TW Review: Wilson BLX Blade 98

Discussion in 'Racquets' started by TW Staff, Jun 10, 2011.

  1. TW Staff

    TW Staff Administrator

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    #1
  2. stronzzi70

    stronzzi70 Professional

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    Thanks Jason,
    By the way which one was better for you?
    BLX BLADE 98 or KBT ?
    Thanks!
     
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  3. ptr

    ptr Rookie

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    #3
  4. jamauss

    jamauss Hall of Fame

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    haha, Spencer started off quite enthusiastic in that video review...LOL
     
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  5. Torres

    Torres Banned

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    Out of interest, what was that blue/aqua colored string they had in the frame?
     
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  6. Bartelby

    Bartelby G.O.A.T.

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    mosquito bite???



     
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  7. ptr

    ptr Rookie

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    For sure Spencer should be less dramatic - he isn't good actor :)
     
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  8. BobFL

    BobFL Hall of Fame

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    Hey, Spencer is my favorite TWer by far!!! :)
     
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  9. TW Staff

    TW Staff Administrator

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    Correct! The blue string is Weiss Cannon Mosquito Bite. Very good btw.

    Spencer, TW.
     
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  10. Bartelby

    Bartelby G.O.A.T.

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    ... always play it tightly stung!
     
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  11. TW Staff

    TW Staff Administrator

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    ptr-

    Maybe a little over the top....maybe;) Chalk it up to a good night's sleep and the strong coffee that morning. But honestly, I was excited in this playtest. I think it's a helluva a stick, and combined with Mosquito Bite string, even more so. Personally, I felt this was Wilson's best racquet offering in their BLX line. An improvement from the KBlade 98, which was opposite of what I felt of the Blade Tours.

    Thanks for watching, and thanks for the feedback!

    Spencer, TW.
     
    #11
  12. TW Staff

    TW Staff Administrator

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    Since Jason and I share the same opinion on both those sticks, I'll answer for him. He prefers the BLX Blade 98 over the BLX Blade Tour. We both felt an improvement in the BLX 98 over the KBlade 98.

    We also both felt the KBlade Tour played better than the BLX Blade Tour.

    So, in the BLX line we both prefer the Blade 98, and in the KBlade line we both preferred the KBlade Tour.

    Spencer, TW.
     
    #12
  13. adso1973

    adso1973 Semi-Pro

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    Hey Spencer, I' ve seen you are currently playing with the Exo tour and that seem to be a very comfortable racquet.

    On the other hand the blade received a low rate in comfort. What can you tell us about this particular characteristic of the frame.

    And also, how would you compare it with the bio 300 tour?

    Thanks
     
    #13
  14. Bartelby

    Bartelby G.O.A.T.

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    Is the pink proving more popular than the gold?
     
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  15. TW Staff

    TW Staff Administrator

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    Yes, the EXO3 Tour 100 is very comfortable. One of the many reasons I like it, as it is good for my elbow.

    I very much like the BLX Blade 98, but it is rather stiff. Combine it with a poly, and though it plays great, it is tough on my arm. What I really enjoyed about that stick, was the solid, stable feel, and that it offered nice court penetration. I could also get nice depth on defensive shots, helping me stay in points better. I also enjoyed it on serve, being able to mix up pace, spin and location. In the end though, that combination of racquet and string that I felt played the best, was too taxing on my arm. If my arm could handle it, I would definitely consider it.

    Compared to the Biomimetic 300 Tour, I personally liked it better. The 300 Tour wasn't as effective for me. It had more feel and feedback on my shots, but I couldn't get the penetration, stability and depth that I got with the BLX Blade 98.

    Hope that helps.

    Spencer, TW.
     
    #15
  16. movdqa

    movdqa Legend

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    I like the enthusiasm - it encourages me to get out and hit more when I see these reviews.
     
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  17. prjacobs

    prjacobs Professional

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    So Spencer, What if you put all gut into this frame?
     
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  18. NYTennis

    NYTennis New User

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    Hi Spencer,

    good review of BLX 98. I currently switched from Dunlop 4D 300 tour to Dunlop 200 lite. 200 Lite gave a bit more power and stability on my game. Can you compare BLX 98 to 200 lite.

    thanks again for great review.
     
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  19. TW Staff

    TW Staff Administrator

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    I think a full bed of gut would be too much for this stick. Take that with a grain of salt, because I've never liked a full bed of gut in any stick. I like a full bed of poly in this racquet because it tames the power this racquet offers, and seems to be the best fit.

    I agree with you that the 200 Lite offers a little more stability and oomph. I did like the 200 Lite as it offers excellent feel and control and is quite manageable with the balance and swingweight. The BLX Blade 98 is more crisp, and being less headlight with a higher swingweight, comes through the ball with more ferocity. If I was a bit more of a free swinger, I'd probably gravitate towards the 200 Lite, but I like how the BLX 98 compliments my game a little more.

    Spencer, TW.
     
    #19
  20. TW Staff

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    Spencer was right on with what I thought between the BLX Blade 98 and the KFactor KBlade Tour.

    The KBlade Tour is so control oriented! The control was fantastic. But because of the weight, I was also able to hit some big shots when I connected cleanly on a ball.

    The BLX Blade 98 is a more powerful racquet. I'm enjoying it so much recently that it's my go-to stick the past few weeks. I have a 17g polyester (Mosquito Bite) in it and I'm loving it!

    Jason, TW
     
    #20
  21. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

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    #21
  22. adso1973

    adso1973 Semi-Pro

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    Thanks Spencer for your answer, according to the review the new blade fits what I'm looking for (a mix of power, control and feel), but I'm a little concern about confort as I'm having some elbow issues.

    Which racquet would you recommend with similar specs but more arm friendly. Also and sorry for asking so many questions, how did you find moving from a 93 to 100 inches frame?

    Thanks!!
     
    #22
  23. prjacobs

    prjacobs Professional

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    Thanks Spencer. I guess I'm wondering if there's a soft, arm friendly string that would tame the power... (A bit :) )...
     
    #23
  24. NYTennis

    NYTennis New User

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    Thanks Spencer. 200 lite is also good on my arm. I remember that on 200 lite
    TW recommended poly string but when I tried poly and even hybrid I could not play with it, I have xone by phase full bed 17g at 58 lb and it works great for me and also not hurting my arm.

    What do you thing having blx 98 strung with multi?
     
    #24
  25. TW Staff

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    A racquet that is close spec-wise and is a little easier on the arm is the Becker Delta Core London. I don't feel it is as crisp feeling as the BLX 98 but does have some 'free' power and good access to spin. You also may want to give Shock Shield string a try. It is very dampened and better on the elbow.

    As far as moving from a 93 to a 100 inch racquet, it was better for me. Honestly, I don't feel I have much business playing with a mid based on results, but there are a few (including the Pure Storm LTD) that feel very sweet. The 98-100 headsize helps my game as it masks some of my off center hits, aiding in improved consistency.

    Spencer, TW.
     
    #25
  26. TW Staff

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    I think it's worth a try. X One Biphase is a great multi, and stringing it at the higher end of the tension range would help harness a bit of the power of the racquet. I've found polyester to offer better ball pocketing, and that is something I really like. Wilson Shock Shield may be worth a try as well as it is very easy on the arm. I've hit with it a couple of times, and it has a very muted feel. A "dead" type of feel, and not the lively feel of say a natural gut.

    Spencer, TW.
     
    #26
  27. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

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    X One Biphase is the closest thing to VS gut I've used. Very resiliant, very arm friendly, lots of power and ball pocketing. Great string.
     
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2011
    #27
  28. awebb

    awebb New User

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    Spencer -

    You have mentinoned the stiffness of the BLX Blade 98 a couple of times, yet you have the stiffness listed at 64. Are you going to re-test some rackets or do you feel like this is just a case of a racket feeling stiffer than its actual rating?

    Thanks in advance.
     
    #28
  29. adso1973

    adso1973 Semi-Pro

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    Thanks Spencer, I will try to demo it alongside with my other choices(X10, 300T & PSGT) as the review is very promising.
    Great review and thanks for the comments
     
    #29
  30. Wolf65

    Wolf65 New User

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    Because of your extensive trials and as a matter of guidance, what tension did you use with the Mosquito bite?

    Thanks
     
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  31. TW Staff

    TW Staff Administrator

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    Let me first correct my error. The Mosquito Bite is 18 gauge, not 17. I knew it felt lively for a poly, now I know why!

    I strung it up at mid (58 lbs). I really liked it at that tension, but if I had to re-string it again, I might try it at 60. Just because this poly has plenty of pop. I think you'll really enjoy it. Good luck!

    Jason, TW
     
    #31
  32. Shaochieh

    Shaochieh Rookie

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    58 on CP machine or crank?
     
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  33. Wolf65

    Wolf65 New User

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    Thanks Jason; I have been trialling the MSV Focus Hex 1.18 at 58 (lock-out, that is 53-ish on a constant pull) and it is way too soft, fine for the first hour but as it loses tension the ball starts flying.

    I'm about to re-string my rackets now, and will raise the tension of 3/4 pounds (with Mosquito bite 18) which it'll bring overall tension (on a constant pull) to approx 56.

    Not sure why but polys above 56 to me is kind of too much...but it may as weel just be me. That means one racket at 56 (what a chicken) and the other one at 58 (to start with:)).

    Thanks again!!:smile:
     
    #33
  34. EKnee08

    EKnee08 Professional

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    Spencer:

    what do you like better, the Youtek Prestige MP or the BLX Blade 98?
     
    #34
  35. TW Staff

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    It's been awhile since I've hit with the Youtek Prestige MP, but I do recall how much I liked it. A good, control oriented stick that can hit all the shots well. If there were a couple of things I would have liked more from this racquet would be more power on serve, and a less rectangular handle shape.

    The BLX Blade 98 offers more free power than the Prestige MP with its less headlight balance, and comes in a bit lighter (though still is very stable). If I didn't have elbow issues, I would most likely choose this racquet as it suits my game better. If I were to go strictly on feel, I would choose the Prestige MP.

    Both racquets are very good, and I could certainly be happy playing with either, and make adjustments where needed.

    Hope that helps.

    Spencer, TW.
     
    #35
  36. TW Staff

    TW Staff Administrator

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    Strung on a crank machine (Prince NEOS 1000)

    Jason, TW
     
    #36
  37. EKnee08

    EKnee08 Professional

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    Yes, thank you Spencer. I would also assume, you would go with the Blade over the Radical MP?
     
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  38. Boricua

    Boricua Hall of Fame

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    I assume you use the 16 x 18 Exo according to the video review I saw.

    Besides the comfort, what other advantages do you get from the EXO3 Tour 100 compared to the Blade?
    For example, how do they match in control, volleys, topspin, backhand slice and serve?
     
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  39. TW Staff

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    Yes. Based on the performance aspects in relation to my strengths and weaknesses.

    Spencer, TW.
     
    #39
  40. TW Staff

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    They are definitely different in feel. Yes, the EXO3 Tour 100 has a much more comfortable response. I also find excellent control. It's lower powered and the ball tends to stay in the court more consistently. There's something about the specs and feel of this racquet where it complements my game well. To be honest, during the first few hits of the playtest, I didn't like the feel. I thought there was a lack of feel. After playing with it more, I got used to it, and would characterize it more as a "different feel" than a "lack of feel".(Note: I use the string hole grommets, as opposed to the port hole grommets).

    All that being said, when it comes to control, I find the EXO3 Tour to have more. Volleys, the EXO3 Tour offers better touch and maneuverability while the BLX Blade 98 excels more with crisp, solid put aways. Topspin is a wash. The Blade 98 might slightly edge out the EXO3 Tour in backhand slice as I love the crisp response in that category. Serves, definitely the BLX Blade 98.

    Spencer, TW.
     
    #40
  41. Shangri La

    Shangri La Hall of Fame

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    Spencer, a bit off-topic if I may. I noticed in the reviews, and here again, that the EXO3 Tour is noted to have a 'different/unique feel'. My question is, does the EXO3 Tour TEAM have the same/similar feel as its heavier counterparts?

    I have a Team which is not reviewed by TW. So I always wanted to know how its feel compares to the other 2 versions and get a better understanding of the reviews. Thanks.
     
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  42. TW Staff

    TW Staff Administrator

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    I didn't playtest that racquet, however, I spoke with Chris who playtested both. He said he didn't feel the Tour Team 100 had quite that same "unique" feel of the EXO3 Tour 100. It is very plush and flexible, but felt the "unique" feel was much more amplified in the EXO3 Tour 100.

    Here is a link to the video review of the Tour Team:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5uE6V4-xPZY

    Spencer, TW.
     
    #42
  43. Shangri La

    Shangri La Hall of Fame

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    Ahh, I see. I liked the feel of the Team when first hit with it and didn't really need to get used to it, now it makes sense. Thanks Spencer (and Chris)! And the Team video review is a nice surprise - didn't expect that!
     
    #43
  44. Boricua

    Boricua Hall of Fame

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    Hi again. Sometimes, some phrases or words I dont quite understand as spanish is my first language. So, when you say "Topspin is a wash.", this means that its hard to tell which one has better topspin?
     
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  45. TW Staff

    TW Staff Administrator

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    Correct. It means I didn't feel one created more topspin than the other.

    Spencer, TW.
     
    #45
  46. zepphead33

    zepphead33 New User

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    Spencer, how do you have your Exo3 strung? I might get the 18/20, any suggestions for how to string it?
     
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  47. TW Staff

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    I play with the 16/18 and have messed around with different string and different tension. I'm not much of a gut guy but I did like the Volkl V-Fuse hybrid string set up. I put the poly in the mains, and the gut in the crosses and strung both mains and crosses at 58 lbs. (mid). Another string I'm fond of in this stick is Mosquito Bite by Weiss Cannon. It's an 18g poly that offers good access to spin, and a livelier feel than a 16g poly. I had that one strung at mid tension as well. I've found mid tension most to my liking in this racquet. I've gone as low as 50, and maybe because the flex rating is so low, lower tension made it feel a little "loose". So a firmer stringbed was more controllable for me. I'll be trying some Weiss Cannon Black 5 Edge before too long.

    As far as the 18/20, the feel is similar. When I playtested that one, it had Prince Hybrid Power EXP 17/16, and I thought it was a good compliment to the racquet.

    Also, I replaced the port hole grommet inserts with string hole grommet inserts, and I think that also added a bit of firmness and more control. The EXO3 Tour 100 is a good fit for me because it has a good control to power ratio, has a forgiving string bed, and the low flex rating allows me to be able to use a full poly string job and still not hurt my elbow.

    Spencer, TW.

    When I tested the
     
    #47
  48. LinePainter

    LinePainter New User

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    If you had to compare the Head Youtek IG Speed MP 18x20, to the Wilson BLX Blade 98 what would your opinion be?
     
    #48
  49. Chi

    Chi New User

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    Hey Spencer/Jason,

    In the video review Troy mentions that the 18x20 stringing pattern on the BLX Blade 98 is 'more open' than usual 18x20's...

    What are your thoughts from this point of view? I'm traditionally more of a 16x19 guy, but the blade line has always taken my fancy due to every spec except the stringing pattern! Therefore I'm very interested to know if the feel on the stringbed for this stick is 'less dense' than usual?

    Thanks for any comments in advance! :)
     
    #49
  50. dParis

    dParis Hall of Fame

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    Count me as one who prefers the K over the BLX. Yes, the blades do have an open pattern compared to other 18x20. I generally don't like 18x20 as they usually feel quite "boardy" to me. Not so with the Blades. They really do play more like a 16x19 in terms of liveliness, spin and sweetspot.
     
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