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-   -   Do newer model racquets have true superior breakthroughs in materials/technology? (http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=448392)

Raul_SJ 12-17-2012 05:29 AM

Do newer model racquets have true superior breakthroughs in materials/technology?
 
I have been using the Wilson ProStaff Classic 6.1si Stretch for over 10 years.

I have tried demoes with recent models that claimed better playability due to new materials/technology (from Head and Wilson ) but they did not feel significantly better, so I just stuck with my old racquet.

I am wondering if there have been any significant breakthroughs in materials/racquet technology during the past decade?

Or is it primarily marketing hype by the racquet manufacturers that have a vested interest in players buying the latest gadgets?

realplayer 12-17-2012 05:33 AM

Since the invention of graphite there has not been any improvement in racket technology except for strings which really changed and ruined the game.

IA-SteveB 12-17-2012 06:13 AM

At my level, the racquet itself can't do much to improve my game. It's more about not choosing one that is totally wrong for me, like a player's racquet. Maybe technology is more useful for players who can benefit from and use it. In my opinion, racquet tech is of little benefit for 3.5 and below.

TimothyO 12-17-2012 06:19 AM

I think frames are getting worse over time. It seems that the manufacturers are trying to make frames ever lighter, stiffer, and more powerful. Lighter and stiffer means more shock on impact with the ball. More power means that if you take a full swing at the ball it goes long, so rec players tend to use bad form and tap the ball like they're playing backyard badminton...all wrist and elbow.

The steady increase in head size also means less control for rec players (pros have the technique to tame this power). This too contributes to poor form and arm injuries.

Look at Wilson's new Ampli Feel technology. It's deliberately designed to transmit more impact feel/vibration to the arm using stiff, brittle materials such as basalt and metal in the handle. The irony is that Wilson also makes a great replacement grip, the Shock Shield, which includes soft, rubbery materials designed to DAMPEN vibrations.

Even Dunlop has jumped on the stiffer/lighter/power bandwagon. Read between the lines of TW's recent reciews of Biomimetic frames and you'll see they've abandoned a softer/Lower power approach to frame design.

When a consumer picks up a frame manufactuers believe they can sell more if the reaction is, "Oooohhh, it's so light and fast!". And on court they can sell more when players perceive that it's super easy to knock the ball over the net without proper form. They use their wrist and elbow and shoulder to swing that 10.5 oz frame into contact. Soon their tendons are inflamed and sore.

In reaction to the lighter, stiffer, power frames some players string with stiffer strings which transmits yet MORE shock to the arm. And the cult of topspin demands faster RHS speed At a more extreme swing path which puts more strain on the body.

svarthofde 12-17-2012 06:28 AM

unless you strip the racquets bare you cannot know for sure if there even is new material in them. i think the only difference is in the way they braid the graphite, but other than that...
some of the marketing claims are ridiculous IMO, like the thing they put in the throat of Head racquets that stiffens the racquet if it senses you need it for your next shot.
excuse me but that is straight from a James Bond movie
one thing i know though:in spite of all the changes and the aggressive marketing "bull bagels" i like my ncode six.one better than my blx six.one

danotje 12-17-2012 06:46 AM

I think it is all interesting, but like someone said, I don't think there has been much since graphite. Maybe O-ports, hammer tech and string patterns (a la 99s), but I don't know that they revolutionized the racquet industry.

One breakthrough that I don't think has gotten any notice is PK's Kinetic system. Along with some other elements, it helped me get over TE. The really intersting part, though, is that it makes the frame very solid and stable. Volleys are very controllable with those frames. I was desperate to save my arm, and I wasn't buying the hype, but I took a chance anyway. Now I'm pain free and playing better than just 6 months ago. I have worked on my technique a lot, so it isn't necessarily the racquet, but I'm a believer in Kinetic. Revolutionary? Probably not. Evolutionary? Definitely.

Hi I'm Ray 12-17-2012 06:52 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Raul_SJ (Post 7067177)
I have been using the Wilson ProStaff Classic 6.1si Stretch for over 10 years.

I have tried demoes with recent models that claimed better playability due to new materials/technology (from Head and Wilson ) but they did not feel significantly better, so I just stuck with my old racquet.

I am wondering if there have been any significant breakthroughs in materials/racquet technology during the past decade?

Or is it primarily marketing hype by the racquet manufacturers that have a vested interest in players buying the latest gadgets?

I think for the most part rackets were feeling worse each year - the classics felt great. Very, very recently there seems to be some shift towards making rackets feel "better". As far as "technology" & "high tech materials" most of it is just marketing bs. But IMO racket designs & playability seems to be pretty good & improving, especially in the 11oz range. The vast majority of rackets I have tried in the last 2.5 years have been pretty good IMO.

Raul_SJ 12-17-2012 07:00 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by svarthofde (Post 7067226)
one thing i know though:in spite of all the changes and the aggressive marketing "bull bagels" i like my ncode six.one better than my blx six.one

Yes, That is the type of thing I am talking about.

My Wilson 6.1 is made of Graphite Kevlar.

And then Wilson comes out with the newer materials called Basalt and nCode:

1)
The BLX in Wilson stands for Basalt (BL) and extra technologies (X). The racquets uses fibers from basalt, a volcanic rock, to provide a better feel due to reduced vibration.
2)
When a racquet is nCoded nano-sized silicone oxide crystals permeate the voids between the carbon fibers. This adjustment made at the molecular level significantly strengthens and enhances the stability of the overall carbon matrix. Stronger and even more resilient nCoded racquets play better longer.
nCoded racquets measure 2 times stronger 2 times more stable and up to 22% more powerful than ordinary racquets.


It's hard to know when there has been a truly significant discovery in materials or if it is just maketing hype...

I suspect that if a truly superior material comes along, ALL the manufacturers, not just Wilson,
would start using it on their newer racquets.

Until then, I will keep an open mind but remain skeptical.

lstewart 12-17-2012 01:35 PM

I came up playing with 1970's wood rackets, so have seen the various changes through the years. As others have said, a frame needs to fit your game. Assuming it does, there probably is not much that has changed in the last 10 years that you would play better with now than you did then. That said, I have noticed that many of the newer frames are designed to more easily hit topspin. That's not something I would generally notice, until going back and hitting some classic frames that have not changed in the last 20 years. I've tried two frames still being made from those days, and i got significally less spin on my forehand with the same string/swing combination. Of course you would adjust over time, but it was very noticable.

DownTheLineWith90 12-17-2012 04:19 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by TimothyO (Post 7067211)
Look at Wilson's new Ampli Feel technology. It's deliberately designed to transmit more impact feel/vibration to the arm using stiff, brittle materials such as basalt and metal in the handle. The irony is that Wilson also makes a great replacement grip, the Shock Shield, which includes soft, rubbery materials designed to DAMPEN vibrations.

I have to disagree on this.
I've made transitions from the nCode to the K, to the BLX, and now to the PSBLX, all 90sqin's, and I've noticed significant decrease in the amount of shock my arm feels.
In fact, amplifeel has helped getting rid of my arm pains.

v-verb 12-17-2012 04:22 PM

after wrecking my wrist with and extra long and a Pure Drive, I've gone to POGs and a Boron and am quite happy with the extra comfort.

I'm not missing the power from the new racquets as I have long strokes.

Mick3391 12-17-2012 08:40 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Raul_SJ (Post 7067177)
I have been using the Wilson ProStaff Classic 6.1si Stretch for over 10 years.

I have tried demoes with recent models that claimed better playability due to new materials/technology (from Head and Wilson ) but they did not feel significantly better, so I just stuck with my old racquet.

I am wondering if there have been any significant breakthroughs in materials/racquet technology during the past decade?

Or is it primarily marketing hype by the racquet manufacturers that have a vested interest in players buying the latest gadgets?

It depends. In regards to Wilson, say the 90, the specs of the K-90 and the new PS BLX 90 are almost identical, so the question is "Does Basalt make a difference"? No, no big time.

Try a K-Factor 95 and a new 6.1 BLX 95, no real difference, weight is weight, balance is balance, stiffness is stiffness, the thing that matters are the specs, not the materials. Different deal of course with strings.

3fees 12-17-2012 10:31 PM

Good point,,I use Head LM Prestiges and am happy with them.

Say Chi Sin Lo 12-18-2012 12:15 PM

Come now, you can't say stuff like this on this forums. Telling people, or the mere thought of suggestion of marketing hype will just get people furious and sore. People don't miss shots here, it's because they didn't have blah blah technology.

Mick3391 12-18-2012 12:35 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Say Chi Sin Lo (Post 7069280)
Come now, you can't say stuff like this on this forums. Telling people, or the mere thought of suggestion of marketing hype will just get people furious and sore. People don't miss shots here, it's because they didn't have blah blah technology.

That's funny, yea I played bad because I didn't have Basalt in my racquet:)

When I got my BLX 90, the guy told me it's the exact same mold as the PS BLX 90, only difference is slightly heavier head weight, but oh so very similar.

Say Chi Sin Lo 12-18-2012 12:47 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mick3391 (Post 7069302)
That's funny, yea I played bad because I didn't have Basalt in my racquet:)

When I got my BLX 90, the guy told me it's the exact same mold as the PS BLX 90, only difference is slightly heavier head weight, but oh so very similar.

I thought so too, I was lucky enough to be able to demo it a few weeks before it was released. The differences between the PSBLX90 and my BLX90 were slim. If it was a blind test, I wouldn't have notice the difference. If I can pin it to something, the PSBLX90 plays ever so slightly crisper, but the difference is not big.

Lastly, I can say that it's different racquet, but I can't say it's because of the "amplifeel".

TennezSport 12-18-2012 12:59 PM

Like or Not.................
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by svarthofde (Post 7067226)
some of the marketing claims are ridiculous IMO, like the thing they put in the throat of Head racquets that stiffens the racquet if it senses you need it for your next shot. excuse me but that is straight from a James Bond movie one thing i know though: in spite of all the changes and the aggressive marketing "bull bagels" i like my ncode six.one better than my blx six.one

Well I have actually held D3O in my hands and I can tell you that it is a reactive material. It's in the way the fibers line up, so if you slowly or gently press the material it will bend. However, if you strike it hard the fibers realign and make the substance rock solid; not so James Bond. Like it or not it does work. Most of the new materials manufacturers use do work as stated, although may not at the levels of advertizing.

The bigger problem is in the way rec players look for racquets. If you have a racquet for 5+ years and you play frequently, your racquet has gone soft over time and you have become accustomed to the softer feel (especially if the racquets have heavy wear in the frame from scrapes). So, when you go to buy a new racquet, even the same exact model, you feel that the racquets dont feel the same. We see this all the time and show customers by measuring and comparing the flex of the old and new racquets. They had no idea how soft their old racquet had gotten.

The comments about lighter frames are correct and NO Pro plays with a light frame. ALL Pros play with customized frames.

Cheers, TennezSport :cool:

yemenmocha 12-18-2012 01:08 PM

ProKennex arm-friendly racquets do in fact function as advertised. They have an independent MIT study to backup their claims too.

Say Chi Sin Lo 12-18-2012 01:13 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by TennezSport (Post 7069335)
Well I have actually held D3O in my hands and I can tell you that it is a reactive material. It's in the way the fibers line up, so if you slowly or gently press the material it will bend. However, if you strike it hard the fibers realign and make the substance rock solid; not so James Bond. Like it or not it does work. Most of the new materials manufacturers use do work as stated, although may not at the levels of advertizing.

The bigger problem is in the way rec players look for racquets. If you have a racquet for 5+ years and you play frequently, your racquet has gone soft over time and you have become accustomed to the softer feel (especially if the racquets have heavy wear in the frame from scrapes). So, when you go to buy a new racquet, even the same exact model, you feel that the racquets dont feel the same. We see this all the time and show customers by measuring and comparing the flex of the old and new racquets. They had no idea how soft their old racquet had gotten.

The comments about lighter frames are correct and NO Pro plays with a light frame. ALL Pros play with customized frames.

Cheers, TennezSport :cool:

I guess that's my biggest problems with these advertising. Just how much of this stuff is in the actual racquet? Like you said in your case, "D3O" does work, but how much of it is in the frame? Head doesn't release the % composition, it's entirely possible that manufacturers use the bare minimum just so they can put the sticker on the frame. Is the bare minimum significant enough make a difference, or is it negligible?

And in some cases, it's just false advertising, such as Babolat's Cortex system.

TennezSport 12-18-2012 01:38 PM

Percentages.......
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Say Chi Sin Lo (Post 7069355)
I guess that's my biggest problems with these advertising. Just how much of this stuff is in the actual racquet? Like you said in your case, "D3O" does work, but how much of it is in the frame? Head doesn't release the % composition, it's entirely possible that manufacturers use the bare minimum just so they can put the sticker on the frame. Is the bare minimum significant enough make a difference, or is it negligible? And in some cases, it's just false advertising, such as Babolat's Cortex system.

A tremendous amount of research, development and testing goes into making racquets and new materials are introduced for various reasons; cutting costs, better performance or feel. Having tested for several companies, I have a new appreciation for what's done. However this is where we get into a tough area as how much material is needed to make a personal impact while maintaining racquet integrity. The problem is the answer will vary from person to person. For Head D3O is only placed in the throat area which is the primary pivot point where the material has the best impact.

As an example, some of our customers with really good volleying skills dont like the YT feel as they get too much pop, but some love it; it's a personal thing. Players who have tested the new Cortex in both the PD and APD stated that they can really feel a difference and again, some like it some dont. The key is to test a frame till you find what works best for you and to play with the heaviest frame you feel comfortable with.

Cheers, TennezSport :cool:


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