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VGP 01-28-2010 03:39 PM

Wilson Graphite Force....
 
Thought I'd start a thread on another Wilson midsize frame that's been a personal favorite since August of '09.

I picked one up for $10 at a local used sporting goods store. From the first hit I was hooked. Even with the old thick gauge nylon strings that were in the frame.

Some details on this particular model (info taken from a recent e-bay auction listing):

This model was introduced in 1984 at $89 retail price.

Tennis Racquet Specification Table
Brand:1984 Wilson Graphite Force Midsize 85 sq in
Short Description: Provides a solid blend of stiffness and power, plus fine mobility and balance.
Head Size: 85 in2 / 548 cm2
Length: 27 in / 686 mm
Strung Weight:12.8 oz / 362 g
Strung Balance: 5 pts HL / 328 mm
Composition: Graphite / Fiberglass Composite
Beam Width: 20 mm Straight Beam
Power Level: Low
Stiffness: Medium Flex
Swing Type: Fast
String Pattern: 16 mains / 19 crosses
Grip Type: Leather
String Tension: 65 - 70 lbs / 29 - 32 kg recommended

World tennis Magazine decimal rating system from 1984: playability profile (1 - min / 10 - max)

Stiffness: 8
Stability: 7
Power: 8
Playability: 8

Some pics:





I actually like this frame better than the Wilson Pro Staff Midsize. Perhaps it's the extra cross string that adds a touch more control. It could be the thicker beam that makes each hit feel pretty beefy. What I really like is the feel of volleying with the racket. Solid.

There are very few threads on this frame. Old ones in the general 'Racquets' section, which I'll reference....

In this thread MAXply had some nice things to say:

Quote:

Originally Posted by MAXXply (Post 2620439)
Another thrift store find:
Weighs a ton, looks like an 85sq.in, no PWS and arguably the cleanest cosmetics (i.e none) seen on an 80s Wilson...plain PJ/gold striping reminiscent of the early 80s Head Graphite-whatever ?
Plays pretty flexible going by its composite layup. Went back and checked pricelists of the time; it was a mid/mid-low pricepoint circa 1985 but not so low as to be found at a variety store.

Quote:

Originally Posted by MAXXply (Post 2621837)
(This is critiqued against the stick I've used for nearly 20 years, a POG 90 4-stripe)
Strung at mid-tension, the Graphite Force is flexible yet mildly firm on all shots. Comes off the stringbed with a dull, ping-ey "pfffwuut" as opposed to a sharp "thwack".
Boxier beam than the POG and slightly rounded - as you can see it's slightly curved and not as straight sided as say, classic Head sticks. I've measured it at 20mm - thicker than the POG.
Definitely heavier and whilst it gives a bit of pop, my puny arms prefer something lighter these days. Easy plow through but not as knifey through the shot as the thinner POG. The smaller head makes the racquet hand feel slightly distant from the ball IMO, having played predominantly with 90-size sticks.
White buttcap, code GPS. Shiny black PJ but not as lustrous as the POG 4-stripe. Cheers.

.....and in this thread:

Quote:

Originally Posted by newnuse (Post 217060)
I just recently purchased one again. It was my first racket way back when. Unfortunately my friend lost it in highschool.

The racket has a more "lively" feel than the PS85. It does not have the muted feel of the PS85. It plays/feels closer to the Wilson Sting1/2.

Overall, not a bad racket to add to your collection... I did.

I agree with what these posters said.

Thought I'd hype up this frame a little bit. I'd hope that some TTW members that have a penchant for classic midsize frames, perhaps even those that love the Wilson Pro Staff Midsize give this one a go.

I'd love to hear other people's opinions......

VGP 01-28-2010 03:39 PM

Here's a visual comparison to a blacked-out Wilson BLX90....







No disrespect to the PS85, I'm just liking this one at the moment.

Speaking of the PS85, in lining up the heads, the Wilson Graphite Force seems to have a slightly larger one.....like an 88.

I'd love to have Jack & Coke do his headsize analysis on this frame....

I've collected a few of these (thanks to a couple of TTW members) to make it my current playing frame. I've even been using a nice retro bag......maybe I'll post additional pics.

MAXXply 01-29-2010 04:11 AM

...Dang you VGP! :wink: Wish I still had my Graphite Force now you've given it your stamp of approval...it's now part of TT member Virginia's collection so it went to a good home.
There was also a member at the time wanting to offload their Forces in the For Sale section IIRC
Glad you really like it; it's still the playing stick of the septugenarian senior at my club...old skool never dies... :)

VGP 01-29-2010 09:26 AM

Well, I'm not septuagenarian, but I do like the frame a lot. ;)

I've been a long time PS85 user and I like the firmness of that frame. But alas, it's become one of those collector frames. Replacements are costly, even the cost of replacement bumperguards and grommets has gone up. I (along with others) was on a quest to find something similar.

I first saw the Graphite Force at the used sporting goods store and I initially passed on the frame. I was not familiar with the frame at all prior to that day. It looked similar and had a nice weight but I was discouraged by the fact that it didn't have a bumperguard as did most frames of the early 80s. Similarly to Wilson models like the Reflex, Graphite Matrix, early Pro Staffs.

I mulled it over and I decided to go back. I thought if it was still there, I'd purchase it. I'm glad I did. I did a search here on TTW and found the limited, but favorable reviews of the frame.....

I've been using it for about 5 months now. I've tried it side by side with Wilson midsize models PS85, kPS88, Reflex, BLX90 and a Boris Becker BB11 mid.

Next to the PS85, it's become my favorite playing frame. The Wilson Graphite force addresses the "problems" I have with the other frames.

I found the kPS88 a touch too powerful. I felt that I used more topspin to keep the ball from overshooting the baseline. With the Reflex, it was nice but too flexy. I didn't like the polarized weighting and the "feel" of the BLX90. The BB11 mid is just too cushy in the frame and with the open stringbed on a 93" head size.

With the Graphite Force, I can hit out off the ground comfortably like I'm using the PS85, but I gain a touch more control. It has a comfortable flex and a nice feel on impact. It has to be the additional cross string (with even drilling - 16 x 19) that gives the string bed an even response from top to bottom. My favorite shot lately has been the volley. One of my hitting partners has remarked on a couple of occasions how much better my volleys are with this frame.

I always enjoyed serving with the PS85. I actually really enjoy the serve with the kPS88. I am able to put a good amount of work on the ball with that frame. I took a lesson using that one and my teaching pro commented on the spin I was able to generate. With the Graphite Force, I'd have to say that my serves are a little more controllable than the PS85 - again the consistent string bed - but with a little less pop than the PS85 or kPS88.

As much as I'm enjoying the frame, a gripe of mine is being unable to get replacement grommet strips. It is over 25 years old, so I don't expect it to be easy. Since I string my own frames, I've ground out some of the bad grommets and used tubing......but I found that if I cut up the plastic parts to the Dunlop Aerogel 500, I can use them to replace individual grommets.

I'm really hoping some aficionados of the PS85 try this frame out. Especially those that like the Chicago or SV frames. Perhaps the players that like a more flexy "PS85" gravitate toward the Wilson Kramer Staff or the older Pro Kennex Ace series. The Graphite Force might fall under that category......

I've read on here (a poster that knew someone that used to lay the graphite for Prince POGs) that the old graphite fibers used at the time was long and coarse like horse hair. The "newer" graphite is more refined, the fibers are shorter and smoother. I think that difference is what makes these classic frames so special. I assume it's harder to recreate that "old-school" feel with newer materials simply because the base material is different. I'm not saying it's bad, just different.

Well, I've been long-winded in extolling the virtues of yet another classic frame, but I thought after enjoying this frame for some time I'd do a little write-up........also, given the price of what they go for on the used market, it can be quite the value.

pshulam 01-29-2010 07:03 PM

Quote:

I'm really hoping some aficionados of the PS85 try this frame out. Especially those that like the Chicago or SV frames. Perhaps the players that like a more flexy "PS85" gravitate toward the Wilson Kramer Staff or the older Pro Kennex Ace series. The Graphite Force might fall under that category......
How does the Graphite Force compare to the Pro Kennex Black Ace or Copper Ace?

Cup8489 01-30-2010 03:52 PM

i actually did a search myself on this exact frame, it was the first tennis racket i ever played with, about 10 years ago for a summer camp, my uncle gave it to me. Though the grip on my frame is a tad too big (4 5/8), it is still very fun to hit around, and your comparison with the KPS88 is spot on, IMHO. I did not have trouble controlling the KPS's power off the ground, though this could be because the way i swing naturally generates considerable spin.

If you track down some grommets for your Graphite Force, can you possibly point me in the right direction? the grommets in this frame are just a mess, and though i have 6 replaced with nylon tubing, I would much rather find a new set to use..

i was surprised at the weight you listed, my force seems far lighter. I still need to buy a letter scale, and see if it is indeed as light as it feels.

I also found that it was very good for volleys, and that the 20 mm beam gave plenty of control and stability. It volleys, IMHO, about the same as the KPS88, though with greater maneuverability for reaction volleys.

Great thread :)

VGP 01-30-2010 09:38 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by pshulam (Post 4348422)
How does the Graphite Force compare to the Pro Kennex Black Ace or Copper Ace?

Not sure about the Black Ace, I recall the Copper Ace being akin to the Wilson Graphite Force, it's been a while on that one. I was thinking more like the Silver Ace.....compact head, similar graphite and fiberglass construction. Another PK Ace frame with which I'm familiar is the Pro Kennex Composite Ace. It has a semi-isometric head and what feels like a graphite/fiberglass construction as well. That frame has a nice firm response but the beam is thin.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Cup8489 (Post 4351968)
....your comparison with the KPS88 is spot on, IMHO. I did not have trouble controlling the KPS's power off the ground, though this could be because the way i swing naturally generates considerable spin.

Thanks, I meant that I had to add extra topspin to my strokes to help bring the ball down with the kPS88. I do like the frame and I'm keeping it since it's technically a new frame with readily available replacement parts......speaking of which.....


Quote:

Originally Posted by Cup8489 (Post 4351968)
If you track down some grommets for your Graphite Force, can you possibly point me in the right direction? the grommets in this frame are just a mess, and though i have 6 replaced with nylon tubing, I would much rather find a new set to use..

Like I said, I'm having to tube my frames as well. The first one I bought, the ten dollar one, the grommets were all shot. They were so fragile, each one cracked as I tried to pull off the grommet strips.

At the moment, I'm still at a loss for finding the exact replacement parts.


Quote:

Originally Posted by Cup8489 (Post 4351968)
i was surprised at the weight you listed, my force seems far lighter. I still need to buy a letter scale, and see if it is indeed as light as it feels.

I also found that it was very good for volleys, and that the 20 mm beam gave plenty of control and stability. It volleys, IMHO, about the same as the KPS88, though with greater maneuverability for reaction volleys.

Great thread :)

That's why I thought the BLX90 was going to be a good fit. The frame weighed right (less than the Graphite force, actually), balanced right, etc.....but the weight of the Graphite Force must be evenly distributed and if it is, that's what I like. I'm sure for most people, the kPS88, the k90 and BLX90 are good frames. It's just on the latter two, I just didn't enjoy using frames with what I'm assuming is a polarized weight distribution.......maybe that's why the Graphite Force swings easy in comparison.

FedererClone (he has the Graphite Force too) in another thread said that he found the frame lacking in the manuverability category. I, like you, find the Graphite Force more maneuverable than the kPS88, but it's not overly whippy or headlight. That's a good thing. I'm sure the swingweight is probably "up there" by today's standards, but this frame's got a lot behind it while still maintaining comfort during play. That's why I like it.

pshulam 01-31-2010 10:44 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by VGP (Post 4352799)
Not sure about the Black Ace, I recall the Copper Ace being akin to the Wilson Graphite Force, it's been a while on that one. I was thinking more like the Silver Ace.....compact head, similar graphite and fiberglass construction.

Silver Ace is 80% graphite, 20% fiberglass. Copper Ace is 40/60 (graphite/fiberglass).

VGP 01-31-2010 01:04 PM

I thought the Copper Ace was graphite/fiberglass, too. I didn't know it has more fiberglass. Thanks for that, pshulam.

My memory might be off base. Like I said, it's been a while as I don't own it but hit with one a loooong time ago. Probably thinking that anything non-wood was powerful.

I would say that the Graphite Force is more like the PK Silver Ace and Composite Ace. I own the latter and have used that one recently.

I also have the PK Copper Ace 90. That's a different frame - even from its namesake - it even has a roundish profile (like the Wilson Hammer Spin), so no similar comparisons should be drawn.

Cup8489 01-31-2010 03:38 PM

thanks for your reply, i managed to come across another Graphite force on the bay, item number 300350378414. you may want to take a look, grip size L4, looks in pretty good shape. I may bid, I may not. would be nice to have a second one :)

VGP 02-01-2010 10:56 AM

Yeah, I've been watching that listing too.

It's been up for a while and they've come down on the price $10 from the time I've been watching it. It's been up for a few months now. I think the asking price is still a bit high based on the going price for Graphite Forces on e-bay. Although the frame looks pretty nice.

All in all, it's not a bad price for a decent Wilson Midsize frame. But, I've been spoiled getting my first one for $10 and a couple from fellow TTW members that were kind enough to sell me theirs after posting in the 'Wanted' section late last year.

I think I'm good on frames for now. I'll continue watching that listing out of curiosity if anything. See if the seller comes down on price any further.... or see if someone bites.

On a practical note, I got to play some doubles last night. That was a little unexpected as I was just planning on drilling with my regular hitting partner. Sad to say, I hadn't been on court for a couple of months.

We ran into another friend of ours who was there to play with one of his friends. This guy is a former D1 collegiate player and his friend was of a similar level.

I'm glad I held my own being able to hold serve with very few double faults. I returned terribly but served and volleyed well. I could feel the flex of the frame more as these guys hit a heavy ball. I should have switched frames to the one with the fresher stringjob......

So far, it's I'm still enjoying the frame. A little more of a reality check having run into some better players. Even though I don't get to play as often as I like, my love affair with the Wilson Graphite Force continues!

VGP 02-01-2010 02:00 PM

Just some additional pics. A stock frame with the cover, a close-up of the cover, and my current favorite bag.....








Cup8489 02-02-2010 05:31 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by VGP (Post 4360655)
Yeah, I've been watching that listing too.

It's been up for a while and they've come down on the price $10 from the time I've been watching it. It's been up for a few months now. I think the asking price is still a bit high based on the going price for Graphite Forces on e-bay. Although the frame looks pretty nice.

All in all, it's not a bad price for a decent Wilson Midsize frame. But, I've been spoiled getting my first one for $10 and a couple from fellow TTW members that were kind enough to sell me theirs after posting in the 'Wanted' section late last year.

I think I'm good on frames for now. I'll continue watching that listing out of curiosity if anything. See if the seller comes down on price any further.... or see if someone bites.

On a practical note, I got to play some doubles last night. That was a little unexpected as I was just planning on drilling with my regular hitting partner. Sad to say, I hadn't been on court for a couple of months.

We ran into another friend of ours who was there to play with one of his friends. This guy is a former D1 collegiate player and his friend was of a similar level.

I'm glad I held my own being able to hold serve with very few double faults. I returned terribly but served and volleyed well. I could feel the flex of the frame more as these guys hit a heavy ball. I should have switched frames to the one with the fresher stringjob......

So far, it's I'm still enjoying the frame. A little more of a reality check having run into some better players. Even though I don't get to play as often as I like, my love affair with the Wilson Graphite Force continues!

you said earlier in the thread that you had some crappy nylon string in one of the Graphites..care to mention the specific string?

do you play with bare leather as well? I just put a new leather grip on mine last night, doesn't play good with anything else, IMHO. I'll try to get some pictures of all my wilson mids up soon.

VGP 02-02-2010 10:04 PM

The first frame I bought still had what appeared to be the original stringjob in it. Mind you, the listed recommended tension of the frame is 65-70 pounds so even after 25+ years, the stringbed was still firm.

I didn't say that the strings were "crappy" I just commented that it looked like the original thicker gauge nylon. A string that was commonly used back in the day. I don't know if it was a solid core synthetic gut with a single wrap or a double wrap. The current equivalent is probably Prince Tournament Nylon 15L. I think a string like Prince Tournament Nylon 15L is a rather unpretentious string. It is what it is. At under $1.50 a set it's durable and firm. I actually bought some to maybe install in the Graphite Forces just for fun.

As for the grip. The first one I bought I played a bit with a single overgrip (Wilson Pro Overgrip Soft) over the leather. That one was the one where the grommets were shot. All cracked and fragile. I cut out the strings and ripped out the grommets one by one. It's currently sitting unstrung without grommets.

The frame pictured is a stock frame. Original strings. You can still see remnants of the "W" stencil. Original leather grip and cover.

The frames that I'm currently using have the leather removed with Head synthetic replacement grips on with black Yonex Supergrap overgrip. The cushy grips aren't my favorite. I intend to put new leather on someday soon. Perhaps the thin TW private label grips.....I normally use frames with leather grips with an overgrip, like my PS85s.

Back to strings, in those frames I put in Gamma Synthetic Gut 16 in gold in one frame, PSGO 16 in white in another. Both strung at 66 pounds reference tension on a lockout machine.

pshulam 03-12-2010 07:25 PM

I took out a Graphite Force (GF) with original string for a spin today. Compared to a PS85, the GF is heavier by ~0.5oz. Unlike the PS85, the GF did not cause shoulder fatigue after one hour of hitting. The racquet (to my surprise) is quite maneuverable at the net despite its weight. It feels more comfortable, powerful than the PS85. The control and stability are comparable. I was able to direct the ball to the baseline with ease. Serve-returns were smooth. Overall, it's a fun stick for hitting but may not good for extended period of time because of the demand on the shoulder.

VGP 03-13-2010 03:49 PM

Thanks for your input, pshulam.

Glad to see someone post a fresh opinion on the Graphite Force. I also like that you are able to compare it to the PS85. It's the comfort coupled with solid performance as to why I'm still using the frame.

pshulam, did you recently purchase a Graphite Force? and could you compare to your PK Copper and Silver aces? Since they're part of your frame collection......

I too found the frame enigmatic. Based on the specs, the head-heavier balance compared to the PS85, I didn't expect to enjoy volleying and good service action with the Graphite Force.

pshulam 03-13-2010 05:26 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by VGP (Post 4466555)
pshulam, did you recently purchase a Graphite Force? and could you compare to your PK Copper and Silver aces? Since they're part of your frame collection......

VGP,
Yes, I purchased the Graphite Force (GF) last week from the bay. The PK Copper Ace is softer and thinner than the GF. The control is just about the same between them. The Copper Ace edges out the GF in the level of comfort and maneuverability since it's lighter and more flexible. The GF is more stable and has plow through than does the Copper Ace. I do not have a preference as both frames are nice to hit.

VGP 03-15-2010 06:06 AM

Glad to hear that you like the frame. I do find the stability and plow through of the Graphite Force exceptional. Figured the difference with the PK Copper Ace would be like that.

You say you got it off e-bay last week. Was it the one that has the 4 3/8 grip where the auction photos had a red background? I placed a couple of bids on that one. It looked to be in nice shape even though the photos weren't the best. Should you decide to sell, lemme know..... :)

PBODY99 03-15-2010 03:21 PM

When the Force came out I thought it was aimed at the Head graphite Edge of the time. I strung for a Jr who father was a only purchased Wilson so he used this frame since he did not like the Sting and his pop wouldn't spring for the Pro Staff.
Enjoy.

VGP 03-15-2010 03:45 PM

Thanks again PBODY99.

Your knowledge of, now classic (no offense meant), retail knowledge helps a lot. Not to mention your help with my Gamma/Tenex 4000 stringing machine.

IIRC, the suggested retail of the Graphite Force was about $40-$50 less than the PS85 around 1984.

Given the makeup and specs of the Graphite Force, it does seem to be a competitor frame to the Head Graphite Edge.


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