Just wanted to share my experiment with the new, 18x20, BLX Blade. Originally, it was purchased for my wife, she ended up sticking to her old racquet, so I kept this one for myself.
I played it stock for 2 weeks or so. Liked it. But I'm used to heavier, more head-light sticks, so I ended up making some modifications. I own various racquets, of different weights, light ones, heavy ones, etc.
First of all, the hoop is stable, and there seems to be a fair amount of weight up there. This particular frame came in at 295gr unstrung (9 grams below spec) and even-balanced (strung).
Anyone who's messed around with injecting silicone into the handle of a racquet knows that it can get messy. You don't know how much you're getting in there and have to constantly weigh the frame and try to get an even amount in each chamber. Not to mention the time it takes to dry.
So I grabbed my fly-fishing tackle box, laid down some saran wrap and made little silicone molds.
Each dried cube weighs ~5 grams and takes about 3 days to fully dry. I emptied out the Blades' chamber from the 'wilson foam', about 7 inches high in the handle and removed the buttcap and staples. I quickly found out that the cubes would be difficult to jam in there, so I cut them in half and shoved a cotton ball inside each chamber, as a block.
Using a dab of silicone on each cube, as an adhesive, I proceeded to slowly insert them into the chambers. 10 minutes later, I was done and had successfully filled the handle with dried silicone and used a bit of silicone at the end to fill the handle up and make it uniform. Took around 2 hours to fully dry.... and stopped smelling as well.
I had ended up adding 35 grams of silicone into the handle. The Blade was now 330 grams unstrung, 346 strung with a balance of 8pts. HL strung and a swing-weight of 338 (strung). Pretty much 6.1 95 specs.
The racquet came around much quicker and felt considerably more pliable and softer, much softer. Flex felt ~60ra. So I ended up adding a Wilson leather grip.
After the leather grip was wrapped (+8 grams total), I also added 1 gram of lead at 12 (for balancing purposes). The racquet has reached 355 grams strung (339gr usntrung) and 10 pts HL. The 6.1 tour 90 specs. Except the swing weight is now estimated (tw-method) to be ~345.
It plays stiffer (feels ~62ra) with the leather and 1 gram at 12o'clock. I'm liking it a lot, still comes around quick and packs a 'wallop'. I'm not missing anything from heavier frames, like the 6.1 tour, it definitely has more punch than the 90 and is WAY more forgiving.
Best thing, the modifications are completely reversible, in case I change my mind. Anyone who has scooped not fully dried silicone from a racquet's handle can appreciate this method. Other substances can be used, but in my experience, nothing dampens quite like silicone and provides such a soft feel.
Will keep playing with it and see if it's a keeper.