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Old 01-23-2013, 12:51 PM   #39
Sanglier
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Join Date: Nov 2011
Posts: 156
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I have become quite a fan of these MatchMate racquets, and have begun hoarding them as a precautionary measure against their known fragility. As the size of my "spare reserve" has grown, so has the temptation to mess with these things.

The grommets on a couple of my frames have turned into crispy crunch, so I decided to see what it would be like to make a "Mad Match Mate" out of one. This is what I ended up with:




My goal was to use all the holes while minimizing the number of shared holes, keeping the string lengths relatively uniform, allowing some density gradient in the string bed but not too much, and avoiding sharp string exit angles as much as possible. As I had to rely on my Serrano for this, much of the job was done with creative (often awkward) fly-clamping, along with lots of tubing; which undoubtedly resulted in some tension loss here and there. However, as a self-amusement project, it worked out pretty much as I had envisioned it to.

I used a pack of vintage Atasco OS-280 for this, at 50 lbs, which is the minimum recommended by the manufacturer. The functional test results? A resounding "Meh".

I don't know if it's my frankenstein pattern or the old strings, but the feel on some of the conventionally strung frames that came to me with 65 lbs (kevlar) mains is infinitely better than my experiment in every conceivable way. It really does seem to me that these MatchMates were designed to perform best at higher tension ranges, even though they are structurally weaker in some spots than they perhaps need to be to reliably sustain this level of stress, thus putting their owner in a bit of a quandry when trying to choose between preservation and performance.

Thankfully, there is always that third option - hoarding.
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