since the nBlade (skipped the kBlade) always thinking I needed a larger sweet spot, never giving sub 100" frames a chance.
    The Blade 98 is a no brainer "slam dunk" for me. I just need to decide which one....16x19 for power & spin, or 18x20 for control. I can enhance power, spin & control to a degree with string & tension so......the quest continues :shock:

    Merry Christmas, peeps!!!!
     
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  29. JackB1

    JackB1 G.O.A.T.

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    What level do you play at? Didn't you find the 98 heavier coming from the Team?
     
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  30. dgdawg

    dgdawg Professional

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    NTRP 3.5 computer rated.....consistently beat 4.0. Not sure why the rating....whatever. 51y/o....not that age matters.
    The 98's definitely heavier. That's what I liked after hitting for a while. I've always had this "thing" in my head about low stiffness rating and OS head.
    I'm a definite convert....
     
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  31. JackB1

    JackB1 G.O.A.T.

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    if you are like me and 330 swingweight is the max you want to go, you have to be careful if you order one of these new. You may get one that is 11.7 oz. and sw of 335.
     
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  32. dgdawg

    dgdawg Professional

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    Gotcha....I buy from a local pro shop so I can "dry-swing" a few. Not that I could really conclude a hole lot by that.
    It's not a lot heavier than the BLX Team....it's deff more stiff with a much higher s/w. I gave it a pretty good go yeaterday for 2+ hrs and felt fine. It was loaded w/Sensation 16g. Not sure of the tension.
    I've never had arm issues (only w/BB of any kind....BB makes my arm fall off). I've been using VS Team and SPPP for a while. Pretty soft, nice feeling combo for me.
    I'm really struggling BTW the 16x19 & 18x20 tho.
    My thinking is, w/out adequate court time with both....is the 16x19 has the edge just due to the open pattern and the fact that, of the two, the open pattern "can" be more forgiving and still maintain a pretty high level of control.
    Do you agree????
     
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2012
    #32
  33. JackB1

    JackB1 G.O.A.T.

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    I would go with the open pattern. From what I recall, it wasn't "that" open in the center of the racquet, so you should have plenty of control. At the 3.5 level, spin and consistency win over pinpoint accuracy and that's why I would pick the 16x19.
     
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  34. dgdawg

    dgdawg Professional

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    Yo man.....I actually think I'm with ya on this. I just got back from hitting with them both again. 30 min with one, then the other. Trading off b-line to b-line....x court.....x court in the service box, basic drill stuff. We hit the water jug and I grabbed what I thought was the 18x20 and lit it up for a set.
    I opened it up was able to place the ball really well. I thought "man, this thing is awesome", then realized I was swinging the 16x19....This is the most comfortable frame I think I've ever played.
    I have some court time tomorrow as well so, I'll take another spin. :shock:
     
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  35. Power Player

    Power Player G.O.A.T.

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    Yeah you wont have to work as hard with the open pattern to get net clearance and spin, but you will not have the level of control, string durability and better feel of the 18x20.

    Its a trade off either way. I think open pattern is better if you are not a big spin hitter.
     
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  36. dgdawg

    dgdawg Professional

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    Gotcha.... I actually do hit w/quite a lot of spin. Dude I was hitting w/thought the spin on my ball was about the same off both frames. He did say he thought the 16x19 had more depth and was heavier. Spin didn't seem to be an issue w/either one.
    Too bad one couldn't blow the other away. It'd make the choice a lot easier....:shock:
     
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  37. dgdawg

    dgdawg Professional

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    ...I don't wanna sound too obsessive here, but my thought on the power vs. control thing is: the 18x20 would deff give optimal control, and I can enhance power with string & tension......string doesn't produce spin, the way a player hits does, but string can enhance that as well...I've always hit w/spin....though I've only been playing for 12yrs, or so....just another dimension :confused:
    .....AND, I don't plan on staying @ 3.5, not that a specific frame will be the difference. I do believe the right equipment can bring out the best is a player
     
    #37
  38. Power Player

    Power Player G.O.A.T.

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    Its a trajectory thing. Do you want more control and a lower trajectory? Or less control and a higher trajectory?
     
    #38
  39. Bartelby

    Bartelby G.O.A.T.

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    With the 18/20 you can more easily go skinny string, so I think it gives you slightly more options.
     
    #39
  40. JackB1

    JackB1 G.O.A.T.

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    I think the "control" part is overrated at anything less than 4.5 level.
    You can add more control with string types and tension. You will not be hitting the back fence. If you want to paint the lines at the 3.5 -4.0 level, you are going to play low percentage tennis which won't translate to winning at this level. Only valid reason I see for 18x20 at this level is if you prefer hitting a flatter ball or lower trajectory. Lower trajectory = more risk = more errors.
     
    #40
  41. sundaypunch

    sundaypunch Hall of Fame

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    I think it depends on the person. I see a lot of 3.5 - 4.0 players hitting spinny, but loopy and ineffective groundstrokes. Some of these people would be better off hitting thru the court more. An 18x20 Blade will still give you plenty of spin providing you have the technique.

    It is hard to make a recommendation without being familiar with someone's game.
     
    #41
  42. dgoran

    dgoran Hall of Fame

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    Are you one or two hander? I am a one hander and for whatever reason open pattern never provides me with the same control as closed one. Not to say I cannot play with either just feel more connected more secure with closed.

    Also one little advice sensation is very very light string approx 11 grams on average if I remember correctly in comparison to gut poly or full poly that is 18 grams that is a big difference and that will impact your swing weight and everything else. Don't be surprised if you don't find it maneuverable or whippy after you buy it and string it up with your fav gut poly lots of honey moons get ruined right there :)
     
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  43. Power Player

    Power Player G.O.A.T.

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    I think a closed pattern works at any level, it just matters how you hit the ball. tennis is not so black and white.
     
    #43
  44. raguhtheman

    raguhtheman Rookie

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    Choose 16x19

    If difference between 16x19 and 18x20 is not that much, choose 16x19 one if you string your own racquets. 18x20 is always pain to string, nervous last few minutes wondering if u would be able to finish the last mains!! I hate that feeling!
     
    #44
  45. dgdawg

    dgdawg Professional

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    1H backhand....this was one of the 1st things I noticed demoing both frames. My 1h-bh w/16x19 seemed to be a little "flighty" & more unpredictable than the 18x20. I got the unpredictability w/my BLX Team, as well. (tighter pattern, more head area).

    I'm hearing you from both angels....

    Thanks so much peeps for all your thoughts & suggestions. It still comes down to this (and it's what I tell my 325+ stringing customers): It's a unique thing.......personal preference. What works & feels right for one, doesn't necessarily apply to another.

    This is absolutely what I was hoping for, tho. Input & suggestions from a bunch of different ppl/players.

    Keep it coming...I need to quit dropping so much cash on frames, so I'm hoping this frame will be the last for a few years. (momma needs new shoe's, don't ya know :shock:)
    and also....I have no illusion one frame is going to make a "night & day" difference in my game. I do believe the right equipment can bring out the best in a player
     
    #45
  46. dgdawg

    dgdawg Professional

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    I learned my lesson the hard way a few years ago. When in doubt.....go long, string is cheap.

    Some OS, tight pattern frames require 22'-M's. When stringing hybrid & using a pack, as apposed to a spool, you end up with about a 3" tail on the last M pull.....time to break out the starting clamp for a jumper......but I hear what you're saying!!!
     
    #46
  47. JackB1

    JackB1 G.O.A.T.

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    I agree. I was just making a generalization. I just think control per se, is not a high criteria at lower-level tennis. You just want to get the ball back over the net for the most part.
     
    #47
  48. dgdawg

    dgdawg Professional

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    ......ouch......

    This is what seems to be my main issue w/"lower level tennis". Pushers just getting the ball back. You can read the name on the ball when it's coming at you. I seem to be pretty successful against 4.0+ rated opponents. Was undefeated in League play @ #2 singles....
    All anyone wants to do is play the type of tennis you like to play....I like somewhat of a pace game......I end up spraying balls playing "just get it back"..... Story of my life. We've all been there. Maybe with a little more patience and a "control oriented" frame, I may be able to leave the ranks of "lower level tennis"
     
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2012
    #48
  49. Power Player

    Power Player G.O.A.T.

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    Placement over power can win at any level. Once you hit 4.0 down here the placement becomes key to getting better.

    If you can get good net clearance with the tight pattern you will be fine. I tended to hit dangerously close to the baseline with more open patterns, and now i can reign it in a lot better.
     
    #49
  50. tennis_enthusiast

    tennis_enthusiast Rookie

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    Can anybody compare this to the Aero Storm GT?
     
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