Diary of a Racketaholic

Discussion in 'Racquets' started by Ross K, Sep 11, 2010.

  1. JGads

    JGads Hall of Fame

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    My strokes are actually grooved more to spin too, but I've become a subscriber to the theory that's opposite usual TT wisdom - for me tighter patterns increase my accuracy and flatten out my spin more, allowing me to hit through the court more instead of the ball spinning too short and sitting up.

    In truth I can utilize both patterns effectively - I LOVE the spin-monster BC20, have REAlly Dug MD's BB Delta Core Pro, one of the best tweeners out there. But in the end I just always find myself veering back to the closed sticks for the trusty pinpoint control.

    But I am a racaholic so I had to try the Steam.

    But I get the 'just makes the game easier' vibe, too. That's what I feel whenever I grab MD's DC Pro. The depth and spin just comes off SO easily. Key for me is whether that translates to matches when things get tight, or over hitting in those key moments.
     
  2. JGads

    JGads Hall of Fame

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    Was it this?

    http://www.tennis.com/gear/2013/01/question-day-most-surprising-racquet/46224/

    Just looked at TW page/comments. SW seems very low, but 'Babolat power' with 'Fischer Feel' ... That's about what you've always been looking for, eh Ross?

    You're on assignment.
     
  3. Ross K

    Ross K Legend

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    The Worldwide Racketaholic Diarists Convention for January/February 2013 is now taking place at the following venue...


    [​IMG]

    :)

    Gentlemen, those were some SPOT ON posts earlier. I agree with so much that was said.
     
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2013
  4. Boricua

    Boricua Hall of Fame

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    I prefer to eat suchi with the company of my Vcore 97 Tour, 310 version. Wow its hot in here, give me some salmon suchi and some lemonade please.:)
     
  5. Ross K

    Ross K Legend

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    Power,

    Polybreak... I've wanted to try this string for a while, so, yes, definitely that could be one for me consider with the 99s... good call.


    Gads,

    Yup, that was exactly what I was referring to. It did make me wonder, not least being a fan of the X Force Pro.
     
  6. JackB1

    JackB1 G.O.A.T.

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    Hey guys....I just came back from a hour long hitting session with the Steam 99s and I think it (literally) threw me for a loop! I used a demo that was strung with full 4g and it was awesome. Not stiff feeling at all and nice pockety feel with a little flex to each shot. To my surprise, my one handed backhand was great. I hit some shots that made me question if that was really me that hit them :) I even hit a high topspin backhand that was above my shoulders for a crosscourt angled winner. I don't think I've ever done that. Anyways, this session now has me totally convinced I need to play with this racquet. Since I switched to a one hander, I was thinking I needed a smaller headsized, more flexible racquet, but I think I might have been mistake. The extra spin I got with the 99s actually helped my 1hbh because some shots that were close to the baseline hooked down and in. So the headsize fear is debunked and the only remaining issue is the stiffness, but I was really amazed at how comfortable the full 4g setup felt. No harshness or stiff feeling at all. And the 99s really does make the game easier. It's effortless to hit deep rally balls all day and wait for the short ball to pounce on. I think I'm sold!
     
  7. Boricua

    Boricua Hall of Fame

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    4g goes well with some rackets and not others. Almagro and Gasquet play with 100 head rackets and look at their one handers!
     
  8. JGads

    JGads Hall of Fame

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    For what it's worth, I thought your ball looked consistently deeper in your 99s video than your Juice vid (think I mentioned as much back then when you were wavering on the 99) .. Albeit very small samples.
     
  9. JackB1

    JackB1 G.O.A.T.

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    you sure theirs are 100"?. True they have the paintjob of the Extreme and 500T, but I'm not so sure the headsize aren't smaller?
     
  10. JackB1

    JackB1 G.O.A.T.

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    I played extremely well with the 99s when I demoed it for a week about a month ago. For some reason I thought the stiffness would be an issue, but it wasn't today and I hit a bunch of 1 handers. I just ordered one, so we'll see how it goes. If I start to feel any elbow pain, its back to the 200G.
     
  11. corners

    corners Legend

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  12. Ross K

    Ross K Legend

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    @ Fed K (if you're out there lurking!),

    IIRC you were about to hit with one a week or two back...?

    As we were both hyperventilating and cramping with paroxysms of excitement from the early days of drakulies dispatches (it was so full on, I was actually compelled to take a lengthy medical time out by page 2), well, so what say you re the new Steam?:)

    The Worldwide Racketaholic Diarists Convention for January/February 2013 (venue: the Steam Room) awaits your speech.
     
  13. JGads

    JGads Hall of Fame

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    Just got out...
    [​IMG]
    Thoughts coming...
     
  14. JGads

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    First foray into the Steam Room...

    General impression:
    I like it. Much more so than I expected. Ball is just ... easy...easy to roll it back deep, mostly easy to go after the ball, AWESOME on the slice. Swings effortlessly. And the ball feel is far better than I expected. Does not feel like most tweeners on contact. I expected Bab hollowness. When you hit this sweetspot, it's actually quite delightful. Toward the edges, not nearly as good, but the sweet spot is hugely sweet and extremely noticeable (kind of like when you hit a PWS sweet spot, and you just know)...

    Had two Steams tonight. One stock that came in at 11.3, one with lead at 12 and an overgrip that went from 11.3 to 11.6. (can't believe the two demos came in at same spec. Very un-Wilson like. Part of the reason I ordered two demos: Wilson Quality Control Insurance)... I liked the leaded one a bit more, MD preferred the stock version but wasn't quite as into the frame as I was by the end of the night.

    I felt this stick was seriously easy to fall into a rhythm with, get into a good rally, and awesome at changing direction, going cross-court or inside-out. Every time I was pulled wide, I could snap a deep shot back to the opposite corner pretty easily.

    Was also very pleasantly surprised that it's not difficult to flatten the ball out with this thing. It can be done. I had my doubts going in. The ball trajectory isn't quite as high up as I anticipated from all of the reports.

    Dislikes:
    The frame still doesn't feel as thickly substantial and easily boomable as what I'm used to, but, hey, this is a tweener, and I've been rolling with heavier pro stocks. So not a great basis for comparison there. I also brought along the BC20 because I thought that would be a good comparison stick to this frame, and the BC20 feels thicker, nicer, more pro-stocky, and the spin effect/ball funk felt about the same, if not more (because of the all-in-all heavier ball). The BC20 ball rips through the court more effortlessly. The Steam takes a bit more of a forceful swing/slap, but it also moves through the air a bit more easily than the 20 as well so it's effortless to get the racquet head speed up, and quickly.

    Launchers. Definitely had a few. When you don't catch it just right, it can definitely sail on you. Full, complete swing needed to get the ball to do what you want it to do. Have a feeling that if you're hesitant at all with this frame, you'll get punished. Can't be tentative or you'll leave a sitter or hit the back fence. Then again, lot of player sticks can be described similarly.

    String movement. Definitely an issue. Was putting my mains back in place after some rallies like I do with old synthetic gut. Not used to that with fresh poly bed. Also worried about this bed now getting crazy unpredictable after tonight. If the string needs to be replaced every other hit, it just won't be worth it. Thicker string than 16 would be very nice here.

    ---

    All in all, though, very positive first impression. It's immediately up there with MD's Delta Core Pro as a Tweener I Could Play With. I was expecting a hollow feeling launcher, like a Bab Pure Drive with an even more open string pattern. Not this. The feel is delicious for a tweener, even with full 4G, and it's just ... easy.

    Tomorrow I'll try it out in point play against an amazing player. Will it hold its own or be an uncontrollable mess that gets shattered? We'll see.

    But to me, this thing just feels SO much better than an apd or frames of that ilk, and probably does what those frames do just a bit better I think. At least that's my first impression.
     
  15. JGads

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    Racaholic Blowout Part II:

    Two other frames were included in the Steamy TW demo box and tested tonight, albeit very limited compared to the Steam Room (it's just hard to get out of steam rooms, you know?)....

    Wilson Black Blade 98 (18Main): As a former KBlade 98 user, felt it was finally time to try this new iteration. Out of the box, frame just felt much heavier than its 11.3 spec. Extremely head-heavy. Was surprised that when I started hitting with it, though, it didn't feel nearly as sluggish as I expected it to based on the out-of-the-box feel. The feel here was so much better than the KBlade 98 I used to play with, it's almost unfair. Big ball comes off this frame. Might be a tad stiff, as I'm used to my flexier pro stocks now, but the feel is not at all harsh and actually very good. Will further kick the tires on this in the coming days as well.

    Babolat Pure Storm Team (leaded up): When demoing from TW, I often throw a random wild card frame into a demo box that I wouldn't ordinarily demo otherwise. This was the one. I'd been curious about it ever since hitting with a sponsored pro at a Palm Springs club last month who hit CRAZY well, heavy and consistently with this thing (leaded up)... He loved the frame, and given my past love of the Pure Storm series (especially the Limited), I thought a leaded up Team might be fun to try. Can lead it up a lot without getting too crazy on the static weight, frame is a tad thicker and bigger than the other Pure Storms that often fail on serve... Well, happy to say this thing feels absolutely incredible at about 11.6 (stock it was 10.8). Beautiful mix of crisp and soft, you can crack a nice flat ball (16/20 pattern still nicely dense but not too much so). Also tried serves with it yesterday and it serves so much easier to me than the Pure Storm Limited, a frame I adored but always felt it died on serve.

    So all in all, it was a weird night in that usually when I'm demoing different frames, maybe one stands out, the others feel like rubbish and go immediately back into the box for the week. I can honestly say that I very much enjoyed all three of these demo frames tonight and will play with them some more in some friendlies this week and weekend while MD restrings up my Rads.

    Big ups to MadDog for making the drive out tonight for some Racaholic Madness. We had a lot of fun and had a ton of great rallies.
     
  16. mad dog1

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    my steam room experience: i enjoyed the 99S more than i expected to. it feels more comfy than the high stiffness rating. i was expecting a stiff and potentially harsh stick, but the 99S is very solid and well dampened. did it provide more spin? in some cases yes. in other cases not really. on the receiving end of the spin effect, i didn't find it any harder to deal with shots. so game changer? i didn't think so. did i enjoy the frame? yeah, it's a nice solid tweener frame. offers good feel. offers easy power for defensive shots when drawn out wide allowing you to reset a point. the published 330s SW initially scared me a bit since i generally like 320s SW. this one swung more like 320s rather than 330s. similar to JGad's write up, i, too, found the stick to sometimes launch balls long on me unpredictably. i loved it on the I/O FH. was able to hit sharper angles.

    string movt was a BIG issue. after 1 hr the center 2 mains were moving so freely that it felt like they had lost nearly all tension. i think stringing it w/ the JC method might do wonders for this stick.

    it was a fun demo but bottom line, i prefer my BC20. i can hit with as much if not more spin w/ the flexy open patterned BC20 with more pace, pop and control.
     
  17. Boricua

    Boricua Hall of Fame

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    Well, I only know they say they use those rackets, but dont know if its a paint job. Other examples are Youzny and Ljubicic (retired), both use Extremes and have great backhand one handers.
     
  18. mikeler

    mikeler G.O.A.T.

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  19. Ross K

    Ross K Legend

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    Nice feedback there mad and Gads ^... I agree with most everything you've said.
     
  20. PED

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    How does the Blade compare to the 99s in the power/spin department. Does it produce easy depth?
     
  21. Power Player

    Power Player G.O.A.T.

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    Gads going into demo overload is huge. Very risky holicy behavior, so he should be praised and thanked.

    One thing about the Blade - You have been using heavier sticks now with those TGKs. So I think the Blade will possibly be a little light if you got one and matched it to your TGKs.

    The good news is that my Blades are now both at 339/339 and a 4 pts HL balance, and they play incredibly well. Very simple mod. You put 2 screws in the foam in the handle for 4 grams.And you put 2 grams at 12. Done.

    Racquet was swinging nice and smooth, but my backhand was getting the free power that the heavier, leaded up Blade I was using last week was giving me.

    sounds like most people's 99s impressions are similar to mine. Awesome tweener..great feel. Not revolutionary like advertised, but still a very nice stick.

    PED - the Blade provides easy depth for me even stock.
     
  22. PED

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    This is true, lots of fun and I'm enjoying it and it's a nice step forward but it's not going to turn everyone into Rafa...lol

    I hit today with mine strung with Tour bite soft 16g. It was about 3lbs tighter than usual and it was cold and windy but tour bite soft needs some Cialis to stiffen it up a bit.

    Not a bad string but not something I would use. It lacked that cutting edge and BITE that TB regular provides.My elbow is twinging a bit after hitting(which it never does) with it so it looks like I'm going to really drop my tensions with the 16g stuff.

    My buddy let me use his 99S demo strung with 4G in the 16g. Very nice string, I didn't find it any stiffer than TB but it's a bit lower powered. It was strung tighter than what I'm used to but I can see why PP likes it so much. My friend confirms your opinion, it holds tension like crazy.

    Last brief hit of the day was with the Bro Staff 100. I had always dismissed this as being too light and never tried it but it hits a really nice ball. This one had 4G at 60lbs so you had to really hammer the ball but I was really surprised at how much I liked it.
     
  23. klementine

    klementine Hall of Fame

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    Great reviews Gads, really interested on more of your thoughts regarding the Pure Storm Team. Always thought this could be a mod-masterpiece. The low sw, flex, pattern, beam-width, etc.. are calling my attention.

    Will be awhile until I myself enter the 'Steam Room'. The reviews in this thread is what I tend to adhere to when it comes to racquets, for all the obvious reasons.

    Not just that. But I've requested a sterilization of the 'Steam Room' premises, due to certain rumors, eye witness accounts and tweeter feeds based on a gentleman of ill repute that has recently exited the 'Steam Room'.
    [​IMG]
     
  24. Hidious

    Hidious Professional

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    Can't wait for you holics to demo the new T-Fights 315. Looks like like an awesome platform.
     
  25. PED

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    Ross has probably spent some time in the London steam room with George. Rumor was they partied together after the London Olympic closing ceremony.
     
  26. JackB1

    JackB1 G.O.A.T.

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    I have zero interest in any of the new TF sticks. Very strage specs.....over 11.5 oz strung with swingweight around 300??? Seems like all the weigh will be near the middle or "depolarized", which I don't really care for.
     
  27. mikeler

    mikeler G.O.A.T.

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    How did you get a hold of Tour Bite Soft?
     
  28. JackB1

    JackB1 G.O.A.T.

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    What is the JC Method?
     
  29. Boricua

    Boricua Hall of Fame

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    TW playtesters were "nice" toward the racket in their video review but the only one that showed a bit of real interest was Andy I think. Besides the nice cosmetics, I dont have much interest either.
     
  30. Hidious

    Hidious Professional

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    Yes, well, they have to play it stock in the reviews and a SW of 309 is of course far from ideal for any decent player. I like the fact that it's a platform but i did not consider the weight distribution and what appears to be a depolarized frame.
     
  31. Power Player

    Power Player G.O.A.T.

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    Hate to bum you out, but the Dunlop you have is not exactly polarized either.

    Also, google JayCee method. It's a stringing method some people use.
     
  32. Hidious

    Hidious Professional

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    I believe it's John Cauthen's method who was a racquet "scientist" here à la Travlrjam. I can't find a link but I think he recommends a huge tension difference between some strings.
     
  33. Hidious

    Hidious Professional

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    Looks like I was wrong...
     
  34. PED

    PED Legend

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    Connections baby!

    This string is nothing to get excited about IMO. Maybe it will play better when temps warm up but not loving it today.
     
  35. mikeler

    mikeler G.O.A.T.

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    Power Player and I have our 5 days of "winter" coming up and then it will probably be back to beautiful tennis weather again.
     
  36. Fuji

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    It seems as though they would be Waaaaay too close to my PSL's to be even practical for me to demo. Plus that awful grip shape I don't care for.

    -Fuji
     
  37. JGads

    JGads Hall of Fame

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    Yes. Early impression is that the Blade hit about what you'd expect, a more driving ball. Lower natural trajectory than the Steam, probably a bit more mph on the ball. The Steam ball is a bit higher, tad slower, and maybe flies through the air more before dipping down. Steam easier to rip impromptu cross court shots, create angles out of nothing. That's where this frame shines I think. But again, still early. More to come.

    Like I said, I was genuinely impressed with each demo. The best feel actually came from the leaded up pure storm team. Even with an old multi in it.
     
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2013
  38. PED

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    I used to have an old skool Pure storm team back in 07. Great stick and lots of fun.

    Last q: did MD hit with both the Blade and the Steam and what was the ball like from him. I remember you said he was deadly effective with the APD 2013.

    Had a nice talk with the modfather out at TW today and he said ALOT of the guys who work there are steaming now, it's a big hit.
     
  39. JackB1

    JackB1 G.O.A.T.

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    My Bio Maxx 200G is 330 grams and 3 pts HL. When I swing it, I feel the weight towards the ends. Not a lot like some, but enough. I definitely dont notice much weight concentrated in the middle. I would call it "slightly polarized", IMO.
     
  40. Ross K

    Ross K Legend

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    "Ross likes this!"


    Great to get the lowdown off you re TB Soft... Yes, I agree with what you say re 4G, i.e., it's similar to TB. As you know, despite finding TB a touch too stiff, I've kept returning to it as the general performance is just right up my street, certainly in particular rackets. I need to get more time on the clock with it though, but, who knows, maybe it's just a perfect fit the 99s.

    The rumours weren't quite correct. That was actually Meaghan.:shock: Yes, for I can reveal that the reason behind his glaring absence from these diary pages for so very long is that he's never fully recovered from that night of craven debauchery. No, the evening I lost the plot was in fact the night of the opening ceremony... but that's another altogether shamefully humiliating story entirely. :)
     
  41. mad dog1

    mad dog1 Hall of Fame

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    MD did indeed set foot on the steamy court w/ both sticks. due to the balance and higher SW, the Blade was too sluggish for me. late on contact resulted in some balls sailing on me. when i hit it right, i thought it hit a heavy ball with driving spin - not looping spin. w/ my swing, i normally hit more driving spin w/ tighter patterns. also the spin wasn't the funky unpredictable type of sidespin + topspin that i can generate w/ the BC20 though - the spin action was just 2D. i liked the feel of the Blade, but just couldn't handle the SW over time.

    with the Steam, a few shots kicked up surprising Gads, but for the most part, we were able to return the balls off the Steam string beds without making much adjustment. his shots off his pro stock sticks give me more trouble than the Steam shots and based on watching Gads returning my shots, i believe the Steam struck balls were easier for him than the BC20 struck balls.
     
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2013
  42. PED

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    ^^Excellent, thanks MD. The steam takes some time to adjust to. Here now in week 2, I've noticed I'm finally picking up on the subtleties of making it work.
     
  43. JackB1

    JackB1 G.O.A.T.

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    Very true. I fear too many give up on it after a few minutes of hitting balls too high and long. I think the Steam will work for many, but you have to be willing to give it an adjustment period. It feels like I can aim my slide backhand about halfway up the net and it will still go over the net by a few inches and be very difficult to handle. You can hit some very nasty slices with this thing!
     
  44. mad dog1

    mad dog1 Hall of Fame

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    No probs...Gads and I were talking about the same thing - hitting with it for an extended period to adjust to. our BIG concern was string life. after less than 60 mins of hitting, the mains on both demo sticks were all a mess. i pulled on the center mains at the throat and they were so loose that if felt like there was literally no tension on them. i'd like to restring one myself to see if the JayCee method will help to extend the string life and put even more action on the ball. i came away after 60 mins with a good impression. it's a nice feeling stick. definitely hits some nasty slices, but so does the BC20 and Gadsy w/ his TGKs. there's no way regardless of how much time i spend with it that it'll be a game changer for me. no question if i spent more time with it, i'd would be able to hit better, but the same goes with any stick. not sure i want to spend $$ and 2 months to gain a bit here but lose a bit there. :)
     
  45. Power Player

    Power Player G.O.A.T.

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    I wouldn't...Id be spending way too much $$$$$$$$ on strings, but I already generate enough spin. My addiction is to laser control and accuracy, that driving spin you were talking about is what wins matches for me IMO.

    If I played my buddy on clay with the steam he would get to everything. Oh wait, I did, and he did...lol.
     
  46. JGads

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    Pretty much answered it there. MD and the BC20 are 'tuned' perfectly together on groundstrokes. He hits consistently better with that frame and probably the PS85. He also has leather and lead on his 20, so it's a 12-plus ounce stick and something he's far more used to than the 11.3-11.6 Steams we hit last night. The BC20 remains a shared GoatStick for both MD and I - we absolutely think the WORLD of it on groundstrokes, it's just the serve and the volley consistency that we constantly struggle with.

    The Steam to me is very much a tweener version of the BC20. Spin monsters made for full poly. Do not know how the Steam would compare on serve and volleys just yet, or if the Steam would get increasingly more steamy or less steamy with added lead.

    Going up against a giant hitter of the ball tonight so there's part of me that feels the need to add a touch more lead, now at 3 and 9, to the one already leaded stick to get it up to about 11.9 for this eve (only have about a 1.5 grams at 12 plus OG now), but there's also something to be said for the maneuverability of the stick - because I think the maneuverability plus the pattern opens up the best part of the stick, which is the ability to open up the court with angled dippers and such.
     
  47. JGads

    JGads Hall of Fame

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    PED, so Tour Bite Soft is mush? Needless to say, that's disappointing. I was hoping for the same string in a softer form to be able to put into stiffer/crisper sticks that regular TB can get 'wiry' in. It's funny how different TB can feel depending on the stick. Thankfully, in Zeus, it feels great.

    Will try out two new string setups next week in my standard length Rads: Kirschbaum Super Smash and also Head Sonic Pro Edge.
     
  48. PED

    PED Legend

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    Not mushy per say but not as crisp and biting as normal tb is. Not a bad string but not in the same league as tb.

    It's like low fat foods, you take the good stuff out and it's tastes like.......well you know ;)
     
  49. corners

    corners Legend

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    They are not meant to be played stock anymore than the Pure Storm Ltd. is, but some people make that mistake too.
     
  50. JGads

    JGads Hall of Fame

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    Steamy night on the left coast.

    Day 2 impressions: serves bombs. And was shocked at the accuracy, which made no sense to me. Several aces up the T, and one ball that skidded so oddly it garnered a whiff. Second serves a bit tricky. Didn't feel as 'sharp' and 'tuned' as my other frames. Sloppier. ... Groundie slices are spectacular. Forehands do this float and drop thing... My frames and the other demos drive the ball faster off the face, ball is a bit heavier, stay lower. The Steam strikes me as a grinder's dream stick though. ... Surprisingly, I did enough things well to sneak out a 6-4 set win against a 5.0-5.5er who bests me about 8 out of 10 sets we play. He uncharacteristicslly shanked the ball several times.

    Second set, used a mix of the leaded Pure Storm Team and Blade. Lost 7-5 but played extremely well with both frames. Everyone knows about the Blade, big flat ball, feel on this one much improved. The sleeper for me is the much less popular Storm Team, leaded up to about 11.7. Thoroughly impressed. It's almost Pure Storm Limited weight but more forgiving and hits big and accurate serves. Always liked the Storm series. Tour was too clunky for me though and the the Limited was amazing but .. Limited. This one cracks em easily and accurately, and the soft-crisp feel is there.

    Another positive night for all demos. Can see why PP and Klem love the Blade, why the Steam is a hit among some but not all. For what it's worth, my buddy hit the Steam after we finished set play and he absolutely loved rallying with it, may demo it himself as he's been wanting to get something more forgiving than his Prestige Mid, even though from my perspective, he absolutely goats with that thing, as I've received many beatings and he made it to the finals of a 5.0 league twice with it.
     

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