Babolat Aeropro Drive Orginal - a classic? too soon?

VGP

Legend
I'm wondering if the Babolat Aeropro Drive original would be considered a classic racket.

It's been out of production for about 5 years.

It has a rather significant pro player association, Nadal still uses the original (started at the beginning of 2004). Post-2007 pj'd, but clearly not the subsequent Cortex and Cortex GT versions. He's made his career (so far) with the frame.

It was popular with recreational players at the time and continues to be with the subsequent versions.

Although I see them on the used market occasionally, they're not going for big bucks and people seem content with the latest release.

I'm just drawing parallels to another classic, the St. Vincent Pro Staff Midsize.

By 5 years after its discontinuation, it had a very similar, but "updated" version, the Chinese PS85.

It had a top male pro association, Pete Sampras, albeit minus the paintjob, who made his career with the frame.

It was popular with pros and recreational players.

Another pro-associated frame, the Dunlop Max200g was used by Graf and McEnroe and they used the frame just as long as Nadal's been with the APD original.....
 

droliver

Professional
With contemporary racquets like the Radical, Wilson 6.1, AeroPro or Pure Drive that tweak the substance or aesthetics so frequently, there's not really an definitive year or version so much as the line itself being an iconic brand.
 

retrowagen

Hall of Fame
No, I rather doubt it.

In regards to automobiles and perhaps other interesting consumer goods that people get passionate and emotional about (guitars, for one), the qualifier for “Classic” consideration is a greater span of time, i.e. 25 years. In those transpiring decades, time will be the judge of whether the item is worthy of remembering and celebrating, or is simply and quietly forgotten.

The PS85 and Max 200g you mention, and the Maxply Fort, T-2000, Prestige Classic 600, and a few others are remembered for their assistance in winning tournaments in pro and amateur ranks, and were evergreen designs too - not replaced annually by a marketing department exercise in search of sales numbers. As we all recognize, the nature of the last two decades of the industry is to have pros endorse (regardless of what frame they're really using beneath the paint and graphics!) the most current model (which will be superseded in no more than two years’ time!), hence individual models now cannot “ripen” or build a legacy. Some manufacturers may instead try to capitalize on a “lineage” instead (Head’s Radical… Prestige… etc.) to appeal to the history-minded, but, mirroring popular culture and the ambient sentiment of the western world today, there seems to be far less and less interest in history, and rather more and more attention given to Newest and Latest, hence my expectation for future classics is next to nil. It’s much the same with the auto industry: which of 2012’s cars will be a “classic” in 2037? It’s unlikely that any of them will be running in more than 15; they are engineered for a very short lifespan and now designed to be quickly replaced. I daresay the same about the modern tennis racquet industry.

Those Babolats are popular now, but I highly doubt anyone will wax poetic and get all moist-eyed about the 2010 model Aeropro Drive in 2035. The world simply has changed to embrace the relevance of the moment, not the relevance of history.
 
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6-2/6-4/6-0

Semi-Pro
Hey, all we need to do is attract the hipsters that ride 1980s lugged steel bikes as fixies everywhere to become tennis players. They'll bring back the true classics and maybe raise the bar for current manufacturers to think in a more sustainable manner.

On second thought, scratch that. If the skinny jeans are any indication, the local courts will be inundated with emaciated teens in full borg attire, and I do think its best if the .5" inseam in tennis shorts remained a thing of the past...
 

Power Player

Bionic Poster
I ride an 80s Fuji conversion hipster bike and play tennis.

But I don't dress or look like a hipster. I just love fixed (in Florida I don't really need gears) for the exercise and simplicity of the maintenance. It also is an incredibly pleasurable way to ride a bike as you probably know.

As for the APD original being a classic, I think it may be. It cured RossK of Racquetaholsm.
 

MAXXply

Hall of Fame
The APD original, with its matte charcoal grey cosmetics, seems to have been extinguished in the fanbois' consciousness by the black and yellow colours of the successor APDs. It seems like an eternity ago. Black and yellow is now synonymous with the APD. I'm glad I sold my original at a premium when I did.
 

joe sch

Legend
No, I rather doubt it.

In regards to automobiles and perhaps other interesting consumer goods that people get passionate and emotional about (guitars, for one), the qualifier for “Classic” consideration is a greater span of time, i.e. 25 years. In those transpiring decades, time will be the judge of whether the item is worthy of remembering and celebrating, or is simply and quietly forgotten.

The PS85 and Max 200g you mention, and the Maxply Fort, T-2000, Prestige Classic 600, and a few others are remembered for their assistance in winning tournaments in pro and amateur ranks, and were evergreen designs too - not replaced annually by a marketing department exercise in search of sales numbers. As we all recognize, the nature of the last two decades of the industry is to have pros endorse (regardless of what frame they're really using beneath the paint and graphics!) the most current model (which will be superseded in no more than two years’ time!), hence individual models now cannot “ripen” or build a legacy. Some manufacturers may instead try to capitalize on a “lineage” instead (Head’s Radical… Prestige… etc.) to appeal to the history-minded, but, mirroring popular culture and the ambient sentiment of the western world today, there seems to be far less and less interest in history, and rather more and more attention given to Newest and Latest, hence my expectation for future classics is next to nil. It’s much the same with the auto industry: which of 2012’s cars will be a “classic” in 2037? It’s unlikely that any of them will be running in more than 15; they are engineered for a very short lifespan and now designed to be quickly replaced. I daresay the same about the modern tennis racquet industry.

Those Babolats are popular now, but I highly doubt anyone will wax poetic and get all moist-eyed about the 2010 model Aeropro Drive in 2035. The world simply has changed to embrace the relevance of the moment, not the relevance of history.
All very true !

IMO classic rackets should have been manufactured for more than a decade and used for several decades with many players stock piling them to continue playing them. Examples are Wilson JK wood rackets, Dunlop maxply, Slazenger Challenge, Wilson prostaff, Head PCs, ...

Todays rackets are made to be replaced in a few seasons time.
 

VGP

Legend
You guys are right. I was just rethinking this thought since I recently bought a couple of these frames.

Some of the elements for a "classic" are there for the APD original, and some aren't. I guess the only one that would wax poetic on the non-cortex version would be Nadal himself. I'm sure everyone else has, or had to (?) move on. I don't think I've heard of anyone stocking up on APD originals over the APDC or APDC-GT.

Nadal used the frame with the original cosmetics from the beginning of 2004 to the spring of 2007. It wasn't released in the US until early 2005. So, at least in this market, it was only available in its original form for just over two years. Then it was quickly phased out of the retail market with the yellow-white cortex. Then after a couple of years, the yellow-black cortex GT. Then there was the non-Nadal associated Roland Garros APD (which I thought was cool), but was only available for about half of last year. I think the RG model has a bit of collector following. The prices for NOS ones are higher than their original price ATM.

joe saying "todays rackets are made to be replaced in a few seasons time" does ring true, there were quick turnarounds in the past, but the companies knew that when they had a winner, they made it for longer WITHOUT major changes.

I've mentioned it in other threads, but I think the presence of counterfeit merchandise if forcing the companies to revamp their lines with major cosmetic changes and tangible (relatively minor) modifications. Maybe that's why they use relatively more intricate paint schemes and weird reflective materials worked in these days.....

I guess the environment isn't right for long-lasting classics anymore. A two-year cycle max. Only the top pros can demand to use their favorite frames for years on end, albeit with cosmetic changes in order to maintain their contracts - no more Sampras-style stubbornness. But much speculation by us racket nerds as to what's underneath the paint.

And some people are totally duped into getting the "latest and greatest." I've recently been looking on e-bay to see what APD originals are going for. I just saw an ad from a "4.5 USTA rated" player that is selling his two APDC-GT Roland Garros frames, still perfectly playable by the looks of it, for a 'bargain' at $150 BIN for both. He wants to get the "yellow Nadal" frames. I guess he's in the mood to throw away 250 bucks.
 
If it were made after wood rackets ceased production, it ain't no classic. Just my opinion. I'm not sure of the year, but the Snauwaert frames were probably some of the last wood rackets manufactured.
 

Hannah19

Professional
^^^^ to be precise: the Brian Gottfried was the last classic wood frame to go out of production in 1987.
 

SFrazeur

Legend
A truly classic racquet is a dying breed. These are racquets manufactured and or re-released often throughout a long period of time. Easily 10 years.

Such racquets are the Prince Graphite Mid and MidPlus, PS 85, Prestige Classic. The PS 85 has been around for 25 plus years.

However, racquet market lifespan these days are only about 2-4 years. Since about 2003 the Wilson Tour 90" series has had 5 different models:
PS Tour 90, nCode Tour 90, KFactor Tour 90, BLX Tour 90, BLX PS Tour 90. Sure, it's a classic series, but none of those racquet had enough time in production to actually became a classic.

Yes. Each major release of the PS 85 is noted for slightly different specs and playing characteristics, but it's intended to be the same racquet.

-SF
 
I have to admit, I thought Prince changed the game too much with the introduction of oversized rackets. And I don't mean that in a good way. But, that doesn't mean I don't like the rackets that followed. I don't use a wood racket any more except for the occasional "fun" of hitting with one. I really wasn't opposed to graphite either. I thought the Tony Trabert C-6 and Adila Cannon were great new frames. And, at a given point in time, I think the PDP Open (aluminum) was one of the best hitting rackets made. But nothing beat the feel of smacking a winner with a solid shot from a wood racket.
 

VGP

Legend
A truly classic racquet is a dying breed.
I agree.

Since about 2003 the Wilson Tour 90" series has had 5 different models:
PS Tour 90, nCode Tour 90, KFactor Tour 90, BLX Tour 90, BLX PS Tour 90. Sure, it's a classic series, but none of those racquet had enough time in production to actually became a classic.
So, that's what its come to, huh? For us regular folk, a classic series. If it's too good and they want to keep making it, they'll have to change it.
 
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