When HEAD Made Racquets In Austria or Broke Back Kennelbach

Discussion in 'Racquets' started by vsbabolat, Nov 17, 2006.

  1. vsbabolat

    vsbabolat Legend

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  2. vsbabolat

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  3. joe sch

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    Sounds like the St Vincent story ...

    Why is it if materials keep improving, process and quality control keep improving, the rackets produced in China are now considered inferior ?
     
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  4. vsbabolat

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  5. Pro_Tour_630

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    thanks for the typing VS, when they went to china they droped the twaron because it was expensive
     
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  6. vsbabolat

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  7. stormholloway

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    There are some concerns with Chinese made racquets. Often times, people will find pieces of rice infused into the graphite. This has been a serious problem lately.
     
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  8. Pro_Tour_630

    Pro_Tour_630 Legend

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    Heard it was a conspiracy by the austrians, you know 9/11 type ;-)
     
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  9. joe sch

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    I actually prefer the older materials including the lowmod graphite. Also, the more expensive mixers like twaron and kevlar improved the sticks, IMO. I also think the quality control and manufacturing are probably superior in Austria. My post was also asking these same questions. The rackets from Austria are probably more expensive so the mass purchased orders goto China. Makes me wonder where the real player rackets are coming from ?
     
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  10. vsbabolat

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  11. ClimbK2

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    Outsourcing to China does not necessarily mean lower quality. My experience with manufacturing quality in the auto industry leads me to believe the critical factor is the company, not the specific country. If the company has a good, well documented manufacturing process, that can eventually be moved anywhere.

    The real quality issue I suspect is with outsourcing or changes to materials. Head may well have someone else make the racquets for them in China to their specs (perhaps Pro-Kennex?). Perhaps an accountant also saw some material cost savings. I'm curious if anyone knows the real facts.

    Note that the Liquidmetal Radical is $80 at TW -- a good deal made possible by mfg. in China.
     
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  12. vsbabolat

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  13. sureshs

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    That is how outsourcing works. Design and critical and low-volume prototyping work is done in the country of origin, while mass manufacturing and repetitive activities like testing are moved to where labor is cheaper. Once a prototype is proven, its mass production is outsourced, and the cycle continues.

    When the product is outsourced, decisions are made regarding cost. The finest materials and tightest quality control can be used for prototypes or for special customers, but for mass manufacture the cost must be reduced. Often, the work is done by a factory not belonging to the company. The quality will depend on how much the (original) company is willing to spend, and if it makes sense for the product and the market. The quality control standards when an auto maker starts an overseas plant will be much much higher than for a racquets company, due to the safety and liability issues involved.
     
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  14. vsbabolat

    vsbabolat Legend

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  15. sureshs

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    I am not disagreeing with you, just saying that is the trend.

    Usually prices go down, but that depends on the competition. If other companies sell their latest-model China-made racquets for $179, Head will do that too.

    To break that cycle, one of these companies or a new one should start selling for much less. The big companies will fight the concept in the beginning, but will eventually have to reduce the prices.

    When I bought my son a violin for his school lessons, I paid $300 for a Chinese one. European ones were much more expensive, even for the entry models. This was 1.5 years ago. Last week, I saw a Chinese violin (with case) being sold at Target for $85! The music store woman (who tunes his violins) reacted badly when I pointed it out - those are crappy, I can't even tune them, etc. But guess what? One of my son's classmates who just started violin showed up to class with one of those, and the teacher says it is quite OK.

    Something like that has to happen to new-model racquets. You can always get old models cheap though - I paid $20 for my first racquet at a sporting good store.

    Regarding pros getting Austrian-made models: a similar thing has been happening even with China-made racquets. I have heard that the racquets give to pros are hand-selected to be close to the specs. Then, the pros get it customized further. People even say that manufacturers make special batches in China with different weighting for some pros. Head may have decided it is easier to manage this process closer to home - they don't have to measure umpteen racquets from China to select good ones, or supervise special batches made there.
     
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  16. HLM2

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    Old thread I dug up but I'm considering buying a second LM Rad. MP, as I already have one (China).
    Will Made in China ones play the same as other Made in china ones?
    I can relate the the slightly hollow feeling, but more so on my OS than MP.
    I put a rather stretchy or softer string on it (Wilson Stamina, dont know specs, just feels stretchy at same tensions as other syn. guts), and my MP hits pretty nicely.
    Is it worth it to spend an extra 80 dollars on an Austria one?
     
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  17. vsbabolat

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  18. JW10S

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    Don't forget that HEAD's market share has increased dramatically from the days prior to the Titanium craze when they were known as primarily player's racquets and only made a half dozen or so different models. The HEAD line of racquets has expanded greatly to the point where the Austrian factory cannot keep up. The Chinese as well as the Czech plant make racquets that meet HEAD's standard's. The Austrian plant makes many of the older frames that many of the pros have been using since they were in juniors and do not wish to replace, despite what new technologies are available to them--they wish to stay in their comfort zone. Most racquet compaines have multiple plants and HEAD's quality control has not suffered at all with their outsourcing.
     
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  19. superstition

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    The latest Chinese Prostaff 85 I have isn't as good as the older ones, but it's OK with lead.
     
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  20. vsbabolat

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  21. JW10S

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    Absolutely false. A couple times in the last 1/2 dozen years or so HEAD has ended the year #1 and even if they are currently #3 they sell far more racquets now world wide than they did 10 years ago. I'm talking about % of racquets, not just rank.
     
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  22. vsbabolat

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  23. JW10S

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    As a contract player a lot of my racquets come from Austria, but not all of them--some come from the Czech plant and some from China. I feel little or no difference between any of them. There is no drop in quality control in my experience.
     
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  24. tandayu

    tandayu Professional

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    What year were you sponsored, and was it college level or pro level?
    Maybe you can share more of your experiences especially with Head.
     
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  25. HLM2

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    Thats so strange everyone has been making it sound like the Chinese ones and austrian ones felt like a different racquet.
     
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  26. JW10S

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    I am still sponsored.
     
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  27. Pro_Tour_630

    Pro_Tour_630 Legend

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    Alex, with all respect to our inhouse Head contract players, maybe it is in thier contract to say they have to like the last model, dunno, but how can we discuss with someone who says this


    then this

    if there are little differences then it must have been enough to like one over the other, I don't get it ?!?!? imagine how a prestige made in the late 80's would feel vs a prestige made in 2006

    then there is that PC600mid XL ;-) sure it plays more or less like the FXPmid of 2006, just like a PD plays more or less like a PD+, yeah sure tell that to roddick and lets see if he can serve as well as he does with a PD
     
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  28. JW10S

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    There is no contradiction in my two statements you quoted. I said if you like one Prestige you'll like them all--that's true. And yes, I like the feel of the FXP better than the LM, but not enough so to make any difference in my game. Give me either one and I'll still beat you. I like red cars better than black cars, does that imply I think red cars are better? Of course not. I do not adhere to the notion that I am a good player because of the racquet I use. I laugh out loud when I read posts where people say 'I can't hit a backhand return--what racquet should I use?'

    I'd be willing to wager that many of the people commenting here about the 'good old days' of the Prestige never even played with one of them--I have. As I stated above, the early Prestiges had the same head size, same string pattern, and essentially the same weight and flex of the current model. The little tweeks HEAD has made to the Prestige over the years has improved the racquet in my view, but have not made a big enough of a difference to make them feel like totally different racquets. Just as the racquets being manufactured in the different factories (under the same tolerances) don't feel like different racquets. I've at times had racquets from the different plants in my bag and I just reach in a grab one to play a match without looking (or being at all concerned about) where is was manufactured. In the end it's me who hits the ball, not the racquet.
     
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  29. tandayu

    tandayu Professional

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    JW10S, Thank you for sharing your experience. I hope you did not say it because you are still being sponsored now.

    Surely, different people has different preference which makes the discussion interesting.

    However, one ATP player that was in the main draw of AO now, told me 2 years ago, that for him the LM Prestige is below par (I edited his word) in comparison to the Austrian PC600. So last year he was back using the PJ.
     
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  30. Pro_Tour_630

    Pro_Tour_630 Legend

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    False, if you like one particular prestige chances are you will not like some of the others and stick only to that particular one (everyone is playing with PC600 paint jobs, and PT630 paint jobs, why?!?!)Yes you can play with any of them or any other racquet on the planet for that matter and beat me, but that is not the question. The question is feel. They all FEEL very different, some are closer to one another in terms of feel but most are very different. WHY ??? BECAUSE THEY HAVE DIFFERENT COMPOSITION. I don't need to beat anyone to make me feel good in playing tennis, I feel good playing tennis when I FEEL the ball striking the racquet. One poster here is a collector and has more than few of every prestige ever made. I would wager he knows more than you about the prestige and he is only a 3.0 player. YOU DONT NEED TO BE A 6.0 TO KNOW WHAT YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT. You can beat him with a broom stick. You OTOH are a sponsored HEAD player who NEEDS to play with the latest head stick and you have to say you like it and try to push it. It is in your contract. When you are out of contract with HEAD you can come back and tell us how they all play very different, it is ok.

    Believe it or not there is a poster particularly here on this thread as well who not only knows more than you regarding the prestige but can beat your 5.5 and my 5.0 fannies together, no need to name who he is. We asked you for your ranking and you only said you are a sponsored player. My 14 your old niece is a sponsored player.

    one last remark: if you are playing in a tourney against an equal opponent, one of your matched FXP prestige is strung with 15g POLY at 70lbs and the second FXP prestige is strung with 18g natural gut a 50lbs, don't you think that they will play very different and it is the same prestige and might be a factor in deciding the game on close points? same goes to the difference in the prestige lines over the years. Believe it or not some are more powerful than the others, some have different SW, some have different flex, some even have different length like the PC600XL's, and more important some have different composition and weight distribution, and what is the most important the graphite that was used 20 years ago is not the same graphite that is used today. They used to add TWARON to the frames for vibration dampening now the Prestige frames sound HOLLOW. Believe it or not some people play better due to a difference in SOUND and how the ball sounds when striking the string bed. For you it might not make a difference but to some it is like playing with a vibration dampener and not playing with one, there is a different ring and that might be enough for some to make a difference on close points. Try playing with earplugs where you can not hear the ball as it hits the string bed and tell me if it does not make a difference on close matches, I can't count how many close matches I lost because of difference in that sound. Hearing that "sound" gives you some confidence in your shots, it may be a "thumping" sound or it may be a pinging sound, whatever it is, it will affect the way you play, even if you dont know it.

    I forgot different handle systemS!!!!!!!!!, like the trysis tour 300, that stick feels so mushy(I LOVE IT BY THE WAY) and very different than the very stiff and hollow sounding and much more powerfull FXP, these two stick are like NIGHT AND DAY IN TERMS OF FEEL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
     
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  31. znoopie

    znoopie Rookie

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    I think different people have different levels of sensitivity. Not that I'm saying JW10S is insensitive but because if those racquets are really all the same (or very closely similar), why would the ATP players still need paintjobs?
     
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  32. JW10S

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    I'm not trying to convince anyone of anything--I'm just speaking from my prespective. I'm amused at how personally people here take things when someone dares to disagree with them. I'm not sure just what I wrote that got your panites in a bunch. You can go on and on about how the racquets are 'completely different' and I will continue to aver that there is very little difference, certainly not enough to effect how I play.

    When I first started playing with Prestiges they were called the Prestige Pro, then they were called the Trisys, then the Prestige Tour 300, then the Prestige Classic, then the i.Prestige, then the Liquid Metal Prestige, and now the Flexpoint (I may even have forgotten one in there somewhere). I've played with (and still have) all of those models. Pick up any one of those and hit with them and there is absolutely no mistake that they are Prestiges. I could play with any of them--and play well. You can claim that your backhand down the line is much better with the K racquet vs. an ncode and I say my backhand down the line is not at all effected by which Prestige I use. A racquet is an inanimate object, it does nothing 'for' you. It's never my racquet's fault when I lose. I've played with them all and am giving my honest experience. As I said before, I'd wager that most of the posters who feel the need to comment on every single Prestige thread have not even played with them as I have--they're just on the bandwagon.

    As for you example about strings, my strings and string tensions vary quite a bit depending on the conditions under which I will be playing. Never-the-less, the racquet itself is still the same racquet.

    As for who I am, what my ranking is, who I've beaten or where I'm from and other questions that have been asked of me I will continue to ignore them. I have no avatar, no signature for a reason--I wish to remain anonymous. It's none of your business. And the fact that people are so concerned is a bit disturbing. One poster even started a whole thread to find out who I am--crazy. But suffice it to say that you're right--I could beat you with a broom.

    If you don't like my opinions you can simply ignore them or disagree, but don't you dare say my opinions are false. I will let you have the last word since you apparently need it so badly.
     
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  33. Pro_Tour_630

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    why dont you answer my question "(everyone is playing with PC600 paint jobs, and PT630 paint jobs, why?!?!)" which is the same as
    glad to see you have been reading my posts.

    What I dont understand is first you say this

    then you say dont you dare disagree with me or dare say my opinions are false which is the same thing, you are too funny,

    I was using your kind of language as in post #21
    maybe next time I will borrow from
    so I will not hurt your feelings:)


    Huh? one?!?!? I will let Alex educate ( or "school" you, a better word you might understand) and refresh your memory, in the meantime, why don't you and Sean go and find yourself a room and play togther since thats all you do is play:)

    at least you should write in your avatar or signature that you are sponsored by HEAD, so people can take your word about Head with a grain of salt, let alone a biased view
     
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  34. JW10S

    JW10S Hall of Fame

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    When vsbabolat said that HEAD had not increased market share that was an incorrect fact. Percentage wise HEAD sells more racquets world wide than they did a dozen years ago. My statment about liking Prestiges was not a fact, but an opinion, which I am entitled to. Big difference.

    And again my long standing relationship with HEAD as well as my playing experience gives me a perspective that many others here who are all just talk don't have and can't give. Deal with it...

    BTW in the past I've also had contracts with Wilson, Prince, and Dunlop/Slazenger.

    Go work on that backhand down the line--I'm going to employ the ignore function...
     
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  35. Pro_Tour_630

    Pro_Tour_630 Legend

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    Except for vsbabolat, tandayu, and I, among others who also have a perspective about the subject and much more credible than you, you deal with it.

    since you are sponsord by HEAD, read this over and over again and ask youself the same question over and over again, WHY????

    http://investor.head.com/phoenix.zhtml?c=123990&p=irol-newsArticle&ID=699494&highlight=

    "Head's global tennis operations will continue to be run from Austria. Key functions such as research and development, quality control, marketing and sales and logistics functions in the Racquet Sports Division, as well as a limited production of approximately 50,000 racquets will remain at the Kennelbach site. This entire set up will ensure that current quality standards will be maintained and Head will be able to retain its technological leadership."

    since there are no difference and it makes no difference in terms of play,

    besides for all we know you could be working for Head, read all your posts, most of them are just recent and all discuss and praise HEAD, or you are simply a washed up teaching pro, pathetic....

    whatever happened to
    and here I thought you are going to let me have the last word?

    or

    which I doubt, you see JW10S, you are full of not only hot air but full of yourself,
     
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  36. Pro_Tour_630

    Pro_Tour_630 Legend

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    Our inbred, I mean, inhouse HEAD sponsor has just joined the forum one month ago and has posted over 200 posts (most kissing up to HEAD) , he is averaging more than 5 posts a day, I think he needs to hit the courts instead of talking to us gearheads to bring his game to the next level........... 3.5 that is :)

    please read this, it seems our Head sponsor poodle-Head(no pun intended) has been at this since he joined us one month ago, why are you here anyway?!?!?!?! I hope Head is paying you more than just giving you grips and strings and a few lousy new racquets

    http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=110194

     
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  37. johnathan smith

    johnathan smith Rookie

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    Just couldn't drive myself to reading all of this (as interesting as it might be)
    All I want to know is this.....is TW bringing back 630's with LM cosmetics :) ?
    Do any of you guys have any of those for sale?
    If so drop me a line.
     
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  38. Pro_Tour_630

    Pro_Tour_630 Legend

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    what does it matter john? they all play the same don't they?, just go and buy yourself the latest from HEAD like the FXP prestige MP, after all it is what our inhouse narsisist says
     
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  39. vsbabolat

    vsbabolat Legend

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  40. jayserinos99

    jayserinos99 Hall of Fame

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    vsbabolat (or anyone else that has experience with the Prestige 600), OT: how did you like the Prestige 600 (gray/green)? How does it compare with the Prestige Pro?
     
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  41. OnyxZ28

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    vs, just a question, doesn't the twintube technology incorporate some sort of aramid fibre into one of the shells?
     
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  42. Pro_Tour_630

    Pro_Tour_630 Legend

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    In your expertise when playing a competative close match of someone equal or stronger than you, would you think that all these frames that you mentioned will have no effect on your game one way or another? that if they were all strung at the same setup, it will not matter one iotta that one would not give you one slight tinny bit advantage? thanks for your history, I cant wait for ALex to show us his collection
     
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  43. Pro_Tour_630

    Pro_Tour_630 Legend

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    yeas, I heard that twinetube does incorporate some aramid in the shell. But the LMprestige MP vibrated to a point beyond annoyance, there was no consistency coming off the string bed. and the FXP MP also had that unpredictable pop with no feel, they both SOUND HOLLOW but I guess some people like that hollow feel.

    Can you tell me if you do not feel a difference between your PC600XL and LM/FXP for example? Our inhouse Napolean wants us to believe they do not make a difference in play. Also are you looking to sell your PC600XL? thanks
     
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  44. vsbabolat

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    ..............................................
     
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  45. OnyxZ28

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    Michael, I'll definitely be holding onto my precious PCXLs for a while, one of them has been worked on by **** in fact, even more untouchable. :D As for the general subject of the ongoing controversy, I do feel the difference between a PCXL and a PC600, but to me that's pretty obvious as the PCXL is an XL stick. To me a more relevant comparison would be the differences between the Prestige Pro/Prestige 600/PC600 Trek/PC600 Made in Austria/PC600 Deisigned in Austria/Classic Mid/PC600 Czech/i.Prestige first batch/i.Prestige later batch/LM Prestige/FP Prestige. In dividing the Prestiges into so many categories I guess I've already answered your Q, Michael, yes I do feel the differences between the different series of Prestiges (notably the current PC600, which is darned near unplayable without lead). But on the flipside, I can switch between different Prestiges (except the latest PC600) without too much adjustment. I'm definitely nowhere near a sponsored player (in fact, I'm sure they'd laugh their corporate @$$es off if I asked).
     
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  46. greg280

    greg280 Rookie

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    this whole austrian thing has me baffled or pissed off... after aquiring 2 star trek font p.c. in very good condition i was shocked at the bull**** quality control. strung weight on one was 11.8 and that was with the leather and poly, 16 no less. heralded frame number 2 weighed in at 12.1 strung, same setup. i thought the older ones were heavy, at least as much as the newer ones, just give me swingweight and i will be happy.then , austrian liquidmetal; rad mp., 10.9 strung to 11.6 strung both austrians, you know what? its the worst quality control issues i have ever seen and i have played at a pretty high level with a lot of the older frames, just seems the austrian thing is so friggan blown out of proportion its incredible, picked up my 4 hyper pro staffs and between 4 frames the variance was 1/10 of 1 ounce not freakin 7/10 of an ounce... wow! thats all gotta leave the keyboard and play some china , wilson tennis!!!!
     
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  47. Pro_Tour_630

    Pro_Tour_630 Legend

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    Don't you think I don't know that the Xl PC is a less relevant comparission since it is 27.5, I just wanted to prove a point, read my post #27.
    Our in house dudu thinks he can transition between all of the prestige line since the late 80's with ease, little did he know that there is a 27.5 out there which playes totally different thats all. thanks for helping me prove me point. By the way I would have cut the XL to 27.25, and YES .25 inches makes a big difference, especially on serves.
     
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2007
    #47
  48. I detect some Prestige rage. Did these light-weights have Prestige Classic grommets or LM Prestige grommets? With the proper grommets, strung weights of old-font PC600's are around 12.2-12.4 ounces.
     
    #48
  49. Pro_Tour_630

    Pro_Tour_630 Legend

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2004
    Messages:
    5,154
    Location:
    Connecticut
    thanks for proving to all of us that all the prestiges and pro tours that you bought all play different, they did **** you off so they must have affected your game one way or another. By the way are you still looking or have Kneissl's Toms
     
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2007
    #49
  50. Pro_Tour_630

    Pro_Tour_630 Legend

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2004
    Messages:
    5,154
    Location:
    Connecticut
    I just want to inform uall about the latest big auction original authentic austrian PC600 that went for over $300 tonight and when the new FXP is sold for a 1/3 of the price., never mind the last austrian PC600 batch that can easily be acquired for 1/2 the price, WHY IS THAT? Hmmmmm?!?!?! hats off to whomever bought it, I have a good hunch whom that person might be ;-)
     
    #50

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