blackburne ds-97 !

t-swede

Semi-Pro
this racket seems weirdly interesting and since someone picked up the two bosworth ones im not the only one to think it ! i can get the retail version for about 50 usd strung but i would like to hear from people here on these boards that have played with one .

the swede
 

Sanglier

Professional
A typical string bed weighs 18 g; the Blackburne has double that amount. As a result, it is 10 pt or more head heavy, with a swing weight in the mid 300s, even though the frame weighs less than 300 g strung. I've only played with the 107 version, in factory-strung form, and I would describe the ball feel as being oddly light and "fluffy" on contact - the opposite of the solid feel one typically gets from a player frame. It's an acquired taste at best. I can't imagine the 97 version being qualitatively different in that regard.

The idea behind this design is that you should be able to hit the ball with the edge of the string bed without shanking the ball. However, when you make contact THAT far away from the middle of the frame, especially in the case of the 107 head size, the ball probably won't be headed towards where you want it to go anyway, so I am not sure what you would be gaining by that in practice. Blackburne's marketing materials included slow-mo videos of a guy making contact with the edge of the string bed and still putting the ball in play, but I think there is a significant difference between doing this on purpose for demonstration, where you can compensate by adjusting your grip and/or swing, and doing it accidentally during an actual rally.

Anyway, I like the design for its oddity value, but I am very skeptical of its practical value. Unless you are someone who "lives on the edge" - who can never seem to find the middle of the string bed for whatever reason, this is not a frame that will impress you.
 

t-swede

Semi-Pro
what i you counterweigh with some lead in the handle or put on a leather grip ? i read in some older posts that one guy swears by the 97 and that he was serving bombs with it after restringin it with some poly at maxtension.
 

Sanglier

Professional
At 300 g strung, there is definitely room for balance/swing weight customization. However, since I am not a masochist, this is not a frame that I would restring without provocation on an experimental basis!

There is no question that the Blackburne is a super stable frame with plenty of power, thanks in no small part to the extra mass in the head, directly behind the ball. However, there is also no getting away from the fact that it has a weird feel (or lack thereof); which is quite obvious when you switch back and forth between the factory-strung iteration and a good conventional frame. That said, I can see why it is considered a good serving stick, as you can afford to hit very high in the hoop - where maximum serve speed is generated. For me, my main issue with this racquet was with my ground strokes, which were consistently sailing long, even with compact swings. Increasing the string tension might partially mitigate that problem, but there is definitely a learning curve involved no matter what.

The 97 version is much less common than its 107 sibling; $50 seems more than reasonable for a strung unit in new condition. Why not get it, tinker and play with it, then share your own impressions with us here?
 
They were on the auction site for $30 with another $30 for shipping here to Sweden a while back. I regret not picking one up.
 
I'm probably the guy that loved it .

It's is absolutely the greatest stick I have ever played with in my life .

I can verify that Sanglier's statements are true.....the ball does feel "powdery".....and although he didn't like that ....I LOVED it !

Balls feel light as a feather as the heavy head simply plows through the ball with authority . There is little vibration or stress on the arm .....which means no arm fatigue .

It's just such a pleasure to play with .

Having said all of that the 97 is the way to go ! I agree with Sanglier again that the 107 was just way too powerful . It's also not very maneuverable at the net . It's thick and it's big even though it's light .

The 107 is strictly a ground stroke stick and a real rocket launcher .

The 97 is maneuverable and very powerful. Although it's 97 inches it's all sweet spot !

Now about the edge thing with samglier here's where I disagree . Because it has no edge you can do so much more with it ....you can close your Face more and not worry about hitting the edge . It's also the greatest return of serve racquet I have ever used and hard volleys are great . Overheads in the sun not a problem either .

The three dimensional design is so much more superior to a conventional racquet . It's so much more stable .

**** here's a secret . Blackburne came out with a titanium version but only made 3 of them ....you heard me ....3!
I bought one for $300. A guy from Mexico just bought one for $500. There is only one left and I think blackburne still has it . I'm not sure he will part with it but you can give it a try .
Those 97's are very hard to come by . $50.00 is a STEAL.
 

EBauman

New User
A couple of years ago I ordered a new 107 from England for about $100, but they sent me the 97 by mistake. They then sent me the 107, but did not want me to bother to return the 97. So, I guess I got them each for about $50. To my surprise I much preferred the 97. I agree, they have a unique feel, but are really fun to play with. They make a sort of whooshing sound when you swing them. They have tons of power, but feel really dampened. I seem to get a lot of spin too. I like them a lot.
 
A couple of years ago I ordered a new 107 from England for about $100, but they sent me the 97 by mistake. They then sent me the 107, but did not want me to bother to return the 97. So, I guess I got them each for about $50. To my surprise I much preferred the 97. I agree, they have a unique feel, but are really fun to play with. They make a sort of whooshing sound when you swing them. They have tons of power, but feel really dampened. I seem to get a lot of spin too. I like them a lot.

Lucky you ! I totally agree with you ....they are very dampened .....that's either something you love or hate.....personally I LOVE it .....if you like dampened racquets then one needs to look no further than the blackburne .

Enjoy !
 

EBauman

New User
That unique dampened feel must come from the physics of hitting the ball with a box shape rather that a single flat plane. It's a shame other manufacturers don't experiment with that design. How about a double-strung Pure Drive?
 
That unique dampened feel must come from the physics of hitting the ball with a box shape rather that a single flat plane. It's a shame other manufacturers don't experiment with that design. How about a double-strung Pure Drive?

Wow ...that would be cool.

The muted feel is absolutely because of the box 3 d design . .... it's far far more stable than a conventional racquet .
 

rodracquet

Rookie
Nothing is really new......1881 double strung lop sided model from the UK. No idea if it still exists.
evolution-of-the-tennis-racquet-3-300x153.jpg
 
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