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

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

  1. mikeler

    mikeler G.O.A.T.

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    Only one the local pro had.
     
  2. couch

    couch Hall of Fame

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    Just picked up th 99S from our shop and will hit with it tomorrow. Really liked the regular 99 but can't wait to hit with the 99S. Feedback later.......
     
  3. JackB1

    JackB1 G.O.A.T.

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    Interested to hear what the differences between the two are. I am really liking the 99S and have been using it for the past week. I am wondering if there are any disadvantages of picking the S over the 99? I am not really a string breaker so I am not worried about that. I would guess that you may have a little better control with the 99 over the S.
     
  4. bertrevert

    bertrevert Hall of Fame

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    Just realized from that photo - no pws?!?

    How did your next hit with this frame go?

    68 stiffness but it doesnt feel like that does it...iNtersting frame!
     
  5. royaldoyal

    royaldoyal New User

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    I can't find anywhere on the message boards any pics, or info on the steam 96. Anyone have some pics or information they can share?
     
  6. couch

    couch Hall of Fame

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    I have only hit with the 99 once and that was in a doubles match and it was strung with Wilson's new version of PSGD. I hit returns and serves well with it but that was a small sample.

    I have the 99 and the 99S strung with poly and will get a good hit with both this afternoon. I would imagine just a tade-off between power, control, and spin. But for me i use spin for control so it should be an interesting demo. Will try and post later.
     
  7. JackB1

    JackB1 G.O.A.T.

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    excellent. Looking forward to your comments. Unfortunately my demo goes back today :-(
     
  8. mrkenny

    mrkenny New User

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    99s

    what tension was the steam99s strung at you tested and what string was used
     
  9. JackB1

    JackB1 G.O.A.T.

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    Who are you asking?
     
  10. couch

    couch Hall of Fame

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    Hit with the Steam 99S for 1 1/2 hours today and here is my initial review. I had the racquet strung at 58lbs with Luxilon 4G on a constant pull machine.

    My background:

    42 year old 5.0 player. Played with the Volkl Tour 8 for about 8 years or so and am in the market for a new stick. Primarily play from the baseline in singles but have an all-court game. Serve and volley on first and second serves in doubles. Hit with a western forehand and 2HBH. Like to hit the forehand as much as possible. Favorite shot is inside-out forehand. Decent serve but at 5' 10" it's mostly placement and percentages, especially in doubles.

    Groundstrokes:

    For me this stick just oozed confidence. I felt like I could really swing out and let the racquet do its thing. This was very apparent on the forehand side. With the additional spin I was able to generate I was able to take bigger cuts at the ball and felt like the ball was always going to land in. I never really felt like the ball was going to fly on me either. If you hit with a western grip and use spin to control the ball then this stick may be for you.

    Volleys:

    Felt like the added heft of this racquet (it's about .4 oz heavier and less headlight than my Tour 8) enabled me to relax more on volleys and hit deeper with less effort. One downside of my Tour 8 is there's not much heft, nor much weight in the head. Therefore, volleys are tougher to get deep.

    As with groundstrokes, I never felt any loss of control due to the more open string pattern. Racquet felt extremely solid and stable on volleys.

    Serves:

    This is where I struggled a bit. I don't think it was any fault of the racquet but just my getting used to a little heavier stick with a little more weight in the head. I double-faulted a few times and was hitting my serves a little long. I think with a little practice and getting more dialed in, serves will be fine.

    Second serves had some nice kick to them and I think they will only get better the more I get accustomed to the racquet.


    Negatives:

    One downside of this racquet is if you're an accomplished player you will probably go through strings very quickly. I checked the strings and they are notched about 1/3 of the way through already. Your local pro shop is going to love you if you don't do your own stringing. I don't really mind since I string my own racquets.

    Conclusion:

    Overall this was a really fun hit. This racquet just felt right in my hands and I was really able to dictate play from the back of the court. The extra weight of the racquet compared to my Tour 8 was very apparent and welcomed. I was able to hit bigger, heavier balls with the Steam 99S. I think Wilson has done an excellent job with this stick and the extra bit of spin you generate with this stick makes you feel like you can really take a big cut and have the ball land in. It just makes you feel confident. I didn't feel like the spin generated by this racquet was mind blowing but it was definitely enough to make a difference. I think the stats of gaining 300-400 extra rpm is probably pretty accurate.

    If you play a modern game and use topspin to control your shots then this is a must demo. I will definitely need to hit with this stick some more but at this point I think this will be my new stick of choice.
     
  11. Nostradamus

    Nostradamus G.O.A.T.

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    Me too. Why is Wilson refusing to put PWS in this supposedly great frame ? PWS is only one of the few great innovations Wilson had come up with in the past.
    Does the construction of this frame prohibit PWS ?
     
  12. JackB1

    JackB1 G.O.A.T.

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    great review Couch! So how does the 99s compare to the 99? Any major differences?
     
  13. couch

    couch Hall of Fame

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    I didn't hit the 99 tonight. I was having too much fun with the 99S that I left it in the bag. :)

    I have only played with the 99 in a set of doubles but I did like it even though it was strung with Wilson's version of PSGD. One of these racquets will probably be my new stick. Just need to play with both versions more to get a better idea of which one is going to suit my game best.

    I'm playing again tomorrow night so I hope to get more feedback then.
     
  14. JackB1

    JackB1 G.O.A.T.

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    sounds good.

    I was also amazed at the touch shots I can execute with the 99s. Maybe the extra spin makes drop shots more effective? Also, the racquet has a high stiffness rating but it felt rather soft to me...maybe that's due to the very open pattern?
     
  15. couch

    couch Hall of Fame

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    The racquet didn't feel stiff to me either. Probably due to the open string pattern like you said. Poly strung at 58lbs would normally be pretty boardy but in this racquet it felt really good. The Lux 4G seems like a pretty good fit for this racquet. I've been impressed with 4G and it's tension maintenance and long-term playability. Fairly low-powered but sometimes that's a good thing. ;)
     
  16. JackB1

    JackB1 G.O.A.T.

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    out

    my demo was strung with Black Widow/ NXT at 60 lbs. I will probably eventually go with a low powered soft copoly mains and Nvy crosses to soften it up some. Solinco Outlast would work well in the 99s as well.
     
  17. jackcrawford

    jackcrawford Professional

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    Wait - don't all 5.0's use either the Wilson 90 or Prestige Mid:wink: Great review, good luck with whichever Steam you choose!
     
  18. couch

    couch Hall of Fame

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    I truly believe this racquet is meant to be used with a full bed of poly to maximize the spin potential of this racquet. Not sure about gut mains and poly crosses. I know that's what Drak had his strung with and at a fairly low tension. Maybe gut mains is a good option. It all has to do with the snap back ability of the string you use. Personally, I'm probably just going to stick with full poly.
     
  19. couch

    couch Hall of Fame

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    Ha Ha, too funny. I guess I'm a little strange as are most the guys I hit with.

    Thanks Jack!
     
  20. martini1

    martini1 Hall of Fame

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    I guess the frame is stiff that it would not twist and hence no need to add weight on 3 and 9. As for adding juice on the strike, this frame is for the RPM addict. It should swing faster if the loop is lighter? May be.
     
  21. botticelli

    botticelli New User

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    Don't know what the hype is all about with the new Wilson Steam 99S. I am a open level player and tried out the new 99S yesterday and honestly not that impressed with the racquet. My current racquet is the 2013 Babolat Aeropro GT (been using the 2013 for a couple of months now) and the differences between the Aeropro and 99S is huge.

    Played another friend in a match who is also an open level player and the first set I used the 99S. Won the first set 6-4 in the second set used the 2013 Aeropro and won 6-1. We decided to play a third set and I tried the 99S and lost 4-6. With that being said I asked my friend if he saw a big difference between the two racquets. He said the 99S had too much spin, but with no power behind the ball.....like plow thru to create a heavy ball. He felt the new Aeropro hit a lot heavier ball with more power.

    My thoughts regarding the 99S I felt my backhand with this racquet was weaker. Backhands were landing short and I felt slice balls were hard to hit. (I have a two handed backhand). Forehand you really have to swing thru the ball to land deep in the court. We played on a slow court and I felt the ball just bounced high, but with no real power behind the shot. When I hit groundies with the Aeropro I can see the difference in spin and power(new 2013 aeropro has more power than previous model).

    I am going to play some more matches with the 99S, but honestly I believe this racquet will be for lower 4.5 players down. I can see the 3.5 and 4.0 players liking this racquet. Really to generate spin the player needs the correct technique (low to high) with any racquet to hit topspin. I am testing the Wilson 99S with an open mind so I am not biased. Regardless remember to ALWAYS demo a racquet before you ever purchase one. I have some friends that on a whim just buy new sticks without hitting with them. Needless to say they end up on craigslist or ****.
     
  22. Ross K

    Ross K Legend

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    Very interesting reading, especially as you compare it to the new APD.
     
  23. couch

    couch Hall of Fame

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    Have you hit with the regular 99? If so, how does that compare? I would think the 99 and the APD would be fairly similar given the weight, flex, and string pattern of the two. I really want to test both the 99S and 99 before making a decision on one. I hope to get some hitting in tonight with both to compare.
     
  24. drakulie

    drakulie Talk Tennis Guru

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    yes, it is necessary. LeeD is a poster who doesn't even play, and as evidenced by his posts in the Tips Section of the boards, has probably not picked up a racquet in over 40 years. He simply comes into threads to be a jerk and talk about how he used to hit 200 mph serves against Bill Tilden. If he wants to add something to the thread (good or bad) at least have the decency to playtest the frame and add something of substance instead of spewing stupidities.

    He is probably Fedace's dad.


    ERT is the stringbed stiffness.


    I'm simply completing a playtest of the frame, as I think it is very worthy. Will have a complete review in a few weeks. Also, will be playing a match tomorrow with it. We'll see how it goes.

    No, I was provided one by a wilson rep a few days ago to complete a full review at my request (not wilson's).

    I love gut mains/poly crosses, but will have to playtest some more before giving opinions. That said, it did play very nice with gut/poly. Still have to do extended playing with full poly.

    As for the blades, I've hit with them, but not extensively enough to provide feedback.

    The "feel" is ok and comfortable, but definitely not in the same league as a wilson 90, ps85, or prestige mid. Different, but still very nice. As I've noted earlier, the frame seems to flex nicely in the head giving it a more cushiony feel than what the data would show (high 60's in the flex dept).

    Nope, not at all.
     
  25. drakulie

    drakulie Talk Tennis Guru

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    Couch, thanks for adding your input.

    Wait until you hit with it a 3rd, 4th, 5th time for a few hours each time. You will gain more confidence, and begin hitting monster spin when you dial it in and have time to fully set up. I would also recommend you lowering tension a a tad. The serve also takes a bit of time to get use to, but it gets better each time. I added your review to the first page. Thanks!



    BTW, for those wanting to know, my gut mains (17g) and 4 g crosses broke at the 5 hour mark. I now have it strung with full bed of 4G at 54 lbs.

    full review to follow in few weeks after I've hit with it with a few more string set ups.
     
  26. JackB1

    JackB1 G.O.A.T.

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    I agree that you need a few sessions with the 99s to "learn how to use it" properly. It gets better and better each time out.
     
  27. martini1

    martini1 Hall of Fame

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    I have seen you hit with the PS6.0 85 re-issue. Was that the same way your hit with the 99S? You didn't seem to hit with big cuts or super hard. If u hit in that style and the strings broke in 5 hrs, I think I will be a string breaker with this stick! (I never break strings with my own stick. I only did that once with a coach's PD with syn gut or some multi)
     
  28. couch

    couch Hall of Fame

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    You're welcome Drak. Really excited about this stick. Hit with it again tonight and more-or-less just played around with the stick in my match to see what it can do. Still loving the confidence I have to go for my shots knowing the ball is going to land in.

    I'm not sure about the tension and/or gauge of string at this point. Lux 4G is a great new poly and I think goes well in this stick but even it moves a bit strung at 58lbs. All-in-all I'm really liking this racquet. I have no trouble driving the ball through the court. There's just a little extra spin, not too much, that gives you the confidence to swing out a little more than normal. When you need to generate even more spin it's there on demand. I've been hitting some nasty inside-out forehands and crosscourt angled forehands. The crosscourt forehands have so much spin when they hit the court they tend to take my opponents by surprise. It seems like they have a delayed reaction to the ball, like they need to run a little further a little faster after the ball bounces.
     
  29. drakulie

    drakulie Talk Tennis Guru

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    I typically break fully poly around the 8-12 hour mark as well as my gut/poly set up at 45 lbs in the PP and Donnay. The PS85 video, I'm actually hitting pretty hard, although nothing ever seems as it is on video. Speed just doesn't translate very well to video. During the SET Wilson test, I hit a few shots with the 99s over 80 mph, which is pretty fast considering.

    Best thing to do is to playtest, which is what I'm doing right now. Obviously, 5 hours is not going to cut it for me, so will eventually try out 16 gauge gut, and then also try pacific to see if that does better in durability.
     
  30. drakulie

    drakulie Talk Tennis Guru

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    This is exactly what I'm experiencing. My CC Forehand has simply become an enormous shot. My opponent will set up, and then realize the ball is exploding away from him. And yes, I am also not having problems flattening the ball out and driving it thru the court. I'm seeing that I could take bigger cuts, and the ball still lands in. One other thing, is being a flatter hitter on the FH side, I'm noting not as many shots into the net,,,, they lift just enough, drive thru the court and then dip before going long.
     
  31. canuckfan

    canuckfan Semi-Pro

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    Did you spend some time hitting the regular steam 99?
     
  32. couch

    couch Hall of Fame

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    Unfortunately no. I have to catch a flight at 7:00 am in the morning and just wanted to get done as soon as I could and get out of there.

    I get back on Friday and I may hit then depending how I feel after traveling all week. Will definitely hit with it this weekend though.

    Sorry- no update on the 99.
     
  33. canuckfan

    canuckfan Semi-Pro

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    No worries. Thanks for the feedback; looking forward to more steamy playtesting :)
     
  34. couch

    couch Hall of Fame

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    I think people that have the ability will get the most out of this racquet. I think 3.0 - 4.0 players will get some benefit from this racquet but a higher level player that has good racquet head speed will, I think, be able to utilize this racquet to it's full potential. I find myself snickering sometimes when my opponent hits a bad shot back because I know the spin took them by surprise. And I think it's heavy spin, not cream puff spin. Again, that's going to depend on your style and racquet head speed.

    All I know is I've not had this much fun playing with a racquet in a long time. Maybe that will die down in the next week or two but I hope not. Can't wait till I actually get dialed in with the racquet.
     
  35. drakulie

    drakulie Talk Tennis Guru

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    Yup, agreed. Lots of fun playtesting the frame.

    what have your opponents feedback been like?
     
  36. parasailing

    parasailing Hall of Fame

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    You guys are killing me with all the rave reviews about the racquet. I guess I am just going to have to wait till January to even get a shot at using this racquet :).
     
  37. Hankenstein

    Hankenstein Professional

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    An interesting thing is that the 99s i tried had a little bit silicone inside the handle. Just a tad actually, maybe 1-2 grams. The blacked out frame was strung with 4G in maybe 55 lbs and from the RA of 68 was nothing to be noticed! A 62-63 value was more what it felt like.

    I also had a brief hit with a "real" 99S, painted in the true colors and it had no silicone inside the handle. The feel was 100 % same as the blacked out test frame.

    Interesting fact is that Wilson sends out the 99s strung with Sensation and not 4G.

    When i get my 4 99s in january, i will inject around 10 grams of silicone and add maybe 5 grams of total lead at 3 and 9 to make it a tad more head light and even more solid, but even in stock form the frame plays really really good!
     
  38. mikeler

    mikeler G.O.A.T.

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    The good thing with having Sensation in that frame is that it will last one match and then you can put something better in right after that. :)
     
  39. dmcb101

    dmcb101 Semi-Pro

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    I also wished that wilson would have put PWS in these racquets although I bet that is a challenge when making this specific pattern. I wonder if it would be possible to make a 16X15 pattern in the six.one mold? I have always played with wilson racquets with the PWS and really like it and I believe it would be interesting if wilson came up with a racquet with a really open string pattern while including the PWS. Just some food for thought...
     
  40. corners

    corners Legend

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    PWS is unnecessary. The whole point of PWS was to add mass at 3&9 to improve torsional stability by increasing polar moment of inertia, aka twistweight. But if you peruse the list of twistweights of contemporary frames you'll see that racquets with PWS have low to average twistweights. Manufacturers can easily add mass at the 3&9 or 10&2 or 11&1 positions without changing the shape of the frame. PWS was a big deal in 1980 but it's just for nostalgia now.
     
  41. dmcb101

    dmcb101 Semi-Pro

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    Interesting

    This is an interesting point. Maybe what I supposedly liked about the PWS was the added weight at 3 and 9. I demoed the 99s and cant quite remember the overall stability factor but I guess if I felt like I wanted more there is always the option of adding lead. Thanks for the post!
     
  42. JackB1

    JackB1 G.O.A.T.

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    has anyone else compared the Steam 99s with the Juice 100? I am a little torn between the 2.
     
  43. A_Instead

    A_Instead Professional

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    Jack1B,
    Steam 99s has less power than the Juice.
    Steam has more control.
    Steam has more feel.
    Steam has more flex.
    Spin was no different between the 2.

    I still prefer my BLX Pro Opens.
     
  44. dmcb101

    dmcb101 Semi-Pro

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    I disagree with the spin statement. I felt a big difference was off center hits. The steam came through in that department where the Juice was really flimsy feeling on off center hits.
     
  45. JackB1

    JackB1 G.O.A.T.

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    thanks. I tend to agree with you on all those counts, although I think the difference in power is negligable. When I hit with them side by side, the 99s felt a little more "solid" on impact, while the Juice had a slightly "tinny" feel. Did you find that as well?
     
  46. dmcb101

    dmcb101 Semi-Pro

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    This is exactly what I was thinking. Dont mean to butt in!
     
  47. racertempo

    racertempo Semi-Pro

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    I am another one that will attest to all of these statements from my experience with both frames.........EXCEPT I noticed (I my hitting partner noticed as well) far more spin with the 99s. Mine were strung the same as well, the Juice just felt like a 110-115in- type frame with a thick beam, lots of power, and difficult to control. The Steam 99s AND the 105s were both better than the 100 Juice in all categories for my game (and by better that means lower power).
     
  48. A_Instead

    A_Instead Professional

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    Jack1B,
    Yes Steam 99s seemed more solid.
    Using my standard string set up. Gosan Hybrid 57lbs . I didnt need as much of a dampener on the Steam. (which I like).


    Racertempo,
    I do suppose the Steam has a more ball "catching" feature that applies spin more easily. Meaning that with slight cuts, chips, out of position flicks, the ball did not fly/take off as much as the string bed "gripped" the ball better/more.

    The Steam 99s is unigue and one can tell that the string bed can do more for you in terms of spin.

    Its winter here in PA so I have been playing in doors on a slippery service so I dont see the "kicking", "jumping" as much when the ball lands on the other side as I do outdoors on a normal service. (Serves slide about 4 inches before they kick up)

    I do notice that Kick serves are easy. Real easy and jump nicely. (even on the slick service)


    On another note, It is expected that Santa will bring me the new AroPro Drive so I will be able to compare it to the Steam 99s as well.
     
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2012
  49. racertempo

    racertempo Semi-Pro

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    Good to hear that you also noticed the serve kicking, I don't think anyone has demo'd yet that has not liked the serve kick from this frame.

    I just want it out already.....anyone hear any official release dates yet?
     
  50. Ashanti

    Ashanti Rookie

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    I feel this is wilson's answer to the apd a pure spin frame and i feel from just collective reading there equal but the steam is giving more spin potential
     

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