Modding my brand new Ultra Tour platform frame

travlerajm

G.O.A.T.
I just purchased a brand new Wilson Ultra Tour. $99 feels like a good deal.

The first thing I notice is that this just might be the most handsome racquet I've ever held in my hand. That peacock blue trim on glossy midnight looks smooth! I'm almost afraid to mess up the paint job with my added tape.

My new frame arrived strung with 16g Wilson syn gut. I like the dense 18x20 pattern with more open edges, drill pattern looks identical to a Prestige mp.

After removing the plastic and dampener, it measures in at 11.2 oz., 12.9" balance, and 310 sw. Seems like great specs for a platform.

The feel when bouncing the ball on the stringbed is really firm and pleasant - feels like the racquet is flexing uniformly along the length.

I was originally planning to extend it 1/4", but the bounce of the stringbed feels so nice that I think I will mod it up in stock length first.

I've been experimenting a little with different hybrid lately. I liked Evolution 1.25 mains crossed with 18g syn gut on crosses on my BLX 6.1 18x20, but didn't like that the racquet changed shape over time as the stringbed wore (it initially was 1mm overlength right after stringing, then it shortened 2mm to about 1mm underlength as the 18g syn gut wore into flattened ribbons and stretched out). I'm going to try Evolution mains with 15L syn gut crosses this time to see if I can get more stable hoop length). I will try this in my UT at about 50 lbs.

Target specs: 13 oz., 12.8" balance, 360 sw. Will add the hoop weight spread out in the 10 and 2 regions.
 

1HBHfanatic

Legend
@travlerajm
-congrats, its a nice stick!! im glad wilson decided to let the public know what an h19 pro stock feels like
-4me this "platform" raket needed alot of lead to dial it in to how i liked it!, but its worth the effort
-i got 1/4" lead running from 1-5 & 7-11 oclock and enough 1/2" lead under the handle to make it 10pts HL
-i would like to get my hands on a stock h22 to mod it to my liking!! maybe someday
 

travlerajm

G.O.A.T.
syngut? How the mighty fall...
This frame is sweet! It’s a keeper.

I nailed the weighting specs.
357sw, mgr/I = 20.85, bh mgr/I = 22.55, balance 12.8”, 12.875 oz.
Love the feel. The syn gut locked up after 15 minutes of course. It is what it is. Time to swap in something spinnier. I think I will go with my current usual stringbed: kevlar/poly (pro xtreme). I’ll try it at 55 lbs prestretched.

special thanks to @mad dog1 for recommending this frame.
 

McEncock

Semi-Pro
I like the dense 18x20 pattern with more open edges, drill pattern looks identical to a Prestige mp.
You have a good eye, this frame is actually a copy of the Head one you just mentioned.
Have you tried to fill the handle with silicone? Is it filled with that horrible foam like other Wilson frames?
 

Gee

Hall of Fame
You have a good eye, this frame is actually a copy of the Head one you just mentioned.
Have you tried to fill the handle with silicone? Is it filled with that horrible foam like other Wilson frames?
What is so horrible about that foam? BTW the UT is fully foam filled.
 

travlerajm

G.O.A.T.
You have a good eye, this frame is actually a copy of the Head one you just mentioned.
Have you tried to fill the handle with silicone? Is it filled with that horrible foam like other Wilson frames?
It is shaped like a Prestige MP, but my Prestige has extra weight in the mid section - either in fork or throat bridge region - the only way to reach my preferred specs on the Prestige was to put all the hoop lead near 12 and all the handle lead near the butt. The result didn’t have a good feel, and the frame layup itself felt flimsy and torsionally unstable, like I could feel the fork twisting on off center hits.

This UT had a perfect “blank slate” starting weight distribution, with no troublesome added weight in any bad spots. I was able to load up with 18g in the 10 and 2 region, with the counterweight spread along the handle and centered about 5” from the butt.

The feel of my UT is nothing like the Prestige. The RA might be similar, but it feels a lot more stable and solid and flexes in a more pleasing and uniform way.
 
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travlerajm

G.O.A.T.
I should add that the racquet in my collection that feels most similar to the UT is my Solinco Pro 7, which is one of my favorites. It also has the Prestige mp shape. It had similar stock weight distribution (maybe with lighter handle) and has similar feel when hitting a ball to UT despite having higher RA.
 

Gee

Hall of Fame
It is shaped like a Prestige MP, but my Prestige has extra weight in the mid section - either in fork or throat bridge region - the only way to reach my preferred specs on the Prestige was to put all the hoop lead near 12 and all the handle lead near the butt. The result didn’t have a good feel, and the frame layup itself felt flimsy and torsionally unstable, like the I could feel the fork twisting on off center hits.

This UT had a perfect “blank slate” starting weight distribution, with no troublesome added weight in any bad spots. I was able to load up with 18g in the 10 and 2 region, with the counterweight spread along the handle and centered about 5” from the butt.

The feel of my UT is nothing like the Prestige. The RA might be similar, but it feels a lot more stable and solid and flexes in a more pleasing and uniform way.
I completely agrree regarding the feel between the UT and Prestige. A few years ago I played with the IG Prestige MP and since last year June I have been playing a year with the UT.
The UT has a much nicer sensational feel. It's almost like you hit the ball with your bare hand. You also know exactly how well/bad you hit the ball. I think the UT also plays a bit more forgiving than the IGPMP.

I wouldn't increase the weight of the UT as much as you do. That would make it too sluggish for my game. I added 8 grams lead at 7" from the butt cap, 5 grams at 3 and 9 and 2 grams at 12. I also put a leather grip with overgrip on my UTs. You can see me here hitting against the wall.
 

travlerajm

G.O.A.T.
I have restrung my UT with a poly/nylon hybrid of 1.25 Evolution / Prince Tournament Nylon 15L, prestretched and strung at 55 lbs.

The Evolution blue color matches the Peacock blue trim nicely.

I rebalanced it. Looking forward to trying out on court.
 

travlerajm

G.O.A.T.
How does nylon perform as a cross? Is it slick to create more spin?

Sent from my SM-G981U using Tapatalk
I am not a fan of full poly because the crosses tend to dent, which makes the impact hurt my elbow. And although some poly’s dont dent in the crosses, they notch in the mains, which compromises performance for me.

When I tried Evolution as a main with 18g Gosen nylon cross, the main did not wear noticeably, while the cross flattened into a ribbon, which seems to be a favorable wear mechanism, as the on-court performance was very good, as was comfort. It was not as spinny as full poly, but launch angle control on volleys was better than poly. It got spinnier (and a little softer) as the cross flattened more.
It hasn’t broken yet, but looks like the cross will break soon (after not that many hours).
My hope is that the 15L nylon cross will wear in a similar way, but last a lot longer than the 18g before breaking from flattening thin.
 

esgee48

Legend
Your 1.35 mm Prince Tournament Nylon, when prestretched, will decrease its diameter to between 1.28 mm and 1.29 mm. The string will also be work hardened, so the surface should be more resistant to wear.
 

travlerajm

G.O.A.T.
I only hit a few balls with the UT in warm up. I didn’t get the balance right this time - was coming around too fast - will remeasure, tune, and try again.

I played today with my BLX 6.1 18x20 strung with evolution/ 18g non hybrid (as this one is balanced nice right now). I noticed that the poly is notched a bit. But the stringbed still playing well and crosses didn’t break during a set of doubs filled by set of singles. Probably has about 12h of hitting on it.
 

travlerajm

G.O.A.T.
Your 1.35 mm Prince Tournament Nylon, when prestretched, will decrease its diameter to between 1.28 mm and 1.29 mm. The string will also be work hardened, so the surface should be more resistant to wear.
When I do the calc, the prestretch reduces 1.35mm to 1.34.
 

Slowtwitcher

Hall of Fame
That's true only if you're a toddler or have some muscle atrophy disease.

Anything under 400 gr. is light and very light. My racquet is almost 600 gr. and I have no problems playing with that.

Stop being toddlers and lazy spoiled brats.
Gawd I love TT... :-D
 

mike841

Rookie
He doesn’t have to play against Djokovic or Nadal, just against rec players using lightweight toy sissy racquets. ;)
So basically, he's some 60/70 y/o guy with terrible strokes, terrible technique, can't run, can't move, and just bunts the ball about for half an hour or so on Sunday morning with his 600g racquet?

Gotcha.
 

travlerajm

G.O.A.T.
I got a chance to play competitively with the Ultra Tour yesterday.

I carefully rebalanced it. I didn’t change any of the hoop lead. But with the heavier strings, it now measures 363sw.

In warm-up, I was really enjoying the accuracy off the ground. I got the weighting just right. I could take big cuts at the ball on both wings.
And my control on volleys was pretty good too.

Once the match started, I noticed that my 2hb needs adjustment to hit with a standard length frame after using 27.25” length for most of the past month. I had gotten used to utilizing more rotational motion and less weight transfer. But with the standard length, more forward weight transfer is required to get the same depth and penetration. This is a cost of switching back and forth between lengths.

But after a while, I made the adjustment. I had a tendency to rely on softer higher balls. But when the short ball came and I needed to pull the trigger, I usually hit my target. I also appreciated that I have better depth control on stab lobs than I do with the longer frame, and better control of volleys too.

I was not enamored with the Evolution/15L nylon hybrid. While the control was generally excellent, and the spin satisfactory, the feel was an issue on shots with steep attack angle. I could feel the ball slide across the stringbed a bit before it grabs. I played a couple of games with my Solinco string with my usual kevlar/poly, and the difference was striking. Kevlar/poly grabs instantly for a more secure grabby feel. Since I like to mix in some junky spins, this lack of a quick grab was annoying.

But the UT itself is still a keeper. I’m torn on whether I want to extend it to 27.25”, or keep playing it standard length.
 

gutfeeling

Hall of Fame
I got a chance to play competitively with the Ultra Tour yesterday.

I carefully rebalanced it. I didn’t change any of the hoop lead. But with the heavier strings, it now measures 363sw.

In warm-up, I was really enjoying the accuracy off the ground. I got the weighting just right. I could take big cuts at the ball on both wings.
And my control on volleys was pretty good too.

Once the match started, I noticed that my 2hb needs adjustment to hit with a standard length frame after using 27.25” length for most of the past month. I had gotten used to utilizing more rotational motion and less weight transfer. But with the standard length, more forward weight transfer is required to get the same depth and penetration. This is a cost of switching back and forth between lengths.

But after a while, I made the adjustment. I had a tendency to rely on softer higher balls. But when the short ball came and I needed to pull the trigger, I usually hit my target. I also appreciated that I have better depth control on stab lobs than I do with the longer frame, and better control of volleys too.

I was not enamored with the Evolution/15L nylon hybrid. While the control was generally excellent, and the spin satisfactory, the feel was an issue on shots with steep attack angle. I could feel the ball slide across the stringbed a bit before it grabs. I played a couple of games with my Solinco string with my usual kevlar/poly, and the difference was striking. Kevlar/poly grabs instantly for a more secure grabby feel. Since I like to mix in some junky spins, this lack of a quick grab was annoying.

But the UT itself is still a keeper. I’m torn on whether I want to extend it to 27.25”, or keep playing it standard length.
FWIW, evolution is not a particularly "grabby" poly. You may have better results with Max Power. The 1.20 gauge is fantastic.
 

travlerajm

G.O.A.T.
FWIW, evolution is not a particularly "grabby" poly. You may have better results with Max Power. The 1.20 gauge is fantastic.
I didn’t notice this problem with the 18g crosses. I think it’s partly because the slick coating on the 15L nylon crosses protrudes more and hasn’t worn off yet.
 

travlerajm

G.O.A.T.
That is certainly possible. It is also possible that in general the thicker cross string is not optimal for a dense 18x20 like the UT.
Part of me wants to cut it out and swap in my usual grabby kevlar/poly bed. But then on the other hand, I had generally excellent control and the tension felt perfect, so it seems a waste to ditch it.

It’s probably worth the experiment to see how it plays as it wears.
 
i think the ultra tour is much better extended (I did 27.5). It’s swingweight and weight are low enough you have plenty of room to get the specs right while doing it (I took off the handle and put on a pallet I cut to size and then put a small fitted piece of balsa wood in the butt extension part for structural integrity). You know way more than I do about racquet physics but after extending it i found some missing power. I definitely felt the ut needed some weight at 12 to compensate for the extra 0.5 inches long at the butt though. Also most 2 handed backhand pros playing the H19 seem to play it at 27.5 or so it seems (Monfils, Bedene, Smyzchek) probably for a reason.
 

travlerajm

G.O.A.T.
i think the ultra tour is much better extended (I did 27.5). It’s swingweight and weight are low enough you have plenty of room to get the specs right while doing it (I took off the handle and put on a pallet I cut to size and then put a small fitted piece of balsa wood in the butt extension part for structural integrity). You know way more than I do about racquet physics but after extending it i found some missing power. I definitely felt the ut needed some weight at 12 to compensate for the extra 0.5 inches long at the butt though. Also most 2 handed backhand pros playing the H19 seem to play it at 27.5 or so it seems (Monfils, Bedene, Smyzchek) probably for a reason.
You are tempting me to get out my surgical extension kit. The serve is the one area where that little bit of extra length adds a dimension to my game.
 

gutfeeling

Hall of Fame
i think the ultra tour is much better extended (I did 27.5). It’s swingweight and weight are low enough you have plenty of room to get the specs right while doing it (I took off the handle and put on a pallet I cut to size and then put a small fitted piece of balsa wood in the butt extension part for structural integrity). You know way more than I do about racquet physics but after extending it i found some missing power. I definitely felt the ut needed some weight at 12 to compensate for the extra 0.5 inches long at the butt though. Also most 2 handed backhand pros playing the H19 seem to play it at 27.5 or so it seems (Monfils, Bedene, Smyzchek) probably for a reason.
Lamonf plays an extended frame?
 
Lamonf plays an extended frame?
He at least did in 2013/2014 and I believe still does. Considering how big his hands are it definitely still looks xl.
This below is directly from a very knowledgeable source who had his frame in their possession. Also on a side note unstrung customs did some extension work for Aljaz Bedene which they talk about on their Instagram account.

Monfils personal racquet
Length: 27.5 in (XL version)
Weight (strung): 345 g
Balance (strung): approx. 31.0 cm
String pattern:18 x 20
grip size: custom grip (between L4 and L5)
Silicone in handle, lead not visible
Leather Wilson grip
 

travlerajm

G.O.A.T.
Welp. I did the deed. My Ultra Tour has been extended to 27.25”.

Still need to rebalance it. Looking forward to on-court testing.
 

travlerajm

G.O.A.T.
Can you post pictures of the extending process?

Enviado desde mi TA-1025 mediante Tapatalk
I didn’t take photos.

But I found an old 1/4” piece of a racquet (most of my racquets have been shorten in the past, but I always save the pieces. The piece was slightly larger than the UT’s pallet, so I sanded all 8 bevels so that it could fit into the buttcap.

The upper part of the buttcap was slightly loose on the pallet, so I cut 3/4” width long strips of thin clear stretchy plastic packing tape to wrap tightly around the end of the UT pallet to give a snug fit with no wobble play.

I do not own a staple gun. And the UT pallet is made from a really lubricious plastic, so securing the buttcap needed extra care. After pressing on the buttcap over the end of the pallet, I used 7” long strips of Gorilla tape wrapped over the end of the buttcap and going about 2” down along the bevels. Each strip made same with of bevel. 4 strips. Then wrapped Gorilla tape really tightly twice around handle above buttcap to lock the securing strips in place so they can’t slip.

In this case, the grip size is bigger for the bottom 2” of handle, so I will either go without overgrip or use two overgrips, and fill in rest of upper handle with another overgrip.
 
I just picked one up after using the aeropro drives and pure aeros for years. I can see why H19 molds get so much love. Even at 18x20, I got good spin and arch on my balls. Perhaps a bit of lead tape at 12 to improve my serve and its golden. Let's see if the Wilson ultra tour V3 is just as good, if not better
 

travlerajm

G.O.A.T.
I got it rebalanced out now at 27.25” length.

13.05 oz. 12.8” balance. 363sw
MgR/I 20.85

It feels a little crisper at this length than before (which I think I will like) because I needed to add a bit more weight just above the handle. I used Gorilla tape for that’s, which dampens vibes more than lead.

Hopefully I will find a chance to test soon.

The main reason for extending is to turn it into a weapon on serves.
 

WilPro

Semi-Pro
Please do post a full match video of you using this 600g racquet then.

Lets see how your strokes stack up against Djokovic, Nadal etc who clearly don't have your physical prowess.
That's a myth in the tennis community just like the myths in any other communities. I can speak clearly about the guitar community, so many useless myths out there.

Let's debunk this myth for all the TT "experienced" tennis players who know nothing about this game of tennis.

The myth:

Pros play the heaviest racquet they could play.

The truth:

It is not like pros could not play with heavy racquets. Djokovic, Nadal or Federer could easily play with 1kg racquet, EASILY.

The problem is they would need to adapt their game. Not just the strokes but also their whole game, strategy, tactics and everything.

In a professional tennis players life there is a cycle:

You have like 30 years of activity to make a mark in the world of this sport.

It starts when you are 4 or 5 yo. You just learn to get the ball. Just that, then you start improving your stroke mechanics.

Ten years later players are into competitions and their strokes are not good yet. That's after 10 years of tennis. Most of them have problems with their serve, many have problems with the backhands and a few have problems with their forehands. Their basic shots are not fully developed.

Another 5 years later they are into serious competition. They are 19-20 years old and getting into serious ATP tournaments. If you really watched tennis and understood something you must remember Federer, Nadal and Djokovic were still struggling in many compartments.

Then
when they are 24-25 years old, their shape is very good but still struggling in certain compartments. We know Djokovic got propper serve after 30 yo. At the same time some of their shots are stellar. They have decent technique and fighting for great trophies.

In their 30s they have really good technique but now they start lacking the power they used to have in their 20s. Their shots are very good from a technique point of view but they lack power and sharpness and speed.

Then most of them just retire.


They cannot afford to mess with racquet specs when they are constantly improving their technique. When you make a real and serious change in your game you want to change just one parameter. And the parameter they constantly improve/change is stroke mechanics. If they change anything in their racquet specs they would ruin their game. They would lose references and get lost like a sailor without a compass. It would be crazy. Remember Federer changing his racquet? I think it took him 2 years to adapt his game.

I think there are a few players who changed minor things in their racquets but those players are a different topic.

Now think about the fact that these are the most successful and the most talented players on tour. The rest of them are having even harder lives.
 

travlerajm

G.O.A.T.
@travlerajm what do you use to measure sw?
I have a kitchen scale with 200g calibration weight that measures to 0.005 oz. precision.

I also have a metal yardstick that I use to measure balance.

Then I use the TW swingweight calculator.

I measure oscillations with the lap timer on my phone. I measure 10 consecutive laps of 10 pendulum periods per lap (100 periods), with the amplitude of the butt of the racquet limited to about 0.5”.
Using the lap timer in this way makes it easy to measure the 10-period time to within 0.01 second accuracy.

The hardest thing to measure accurately is the balance. It’s easiest to measure the balance accurately when the yardstick edge is very close (less than 1/2”) to a reference point such as the bottom edge of the 6 o’clock grommets. So if the final balance will be further away from the bridge than that, I like to measure specs carefully after adding the hoop weight but before I add the counter balance weighting (ideally when the balance is only a few mm away from the bridge). This allows me to measure to within about 0.02” accuracy.
 

gutfeeling

Hall of Fame
I have a kitchen scale with 200g calibration weight that measures to 0.005 oz. precision.

I also have a metal yardstick that I use to measure balance.

Then I use the TW swingweight calculator.

I measure oscillations with the lap timer on my phone. I measure 10 consecutive laps of 10 pendulum periods per lap (100 periods), with the amplitude of the butt of the racquet limited to about 0.5”.
Using the lap timer in this way makes it easy to measure the 10-period time to within 0.01 second accuracy.

The hardest thing to measure accurately is the balance. It’s easiest to measure the balance accurately when the yardstick edge is very close (less than 1/2”) to a reference point such as the bottom edge of the 6 o’clock grommets. So if the final balance will be further away from the bridge than that, I like to measure specs carefully after adding the hoop weight but before I add the counter balance weighting (ideally when the balance is only a few mm away from the bridge). This allows me to measure to within about 0.02” accuracy.
Gonna launch a kickstarter so we can get you an Accuswing and balance board or maybe even a Head 3-in-1.
 

travlerajm

G.O.A.T.
Update:
Yesterday I restored my UT back to standard length.

My reason was that I am embarking on the tough part of the season now in my 4.5 singles league. I felt like I wanted to have a standard length
frame in my bag that gives me full confidence on my forehand. For those battles with guys that never miss, I need something that gives me accuracy to nail the passing shot or approach shot on target. I felt that this is more critical to my game right now than having a higher ceiling on my serve, as my serve confidence seems to come and go, and I don’t know if I can rely on it every match.

I tested out the UT at standard length modded to 354sw in some pickup doubs yesterday. I had good control but I think it needs to be a little heavier to get the more natural depth without having to swing hard that I prefer. I think I will nudge it up to 360 this afternoon.
I also like the feel of the UT at standard length a little more, because of the extra mass I can add at 10 and 2 compared to when it was extended.

The evolution/15L nylon bed is still in it. The slippery feel is gone, which is good. And now I am really loving the crisp accuracy on volleys and flat shots due to the low launch angle. However, the spin and bite is definitely lacking compared to my usual kevlar/poly combo. The lack of spin didn’t bother me on groundies, but it did on serves because I can’t get the ball to dive downward into the box as easily. For now I will keep riding this poly/nylon experiment because the control seems like it will give me confidence in match play.
 
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