Curved grip "gripper" racquet

Discussion in 'Classic Racquet Talk' started by Haztrick, Apr 20, 2009.

  1. Haztrick

    Haztrick New User

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    Hey guys.

    Being bored as I am, I went onto the bay to scope out some tennis gear and came across a very rare and weird looking racquet with a curved grip.

    Type in: "VINTAGE TENNIS RACQUET BIO SPORTS GRIPPER CURVED GRIP"

    No, this is not my item or e-bay account. I simply came across it and thought it was very strange. I've never seen it before so I thought it was worth discussing :)

    Can anyone give me some more info on this and if anyone has it, perhaps video footage of it in action?
     
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  2. plasma

    plasma Banned

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    you cannot possibly be as bored as I am, I have spent the last 6 hours training ants to do karate forms, well not really...but trying to talk to the girls at the bar seemed about as productive and fun....the gripper look$ like a piece of **** gimmick, you seem very cool however, welcome to our intergalactic coffeshop....
     
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  3. Haztrick

    Haztrick New User

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    baha that was a good read there. Thanks for that mate.

    Ants doing karate, hey? I'd love to see that.

    Yeah, I agree it looks like crap which was why I was wondering if anyone had heard of it before or knew of it?
     
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  4. joe sch

    joe sch Hall of Fame

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    The gripper is actually a popular collector racket because of the unusual grip design. Like many of the transitional period novelty rackets, it had a design to help players whose technique was not correct. Like the ergonom, this design helped players get to lower shots without having to bend the knees and use the best stroking techniques. With todays topspinning baseline game, these kind of racket designs are not needed since there are soo few half vollies and approach shots to execute :)

    Anyways, here are a few more pics if you want to enjoy:

    http://www.woodtennis.com/gripper1.jpg
    http://www.woodtennis.com/gripper2.jpg
    http://www.woodtennis.com/gripper3.jpg
     
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  5. Rorsach

    Rorsach Hall of Fame

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    Something like the CarvingStar from Neoxline, the love-child of the Gripper and an Ergonom:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2009
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  6. plasma

    plasma Banned

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    my doctor got a really good look at it; she says if I start using the other hand it can correct itself....somewhat
     
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  7. Haztrick

    Haztrick New User

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    Thanks for the info, very weird indeed.
     
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  8. Sanglier

    Sanglier Rookie

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    Other than the Erge, the BioSports "Gripper" and the Neoxline, there was also a series of Sentra models that came equipped with an 'ergonomic' grip. This example is a recent Bay find:

    [​IMG]


    I know Sentra is a low-end (Kunnan?) brand, but the quality and finish on this "Boron Stealth" model are as good as any found on Taiwanese racquets of that era. The angle of the grip is very similar to (or perhaps exactly the same as) that of the patented BioSports grip, so it may or may not have been made under license (and more likely than not by the same factory).

    Having hit a few balls with this thing, I must say that it doesn't feel nearly as awkward as I had anticipated. The closest analogy I can make of this layout is that it is to a conventional straight handle frame what a Gurkha kukri is to a Roman gladius.

    To avoid mishits, your brain will have to remap the sweet spot to a point below the axis of your forearm, because chances are your wrist angle is going to remain exactly the same as it's always been when you take a swing, unless you have just picked up tennis and haven't yet developed any muscle memory for the 'correct' angle. However, the shallow grip angle here probably makes for a much less steep learning curve than would be the case with the severely angled Erge. The fact that the center mass of the racquet is shifted further below the arm axis may also contribute to a perceived increase in stability during ground strokes.

    As for the potential reduction in tennis-elbow type injuries (which was one of the main goals behind these 'ergonomic' designs), I don't play enough to test those claims, but given that the market had uniformly rejected these valiant efforts (though it's still too early to call Neoxline a failure), my guess is that they all came up rather short of solving any real (as opposed to theoretical) problems.
     
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  9. retrowagen

    retrowagen Hall of Fame

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    Phew! It's fortunate Snauwaert didn't offer the Ergonom frames with a "Gripper" grip option! :lol:

    Yep, Sentra seems to have a Kunnan connection. Google the PK Dominator series that is concurrent to the Sentra, and be mildly amazed. :)
     
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  10. joe sch

    joe sch Hall of Fame

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    Excellent analysis as always !
    I agree that these rackets were miss-marketed as TE options.
    Probably would have been better off marketing as a bad back reduction racket since a player gains by not having to bend soo much for the low hits. This is a stretch and the Ergo would really be the racket to use for this claim. They are great collector finds since very scarce now and they are impressive to display.
     
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  11. Sanglier

    Sanglier Rookie

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    Yes Retro, the head size and shape of this "Boron Stealth" is very similar to those of my PK "Bronze Dominator". The "Stealth" has more crosses than the "Dominator", but the grommet strip shape and finish are almost the same, so it is definitely possible (perhaps even likely) that the same engineering team was responsible for both products.

    Joe, thanks for the kind words again! I am fascinated by these "dead-end" efforts. I think we learn just as much (if not more) from them than from all the "just right" sticks in terms of what works and what doesn't in racquet design. Without these fool's errands, we wouldn't have as strong an appreciation for where the boundaries are for the 'Goldilocks zone' that our PS85s and Max200Gs live in.
     
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