Next Generation of Pro Staff is Here; Pro Staff RF 97 Review

Discussion in 'Racquets' started by drakulie, Aug 4, 2014.

  1. drakulie

    drakulie Talk Tennis Guru

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    Video of me completing specs on RDC:
    http://youtu.be/Ys3uixhGabI

    Play Test Video:
    http://youtu.be/xve1UjjyuXY

    As you saw in the video, frame specs are as follows

    Unstrung:
    340 grams
    12 pts head light
    71 Flex
    304 Swing Weight

    Strung specs with overgrip:
    359 grams
    8 1/2 pts head light
    68 flex
    331 swing weight

    On to the review:

    I am imagining many players who grew up loving the Pro Staff, such as me, are scratching their heads with one thought in mind..... "a Pro Staff with a 97 head size?? What were they (Wilson) thinking? How could they move on from the 90 inch mid size Pro Staff? Perhaps the greatest frame of all time!!"

    Well, I'll tell you what they were thinking,,,,,,, the same thing they were thinking when they decided it was time to move on from the beloved Jack Kramer wood frame, to the graphite Pro Staff 85. They were thinking of the future, the next generation. And who else to take us there than the Greatest player of all time. If Roger Federer is using it, then he leaves us, and the Wilson Pro Staff family in good hands; from his to ours. Remember, and keep this in mind,,,, when Federer retires, no one else is left using the Pro Staff 90, which means the line would without doubt vanish into a distant memory. Better to keep the greatest line of all time moving forward, than to lose it all together. With this frame, Wilson ensures a new generation of players will keep the line alive for years to come.

    On to the review:

    Paintjob:
    As I mentioned in the video, paintjob is MUCH nicer in person than in photos/video. Personally, I would have preferred the "stealth" look of Federer's blacked out frame, but am in no way dissapointed with the paint scheme of the frame. The Wilson red on top of the frame and throat area, like it or not, is there to remind us we are holding a Wilson frame. Nuff said. Be happy Wilson provided us with the same frame Roger Federer uses and had a hand in developing.

    One more thing, lets Shout out to our very own, PeterFig from these very boards for being involved in the paint scheme. He is a testament to us all that Wilson does listen to us, and hears us. They do in fact read the boards! Thanks Peter, and congrats!! As a member of this board for over 10 years and a life-long Wilson user, I am celebrating your achievement with you!

    Play Test
    Strung the frame with Wilson Natural Gut 17g in the mains, and Alu Power in the crosses at 53 lbs. Played for approx 2 hours on clay.

    Stability. Feel. Power. Feel. Spin. Feel. Control. Great Feel!! Yes the Pro Staff feel we all love is still there, albeit in a different way. It still has that rich, thick feel we all became use to and love, Just bigger! Much Bigger, delivered in a bigger sweet spot, so those shots that aren't hit "perfectly" in the small sweet spot we have become use to, still feel like we hit them perfect. Shots off the forehand and backhand ring off the string bed quickly, yet leaves your hands satisfied that you just hit a "delicious" shot! Racquet feels, and performs beautifully. Its got ample power, spin, control, and did I say feel? It has it all. And as is true with all Pro Staff's, the racquet's RDC rating of 68 (strung) is not reflected in the performance, as it feels much softer. Reminds me quite a bit of the Chicago PS85. Racquet is heavy enough, that although has a very headlight balance (9 pts head light), delivers plenty of plow-thru power when faced with heavy shots. The frame does not get pushed around, and offers the user great stability. Really solid feeling. The headlight balance enables the user to whip the head thru the contact zone and deliver any shot (power, topspin, slice), or when off balance, use the weight and balance to get to out of reach shots and still put something behind the shot to keep you in the point. This is the one shot that really separates the Pro Staff RF 97 from the previous Pro Staff frames.

    At the net, frame is very stable and maneuverable, delivering precise control. I know, I know, it's not the scalpel-like Pro Staff 85, but a scalpel nonetheless. Just bigger, with much more pop.

    Serving offers plenty of control, power and spin. As with all new frames I test out, it took a little getting locked in, because as I said earlier, ball jumps off the string bed quicker than one would expect. That said, in no time, I was hitting a nice groove. It is perhaps the liveliest feeling pro staff when serving, and very well balanced. Not cumbersome such as the kps88 or k90.

    In closing, I once said, when reviewing both the k90 and kps 88, they felt in ways like the pro staff 85 but on steroids. Well, the new Pro Staff RF 97 delivers on that statement. It doesn't feel like a Pro Staff 85 on steroids... it IS a Pro Staff on steroids!

    Hope you enjoyed the review, and as always, please go out and test the frame for yourself. Thanks!!


    Review by, rh310 can be found here:
    http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showpost.php?p=8667346&postcount=1


    Review by, Hankenstein can be found here:
    http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showpost.php?p=8644933&postcount=45

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    Review by, coloskier can be found here:
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    Review by, idono1301 can be found here:
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    Review by, asifallasleep can be found here:
    http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showpost.php?p=8745720&postcount=898

    Review by, iceman can be found here:
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    Review by, RobFl can be found here:
    http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showpost.php?p=8755973&postcount=930

    Review by, liquidwhip can be found here:
    http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showpost.php?p=8757669&postcount=934

    Review by, UCSF2012 can be found here:
    http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showpost.php?p=8769333&postcount=1038

    Review by, Geoff can be found here:
    http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showpost.php?p=8769363&postcount=1040

    Review by, BounceHitBounceHit can be found here:
    http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showpost.php?p=8772717&postcount=1091

    Review by, KingCheetah can be found here:
    http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showpost.php?p=8774980&postcount=1143

    Review by, PeterFig can be found here:
    http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showpost.php?p=8778023&postcount=1206

    Review by, fuzzfactory can be found here:
    http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showpost.php?p=8783240&postcount=1263

    Review by, Say_Chi_Sin_Lo can be found here:
    http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showpost.php?p=8792405&postcount=1328
     
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2014
    #1
  2. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    How is the one-handed backhand with the bigger frame size? Does it come around quick enough and does it have precision?
     
    #2
  3. Phalagoo

    Phalagoo Rookie

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    I am interested in this question too.

    Is it really 359g with an overgrip? My Prostaff 90 is 361g with an overgrip. Does that mean the RF97 Autograph and the Prostaff 90 weigh the same?
     
    #3
  4. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    12.6 strung seems correct
     
    #4
  5. PGlock

    PGlock Rookie

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    Thanks for the review. I'm sure there will be a long wait list to demo this frame!
     
    #5
  6. drakulie

    drakulie Talk Tennis Guru

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    I've always had a problem with this when using larger frames. Almost like I'm not entirely confident where the head of the racquet will be when I bring it around to meet the ball. That said, I've been playing quite a bit with the Blade 98s, Pro One, Prestige Pro, Steam 99s,etc and had gotten use to larger frames with the one-hander. The RF97 is a little easier I suppose because the balance is closer to the 90's and 85 I use.

    Ah, the old days of the 85 seem gone. :)
    http://youtu.be/FkOpbDAq2gU

    and the 90
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Syp_nZ8N-Jk
     
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2014
    #6
  7. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    OK someone's got to ask the obvious so I will do it.

    drakulie, how did you get hold of the frame? Through P1? Wilson rep? Or would you have to kill anyone whom you tell?
     
    #7
  8. anhuynh16

    anhuynh16 Hall of Fame

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    Ah looks good. Thanks drakulie. Can't wait to try it out!
     
    #8
  9. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    If this is really almost the frame that Fed uses, and all indications are that it is, then what is the point demoing it? Just buy it on faith and hope that you grow into it. One advantage of genuine player frames is that they cannot be "bad" - you don't get to the Wimby final with a bad frame.
     
    #9
  10. drakulie

    drakulie Talk Tennis Guru

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    I'm famous. :)

    Actually, Wilson Rep. I'm not on the boards a lot anymore, but promised to complete a review once I was done with the frame, and I suppose Wilson gave their blessing. Can't really say much else on the matter, other than to thank him publicly! I was just glad to be able to complete it, before leaving to string at Cincy with P1.

    Jim, you rock!!
     
    #10
  11. purple-n-gold

    purple-n-gold Professional

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    Thanks drakulie, as always frigging awesome!
     
    #11
  12. dr325i

    dr325i Legend

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    Great review and excellent detailed info!
    TW should use it and pay drakulie a nickel royalty per click ;)
     
    #12
  13. Fed Kennedy

    Fed Kennedy Hall of Fame

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    We are at the dawn of a golden age.
     
    #13
  14. Silent

    Silent Semi-Pro

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    Ok I have no choice now, I have to try it!
     
    #14
  15. Winners or Errors

    Winners or Errors Professional

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    Sounds like the racquet lots of people have been waiting for. You must have some nice connections with Wilson, as I recall you being first with just about every Wilson players' stick review. Thanks.
     
    #15
  16. iceman_dl6

    iceman_dl6 Rookie

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    Thanks for Drakulie!

    BTW, is the Blade 2013 next to the RDC machine an H22?

    If so, how does the H22 compare to the RF97?

    Kind of curious since I am using an open patterned H22 at the moment.

    Thanks!
     
    #16
  17. aimr75

    aimr75 Hall of Fame

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    Great review drak. When i saw the 68 flex I thought this frame wont be for me.. but reading further, you say it plays much softer.. this is promising.

    Will you have the frame for a while to determine whether the stiffness might end up being an issue?
     
    #17
  18. dr325i

    dr325i Legend

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    DEFINITELY flexier than 68 strung...
     
    #18
  19. PeterFig

    PeterFig Professional

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    Glad you liked it Drak! I think you described the way it plays really well! (but you know I'm a bit biased) :)
     
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2014
    #19
  20. Soundbyte

    Soundbyte Semi-Pro

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    These specs are very similar to the POG 100 with a leather grip. The Wilson is thicker, less flexy, and 3 square inches smaller. Otherwise the weight, swing weight, and balance are nearly identical. drakulie, have you hit with the exception POG 100? I am curious how the two frames compare in your opinion
     
    #20
  21. drakulie

    drakulie Talk Tennis Guru

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    From your keyboard to Gods ears. :)

    Hmmm, this is kind of hard to put into words. Yes, it is an H22. Its hard to answer because your H22 may have a different RDC rating. Mine is a 58 strung, yet plays Much stiffer than the rating. The RF97 is definitely much livelier, and is a bit stiffer feeling, but not by much, yet the string bed feels just as "soft". Hard to explain. As I said, hard to put into words. They are both stable, but I think the RF97 is much easier to swing.

    I'll have it for another day. Unfortunately, have to get ready and pack for Cincy. I don't think the rating will be a problem, as evidenced by other frames I've played with that are not a problem.

    Thanks Peter!! So happy to hear your thoughts. Really enjoy knowing that someone from the boards had a hand-on responsibility in the making of the frame. And once again, Congrats!!

    Really liked the POG 100. Great frame, but they are very different animals. The Rf97 is much more stable and way livelier. The one frame from the Prince line I absolutely love is the Pro Tour. But again, a much different animal than the RF97.
     
    #21
  22. burn1986

    burn1986 Banned

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    Massively cool Drak!
     
    #22
  23. mawashi

    mawashi Hall of Fame

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    Going ot but drakulie have you hit with the strike tour, would be most interested in your opinion.
     
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  24. anirut

    anirut Legend

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    If drak says it's good, then I guess I'd better prep my ears for wifey's comments on getting another stick ...

    BTW, I see the SW in the 330's, does it feel sorta cumbersome in anyway, esp with just about 9 pts HL?
     
    #24
  25. PeterFig

    PeterFig Professional

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    Like you, I've been a Wilson fan for ages. My first "real" racket was a Pro Staff 85 back when Edberg was playing (big fan of his) and I've played with every iteration of the Pro Staff (90's) since. It's a neat circle-back to now design the cosmetics for a racquet for my new favorite player who is now coached by my old favorite player!

    I've had a blast working on the designs and the folks at Wilson are pretty amazing (a lot of them are REALLY good players too!)
     
    #25
  26. MikeHitsHard93

    MikeHitsHard93 Hall of Fame

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    Lol only gets on TT to market for his Wilson rep. I seem to recall a particular frame, the Steam 99s, being the next big thing by drakulie.

    Cool, glad you liked it, but I'm taking this post with a grain of salt.
     
    #26
  27. drakulie

    drakulie Talk Tennis Guru

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    I did hit with it, but didn't care for it much. Oddly, I really enjoyed hitting with the lighter Strike (16x19). Strike Tour although feels pretty good, left something to be desired. Seemed like I was playing with a dead frame. The 16x19 version was much fresher feelilng frame.

    No, to me doesn't feel cumbersome at all. Frame really delivers, and is easy to get the racquet head to whip around to the contact zone. As I said, the overall weight of the frame and I would think the beam thickness provide great stability.

    Great stuff. Thanks for sharing. What did you like the best about the frame? (besides the paintjob, LOL) and how would you compare it to the 85??
     
    #27
  28. drakulie

    drakulie Talk Tennis Guru

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    Steam 99s is a great frame, and does exactly what it's engineered to do,,,,,, magnify the spin production of the user. And, as far as it being the next "big thing", I would say it is, as evidenced by other racquet companies following wilson's lead by trying to promote and/or engineer "spin" into their racquet lines.

    As far as this review and most others that I do, which have included Volkl, Prince Head, etc,,,, I tell everyone to go out and try it for themselves. Not every racquet is for every player.

    And No, I didn't just come on here to promote anything for anyone. I didn't market or promote the last two pro staff lines nor bother to mention them in this review, and got those before they were released as well as the Blade 98s (which I play with currently). I think there is a reason for that. I did this for myself, and for the community here. The release of this frame, in my eyes is historical as it relates to this line, so I felt it warranted a review. And remember, Wilson doesn't need any promotion from me. They have a guy named Roger Federer.
     
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2014
    #28
  29. MikeHitsHard93

    MikeHitsHard93 Hall of Fame

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    Yup, ok ;) lol
     
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  30. anirut

    anirut Legend

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    Thanks, drak.

    I've just checked the specs of the PK Heritage that I like (the silver frame - 80 graphite, 20 kevlar) and the SW's 330 and 8 HL. So I don't think I'd have a problem with the RF97 with that similar spec.

    So ... it's time to save some cash and prep the ears!

    Thanks again, drak.
     
    #30
  31. drakulie

    drakulie Talk Tennis Guru

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    I told him I would do a review. He didn't ask me to do anything.

    Look forward to reading your thoughts.
     
    #31
  32. sargeinaz

    sargeinaz Hall of Fame

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    Thanks for the review drak! Gonna have to demo this and the lighter version as well. As much as I love other brands, I usually end up playing with a Wilson.
     
    #32
  33. PeterFig

    PeterFig Professional

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    I hit with an earlier prototype / didn't have this final paintjob :)
    By far the immediate thing I noticed was the increase in power but with the same ProStaff feel - I think you mention something similar too. It was noticeable from the first rally! I wanted to keep using the frame as my main stick from that moment on .... but obviously couldn't really play with an unreleased frame in public months ago!! :)
     
    #33
  34. BreakPoint

    BreakPoint Bionic Poster

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    Thanks for the review, drak!

    I'm not sure if it's been asked yet, but does this frame have PWS? From the pics that I've seen so far, it doesn't appear to have PWS, but you mentioned how stable this frame is so I was wondering if Wilson finally figured out how to make a hoop as stable as previous ProStaffs but without using PWS?

    Thanks.
     
    #34
  35. mawashi

    mawashi Hall of Fame

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    Thanks, in a way that's what I like about it. I'm not distracted by the twang of some sticks. The PST feels like a piece of stiff wood.
     
    #35
  36. v-verb

    v-verb Hall of Fame

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    Great review Drakulie!

    I'm definitely getting one. Right now I'm enjoying the heck out of a Pro Staff 95S. The 95S will likely be my go-to Pro Staff but can't wait to get a RF Autograph into the quiver
     
    #36
  37. aimr75

    aimr75 Hall of Fame

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    If you took some playtest vid, would be great to see it in action :)
     
    #37
  38. Bartelby

    Bartelby G.O.A.T.

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    Volkl does a lot of this, unfortunately, with every new user seemingly only interested in a Volkl.

    The reality is that it will be a good racquet, but a stiffish and lively stringbed with a lot of power might not suit everyone, especially at that weight.



     
    #38
  39. aimr75

    aimr75 Hall of Fame

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    [​IMG]
     
    #39
  40. BreakPoint

    BreakPoint Bionic Poster

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    OK, thanks. So it does indeed have PWS. Awesome! PWS definitely makes the hoop more stable, IMO.

    Funny how in this pic from the front you really can't see the PWS:

    [​IMG]
     
    #40
  41. aimr75

    aimr75 Hall of Fame

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    yeah, with this iteration, the pws is much more subtle
     
    #41
  42. Say Chi Sin Lo

    Say Chi Sin Lo Legend

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    Frames from the Pro Staff 6.0 lineage always play softer than its RDC stiffness rating. So I'm not too concerned about the 68 stiffness rating.

    Not sure if anyone asked this, but...

    Does the ghost of box beam still haunt this frame? Please tell me it does.
     
    #42
  43. Say Chi Sin Lo

    Say Chi Sin Lo Legend

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    I think it's one of the negative of fitting PWS on larger and larger frames. (I don't know why)

    But if you compare the Pro Staff 6.0 85, Pro Staff/Tour 90, the 90's PWS is less pronounced than the 85. And apparently, the trend is continues with the 97.

    Again, I don't know why the PWS "shrinks" with larger head sizes, maybe that's how Wilson is increasing the hitting area?
     
    #43
  44. CrackerJack

    CrackerJack New User

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    Thanks for the review Drak! What about the Response 97? Similar specs - does it play similarly?
     
    #44
  45. OdinLoki

    OdinLoki New User

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    Same goes for the 6.1 line. My PSC 6.1 feels much softer than its 70-72 RDC rating might suggest.

    I wait with bated breath for Drak to whip out the jig saw :shock:

    When's the play test video coming out, Drak? Thanks for the video review, by the way!
     
    #45
  46. Say Chi Sin Lo

    Say Chi Sin Lo Legend

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    Well... the 6.1 line are Pro Staffs to begin with, just on steroids as far as the power department goes. :twisted:
     
    #46
  47. BreakPoint

    BreakPoint Bionic Poster

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    Great video, drak!

    I have to say, though, the racquet looks absolutely huge! Is it really only 97 sq. in.? I'm not sure I'm going to be able to use it. :(
     
    #47
  48. borgpro

    borgpro Semi-Pro

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    I wonder if it will play much different at all from the PSC 6.1. Identical specs. Maybe not much has changed at all in over 20 years:)!
     
    #48
  49. SpinToWin

    SpinToWin G.O.A.T.

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    Thank you so much for this drak!! This is a must buy for me now (and quite possibly my next stick of choice :p).

    There's one thing I must ask though (and I'm surprised it hasn't been asked yet), how does the racquet compare to the Six.Ones? The specs are very similar so I am curious as to how differently they play.
     
    #49
  50. mats88

    mats88 New User

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    Drakullie thanks for the Pro Staff RF97 review ;) Do you have any news, opinions, more specs (SW, stiffness) of lighter version - PRO STAFF 97 ( 315g)

    And the second thing- the shape of head and thorat is simiar to... Blade 98? Head Speed? It seems so huge and wide... ?
     
    #50

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