Wilson Prostaff 85 - old vs new
I took the plunge and bought a couple of the new PS85 frames (at $129 at TW they were too cheap to ignore).
I modified them to make them the same basic weight and balance as my existing frames and then had 3 strung at the same time* - one St Vincent, one late Taiwanese frame (bought in 1993) and the 2012 version.
Now, it's impossible to factor out that the older frames have been used for basically 20-25 years and will have gotten more flexible but thought I'd share some of the first observations on them.
The older frames plays way, way more similar to each other in terms of the sound they make on impact. They make a deeper, deader sound on impact than the new frame which makes a more metallic ping.
So far as power goes the newer frame has the edge for sure - most likely because it's stiffer since it's new, but doesn't feel any more harsh on the arm in terms of shock as you'd expect a stiffer frame too. That was the nice surprise.
Feel is where they feel completely different - in addition to the metallic sound on impact the newer frames feel less solid/dense through the middle section. Balls hit in the lower part the string bed or off-centre are noticeably worse than on the older frames - both in feel and power.
They're still lovely frames to play with but - as I've have long suspected - the build technique and materials used has not stayed the same, resulting in them being more different to the older versions than you'd hope.
I'd happily use them, and will from now on, but they're not the same by any means. If a percentage scale was made based on the St Vincent I'd put the Taiwanese frames at about 95%, the older (mid-late 90s) Chinese frames at about 85% and these about the same. I usually use two Taiwanese frames and, fwiw, they're the best balance of characteristics amongst all made - even if the St Vincents have the legend status.
Has anyone else ever done a side by side comparison of older and new iterations? I'd love to see a flex test done on a new and old version to see how much they differ.
(*strung with Weiss Cannon Silverstring 17/OG Sheep Micro 16 @ 48/52, with Tourna vibration damper, weighted to 370gms and approx 6-7pts head light)