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

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

  1. JackB1

    JackB1 G.O.A.T.

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    is it hard to switch back and forth between the blade and the 99? Seems like the swing weight where is higher on the blade. I know on paper the swing weights are similar but for some reason the blade felt much heavier through the air to me.
     
  2. Ross K

    Ross K Legend

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    Yep, it's a tricky not altogether wholly desirable switching process, but one I can't help but feel compelled to make as I like the Blade very much indeed (as a lover of the Pure Control Swirly, but always finding it a bit much, this has some very similar features IMO, and is generally a bit easier to use.) That said though, the 99s is working better and better for me.

    BTW, absolutely, the Blade seems to carry more heft. I also think that HH balance there has a big impact.
     
  3. JackB1

    JackB1 G.O.A.T.

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    What have u done to make the S play better? Did u change anything in how you were planning with it?
     
  4. Rabbit

    Rabbit G.O.A.T.

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    Mine's doing great, not even fatigued after play. A friend of mine, who's a NTRP 5.0, changed from the APD to this frame and says his arm hurt with the APD, but now strung full poly at 58 feels great. He said a month of playing with the 99S has re-habbed his arm.

    Yep, I feel exactly the same way. I found myself winning baseline rallies the other night against a 5.0 who also uses the 99S (same guy above). He's 37 and I'm 54. :) If almost feels like the harder you swing, the better this racquet acts. For me, the weight and balance are perfect.

    Well, I didn't think it was too early. Yeah, I saw that Baseline/Long Life. They are interesting. Since I string my own and trust me cost is still a factor, but by and large, I think I'm getting good string life. Again, the Isospeed Pulse felt great at the first hit. We'll see how it goes next time around.
     
  5. JackB1

    JackB1 G.O.A.T.

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    Hey Ross I have to say, Like you I am getting the hang of the 99S more and more each time out. I played two sets of singles tonight and the first set I had a few errors...some double faults and some overhit balls that flew out. But in the second set I started to relax and feel more comfortable with the racket and those errors went way down. If I could just keep playing like that all the time I would be happy. The 99s is definitely an acquired taste that takes some getting used to. I am also getting pretty good life out of my first string set up which was full 4G 16 gauge. It's going on about three weeks now and it's still in pretty good shape and still very playable. The guy I was playing with had a Donnay pro one strung with full poly and I must say the 99 Felt Way more comfortable and plush. It was like night and day to me how much softer it was. Anyway if I can keep being consistent with the racket I will make it my own for good. At least for now :)
     
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2013
  6. srvnvly

    srvnvly Professional

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    Jack - is this with your new 1HBH? Just curious; it seems like you are getting used to the racquet and playing better.
     
  7. Ace of Aces

    Ace of Aces Rookie

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    I'm glad this was only a mini-review. A full one would have around 100,000 posts.
     
  8. JackB1

    JackB1 G.O.A.T.

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    Yes I am getting more used to the racquet and errors are going down. The trick is I have to see if I can keep this up over an extended period of time. About the backhand, I am NOT using it much in match play yet at all. I am still slicing most of the time but if I get ahead in a game and I have enough time to set up I will try and hit the 1 hander. The good news is I can get by most of the time without it for now. Most people arent good enough to keep hitting to my backhand and I usually have time to hit 80 percent forehands. As I work on it more and it gets more consistent I will roll it out more often in match play.
     
  9. Ross K

    Ross K Legend

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    Simply played more with it, got better used to it. Liked it better after TB too. Coming from APD, J100, this frame definitely suits me.

    Also, it's when putting it in the mix with other frames, that I start to see it's qualities more clearly.

    Right now, between Blade and Steam, it's all about slightly more powerful, slightly thicker beam, easier swinging topspin machine VS plowy lush mega-solidness and great feel more driving Blade... which am I more effective with? I'm in the process of finding out right now.
     
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2013
  10. racertempo

    racertempo Semi-Pro

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    I played a singles match last night for the first time with my Steams. My 99S has MSV Focus Hex Soft 17 at 50# and my 105S has MSV So-FOcus 16L at 54#. This is was my first singles match but I did play 3 hours of doubles last week switching between the 2 frames every 4 games. Last night was interesting, My natural defensive game is a bit of a struggle with this frame for sure.....it is one thing to hit out against a ball machine but another to do it in a match. My normal stroke is very flat with low net clearance that lands around the service line occasionally, but usually deeper.

    I planned on the whole match with the 99s and just struggled to get the ball deep with it, my natural shot was just dipping with more spin and dropping too short in the court. After being down 1 break at 2-5 I switched to the 105s and played much much better. Same problem at first but finally really put the thought of hitting deeper in the front of my mind on every stroke.....and just trust it. IT worked great and I was able to attack the net as I like with those deep approaches with spin.

    I think I would have gotten there with the 99s as well, but I felt more comfortable with the 105s. I could be the string for sure, as I also served a bit better with the 105s, more power on my flat serve and more control, for me. I know people think the 105 frames are rocket launchers, but this one is so different at 8HL and 333SW and a 11oz strung. Those are 97-100in frame specs but with extra forgiveness and spin in this frame.

    http://twu.tennis-warehouse.com/cgi...100|Babolat|AeroPro:Drive:GT:2013|RCBABOLAT|x

    Check out the link just to see how forgiving the 99s AND 105s really are.


    I'll play a little more with this string before making a change, I think Spin Cycle or Gosen Polymaster will be my next string job.
     
  11. Anton

    Anton Hall of Fame

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    Can't make a deep ball? With 99s with 17g poly at 50lbs? With flat stroke? :confused::confused:
     
  12. racertempo

    racertempo Semi-Pro

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    Why confused......my point that my normal shot is dipping short due to the extra spin that I am not used to. I do not see the increase in trajectory that others have noted about, so I am still clearing the net low and the ball is dipping quickly with the spin........on my normal stroke. I am having to force my self to hit a little more aggressively and deeper, trusting that it will drop in. In my last 3 games I must have hit 4-5 balls I thought were 1-2 feet out that were in. I also don't see the lack of control that others have seen, but clearly that is due to my more defensive nature of hitting groudstrokes.
     
  13. g4driver

    g4driver Hall of Fame

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    TroutSc,

    For the past 2.5 years I have played both singles and doubles with Wilson Pro Opens strung with WeissCannon Black5Edge/Technifibre X-One Bi-phase. I have struggled with TE in the past, and my arm doesn't like most frames that measure over 67 on an RDC. I have tried many frames and I get the same result, so when I saw the Steam 99S RDC measurement, I knew my arm wouldn't like me for buying them.

    It's my understanding that stiffness measurements are an average of several unstrung frames. After a long demo process and failed attempts with stiff frames and full poly I settled in with the Pro Opens. My hybrid setup isn't the most spin friendly setup, but play competively at singles and doubles at 3.5 and 4.0, and I have no TE or shoulder issues at all with this frame/string setup.

    Enter the Steam 99S. I played 21 sets in four days, then played another four days with the 99S. Then starting alternating between the Steam 99s and my Pro Opens for doubles when I started to feel the TE kicking in. Played a tournament only using the Pro Opens. After three more singles matches with Steam 99S my shoulder starting hurting and I benched the Steam 99S, and took a week off from all tennis. Since I wasn't playing, I replaced the stock grip (14 grams installed) with a Wilson Pro Hybrid grip (22 grams installed), and added another 6 grams in the handle. They now come in 338 grams and more headlight, to match my Pro Opens in weight and nearly in balance. I haven't hit with them yet, but I know I will never be able to use this frame as a day to day racquet. :(

    On Friday, my shoulder was still hurting after more than a week without tennis, so I made an appt and went to a PT yesterday. There is no long term damage, but but I know my elbow and shoulder can't take my schedule and routine of playing 3 to 4 days straight with the 99S. For me, the Steam 99S would probably work as an occasional singles stick, and I kept one for that purpose, but it will be a while before I hit with it again.

    I love the Steam 99S for singles, but I like my Pro Opens more for doubles with the flatter shots cross-court away from the net player, and I definitely like my Pro Opens at the net vs the Steam 99S. I can flatten out shots with the Steam 99S, but the Pro Open setup makes flattening out shots much easier, do to the string pattern and hybrid setup. Hitting 3 to 5 sets a day, three to four days in a row is normal for me. It is just my routine. Can't change that unless I play less often. I would rather play with a more flexible frame more often than play less often with a stiffer frame.

    My bum arm and schedule dictate the hybrid setup with soft multi crosses. And although I wish the Steam 99S was more flexible, Wilson choose to make it stiffer. Not sure why. ??? Flexible frames have more control and spin, and the Steam 99S could use more control IMO over power. Power is easily tweaked with strings and tension IMO. But the only way to tweak stiffness is adding weight.

    Am I am alone in wishing this frame had more control and less power ? A more flexible frame would have helped this cause.

    Best wishes with your demos.
     
  14. g4driver

    g4driver Hall of Fame

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    TroutSc,

    I am hoping Prince does something that Wilson didn't with the Steam 99S, give it more control with a more flexible frame. This frame looks promising for guys like me who are looking for a more flexible frame with a more open pattern similar to the 99S.

    It's a Prince EXO3 Tour 100 ESP 16x16 pattern and hopefully the arm friendly EXO tradition.

    http://www.zimbio.com/photos/Antonia+Lottner/2012+US+Open+Day+11/Pui7qQgacIH

    Released sometime in 2013 but no date yet. Not sure what this is a picture exactly, but it looks like 16 crosses to me

    http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?f...3920.-2207520000.1354222488&type=3&permPage=1
     
  15. JackB1

    JackB1 G.O.A.T.

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    Hey G4. I am surprised your Pro Open feels that much softer than the 99s. My 99s with full 4g feels very soft to me and not harsh at all. I sometimes feel a little tenderness in my elbow after a long match, but it's always gone the next day. I have a suggestion...try a full bed of Wilson NXT Control in the 99s at 60lbs. It's a very low powered soft string that plays like a poly hybrid setup. Only question will be how long will it last you? If you're not a very hard/heavy top hitter, it might be good?

    Note:I think Wilson should add one more cross next time and close up the pattern just a little....make it 16x16. That would aid durability and tension loss somewhat. Also add a little flex to the frame and make it around 67RA.
     
  16. g4driver

    g4driver Hall of Fame

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    Thanks Jack,

    I demoed NXT Control for Wilson in 2010 I think before they brought it to market as NXT Control in my Pro Opens as a full bed and I liked it.
    I broke it in about 12-15 hours, but that is normal for me. Wilson sent me two packs for free for my review and I use it as crosses for guys who break NRG2 too quickly, but don't like full poly. If they sold it in reels, I would buy it for all the guys I use for as a cross. Hate wasting 4-5' of it when I hybrid. :( And it is far superior to Duramix IMO (Duramix feels harsh to me).

    I don't care for NXT Control as a cross only compared to X-one or NXT but as a full bed, it hits pretty nice.

    I will try it again in the Steam 99S after my elbow and shoulder get a little better. Wonder if it will snap back .

    The EXO Tour 100 ESP looks very hopeful. Just not sure when Prince will release it.
     
  17. Rafaboy

    Rafaboy Rookie

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    I think a more flexible frame would worsen the control on this racket. The stringbed is already somewhat vague if you dont hit with authority. To add more flex would give you even less of a margin of error here.
     
  18. Boricua

    Boricua Hall of Fame

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    Why do you prefer Tour Bite over 4g in the Steam?
    Is this frame pretty arm friendly with these stiff polys? Is the Steam 99s much more arm friendly than a 2013 APD?
     
  19. Boricua

    Boricua Hall of Fame

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    What tension did you put in the 4g?
     
  20. PED

    PED Legend

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    TB 16g bites harder than 4g. 4g is lower powered and the ball does not feel like it explodes off the bed.

    Steam is softer than the APD but I feel the reason some are having arm issues is the poly you need to use in it ;)

    I've always found 16g (1.30mm)polys to play a good deal stiffer than their 16L (1.25mm) cousins.

    I dropped the tension around 4lbs when going from 16L TB to 16g TB and that seemed to make a difference.

    In the end, I think they produce a similar style of game play and it can very effective. I hit against a 99 non S all weekend and it gave my hitting partner another couple of feet and depth and a bit more velocity on his groundies.

    The spin didn't bother me but the extra depth kept me from attacking a few balls that I would have previously. I've hit with this guy for 7 years so I'm pretty familiar with what he can do. Nice stick overall.
     
  21. Ross K

    Ross K Legend

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    Boricua,

    PED has answered everything you asked me previously in the above response ^.:)
     
  22. Boricua

    Boricua Hall of Fame

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    What tension did you use in 4g and TB?
     
  23. doctor dennis

    doctor dennis Rookie

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    I've been using ALU rough for nearly four hours. They move quite a bit. Don't know if its because I have it strung at 55lbs. My others one has 4g at 55 lbs but I won't be using it till the ALU rough snaps. It plays awesome though.
    I hope it doesn't move as much.
     
  24. Ross K

    Ross K Legend

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    4G @ 56 lbs, TB @ 53 lbs. Actually, noticed yesterday, after not much use, the tension has already gone southwards a bit with the TB.
     
  25. Boricua

    Boricua Hall of Fame

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    Bad news for TB. Have you considered B5E? Jason from TW used it in the 99S and liked it. Weiss Cannon strings hold tension well. Other strings you could consider are Tornado and Poly Plasma from Signum Pro.
     
  26. PED

    PED Legend

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    B:

    I've tried four different strings in the 99S and they've all dropped tension fairly quickly. The ultra open pattern gives wicked spin but it batters the hell out of the stringbed as well.
     
  27. Boricua

    Boricua Hall of Fame

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    Not for me then. I am sticking with the Organix 7, comfy, spinny, poly friendly and 16 x 19..:)
     
  28. usta2050

    usta2050 Rookie

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    tried it today after buying 2. it's very comfortable and has an open string pattern of kennex kinetic reach 20g. no prob with arm after 3 sets. unlike babolat pd or ap, those give me arm issues after 1 set.

    lots of spins and the feel isn't too bad. if you use a big oversize stick, you will like this one. and I am glad i didn't get the 105s. this one is perfect. 105 may be too big.
     
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2013
  29. drakulie

    drakulie Talk Tennis Guru

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    same here. loving the frame. The more I hit (although it hasn't been a lot lately), the more in tune I get with it, and the more I could hit out without thinking about it.

    Been hitting lately with Genesis Hexonic. Not nearly as much power, and there is definitely not the same amount of spin production as with gut/poly, but more control, and I could still hit with plenty of spin. Also, the strings durability seems to be holding up well. will continue to update.
     
  30. parasailing

    parasailing Hall of Fame

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    How about using Tour Bite Soft? I heard good things about this string and would be interesting how well it plays on this frame. Has anyone tried Black Widow given it's one of the best spin string out there?
     
  31. Ross K

    Ross K Legend

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    Thought I'd post this in the original (and best IMO) 99s thread... Just wanted to hear if ppl have now managed to nail their string choice down with this frame yet? What have ppl finally settled on?

    For me, I'm kind of back with the TB, which I like for everything bar it loses tension a bit quicker than I'd prefer in 99s.
     
  32. DANMAN

    DANMAN Professional

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    Anyone know why I can't find this frame in a 4 5/8 anywhere? I'm going to grab one to try.
     
  33. doctor dennis

    doctor dennis Rookie

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    Not quite nailed it down yet. I've got pro red code, 4g and focus hex to go through before I make my final choice.
    The way this thing eats strings I'll know by the weekend. The most I've got out of any strings so far is 7 hours of play.
     
  34. NE1for10is?

    NE1for10is? Semi-Pro

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    I haven't waded through all the pages of this thread, so if this has already been mentioned forgive me, but is it bothering anyone's arm or wrist yet? Everybody went out and bought a PDR and thought it was amazing in 2012 and half of them have arm and wrist issues in 2013. The 99S looks like a pretty stiff racquet and a TW tester on the video mentioned that it was hurting his arm after a short amount of playing. So, is the 99S the new PDR of 2013?
     
  35. g4driver

    g4driver Hall of Fame

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    Maybe I am the only one. :(

    After about ten days of hitting with the Steam 99S, I started to feel pain in my elbow then shoulder. I put the Steam 99S down as soon as I felt the shoulder pain. I have never had a shoulder injury in my entire life. The shoulder is sore, and it hurts to serve or hit overheads. It is so bad, I can't sleep on my right side.

    My limit seems to be a "67" on frames measured by RDC. Last year, I bought and played with a couple of Yonex VCore 100s, but weighted them up to 335 grams and my elbow kept saying "too much"

    I went to a PT last week. No long term damage. Just rest and exercise.
     
  36. acura9927

    acura9927 Semi-Pro

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    Tried this out yesterday and really liked goundstrokes with it, I play with Dunlops and well to me a lot of their racquets are line drives sticks. Well done Wilson.
     
  37. Gemini

    Gemini Hall of Fame

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    You're not the only one. I had it out for a pretty intense demo for three consecutive days and my arm ended up being pretty sore, especially around the elbow. I did notice the positives (enhanced spin) of the racquet but I'm not looking to gain that at the expense of a probable injury.
     
  38. Rafaboy

    Rafaboy Rookie

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    I injured my wrist pretty bad because the racket allowed me to hit hard as i could and still land in. so i got careless and swung away.

    But then i started to fine tune my style and watch my timing
    and avoid being to rigid with at contact.

    My wrist has healed up, and the 99s is working good for me.
     
  39. JackB1

    JackB1 G.O.A.T.

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    problem with demos is that you could be playing with already dead poly.
     
  40. dmcb101

    dmcb101 Semi-Pro

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    I think it is important to note that technique is also a large factor in creating injuries and not just the racquet. If you look at the WTA and ATP tour, many pros play with babolats that have a high stiffness rating and yet never seem to get wrist/elbow/shoulder injuries. I myself have gotten a tinge of pain when playing with it and noticed it was purely because I was trying to wrist my shots for that extra bit of spin. Once I got back to my regular form, all was well and have not had any pain at all since.

    Just something to keep in mind, and I am not trying to come off as rude, just noting that argument. By the way I am still really enjoying this frame. I actually played with my six.one 95 (18X20) for a few days because I busted the string in my 99s and could tell a noticeable difference in spin production. I still love the six.one 95, but the 99s surely has it beat in the spin department. Touch, maybe not so, but it does a nice job there as well.

    Glad to see the thread alive and well!
     
  41. g4driver

    g4driver Hall of Fame

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    You made an observation that "many pros play with babolats that have a high stiffness rating, and yet never seem to get wrist/elbow/shoulder injuries."

    I can make that very same observation about 2.5 and 3.0 players playing with those very same Babolat stiff frames, but it doesn't mean their technique is perfect or anywhere near it. It just means their wrist/elbows and shoulders can take the vibration and stiffness of the frame they choose to use.

    Some players simply don't hit with very stiff frames, including ATP and WTA Pros, no matter how sound their technique might be. There is a reason companies make "arm-friendly" frames and promote them as such in their marketing.

    It's amazing how my "technique" doesn't cause any problem with a Wilson Pro Open playing four days straight with the same balance and static weight of my Wilson Steam 99S, yet as soon as hit with my Wilson Steam 99S all of a sudden my "technique" is the problem that lead to my injury. Yeah that's the culprit.:rolleyes:

    It's even more amazing I had the same problem with my PDGTs back in the spring of 2010, and my technique was magically fixed when I switched to a more flexible Wilson Pro Open which cured my TE. :shock:

    Sure, technique could be part of the problem, but the stiffness and vibration of a frame is the most guilty culprit of TE and a shoulder injury, if the technique is constant when comparing frame A vs frame B with nearly identical weights (2 grams) and balance (1 Pt).
     
  42. JackB1

    JackB1 G.O.A.T.

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    G4, I hear what you are saying, but your logic may have some small holes...
    Someone's technique flaws may be softened up or lessened JUST ENOUGH by certain racquets, so that they never experience any pain. Move onto a SLIGHTLY more stiff frame or a differently balanced/weighted frame and boom...pain! Did your "technique" change? Of course not...but a minor technique flaw may become more exposed with a stiffer frame. The bottom line is it's not a black/white issue. It's a combination of factors....frame stiffness, strings, string tension, how often you miss the sweet spot, how often you play, how relaxed/tense your muscles are, how tight you grip, your grip size, handle shape, AND.....your technique. ALL play a factor.
     
  43. g4driver

    g4driver Hall of Fame

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    I think you just helped my case. ;) I know I am flawed. ;)

    Those flaws make my arm hurt with a Steam 99S, where my Pro Opens don't make my arm hurt. The problem for me with the Steam 99S is it needs full poly, and I don't like full poly in my Pro Opens.

    It is an amazing frame for those who don't have the same problem I do. I am hopeful the EXO Tour 100 ESP lives up to it's potential.
     
  44. dmcb101

    dmcb101 Semi-Pro

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    This is exactly what my point was
     
  45. JackB1

    JackB1 G.O.A.T.

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    I also don't like the fact that full poly is almost a must in the 99s.
    I may try hybriding with a softer 16g cross? Something like Duramix or NXT Control or FXP Tour 16.
     
  46. wao

    wao Professional

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    Agree strung a hybrid up of ALU and Sensation (16) and it broke within 2 hrs of just hitting with my doubles partner. Restrung it with Lux Savage to see how that goes.
     
  47. Roberto_spin

    Roberto_spin Rookie

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    a bit off-topic and probably a stupid question: but is there a test or something to see if my racket contains "dead poly"?

    especially if you borrow a racket... I restring my poly after a certain time (months), because I don't want negatives effect that can lead to TE.

    But I have to admit... I'm not sure how to determine it. I always played with multifilaments and that is pretty easy...
     
  48. Ross K

    Ross K Legend

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    Starting to see a lot of ppl dropping this frame now, Steams turning up in the F/S sections... how we all doing with ours now then? FWW, I'm still testing and making up my mind between 99s and 16x19 Blade.

    Secondly, so many ppl (myself included to a degree) seem to find this frame kind of leaves the ball invitingly sitting up a bit and in the opponent's comfort zone for them to take the initiative with, how have folks overcome or got around this?
     
  49. Rafaboy

    Rafaboy Rookie

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    Location:
    Manacor
    I think this frame, along with finding the right setup, takes a lot more practice to get consistent than initially felt during the demo and trial phase.

    In short, it truly takes a modification of your style to adapt to it. The high spin approach that i use on my APD seems to leave a lot of returns into the net. It takes a while to teach the muscle memory what will and will not work.
     
  50. Dgdavid

    Dgdavid Professional

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2011
    Messages:
    997
    Location:
    Surrey, England
    I have trying the 99S weighted up to 346g strung, same as my non-S version. The non-S reacted well to the extra weight so maybe the S will too. Last chance saloon though, should have adjusted by now and fed up with opponents hoping I pull the 99 out of the bag rather than the Rads.
     

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