My Dunlop Bio 400 Tour review

Discussion in 'Racquets' started by neverstopplaying, Dec 31, 2011.

  1. neverstopplaying

    neverstopplaying Professional

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    I was very anxious to receive this racquet, hoping that finally I could find a racquet in that elusive realm between tweeners and players sticks. Playing an aggressive 4.5 game and entering my fifties, I would like to be able to ease up on my strokes during a match. Unfortunately, I have never been able to control the power of traditional tweeners, most are too stiff, and I don’t adjust my swing well to the lower swing weight of many tweeners.

    Arrival and Preparation:
    This has to be the best looking racquet – ever. The titanium/chrome places this racquet in a class by itself. Dunlop spent a lot of time on the design and control of manufacturing; the Aeroskin looks cool, recessed grommets are well made, and overall high quality finish. The hoop is noticeably wider than the 300 and about ½” wider than the 500 series - apparently widens the sweet spot. I put on a TW 1.3mm leather grip and 4x6” strips (6gms) in the hoop, centered on 3 and 9. Final weight with dampener = 350gm.

    I was a little concerned about sticking lead directly on the metallic finish in the hoop, as I’ve had lead remove the metallic finish from a previous racquet. I applied electrical tape under the lead. I would have wanted to put the lead under the grommets, but there are flared and I didn’t have an extra grommet set.

    I was hoping the finished racquet would come in a little lighter, but swing weight is now about 318, which is below the 330 that I’m playing now, and should deal with the only negative comments reported with the 400T.

    Stringing:
    Because of the recessed grommets, the crosses can only be strung one way, but the tie-offs are well indicated. I play with a wide variety of brands and types of strings, and I chose Cyclone mains (51) and MCS crosses (56) for the try out. I don’t know how stiff this racquet will play and the 500T causes me problems after a few days of hitting, so MCS could help. The 400T is pretty easy to string with no complications.

    Now for the play test...

    Warm up.
    First thing I noticed is that this is NOT a typical, powerful tweener. No balls were flying long. Balls were staying deep. It was not obvious that the racquet was providing a little extra power (over my favourite TF 325 VO2). It was a little easier to swing. The string bed feels very even - I didn’t notice any weak spots. The center of the sweet spot doesn’t result in balls flying. It is definitely stiffer than a 200/300 and less so than a 500. One the 2nd day warm up I focused on varying the pace more - with good results.

    Serves.
    I have a pretty decent serve, and mix it up quite a bit. I noticed an instant improvement with the 400T. Better slice, more spin on the kick and a little extra pace. The TW review gave the 400T high marks on this and I agree 100%. I played a 2 hour singles match yesterday and 1 hour today. I could take a little effort off the serve and still easily hold the service games. Similar to the 500T but with better feel and control.

    Serve returns.
    My opponent yesterday is the fastest, hardest server that I play against. It was a good test of racquet stability. No problems here at all with the 400T. Doesn’t feel quite as good as my BB11mid, but similar to my TFs and better than the 500T. The lighter sw allowed me to get the racquet in place quickly.

    FH.
    I like to hit a variety of deep, heavy balls and then aggressively move in on short balls. I like some racquet mass and good plow through to either put away the point or hit 1 or max 2 volleys. From the start, it was easy to keep the balls deep, to vary the pace and spin, with great results. I could hit out and keep the balls deep, or ease back a bit a let the racquet do a little work. Much better depth control than the 500T and more plow through than a leaded 4D300. Good directional control also, which surprised me. I didn’t notice a difference compared to my TF. I did not have to resort to higher swing speed than my usual racquets.

    1HBH.
    I thought it may be more difficult to get penetrating reliable topspin, but I could play as well as with my TF. Good depth control, better spin, and easier to get the 400 in place to set up the shot. I hit about 30% slice and was able to slice aggressively and deep with little adjustment. My fav BH racquet is the 200 series, but this was very acceptable.

    Volleys.
    The feel on volleys is not as solid as the TF, or the BB11mid. If I played doubles often, the difference was enough to make me stick with my TF for doubles. However, the 400T does put the ball away and it did what it had to do. I didn’t notice this so much on the 2nd outing.

    Post match discomfort.
    I did not experience any of the typical post match tweener discomfort. I’ll post more on this after a few more hits. On the 2nd outing I did notice that the 400 does feel stiff, even with MCS. The extra power comes from the stiffness, but so far so good. I may string with full poly next time, but was quite happy with the initial string job and tension.

    Conclusion.
    Don’t know yet if I’ll switch to the 400T but I believe I finally found what I was hoping for. The 400T is closer to a player’s stick than a tweener, and could be a great choice for a singles player looking for something a little easier over the course of a long match. There are surely other racquets that can do this, but the 400T is the 1st that I’ve tried and it feels great. Easy ability to hit a side variety of serves and forehands are very strong points. Volley feel is its weakest point but not that bad. I’ll have to play 5-6 league matches and check my results, but if positive, I will switch. Unfortunately on my 2nd outing I became overconfident quickly and started making too many unforced errors. Grrr. In post match practice my shots came back.
     
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  2. El Diablo

    El Diablo Hall of Fame

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    The review should be called "very customized Bio 400 Tour." Adding leather and lead changes playing characteristics quite a lot and renders the review not very useful.
     
    #2
  3. neverstopplaying

    neverstopplaying Professional

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    double post ...
     
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2011
    #3
  4. neverstopplaying

    neverstopplaying Professional

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    Thanks for the input, but I can't edit the title.

    I did this review because ALL the comments on this racquet so far suggest adding weight (including all TW play testers except Spencer), and no one had reviewed the modified 400 Tour yet. As to the usefulness, we'll see.
     
    #4
  5. Murray_fan1

    Murray_fan1 Professional

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    Great review- keep us updated. You and I have very similar interests in racquets of late. I was searching for some info on this stick the same day you posted about buying one from TW.
     
    #5
  6. un6a

    un6a Semi-Pro

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    Thanks for review, it is quite informative. I'm also interesting in Bio 400T and Bio 500T too.
    Seems like you prefer 400T over 500T. What are the most important attributes which favors 400T ?
    How is the manuverability of the customized 400T comapred to 500T ?
     
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  7. neverstopplaying

    neverstopplaying Professional

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    The (customized) 400T vs. AG500T (not Bio):
    400T is less stiff (harsh).
    400T has better directional and depth control.
    SW of customized 400T is about be 318 vs. Bio 500%T (313) and 4D500T (325). The 400T is more headlight and I had no problem getting either racquet in place quickly- both are highly maneuverable.

    If someone finds the 500T too harsh and too powerful, the customized 400T should be a great option, if the final weight is not too high (mine is 350gm with lead and leather). Leather is probably not obligatory, but maintains a balance closer to stock - and I like leather. I would like probably like the new stock grip as it is not too spongy.
     
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  8. ace18

    ace18 Rookie

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    neverstopplaying, i'm curious about your thoughts on the volleys. I hit with this racket for 15 minutes, groundstrokes were solid, serves, really solid, volleys pretty weak, i thought. I didn't put much time in the racket and I typicially volley better in match play then in practice, but interested in any more feedback on the volleys with this stick. To me, it kinda of seemed dead. I punched and there wasn't much there.
     
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  9. neverstopplaying

    neverstopplaying Professional

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    I didn't try the racquet without lead, and even with lead, it doesn't have enough feel to be a great volley stick. As I said in my review, if I played mostly doubles or spent a lot of time at the net, I would not consider the 400T, but for me, its positive attributes make it OK for finishing off points at the net.
     
    #9
  10. ace18

    ace18 Rookie

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    Thanks, I might try it with a bit of lead as a test, but I think you might feel the same as I about volleying with this stick. I had hoped that it would be a volley beast.
     
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  11. keithfival

    keithfival Professional

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    That was my experience as well. Every low volley I hit seemed to just die on the strings.
     
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  12. atatu

    atatu Hall of Fame

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    Yeah, I love this frame...except I really can't volley with it, so I'm back to my London for the time being...trying the 300 tour as well soon.
     
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  13. getsby

    getsby Semi-Pro

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    Neverstopplaying, does this not look like a stick Pure Drive?
     
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  14. neverstopplaying

    neverstopplaying Professional

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    I have not hit with a Pure Drive since around 2002, and my game was no so good back then, so I can't answer based on hitting experience.

    However, the PD has a stiffness rating of 70-72, depending upon the model. The 400T is 66, which is considerably lower. Also the 400T offers a lot of control, closer to a player's stick than a tweener.

    From what I've read the Dunlop 500T and Pure Drive have more in common.
     
    #14
  15. getsby

    getsby Semi-Pro

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  16. Murray_fan1

    Murray_fan1 Professional

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    TW data is pretty accurate IMO as they take an overall average of production sticks. Not sure how Dunlop qc is but If it was anything like Wilson's it will vary a fair amount.
     
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  17. neverstopplaying

    neverstopplaying Professional

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    Another advantage of TW data is that it uses a standardized method to measure all brands of sticks. So it's possible to compare dunlop specs against babolat specs.

    If you prefer dunlop's site then your only point of reference is other Dunlop sticks, unless you can find babolat data on the dunlop site.
     
    #17
  18. SteveI

    SteveI Legend

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    Hi,

    Any idea what your final specs are regarding static weight and bal point? If I missed it in your posts..can you post it again.. Thx.
     
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  19. neverstopplaying

    neverstopplaying Professional

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    I'll post this info tonight.
     
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  20. SteveI

    SteveI Legend

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    I got a short hit with this frame and was very impresssed with this frame overall. I thought it played much like the PK 5G but a bit stiffer and with more pop. The specs are quite close. I would think adding a leather grip would make the frame a bit too HL for my tastes. If I was modify this frame I would be doing pretty much what folks have done to the 5G. I would be adding weight @ 2 and 10. That might solve the volleying issue. I did not have a bunch of trouble volleying with this frame.. but did not really have enough time to give it a real work out at the net. Most of time I was coming to the net to finish points on my terms. I did not experience issues then. There is quite a difference trying to execute reaction volleys in doubles vs put away volleys in singles. I loved the balance of power and control. This frame really fits well between the 300 series and the 500 Tour. It is not a Pure Drive clone IMO leans a bit towards the players side of the fence. I live in a cold weather area and do not play very much in the winter months. I expect to give this frame a real work out in March.
     
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  21. getsby

    getsby Semi-Pro

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    I live in Russia, we have played in winter in the indoors. Although I am personally in the winter switch over to ice hockey
    :)
     
    #21
  22. Ross K

    Ross K Legend

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    Thanks for the insightful little review there neverstopplaying.
     
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  23. neverstopplaying

    neverstopplaying Professional

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    customization: 4 x 6" TW 1/4 lead centered on 3&9; TW 1.3mm leather grip; stock dampener, Yonex Supergrap overgrip

    static weight: 350gm
    balance: still 9pt HL
    est SW: 318 (may be slightly higher as I think stock weight was over spec)
     
    #23
  24. neverstopplaying

    neverstopplaying Professional

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    Someone such as yourself will have to give it a try if opportunity knocks.
     
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  25. neverstopplaying

    neverstopplaying Professional

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    Congratulations on your win over us 6-5 (Canada) in junior hockey - are you following the tournament? Good luck in the finals.
     
    #25
  26. SteveI

    SteveI Legend

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    I try to rest my body a bit.. and I do not enjoy playing inside. I take off...about 3 months before I have to starting coaching in early March.. It is pretty much non-stop until mid Nov. In addition, court time and club memberships are not cheap.
     
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  27. newton296

    newton296 Rookie

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    thinking of buying the 400 tour, but I just got a pb 815 for 60$ so I figured I would give it a try. the 815's 70 stiffness rating is a bit scary though. I can feel my elbow if I bang alot of big first serves. the stiffness on groundies seems okay. also , the slice just sucks, every ball just seems to float unless I really take a big rip at it. (anybody know why slice floats? is that just the stiffness of could string affect this)

    anyway, if it hurts my arm much I guess I'll be going back to my h tour or maybe get a blx tour just to update my aging frame.
     
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2012
    #27
  28. SteveI

    SteveI Legend

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    Thanks...nice review BTW... well done!!!
     
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  29. getsby

    getsby Semi-Pro

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    No, I like to watch hockey only by the best masters. Olympic games, World Cup or the Stanley Cup finals
     
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  30. neverstopplaying

    neverstopplaying Professional

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    I played with the PB8-315 for a few months last year. I did prefer it over most tweeners, but still found it too stiff and it did not offer the control of the 400T. I hope it works well for you.
     
    #30
  31. getsby

    getsby Semi-Pro

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    about the stiffness PB 315-I agree 100%. I just do not like Volkls handle shape
     
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  32. newton296

    newton296 Rookie

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    I don't think the stiffness will bother me once I get it strung up right.

    1) rip control at 56m 54 c (might try even softer with multifeel or dunlop comfort syn)
    2) vibro damp
    3) cushion grip

    most guys string this stick with a stiff poly. or use tension around 60lbs. so I' m thinking I should be okay. will get the racquet tommorow and string it up.

    I agree on handle shape, thats why I customize it to feel like a dunlop or wilson.
     
    #32
  33. getsby

    getsby Semi-Pro

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    Yes, I used Lux Alu Power Rough (55lbs). but I'm always full bed poly, and other rackets did not stiffness feel
     
    #33
  34. newton296

    newton296 Rookie

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    yep, the demo I had was strung with tnt2 and it felt stiff even with that.

    isn't the becker pro about the same racquet? the specs look the about the same just with more flex.
     
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2012
    #34
  35. neverstopplaying

    neverstopplaying Professional

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    I restung today with full Cyclone 56/54. After 10 minutes of settling in, I definitely prefer the 400T with full poly. Cyclone is quite lively for a poly, and combined with the shaped poly, it was a great experience with power, spin and control. All shots were better except service return, where MCS was better. I could feel the extra stiffness with full poly, but no discomfort.

    I hit for 5 minutes with an x10-325 (also full Cyclone) to compare: still a nice stick. not much difference on rally shots, much more comfortable, but less plow through when going for winners. I serve noticeably better with the 400T.
     
    #35
  36. getsby

    getsby Semi-Pro

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    neverstopplaying, why did restrung, MCS broken?
    now I'm play with Wilson Pro Open, Cyclone 17 56lbs. Very good durability, but playability is terrible, I think to do restrung this racquet
     
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  37. neverstopplaying

    neverstopplaying Professional

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    No it wasn't broken, I had about 8 hours of play on the 1st job and it was about to go. I wasn't happy with control and I had not won a match yet with the 400T. I had originally put a hybrid as I was concerned that the 400T would be too stiff with full poly.

    The 400T and a textured soft poly is a good setup for me. I was up 5-1 in my 1st set today and, though it ended up 6-4, 3-0, then ran out of time, overall I could go for more balls, more winners, and they were landing in.

    Cyclone can be a tricky poly and doesn't work in all racquets. I think if a racquet has hot spots Cyclone is not a good choice and balls can fly sometimes. I have Prince Beast XP and WC Silverstring that I try in these cases, and they seem to offer more control. I also do hybrid polys sometimes with a textured poly in the mains and SS in the crosses. Last setup was Genesis Typhoon/SS, which I really like and may also try in the 400T next. Good luck with the restringing.
     
    #37
  38. getsby

    getsby Semi-Pro

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    thanks )
    best part of 400 Bio Tour, in your opinion?
     
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  39. neverstopplaying

    neverstopplaying Professional

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    Killer serves (all), hits a very heavy FH ball, and not tiring for my aggressive game and my aging body.
     
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  40. getsby

    getsby Semi-Pro

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    great! you listen to the racket-just magical and plays for you :)
     
    #40
  41. Murray_fan1

    Murray_fan1 Professional

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    Curious about the tension drop in the crosses. I know Volkl and Yonex for example recommend this but I have not heard of this on a Dunlop with full job of the same string? Is this due to the more rectangular head shape?
     
    #41
  42. Ross K

    Ross K Legend

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    As I'm not so up on Dunlop, I'm just wondering how do the 400 Tour and 500 compare? How do they differ? Thanks
     
    #42
  43. getsby

    getsby Semi-Pro

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    if you believe the reviews and feedback on TW, many speak of the Bio 400 Tour as the control oriented stick. In this regard, may be better to multifilament setup?
     
    #43
  44. neverstopplaying

    neverstopplaying Professional

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    I read about this in some posts a few years ago and do it with all brands. The rationale had to do with the length of crosses vs. mains to even out the power. Does it make a difference? How knows?As I often use Volkl/BB, I know that they seem to recommend it specifically due to placement of the stiffer nanocarbons, but all racquets use these nano carbons now.
     
    #44
  45. neverstopplaying

    neverstopplaying Professional

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    I've played the 4D-AG500T and own a AG500T, but not a Bio 500T, so my comparisons may not be accurate.

    400T (with my mods) vs. 500T:

    Both racquets are serving monsters.
    500T has more raw power
    500T feels hollow
    500T has stiffness that has caused discomfort to me and many other posters
    500T can be played stock
    500T requires fast swing with topspin only to keep balls in play, and I would say is a more 1 dimensional stick
    500T has considerably less feel.
    400T is more powerful that a traditional players stick but I can't consider it a tweener.
    400T with lead has amazing plow though, precision and spin
    400T feels solid (with lead and leather)
    400T considerably better 1HBH and slice
    400T more solid on serve returns
    400T is stiff, but not harsh and has not caused any discomfort yet (which I would have felt with a 500T, PD, PB8, BB Pro, etc)

    Hope this helps.
     
    #45
  46. neverstopplaying

    neverstopplaying Professional

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    IMO it will depend somewhat on your game, type of court, and joint health.

    I would not say that the 400T is a Dunlop control stick. The 100, 200, and to some extend the 300 are control sticks. The 500, 600 are tweeners. If think that the 400 can be played by either the 300 or 500 players but is different than either of them.

    It has a fair bit of power, but very controllable, and a full poly has given me more confidence to hit aggressively. The ball comes at the opponent very quickly and the poly brings it down fast at the baseline, where it kicks up a heavy ball. It's quite addictive.

    Note that I play indoors only from Oct-Apr, as close to the baseline as possible and with no wind; I may still choose a hybrid when switching to the outdoor courts on clay, where I'm further back and have to deal with weather.
     
    #46
  47. SteveI

    SteveI Legend

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    Thanks for all the great info on this frame. Is it possible to tell us your specs with your mods installed. Where is the placement of the lead on the loop? The static weight? You have a balance point of 6 points HL..correct? What leather grip did you install? Are you using a vibration dampener?
     
    #47
  48. neverstopplaying

    neverstopplaying Professional

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    static weight: 350gm
    balance: still 9pt HL
    est SW: 318 (may be slightly higher as I think stock weight was over spec)

    4 - 1/4" TW lead strips installed on each side of strings in hoop, centered on 3 and 9.
    Leather grip is TW 1.3mm
    vibration dampener is new Dunlop bio original (nice design)

    I'm glad the info is helping. I started this thread as all previous posts (except TW Spencer) mentioned that the 400T needs mods, so now we an opinion with mods.
     
    #48
  49. Ross K

    Ross K Legend

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    Thanks very much indeed, that's really helpful... you're certainly tweaking my interest in the 400 Tour. :wink: On a different note, I reckon Donald Young's supposed adoption of this frame is going to escalate interest too.
     
    #49
  50. getsby

    getsby Semi-Pro

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    IMO for stiff sticks good choice multi or a very soft poly, regardless of court type and style of your game.
     
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