EXO3 Tour 18x20 and IG Speed 18x20 Review

Discussion in 'Racquets' started by tennismonkey, May 23, 2011.

  1. tennismonkey

    tennismonkey Semi-Pro

    Jun 18, 2010
    Been demoing a lot of racquets the past few weeks. Most notable are the Prince EXO3 Tour 18x20 and the Head IG Speed 18x20.

    Me: Benchmark 4.0 player. Eastern forehand, 1 handed backhand that I hit about 80% of the time slice and 20% of the time topspin. Heavy kick or slice serve primarily. Once in a blue moon throw down a 80mph (inflated estimate) flat serve.

    EXO3 Tour 18x20: Strung with synthetic gut at 55 pounds. Flex is listed at 52 and it is flexy -- but if I had to guess it feels like 57 or 58 if that makes sense. My previous sticks were the Ozone Tours 16x18 and that was 60 flex. These feel a smidge more flexy than that. Has a similar feel to the Ozone Tours in that it's kinda mushy, soft and comfy. There's some feedback on shots but it's muted. Both power and spin is a little less than the Ozone Tours 16x18 as well. To me on pretty much all shots -- the primary difference between this and the Ozone Tour 16x18 was more control and consistency. So this meant that while forehands had a little less pop it was offset by the control. So I had the confidence to go for more. Same on backhands. I don't hit a great topspin backhand but this racquet was more than adequate. I have a decent backhand slice though and this racquet seems like it holds the ball a bit longer so I felt I could really carve or place the slice anywhere I wanted. One of my biggest issues with the Ozone Tour 16x18 was terrible volleys. Huge sweetspot and trampoline-like stringbed meant volleys sat up or floated with terrible control. EXO3 Tour 18x20 fixed that issue for me. Great control and pop on volleys. Terrific touch as well making drop volleys or sharp angled volleys really easy. Maneuverability of this stick is great and I never felt late on volleys - was actually a little early on a few. There was also a little bit less power on serves as well. Kickers and sliders worked great and I felt it had 90% of the spin of the Ozone Tours but with better placement. Flat serves - it didn't give you anything extra. What you put into it was what you got. Some racquets it feels like it adds MPH - not this one. Overall I was looking for a racquet that did most of what the Ozone Tours did for me but with more control and consistency (especially volleys). In that aspect it does just that. Both the Ozone Tours and the EXO3 Tours have a mushy kinda feel. It's unique and not entirely great feeling or even sounding. But in the end, I just play better with these sticks. Inspires great confidence because of the comfort and control and spin that more shots stay in the court. I've switched to these for now.

    IG Speed 18x20: Strung with solinco tour bite (poly) at 52 pounds. This is a firm racquet. Not uncomfortably so, but with poly it's especially stiff. It wound up being too stiff for me, but I actually loved this racquet. Maybe it's the poly strings but from the first hit to the last - this racquet produces a really loud CRACK / THOCK sound when you smack the ball. It's really addictive and makes you want to hit out. Power is a good deal more than the EXO3 Tour 18x20, Ozone Tour 16x18, Youtek Prestige Pro, Microgel Prestige Pro to name a few. Fortunately this racquet has tremendous control and spin as well which makes the power completely usable. Balls don't fly 10 feet beyond the baseline unless you're doing something wrong. With the power and spin and control I felt like I could hit a winner at any given time. Granted it's not that easy but it just makes you feel like you have the firepower at least to blow a ball by someone. I'm not a great topspin backhander. For some reason this racquet instantly improved my 1 hander and I was able to immediately rip 1 handers like it's my bread and butter (it's not). So I sliced backhands less often and instead ripped crosscourt topspin backhands. I wonder if it was the stiffness of the racquet? At net this racquet is a very capable volleyer. Great directional control and touch. Because of the stiffness, there's a LOT of feedback on all shots so you know when you hit a great shot or a bad one. Serves is a huge plus with this stick. Kickers and slice serves had great action on em. Placement was very very good. Flat serves though were ridiculous. This racquet ADDS MPH to your serve. To me at least it felt like it added 10-15 MPH to my flat serves. Plus the addictive sonic boom sound effects. This racquet almost makes you change the way you play. I'd bomb more serves with this and blast more forehands with this racquet. Ultimately the stiffness of the racquet and poly hurt my arm and wrist too much. I did try a softer syn gut but I think by the time I tried that -- I had already hurt my wrist and arm too much. In the long run I think I'm better off with the softer EXO3 Tour but this is a great racquet. It almost makes the game easier with the added power and control and spin. Once in a blue moon on hard backhand returns - I noticed a little bit of flutter in the head if I didn't hit the return flush. Fortunately there's lots of room to customize this one - mine weighed 326 grams.

    Overall Power: IG Speed
    Forehands: IG Speed
    Topspin Backhands: IG Speed
    Slice Backhands: EXO3 Tour
    Overall Spin: EXO3 Tour
    Control: EXO3 Tour
    Volleys: EXO3 Tour
    Overheads: IG Speed
    Topspin/Kick/Slice Serves: EXO3 Tour
    Flat Serves: IG Speed
    Maneuverability: EXO3 Tour
    Comfort: EXO3 Tour
    Stability: Even
  2. Hominator

    Hominator Hall of Fame

    Sep 30, 2009
    Nice review. I play with the 16X19 IG Speed and my impressions are very similar to yours.
  3. tennismonkey

    tennismonkey Semi-Pro

    Jun 18, 2010
    that's good to hear. have a buddy who demoed the ig speed 18x20 and absolutely loved it. told him to at least try the 16x19 version as well since it has a bit more pop and spin with that .2 inches longer length. i think the ig speeds appeal to a large group of people.

    anyone know if the older speeds -- the ones that are $89 play similar to the ig speeds? or are they completely different? cuz if they are mostly the same but for .2 ounces in weight -- that's a great deal.

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