Live by the Blade...Die by the Blade...

Discussion in 'Racquets' started by danbrenner, Feb 13, 2014.

  1. danbrenner

    danbrenner Professional

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    There's something oh so right about this line of sticks. There are 4 different versions with which one can slice and dice to their hearts content. I have test driven too many sticks this winter, and I am proud to declare my love for the Blade 98 16x19. This stick just feels right from the way the grip melts into my palm, to the crisp and powerful strokes, that explode off the strings. Love it. I have played with the spin version, the 104, and the 18x20 which was my second favorite. But for me the 16x19 is the one that passes my goldilocks test, and does everything just right. The Spin version was nice, but just didn't feel right without the extra mass that the standard versions have. The 18x20 is a great stick, but I have always used open patterned racquets, so it didn't feel like home for me. I am playing my best tennis with this 16x19 stick. Oh, and I bought it with a 4 1/2" grip. I often play with 3/8, but these maybe run a hair small, and the half is butter in my hand. TT faithful feel free to give us your Blade experiences. Slice on my Freinds.
     
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  2. djnemo

    djnemo Rookie

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    I noticed the grip is really short on the Blade 98 with not much room to lengthen it due to the long "V". Not ideal for 2hbh.
     
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  3. Blitzball

    Blitzball Semi-Pro

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    I don't think the grip is short at all, but then again I have a 1hbh so I'm probably not the best judge.
     
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  4. rrito

    rrito Rookie

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    i agree that the grip is not short at all as i employ a two handed backhand. i also agree with OP that the blade line is great. my first stick was a kblade98 and over the years i have tried so many other sticks but keep finding myself going back to the blade!
     
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  5. danbrenner

    danbrenner Professional

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    Really. I think it's long enough. I'm coming from sticks like the APD and I do t feel that the handle is any longer. I would suggest wrapping a new replacement grip, and stretching it out as fat as possible. FYI the Tecnifibre ltd 16 gets my nod of approval. Great stick.
     
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  6. danbrenner

    danbrenner Professional

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    Cool. I can't stress enough how this line really does hit the nail on head in almost every department. No one stick is absolutely perfect in every way, but these Blades are damn close. And stick form is good to go. No lead needed on the original 2 98s. Meaning the 16x19 and 18x20
     
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  7. bertrevert

    bertrevert Hall of Fame

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    It's a control racquet with great feel.

    In the Spin version I virtually have to use poly and I lose some of the feel that the racquet is good at. Instead of the thin incisive beam offering feather touch I sort of have to imagine/imitate hitting the dropper or slice or the perfect lob... I just cannot feel enough through the poly. NOr do I hit hard enough regularly enough to really bend that poly. But the string lets you hit all out and have it land in.

    So I'm going to try some Babolat Origin in it. I will lose spin, but as it is 18x16 it is drilled to offer more spin than a usual racquet.

    Footnote: I remember demoing the green Blade for a week, have had k98 (twice), did ok with k93, just did not get on at all with the BLX Blade, at all, and tried a friend's recent 18x20 Blade and went straight for the SET one, as did he later on.
     
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  8. JackB1

    JackB1 G.O.A.T.

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    The Blade 104 and 98 16x19 are 2 of my all time favorites.
    The 104 is just a little light in stock form and some may not like the extra length. The 16x19 is a baseliners dream, capable of huge heavy groundies. Only flaw for me was the balance was tilted to much towards the head, causing it to feel sluggish at times. But I loved the way the ball felt off the stringbed with a long full stroke that connects in the sweetspot. Was always tempted to see if TW had one that was lighter and more headlite than spec.
     
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  9. bertrevert

    bertrevert Hall of Fame

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    If you go down that route how do you get multiples? Off-spec one-offs must be hard to match. Or praps not so hard with the Wilson QC :mad:

    The Blades have I think always been of an even-balance. The green one I think was definitely HH and an uber-flexy throat. Given the neutral balance, I found shots where you need real whip, such as an approach off a short ball, happened in slow motion and generally didn't work well. I hate to say a racq can limit yr game but there's always trade-offs. Using a 16x19 from the baseline I'm not so sure that wider-beamed clubs don't do that better than the Blade...
     
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  10. JackB1

    JackB1 G.O.A.T.

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    good point! Also I was always tempted to try lightening it myself by trimming or cutting the top bumper.
     
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  11. danbrenner

    danbrenner Professional

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    You know. After demoing about 30 sticks this fall and winter, I came to a very comforting conclusion. "There is no such thing as a perfect racquet". I found that I had been too critical. A stick was either too head heavy, too high of a swing weight, a quarter inch too long, too headlight. So after I had given up my search for the grail, I had what I will call a moment of reflection, and just though of the Blade 16x19 as the perfect all around stick, even though the swing weight is 10 points higher than what I would normally consider my wheelhouse. And all I can say is thank goodness that I did. I am in love with this stick, and am playing my best tennis with it. I think our fellow TT brother Power Player had a similar experience recently, has settled on a racquet, an is playing his best tennis with an Ai. :)
     
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  12. kingcheetah

    kingcheetah Professional

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    I've found that all of the blades are string sensitive (heard otherwise with the 104 but in my experience the 93 was sensitive to tension, as were the traditional-patterned 98" frames.) Since then, I've come across both of the non-spin 98" and the 93 with string setups I know I like (because I recommended them to friends that own those racquets) and I really enjoy them as well. With the wrong setup these racquets feel like tin, but use the right string and they play great! Solid control all around, now if I could just run into someone that owns a blade 98s...
     
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  13. Boredsurfer

    Boredsurfer Rookie

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    I've recently been on the hunt for an extended length frame and totally forgot about the 104. Soft, box-beam with some pop and extended length for my 1HBH - what's not to love. I gotta demo one.
     
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  14. danbrenner

    danbrenner Professional

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    That's different to all of my experiences with the blade. All of the 16x19s I have tried have been full poly beds and have never vibrated or buzzed from strings. . The spin version same thing. Just less solid. The 104 I don't remember because I never really considered it. The 16x19 I have now is strung with 4g and is as solid as a rock with no buzzing or vibrations whatsoever. Solid as a rock
     
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  15. danbrenner

    danbrenner Professional

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    Oh. And I should point out. Using the spin version and the 16x19 I can frankly and honestly say that even when it comes to raw spin, the 16x19 wins out. And. Wins out in every aspect for me. The 18x20 on the other hand is neck and neck with the 16x19 for performance. I feel that you need to hybrid to use the 18x20, whereas with the 16z19 you can use a poly full bed. And if you are coming from using open string pattern, you will most probably play better, and feel more at home with the 16x19
     
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  16. kingcheetah

    kingcheetah Professional

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    I dont know what was in the Demos i originally had of the blades that felt so bad to me... because it was 4g and savage in full beds between 50 and 55 lbs that convinced me the non-104s were very nice racquets.
     
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  17. kingcheetah

    kingcheetah Professional

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    Technically flat beam not box but the soft feel and pop are nice... mine has a ton of lead at this point(personal preference) but in stock it plays great as well!
     
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  18. Boredsurfer

    Boredsurfer Rookie

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    kingcheetah - you're right of course. I'm gonna weight it up to 12 oz-ish. Should be a beast. My only concern is hitting put-away shots. I wonder if the pattern and oversize head make it hard to flatten things out when needed.
     
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  19. kingcheetah

    kingcheetah Professional

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    I think with too much lead at 12 you could get into some issues with how powerful the frame will get. I only have 2g total at 12, with 4g each at 9 and 3, and then a whole lot on the handle (not polarized though, so the balance isn't too headlight)

    As far as the pattern goes, I think you should be fine... 18x19 still has pretty good control on flat balls. Obviously not as much as a 95 or 93 with an 18x20 but I'd argue the control on flat shots is better than with a majority of 16x18/19 100" frames.
     
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2014
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  20. Roddickulous

    Roddickulous Rookie

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    I have the 98S customized to a 345 swingweight (lead at 3:00&9:00) and a 340 static weight (12.0oz) and it plays like a dream. so much stability on shots, and plowthrough for days!
     
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  21. Fuji

    Fuji Legend

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    #Honeymooning

    -Fuji
     
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  22. chrisberchris

    chrisberchris Rookie

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    I've played with the blade tour for 2 years, then the 93 for the last, and they are indeed string sensitive. I've been using Tourna bhbr16 hybreded with bab syth gut for almost 2 years and that is a great setup. Bhb16 on the mains at 59lb and the bab on cross at 57lb.
     
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  23. danbrenner

    danbrenner Professional

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    cool brother. i have to say your combo is different than the norm. To have a hard core poly strung on the mains at 59, and a soft synth cross at less tension is wild. Usually people go lower on crosses even if it was all poly. why do you do it this way. ? and have you exprerimented?
     
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  24. danbrenner

    danbrenner Professional

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    im thinking as an experiment with strings, to do a gut/poly hybrid. Has anyone got some experience with blades and hybrids. Im thinking Babolat VS gut 17 mains at 58. and lux 4g crosses at 55 or 56. sounds like a must try.???
     
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  25. chrisberchris

    chrisberchris Rookie

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    Yeah I went through a lot of different string. I was breaking multi after a few hours so I needed something more durable. I hit really, really hard, and have an extreme western grip, so I need something durable. The Tourna feels great to me. A good string for slices and adds a hair of grip everywhere else too. I probably could go down in tension, but I like to hit very very controlled shots, so tighter the better. It helps that I have been playing with that tension for several years
     
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  26. Muppet

    Muppet Hall of Fame

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    I've always strung my multi crosses higher than poly mains. (see sig) It's also common for the crosses in a full bed to be strung a couple of pounds lower. This opens up the sweet spot.
     
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  27. danbrenner

    danbrenner Professional

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    yeah. your right. i wasnt thinking clearly. im gonna go vs gut 17 @58/ 4g 125 @55 on my next set up. sounds good no?
     
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  28. Muppet

    Muppet Hall of Fame

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    I don't have any experience with the Blade, and very little experience with gut/poly hybrids. So maybe someone else will offer you some advice. With that in mind, I have read a lot and you could go down on the 4g tension by a couple of pounds, as that string has very good tension stability. That should save you some break-in time.
     
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  29. red rook

    red rook Rookie

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    The blade is a popular stick in the pros and I seem to remember most use full poly (bbo) on the 18x20. I've went through reels of hybrids with this racquet and full poly and like the full poky to enhance the spin on my second serve a bit. Ymmv
     
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  30. dodadedadude

    dodadedadude New User

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    I have been using the blade 98 16x19 since it came out, and it really is a good stick for me. I use gut/poly hybrid with bab vs gut at 55 and 4g at 51. I am not a powerful hitter, so I do appreciate the power from the hybrid setup... very comfortable, but quite expensive i have to say... :p

    I am glad there are many people who enjoy the 16x19 pattern like myself... it may not be a super control racquet nor is it great at the net due to the balance, but overall a really fun raquet to play with especially for a recreational player like myself...
     
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  31. danbrenner

    danbrenner Professional

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    cool. i dont think you give the racquet credit enough. Its an all around monster. Its highly used by the pros, albeit the 18x20 pattern mostly, and just does everything well. My question to you is about stinging. I want to try the gut vs 17 with 4g 125 crosses. Firstly, how long or how many hours does this set up last you. albeit you are not a hard hitter. and the 4lbs difference is good? and do you use 17 or 16 gage gut? thanks in advance
     
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  32. vergica

    vergica New User

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    kblade 98

    Just discovered how well I play with it...my choice now! Still testing strings, testing now poly mains and ng cross. I know it might be some waste of money here but its unbelievable how ng would increase the pocketing and extend the sweet spot w/o to be racquet launcher.
     
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  33. PhrygianDominant

    PhrygianDominant Hall of Fame

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    and then you just bought a c10 pro
     
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  34. robok9

    robok9 Semi-Pro

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    I tried Pacific Classic Gut 17 w/ Volkl Cyclone 18 in the crosses @58/55lbs in my Kblade 98. Played fantastic. By far my favorite setup of any string in any racquet so far. Just so dang expensive!
     
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  35. robok9

    robok9 Semi-Pro

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    I totes agree. I've gone back and forth between my Kblade 98, Blx Blade 98, and K90. The kblade just brings out the best in my style even though mine is really beat up, and I got it for free. It's my favorite racquet. I'll have to see when the 2015 blades come out next year though :p
     
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  36. JackB1

    JackB1 G.O.A.T.

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    uhm. No I didn't. :confused::confused:
     
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  37. Bartelby

    Bartelby G.O.A.T.

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    Your confusion is understandable.


     
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  38. Boredsurfer

    Boredsurfer Rookie

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    In my search for an extended length frame I just demoed a Blade 104. Fantastic frame - I think this one may be a keeper. No real weaknesses except maybe a little light and maybe a little too much pop. Nothing a little lead and string choice couldn't solve. Just loved the weight and balance. Head size didn't feel too unwieldy - the whole string bed felt like a sweetspot.

    I haven't played enough to gauge how controlled it is. Kind honeymooning right now....
     
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  39. danbrenner

    danbrenner Professional

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    If you like light extended length frames, have you tried the pro staff 100?
     
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  40. dodadedadude

    dodadedadude New User

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    i use the the 16 gauge for gut and 4g .... and i think the 55/51 is just nice for me, but might be a tad too powerful for big hitters i think... durability wise.... might not last very long for heavy hitters.... but thats gut for you.... i do enjoy it very much, but i think i will probably go back to full bed of poly strung at lower tension....
     
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  41. danbrenner

    danbrenner Professional

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    Cool. So how long did the guy poly typically last. ? And would you cut it out at the end or did it break? And if you go full poly, you must try MSV focus hex 123. It's comfy and wickedly spinny. And holds tension. A rarity. I stein it at 52lbs usually. I love it
     
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  42. Muppet

    Muppet Hall of Fame

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    If I got the Blade 98 18x20, I'd want to mod it more head light. Does this racquet play well with a leather grip (16g increase?)
     
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  43. Bartelby

    Bartelby G.O.A.T.

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    ... it will still have a high swingweight so if that's what you like then it will play slightly easier more head light.

    I prefer it that way.
     
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  44. robok9

    robok9 Semi-Pro

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    It worked for my Blx Blade and Kblade, so it should work for the 2013 blade.
     
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  45. Muppet

    Muppet Hall of Fame

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    That's true. Leather will shift the balance, but it won't lower the swingweight. I'm used to using a 360g racquet with a swingweight around 320 and a balance of 9 HL. What would the adjustment be like to the above Blade with the leather grip (stock + 16g, 330+some sw, more HL?) What would it feel like to go from what I have to what's in parentheses? Which one is more tiring?
     
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2014
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  46. Boredsurfer

    Boredsurfer Rookie

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    I haven't - but thanks for the suggestion. To be honest, I'm not a fan of 16x18 string patterns. Although the spin and trajectory LOOK and seem awesome, I find balls don't penetrate as deeply (for me). On defense that pattern just creates mid-court sitters for me.

    also, I was specifically looking for 27.5 length this time. I tried a POG long body and 28 is too long. Also, 27.25 feels the same as a standard length and offers me no added benefit.

    The 27.5 just feels right. It is really helping with my 1hbh - especially on down the line returns. Added bonus is booming serves.

    I still have to mod the 104 - leather grip and them some lead to up the swing weight. Looking forward to dialing these in.

    I'm "grail"-ing and honeymooning right now :)
     
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  47. spacediver

    spacediver Hall of Fame

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    I have 3 klbade 93's, and they feel pretty damn great to me (I use Head Rip Control).
     
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  48. dodadedadude

    dodadedadude New User

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    Ermm.... I don't remember exactly how many hours... but it frailed and eventually broke. But definitely more than 12 hours of play... I do use quite a bit of spin. I think it is worth a try though, a nice experience, felt really good on contact.... but just a tad too expensive for me to keep using this combo...

    Let me see if I can find MSV around my area, who doesn't like comfy and spinny... :) I usually string full poly at 52 as well... currently have solinco tour bite on the racquet... so far, so good.
     
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  49. dodadedadude

    dodadedadude New User

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    I don't have a lot of knowledge about the math behind racquet balance, but I did add a leather grip to my Blade 16x19... and it does play very well...
    BUT I think the swing weight is quite heavy as is, so it doesn't have much room for modification without making it quite heavy (at least for myself). I think if you prefer a more head light racquet, it might be a better idea to get a racquet closer to your spec and do the mods from there. Adding a leather grip did make it a little more head light for me, and for my recreational purpose, it is great, but the change is not as significant and the characteristics of the racquet stays quite the same, which is what i like.
     
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  50. estigma2001

    estigma2001 Professional

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    I´m testing the Blade 16x19 with Tour Bite in the mains with 46 lbs and iso speed bassline control at crosses with 40 lbs and i liked, i used to play with APD with 12 gr(3 and 9) same strings, same tension. My questions are: if i add lead at 3 and 9 on the blade what would happen? and should i try the blade with higher tensions? Thanks!
     
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