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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    I've expiremented with stuff like this in the past, especially with a Prince Original Graphite (POG) mid, which is a 14 x 18, and ended with similar results (lots more spin).

    That said, one needs to be careful when stringing frames in this manner. Remember, the holes in racquets are there for a reason, and have been carefully tested and engineered to ensure frame integrity.
     
  2. Tennusdude

    Tennusdude Rookie

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    I am hoping that strung at 33 pounds with VS Gut it will be difficult to damage the racket. I believe that you notice that the shape of the racket has change either by elongation or shortening, as long as you removed the strings promptly the racket should take it original shape
     
  3. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    I think you are right. You can skip holes, provided you did like what you described, leaving out one main on each side. If you had left out only one main on one side, it will violate the "plays the same on both sides" clause.

    http://www.livestrong.com/article/137719-tennis-racquet-rules/

    String Pattern
    The racket must be made so that when strung, the string pattern has only one set of strings, has a "generally uniform" pattern and plays the same on both sides. The term "generally uniform" has led to the question of what happens when a string breaks. Some tournaments do not allow a player to continue playing with a broken string because the string pattern is no longer "generally uniform." The United States Tennis Association specifically allows players to continue play with a broken string unless match organizers specifically prohibit otherwise.
     
  4. nickarnold2000

    nickarnold2000 Hall of Fame

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    Another consideration is to initially hold off buying and wait to see if other racket companies also come out with their own versions of the 16/15 pattern(I really hope they do).
    I'd much rather buy from a company like Yonex(with their great quality control) than buy from Wilson.
     
  5. Devilito

    Devilito Hall of Fame

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    Question is, if going more and more open is such a great thing why don’t more pros do it? It’s nothing new. It’s not just about control, but there has to be a diminishing return in terms of playability. It’s fine we’re seeing a lot of spin improvement from a few 4.0 players, but how many more RPMs would Nadal and Federer see? I’d be willing to be it’s not that much because spin mostly comes from technique. A lot of the spin different in these racquets might very well be due to a placebo effect, where you’re focusing more on putting spin on the ball with this racquet just to prove a point more so than you would on a regular basis with your normal stick. So you see more RPMs on the machine but it’s because you’re putting more of an effort into putting spin on the ball, not because you’re using the magical Steam 99S

    Good question. Spin is so massive and should be "illegal", yet no pro cares enough to use it.
     
  6. Hankenstein

    Hankenstein Professional

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    Pro players hit enough spin already. Most players that will use the 99S is not pro players and need all help they can get to hit with more spin. This frame is made for amateurs like most of us on this forum, not the touring pros of the ATP and WTA-tour
     
  7. dmcb101

    dmcb101 Semi-Pro

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    Great point. Trying to say that "if the pro's dont use it then either should we" is a silly idea. Amateurs are amateurs for a reason, so adding a bit of spin to help their game based on some great technology is a great thing in my opinion.
     
  8. Mig1NC

    Mig1NC Professional

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    Well, Prince is planning the EXO3 Tour 100 ESP 16x16.

    So there's one.
     
  9. Devilito

    Devilito Hall of Fame

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    no such thing as "enough spin". Every pro would love as much spin as possible. There's a reason why they banned Spaghetti strings. It’s like telling a sprinter a pair of shoes will take 0.1 second off their 100 dash and them responding with “I run fast enough”
     
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2012
  10. racertempo

    racertempo Semi-Pro

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    No, Spaghetti strings were made illegal because it imparted an unconventional and non-uniform spin to the ball. More spin usually means less power (in general), but both have their benefits, sometimes the flat shot is the best one for a situation. Nadal lacks power, in terms of how the top-line pros play right now. Lower serve, lower groundstroke power, but his spin is so massive it helps him to compensate. So I agree that pros don't need additional spin, then us the amount of spin needed for the situation.

    I hit the 105s last night with my ball machine and loved it. I will be selling my Ezone Xi 100 on **** and be buying multiples of these. I hit my yonex for a dozen+ shots then quickly switched to the 105s and the spin was noticeably better, and the frame was not a rocket-launcher (as some people like to call it). I have the 99s now and will hit it this weekend and play a match with it next Monday night to see a real match test.

    I also noticed more spin and no less power on the serve. What I did not test (because I had to run to pickup my kid from daycare), was volleys. I am a little interested to see the amount of control and feel for volleys given the gigantic spacing in the string. on groundies the string did move quite a bit more then I am used to, but not so much it would bother me. It was only the mains moving......which definitely backs up Wilson's claim that the spin comes from the mains moving more.
     
  11. chopstic

    chopstic New User

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    Wouldnt a runner want to decrease their time rather than increase it
     
  12. Devilito

    Devilito Hall of Fame

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    More spin, same pace = heavier shot. So the only reason would be that the open string patter would take away power and a lot of control. I don't see it taking away power but the control might be an issue depending on string set-up. You always want more spin as long as you can maintain the pace. This helps the ball get to the destination at the same speed yet when it hits the court it explodes off it making it harder to get to or hit. I’ve played plenty of pros and a heavy shot with a lot of spin is far more difficult to play against than just a fast-flat shot. That’s why you can have 5.0s hitting as hard as a pro in terms of speed (flat) but their shots don’t have near the same effect or consistency to do any damage over the course of a match (heavy with spin and consistency). I haven't tried the racquet yet so until i do it's tough to tell how i'd feel about it. Would just be nice to see some pros take a shot at trying new gear every now and then instead of sticking to the same stuff from juniors to the time they retire.

    doh!
     
  13. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    If the shoe increased the chances of him slipping and falling, how would he respond?
     
  14. Devilito

    Devilito Hall of Fame

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    What I’m trying to say is that there might be a gain in spin but not enough to make up for the difference in feel of their existing stick. Hence why you have players of all styles hitting with 18x20 and 16x19 without any noticeable amount of difference in spin. Djokovic using an 18/20 is one example. I’m just trying to counter how a lot of people in this thread are going a bit overboard in describing the gains from this racquet. Or maybe I’m just misinterpreting people’s enthusiasm over something as basic as making a string patter “more open” when we’ve had it for decades with the Prince Graphite 14x16 and Mark Woodforde’s racquet. This just isn't anything new
     
  15. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    You are right, most of the time there isn't. But comfort has certainly gone up in recent models, you will have to admit that. This may also be a small step forward.
     
  16. tlm

    tlm Legend

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    Exactly I used a vortex open pattern racket for a while and it produced a lot of spin, but it also produced to much power to control.
     
  17. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Don't you guys think a racket that improves spin and power for a rec player might be the worst thing for control, for a hard hitting pro player?
    Like, few pros use what Federer uses....and fewer rec players.
    Few player's use what Nadal uses.
    While all pros appreciate lots of power, some also appreciate control, ease on the body, and touch.
    If we all worry only about power, wouldn't we all be using PDR extended rackets?
     
  18. martini1

    martini1 Hall of Fame

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    Just wondering... if i hit my regular flat serve with the 99s would I be able to get more spin with the pronation, therefore getting more balls in?

    If I hit flat groundies would I still get a little more spin than the APDC?

    Do you lose the feel of the ball (or less feel) vs other Wilson 100 sticks like the juice pro?
     
  19. martini1

    martini1 Hall of Fame

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    We don't all use PDR because it is not arm friendly. Many hit will a lower power stick just because of the arm issue. Don't you think? Rec players got poor technique and no medical trainer to help proper recovery.
     
  20. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    Lee is right. Not everyone is looking for more power.
     
  21. corners

    corners Legend

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    About the the only thing unconventional about shots from a spaghetti racquet were that it produced twice as much spin as a conventionally strung woody, and launched the ball higher off the strings. Combined, the higher rebound angle and extreme spin produced ball trajectories and bounces that were very surprising to those who hadn't faced it before. But the reports of the racquets producing wild or unpredictable spin are greatly exaggerated; the spin was just much more extreme than anything player's had seen before. Eventually players would have adjusted to the arcing, high-bouncing balls it produced.

    Usually, yes, more spin means less speed. (We should probably keep the word "power" out of this, as it just confuses everything. The unit for power is the watt, which obviously doesn't do us much good when talking about shot speed and spin.)

    However, Wilson is claiming that these "Spin Effect" frames produce more spin and speed for a given swingpath and swingspeed. The extra spin is produced by the more rapid snapback of the main strings owing to the reduced number of cross strings, and the extra speed is probably a result of the fewer cross strings as well. Fewer cross strings means a more flexible (less stiff) stringbed in the direction parallel to the shot, so less of the ball's energy is lost in ball flattening, which results in a faster shot. (This would be similar to switching from full copoly to copoly mains/gut crosses, in terms of shot speed.)

    (Note: The on court results that have been reported, like Drak's in the OP, might show that the 99S produces more spin and about the same speed as some other racquet, but we can't conclude from that the 99S does not, in fact, produce more speed than the other racquet because we don't know precisely the racquet-head speed and swingpath of all of Drak's shots during the playtest.)

    If Wilson's claims are true, pros could benefit from this tech, as more spin & more speed would be very useful for any player, no matter how good, as long as they could control it. However, Wilson is claiming that the spin boost from 16x15 is not so dramatic with top-level players, so maybe it won't be interesting to them. My guess, though, is that if Rafa strung one of these up with his RPM Blast about 15 pounds tighter than his usual tension he would have a smile on his face.

    Cool. Looking forward to reading how it performs in a match. :)

    Yes, it is the mains sliding and snapping back that provides the extra spin. This was well established by about a dozen papers published by TW University two years before Wilson announced their new "technology". If the mains are "moving", in other words, if they are getting stuck out of position after a shot, they are too loose. Avoiding this will be the key to control with these open patterns, just as it is with copoly strings in general. As the TW Professor showed in this paper, if the mains are not stiff enough they will slide too far to snap back in time to produce additional spin. Instead, they will raise the rebound angle hugely and may actually reduce spin - the result will be a very deep, uncontrollable ball that doesn't drop as expected because it doesn't have much spin on it. (We should probably be on the lookout for this when reading reports about these frames. Based on reports from people like Drak, who have played with them strung up properly by Wilson, we know that they are controllable. If someone posts a report that they were launching balls all over the place, or that the frame was a "rocket launcher" we should probably suspect that their strings weren't tight enough.)

    Anyone playing with these frames should study that article closely to help find the right string tensions needed for control. One of the things that the paper suggests is that anyone considering a gut/copoly hybrid in a 16x15 should be prepared to string quite a bit tighter than usual. Otherwise, the extremely flexible gut will slide so far in these patterns that it will never have time to snap back before the ball leaves the strings.
     
  22. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    The 1978 wording:

    1978 - Wording of the Rule

    NOTE: The spirit of this rule is to prevent undue spin on the ball that would result in a change in the character of the game.The stringing must be made so that the moves between the strings will not exceed what is possible for instance with 18 mains and 18 crosses uniformly spaced and interlaced in a stringing area of 75 square inches (484 sq. cm).


    In 1981, the 1978 wording was completely replaced with new wording which no longer had the above note.

    What is the meaning of "the moves between the strings?" Is it the spacing or the amount of displacement/snapback?
     
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2012
  23. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    Have you tried Big Ace? My experience is with it you don't have to be near as
    diligent with a restring schedule.
     
  24. corners

    corners Legend

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    Amount of displacement, or tangential deflection as the physicists call it. "String movement" as players say.
     
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2012
  25. 2ManyAces

    2ManyAces Rookie

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    now that the blades are out, whats going to happen to all the steam hype?
     
  26. drakulie

    drakulie Talk Tennis Guru

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    On both counts, I did, and although my serves weren't calculated when I did the playtest, I did notice much more spin on flat and slice serves.

    Corners,,,,, this is a very well thought out post. Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts.
     
  27. parasailing

    parasailing Hall of Fame

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    It's going to take off since we will all want it :). Waiting eagerly for the Blade 98 16x19 to come out so I can grab one.
     
  28. corners

    corners Legend

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    My pleasure Drak :)
     
  29. martini1

    martini1 Hall of Fame

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    Thanks Drakulie. If that is the case I am very interested in this frame.
     
  30. The Dark Knight

    The Dark Knight Legend

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    Drak,

    This racquet just really excites me......I am dying to get my hands on one

    Do you have any that you wouldblikento unload?

    If not is this stick as revolutionary as advertised.....will all other sticks copy the pattern?
     
  31. The Dark Knight

    The Dark Knight Legend

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    Ya know string durability is not that big of an issue with Poly.....they all just sort of go flat pretty quickly.....many ploys are very durable but they play like sheet after a few matches.
     
  32. Hankenstein

    Hankenstein Professional

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    Its a lot of focus on the spin of the 99S, but what is not talked about is that the frame itself is a really good frame! The normal Steam 99 is also a very good frame, but it feels quit a bit stiffer due to more strings in the frame.

    The 99S has a really good overall feel and after using it 3 hours it convinced me to order 4 frames of it.

    The sample 99S is strung with 4G 1,30 ad it has not snapped yet after 4 hours of play.

    It is not possible to play the same type of tennis with the blade 18/20 as with the 99S. The 99S has to much power if you are a flat hitter. You need to be a topspin-player to benefit from the 99S
     
  33. Federerkblade

    Federerkblade Professional

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    hank

    what will you be stringing your personal bought steam 99s with and what tension.

    I string with blackout 1.24mm apart from durability will my usual 49lbs be ok or should i go up to compensate for a more open pattern
     
  34. racertempo

    racertempo Semi-Pro

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    Thanks for the reply and the link to the study, I found it an interesting read and it raises some questions that you might be able to help me with. The 105s frame recommends 57-67lbs and the shop strung it at 62. I am a full poly player and I have worked my tension down (little by little) from 60 to 50 and love the feel of the poly at that tension. You recommend going tighter on the 16x15 pattern which makes sense, but do you think the 10% drop is still important when using a full-poly bed?

    Additionally, the demo has multi in the crosses which theoretically should allow the mains to move and snap back more then a poly....correct? When I get mine in January and go with a full poly do you think I'll see a massive difference? Maybe go a little looser on the crosses of Poly? I was thinking maybe 60 on mains and 57 on crosses.....does that logic make sense or am I way off base here? Thanks for the time!
     
  35. Hankenstein

    Hankenstein Professional

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    Kevlar in 70 lbs :) JK

    I dont know yet! I like the 4G a lot. I use around 50 lbs in most frames i play, but i think 50 will be to soft in 99S.

    Im going to string all 4 frames with different strings to see what is the best match. Will try Lux 4G, Signum Pro Poly Plasma, Plasma Hextreme and Plasma Hextreme Pure. Im also giving RPM Blast a try.
     
  36. Pet

    Pet Semi-Pro

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    Spin is produced by swingspeed, more speed = more rpm

    Nothing to do with dumbs tech.
     
  37. Federerkblade

    Federerkblade Professional

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    ok let us know when do your raquets arrive
     
  38. sundaypunch

    sundaypunch Hall of Fame

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    Thanks for the info. I guess they should close this thread now that you have sorted out the mystery of spin for us.
     
  39. Hankenstein

    Hankenstein Professional

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    They will arrive mid January they told me
     
  40. Mongolmike

    Mongolmike Professional

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    Who is "dumbs tech"?
     
  41. corners

    corners Legend

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    Swingspeed and the steepness of ones swingpath are the most important factors to spin generation, no doubt about that. But copoly strings and open patterns have been proven to generate extra spin. Did you read the OP?
     
  42. corners

    corners Legend

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    I think that the best starting place would be mid-tension using 4g, which I think is what Wilson is doing with the racquets they provide for these organized playtests. It will be interesting to hear what Wilson recommends for strings and tensions when they launch this line. Hopefully they won't just recommend 4g at mid-tension! But 4g would be a good choice, as TWU's lab tests show that it holds tension better than any copoly on the market. A string that stays closer to its original tension would be less likely to get too loose to snap back quickly and would tend to provide a more consistent rebound angle and spin level over the life of the stringjob. And I think that will be more important with these super-open patterns.

    I also like copoly at low tensions but I would be wary of going too low in these patterns, for the reasons mentioned in the earlier posts. But people will just have to experiment. When the strings start getting stuck out of place and the launch angle gets too high you'll know you've strung it too loose.

    I don't think so. Multi would actually be my last choice for a cross string because the many small strands of nylon in a multi break one by one and fray, putting friction drag on the mains as they slide by. If you want to go with a nylon string I would choose a very smooth synthetic gut (which are monofilaments) instead. But in general I think it would be best to stick with full copoly with these patterns, although gut/copoly should be very interesting if the tension is right. In general though, the reduced number of crosses will reduce the stringbed stiffness, so stringing up a 16x15 at 65 might result in total stringbed stiffness equivalent to a 16x19 at 55 pounds. (But that's just a guess). This might account for reports that the 99S is comfortable despite it's apparently high throat stiffness.

    I think full copoly will definitely be better than the copoly/multi you've got now. And another reason for that is that the TW Professor found that, in 16x10 patterns, the cross string stiffness is also very important to timely snapback and spin. Mulitis and synguts are both significantly less stiff than copolys. Take a look at Figure 10 from this study http://twu.tennis-warehouse.com/learning_center/spinandstiffness.php

    Also take a look at Figure 3, which is very interesting. You can see that with all strings tighter is better in 16x10 patterns, but in 16x19 patterns some strings produce more spin at 30 pounds and others produce more spin at 60 pounds of tension. Since 16x15 is kind of in the middle of those two patterns I think it's very hard to predict what would work best with the 99S and 105S. These are the only frames where I would even think about sticking to the manufacturer's recommended string and tension :)
     
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2012
  43. Pet

    Pet Semi-Pro

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    A lot of TT users report the same spin with 18x20 string pattern raquets.
     
  44. Broly4

    Broly4 Rookie

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    What actually happens, at least in my case, is that with the control provided by an 18x20 string patterned frame, you swing harder, combine this with a western forehand grip, and you get heavy top-spin as a result.
     
  45. racertempo

    racertempo Semi-Pro

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    I hit the 99s on the machine today, including about 120 volleys from around the services line to gauge feel and I sensed no loss of feel for Steam compared to my Yonex RDIS 200 Lite strung with a full bed of Volkl Cyclone 17 at 50 pounds. Ground strokes were about the same as the Yonex, perhaps a little more spin but not a huge amount in my opinion....but I obviously don't have a Doppler Radar at my disposal. :( This demo was also strung at 62 with 4g in the mains and NXT in the crosses.

    I really felt that the 105s had more power and far more spin, which is probably pretty obvious due to the extra spacing from the size and power from the lighter and thicker frame. I am leaning towards getting 1 of each in January after today. I was initially thinking of getting 2 105s but I think I will do 1 of each and use the 105 for doubles and 99 for singles (I like a heavier racquet for singles compared to doubles).

    I will not string mine with 4g even though that is what Wilson recommends, just too expensive IMO. My favorite string right now is Wilson Spin Cycle so I will probably start with a full bed of that, then maybe try some YTEX and other brands that I have like the Volkl Cyclone.

    Thanks for the references and links to the report, it is very very interesting to see higher tension creates more spin for full poly beds. I am not a fan of hybrid stringing but that is all they had for the demos...at least they had poly in the mains to give me some-what of the same feel that i would use with my own stringing....at least a closer representation then a demo with full multi when you are a full poly player :)

    I think I am going to return the 99s on Monday and get the 105s for my match Monday night.

    Oh.....the other important thing to me is forgiveness on off center hits, which is why I have been sold on Yonex for the last few years. I have tried the 100 Steam, the 96 and 100 Juice, the 100 and 95 Pro Staff frames from last year and I did not like any of them at all, even might say I disliked them.....so I was surprised at these Steam frames. The forgiveness felt equal to my Yonex, so I was very pleased.

    BTW.....I am a 35 year old higher end 4.0, probably going to get bumped to 4.5 after next year, just a reference. Thanks for the time!
     
  46. corners

    corners Legend

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    Thanks for sharing your experiences. I've got an Rdis 200 as well, so the comparisons you make are pretty interesting to me, especially regarding feel. Poor feel is a deal breaker for me, so it's very nice to hear that these frames aren't all bite and no bark, so to speak. :) I'll definitely try the 105S too.
     
  47. srvnvly

    srvnvly Professional

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    Drak - does the Steam 99 (non-S version) have the same specs?
     
  48. couch

    couch Hall of Fame

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    I'm not Drak but yes, they have the same specs.
     
  49. srvnvly

    srvnvly Professional

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    Thanks, Couch- how different is the non-S than the S?
     
  50. couch

    couch Hall of Fame

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    Only difference is the string pattern. Non-S is 16x18.
     

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