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

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

  1. Pheniox

    Pheniox New User

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    The key tenet of the very low tension theory is greater snap back on the mains. Higher swing speed allows more force on the strings = greater displacement. I would argue that slow swing speed won't generate much spin either way, and no spin means you will be sling-shotting the ball on low tension and back boarding the ball at high tension.

    As for racket angle, the more acute the angle to the ball, the more the ball displaces the mains vs sling-shots off of them. This contributes to why low low tension works on sw and western grips because you are sling shotting the ball around itself instead of back across the court.
     
  2. Ross K

    Ross K Legend

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    Thanks Jack.
     
  3. Rabbit

    Rabbit G.O.A.T.

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    if your premise is wrong, all the rationalization in the world won't make it right.

    If Nadal strung at 70 and the feel of such a boardy string job caused him to slow his swing speed, he wouldn't have as much spin.

    With regard to Nadal, tension, and surface, you are again making an assumption that he lowers tension to flatten the ball on a hardcourt which is not true. Nadal plays 54 regardless of setting.

    If you read this thread, it is virtually littered with examples of players who get tons of spin with very varied setups. Your assertion that if they only went higher they'd have more spin in neither provable or disprovable.

    The overwhelming evidence though suggests that a player's game is determined by the player and his technique, not by any characteristic of his equipment and/or setup.
     
  4. jackcrawford

    jackcrawford Professional

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    I agree, another example is Blake strings at 68 and is the flattest hitter on the tour.
     
  5. The Dark Knight

    The Dark Knight Legend

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    We agree about just about everything ....

    the point I'm making is that Nadal is NOT string his racquets to obtain the maximum amount of spin because that's not actually adviseable....to much spin is not a good thing .....you need the right balance and that's a personal taste.

    This is all of course completely theory and even the experts disagree.

    I agree that technique creates spin ....more specifically head speed.

    The best example I could give about my theory is a pingpong racket....

    With a ping pong racquet you have a completely flat surface .....the tightest tension in the world . It's not a board like feeling .....it is literally a board.

    Now imagine instead of a board you would be playing ping pong with a paddle the had strings ....like a small racquet ball racquet . What do you think would happen?

    If you swung for the fences in that scenario the ball would land far out of the table. It's just too powerful .

    By analogy the same holds true for tennis .....

    Lets use some logic.....

    It seems we both agree that head speed is what creates spin and certainly most experts say that as well.

    The experts also say that looser strings give more power and more of a trampoline effect.

    Following that line of logic if you swing at the same speed with a loose string pattern as you would with a tight boardy string pattern.....the ball
    Will travel further with the loose string pattern.

    Just as the ping pong example the ball will travel out of the court with too big of a swing with a loose string pattern.

    At least this is my theory....

    Spin = head speed.

    Low tension + great head speed = balls flying out of the court .

    Now whether this is true or not I don't know but it is my belief and it's a logical one .
     
  6. Ross K

    Ross K Legend

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    Any chance we might get back to discussing the 99s? :)
     
  7. The Dark Knight

    The Dark Knight Legend

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    Study by racquet sports industry.....here are portions of it....two main points/


    Spin

    It is often assumed that control is linked with the ability to apply spin to the ball. If that is so, then does spin depend on string tension? Players often say “high tension strings bite into the ball giving more spin.” (“Biting” is used in common tennis parlance to mean creating more friction by increasing the space between strings for the ball to sink into; using rougher, stickier, textured, or shaped strings to “grab” the ball; using thinner strings to dig into the ball; or using higher tension to increase surface contact forces.)


    Figure 1: View from behind the tennis racquet —
    (left) ball just in contact with strings, and (right)
    ball midway through impact.
    Fortunately, the spin generated for a typical ball-racquet impact can easily be measured. This has been done at the University of Sheffield in England, and the results showed that the spin on the ball is not dependent on string tension or string type. In that testing it was concluded that all stringbeds are sufficiently “rough” to achieve maximum spin for the given shot. Therefore, even if thin, sticky, and tight strings were used in an attempt to increase stringbed “roughness,” there would be no actual increase in rebound spin.

    However, the fact remains that players feel that they can achieve more spin with high-tension strings. Three possibilities arise: (1) the players are simply incorrect; (2) players feel a difference in some other impact related event like more or less dwell time, string movement, or ball travel across the racquet and incorrectly interpret that as more spin; (3) the player, not the racquet, does something differently when playing with higher tension strings that, indeed, produces more spin. So, we did more tests to find the answer.

    The study compared two identical tennis racquets, one strung at 40 pounds and one strung at 70 pounds (the same tensions as in our previously mentioned spin study). The impact apparatus can be set up to simulate a player hitting a topspin groundstroke, and we can measure the ball rebound spin using a high speed video camera operating at 240 frames/sec. As in previous testing, it was found that the measured rebound spin for both racquets was identical. So have the players’ perceptions been proven wrong?

    Not necessarily. Because tighter strings produce less velocity, the ball will land shorter in the court. To make up for this, the player might swing harder generating more spin. In this case, it is not tighter strings that produce more spin, but the player’s response to tighter strings. In any case, the player is likely to notice the greater spin without realizing that he is swinging faster.

    Similarly, even if the player does not swing harder, he may think there is more spin with higher tensions. That is because, although the spin is not greater at higher tensions, the ball speed will be lower, so the ratio of spin to speed will be greater. The ball will then appear to land shorter in the court at slightly steeper angles and to bounce higher — in reality just consequences of less velocity.

    If string tension doesn’t influence spin, it can’t influence control through spin. So we are forced to look elsewhere for our connection between string tension and control. Fortunately, we find three variables that do vary with string tension — string movement, dwell time, and ball travel across the stringbed — that might influence control.

    Conclusion

    Changing racquet tension does not affect spin, but it does affect string movement, dwell time, and ball contact distance. These latter parameters all can affect the ball trajectory as well as the player’s feel of the impact.

    The main advice is that high string tensions make your shot more consistent and make it easier to hit topspin shots. If you do not like the “boardy” feel of high tension strings, then use a lower tension but remember to restring regularly to minimize the affects of undesirable string motion.
     
  8. The Dark Knight

    The Dark Knight Legend

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    Sorry Ross.....

    Just don't know how much more there is to discuss?

    It seems I like the Vortex better....but someone suggested I try the 99s with some lead tape and use 4g

    I'm going to give that a final shot.

    I find the Wilson and Vortex sticks to be pretty much identical except that vortex makes a wider variety of sticks to choose from.....especially player sticks like the tour 95 ( sold out ) and the tour 100.

    It's amazing ....I've been trying to tell this board about the vortex since it came out but everyone said it was too weird to even try.

    So Wilson does the same thing and now all of a
    Sudden people are going crazy like it's a new invention or something ?

    It's funny how consumers behave .....but cest la vie . :)
     
  9. jackcrawford

    jackcrawford Professional

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    Wilson is claiming it is new, that the fact the Steam 99s has less cross strings than mains makes all the difference and Doppler radar can verify this. Your experience ,which is of course valuable to report, is that it is not so. It would be intersting to see actual RPM rates on your shots as measured by the Trackman system.
     
  10. The Dark Knight

    The Dark Knight Legend

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    The Wilson's are 15 x 16 and the Vortex's go as low as
    14 x 16 .

    So the Wilson's have actually a 31 pattern while the Vortex has 30.

    So I think it's pretty much the same but that's not scoentific....I can just tell you how it feels.

    Having said that .....I think whether you like the stick depends on the player.

    Personally the 99s is too light for my taste and the ball sits up to high for me. I prefer the heavier vortex tour at a 14 x 18 pattern.

    I think a lower level player may benefit more from the 99s or one of the non tour racquets because you can get the ball over the net with little effort.

    But the more devastating winners I think you need a little LESS spin and need to flatten out .

    Here's where Vortex really beats Wilson .....they have a range of many different racquets with many different string patterns .....all with 14 mains but ranging from 16 - 18 crosses .

    But again I don't feel any difference whatsoever between 14x16 or 16x15.
     
  11. charliefedererer

    charliefedererer Legend

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    I had suggested adding the 4 gm along the inside of the lowest part of the throat to make the racquet to give it a more substantial feel but without altering the swing weight all that much (in effect making it more "head light").

    But there is nothing magical about this location or weight.

    Just like in your reasoning with string tension, where some players will just prefer the tension higher or lower - some might like more lead and in different locations.

    Lead tape is really cheap - and you can add and subtract it easily.

    When experimenting with lead tape I bring the tape and pair of scissors to the court.

    It is amazing how you can feel even fairly small additions - and if it feels too heavy, just remove a layer.

    I actually plan on doing a little more experimenting tomorrow.


    I would also be interested if others had added some lead to the 99S and thought it made the frame feel more like a "player's stick".
     
  12. morandi

    morandi Rookie

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    I tailweighted mine to about 11.8-11.9oz and seven points headlight. One of my racquets has some lead at three and nine, but I put that on just to match the other racquet. I lost nothing in terms of manuverability, and gained a much more solid feel, more put away power, and more easy pace and kick on serve.
     
  13. The Dark Knight

    The Dark Knight Legend

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    Thanks will do !

    As far as the tensions it's not what I felt it's what racquet sports industry stated and it makes sense....

    They say that neither low or high gives you more spin ; however with higher tensions you feel like you can swing the racquet harder and still keep the ball in.....thereby swinging with more head speed and imparting more spin on the ball.

    That's basically what I was trying to say and failed.
     
  14. morandi

    morandi Rookie

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    I played with my 99s at 62lbs with 4G. I did not like it at first, I had to really swing out in order to get the pace and depth that I was getting at 58lbs. I didn't think four pounds would have such a dramatic difference. But prior to this I was playing with the APD, which to me is the most string/tension friendly racquet out there.
    It seemed though once the strings bed in the magic was back. Also it didn't help that I was playing against someone who hits a moderate ball. Against harder hitters the higher tension might pan out better.
     
  15. drakulie

    drakulie Talk Tennis Guru

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    No, but you are the one that introduced that possibility into the conversation.

    actually, using his exact same technique and swing speed, he would get less spin.


    Thank you. :)
     
  16. The Dark Knight

    The Dark Knight Legend

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    I was thinking about this whole tension thing.....

    Why do you think you get more spin with a poly?

    It's not because it grips the ball more its because its extremely low powered and board like.

    A player is able to swing as hard as he wants and still keep the ball in.

    56 pounds of gut like Mcenroe uses is not the same as 56 pounds of poly as Nadal uses.....not even close.

    ( note : I think Mcenroe increased the tension because his racquet is now a lot bigger )

    So I am convinced that my theory is correct . Spin is created by head speed and by lowering the power a player is able to swing harder thereby creating more spin. Higher tension gives you less power and enables you to swing harder.
     
    Last edited: May 4, 2013
  17. dknotty

    dknotty Semi-Pro

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    Boom!

    So I have 2 demo tennis rackets... Steam 105s and the APD. Got them for 2 weeks and the guy in the shop said that they were chalk and cheese so I wouldn't have issues deciding which I liked more.
     
  18. 2Hare

    2Hare Semi-Pro

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    Not quite. That's what they believe when poly first came out. It has been proven to be false. Spin is generated by how much the main strings snap back. Polys are great at snapping back as they have low sliding friction and usually nice elasticity.

    If the "swing harder" theory is correct, then
    1. a dead poly should give you more spin than the fresh one asthey become lower in power overtime
    2. a gut/poly hybrid would give you less spin as they are more powerful
    3. pros would be preferring lower power polys

    But the facts are:
    1. Fresh polys keep the balls in the court more by generating more spin
    2. a gut/poly hybrid is the combo that gives the most spin.
    3. Most pros use Alu Power, which is a lot more powerful than most polys out there.
     
  19. The Dark Knight

    The Dark Knight Legend

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    Well the article from racquet research industry who did extensive testing found what I'm saying is actually true.

    "Fresh" polys are just more playable they don't give more spin....In fact dead polys lose their tension and become more powerful as they become looser and they also become unpredictable.

    Alu may or may not be more powerful than other polys but a lot less powerful than gut. Also Nadal uses a very low powered poly and a full bed of poly.

    The less power the more spin because you create more head speed ....or feel like you can swing harder.

    But lets stop talking about this because we are hijacking this thread.

    Lets agree to disagree .
     
    Last edited: May 4, 2013
  20. JackB1

    JackB1 G.O.A.T.

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    When are u guys going to resume talking about the 99s?
     
  21. Nostradamus

    Nostradamus G.O.A.T.

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    I Finally hit with this frame today. to my disappointment, I was actually getting LESS topspin that I was with Babolat Aeropro 2013. Power was about the same but Control was way inferior.
     
  22. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Don't swing so hard, and everything comes back in control and spin.
     
  23. The Dark Knight

    The Dark Knight Legend

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    I agree .....I don't believe the 99s is a real players stick . It's sort of meant to create "automatic " spin without you having to use much technique

    It's sort of like cruise control . Let the racquet do the work.
     
  24. Nostradamus

    Nostradamus G.O.A.T.

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    Don't get mad at my review. I only hit with it for about 20 minutes. That is probably not enough time. but I was just frustrated because I was not getting as much spin as I was with my Babolat. I was expecting more, a lot more.:)
     
  25. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    I'm not mad, I agree with you.
    I'm 64, still too young and have too fast a swing for the 99S.
    Maybe when I'm 68, it will fit to a T.
    I still like the 18x20 string pattern racket's the best, for their solid feel on strong shots, leading me to hit more strong shots to get the solid feel.
    99S rewards half speed strokes, and does a great job of enhancing spin on those slow strokes.
    A player with moderate length strokes and solid repeatable strokes will love this racket. I'm just NOT that player.
     
  26. morandi

    morandi Rookie

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    I love the 99S more and more each day. Once the strings settled in a bit I am happy with it strung at 62lbs with 4G. My consistency with this racquet is through the roof. I really have zero complaints with it. The honeymoon is over for me and I am still in love.
     
  27. The Dark Knight

    The Dark Knight Legend

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    I have to agree with you about the consistency of this stick . I've never seen anything quite like it.

    Every ball goes in precisely where you want it to. You hit the nail on the head and I couldn't have said it better.

    Having said that , although the consistency is better than any racquet in the entire world ......the power of the shots are just not there .

    In other words ....yeah every ball goes over the net and placed perfectly .....but my opponents are able to get to every one of them.

    The consistency was really deceiving . I thought "holy crap this is amazing ".....but the shots don't carry enough pace .....

    This is why I chose the vortex tours so far over the 99s. Although clearly not as consistent.....if delivers far more pace and a devastating blow.

    I'm going to try and beef up the 99s with lead to improve on the pace.....but if that doesn't work then im sticking with my vortex .
     
  28. morandi

    morandi Rookie

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    Get some tungsten putty or blutac and shove a bunch of it in the handle. It transforms the 99s into a scalpel. I brought mine up to about 11.9, and I think about 7pts headlight, and boom put away power on tap. Serving pace especially went through the roof, and nothing was lost in terms of manuverability.
     
  29. 2Hare

    2Hare Semi-Pro

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    I don't want to hijack the thread, but I need to correct what you've just said in case it mislead more readers. Did you seriously just said that dead polys become "more powerful" than fresh polys? That is definitely false! It's not "in fact", it's just dead wrong! Polys lose elasticity when they die, and have a huge drop in power. What you just said really makes me question how long you have been playing tennis.

    Nadal uses a very powerful frame (original APD that's polarized quite a bit), with strings of similar power to Alu Power strung at a low tension. Not to mention he restring them more than most other guys. He's playing strings that haven't even fully settled in tension. And he play it for maybe 2 hours max, then restring. Leave those strung rackets unplayed there for a few extra hours, it'll already be too low in power for him to play. So he's simply not comparable here to recreational player, unless you restring your racket every single day!

    And there are even more lower power strings like Kevlar. Who do polys blow them away when it comes to spin? Why have gut/poly hybrids, which is much higher in power, has higher spin potential than full polys as many tests have proven?

    Your theory is just full with holes that can't be filled by bending facts. You have to stop misinforming readers and keep the topics on Steam 99s.
     
  30. rlau

    rlau Professional

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    I wouldn't call 54 lbs "low tension"...
     
  31. The Dark Knight

    The Dark Knight Legend

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    Ok 2 hare I understand your point and I could counter but won't . Start a new thread in stringing .

    It's not fair to the people here who want to talk about the 99s
     
  32. P.Floyd

    P.Floyd Rookie

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    Bigger question, whose impact has been greater?

    Drakulie in generating interest/sales for Wilson, or

    Dark Knight in destroying even passing interest held by some?
     
    Last edited: May 5, 2013
  33. v-verb

    v-verb Hall of Fame

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    I took the plunge and ordered one of the used Steam 99s from TW. Should get it this week.

    We'll see if the hype was justified...
     
  34. The Dark Knight

    The Dark Knight Legend

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    My dear friend ....I cannot debate by myself. It takes two to tango ....

    Go back to the dark side of the moon Mr. Floyd . :)

    ( can't fault your taste in music though ).
     
    Last edited: May 5, 2013
  35. P.Floyd

    P.Floyd Rookie

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    Hey, could be a compliment, DK; I'm not a big fan of Wilson gear. :)

    All in good fun, DK.
     
    Last edited: May 5, 2013
  36. Ross K

    Ross K Legend

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    Haha, line of the day. Very funny DK.:)
     
  37. P.Floyd

    P.Floyd Rookie

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    I really, shouldn't Meddle in the topics and debates started by some of the Animals here. I guess it was a Momentary Lapse of Reason to do so, as it's really like banging your head against The Wall. Now back to the Wilson bashing! :)
     
  38. CrispyFritters

    CrispyFritters Rookie

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    I also did this. Put 0.25oz in the handle and almost 0.25oz of lead around the hoop. Added an over grip. Instant oomph on groundstrokes and serve. Plenty of put away power. Is this a "players" racquet? I think so. Personally, I am playing the best tennis of my life with this thing.
     
  39. charliefedererer

    charliefedererer Legend

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    ^^^ Agree it needs lead.
    I started with 4 grams on the lowest part of the inside of the throat to make it only slightly more head light, then added 1 gram at 3, 9 and 12 counterbalanced with 3 grams on the handle just above the grip.
    I'm going to continue to to experiment adding more.
     
  40. souledge

    souledge Semi-Pro

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    where did you place the lead around the hoop?
     
  41. dknotty

    dknotty Semi-Pro

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    Well I have to say I've just had my first blast on the 2 demo rackets I picked up at the weekend (APD & 105s) and I found the 105s was quite difficult to control. The APD played like a dream.
     
  42. ttwarrior1

    ttwarrior1 Professional

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    105 difficult to control? what strings are you using. I find the control one of the best things about the racket.
     
  43. dknotty

    dknotty Semi-Pro

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    Not sure what strings they are, the racket was pre-strung with them. I was finding shots going long quite easily. By contrast, I found the APD really easy to control, very few long shots.

    The serve was better on the 105s though, oddly.
     
  44. souledge

    souledge Semi-Pro

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    I play Gut / CoFocus in my racquet. The first time it was strung, the strings lasted for 6-8 hours spread over 2 days. I cut out the crosses and restrung them with more CoFocus. Once again, it lasted about 8 hours spread over 2 days, with only the last 4 hours being enjoyable.

    Arm pain was the telltale sign that the strings were dying.

    The spin on this racquet is nice, but the string life is quite laughable.
     
  45. CrispyFritters

    CrispyFritters Rookie

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    Split between 3, 9, and 12 o'clock. Without a little bit less at 12 o'clock.
     
  46. Ross K

    Ross K Legend

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    Noteworthy to hear over on the diary thread about Murphy Jensen, one time French Open doubles champion, is now using the Steam. Precisely which version I'm not presently sure. But if someone of his credentials is playing with it, well, that tells you something surely. :wink:
     
  47. The Dark Knight

    The Dark Knight Legend

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    Flavia Panetta plays with the steam 99s
     
  48. doctor dennis

    doctor dennis Rookie

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    Getting a little bit unhappy in the steam room. Every week and a bit, POP. Another string bites the dust. My mate only charges a fiver but I've restrung my rackets around 12 times since mid Jan! I'm not even a bit hitter or spin player by any means either. I'm unsure what to do at the moment. I'm considering a return to the APD 2013 or possibly a Prestige Pro. What to do, what to do, decisions, decisions.
     
  49. Fed Kennedy

    Fed Kennedy Hall of Fame

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    Have you tried 4GS
     
  50. v-verb

    v-verb Hall of Fame

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    Just a thought - try some silicone spray or WD40 on the strings. My Steam is at my mailbox place but that's the plan for me, just lube it up. Mine is strung with Luxilon cheapie string 16l.
     

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