Boris Becker (BB) London Club

Discussion in 'Racquets' started by TimothyO, Dec 30, 2010.

  1. TimothyO

    TimothyO Hall of Fame

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    I searched and couldn't find a "Club Thread" for this amazing racquet so I thought I'd start one. :)

    I hit with the London for the first time today. It's now my go-to racquet with my PB10 Mid in reserve for special situations against "heavier" balls demanding more ploughthrough (see below).

    As a reference point for those considering the London I'm quite new to tennis, have experimented with a number of racquets and string combos, and play only singles. While I'm certainly fast enough to play all-court and enjoy running down "impossible to reach" shots, I really enjoy the long range fight from the baseline.

    My favorite racquets to date have been the Dunlop Aerogel 4D 100 (a laser guided rapier) and the PB10 Mid (a broadsword with a great combo of comfort, precision, and ploughthrough that plays far lighter than its specs would suggest).

    I also fence so my arm can be sensitive and comfort is critical to me.

    Here's my initial take on the BB London:

    - Lead: Knowing that I strongly prefer HL racquets I immediately modified the BB London to bring it to ~7-8 points head light with total weight of 331g (a shade under 11.7 oz.) Unmodified its strung balance (no overgrip or dampener) was 4 points HL. I added no lead to the hoop (only the grip) and really see no need to add hoop lead (buy a PB10 Mid instead!).

    - String: My standard string is VS17 Crosses at 50# and Xcel Mains at 52# which is how I strung the London.

    - Comfort: absolutely comfortable! There's been much discussion on the London's SW and stiffness with some sites showing stiffness as high as 70(!). I've tried stiff racquets before and they really hurt my arm. The London plays far closer to the comfy PB10 Mid and is even more comfy than the much vaunted ProKennex 7G imo.

    - Power: while not a high-powered racquet the London is certainly more powerful than the PB10 Mid. It's powerful enough that with a medium speed swing you'll be rewarded with a deep, medium speed shot to the opposing baseline. To really pound the ball you'll need to access the London's spin potential or risk over-shooting the baseline (see below). If, like me, you hit a one-handed back hand you'll be very pleased with the London's slightly higher power compared to some heavier payers racquets. It makes OHBH's quite comfy.

    - Stability: for a "lighter" racquet the London is incredibly stable. At no point during my hitting session did I feel discomfort or twist from off-center shots. I use a one-handed backhand and took a few BH shots today on the run, with my back to the net, and wide of the sideline, and STILL managed to place the ball perfectly (see control below). While practicing serves I hit a few shots at the extreme tip of the hoop and while clearly a "thunk" the shot still worked. It's more stable than my PB10 Mid which really needs lead in the hoop IMO. I'm a noob and this is a VERY forgiving racquet.

    - Control: my hitting partner said it all today --- "You're like the ball machine at the PGA store!" Hitting flat with a slow to medium speed stroke I was able to place the ball any where I wanted. While simply rallying for fun I was able to place the ball perfectly to my partner's forehand or backhand at will. I never felt like I had to fight the racquet when placing shots. Hitting hard I was still able to place the ball as long as I spun the shot (see below).

    - Spin: outstanding spin potential which is crucial given the London's higher power compared to racquets such as the PB10 Mid and 4D 100. Swinging out with the London will launch balls unless you focus on generating top spin which is fairly easy with the London. This was especially evident during serves. We noobs fear serving. It's comlpex. Lots of moving parts. But I was actually having FUN today practicing serves. It was VERY easy to serve with top spin. In fact, being accustomed to the PB10 Mid, I was putting serves in the net at first. I really had to aim higher while curving serves into the opposite court. The kick drove the ball well past the baseline even with a moderate speed serve stroke.

    - Volley: I don't like playing up at the net, I'm just not good enough yet. But the London's slightly higher power compared to other control-oriented racquets was very welcome at the net. That slightly higher power combined with the London's outstanding control and stability allowed me to volley with confidence (which is unusual for me!!!)

    - Bottom Line: The London does an outstanding job combining stability, power, and control in a middle weight package. Those who swing big will need to focus on harnessing the London's easy access to spin to avoid launching balls. But I feel the London occupies an interesting place between what conventional wisdom calls "tweener" and "player" racquets. It's so darn forgiving noobs like me can really enjoy the racquet's superior control. Higher level players will enjoy its combination of stability and lighter weight (yes, you now have a viable alternative to those 12.5-13.0 sledgehammers, at least for casual hitting).

    Please note that all of my comments apply to a slightly modified London (used lead at grip to move it from 4 pts HL to 7-8 pts HL.) However, others who have tried the London stock have also reported outstanding results.

    So, fellow London owners, please post your thoughts on the London for the benefit of future London owners! :)
     
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  2. coolblue123

    coolblue123 Hall of Fame

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    iam proud to say. I am member #2. Great control and Power! Comfy too. A nice winner from Volkl!
     
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  3. atatu

    atatu Hall of Fame

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    Guess I should join, I'm using the London strung with VS gut at 52# and so far it is protecting my elbow pretty well. I'm still looking forward to the release of the Volkl O8, however.
     
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  4. TimothyO

    TimothyO Hall of Fame

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    I'm curious as to how others might have strung the London to tone down the power. It's not huge by most standards but for someone who has used the PB10 Mid and Dunlop 4D 100 it's certainly a different experience. I'm thinking about bumping up the tension on my VS17 a bit. Just not sure how much would be needed to feel a difference while maintaining my arm-friendly approach.
     
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  5. skeeter

    skeeter Semi-Pro

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    I just started using the London about a month or so ago (count me in as a club member!) after using various versions of the Volkl V1 and then demoing a number of other sticks until discovering the London. Thoroughly pleased with it so far and my game has definitely improved.

    I supply a fair amount of my own power (mostly flat with a little top as needed) and realized after demoing a London that I'd need to string up a bit to tone down the inherent power of the London. While I haven't tried gut yet, I've got mine strung with Polyfiber TCS 17 in the mains at 58, and Head RIP Control 17 at 56 in the crosses. I've had elbow issues in the past and so far this setup has been arm-friendly and produced more controllable shots for me. May experiment with some other strings that have been recommended, but this tension seems to work for me.
     
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  6. zumzool

    zumzool Semi-Pro

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    I've been a London user since September. It's a great stick. I had been demoing racquets for about 3 months prior before I found the London. There were a few things that separated the London from the rest of the pack. The most noticable difference was the spin potential and the dwell time. I'm a 3.5 player top spin player and the the amount of spin this racquet created was incredible. Part of this was due to the dwell time and the other reason was the lightness of the racquet because I was able to maneuver the racquet and get on top of the ball on my swing. Also the maneuverability and the dwell time has improved my second serve as this racquet provides plenty of confidence to go for more on a second serve and still get it in.

    I usually prefer flexibly heavy frames with thin beams. The London has the stability of the heavier racket and more power than other thin beamed players frames that I have demoed which makes it unique.

    So far, I've tried Technifibre NRG 17 @ 53 lbs, Gamma TNT Fat Core 16 @ 56 lbs, and Chris of TW's setup of Cyclone at 52 lbs. I did not like the TNT Fat Core... The NRG and the Cyclone have both worked well for me with the NRG being a softer more comfortable string than the Cyclone, but the Cyclone has offered me some unreal amounts of spin. I think my next set up will be a hybrid of the two.

    If there is one thing I'm experimenting with, its lead to see if I can make it even better. While the racquet stock is awesome, I prefer a stick that's a little heavier. My swing tends to wander and get loose when a racquet is too light and a heavier racquet allows me to keep a more consistent swing path. I tried Chris' TW setup with 8 grams at 2 and 10 and found it way to heavy for me. Next, I'll be experimenting with about 4-5 grams this week. It could be that stock is still the best set up. While my forehand may wander a bit due to the lighter weight, the racquet is still very stable and extremely forgiving on mishits.

    Hope this helps those who are thinking about demoing this stick... I've tried other Becker racquets, and this was the only one I really bonded with. One other thing to note is the grip handle shape which is quite rectangular and can take some getting used to.... personally, I think it's worth adjusting to... but you should demo this racquet to see if it's worth it for you.
     
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  7. zumzool

    zumzool Semi-Pro

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    Oh... and one other thing I wanted to mention... This is not a stiff racquet. There is no way it's at 70 or whatever that other website listed... It feels more like the listed TW specs... at around 63. Extremely comfortable.
     
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  8. TennisMaverick

    TennisMaverick Banned

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    This stick is designed for it's dwell time. Stringing it with a string which is quick, like NRG2 or too tightly, defeats its design attributes.
     
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  9. JackB1

    JackB1 G.O.A.T.

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    For the moment I have one foot inside the club and one out :)
    I am trying to make this stick work and it has been battling it out with my #1 stick, the Youtek Instinct. The Instinct is easier at my level (3.5) but the London makes the extra effort worth it! The sweet feeling of a shot struck in the sweet spot reminds me why I love just hitting ball after ball with the London.

    The OP is correct in stating that if you swing out and don't apply the needed topspin, the balls will launch into the back fence. The London isn't high powered by any means, but there seems to be a fine line between control and rocket launch, when you swing hard. I have only has this stick for about 3 weeks and am still working out the kinks, so hopefully I will dial in the needed adjustments.

    My setup is as usual...NRG2 mains w/ co-poly (Hyperion) crosses, at 53/51. Yes, NRG2 is a "quick" string, but I need to protect my arm and cannot handle a poly in the mains. I would like to hear from others who have elbow issues and what your setups are with the London? I could try reversing my hybrid and see how that feels, but I would prefer to keep things on the soft side. I also have some Maxim Touch which is a lower powered multi. I could try those instead of NRG.

    Also...could everyone please post their preferred string setups with their London's?
     
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2011
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  10. zumzool

    zumzool Semi-Pro

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    I haven't noticed any loss of dwell time by using NRG2. The London works well with both NRG2 and Cyclone and is best strung on the lower end of the specs.
     
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  11. JackB1

    JackB1 G.O.A.T.

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    I always string low anyway. Have you tried any hybrid setups yet? I have only used multi/copoly with the London, but might try it the other way around to see if that works better for the London. That might be why I am launching balls long sometimes when I swing out and hit semi-flat?
     
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  12. skeeter

    skeeter Semi-Pro

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    Mav, on an earlier post regarding the London you stated "If you have a shoulder issue, string full multi/NXT Tour/NRG2/Volkl Gripper) or full gut, but string the crosses 2-4 lbs loser." You seem to be suggesting above that use of NRG2 isn't appropriate for the London. Maybe you mean only for certain situations should NRG2 be used? Thanks.
     
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  13. TimothyO

    TimothyO Hall of Fame

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    I too have a sensitive arm due to other sports (eg fencing). I string VS17 mains at 50# and Xcel Premium 17 crosses at 52#. It's not just easy on the arm but short sessions seem almost therapeutic (as with my PB10 Mid)!

    I took about 15 minutes or so to dial in the spin angle required to hit hard while keeping it in, but once I got it things were easy. My hitting partner literally described my accuracy and consistency as a "ball machine" during warm up rallies.

    If I got careless and swung hard it would launch balls. This racquet and setup are EXTREMELY forgiving with a slow-moderate swing speed. When hitting hard I did need to focus and "look the ball into the bed". But when I was in that zone I was rewarded with the best hitting experience of my very short tennis "career". :)

    This week I've been doing lots of work around the house (eg new flooring) which has also been tough on my arm. Going out to hit for short sessions was a relief as it loosened up the muscles and worked out cramps.
     
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  14. TennisMaverick

    TennisMaverick Banned

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    This is not an easy one to explain or understand; but to make it simple, if you use NRG2, you need to string looser, and hopefully, your swing rhythms don't have to change.
     
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  15. skeeter

    skeeter Semi-Pro

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    Ok, thanks. You said something else in that same post: "Dropping the cross string tension, a)because of the DC Wings, b) because you hit flat, and c) because of your shoulder, will optimize the stick for your game style and shoulder issue. The cross string guidelines have been advised from Volkl since 2005 when DNX was introduced." I've been meaning to ask what you meant by that last sentence. Does Volkl recommend somewhere to drop the tension a bit on the crosses on their more recent frames (I'd be curious where it is that they recommend this) and, if so, is it to enhance the inherent capabilities of these racquets? And I assume this includes for racquets with DC?
     
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  16. TennisMaverick

    TennisMaverick Banned

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    The cross tension drop with the Nano carbon racquets was the recommendation of Volkl's top string/design/sales representative at the time, whose history went back to Red/Blue/AA Head designs, and has now since retired, but concentrates on stringing and setting-up stringing at a few events. It is not printed on any Volkl information materials--and why that matters is a mystery for which I have absolutely zero interest.

    DNX and DNX/DC Wings increase resistance/add stiffness, and that is the reason for the cross string reduction. His recommendations were 3 or more pounds. In addition, BITD Volkl sticks also had this recommendation due to the V-bridges and longer main strings in general, and that, was printed inside the frames.
     
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  17. dParis

    dParis Hall of Fame

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    It's not printed anywhere on the T9VE - but I recently strung mine at 55/51 and it has evened out what I considered a notoriously inconsistent stringbed.
     
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  18. Torres

    Torres Banned

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    The various comments in this thread and the other one, about the London are intriguing....the views are so different. It's also as people are talking different racquets, so some people aren't evaluating it accurately.

    Getting back to the OP's original post, I don't see how the London can possibly be more powerful that the PB10 Mid which has a much higher SW and static weight. The PB10 Mid is an an absolute sledgehammer of a racquet in terms of plow through and ability to penetrate the court.

    How can the London with a 315g static weight and similar SW be anything remotely close? Unless you're talking purely about power from the stringbed?
     
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  19. JackB1

    JackB1 G.O.A.T.

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    Power isn't all from static weight and swingweight. Most beginners racquets are the most powerful racquets around and they usually are less than 10 oz.
    Conversely, most heavy players racquets are somewhat lower powered. This is putting the same swing on all of them. Power "potential" is something else entirely. If u compare the London and the PB10 mid on TW's power maps : http://twu.tennis-warehouse.com/cgi-bin/storepower2.cgi?racquetA=VPB10M|93|Volkl|Power:Bridge:10:Mid|RCVOLKL|x&racquetB=BBDCL|98|Boris%20Becker|Delta:Core:London|ACVOLKL|x&racquetC=none&racquetD=none
    they are very close, with the London having slightly higher numbers around the outer reaches of the sweetspot. Both are 40% dead center.

    Bottom line...they both have similar power levels. Just depends on your swing style as to which will be more powerful for you personally.
     
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  20. Torres

    Torres Banned

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    I find that difficult to believe. Stroke for stroke the heavier racket is always going to a more penetrating ball. Also that tool take:)s no account of swing length or swing speed
     
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  21. zumzool

    zumzool Semi-Pro

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    Today I played with my London with 5 grams of lead at 2/10 and on the throat and kept the balance the same. The results of this experiment weren't quite what I was expecting.

    At first I found the added weight very welcoming. More pop and stability and my volleys and overhead smashes were awesome. My groundstrokes felt more solid on impact as well. However, as I continued playing, the negative side of adding more weight became more apparent. I wasn't getting as much spin on my shots as I expected and the lack of whippiness in the racquet really affected my ground strokes more than I thought it would. i was hitting long quite a bit because of the lack of top spin. It wasn't until I switched to my other London that I began appreciating it in stock form.

    I immediately got my spin back on my serves and my ground strokes with more action on my balls. For me, the lightness of the racquet really allows me to whip, maneuver and control the racquet better than with the added weight. On ball impact, I find that whatever little instability there is, actually helps me by allowing my hand to twist to get on top of the ball on my forehand for added top spin. So for now, I'll just have to figure out how to improve my volley's without the added plow through... it's just a trade off you have to deal with.

    I would say that if your more of a flat hitter then adding about 4-5 grams would be beneficial... but if you are more of a top spin hitter like me, I'd stick with the stock weight.
     
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  22. zumzool

    zumzool Semi-Pro

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    So why are light & stiff non-players frames(ie. less advanced players frames) more powerful than players frames such as the PB10?
    Because there is more to gauging power than just how heavy a ball it can produce.
    Power levels also depend on beam thickness, racquet stiffness, and other factors.
     
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2011
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  23. JackB1

    JackB1 G.O.A.T.

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    Zum...I agree with you about racquet power. A heavy racquet is harder to swing fast, so you reach a point where the power diminishes because you can't maintain your swing speed. That's why all baseball players don't use 36 oz bats. They can get more bat speed with a 33 oz. and therefore more power.

    I played some more today with my London and had really good results. I tried really relaxing my arm and letting the racquet drop and my wrist stay laid back and the results where less balls sailing long. If I do everything right, the topspin the London generates always pulls the ball back down into the court. You can hit with a nice pace with a relaxed medium swing. If you muscle the ball and catch it too flat, it might sail on you. I think now, I just need to find the right string combination that lets the London do it's thing.
     
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  24. JackB1

    JackB1 G.O.A.T.

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    Where are the views so different? It seems to me like 90% of the people love the racquet and say nothing but good things about it. The comments all seem to be similar too, about the racquet's outstanding stabilty for it's weight and the great topspin available and the nice flex and comfort. I have found people's evaluations of the London pretty consistent in what they are saying.
     
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  25. JackB1

    JackB1 G.O.A.T.

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    I use NRG2 mains and copoly crosses and I guess that multi mains are somewhat similar to gut mains. Do u use Xcel crosses to lessen the cost of a full gut job? I would like to try gut mains and copoly crosses. I have never strung gut before. Do u do anything different stringing gut than when stringing poly or multi?
     
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  26. Pneumated1

    Pneumated1 Professional

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    Jack, you're killing me here! Just remember, when you fall out of love again with the London, keep me in mind.
     
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  27. JackB1

    JackB1 G.O.A.T.

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    I know :) It's not intentional, believe me.
     
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  28. djNEiGht

    djNEiGht Professional

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    London owner too:)

    so far have it w a BB leather grip and an overgrip w x-1 17 @ 60#s. i want to try a geared/shaped/rough string next.

    I got this racquet to fit in between my ntour & my turbo pro. i don't know yet if it's the one for me that i'd buy 1 or 2 more.
     
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  29. JackB1

    JackB1 G.O.A.T.

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    So what is everyone's stringing setup with their London's???
     
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  30. Snipereyez

    Snipereyez New User

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    Count me in. I have mine strung with Gaucho 16 / MSV 17 @ 50/52lbs. I've tried natural gut before and didn't quite like the "softness" so I'm still getting used to it. I second the post about the ball flying out of control when going all out and not applying enough topspin. I love the dwell time and my sbh is much much better but my forehand is still struggling a bit and will need some adjustments. Btw...I came from the Kblade 98. :neutral:
     
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  31. coolblue123

    coolblue123 Hall of Fame

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    Using GC Maximals this round. Nice soft Multi Strings. Plays very similar to NXT's w/ alittle less crispness.
     
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  32. JackB1

    JackB1 G.O.A.T.

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    I had to adjust a little as well, but now I am finding my range with the London while swinging hard on my f/h. I learned to really relax the arm so
    the racquet drops and the wrist lays back. Then it's much easier to come over the ball with proper topspin. I was also used to a closed pattern racquet and the open pattern of the London hit a little higher trajectory over the net than I was used to.
     
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  33. skeeter

    skeeter Semi-Pro

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    Liken that new avatar there, Jack! And glad you're feeling better about the London these days. I continue to enjoy mine and have also worked on my technique a bit to provide more topspin such that my baseline shots are deep and penetrating, but IN. I've found that loosening up my grip a little has also helped.
     
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  34. TennisMaverick

    TennisMaverick Banned

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    Did you solve your NRG2 tension issues?

    The London is a "feel" stick. Long dwell time and feel go hand-n-hand. Holding the stick loser, gives you more feel.

    IMO, some of you are making this much more difficult than it is. After hitting a few balls, your hand should make the adjustment to the London from wherever stick it was you came from. Feel sticks make transitions easy. Feel...don't think. Too much paralysis from analysis.
     
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2011
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  35. JackB1

    JackB1 G.O.A.T.

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    It's starting to click more recently. I just have to find my optimum string setup. I have been using NRG/CoPoly but think maybe I will try the reverse and see how that works. Coming from the closed pattern Instinct, it's weird, but the London has more topspin "potential", but it also is easier to sail balls long if you don't get under it properly. It's a little tough to flatten out shots without hitting them long though....I am still working on that. Topspin deep rally shots aren't a problem anymore, but I want to be able to hit those flatter winners into the open court when the opportunity is there. I will also try loosening up my grip, like you have done.
     
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  36. skeeter

    skeeter Semi-Pro

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    Yes on the NRG2; feels good. What I'm learning from the London is that the dwell time and overall feel of the racquet is actually "causing" me to loosen my grip and keep a relatively relaxed arm; not something that I'm consciously thinking about too much.

    I read somewhere that loosening the grip on serves can provide more racquet head speed, thus more pop, and it works for me pretty well. As noted above, I've started to naturally keep the same loosened grip on the London on my other strokes due to the dwell time and, as TM noted, I'm getting more feel and more control.

    TM suggested in a previous thread that the London can hit very flat with poly mains and multi crosses, with crosses 2-4 lbs looser. You might try that on your next string job.
     
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  37. Dedans Penthouse

    Dedans Penthouse Hall of Fame

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    Paging TenMav

    Tennis Maverick, need your assistance in the 'other' BB London thread ("BB London SW and Flex"). Thanks.
     
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  38. JackB1

    JackB1 G.O.A.T.

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    I will, but I usually string the multi 2-4 tighter than the poly, due to the multi being more powerful and elastic compared to the poly. I know there used to be a general advice on Volkl racquets to string the crosses looser, but I dont think that applies to the London. Do you have the exact post referencing what was said?
     
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  39. s_andrean

    s_andrean Rookie

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    I live in London, and I've met Boris... can I join? :D
     
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  40. TennisMaverick

    TennisMaverick Banned

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    I took care of it.
     
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  41. TimothyO

    TimothyO Hall of Fame

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    has anyone strung the london with gut mains or full gut bed at 53 or more pounds? If yes, results?
     
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  42. skeeter

    skeeter Semi-Pro

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    The post addressing types and tension of crosses/mains for flatter hitting with London is here: http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?p=5183924&highlight=crosses#post5183924.

    Several posts on that page on 11/12 and 11/13.
     
    #42
  43. neverstopplaying

    neverstopplaying Professional

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2006
    Messages:
    1,189
    Location:
    Montreal
    My 1st London has been shipped today so in 2 weeks or so I'll be able to post a review from a strong 4.0 50 y.o. singles-only all courter that hits with a fair bit of topspin, decent kick serve and 1HBH.

    Current sticks: PB9 (indoors) and PB8-315 (clay).

    Thinking of playing it stock at first with B.C. m's @54 & multi x's @56.
     
    #43
  44. Pneumated1

    Pneumated1 Professional

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2010
    Messages:
    1,231
    Did you get it from TW? If not, no divulgence is necessary. I know they're scarce in the States.
     
    #44
  45. neverstopplaying

    neverstopplaying Professional

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2006
    Messages:
    1,189
    Location:
    Montreal
    1st new racquet that I did NOT get from TW in a long time. I'm a big believer in supporting the forum.
     
    #45
  46. TennisMaverick

    TennisMaverick Banned

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2010
    Messages:
    4,293
    FYI: The stock is in. What TW's or anyone's turn around time is, is the question.
     
    #46
  47. dParis

    dParis Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2004
    Messages:
    1,747
    Does anyone know why the 'other' BB London thread has gone missing? Did Fandango start talking about how good he looks, then later request the thread be removed?
     
    #47
  48. TennisMaverick

    TennisMaverick Banned

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2010
    Messages:
    4,293
    Three comments in a row by the same poster, and the whole thread disappeared.
     
    #48
  49. dParis

    dParis Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2004
    Messages:
    1,747
    I'm sure it had nothing to do with three pages of off-topic rotator cuff discussion and the back-and-forth sniping that had brewed up.

    There are three comments in a row by the same poster in this thread yet it hasn't been removed.

    I hope those involved in the cause are proud of themselves. That was a good thread, packed with info about the BB London and other related racquets.
     
    #49
  50. tailofdog

    tailofdog Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2007
    Messages:
    497
    Proud

    I am PROUD of FED-X delivery time and I am Australian
     
    #50

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