Looking to compile a history of Rossignol rackets

6-2/6-4/6-0

Semi-Pro
I am looking for anyone who can give a history of Rossignol tennis rackets. I'd like to compile something resembling a comprehensive history of the company, players, rackets, etc. and I know that a lot of people that post here are familiar with that history and sometimes even involved in it.

I have tried internet searches and almost everything I find deals primarily with the snow sports side of the company with only a cursory nod to the fact that Rossi made tennis rackets. I'm such a fan of the rackets and was hoping to get to understand their rise and fall better...

I'm hoping to start at the beginning with the woods, straight through to the point where they left tennis. Anyone who can add information, your contribution will be appreciated.

Thanks.
 

coachrick

Hall of Fame
Well, in summer '79, I toured their facilities in S. Burlington(Williston), VT. We also visited their wood factory in Van Buren, Maine. That factory was the Cragin-Garcia plant until the late '70s and the last wood racket manufacturing facility in the States.

Their 'flagship' wood model was the Strato(nee Garcia 240), sold directly against the Kramer Autograph. The C-12 was an open-throat model to rival the Vilas. At that time, the box beam R-40 and RT dominated the composite page of the menu(same essential construction as their ski line and competitors like the Head Competition...aluminum sandwiched over a foam core with FRP sidewalls). Oddly, their most popular aluminum racket was a club called the 'Touch'.

The F-100 and F-200 were in prototype stage that summer. The inverted throat bridge was their main claim to fame.

The Peugeot-Rossignol 'Team' was coached by Bob Brett and consisted of such players as Johan Kriek, Andres Gomez, Tim Wilkison, Fritz Buehning and Jose Luis Clerc. Ricardo Ycaza and Raul Viver were also on the team. Of course, Mats Wilander came along and re-energized the line, especially the F-200.
 

Hannah19

Professional
Other wood frames: Radian and Elite.(Currently FS on the Big site posted by me :) )
Other later Composites: Vectris series with inverted bridge and Racing series. (7R etc). And I did come across a strange model called the Phenomene with an unusual shaft design.
Other frames from the "F" series with inverted bridge: F150, (square head) F210, F295, F310, FCX.

Check out my site in the "Rackets by brands" section under Rossignol for pics of some of these models.

http://vintagetennisgems.nl/VTG/Rackets_by_brands/Paginas/Rossignol.html#40
 
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retrowagen

Hall of Fame
It might also interest you to know that an early American composite bicycle manufacturer, Aegis, contracted to mold frames for Rossi in the mid-1980's:
http://www.aegisbicycles.com/about.html
I'm pretty sure that most - if not all - of the F250's were made in the old Van Buren, Maine plant. The website above suggests that the F200 Carbon was, too, but all the specimens of this model I've seen were labelled "Made in France."
 
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galain

Hall of Fame
Can anyone tell me if the 'racing' series (I'm guessing these were 9R frames) were actually 'real' Rossi's or another company that had bought the license to use Rossi's name (much like Rok did in the early 00's).

Mucho thankos.
 

vsbabolat

G.O.A.T.
It might also interest you to know that an early American composite bicycle manufacturer, Aegis, contracted to mold frames for Rossi in the mid-1980's:
http://www.aegisbicycles.com/about.html
I'm pretty sure that most - if not all - of the F250's were made in the old Van Buren, Maine plant. The website above suggests that the F200 Carbon was, too, but all the specimens of this model I've seen were labelled "Made in France."
The Fisrt F250 were made in Van Buren then production swicthed to France. I all the F200 I have ever seen were made in France too.
 

dje31

Professional
Early on their pro-roster: Harold Solomon, with the Strato, who I believe used it as the Garcia 240 before signing w/Rossignol.
 

dje31

Professional
Also, Tim Mayotte, with the F100 Carbon, if memory serves. I think when the team fell apart, he went to Head, using the teal-colored mid, the name of which currently escapes me. But I remember stringing a bunch of them for customers in the summer of '84.
 

dje31

Professional
They also had another wood besides the Strato, the Elite, which looked like a re-branded Davis Imperial, or possibly a Snauwaert. (Sorry for the redundancy, Hannah, missed your post about this)
 
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dje31

Professional
F300 = "Oversize" wood composite like the Prince Woodie and Head Vilas. Larger head size than the 200/250, but not as oversized as the Prince 107/110s. In retrospect, probably 95-100, as I think the 200s were in the 88-93ish size.

In the inverted bridge series, originally, the first number indicated the head size:

1xx = standard
2xx = mid
3xx = oversize

That nomenclature fell by the wayside, as the F100 was a fairly short run, while the F150 was more of a mid (of its day). Later, the F335, etc., were pretty much the size of the 200 (I think). Then they went to the 6.6, Vectris, etc., but by that time, I'd moved on and lost interest.
 
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dje31

Professional
F150 = redheaded step-child of a tryst gone horribly awry between an F200 and a Yonex R-series...they tried to equalize the length of the crosses like the did with the inverted bridge matching the radius of the upper hoop. Absolute disaster aesthetically as well as on-court performance.

Pro-Supex recently came up with a similar modern design...no idea if their execution was any better.
 
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dje31

Professional
Feel free to add to this, as these are the first off the top of my head:

Strato: Harold Solomon, Jose Luis-Clerc
RT: Gomez
R40: Kriek
Kriek: Kriek (duh)
F100: Mayotte
F200: Wilander
.
.
.
.
.
.
 

vsbabolat

G.O.A.T.
F300 = Midsize wood composite like the Prince Woodie and Head Vilas. Larger head size than the 200/250, but not as oversized as the Prince 107/110s. In retrospect, probably 95-100, as I think the 200s were in the 88-93ish size.

In the inverted bridge series, originally, the first number indicated the head size:

1xx = standard
2xx = mid
3xx = oversize

That nomenclature fell by the wayside, as the F100 was a fairly short run, while the F150 was more of a mid (of its day). Later, the F335, etc., were pretty much the size of the 200 (I think). Then they went to the 6.6, Vectris, etc., but by that time, I'd moved on and lost interest.
The F300 was a oversize graphite racquet. The Graphite 200 was the wood/graphite (such as the HEAD Vilas or prince woodie) midsize frame with a inverted bridge.
 
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dje31

Professional
The F300 was a oversize graphite racquet. The Graphite 200 was the wood/graphite (such as the HEAD Vilas or prince woodie) midsize frame with a inverted bridge.
Corrected, but was an inverted bridge wood graphite composite. Not to be confused with the F335, which had no wood.
 

vsbabolat

G.O.A.T.
Corrected, but was an inverted bridge wood graphite composite. Not to be confused with the F335, which had no wood.
I don't understand what you are trying to say. The F300 had no wood in it. I used to have one. The wood and graphite inverted bridge racquet was the Graphite 200.
 

retrowagen

Hall of Fame
Right, all of the F-series frames were graphite-fiberglass composites, and did not have wood.

F-series trivia bonus: The number after the F among the original four F-series models pertained to the pecentage the head size was larger than standard: F100, 10% larger. F150, 15%. F200, 20%. F300, 30%.

(And after Mayotte left Rossignol, he used the Head Tournament Director, then Graphite Master (the beforementioned teal one, which was available in 1987-1988, not 1984 as a previous poster recollects.)
 
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There was more fiberglass than graphite in the F-200. I believe that the composition was 80% fiberglass, 20% graphite. Even for the era, this was a very flexible frame.
Around 1993-94, Rossignol attempted to resurrect the F-200 as a 95 square inch, inverted-throat model with a Prince-Graphite-like throat bar (angled sideways). Seemed like a really cool frame, but it did not catch on.
The Vectris 6000, 7000, 8000, and 9000 DP were fabulous racquets with a triangular cross section, like the Yonex SRD Tour. Rostagno used the purple one, and Jonas Svensson (who beat Lendl at the 88 Roland Garros with a Snauwaert) used the 9000, I believe.
 

Hannah19

Professional
They also had another wood besides the Strato, the Elite, which looked like a re-branded Davis Imperial, or possibly a Snauwaert. (Sorry for the redundancy, Hannah, missed your post about this)
That's OK.
The Elite does look like a Davis Imperial but it's made in the USA just like the Radian and Strato, not in Belgium like the Spalding's that were made by Snauwaert. Many brands copied the looks of the Davis rackets in that period including Snauwaert (e.g. Gold Star, Mustang).
 

vsbabolat

G.O.A.T.
There was more fiberglass than graphite in the F-200. I believe that the composition was 80% fiberglass, 20% graphite. Even for the era, this was a very flexible frame.
Around 1993-94, Rossignol attempted to resurrect the F-200 as a 95 square inch, inverted-throat model with a Prince-Graphite-like throat bar (angled sideways). Seemed like a really cool frame, but it did not catch on.
The Vectris 6000, 7000, 8000, and 9000 DP were fabulous racquets with a triangular cross section, like the Yonex SRD Tour. Rostagno used the purple one, and Jonas Svensson (who beat Lendl at the 88 Roland Garros with a Snauwaert) used the 9000, I believe.
I met Svensson almost 20 years ago. He was using a paint job. It look like a F295 without the VAS painted purple strung with Tecnifibre. While Rostagno used the FT5.60 with Vectris paint job.
 

galain

Hall of Fame
dje - the 300 is a fiberglass/graphite frame (at least mine is). The so called Graphite 200 is the wood graphite model (very very thin cross section).

I believe it was our very own CoachRick who was responsible for Mayotte leaving Rossi and going over to Head.

Some other names for you..

Catherine Tanvier - F300
Kriek - F250 before he moved on to Yonex (or was it Donnay first?)
Joachim Nystrom - F200
Matt Anger - F200
Carlos Costa was (I think) using one of the later FT series.
 

coachrick

Hall of Fame
dje -
I believe it was our very own CoachRick who was responsible for Mayotte leaving Rossi and going over to Head.
..
.
Kinda, sorta...I 'helped' switch big brother Chris Mayotte to the Red Head from wood. The new frames were lasting many times longer than the Bancrofts he used earlier(no surprise). The whole family switched to Head later on; I believe, in part, because of Chris's experience with Head. Seems like the three brothers did a promo piece for Head.

Chris played #1 for USC(that's the original USC--South Carolina) and, IIRC, handed the only regular season losses to Sadri and Lapidus in the year J Mac beat John Sadri in the NCAA Singles Final. Chris always said his 'little' brother(Tim) was better than he was!

If anybody remembers the incredibly sweaty guy wielding a Red Head in the ?first? Gatorade tennis promo, that was Steve Geller(also a South Carolina player I helped switch over to Head). You 'old timers' from New York might remember Geller and Phil Dukes...fantastic doubles team and 'World Champs' of some sort of 'beach tennis' YOUS GUYS played on 'the shore'. I heard they introduced it to Hilton Head and Kiawah Island, but I never saw it first-hand.

Golly, I'm gettin' old! :)
 

vsbabolat

G.O.A.T.
dje - the 300 is a fiberglass/graphite frame (at least mine is). The so called Graphite 200 is the wood graphite model (very very thin cross section).

I believe it was our very own CoachRick who was responsible for Mayotte leaving Rossi and going over to Head.

Some other names for you..

Catherine Tanvier - F300
Kriek - F250 before he moved on to Yonex (or was it Donnay first?)
Joachim Nystrom - F200
Matt Anger - F200
Carlos Costa was (I think) using one of the later FT series.
I had a Catherine Tanvier poster.:)

 

schu47

Rookie
Great thread. Some of us are trying to collect the old classics -- coachrick LIVED the old classics.

I have quite a few Rossis. These interesting ones were from a woman whose husband had been a Rossignol rep. She eventually put them up on the big auction site. Here's what I got from her:



A few odd "F's" -- an F-240, F-280 and F-320.



These seem really off-the-beaten track for Rossignol. They may have been prototypes -- does anyone know if they ever were on the market? They are graphite, obviously more traditional in shape, without the inverted crossbar, and contain very little information on the frame. The blue one is called a "Smash" and weighs 11.5 oz. unstrung, and the burgundy is the "Mid Style" and 11.9 oz. unstrung. The blue Smash is slightly tapered at the handle, and a wider beam, about 21 or 22 mm. in the head; the Mid Style has a straight, narrow beam, 18 or 19 mm. they both look to be about 90 sq. in. I'd guess they were manufactured in the mid to late '80s.

 

galain

Hall of Fame
VS - I had that second poster too! Never saw the first one before - thanks for posting it.

Schu - the 280 is one of my favourites in the F lineup. If you get a chance to hit with a 290, that's possibly even sweeter.

The round head frames I've never seen before. I'm still trying to find out if their later round headed offerings were from the original Rossignol company or if they were manufactured by someone else who'd bought the license to use the Rossi brand. I know Rok did something like this in a short lived attempt to resurrect the brand in the early 00's; not sure if it happened before then though.
 

vsbabolat

G.O.A.T.
VS - I had that second poster too! Never saw the first one before - thanks for posting it.

Schu - the 280 is one of my favourites in the F lineup. If you get a chance to hit with a 290, that's possibly even sweeter.

The round head frames I've never seen before. I'm still trying to find out if their later round headed offerings were from the original Rossignol company or if they were manufactured by someone else who'd bought the license to use the Rossi brand. I know Rok did something like this in a short lived attempt to resurrect the brand in the early 00's; not sure if it happened before then though.
The OG Rossignol did have a few round head frames in the late 80's and early 90's. They were considered low end frames.
 

retrowagen

Hall of Fame
The OG Rossignol did have a few round head frames in the late 80's and early 90's. They were considered low end frames.
Yep, those were last-gasp efforts to grab just a tiny morsel of the US market that had shifted to favor widebodies in the early 1990's.
 

galain

Hall of Fame
Yep, those were last-gasp efforts to grab just a tiny morsel of the US market that had shifted to favor widebodies in the early 1990's.
Oh God - I remember a DT widebody that they brought out with the inverted bridge (on the heels of the Profile - even down to the colour scheme). What a travesty that thing was!
 

coachrick

Hall of Fame
As long as I'm remembering things, I designed the Rossignol tournament draw sheet back in '79. It was no big deal but the red and blue coloring and the 1/4 screen R logo filling the sheet made for a distinctive display of draw sheets back in the days before computer-generated draws. Gotta say 'our' tennis center looked pretty impressive with all those Rossi logos on a dozen draw sheets filling the windows.

The Rossi rep job was my first out of college. I was such a 'rook' that I actually changed my personal signature to include the Rossi 'R' in Richard. Now, a REAL find would be to get my hands on a check or other document BEFORE I changed. Of course, nobody except yours truly would have ANY interest! :)
 
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schu47

Rookie
Oh God - I remember a DT widebody that they brought out with the inverted bridge (on the heels of the Profile - even down to the colour scheme). What a travesty that thing was!
I've got one. You want it? :)

Rossi made some odd frames later on. I have a DT 6.40 and an FT 6.80 and one called an RS-06, as well as a couple of Vectris frames. Those Vectris models had baffling names: one of mine is a 6.000 G.K., which is a midplus; the other is a 9.000 D.P. oversize. What the heck do those numbers indicate, Retro?
Both are wide-bodied, triangular frames, very cumbersome. But they did keep the inverted bridge. I'm pretty sure that whole Vectris line came out in the early 90s. There were others, too, including a 12.000 and an 8.000. I guess they didn't sell very well, since there aren't very many of them around.
 

retrowagen

Hall of Fame
Oh God - I remember a DT widebody that they brought out with the inverted bridge (on the heels of the Profile - even down to the colour scheme). What a travesty that thing was!
Ah yes, the DT 6.40. I used that model; strangely I thought it wasn't too bad, except that the specimens I had - new - already suffered from brittle, cracked bumpers and grommets!

coachrick said:
The Rossi rep job was my first out of college. I was such a 'rook' that I actually changed my personal signature to include the Rossi 'R' in Richard.
As a teenager, when I was arriving at how I wanted my own personal signature to look, I modeled my family name's initial on the stylish Rossignol script R (and no, my actual last name isn't "retrowagen" :))! :cool:
 

droliver

Professional
IIRC, Richard Fromberg (AUS) was the last tour player of note to use the F-200 into the mid 1990's.
 

galain

Hall of Fame
I'm ashamed to call myself an Aussie - how could I forget Frommie?

Thanks for the offer schu - I'm a Rossi tragic with more frames than I can store in one country, but the collection doesn't extend to the DT (and never will!)

retro - cracked grommets - the bane of just about every single frame that came out of the Rossignol facility......
 

6-2/6-4/6-0

Semi-Pro
If you're looking for homes for those old Rossis, Schu, I may be interested in them (though it might take me a little bit to be able to pull the trigger if you're not in a hurry)...
 

retrowagen

Hall of Fame
Those Vectris models had baffling names: one of mine is a 6.000 G.K., which is a midplus; the other is a 9.000 D.P. oversize. What the heck do those numbers indicate, Retro?
Both are wide-bodied, triangular frames, very cumbersome. But they did keep the inverted bridge. I'm pretty sure that whole Vectris line came out in the early 90s. There were others, too, including a 12.000 and an 8.000. I guess they didn't sell very well, since there aren't very many of them around.
I never did crack the code on the numbering of those funky Vectris frames. Maybe someone else around here knows (Captain Haddock, perhaps, who once professed a soft spot for the Vectris?). I think the "G.K." stood for "Graphite Kevlar," though, and the "D.P." was acronymous for "Dyneema Plasma."

To satisfy my curiosity (and in a swell of Rossignol tennis nostalgia), I bought a Vectris 6,000 G.K. a couple years ago. It was a decent racquet, I thought, but not outstanding in any way, nor better than average - apart from its fit and finish, which seemed quite nicely done, and a proliferation of official-sounding stickers having to do with French AFNOR standards for electromechanicaltechnicalcalibrations or something or other. :)
 

Virginia

Hall of Fame
Talking of code meanings, I have an "FCX". The head is the same size and shape as the F200, but the V of the throat is quite a bit longer and it's also longer overall by about half an inch. Anyone know this one? It came out in 1985.
 

retrowagen

Hall of Fame
Talking of code meanings, I have an "FCX". The head is the same size and shape as the F200, but the V of the throat is quite a bit longer and it's also longer overall by about half an inch. Anyone know this one? It came out in 1985.
If I'm not mistaken, that one came out of the last "modernised" F200 moulds (minus the bottom throat gusset in the crotch that the earlier versions of F200 Carbon had), as did the R90 (of which I have a nice specimen currently for sale on a large auction site somewhere on the internet). Both the FCX and R90 were even more flexible than the F200, cheaper in retail price, and, honestly, probably not as nice to play tennis with.
 

Hannah19

Professional
If I'm not mistaken, that one came out of the last "modernised" F200 moulds (minus the bottom throat gusset in the crotch that the earlier versions of F200 Carbon had), as did the R90 (of which I have a nice specimen currently for sale on a large auction site somewhere on the internet). Both the FCX and R90 were even more flexible than the F200, cheaper in retail price, and, honestly, probably not as nice to play tennis with.
Just checked your R90 on the net. Looks just like the FCX I have hanging in my garage. Unfortunately I just discovered a small crack in the uppersection of the hoop.
 

schu47

Rookie
If you're looking for homes for those old Rossis, Schu, I may be interested in them (though it might take me a little bit to be able to pull the trigger if you're not in a hurry)...
Not interested in getting rid of any of mine at the moment. But they show up periodically on the big auction site, and aren't really very expensive for the most part.
 

Sanglier

Semi-Pro
Is this odd creation a member of the short-lived reboot series? It looks like it could have been a cousin of that purple "Phenomene" in Hannah's collection, only suffering from a more severe case of birth defect. The responsible party at the "Rossignol Research and Development Department" who created this chef d'oevre clearly believed that frame symmetry below the hoop is completely optional. After hitting a few balls with this thing, I'm inclined to agree with him/her/them.


 

Sanglier

Semi-Pro
I don' know how I missed it before, but the asymmetry on this frame is not limited to the area below the hoop, but actually includes the hoop itself! The "dual taper beam" designation may in fact refer to the two sides of the hoop rather than in the longitude: One beam measures out to 30 mm, the other 22 mm, necessitating the inclusion of a three piece, asymmetric grommet strip/frame protector.




So there is a specific up-and-down orientation to this frame after all, like the Ergonom and those crank-handled racquets. I am assuming that the 30 mm side is the bottom, since it's better protected than the opposite side, but this is only an educated guess. Still, I am thus far unable to tell much difference one way or the other when actually hitting a ball with this.

Very French, in some ways. :)
 

michael_1265

Professional
I found a near mint Rossi at Goodwill a few months ago, and I haven't seen
another one posted here, so.................

 

Hannah19

Professional
I don' know how I missed it before, but the asymmetry on this frame is not limited to the area below the hoop, but actually includes the hoop itself! The "dual taper beam" designation may in fact refer to the two sides of the hoop rather than in the longitude: One beam measures out to 30 mm, the other 22 mm, necessitating the inclusion of a three piece, asymmetric grommet strip/frame protector.




So there is a specific up-and-down orientation to this frame after all, like the Ergonom and those crank-handled racquets. I am assuming that the 30 mm side is the bottom, since it's better protected than the opposite side, but this is only an educated guess. Still, I am thus far unable to tell much difference one way or the other when actually hitting a ball with this.

Very French, in some ways. :)
Pro Kennex used to have a similar racket with asymetric head beams much like this one has.
 

Sanglier

Semi-Pro
Pro Kennex used to have a similar racket with asymetric head beams much like this one has.
Yes Hannah, that was the only racquet that turned up when I searched for frames with an asymmetric hoop yesterday (I didn't know it existed). However, the PK seems to be more subtle in its execution than the Rossi (no asymmetry below the hoop), and the thinnest and widest points of that frame are set diagonally (at 2 o'clock and 8 o'clock); whereas on this Rossi, the asymmetry is throughout the entire frame, from the grip up, with the thinnest and widest points set at 3 and 9 o'clock.

That said, I wouldn't be the least surprised if this stick turned out to be OEM'd for Rossi by Kunnan Industries. The fact that the beams on both the Rossi and PK frames are between 22 mm and 30 mm wide suggests that there may be more shared history between the two than meets the eye. The question is, which one came out first? Is the PK a toned-down version of the Rossi, or is the Rossi a radicalized version of the PK?
 

retrowagen

Hall of Fame
I believe the asymetric widebody Pro Kennex models came out in 1990. My coach at the time was sponsored by them, and hit with these.

At the time, they seemed really weird, even if they did indeed hit nicely.

That asymetrical Rossignol is really something - From the cross-sections to the warped text graphic... :)
 

Hannah19

Professional
I believe the asymetric widebody Pro Kennex models came out in 1990. My coach at the time was sponsored by them, and hit with these.

At the time, they seemed really weird, even if they did indeed hit nicely.

That asymetrical Rossignol is really something - From the cross-sections to the warped text graphic... :)
The Phenomene had those graphics too, however, the weird shaft section is symmetric.
 

Fearsome Forehand

Professional
F300 = "Oversize" wood composite like the Prince Woodie and Head Vilas. Larger head size than the 200/250, but not as oversized as the Prince 107/110s. In retrospect, probably 95-100, as I think the 200s were in the 88-93ish size.

In the inverted bridge series, originally, the first number indicated the head size:

1xx = standard
2xx = mid
3xx = oversize

That nomenclature fell by the wayside, as the F100 was a fairly short run, while the F150 was more of a mid (of its day). Later, the F335, etc., were pretty much the size of the 200 (I think). Then they went to the 6.6, Vectris, etc., but by that time, I'd moved on and lost interest.
Never seen a woodie composite F300. I have a few of them and they are all graphite/carbon. They seem to be around 100 sq inches.
 

sekii

New User
rossignol limited edition

Hi

I have a limited edition rossignol tennis racket that has been made for a special occasion. I believe it's for the tenth anniversary of the brand 1977-1987 (tennis part only as rossignol was born in 1907)
It's called Rossignol tenth special

Ever heard about it? I haven't been able to fiind anything on google

Here are a couple of pictures


http://db.tt/npx1j3sR

http://db.tt/cQMmu3Ri
 
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