Best old school players racquets you've purchased from **** and why

I've been seeing some nice used frames on e**y (PK Black Ace, Head Prestige Classic, PT 280, etc.) all hovering around the $150 mark (black and yellow Black Ace is significantly cheaper). Am thinking of picking some up but I'm admittedly a little reluctant (unknown racquet playing history :( ) and need some encouragement (or discouragement) from the community.
 
I also realize this post is borderline on the "no for sale or trade" policy. If this is crossing the line, TW please advise and remove at your discretion and I'll post this somewhere else more appropriate.
 

pastashop42

New User
They play nice, different from most modern frames, but depends on what you seek from the exercise. IME with 200G, ProStaff, Puma, POG... matching the weight and swingweight is a nightmare, if you want to have 2+ matched sticks to play with as your main racquet. You’d probably have a better time with a Srixon 200 18x20 — similar feel but probably easier to match sticks and keep “operational” longer.
 

taylor15

Rookie
I have purchased a few old Donnay sticks online. Most reason is to hit something interesting and different. These are available around 20-30 bucks in great shape, so it’s worth it for the experience to me
 

MajesticMoose

Hall of Fame
Bought a Head Microgel Prestige Mid off ehay brand new with the cardboard graphic tied inside the hoop and plastic on the handle for $100 I believe if I remember right. Best thing I ever bought from ehay.
 

ryanholi0

Rookie
I have gotten a treasure trove of excellent 9/10 Old school racquets as of late. Yonex R-22, R-24, R27, Cyborg 2200, Titan 400, Pro Kennex Copper Ace, Wilson Pro Staff 4.5 and 7.5.
 

Kevo

Legend
I started buying a bunch of fiberglass and graphite composite frames after hitting with a PK Copper Ace. That frame has such a nice flexy feeling and is pretty much unlike any modern frame you can buy. After that one I started wondering what some of the others felt like so I got some different Rossignol frames as well. They also are sweet hitting frames. I actually have a bunch in good condition that I plan on selling soon. I eventually found my favorite out of the bunch and I will keep a few of the others as well just to have fun with now and then.

I'll keep a copper ace or two, an F200 or two, my 2 F230s, and I'll sell my extras. I just ended up with too many and I'll never hit with them enough to justify having them take up so much space. Having tried all these old frames, I know I will not be going back to modern tech. I play for enjoyment, so having a little extra power from a full graphite frame is not worth giving up the super sweet feel of an old school graphite and fiberglass lay up. I have 2 F250 Rossignols which are full graphite I think. They hit more like a modern frame and don't have the same sweet feel of the others I have. They are still nice frames and the Rossignol inverted bridge does seem to enlarge the sweetspot of the frame compared to similar sized standard shaped heads, but the F250 doesn't have the level of sweetness the other frames do.
 
On a whim I picked up a Bancroft Bartelby and was surprised (and grossed-out) to find that in place of silicone in the handle there was Vaseline instead. .

Threw it out on the spot.

@Bartelby
 

galain

Hall of Fame
Too many to count!

I haven't played in a while for a number of reasons, but I've still been toying with the idea of finding myself a Bard Jade Fire. Sweet looking stick that I used to see advertised in the magazines back in the day and always wondered about.
 

3virgul14

Rookie
Due to forearm issues and GE , I switched from H22 to Fischer M1Pro 98. + Leather grip and 6g of lead, total 350. Best decision ever, you feel every shot and I can literally rip or crash the ball..
 

chrisb

Semi-Pro
I have had serious problems with new rackets feeling hollow and vibrating when I hit high on the head. To Whit I have purchased 2 Chang oversizes, 2 older Wilson pro opens one old prince 14 x 18 original graphite 90 and a secret 04 all of which I had used previously while working for the aforementioned companies. Surprise no vibrations and no hollow feel, and at age 76 I still get enough power
 
Profile 2.7 because its stiff. They don't make stiff sticks like that anymore.
I played with that frame briefly when I was in elementary school. IMO that beast was the pinnacle of the widebody movement in the 90s. It had zero feel but as a skinny 12 year old I was able to hammer the ball as hard as any adult player I knew. The racquet was terrible for my stroke mechanics and it took some time after using it to fix bad habits I had picked up.
 

DriveKing

New User
PT280. Didn't give me the most power but really helped me take a step from a 3.5 to a 4. Made me focus on serving, footwork and technique. I still have 2. One has a slight crack, the other is mint. I will probably always circle back to these at some point. Made me a huge fan of Head Tennis as well.
 

Shroud

G.O.A.T.
I played with that frame briefly when I was in elementary school. IMO that beast was the pinnacle of the widebody movement in the 90s. It had zero feel but as a skinny 12 year old I was able to hammer the ball as hard as any adult player I knew. The racquet was terrible for my stroke mechanics and it took some time after using it to fix bad habits I had picked up.
fortunately my strokes were ok when I got it. Not sure why but that racquet took FOREVER to warm up:

warning: Bad tennis is coming
 

flanker2000fr

Professional
Kneissl White Star Pro Master, in its many iterations. Hits incredibly well if one manages to find the sweet spot (granted, that's a big if).
 

WestboroChe

Hall of Fame
The Black Ace 98 was the best old school racquet I got on that site. But I’ve found good deals on more modern frames there. You have to stay away from the classics everyone knows about and go for less known frames. So while a POG might be a over priced a graphite Pro offers similar play but costs much less. Same is true of the Head prestige and Wilson Pro Staff. Once you ignore those the prices are much more reasonable.
 
My recently acquired RT Laser has a very old school feeling. Too bad they weren't more popular. Feel reminds me of PK Black Ace or a Head Graphite Edge.

 

WestboroChe

Hall of Fame
My recently acquired RT Laser has a very old school feeling. Too bad they weren't more popular. Feel reminds me of PK Black Ace or a Head Graphite Edge.

Actually that looks identical to my Silver Ace even down to the paint job. Which has the same graphics in a different color scheme. I wouldn’t be surprised at all if that was just a rebranded silver Ace. Pro Kennex made a lot of frames for smaller brands. I imagine they adjusted the specs to the customers demands and just used the same molds.

Silver Aces are a great buy if you want an old school flex stick. Mine was $15 including shipping.
 
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shamaho

Semi-Pro
POG Mid - on the why...
a) because it's my current playing stick, and I need more than the two I had and
b) also because that model in particular had all the features and balance I was looking for that I could NOT go on an endless search for the one in the current modern offerings... I tried 3 or 4 models then turned to the classics
 

-Kap-

Rookie
I started buying a bunch of fiberglass and graphite composite frames after hitting with a PK Copper Ace. That frame has such a nice flexy feeling and is pretty much unlike any modern frame you can buy...
I grabbed a Copper Ace for a few bucks at a thrift store years ago, and was amazed at how much feel and feedback it provides. It's fairly underpowered compared to my OS Radicals, and I'm not able to play competitively with it, but it's super comfortable and so rewarding to feel that sweet flex on contact. I'd imagine that natural gut or a powerful multi might give it enough pop for me, but either way, it's simply a joy to hit with.
 

Ultra 2

Professional
Actually that looks identical to my Silver Ace even down to the paint job. Which has the same graphics in a different color scheme. I wouldn’t be surprised at all if that was just a rebranded silver Ace. Pro Kennex made a lot of frames for smaller brands. I imagine they adjusted the specs to the customers demands and just used the same molds.

Silver Aces are a great buy if you want an old school flex stick. Mine was $15 including shipping.
For some reason the most popular Silver Ace I remember had a straight lower throat on it. That one has more of the conventional rounded one. I know they made a few.. even a white one. That silver I imagine was very popular due to the price point. It was heavy though.. was using a 13+ oz frame in a L5.
 

michael valek

Professional
Max 200g is a cannon. Hit it in the middle and you feel just a dull thud and the ball rockets back. Puma super is a scalpel. Hit it in the middle and you are boris reborn. Both are amazing but the puma edges it for me thanks to how it feels in my hand and the beauty of the frame itself, the flex, the solidity. And anything which says “designed and made in west Germany” on it is good enough for me. Made in England is also cool by the way.
 

vsbabolat

G.O.A.T.
Max 200g is a cannon. Hit it in the middle and you feel just a dull thud and the ball rockets back. Puma super is a scalpel. Hit it in the middle and you are boris reborn. Both are amazing but the puma edges it for me thanks to how it feels in my hand and the beauty of the frame itself, the flex, the solidity. And anything which says “designed and made in west Germany” on it is good enough for me. Made in England is also cool by the way.
All the Puma BB Super I have seen were made in Taiwan.
 
Max 200g is a cannon. Hit it in the middle and you feel just a dull thud and the ball rockets back. Puma super is a scalpel. Hit it in the middle and you are boris reborn. Both are amazing but the puma edges it for me thanks to how it feels in my hand and the beauty of the frame itself, the flex, the solidity. And anything which says “designed and made in west Germany” on it is good enough for me. Made in England is also cool by the way.
I picked up the Max 200g mainly because of its legendary status but also because of the way it was constructed via injection molding. So instead of the fibers being aligned in layered form, the fibers are premixed with molten nylon and infected into a mold. I don’t know of any other graphite racquet that was manufactured this way, and I also heard it was one of the most expensive sticks to produce. Really looking forward to hitting with it!
 

vsbabolat

G.O.A.T.
I picked up the Max 200g mainly because of its legendary status but also because of the way it was constructed via injection molding. So instead of the fibers being aligned in layered form, the fibers are premixed with molten nylon and infected into a mold. I don’t know of any other graphite racquet that was manufactured this way, and I also heard it was one of the most expensive sticks to produce. Really looking forward to hitting with it!
Dunlop had a whole line of IMF racquets. 300i, 400i, 500i, and 800i. Dunlop actually developed the technology as a way try and make the racquet manufacturing less expensive and keep it in-house. However health and safety laws that went into effect made it more expensive as production life if the racquet went on. There’s also molten metal being used as well. Do you know the manufacturing process?
 
Dunlop had a whole line of IMF racquets. 300i, 400i, 500i, and 800i. Dunlop actually developed the technology as a way try and make the racquet manufacturing less expensive and keep it in-house. However health and safety laws that went into effect made it more expensive as production life if the racquet went on. There’s also molten metal being used as well. Do you know the manufacturing process?
Cool, I didn’t know that there were other injection-molded frames. I’m not an expert on the specific manufacturing process that Dunlop used but can imagine that the addition of fibers would make the molten nylon really viscous, thus requiring a lot of pressure to fill the mold. And the higher the ratio of fiber to nylon, the more viscous the melt will be, so there wouldn’t be much room to tweak the stiffness by changing the ratios. I’m pretty sure racquets will never again be made by IM. Am a little surprised though that molten metal could be involved. In general metal has a much higher melt temperature than plastics, and mixing the two can actually cause the nylon to break down ...
 
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mixtape

Rookie
Best old school racquet I bought on that site was a mint Dunlop 200G for my friend's birthday many years ago. The look on his face when he opened his gift and the countless stories we discussed during our younger playing days was priceless.
 

vsbabolat

G.O.A.T.
Cool, I didn’t know that there were other injection-molded frames. I’m not an expert on the specific manufacturing process that Dunlop used but can imagine that the addition of fibers would make the molten nylon really viscous, thus requiring a lot of pressure to fill the mold. And the higher the ratio of fiber to nylon, the more viscous the melt will be, so there wouldn’t be much room to tweak the stiffness by changing the ratios. I’m pretty sure racquets will never again be made by IM. Am a little surprised though that molten metal could be involved. In general metal has a much higher melt temperature than plastics, and mixing the two can actually cause the nylon to break down ...
Here is a layman's explanation of how the Injection Molded Process works. First there is a casting of a low melting point alloy core. The alloy core is then put in the injection molding machine. A Compound of GRAPHITE and NYLON is Melted and then injected around the alloy core. Once the graphite and Nylon is cooled the Alloy core is heated up so it melts and then poured out of the frame. This leaves individual string holes that have pillars inside the frame. There are no holes drilled in these injection molded frames by Dunlop.
 
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RDM

Rookie
Having worked in the automotive design field for the entirety of my working life, and having been exposed to every injection moulding technique and method under the sun, I have never seen any component moulded via this methodology. As vsbabolat has said, it really is a piece a piece of art, and absolutely unique in the way it was made. I have shown it to the injection moulding experts that I work with and they are always baffled by its construction, and then amazed when I reveal how it was done. It truly was a work of some quite considerable genius I believe.
 
Here is a layman's explanation of how the Injection Molded Process works. First there is a casting of a low melting point alloy core. The alloy core is then put in the injection molding machine. A Compound of GRAPHITE and NYLON is Melted and then injected around the alloy core. Once the graphite and Nylon is cooled the Alloy core is heated up so it melts and then poured out of the frame. This leaves individual string holes that have pillars inside the frame. There are no holes drilled in these injection molded frames by Dunlop.
This description sounds like a fusion of injection molding with investment casting, very interesting. My question is, if the melting point of the alloy (probably containing Pb, an environmental hazard) is lower than the molten nylon, wouldn’t the nylon melt the alloy as it fills around the core? Also I wonder if the pillars result in more stability around the hoop. Cool stuff!
 

vsbabolat

G.O.A.T.
This description sounds like a fusion of injection molding with investment casting, very interesting. My question is, if the melting point of the alloy (probably containing Pb, an environmental hazard) is lower than the molten nylon, wouldn’t the nylon melt the alloy as it fills around the core? Also I wonder if the pillars result in more stability around the hoop. Cool stuff!
Here are sections cut from the Max 200G to show the internal pillars that you can only have with an Injection Molded Frame.


 

Sanglier

Semi-Pro
You are a materials scientist, so you are probably familiar with Wood's metal, or Cerrobend, which was the alloy used in this production method. Yes, it does indeed contain Pb, in addition to Sn, Bi and Cd, and definitely isn't an environmentally friendly material. However, the alloy was recycled within the production process, so the pollution aspect was more or less contained. An argument could even be made that this method of production was more environmentally friendly than hand-laid frames, because the process of making carbon fiber prepregs can be quite polluting as well. Part of the reason Kunnan Lo was able to make racquets so cheaply (and siglehandedly turn Taiwan into the global hub of racquet manufacture within less than a decade) was that he made his own prepregs using an incredibly unhealthy solvent-based process that would never have been allowed by OSHA here, at least not without some expensive equipment and protocol to protect the workers, none of which existed in Kunnan's factory at the time.

The reason the molten nylon didn't melt the alloy during the injection process was that it cooled down very quickly as it polymerized. The amount of heat transferred to the alloy core was easily absorbed by the latter without bringing it to its melting temperature. The mold also acted as a heat sink, optimized to allow the substrate to flow freely just long enough to fill the voids evenly, but not so long that the core would start to melt before the polymerization takes place.

Incidentally, there were several other efforts to make injection-molded racquets by various manufacturers in the US and Europe starting in the early '70s, but only Dunlop was successful in theirs (up to a point) because they took this mechanically complicated and somewhat expensive approach, which was developed in the early '50s and patented in the UK in 1960. The application was certainly novel and unique, but the technology itself was already two decades old by then, so Dunlop's engineering work focused more on frame architecture and production optimization than on the injection process per se.

If you look in the archives, you'll see many earlier threads where these frames were discussed, including illustrations of the internal beam architecture that made them so special (it looks like VS just reposted some of them here as I'm typing). One poster even had an unfinished racquet that still had the alloy inside, which weighed a ton.
 
You are a materials scientist, so you are probably familiar with Wood's metal, or Cerrobend, which was the alloy used in this production method. Yes, it does indeed contain Pb, in addition to Sn, Bi and Cd, and definitely isn't an environmentally friendly material. However, the alloy was recycled within the production process, so the pollution aspect was more or less contained. An argument could even be made that this method of production was more environmentally friendly than hand-laid frames, because the process of making carbon fiber prepregs can be quite polluting as well. Part of the reason Kunnan Lo was able to make racquets so cheaply (and siglehandedly turn Taiwan into the global hub of racquet manufacture within less than a decade) was that he made his own prepregs using an incredibly unhealthy solvent-based process that would never have been allowed by OSHA here, at least not without some expensive equipment and protocol to protect the workers, none of which existed in Kunnan's factory at the time.

The reason the molten nylon didn't melt the alloy during the injection process was that it cooled down very quickly as it polymerized. The amount of heat transferred to the alloy core was easily absorbed by the latter without bringing it to its melting temperature. The mold also acted as a heat sink, optimized to allow the substrate to flow freely just long enough to fill the voids evenly, but not so long that the core would start to melt before the polymerization takes place.

Incidentally, there were several other efforts to make injection-molded racquets by various manufacturers in the US and Europe starting in the early '70s, but only Dunlop was successful in theirs (up to a point) because they took this mechanically complicated and somewhat expensive approach, which was developed in the early '50s and patented in the UK in 1960. The application was certainly novel and unique, but the technology itself was already two decades old by then, so Dunlop's engineering work focused more on frame architecture and production optimization than on the injection process per se.

If you look in the archives, you'll see many earlier threads where these frames were discussed, including illustrations of the internal beam architecture that made them so special (it looks like VS just reposted some of them here as I'm typing). One poster even had an unfinished racquet that still had the alloy inside, which weighed a ton.
I'm truly impressed by your knowledge of racquet manufacturing history! I haven't heard of Cerrobend before but am familiar with Pb-Sn alloys that have very low melting points :). Sounds like the optimization process would have been a trial and error nightmare; the nylon can't be too hot or else at least some of the alloy core would melt, but it can't be so cold that the melt would have trouble filling the channels. I did some suction casting of multicomponent alloys in grad school where the goal was to rapidly fill small channels with molten metal. Because the quench happens so quickly, porosity was almost always inevitable in the final cast part. That Dunlop was able to consistently produce these racquets without defects in the form of large internal pores is truly amazing.
 

coachrick

Hall of Fame
Would love to hear the story behind that. Did you work in the racquet industry?
Different guy replying; but I had a similar "demo" cutaway when I was a sales rep for Dunlop in the '80s. I never needed to use it as McEnroe switched to the 200G during my brief stay and nobody cared how the frame was made at that point. We sold every 200G in the warehouse within 3 days of J-Mac's switch...strictly word of mouth(before them internets made it easy).
 

joe sch

Legend
My two largest stockpiles of rackets are max200g and pc600. Played both for good parts of different decades and still love to hit both with PC being my hitting racket of choice.
 

muddlehead

Semi-Pro
fortunately my strokes were ok when I got it. Not sure why but that racquet took FOREVER to warm up:

warning: Bad tennis is coming
The volley you hit at 1:48 is why you and me have profiles. Mine is strung at 32 lbs tension. 13.65 oz. weight. I think yours is heavier.
 

Christian Olsson

Professional
I picked up a Puma Becker Special on the large auction site. It is a fantastic feeling frame. It plays much bigger than 93 square inches.
Tried that one too! Its soo good and need no tinkering. Solid and plush. Point and shoot. One one of those just pick up and play racquets that are just damn good. If they made any reissues I’d be all over them like a hungry Italian over a Casio e pepe.


Skickat från min iPhone med Tapatalk
 
Bargain buy in near mint condition. Strung with a full bed of Cyclone 17 at 53 lbs. and new leather grip. Can't wait to hit with this!

 
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