Can't decide between the 16x19 and 18x20 Blade

#1
been playing with the Wilson 6.1 95 18x20 for about 8 years now and i want to make a switch to the Blade

i would like a lighter racket with slightly more power which doesn't sacrifice control and feel for the ball and the new Blade seems like a solid choice

i've watched several reviews of both string pattern versions of the Blade and i'm getting mixed reactions

some play-testers love the 18x20 pattern for it's control, stability and feel while others claim the 16x19 version has just as much control and stability but way more power and spin, the best of both worlds

overall it seems like a very balanced and well rounded racket but as a long time 18x20 player do you think the 16x19 is too big of a jump?

any Blade players on here that could give some feedback? thanks
 
#3
Is a demo of both side by side out of the question? That seems to be the easiest way to settle the debate.
i don't like demos or find them that reliable because

1). they get delivered with a random low tension worn out string which completely changes the feel of the racket, definitely not how the racket would feel if i had it strung with a fresh poly of my choice with a specific tension

2). i would need a lot more time than what the demo time period allows me to actually determine how the racket consistently plays, i also don't have nearly as much time to play as i did years ago so that will make play-testing quite ineffective imo

3). i plan on buying the Blade from a different store/supplier so handing over cash for demos feels wasteful if i'm not buying them from TW since IIRC they subtract the price of the demo from the final price of the racket and if i'm buying it from somewhere else it's kinda like throwing money in the wind or at least it's money i would rather not spend

because of this it's looking very likely i will have to take a risk and make a purchase based on detailed research and the opinion of many experienced play-testers
 

mhkeuns

Hall of Fame
#4
I think the safer bet is to go with the pattern that you are familiar with. The 16x19 had lots of power along with decent control. The 18x20 felt boardy at first and had me prefer the 16x19’s lively string bed, but switching to a thinner string in the 18x20 helped with the feel. Also, there is no comparison in control between the two patterns. With the 16x19, I had to make some conscious effort to not overhit when I was hitting aggressively, but with the 18x20, it was much easier hitting the target without the fear of making errors. The 18x20 pattern for the win in my case.
 

CopolyX

Hall of Fame
#5
I have 3 TC angells 18 x 20 & 3 TC's 16 x 19 (all matched) , so I don't have to decide. I play great with both of these string patterns, depends on the scenario and my gut for which and when to use.....also keeps me fine tuned and fresh...and adds a value of fun...
True if you are coming from an dense pattern, there is an adjustment period.
Less if you hit with good topspin, much more difficult if you are flat ball hitter..
My criteria is I let the racquet pick me....
it should compliment your overall game...
 
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#7
I vote 18X20 with CV Blade- if you have an all court game. It you stay within inches of the baseline and do not mind restringing more frequently, then the 16X19 may be better. Why not demo with the strings that you like? If I am serious about buying a new racquet, I will put in the strings I like in the demo. What it comes with is irrelevant (usually).
Go BIG!
 
#8
Bare in mind the blades are more head heavy. It’s particularly noticeable on the 18/20 cv one. Much harder to swing on serves than even my old 6-1 95 Tour edition - and that weighed 357g! Cv is also an acquired taste. Another option to consider is the Pure Strike 18/20, stiffer than the blade but not so different from the 6-1. Or try the Pro Staff 97, though that’s 16/19, it maybe has a similar solid feel and it has a Wilson grip shape you’re familiar with.


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#9
I think the safer bet is to go with the pattern that you are familiar with. The 16x19 had lots of power along with decent control. The 18x20 felt boardy at first and had me prefer the 16x19’s lively string bed, but switching to a thinner string in the 18x20 helped with the feel. Also, there is no comparison in control between the two patterns. With the 16x19, I had to make some conscious effort to not overhit when I was hitting aggressively, but with the 18x20, it was much easier hitting the target without the fear of making errors. The 18x20 pattern for the win in my case.
This, would be a sound advice in general.

Some players need pretty long time to fully adjust to an open pattern and bring up A game they have build upon dense pattern.
If you are ready to commit to an open patter, then go ahead.
 
#10
The 16/19 pattern is a pattern you need to get used to, not an easy transition
I still say you should demo,, I read your comments above and think $20 is small price to pay to make sure..

the other aspect of this is the changes that a 16/19 brings
more power, more spin
more string movement = life of string changes, big issue if your a string breaker
 
#12
Bare in mind the blades are more head heavy. It’s particularly noticeable on the 18/20 cv one. Much harder to swing on serves than even my old 6-1 95 Tour edition - and that weighed 357g! Cv is also an acquired taste. Another option to consider is the Pure Strike 18/20, stiffer than the blade but not so different from the 6-1. Or try the Pro Staff 97, though that’s 16/19, it maybe has a similar solid feel and it has a Wilson grip shape you’re familiar with.


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the Blade is listed as 303 grams which is a lot lighter than the 6.1 which is around the 349 range

surely even with a slightly heavier head it will be much easier to swing around than the caveman club which is the 6.1?
 
#13
A lot will change when you go from one line of racquets to another.

Keep it simple, if you played with 18x20 for 8 years, stick with 18x20.

That way, if you aren't performing well, at least you have no doubt that the string pattern is NOT one of the issues.
This, would be a sound advice in general.

Some players need pretty long time to fully adjust to an open pattern and bring up A game they have build upon dense pattern.
If you are ready to commit to an open patter, then go ahead.
if you were playing with 18x20 don't change to 16x19 because it has more power but also less control
The 16/19 pattern is a pattern you need to get used to, not an easy transition
I still say you should demo,, I read your comments above and think $20 is small price to pay to make sure..

the other aspect of this is the changes that a 16/19 brings
more power, more spin
more string movement = life of string changes, big issue if your a string breaker
do you think the 18x20 pattern feels better on droppers, slices, volleys and finesse shots compared to the 16x19?

i want a stick that doesn't spray left and right
 
#18
the Blade is listed as 303 grams which is a lot lighter than the 6.1 which is around the 349 range

surely even with a slightly heavier head it will be much easier to swing around than the caveman club which is the 6.1?
Not my experience. My 6.1 was very headlight (more or less same weight, balance etc as the RF97A but in 95” and 18/20 and rewarded a smooth service stroke. It was re-released a year or so ago as an anniversary edition. The blade 18/20 cv was pretty head heavy and one’s shoulder has to overcome that , or in my case get injured by it! It was much more difficult to serve with than the PS97 I demoed at the same time and the ps97 is closer in weight to the blade but still a bit heavier - it’s more head light. The Pure Strike 18/20 was also much easier to serve with than the blade 18/20 and it’s the same weight as the blade. (Grip shape is similar to Wilson too, in contrast to other brands apart from Angell which can be had in a Wilson grip shape. ) Angell TC97 is a great racquet too and you can spec that as you wish and choose 16/19 or 18/20. I’ve only tried the 16/19 “TC97 Tour” version though. It’s not unlike a Pro Staff in feel but a bit less stiff and has a flatter shot trajectory like an 18/20 does. You may be able to get a demo if you contact them - or find one on the String Forum boards as there appears to be an active market for them. As you can tell I am not a fan of the blade 18/20 - causing me pain tends to do that I find! I did like the 16/19 though except that serving with it didn’t suit me and I found judging depth oddly vague when going for a killer shot - it’s the cv at work I think there. Hope this helps. Of course, everything is personal preference. Hope you find what you’re looking for.


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#19
been playing with the Wilson 6.1 95 18x20 for about 8 years now and i want to make a switch to the Blade

i would like a lighter racket with slightly more power which doesn't sacrifice control and feel for the ball and the new Blade seems like a solid choice

i've watched several reviews of both string pattern versions of the Blade and i'm getting mixed reactions

some play-testers love the 18x20 pattern for it's control, stability and feel while others claim the 16x19 version has just as much control and stability but way more power and spin, the best of both worlds

overall it seems like a very balanced and well rounded racket but as a long time 18x20 player do you think the 16x19 is too big of a jump?

any Blade players on here that could give some feedback? thanks
I thnk 16x19 is so much more popular cause it is more spin friendly in this topsion game we play. and it gives me more ball pocketing giving me more soft controlled feel
 
#21
Not my experience. My 6.1 was very headlight (more or less same weight, balance etc as the RF97A but in 95” and 18/20 and rewarded a smooth service stroke. It was re-released a year or so ago as an anniversary edition. The blade 18/20 cv was pretty head heavy and one’s shoulder has to overcome that , or in my case get injured by it! It was much more difficult to serve with than the PS97 I demoed at the same time and the ps97 is closer in weight to the blade but still a bit heavier - it’s more head light. The Pure Strike 18/20 was also much easier to serve with than the blade 18/20 and it’s the same weight as the blade. (Grip shape is similar to Wilson too, in contrast to other brands apart from Angell which can be had in a Wilson grip shape. ) Angell TC97 is a great racquet too and you can spec that as you wish and choose 16/19 or 18/20. I’ve only tried the 16/19 “TC97 Tour” version though. It’s not unlike a Pro Staff in feel but a bit less stiff and has a flatter shot trajectory like an 18/20 does. You may be able to get a demo if you contact them - or find one on the String Forum boards as there appears to be an active market for them. As you can tell I am not a fan of the blade 18/20 - causing me pain tends to do that I find! I did like the 16/19 though except that serving with it didn’t suit me and I found judging depth oddly vague when going for a killer shot - it’s the cv at work I think there. Hope this helps. Of course, everything is personal preference. Hope you find what you’re looking for.


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i've been hearing nothing but good things about the pure strike 16x19 and 18x20 today, went through tons of reviews and playtests and apparently that racket has it all with almost non-existent drawbacks

might be my new risk buy

also, i'm not sure why wilson added the CV technology in the first place, it seems like it does way more harm than good to justify putting it into most of their new sticks
 
#22
Pure strikes are indeed very good. The only knock I know of is some find it deceptively stiff , but others don’t, so it maybe a variation in Babolats manufacturing, or a string or player issue. Best to try it I’d say. It’s certainly very popular around where I live and quite a few pros use one (if that matters!)


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#23
Ever consider the Ultra Tour? I love mine, they are 18x20, head light, very arm friendly, no CV BS, old school foam filled feeling, and made for customization. I like them way better than all 3 Blade 98 iterations, and the head size is almost identical.

The Prince Textreme Tour 100P is also a great head light, arm friendly 18x20. It has a more open string pattern than your typical 18x20 which gives you a boost in power and spin without sacrificing control.

Just thought I would throw them in the mix.
 
#24
I used to play with the SixOne 95. (16x18)
But had one or two 18x20's in my bag.
Recently i demo'd the Blade CV 18 x 20.
Other then being quite impressed with the Blade...i would comment that the launch angle of the 18x20 blade is similar to the SixOne 95 18x20. So ..my comment would be get the Blade 18x20. Also be aware that the Blades Swing Weight is kinda similar to the SixOne. So although significantly lighter it isnt much easier to swing around then the SixOne. The Blade 18x20 has great power for a 18x20 racket. I quite liked this extra oomph....used 4G at around 50lbs.
 
#25
Both Blade patterns have 8 mains running through the throat. As a result, the string spacing in the sweet spot is nearly identical. If you hold both racquets together, you'll notice the differences are in the spacing of the outer strings. Having played with both Blade patterns, I found only a slight difference in spin production in favor of the 16x19. I did notice a more lively and powerful feel off of the 16x19. The open pattern also feels a little more forgiving in on contact outside of the sweet spot. The 18x20 has a good amount of power, just not as lively as the 16x19. The response is a more controlled and there is a really nice connection to the ball. Wilson QC aside, the racquets play much more similar than different. If you favor a little more control over a little extra pop, go with the 18x20 and vice versa. You want sacrifice much either way.
 
#26
I had no issues transitioning from 16x19 to 18x20.
No adjustment what so ever.
Maybe i was like 3.0 at the time.

But not the other way around. Maybe because my tennis game matured with 18x20.
Also plyed 18x20 like 10 years.
 
#28
Both Blade patterns have 8 mains running through the throat. As a result, the string spacing in the sweet spot is nearly identical. If you hold both racquets together, you'll notice the differences are in the spacing of the outer strings. Having played with both Blade patterns, I found only a slight difference in spin production in favor of the 16x19. I did notice a more lively and powerful feel off of the 16x19. The open pattern also feels a little more forgiving in on contact outside of the sweet spot. The 18x20 has a good amount of power, just not as lively as the 16x19. The response is a more controlled and there is a really nice connection to the ball. Wilson QC aside, the racquets play much more similar than different. If you favor a little more control over a little extra pop, go with the 18x20 and vice versa. You want sacrifice much either way.
This. I actually bought both (several times over lol). The differences are imo are minor, and can be made up in changes to your tension. Both great sticks, but my thinking is s racquet this light, relatively close to even balance needs the control of an 18x20. Good luck and let us know what you decide.
 
#30
Both Blade patterns have 8 mains running through the throat. As a result, the string spacing in the sweet spot is nearly identical. If you hold both racquets together, you'll notice the differences are in the spacing of the outer strings. Having played with both Blade patterns, I found only a slight difference in spin production in favor of the 16x19. I did notice a more lively and powerful feel off of the 16x19. The open pattern also feels a little more forgiving in on contact outside of the sweet spot. The 18x20 has a good amount of power, just not as lively as the 16x19. The response is a more controlled and there is a really nice connection to the ball. Wilson QC aside, the racquets play much more similar than different. If you favor a little more control over a little extra pop, go with the 18x20 and vice versa. You want sacrifice much either way.
Agree with with RobS says above & am really liking the 2015 16X19.
I feel that it is an overlooked winner in the blade line up.
The CV version was ok but its main weakness was that it did not crush the serve like this one does.

I've been playing with an 18X20 pattern for over 10 yrs - mostly lm radical mp and blx blade 98. I've tried many 16X19 patterns to get easier spin without losing the control but have been disappointed so many times.

The 2015 16X19 blade 98 is the best combination of spin, power, & control that I have come across for my game. I can't seem to adjust to anything 24 mm or thicker and need a thinner beam.
During my 1st outing with the 16X19, I felt like it may have been strung too loose as my shots were flying & spent most of the session trying to adjust.
On my 2nd outing, it just clicked. The racket plays as well as my 18X20 but now I am able to hit those sharp, short angled shots that pull people wide that I had so much trouble doing with my 18X20 blade.
I tried 20 gauge tour bite but still couldn't hit these with my blade but could do it at will with my lm radical.
The 16X19 brought that option back into my game plus easier pop - I could swing 3/4 on rally shots & save some for the short ball. With the 18X20, I felt that I really had to exaggerate the topspin motion to get good spin - with the 16X19 it took an easy natural swing to get that spin & when I give it a good whip it really bites. It still plows through the serve like the tight pattern. I can hit easy spin & have no problems hit flat ball putaways.

I can still defend well and absorb pace with this racket against aggressive baseliners but can flip the switch and easily play offense against grinders.
This racket loses a slight bit of control compared to the 18X20 and my backhand slices occasional float just a lil more than I'd like but the upsides trump that.
Also with the 18X20 blade, it seems like my opponents are able to return/redirect my shots easier.
With the 16X19, I feel that I am able to impart a heavier ball that is a little more difficult ball to handle - gives ppl more problems.

I admit the TW review of this racket didn't seem praiseworthy enough for me to upgrade from my blx blade 98 and held me back from ever trying this racket - I was concerned about the hotspot comments of the string bed but now that I have played with this racket myself I find that it was an easy adjustment to overcome.
I have played with several blade 98s: the nblade, blx blade, and cv 16X19 blade but this one is the best one for my game - a great racket that allows one to be able to play both the old school and modern game.
 
#31
been playing with the Wilson 6.1 95 18x20 for about 8 years now and i want to make a switch to the Blade
i would like a lighter racket with slightly more power which doesn't sacrifice control and feel for the ball
I made the switch from 6.1 18x20 to Blx Blade (black and gold ver) several years ago for the same reason you mention and after a custom job (adding weight to the handle) to make the balance similar to the 6.1 I had a real weapon and a racket so much more fun to play with compared to my previous racket. I had since then gone the route to Dr 98 (16x19) but still keep my blades for occasional use and to be honest the days I play my best and most aggressive tennis the blade is superior to the dr but for my normal days I found the dr a little bit more helpful (especially on the 1hb topspin and the 2nd serve). Before going to Dr98 I playtested both 16x19 and 18x16 blades but I didn't liked them much.

My recommendation would be to go for the 18x20 Blade! I think you will find it rewarding!
An easy way try it with a balance more similar to your 6.1 is put a coin at the butcap and just put some tape to hold it there or put two coins at the top of the handle under an overgrip.
 
#32
i don't like demos or find them that reliable because

1). they get delivered with a random low tension worn out string which completely changes the feel of the racket, definitely not how the racket would feel if i had it strung with a fresh poly of my choice with a specific tension

2). i would need a lot more time than what the demo time period allows me to actually determine how the racket consistently plays, i also don't have nearly as much time to play as i did years ago so that will make play-testing quite ineffective imo

3). i plan on buying the Blade from a different store/supplier so handing over cash for demos feels wasteful if i'm not buying them from TW since IIRC they subtract the price of the demo from the final price of the racket and if i'm buying it from somewhere else it's kinda like throwing money in the wind or at least it's money i would rather not spend

because of this it's looking very likely i will have to take a risk and make a purchase based on detailed research and the opinion of many experienced play-testers
That's just not very smart
 
#34
I would demo both if possible, but I have absolutely LOVED the 16x19, and I previously used the 6.1 95 18x20 and a bunch of other heavy, control-oriented racquets. It might take some getting used to, having that extra power, but I adjusted pretty quickly and there was just a lot more I could do with the extra power and spin.
 
#34
I would demo both if possible, but I have absolutely LOVED the 16x19, and I previously used the 6.1 95 18x20 and a bunch of other heavy, control-oriented racquets. It might take some getting used to, having that extra power, but I adjusted pretty quickly and there was just a lot more I could do with the extra power and spin.
 
#35
i've been hearing nothing but good things about the pure strike 16x19 and 18x20 today, went through tons of reviews and playtests and apparently that racket has it all with almost non-existent drawbacks

might be my new risk buy

also, i'm not sure why wilson added the CV technology in the first place, it seems like it does way more harm than good to justify putting it into most of their new sticks
Did you get one yet? Which did you choose?
 
#36
I am on the verge of changing to my PS Classic 18x20 from RF97 (16x19). Because the tighter patterne gives me better directional control, specificly launch height. And as people has said, if you go from string gauge 16 to 17, you keep somme liveliness, and about the same string weight.
Btw, I am using my Classic with 3 overgrips instead of leather plus overgrip. Saves me about 10 grams, and could be something to try before changing...
 

IowaGuy

Hall of Fame
#37
I am on the verge of changing to my PS Classic 18x20 from RF97 (16x19). Because the tighter patterne gives me better directional control, specificly launch height. And as people has said, if you go from string gauge 16 to 17, you keep somme liveliness, and about the same string weight.
Btw, I am using my Classic with 3 overgrips instead of leather plus overgrip. Saves me about 10 grams, and could be something to try before changing...
What strings and tension are you using on your RF97 that you're getting too high of launch angle?

I have RF97A and really like the launch angle, but am using 1.25 mm gut/poly at 60/55 lbs to control the power/launch angle.
 
#38
Did you get one yet? Which did you choose?
it's been work, work, work since i made that post :(

i have so few hours in the day to actually play tennis now

realistically i'll be replying to this thread in 2019 when i renew my club membership and actually buy a racket

most likely atm i'll be going for the 16x19 it seems like the best "bang for your buck" kinda string configuration

i've played with the 18x20 for too many years, it's time for a shakeup
 
#39
it's been work, work, work since i made that post :(

i have so few hours in the day to actually play tennis now

realistically i'll be replying to this thread in 2019 when i renew my club membership and actually buy a racket

most likely atm i'll be going for the 16x19 it seems like the best "bang for your buck" kinda string configuration

i've played with the 18x20 for too many years, it's time for a shakeup
I play tested the older pre-cv version side by side and much preferred the 16x19. The 18x20 was way too flat for me. If I were to pick one full time it would be the 16x19. It’s a fun racket to play every now and then. I also have always played 16x19 so I’m used to the feel and launch angle.
 

DonDiego

Hall of Fame
#40
I have both (2013 versions) and I like them both. I play mostly with the 18x20 because it's the one I'm most used to. But you need to be in good shape and in an "attacking mode". The 16x19 is easier to play with, a bit lighter to swing and a more "fun" raquet to me. More comfort too on most shots, but feels less "solid" than the 18x20. Best of both worlds can be the 18x20 with a very thin and lively poly (like Dunlop Black Widow for example).

Edit: if you played with the 6.1 95 for a while, (which is a beast of a racquet) the 18x20 Blade might be a better choice. You'll have to get used to the balance though.
 
#41
What strings and tension are you using on your RF97 that you're getting too high of launch angle?

I have RF97A and really like the launch angle, but am using 1.25 mm gut/poly at 60/55 lbs to control the power/launch angle.
I am playing the cheap Gosen Polylon at about 25 kgs (55lbs). Around 26 kgs it begins to be too dead. Perhaps it is not so much that the launch angle is higher, but that it seems more constant (and lower) with the 18x20. It could ofcourse also be partly me, and partly other aspects of the racket. Actually, I have used the RF faithfully for 3 years, but I am a tinkerer...
 
#42
What everyone else said:

18x20 less power more control
16x19 more power less control


You aren't gonna get A LOT more power going from 18x20 to 16x19.

Stay with 18x20.
 

DonDiego

Hall of Fame
#45
Honestly, I think it all comes down to your level. The 18x20 has less pop, more directional and depth control. The question you need to ask yourself is: against most of my opponents, am I most of the time the one dictating points and having shorts ball or volleys to finish the point? Or am I some of the time trying to get out of tough situation, getting to balls at the last second, hitting some balls by digging very low, and needing more pop on the serve to get some much needed free points from time to time?
 
#46
I would go with the new Prostaff if you want something more like your Six.One.

Between the two Blades, I tend to favor the 16x19 because I think the 18x20 is a pattern more for traditional driving of the ball, and the Blade frame is not set up optimally for that type of shot. The Blade wants to hit a roller with a bit of drive, rather than a mostly drive shot with a bit of spin.

The 16x19 just makes more sense.


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#47
Between the two Blades, I tend to favor the 16x19 because I think the 18x20 is a pattern more for traditional driving of the ball, and the Blade frame is not set up optimally for that type of shot. The Blade wants to hit a roller with a bit of drive, rather than a mostly drive shot with a bit of spin.

The 16x19 just makes more sense.
My opinion is different on this.
The blade line in the 98 sq in. size have been in the range of 1-3 pts headlight.
I feel this setup (the balance along with the weight in the hoop) makes it more ideal for driving through the ball with a bit of spin.
Most of the blade players that I have seen hit a flatter, penetrating ball rather than a topspin roller game.
I find that it takes more of a conscious effort to get the trajectory and spin on my blade 98 18X20 than on any of my other rackets. I even tried 20 gauge tour bite.
The 16X19 allows me to swing more naturally while still getting the spin for the short angled shots.

I believe that the more headlight rackets (4+ points headlight) are better suited to playing the higher trajectory topspin game and are easier to get good racket head speed for the topspin game.

That being said, the 2015 16X19 blade 98 can play that game in stock form if you're able to get one that is close to listed specs (3 pts hl). You can even add weight to the handle to make it more hl.
The 2013 version is listed at 1pt hl.
 
#48
the Blade is listed as 303 grams which is a lot lighter than the 6.1 which is around the 349 range

surely even with a slightly heavier head it will be much easier to swing around than the caveman club which is the 6.1?
You’d think so but it wasn’t my experience- I could get a much smoother swing with the old 6.1. Also I could generate serve rhs much more easily with the ps97, Pure Strike (both patterns ) and the angel tc97! The difference with the blade 18x20 cv was so much that it injured my shoulder after just a couple of service games. No other racket has ever done that !
 
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