Is comfort technology catching up with stiffness

Discussion in 'Racquets' started by Crocodile, Apr 22, 2013.

  1. Crocodile

    Crocodile New User

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    I've noticed in the last 6 months many of the manufacturers have increased the stiffnes of their racquets, of note Dunlop with there 200 series of racquets. Buying a Volkl with a stiffness of 74 (X7) would have been unheard of in the past by a brand which prides itself in producing soft feeling racquets. There are not too many frames under 63 RA. some of the racquets that fit into this category are:
    Volkl C10
    Prince EXO Tours and Rebel
    Tecnifibre VO2 315
    Pacific X Force Pro's
    Donnay Platinum 99
    Pro Kennex Black Ace

    The question is, has comfort technology improved to the point that a racquet with an RA of 68 and above be used with a soft multi be OK for arms and shoulders assuming that weight and balance characteristics are equal
     
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  2. corners

    corners Legend

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    I'd be wary. I'm not sure how they are doing it, mainly with soft grommets and tricks like that. With a soft multi or gut, sure, you might get away with it. But what's the point? High stiffness will give you 1-2 extra mph on your shots. You can get the same pace benefit using gut/poly hybrid in one of those soft sticks. Stiff racquets are for suckers. (I jest, but personally don't think it's worth the risk.)
     
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  3. Bartelby

    Bartelby G.O.A.T.

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    Stiff racquets are like a sugar hit and probably sell well quickly because of it.
     
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  4. fuzz nation

    fuzz nation Legend

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    I know a couple of guys who would argue that softer co-poly strings are a "comfort technology", but they're still a less user-friendly option for many than other string options including multifibers. Gotta look upon any technology aimed at making stiffer fly swatters more comfortable with at least a little skepticism.

    I'd say that those technologies can probably only go so far before actually rendering the racquet less stiff.
     
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  5. mikeespinmusic

    mikeespinmusic Rookie

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    I'll try to keep this simple without going into too much about anatomy and physiology.

    Lets say I give you pain killers and push you over. Yes you're not feeling it right now. But it doesn't mean you're not getting the shock or the muscle tears from it.

    If anyone's got a better analogy please share. Thats the best I got :(

    IMO you can hit through hard hit balls better with a flexible racquet where as a stiff racquet causes your joints and arm to do the stretching and flexing to the load.

    Man I love my Boris Becker DC London 93... :p
     
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  6. dje31

    dje31 Semi-Pro

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    Head Instincts ( at least for IGs & Graphenes ) have fairly high RA ratings, but they hide it well. They feel almost pillow-y, very muted. Not sure how they're pulling that off, but they do.
     
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  7. anubis

    anubis Hall of Fame

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    I don't think so. Stiff racquets are still stiff regardless of the technology. I agree with Bartelby: manufacturers are making stiff racquets because they sell like gang busters. There's an illusion of tremendous power, as if the frame itself shakes with potential energy.
     
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  8. Boricua

    Boricua Hall of Fame

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    Did you switch from the Exo3 Tour?
     
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  9. Anton

    Anton Hall of Fame

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    I can see how a stiff racket may be bad for elbow joint, but I just don't see what shoulder has to do with racket stiffness.
     
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  10. eidolonshinobi

    eidolonshinobi Professional

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    There are too many threads to count complaining about Tennis Elbow from stiff racquets. It markets well, but isn't good in the long run for those with nonfundamental strokes.
     
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  11. ollinger

    ollinger Legend

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    Don't confuse comfort with arm safety. One can engineer some of the harshness out but a stiff racquet still creates torques on the wrist and elbow that a more flexible racquet doesn't.
     
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  12. Boricua

    Boricua Hall of Fame

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    I used APD Cortex, Gt and 2013 model. Ironically the Cortex version was the only one that did not give me elbow problems. Bear in mind that I used full copoly mostly. I am switching to the flexible Prince 3 Exo Tour 16 x 18 strung with Black 5 Edge at 45 string tension
     
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  13. spinovic

    spinovic Hall of Fame

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    HEAD has definitely figured something out. To suit my preferences anyway.

    I haven't played with the Instinct, but I currently use the Extreme Pro 2.0 and can echo your feedback. Stiffness is 69, but it has that same muted, "softer" than expected feel. How a racquet feels is always difficult to describe, and its a subjective thing that can vary with each person, but the Extreme Pro 2.0 feels solid, without feeling stiff to me.

    The Prestige Pro (stiffness of 66 I believe) doesn't feel drastically different. In fact, I thought it felt a little boardier and stiffer than the Extreme Pro 2.0. The Radical has some similarities in the "muted" response, but you can definitely feel the flexier frame. I love the feel on all the HEAD racquets I've played with.
     
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  14. ced

    ced Semi-Pro

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    If my experience for the last 7 weeks with the Volkl Organix X7 (295) is any indicator , then Volkl has succeeded in doing just that !! My preferred multi is PPA strung at 50/52.
     
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  15. SteveI

    SteveI Legend

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    indeed sir.. I am playing the IG Instinct and they very much hide the 69 RA..and yes the "pillow-y" is right on. I am very impressed by that frame. One of the best all around frames I have ever played..and it has lots of room for mods if required.
     
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  16. SteveI

    SteveI Legend

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    I agree with this. I am not sure how Head has created such a solid line. The IG Instinct seems to have it all. Easy on my arm (mine) and I have not seem the frame twist on off center hits. The upper loop is firm and consistent. Head has created something special in my book with that frame.
     
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  17. SteveI

    SteveI Legend

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    I think shoulder issues come more from bad form and too heavy (static or SW) a frame.
     
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  18. Anton

    Anton Hall of Fame

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    That's how I see this too
     
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  19. Relinquis

    Relinquis Hall of Fame

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    No, It hasn't.

     
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  20. NE1for10is?

    NE1for10is? Semi-Pro

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    I have been wondering lately if there would ever be a class action suit against a racquet or string company that knowingly sells extremely stiff racquets that cause so many injuries.
     
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  21. dje31

    dje31 Semi-Pro

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    It would only work in the US, as most other countries have "loser pays" rules against frivolous lawsuits. Further, the only party that wins in a class action lawsuit are the lawyers.
     
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  22. Gasolina

    Gasolina Professional

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    Could be the case. I remember when TW reviewed the Vcore Xi 98. The written review wasn't out yet. On TW's review thread, Jason mentioned it was quite comfortable. I asked him how that was since the racquet is pretty stiff. He said the racquet is stiff and he could feel it in his arm after the hitting session.

    Racquets can mute out vibrations on a racquet but can't hide the fact that it is stiff, and you will feel the shock on your arm, eventually.
     
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  23. mikeespinmusic

    mikeespinmusic Rookie

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    No but I bought the becker based on traits similar to an 18 x 20 exo3 tour but with a midsize head. I felt at the time "whats the point of buying the same frame with dense a pattern?" Both comparable to each other so I went with it. I'm using Big hitter blue rough 17 at 44/41lbs on the becker with heaps of lead. Think of it like my mistress that I'm getting action off the side with. :p. It favours flatter hitting and volleys but it doesn't have the super spin loop and hop you are chasing like the exo3 tour.
     
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2013
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  24. keithfival

    keithfival Professional

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    They mask the stiffness with a plush impact feel but the stiffness is definitely still an issue. I've recently tried the 2012 PD and the 2013 Blade 16x19, both have a wonderful plush, solid feel on impact, and I still felt the stiffness within minutes of hitting with either one.
     
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  25. snoopy

    snoopy Professional

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    My demo experience with the Youtek IG Instinct matches what many are saying. While hitting the racquet felt nice but afterwards my elbow and shoulder were throbbing. I almost never have inflammation in my arm from tennis.

    If you weren't able to tolerate stiff racquets in the past don't be lulled by the new technologies into believing that you now can.
     
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  26. BreakPoint

    BreakPoint Bionic Poster

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    The shock waves from hitting the ball with a stiff racquet can travel all the way up your arm to your shoulder.
     
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  27. Anton

    Anton Hall of Fame

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    I don't buy "shockwaves" theory, it's the torque that does the damage by maxing our joint's range of rotation, no way is shoulder range getting maxed out by impacts.
     
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  28. Readers

    Readers Semi-Pro

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    Totally agree, it's the impact shock that hurts you, not the vibration.
     
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  29. BreakPoint

    BreakPoint Bionic Poster

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    I said shock, never said vibration.
     
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  30. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    Shockwaves from tennis rackets are proven science. Initial shock and the subsequent shockwaves create different kinds of problems. It also depends on the person's bone structure how sensitive he is to the shock waves.

    When a ball impacts, there is one kind of shock, which is often obvious. But after that, shock waves (higher the RA, higher their frequency) travel from the strings to the hoop to the handle to the arm, and they can do a lot of harm without you even realizing it.
     
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  31. Anton

    Anton Hall of Fame

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    ...And these frequencies travel through bone, tendons, muscles and two joints all the way up to the shoulder and damage it?
     
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2013
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  32. TroutSc

    TroutSc Semi-Pro

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    So donnay formula 100... Is it a stiff yet very arm friendly and safe choice or is it just a marketing claim?
     
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  33. Slitch

    Slitch Rookie

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    Well donnay rackets are, like angell, filled with foam. In theory the foam schould absorb vibrations, not shock.
    The RA rating is flex number thereby indicating how much the racket flexes, or deforms on impact. Vibrations is a different animal and impacts the muscles and tendons in a different way. It could be considered as microscopic shocks.
    Both create stress on your body. Everybody reacts different to each type of stress.
     
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  34. Crocodile

    Crocodile New User

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    Thanks everybody, all your answers have been fantastic. I think this forum is very professional and helpful. For a long time my main racquets have been C10 pro , Bio & 4D 200's and really like the way these racquets play. Most recently I have been experimenting with the vo2 325 which is a much stiffer racquet but I've strung it at 50lbs with bi-phase and have had pretty good results. I am going to test out whether there will be any problems with my arm over a 7 day cycle for 3 months. I feel the silicon in the handle of tecnifibre racquets may prove OK. I will be interested to see how players who use the x7 wil go as well. cheers
     
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  35. dje31

    dje31 Semi-Pro

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    BTW, I've mentioned it before, but the Graphene Instinct Rev is RA59, and has the same muted, pillow-y feel as the other Instincts with RA69+...but it needs at least 1.5 oz, preferably tail-weighted. Then it's quite the gem.
     
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  36. mikeespinmusic

    mikeespinmusic Rookie

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    I get what you're saying. For those who don't, think of the impact as the leverage fulcrum. Instead of it being in the flex of the racquet hoop and throat. Its now bending at the shoulder, wrist and elbow joint. The soreness is the stretching and tearing of tissues from accumulated impacts
     
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  37. mikeespinmusic

    mikeespinmusic Rookie

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    yes. More so forces than frequencies. Think of it like you're doing bicep curls and some one drops an extra massive amount of weight on your hands on top of what you're already weilding. Whats going to happen? Your muscles try to stabilize, they may even tear and then shut down and the your arms collapse down.

    When it comes to ball impact with a stiff racquet, its like that only lots of little tears from the hitting session (especially from hard hits) which are eventually accumulated which creates the arm soreness and fatigue.

    Here's a video from Tom Avery (a coach) he goes into it a lot.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OaZtxzBu0Ak
     
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  38. Anton

    Anton Hall of Fame

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    Right, you are talking about torque from impact not racket vibrations (waves)
     
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  39. mikeespinmusic

    mikeespinmusic Rookie

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    Don't get me wrong, vibrations can hurt too if not dampened or filtered right.
     
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  40. syke

    syke Professional

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    The Wilson 99S did a great job masking the vibrations with it's plush feel during play.
    But I could really feel my elbow acting up after a long hit.

    With the softer Pacific X Force, I get zero arm issues.
     
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  41. Ronaldo

    Ronaldo G.O.A.T.

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    Pity Dunlop does not re-introduce those Revelation series racquets just to remind these companies with stiff, cushioned response tweeners know what a real flexible, damped racquet feels like. Feels like wood used to.
     
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  42. BreakPoint

    BreakPoint Bionic Poster

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    The torque from impact results in shock. Shock is transmitted in a wave(s).
     
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