I searched and couldn't find a "Club Thread" for this amazing racquet so I thought I'd start one.
I hit with the London for the first time today. It's now my go-to racquet with my PB10 Mid in reserve for special situations against "heavier" balls demanding more ploughthrough (see below).
As a reference point for those considering the London I'm quite new to tennis, have experimented with a number of racquets and string combos, and play only singles. While I'm certainly fast enough to play all-court and enjoy running down "impossible to reach" shots, I really enjoy the long range fight from the baseline.
My favorite racquets to date have been the Dunlop Aerogel 4D 100 (a laser guided rapier) and the PB10 Mid (a broadsword with a great combo of comfort, precision, and ploughthrough that plays far lighter than its specs would suggest).
I also fence so my arm can be sensitive and comfort is critical
Here's my initial take on the BB London:
- Lead: Knowing that I strongly prefer HL racquets I immediately modified the BB London to bring it to ~7-8 points head light with total weight of 331g (a shade under 11.7 oz.) Unmodified its strung balance (no overgrip or dampener) was 4 points HL. I added no lead to the hoop (only the grip) and really see no need to add hoop lead (buy a PB10 Mid instead!).
- String: My standard string is VS17 Crosses at 50# and Xcel Mains at 52# which is how I strung the London.
- Comfort: absolutely comfortable! There's been much discussion on the London's SW and stiffness with some sites showing stiffness as high as 70(!). I've tried stiff racquets before and they really hurt my arm. The London plays far closer to the comfy PB10 Mid and is even more comfy than the much vaunted ProKennex 7G imo.
- Power: while not a high-powered racquet the London is certainly more powerful than the PB10 Mid. It's powerful enough that with a medium speed swing you'll be rewarded with a deep, medium speed shot to the opposing baseline. To really pound the ball you'll need to access the London's spin potential or risk over-shooting the baseline (see below). If, like me, you hit a one-handed back hand you'll be very pleased with the London's slightly higher power compared to some heavier payers racquets. It makes OHBH's quite comfy.
- Stability: for a "lighter" racquet the London is incredibly stable. At no point during my hitting session did I feel discomfort or twist from off-center shots. I use a one-handed backhand and took a few BH shots today on the run, with my back to the net, and wide of the sideline, and STILL managed to place the ball perfectly (see control below). While practicing serves I hit a few shots at the extreme tip of the hoop and while clearly a "thunk" the shot still worked. It's more stable than my PB10 Mid which really needs lead in the hoop IMO. I'm a noob and this is a VERY forgiving racquet.
- Control: my hitting partner said it all today --- "You're like the ball machine at the PGA store!"
Hitting flat with a slow to medium speed stroke I was able to place the ball any where I wanted. While simply rallying for fun I was able to place the ball perfectly to my partner's forehand or backhand at will. I never felt like I had to fight the racquet when placing shots. Hitting hard I was still able to place the ball as long as I spun the shot (see below).
- Spin: outstanding spin potential which is crucial given the London's higher power compared to racquets such as the PB10 Mid and 4D 100. Swinging out with the London will launch balls unless you focus on generating top spin which is fairly easy with the London. This was especially evident during serves. We noobs fear serving. It's comlpex. Lots of moving parts. But I was actually having FUN today practicing serves. It was VERY easy to serve with top spin. In fact, being accustomed to the PB10 Mid, I was putting serves in the net at first. I really had to aim higher while curving serves into the opposite court. The kick drove the ball well past the baseline even with a moderate speed serve stroke.
- Volley: I don't like playing up at the net, I'm just not good enough yet. But the London's slightly higher power compared to other control-oriented racquets was very welcome at the net. That slightly higher power combined with the London's outstanding control and stability allowed me to volley with confidence (which is unusual for me!!!)
- Bottom Line: The London does an outstanding job combining stability, power, and control in a middle weight package. Those who swing big will need to focus on harnessing the London's easy access to spin to avoid launching balls. But I feel the London occupies an interesting place between what conventional wisdom calls "tweener" and "player" racquets. It's so darn forgiving noobs like me can really enjoy the racquet's superior control. Higher level players will enjoy its combination of stability and lighter weight (yes, you now have a viable alternative to those 12.5-13.0 sledgehammers, at least for casual hitting).
Please note that all of my comments apply to a slightly modified London (used lead at grip to move it from 4 pts HL to 7-8 pts HL.) However, others who have tried the London stock have also reported outstanding results.
So, fellow London owners, please post your thoughts on the London for the benefit of future London owners!