Originally Posted by KenC
I think a lot of people, myself included, find that when demoing racquets one does something particularly well, while another does something else really well. In my case, the Pure Storm Ltd. GT lets me hit my best serves, probably because it is very HL with a low SW which helps generate a lot of RHS. OTOH, the Pure Storm Tour lets me hit the biggest FH due to the high SW. The BLX90 lets me hit my best 1HBH for some reason, maybe because of its overall weight.
In my case my racquet demo 3 years ago convinced me that the PSLGT was the best overall racquet for my game. When in a high pressure match, it was the best racquet to pull me through. Over time I improved my technique to hit better FHs and BHs. I also took the time to find the best string and tension for the stick as well, which ultimately gave me more power.
I recently switched to the PK Ki5 315 for elbow reasons, but am pretty much set on using it going forward. It is a racquet that doesn't do anything "the best" but does everything really well. But the big test of a racquet is how it performs in a high pressure match, and the PK 315 is holding up for me like the PSLGT did.
So, my advice is to do the real acid test by playing a tough match with each one. Usually the choice becomes much clearer in these situations. Then go back and work on technique to fill in the other things that the racquet doesn't do exceptionally well for you.
Excellent post, man. I have come to realize that the trade-offs and compromises with racquets usually boil down to my own issues (age and long term sports injuries) and have less to do with the racquets themselves. The key is to consciously find the work-arounds. At this stage of the game for me, it is no longer easy to just pick up a racquet that addresses my physical needs and yet does everything perfectly on the court.
As an aside after playing for a couple of hours I picked up my friend's Extreme Pro 2.0 (mentioned by the OP). I had been alternating between the Pacific X-Feel Pro 90 Vacuum (what a tremendous stick off the ground!) and my regular X-Force. Even though I was a little pooped, I found the Extreme Pro to have gobs of power -- actually too much if I really hit out. Perfect with an easier stroke -- no work at all. Just a very easy stick to hit with. Big sweet-spot, easy spin and actually quite solid. I only wished it had a little more flex (maybe low to mid-60's RA would be perfect).