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-   -   My Dunlop Bio 400 Tour review (http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=407682)

neverstopplaying 12-31-2011 02:30 PM

My Dunlop Bio 400 Tour review
 
I was very anxious to receive this racquet, hoping that finally I could find a racquet in that elusive realm between tweeners and players sticks. Playing an aggressive 4.5 game and entering my fifties, I would like to be able to ease up on my strokes during a match. Unfortunately, I have never been able to control the power of traditional tweeners, most are too stiff, and I donít adjust my swing well to the lower swing weight of many tweeners.

Arrival and Preparation:
This has to be the best looking racquet Ė ever. The titanium/chrome places this racquet in a class by itself. Dunlop spent a lot of time on the design and control of manufacturing; the Aeroskin looks cool, recessed grommets are well made, and overall high quality finish. The hoop is noticeably wider than the 300 and about ĹĒ wider than the 500 series - apparently widens the sweet spot. I put on a TW 1.3mm leather grip and 4x6Ē strips (6gms) in the hoop, centered on 3 and 9. Final weight with dampener = 350gm.

I was a little concerned about sticking lead directly on the metallic finish in the hoop, as Iíve had lead remove the metallic finish from a previous racquet. I applied electrical tape under the lead. I would have wanted to put the lead under the grommets, but there are flared and I didnít have an extra grommet set.

I was hoping the finished racquet would come in a little lighter, but swing weight is now about 318, which is below the 330 that Iím playing now, and should deal with the only negative comments reported with the 400T.

Stringing:
Because of the recessed grommets, the crosses can only be strung one way, but the tie-offs are well indicated. I play with a wide variety of brands and types of strings, and I chose Cyclone mains (51) and MCS crosses (56) for the try out. I donít know how stiff this racquet will play and the 500T causes me problems after a few days of hitting, so MCS could help. The 400T is pretty easy to string with no complications.

Now for the play test...

Warm up.
First thing I noticed is that this is NOT a typical, powerful tweener. No balls were flying long. Balls were staying deep. It was not obvious that the racquet was providing a little extra power (over my favourite TF 325 VO2). It was a little easier to swing. The string bed feels very even - I didnít notice any weak spots. The center of the sweet spot doesnít result in balls flying. It is definitely stiffer than a 200/300 and less so than a 500. One the 2nd day warm up I focused on varying the pace more - with good results.

Serves.
I have a pretty decent serve, and mix it up quite a bit. I noticed an instant improvement with the 400T. Better slice, more spin on the kick and a little extra pace. The TW review gave the 400T high marks on this and I agree 100%. I played a 2 hour singles match yesterday and 1 hour today. I could take a little effort off the serve and still easily hold the service games. Similar to the 500T but with better feel and control.

Serve returns.
My opponent yesterday is the fastest, hardest server that I play against. It was a good test of racquet stability. No problems here at all with the 400T. Doesnít feel quite as good as my BB11mid, but similar to my TFs and better than the 500T. The lighter sw allowed me to get the racquet in place quickly.

FH.
I like to hit a variety of deep, heavy balls and then aggressively move in on short balls. I like some racquet mass and good plow through to either put away the point or hit 1 or max 2 volleys. From the start, it was easy to keep the balls deep, to vary the pace and spin, with great results. I could hit out and keep the balls deep, or ease back a bit a let the racquet do a little work. Much better depth control than the 500T and more plow through than a leaded 4D300. Good directional control also, which surprised me. I didnít notice a difference compared to my TF. I did not have to resort to higher swing speed than my usual racquets.

1HBH.
I thought it may be more difficult to get penetrating reliable topspin, but I could play as well as with my TF. Good depth control, better spin, and easier to get the 400 in place to set up the shot. I hit about 30% slice and was able to slice aggressively and deep with little adjustment. My fav BH racquet is the 200 series, but this was very acceptable.

Volleys.
The feel on volleys is not as solid as the TF, or the BB11mid. If I played doubles often, the difference was enough to make me stick with my TF for doubles. However, the 400T does put the ball away and it did what it had to do. I didnít notice this so much on the 2nd outing.

Post match discomfort.
I did not experience any of the typical post match tweener discomfort. Iíll post more on this after a few more hits. On the 2nd outing I did notice that the 400 does feel stiff, even with MCS. The extra power comes from the stiffness, but so far so good. I may string with full poly next time, but was quite happy with the initial string job and tension.

Conclusion.
Donít know yet if Iíll switch to the 400T but I believe I finally found what I was hoping for. The 400T is closer to a playerís stick than a tweener, and could be a great choice for a singles player looking for something a little easier over the course of a long match. There are surely other racquets that can do this, but the 400T is the 1st that Iíve tried and it feels great. Easy ability to hit a side variety of serves and forehands are very strong points. Volley feel is its weakest point but not that bad. Iíll have to play 5-6 league matches and check my results, but if positive, I will switch. Unfortunately on my 2nd outing I became overconfident quickly and started making too many unforced errors. Grrr. In post match practice my shots came back.

El Diablo 12-31-2011 02:41 PM

The review should be called "very customized Bio 400 Tour." Adding leather and lead changes playing characteristics quite a lot and renders the review not very useful.

neverstopplaying 12-31-2011 02:45 PM

double post ...

neverstopplaying 12-31-2011 02:46 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by El Diablo (Post 6201245)
The review should be called "very customized Bio 400 Tour." Adding leather and lead changes playing characteristics quite a lot and renders the review not very useful.

Thanks for the input, but I can't edit the title.

I did this review because ALL the comments on this racquet so far suggest adding weight (including all TW play testers except Spencer), and no one had reviewed the modified 400 Tour yet. As to the usefulness, we'll see.

Murray_fan1 12-31-2011 06:59 PM

Great review- keep us updated. You and I have very similar interests in racquets of late. I was searching for some info on this stick the same day you posted about buying one from TW.

un6a 12-31-2011 10:30 PM

Thanks for review, it is quite informative. I'm also interesting in Bio 400T and Bio 500T too.
Seems like you prefer 400T over 500T. What are the most important attributes which favors 400T ?
How is the manuverability of the customized 400T comapred to 500T ?

neverstopplaying 01-01-2012 04:52 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by un6a (Post 6201725)
Thanks for review, it is quite informative. I'm also interesting in Bio 400T and Bio 500T too.
Seems like you prefer 400T over 500T. What are the most important attributes which favors 400T ?
How is the manuverability of the customized 400T comapred to 500T ?

The (customized) 400T vs. AG500T (not Bio):
400T is less stiff (harsh).
400T has better directional and depth control.
SW of customized 400T is about be 318 vs. Bio 500%T (313) and 4D500T (325). The 400T is more headlight and I had no problem getting either racquet in place quickly- both are highly maneuverable.

If someone finds the 500T too harsh and too powerful, the customized 400T should be a great option, if the final weight is not too high (mine is 350gm with lead and leather). Leather is probably not obligatory, but maintains a balance closer to stock - and I like leather. I would like probably like the new stock grip as it is not too spongy.

ace18 01-01-2012 05:22 AM

neverstopplaying, i'm curious about your thoughts on the volleys. I hit with this racket for 15 minutes, groundstrokes were solid, serves, really solid, volleys pretty weak, i thought. I didn't put much time in the racket and I typicially volley better in match play then in practice, but interested in any more feedback on the volleys with this stick. To me, it kinda of seemed dead. I punched and there wasn't much there.

neverstopplaying 01-01-2012 06:59 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ace18 (Post 6201929)
neverstopplaying, i'm curious about your thoughts on the volleys. I hit with this racket for 15 minutes, groundstrokes were solid, serves, really solid, volleys pretty weak, i thought. I didn't put much time in the racket and I typicially volley better in match play then in practice, but interested in any more feedback on the volleys with this stick. To me, it kinda of seemed dead. I punched and there wasn't much there.

I didn't try the racquet without lead, and even with lead, it doesn't have enough feel to be a great volley stick. As I said in my review, if I played mostly doubles or spent a lot of time at the net, I would not consider the 400T, but for me, its positive attributes make it OK for finishing off points at the net.

ace18 01-01-2012 07:04 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by neverstopplaying (Post 6202027)
I didn't try the racquet without lead, and even with lead, it doesn't have enough feel to be a great volley stick. As I said in my review, if I played mostly doubles or spent a lot of time at the net, I would not consider the 400T, but for me, its positive attributes make it OK for finishing off points at the net.

Thanks, I might try it with a bit of lead as a test, but I think you might feel the same as I about volleying with this stick. I had hoped that it would be a volley beast.

keithfival 01-01-2012 08:22 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ace18 (Post 6201929)
neverstopplaying, i'm curious about your thoughts on the volleys..... To me, it kinda of seemed dead. I punched and there wasn't much there.

That was my experience as well. Every low volley I hit seemed to just die on the strings.

atatu 01-01-2012 08:53 PM

Yeah, I love this frame...except I really can't volley with it, so I'm back to my London for the time being...trying the 300 tour as well soon.

getsby 01-03-2012 03:19 PM

Neverstopplaying, does this not look like a stick Pure Drive?

neverstopplaying 01-04-2012 07:06 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by getsby (Post 6206615)
Neverstopplaying, does this not look like a stick Pure Drive?

I have not hit with a Pure Drive since around 2002, and my game was no so good back then, so I can't answer based on hitting experience.

However, the PD has a stiffness rating of 70-72, depending upon the model. The 400T is 66, which is considerably lower. Also the 400T offers a lot of control, closer to a player's stick than a tweener.

From what I've read the Dunlop 500T and Pure Drive have more in common.

getsby 01-04-2012 07:25 AM

http://dunlopbuzz.com/view/page/p/36293
I prefer to believe the official data

Murray_fan1 01-04-2012 08:35 AM

TW data is pretty accurate IMO as they take an overall average of production sticks. Not sure how Dunlop qc is but If it was anything like Wilson's it will vary a fair amount.

neverstopplaying 01-04-2012 08:53 AM

Another advantage of TW data is that it uses a standardized method to measure all brands of sticks. So it's possible to compare dunlop specs against babolat specs.

If you prefer dunlop's site then your only point of reference is other Dunlop sticks, unless you can find babolat data on the dunlop site.

SteveI 01-04-2012 09:46 AM

Hi,

Any idea what your final specs are regarding static weight and bal point? If I missed it in your posts..can you post it again.. Thx.

neverstopplaying 01-04-2012 10:16 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by SteveI (Post 6208152)
Hi,

Any idea what your final specs are regarding static weight and bal point? If I missed it in your posts..can you post it again.. Thx.

I'll post this info tonight.

SteveI 01-04-2012 11:18 AM

I got a short hit with this frame and was very impresssed with this frame overall. I thought it played much like the PK 5G but a bit stiffer and with more pop. The specs are quite close. I would think adding a leather grip would make the frame a bit too HL for my tastes. If I was modify this frame I would be doing pretty much what folks have done to the 5G. I would be adding weight @ 2 and 10. That might solve the volleying issue. I did not have a bunch of trouble volleying with this frame.. but did not really have enough time to give it a real work out at the net. Most of time I was coming to the net to finish points on my terms. I did not experience issues then. There is quite a difference trying to execute reaction volleys in doubles vs put away volleys in singles. I loved the balance of power and control. This frame really fits well between the 300 series and the 500 Tour. It is not a Pure Drive clone IMO leans a bit towards the players side of the fence. I live in a cold weather area and do not play very much in the winter months. I expect to give this frame a real work out in March.


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