Wilson Hits Homerun with Wilson Steam 99S (mini review)

Discussion in 'Racquets' started by drakulie, Oct 16, 2012.

  1. drakulie

    drakulie Talk Tennis Guru

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    Was invited to the Wilson SET (Spin Effect Tour) event yesterday, where the highlight of the upcoming Wilson Products for the 2013 Year was surely the Wilson Steam 99S.

    Specs:
    99 square inches
    27 inches length
    strung weight: 11.3
    balance: 2 pts HL
    string pattern: 16:15
    cross section: 24 mm

    All attendees were able to hit with all the 2013 Wilson frames, but what made this event special, was being able to demo the 99s. Not only that, but be able to actually find out if it does in fact provide more spin.

    Wilson set up one court with a computerized tracking system to determine the amount of spin, pace and height hit on ground strokes.

    Racquets provided for this play test were the Babolat Aero Pro Drive, Head Speed MP 315, and Steam 99S. All were strung with Luxilon 4G. And balls were fed with a ball machine.

    Here are my test results:

    Most pace (average):
    1. Head Speed MP
    2. Steam 99S
    3. Aero Pro Drive

    Highest Net clearance (average):
    1. Steam 99S
    2. Aero Pro Drive
    3. Head Speed

    Most Spin (average):
    1. Steam 99S
    2. Head Speed
    3. Aero Pro Drive


    My average spin on the Steam was over 2800 RPMs, reaching up to 3,300 RPMs on a few shots.

    Average on the Head was 2,500 with highest being 2800 RPMs on a few shots.

    Average on the Aero was 2,300 RPMs with a few shots at 2600 Rpms.

    A few more notes:

    Hit a few fhs with the steam a little over 80 mph (which were the fastest I recorded), and average height over the net was 63 inches.

    The frame was incredibly comfortable to swing and hit with. Has a great cushiony, but very responsive feel at impact. Easy to generate power, tons of spin, and surprisingly, easy to control the shots. Great to volley with and serves were simply amazing. The heaviness of spin shots was just sick. This frame is going to be very attractive to a very wide range of players, from recreational, to mid level players, to advanced. As far as I could tell, frame really has no weaknesses.

    I definitely believe this racquet is going to absolutely dominate public courts everywhere. This frame truly is a SPIN monster. Wilson absolutely knocked it out of the park with this one and Hit a Home Run.

    One more note:
    Every tester I saw, hit with much more spin with the 99S than with any other frame. This was backed up by the data of every playtester.

    Sorry for the short review, I'll try and answer as many questions as I can.


    Video of ex UM player hitting 115 mph serve with a Steam 105s.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1AL7IURVMpI

    Photos can be found here (thanks to ThePowerof choice):
    http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showpost.php?p=7015222&postcount=432
    http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showpost.php?p=7015223&postcount=433

    EDITED TO INCLUDE OTHER PLAYTESTER REVIEWS FOUND HERE:

    DMCB101:
    http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showpost.php?p=6965544&postcount=144

    suresh:
    http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showpost.php?p=6973617&postcount=231

    Hankenstein:
    http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showpost.php?p=6989460&postcount=285
    http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showpost.php?p=6989507&postcount=290

    TennisTodd:
    http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showpost.php?p=7042975&postcount=624

    Power Player:
    http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showpost.php?p=7047140&postcount=667

    couch:
    http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showpost.php?p=7054943&postcount=811

    MongolMike:
    http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showpost.php?p=7065024&postcount=872

    dgdawg:
    http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showpost.php?p=7070396&postcount=903

    TW Tennis Warehouse Review:
    http://www.tennis-warehouse.com/REVIEWS/STM99S/STM99SReview.html

    Rabbit:
    http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showpost.php?p=7143670&postcount=1296
     
    Last edited: May 8, 2013
    #1
  2. klementine

    klementine Hall of Fame

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    Thanks for the review Drak. It's on like donkey kong!

    Is that 24mm constant? or tapered?
     
    #2
  3. drakulie

    drakulie Talk Tennis Guru

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    ^^Good question, but unfortunately, don't know. Sorry. But did I say it creates an insane amount of spin? :)
     
    #3
  4. klementine

    klementine Hall of Fame

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    Yeah, I think you mentioned it somewhere. ;)

    Sounds like a very interesting frame. Looks like wilson was trying to promote the 4g string as well. Nice string by the way.
     
    #4
  5. canuckfan

    canuckfan Semi-Pro

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    Were you still able to flatten the ball out when you wanted to? How was the maneuverability -- what would you estimate the swingweight to be? Thanks for the review!
     
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2012
    #5
  6. JGads

    JGads Hall of Fame

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    Wow, great stuff. And coming from Drak, that's a nice endorsement.

    Drak, did you or others playtest the new Blades at all? Was the Steam still most people's fancy? First Steam was just awful, I thought, nice to see they went somewhere very different with this one to create a cool new alternative for people.
     
    #6
  7. Power Player

    Power Player Talk Tennis Guru

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    Very interesting stuff. For me too much spin has been detrimental in the past. Since i think you use s prestige a lot, how does the control compare or did you get enough time to really get a feel for that?
     
    #7
  8. drakulie

    drakulie Talk Tennis Guru

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    Yes, I was able to flatten out shots with the frame when I was playtesting it. However, for the on-court test, I did not concentrate on hitting flat shots. Also, YES, I use a one-hander.


    Yeah, hit with all the new blades as well. Really enjoyed hitting with the 16X19 blade. Much livelier than the 18X20. Paint job on all 4 new blades are really nice.

    Once I got dialed into the balance and swing weight of the frame, control wasn't too much of an issue. One of the great things about the frame was shots that typically go long were falling in. :)
     
    #8
  9. Power Player

    Power Player Talk Tennis Guru

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    Oh man you hit with the new blades too...what a day..lol. I love the control and power of the 98 that is out now. 16x19 being more lively sounds like possibly too much boom for me. Did it feel like the new ones flex out about the same?
     
    #9
  10. drakulie

    drakulie Talk Tennis Guru

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    They felt a tad bit livelier, and flex nicely. I would say same as the prior.
     
    #10
  11. Ross K

    Ross K Legend

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    Wow, sounds great. As long as it has some oomph behind it and isn't just all about the spin (like some ppl find the Exo 100, for example), well, I'd be curious to check one of these out.
     
    #11
  12. mctennis

    mctennis Hall of Fame

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    drakulie, thanks for the post review. I'm normally not a big Wilson fan. However, I will look forward to trying this racquet out. Sounds really promising. Maybe Wilson has struck pay dirt with this racquet. Good post.
     
    #12
  13. UCSF2012

    UCSF2012 Hall of Fame

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    thanks for the info.

    Currently, I get the most spin from the 88, with the 2nd runner-up not even close, so mass has more effect than string spacing. I'm curious what the heavy weights are for Wilson next year.
     
    #13
  14. 2ndServe

    2ndServe Professional

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    what kind of technology is making for such gains in spin?
     
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  15. mykoh

    mykoh Rookie

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    no tech, just a really open 16*15 string pattern.

    not a wilson fan myself, but i can't wait for it and the new blades to come out! thanks for the FR drak!
     
    #15
  16. Bartelby

    Bartelby G.O.A.T.

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    I wonder whether its the Head's rounder shape that creates a better spin result compared to the Babolat's aero shape.
     
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  17. Automatix

    Automatix Hall of Fame

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    This is the info I got. The only doubts I have are for the 96.

    Model - Unstrung weight, headsize, string pattern, beam
    Steam 96 - 289g, 96 sq. inch., 16x20, 22mm
    Steam 99 - 304g, 99 sq. inch., 16x18, 22-24-22mm
    Steam 99S - 304g, 99 sq. inch., 16x15, 22-24-22mm
    Steam 105 - 289g, 105sq. inch., 16x19, 24-26-24mm
    Steam 105S - 289g, 105 sq. inch., 16x15, 24-26-24mm

    The specs for the 99s seem correct since Drakulie did write that the strung weight is 11.3oz which is ca 320g. So about 304g unstrung.

    Cheers!

    P.S.: Couch has the catalogue IIRC so he can verify the info I posted in September.
     
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2012
    #17
  18. kimbahpnam

    kimbahpnam Hall of Fame

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    No undercover pics? :)
     
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  19. Fed Kennedy

    Fed Kennedy Hall of Fame

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    Totally getting one.
     
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  20. pepka

    pepka Semi-Pro

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    Same here. I was sold on testing the new Blade 98 but now it sounds like i will have to add another racquet (actually two 16/18 and 16/15)... and let me just say, that testing sticks in Europe/Poland is PITA:evil:
     
    #20
  21. mmk

    mmk Professional

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    Drak,

    How about control with the very open string pattern?

    Thanks
     
    #21
  22. Mig1NC

    Mig1NC Professional

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    Still curious to know the swingweight.

    I hope they kept it low enough so you can customize it the way you want.
     
    #22
  23. sundaypunch

    sundaypunch Hall of Fame

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    Thanks for this detailed review. I am particularly impressed that Wilson was able to back up their claims with the on-court computer analysis. The initial thread that popped up here on this racquet had many, many skeptics that thought the racquet was a gimmick. They are silent now.

    I hope you are getting a commission because it's safe to say that this post will have sold a lot of racquets for Wilson and TW, lol.
     
    #23
  24. Torres

    Torres Banned

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    It sounds interesting. Doubt that it would be my type of stick, but its interesting nonetheless.

    The one doubt that I would have with this type of stick is whether you would have to change your natural stroke mechanics too much in order to flatten out the ball, and hit through the court.
     
    #24
  25. srvnvly

    srvnvly Professional

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    Awesome info, Drak, thank you! I'm curious about 1) swing weight; and 2) can you compare it to the current Steam and Juice 100 (nothing ├╝ber detailed, even a short reply would be great). I'm also psyched about the new 16x19 Blade!!!
     
    #25
  26. tedescm1

    tedescm1 New User

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    Ra ?

    What is the RA.

    tx.:)



     
    #26
  27. drakulie

    drakulie Talk Tennis Guru

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    Just wanted to add a couple of notes here based on some questions you all are asking:

    1. I didn't find any problems with control, although it did take some "getting used to".
    2. I would estimate the swing weight ot be in the 320's.
    3. the racquets spin comes from the 16X15 string pattern.
    Lastly, I spoke with one of the engineers and asked if they tested durability of string compared to 16X19 or 18X20 string patterns. I was informed durability was a bit less, although I would guess depending on the string and tension, this could potentially be a problem if you don't use poly.
     
    #27
  28. Federerkblade

    Federerkblade Professional

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    Drakulie Many thanks for the reviews. Any further comments on the blades alone. The look, the feel anything.......cant wait for them
     
    #28
  29. Power Player

    Power Player Talk Tennis Guru

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    Drak you nailed it. I was about to ask about string durability. This is plain and simple a full poly racquet. It sounds a lot like a tfight 320 that is even more open. I would go through strings with it in no time and hybrids only lasted 3-4 hours.

    That being said, I am rather sure there is mega spin with this thing.
     
    #29
  30. TimothyO

    TimothyO Hall of Fame

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    I'm attending the Atlanta SET this Friday and was wondering how they were going to string the 99S. 4G is a very good choice and may explain how one can control such an open pattern.

    Can you see the frame being strung with a multi or gut/poly hybrid or would one lose too much control? Seems like full poly is the only practical setup for this frame.

    How was comfort? Will my arm be hurting after the test session or was it comfortable?
     
    #30
  31. tedescm1

    tedescm1 New User

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    How stiff is the Steam 99S (RA).

    Is this going to be another arm breaker with aa RA in the 70's.?



     
    #31
  32. Jocke

    Jocke New User

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    My stringer has a Babolat RDC-machine, and the Steam 99S measured 71 unstrung. I have no idea if it will be the same when released.
     
    #32
  33. Roddickulous

    Roddickulous Rookie

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    This Steam 99S, if it really does have an RA of 71, it is the best chance wilson will ever have of getting me to switch away from my beloved APD's, although considering I've already hit with the new APD and absolutely love it, I am going to have to be "wowed" by the extra spin of the 99S
     
    #33
  34. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    That is pretty stiff. Is it good for the arm? Are there some special shock absorbing mechanisms in this frame to compensate for the stiffness?
     
    #34
  35. mikeler

    mikeler G.O.A.T.

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    Drak touched on string durability. That would be my only concern.
     
    #35
  36. Roforot

    Roforot Professional

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    Three questions:

    1) Do you have to use a Poly/Copoly to see these benefits? (I know you can just give an opinion)

    2) Have you served w/ the Pure Drive Roddick? How would this compare?

    3) Will you be switching to this frame?

    Thanks.
     
    #36
  37. realplayer

    realplayer Semi-Pro

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    I'm only using synthetic gut. How good is the steam 99s with this set-up? Durability is not an issue.
     
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2012
    #37
  38. corners

    corners Legend

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    Hey Drak, Do you know how the 99S was strung? Do you know what string and tension range they are recommending?

    Thanks for the review.
     
    #38
  39. pepka

    pepka Semi-Pro

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    This... and the 71RA :(
     
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  40. mikeler

    mikeler G.O.A.T.

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    Yes, but the open pattern may negate the stiffness. Drak said it was comfy.
     
    #40
  41. drakulie

    drakulie Talk Tennis Guru

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    Not sure what the stiffness rating on the frame is, however, it feels nowhere near a 71. Not even close. I think the open string pattern makes the head feel flexy/cushiony even with a full poly stringed. This is one of the more surprising aspects of the frame,,,,, how comfortable it felt.

    Someone asked a question related to the frames ability to produce spin with something other than a poly. Please remember that spin is generated by techinque and could be magnified by a string or frame. That said, I could almost guarantee this frame will produce more than other racquets regardless of string.
     
    #41
  42. mikeler

    mikeler G.O.A.T.

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    Great info. Thanks for the review.
     
    #42
  43. Broly4

    Broly4 Rookie

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    Please don't be so naive.
    How on Earth can you hit with a Head speed mp faster than with an APD, assuming you swing equally hard, only possible explanation is different string, tension o just fake data provided by the biased company.
     
    #43
  44. drakulie

    drakulie Talk Tennis Guru

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    the 315 speed mp has more mass. Also, I wasn't aware the APD was a monster in the power department as you are making it seem.
     
    #44
  45. Chotobaka

    Chotobaka Hall of Fame

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    Did you get a chance to serve with the 99S Drak?
     
    #45
  46. drakulie

    drakulie Talk Tennis Guru

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    Yes. Great pop and obviously lots of spin. Keep in mind I didn't serve with it so long as our time was limited. I'm hoping to playtest it again and giving a more thorough review.
     
    #46
  47. Broly4

    Broly4 Rookie

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    Seriously when it comes to power, there is no comparison possible between those two, everybody who has played both knows it, you can also check their power level at TWU
     
    #47
  48. drakulie

    drakulie Talk Tennis Guru

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    I have played with both. I've never felt like the aero pro drive was an overly powerful frame.
     
    #48
  49. Gemini

    Gemini Hall of Fame

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    I'm curious to know how they (the engineers) were measuring pace? The other two categories I can understand but what's the unit of measure for pace?
     
    #49
  50. sansaephanh

    sansaephanh Professional

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    What was strung in the racket for this playtest?

    Assuming that you are worlds better then I am (based on your scores and that you didn't complain about much) do you think it would be liked by higher level players who play a much flatter type of game?

    How was the power level?

    Can you steal one for me?

    Why is bacon so delicious?

    Do you think this racket will also be ruined by Wilson QC?

    With that being said do you think this stick has to potential to take over the modern tennis scene and break into the top 5?

    if you to chose one racket this racket FEELS similar to, which would it be?
     
    #50

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