PK Kinetic 7G or ... ?

Kaptain Karl

Hall Of Fame
Relative Racquet Finder II: Test Case, KK

Remember ohplease's excellent Relative Racquet Finder, where he created an applet for those who'd like a little different way to search for a stick? Well, I do. And it's time for me to put it to the test.

I'm going to chronicle my search/demo process here and I'll be ohplease's volunteer Test Case.

(Oh yeah. Just for the record, I hate demo-ing sticks. But I persist until I find what I want and then I stick with it as long as I can.)
____________

Here are the specs for my current stick -- which have been updated with more accurate and current readings since I added more lead ... and since ohplease posted his applet.

Yonex V-Con 17 MP
Head Size: 100 sq. in. / 645 sq. cm.
Length: 27.5 inches
Strung Weight: 11.6oz (originally 10.3oz / 292g)
Balance: 2 pts Head Light
Swingweight: Don't know (originally 315)
Stiffness: 66
Beam Width: 17.5-25 mm
Power Level: Low-Medium
Swing Speed: Moderate-Fast
String Pattern: 16 Mains / 18 Crosses

Since I've modified this thing so much, it's hardly a V-Con 17 anymore. And Yonex discontinued it anyway. (It's a plot. I know it.)

[continued...]

- KK
 

Kaptain Karl

Hall Of Fame
Prior to ohplease's applet, I had a list of about ten sticks to "try" and find a replacement. (I anticipated Yonex dropping the 17.)

What I like about my racket now is ... a lot. I'm 200 lbs and 6'2". I play an All Court game, with an emphasis on Attack the Net. I have a big serve using Slice, Kick and Flat. I hit all strokes off both wings equally comfortably.

What made me "lead up" was, it seemed like I was asking too much of the racket when going for a BIG crosscourt FH or BH. I could feel the head of the racket "waffling" and the ball just ... sprayed. (I know ... but "waffling" is the best descriptor I can come up with. The head distorts and flexes asymetrically when I really *peg* a shot.)

Each time I experienced the waffle on consistent wallops, I'd lead up ... then I could nail those shots. (And -- thankfully -- the added weight seemed not to hamper my ability to go for the wide angled serve ... a specialty.) The problem is ... I'm noticing the need to "lead up" has been coming with ever greater frequency. (I guess I just plain need a heavier racket to start with, now....)

Decades ago I was very easily pleased by Head or Wilson. Four+ years ago -- when looking for this racket -- I finally gave up on them; they all seemed TOO head light. I've never ever hit with any Prince I liked. I'm leaning toward ProKennex or Dunlop....
____________

I couldn't get his applet to work (Maybe because I use a Mac?) so ohplease ran some specs for me. This is what he came up with...

From most mass to least, that results in:

fxp radical tour
ki5
ki5x
instinct tour
7g
ki15 pse
ki10 pse
aeropro drive
warrior os
core 1 no. 10
aeropro drive plus

ohplease then added, "My personal opinion would trim that down further to:

ki5x
instinct tour*
7g
ki15 pse
ki10 pse*
core 1 no. 10
aeropro drive plus

*'s merit special attention for your crazy spec.

...and a whole lot of lead tape

_____________

Very interesting! Here are the frames I thought I ought to consider -- based on my non-scientific observations. There are notable commonalities (*).

*ProKennex Kinetic Pro 7G MP
Dunlop M-Fil 200 Plus
*Pro Kennex Core 1 No. 10
*Pro Kennex Ki 10 PSE
*Pro Kennex Ki15 PSE
Yonex MP-Tour 1 MP
_______________

After more study on TW's Racquet Finder, too, I've settled on nine sticks to start -- and I'm praying my experiences with the first three will help narrow down the choices.

I just received these from TW's Demo Program:
Dunlop Maxply McEnroe
PK Pro 7G
PK Heritage Type SX

(Availability had a lot to do with what I got in this first wave.) At the moment, there are ... 3 more PKs ... 2 Babolats and 1 more Dunlop on my list.

I'll keep you posted....

- KK
 

Kaptain Karl

Hall Of Fame
Oh, boy! I was honestly afraid of this.

(I've never been a playtester and most of those reviews kinda bore me. Don't expect this report to be so detailed as what TW's guys write.) I will add more comments as I hit with these sticks again.

I hit with my 5.5-6.0 Friday drilling partner. I warmed-up with MY stick ... felt like I was hitting quite well this morning ... and began the testing.

PK Pro 7G - Reading the stats and review of this stick, I was honestly *afraid* I'd like it. (It isn't a recently released design. Several years old, in fact.) I don't want to repeat what I've just been through: Finally settled on the V-Con 17 4+ years ago ... then Yonex discontinued the sucker(!). I admit I'm concerned this might be the same kind of experience.

But I'm really impressed with this racket. Groundstrokes were solid and firm. I use both SW and Eastern FH, and I could control the spin and placement with ease. When trying to really "peg" a crosscourt or DTL (mostly flat) shot ... this stick delivered and I experienced no "waffling" like with my 17. (Wahoo!) The weight and balance felt ... great.

Volleys were a breeze. I could maneuver back-and-forth, high-and-low, with ease. My volleys (a strong point for me) had excellent touch and "punch". I forced myself to switch sticks. I am really trying NOT to love this racket.

Dunlop Maxply McEnroe - This racket reminded me a lot of my current 17. Groundstrokes and volleys were (mostly) dependable and solid. Placement and touch was excellent. One problem I noticed with this stick -- which is a function of my hitting partner's penetrating heavy ball -- when I found myself needing to "hurry" my stroke, I struggled to get the racket around in time. It seems to perform better when I am hitting with my usual long and flowing stroke.

With both groundies and volleys I could not summon "5th Gear." When really trying to nail a groundie or punch a volley through my partner's groundies ... the power just ... wasn't there.

PK Heritage Type SX - This racket was "okay". I found its feel "tinny" ... it was not torsionally solid on slight off-center hits ... its sweetspot seemed a little low (especially for me; I like to hit groundies about "dead center," serves in the top of the stringbed, and volleys anywhere from a little above center to a little below).

The low -- and slightly "small feeling" -- sweet spot was evident when really nailing a groundie. If I caught the ball perfectly ... great! If I contacted the "wallop" just a fraction high, or just a half-ball toward one side or the other of the sweet spot ... my shot would "spray". I don't have confidence in this stick's 5th Gear.

- KK
 

ta11geese3

Semi-Pro
I demoed the PK Type S last time, and "tinny" is the right word to describe it...

Looking forward to your next posts!
 

monologuist

Hall of Fame
Kaptain Karl said:
Oh, boy! I was honestly afraid of this.

(I've never been a playtester and most of those reviews kinda bore me. Don't expect this report to be so detailed as what TW's guys write.) I will add more comments as I hit with these sticks again.

I hit with my 5.5-6.0 Friday drilling partner. I warmed-up with MY stick ... felt like I was hitting quite well this morning ... and began the testing.

PK Pro 7G - Reading the stats and review of this stick, I was honestly *afraid* I'd like it. (It isn't a recently released design. Several years old, in fact.) I don't want to repeat what I've just been through: Finally settled on the V-Con 17 4+ years ago ... then Yonex discontinued the sucker(!). I admit I'm concerned this might be the same kind of experience.

But I'm really impressed with this racket. Groundstrokes were solid and firm. I use both SW and Eastern FH, and I could control the spin and placement with ease. When trying to really "peg" a crosscourt or DTL (mostly flat) shot ... this stick delivered and I experienced no "waffling" like with my 17. (Wahoo!) The weight and balance felt ... great.

Volleys were a breeze. I could maneuver back-and-forth, high-and-low, with ease. My volleys (a strong point for me) had excellent touch and "punch". I forced myself to switch sticks. I am really trying NOT to love this racket.

Dunlop Maxply McEnroe - This racket reminded me a lot of my current 17. Groundstrokes and volleys were (mostly) dependable and solid. Placement and touch was excellent. One problem I noticed with this stick -- which is a function of my hitting partner's penetrating heavy ball -- when I found myself needing to "hurry" my stroke, I struggled to get the racket around in time. It seems to perform better when I am hitting with my usual long and flowing stroke.

With both groundies and volleys I could not summon "5th Gear." When really trying to nail a groundie or punch a volley through my partner's groundies ... the power just ... wasn't there.

PK Heritage Type SX - This racket was "okay". I found its feel "tinny" ... it was not torsionally solid on slight off-center hits ... its sweetspot seemed a little low (especially for me; I like to hit groundies about "dead center," serves in the top of the stringbed, and volleys anywhere from a little above center to a little below).

The low -- and slightly "small feeling" -- sweet spot was evident when really nailing a groundie. If I caught the ball perfectly ... great! If I contacted the "wallop" just a fraction high, or just a half-ball toward one side or the other of the sweet spot ... my shot would "spray". I don't have confidence in this stick's 5th Gear.

- KK
Try adding lead at 10 and 2 o'clock. It will raise the sweespot and also make the racquet feel much less tinny. Also, this racquet is very string and tension sensitive. What was the one you tried strun at/with? Personally, I found that stringing with a hybrid along the lines of ALU mains/gut crosses @ 60 lbs. upped the control significantly than when I was using multifilaments @ 62-64 lbs.
 

Kaptain Karl

Hall Of Fame
monologuist said:
Try adding lead at 10 and 2 o'clock. It will raise the sweespot and also make the racquet feel much less tinny.
Thanks, but I'd kinda like to *like* the feel of my next stick ... unaltered, to start with. (I'm not nearly as up-to-date on the modern frames as one might expect. Am I being unreasonable?)

Also, this racquet is very string and tension sensitive. What was the one you tried strun at/with? Personally, I found that stringing with a hybrid along the lines of ALU mains/gut crosses @ 60 lbs. upped the control significantly than when I was using multifilaments @ 62-64 lbs.
Good to know, but as I received these demos from TW ... okay, I just called them. It's strung with Wilson NXT at 65#.

- KK
 

monologuist

Hall of Fame
Kaptain Karl said:
Thanks, but I'd kinda like to *like* the feel of my next stick ... unaltered, to start with. (I'm not nearly as up-to-date on the modern frames as one might expect. Am I being unreasonable?)

Good to know, but as I received these demos from TW ... okay, I just called them. It's strung with Wilson NXT at 65#.

- KK
yeah...that's what I was expecting...at 65 lbs., the sweetspot is a bit small on this frame. Opens up considerably when strung around 60 or so.

as far as liking the feel stock...I can understand that. Just telling you from experience that this racquet happens to be one of those that feels much better with lead (while others don't seem to). It is a stiff racquet though, so if that's what you don't like, there's no point in futzing with it.

The 7g is an excellent one as well...liked it a lot when I tried it. Swingweight was just a hair high for me, and would have preferred a 16x19 pattern. I liked it better than the newer Ki5x.
 

Kaptain Karl

Hall Of Fame
My additional comments are in BLUE.

PK Pro 7G - I'm really impressed with this racket. Groundstrokes were solid and firm. I use both SW and Eastern FH, and I could control the spin and placement with ease. When trying to really "peg" a crosscourt or DTL (mostly flat) shot ... this stick delivered and I experienced no "waffling" like with my 17. (Wahoo!) The weight and balance felt ... great.

Volleys were a breeze. I could maneuver back-and-forth, high-and-low, with ease. My volleys (a strong point for me) had excellent touch and "punch". I forced myself to switch sticks. I am really trying NOT to love this racket.

Serves with this racket were also great. I actually felt like I was hitting them with a few more mph ... and I was still able to hit my wide-angled spins. (If I cannot get these to work, I probably will not use the stick.)

Dunlop Maxply McEnroe - This racket reminded me a lot of my current 17. Groundstrokes and volleys were (mostly) dependable and solid. Placement and touch was excellent. One problem I noticed with this stick -- which is a function of my hitting partner's penetrating heavy ball -- when I found myself needing to "hurry" my stroke, I struggled to get the racket around in time. It seems to perform better when I am hitting with my usual long and flowing stroke.

With both groundies and volleys I could not summon "5th Gear." When really trying to nail a groundie or punch a volley through my partner's groundies ... the power just ... wasn't there.

I didn't hit any Serves with this racket. (I had exactly similar opinions of the ground strokes and volleys ... so "Why bother serving?") It isn't going to be my next stick.

PK Heritage Type SX - This racket was "okay". I found its feel "tinny" ... it was not torsionally solid on slight off-center hits ... its sweetspot seemed a little low (especially for me; I like to hit groundies about "dead center," serves in the top of the stringbed, and volleys anywhere from a little above center to a little below).

The low -- and slightly "small feeling" -- sweet spot was evident when really nailing a groundie. If I caught the ball perfectly ... great! If I contacted the "wallop" just a fraction high, or just a half-ball toward one side or the other of the sweet spot ... my shot would "spray". I don't have confidence in this stick's 5th Gear.

Serves with this racket were about the same as the volleys and ground strokes. I couldn't hit the wide angled spin serves. The racket seemed to lack much *pop* when I was going for power. This one isn't "it".

Monday I'll call TW and see if they can use this info to help me alter my list of other rackets to demo.

(ohplease - Where are you...?)

- KK
 

Kaptain Karl

Hall Of Fame
Well that was interesting.... TW was backordered on the Dunlop M-Fil 200 Plus. (Which was "fine". I was counting on adjusting that Demo order -- 3 sticks -- with my feedback from the first three.) But a customer must have returned the M-Fil 200 earlier than expected. I haven't even sent the first three back ... and the next three just arrived.

Next on the list:
Dunlop M-Fil 200 Plus '05
PK Ki 5x
PK Ki 15 PSE

(Based on my feedback, the helpful fellow at TW says he'd probably have told me to drop the 15 PSE.) But ... now we'll be able to verify.

I'll be back....

- KK
 

thejuice

Hall of Fame
Hey KK, I'm looking forward to your current reviews. I'm not looking for a stick but find your reviews to be straight to the point.
 

heycal

Hall of Fame
Yes, keep us posted... Love to hear what you think the Ki 15PSE, and hope you'll try the Core1 #10 soon.
 

tom4ny

Professional
interesting thread and yes, please keep us posted. bummer i couldnt get that applet to load either :( page said not found but i was just gonna play around with it. seems like a good thought process and a nice piece of code from ohplease.
 
KK, your review kind of surprised me. I've used a 5g and a Laver Type S quite a bit. The 7g is mostly an extended version of the 5g (albeit a little stiffer) and the SX is the extended version of the S. The 5g has a much lower sweet spot than the Type S, and the S has more overall power. I agree that the sweetspot may be smaller with the S, and it lacks the feel and touch of the 5g, so I would have exected the same between the SX and the 7g. The 10g PSE (which I'm using some now) is still only 27" long (which I like, but 1/2" shorter than what you're used to). And, I'm really surprised that TW guy told you to drop the 15g PSE. It's 27.5" long, and is a pretty nice frame. Good luck with whatever you choose.
 

Kaptain Karl

Hall Of Fame
My Wednesday AM hitting partner (5.0) was in a bit of a "funk" today. He was really off his game, so we had trouble getting any kind of rythym established. I have another hit scheduled for this evening, so I'll have more then.

Here are my intitial comments:

PK Ki 5x - I only hit a few ground strokes and serves with this, but it reminded me "feel-wise" a lot of the Pro 7G -- which is a good thing. I was hearing a "buzzing" vibration on each shot ... and finally realized it was the hard plastic clips on the "wormy looking" dampener. The clips were vibrating on the strings. I switched sticks. (I'll change dampeners before hitting tonight. That buzzing was annoying.)

Dunlop M-Fil 200 Plus '05 - Interesting.... This reminded me a bit of the Maxply McEnroe. On ground strokes it seemed as if I was not getting ANY help with power from the stick. Control seemed fine. Oh ... the specs say this stick is 11.5oz with a SW of 330, but it *felt* too light in hitting.

PK Ki 15 PSE - Wow! What a switch. Going from the underpowered M-Fil 200 to this was a major change. The ball seems to shoot off the strings. This stick definitely adds power on ground strokes and volleys. This stick also specs at 11.5oz (with a SW of 327) and it too *felt* too light.

I need more study....

- KK
 

Kaptain Karl

Hall Of Fame
Back with my 5.5+ hitting partner ... who hits a very heavy ball....

PK Ki 5x - I only hit a few ground strokes and serves with this, but it reminded "feel-wise" a lot of the Pro 7G -- which is a good thing. I was hearing a "buzzing" vibration on each shot ... and finally realized it was the hard plastic clips on the "wormy looking" dampener. The clips were vibrating on the strings. I switched sticks. (I'll change dampeners before hitting tonight. That buzzing was annoying.)

Oh...! The dampener wasn't the source of the buzzing. On most serves and (most topspin FHs) I hit high on the string bed. When I hit way high on the strings with the 5x -- which on my Yonex is the top of the sweet spot -- there is a pronounced buzzing and increased sensation of vibration. (I honestly wondered if this racket was cracked ... but I cannot see any cracks and it appears to be relatively new. Very few scuff marks.) "Oh well...."

Serving with this stick is a lot like the 7g ... minus the sensation that I was getting any extra mph. It delivers great spin, angles and power. Comfortable.

Ground strokes are solid and dependable with this stick. I had only about 50/50 success when really trying to blast a crosscourt FH. 5th gear is not as dependable as with the 7g.

Volleys were fine. Good touch. Good power. Easy to control for sharp angles.


Dunlop M-Fil 200 Plus '05 - Interesting.... This reminded me a bit of the Maxply McEnroe. On ground strokes it seemed as if I was not getting ANY help with power from the stick. Control seemed fine. Oh ... the specs say this stick is 11.5oz with a SW of 330, but it *felt* too light in hitting.

This racket is a *dream* for serving! I was getting great action on my spin serves. Placement was easy. Power was "good" ... but if I went for a hard flat one up the T (and didn't catch it *right* on the center axis of the string bed) the ball would "spray".

Volleys with this are easy to control and angle. *Punch* is lacking when trying to drive them deep. (I found myself trying to swing a little to make up for the lack of "pop". It was messing up my timing.)

If I were to play this stick all the time, I'd either get amazingly fit ... or I'd bust a hernia. Geez, I had to swing hard to produce any forcing shots. (I'd say my rally strokes are normally between 75 and 80% of "full power" ... but with this stick I was hitting between 85 and 100% of my top gear all the time.) Even hitting in 5th gear all the time, I found the control with this racket to be excellent. (This stick delivers a "degree" more power than the Maxply Mac I compared it too earlier ... but just a degree. And this was notable: I noticed that I could not get away with just stroking with this stick; I really had to hit each ball with authority. So long as I hit forcefully I had control. When I "took it easy" I actually had a more difficult time controling placement....)


PK Ki 15 PSE - Wow! What a switch. Going from the underpowered M-Fil 200 to this was a major change. The ball seems to shoot off the strings. This stick definitely adds power on ground strokes. This stick also specs at 11.5oz (with a SW of 327) and it too *felt* too light.

Serves are "okay" with this racket. Nothing special ... and no super deficiencies. It just "is".

This racket really delivers power on the ground strokes ... and it has a less forgiving sweet spot than many rackets. (When going for heavier topspin -- when I don't always get a flush hit -- my groundies could "fly" on me.) The sensation of the ball just "shooting" off the strings on ground strokes never went away....

Volleys were my biggest problem with this stick. It is light-feeling and easily maneuvered ... but it had no "pop" for hitting a forcing volley. Even on touch volleys, I found myself having to adjust to a firmer grip than I'm accustomed to.

_____________

Now I'm not sure what to do next. (Did I mention I *hate* demo-ing rackets?) The next rackets on my list are...
PK Ki 10 PSE
Babolat PD Roddick
Babolat AeroPro Drive+

... but I don't know what adjustments to make to this list based on my experiences with these six rackets, so far. (I hate demo-ing.)

If I had any confidence the PK 7g would be around for any time to come, I'd probably just snatch up that sucker. What a really nice stick! Time to call TW again....

- KK
 

Court_Jester

Hall of Fame
Reading your reviews of the PK racquets, I'm beginning to think that I may have made a mistake of leaving the brand in the first place. The way things are going, I might end up heading home.

KK, keep up the good work on the reviews!
 

Kaptain Karl

Hall Of Fame
Okay, I covered my experiences with the above demoes -- with a very helpful man at TW. He informed me the PK Rep was just there in the last two weeks. He says the Rep told him PK was very happy with its product line ... has a lot of loyal users of the older models ... and does not plan to drop any models in the near future. (I know! I know! Of course, PK's gonna say that. Still ... it was nice to hear. I really like that Pro 7g....)

My TW guy also recommends I ... keep the PD Roddick on my list ... try the Ki 10 PSE on my list, just to be sure I've covered that base ... and consider the Volkl DNX 8. He recommends I drop the AeroPro Drive+.

Time to study some more Reviews and specs....

- KK
 

MTChong

Professional
Kaptain Karl said:
Okay, I covered my experiences with the above demoes -- with a very helpful man at TW. He informed me the PK Rep was just there in the last two weeks. He says the Rep told him PK was very happy with its product line ... has a lot of loyal users of the older models ... and does not plan to drop any models in the near future. (I know! I know! Of course, PK's gonna say that. Still ... it was nice to hear. I really like that Pro 7g....)

My TW guy also recommends I ... keep the PD Roddick on my list ... try the Ki 10 PSE on my list, just to be sure I've covered that base ... and consider the Volkl DNX 8. He recommends I drop the AeroPro Drive+.

Time to study some more Reviews and specs....

- KK
I haven't tried it out; but I'd suggest the Volkl DNX 8 based on specs.
 

Kaptain Karl

Hall Of Fame
Dooh!!! I spoke with "a highly placed source" at TW (I've never been able to use that phrase before.) who suggests ... I try every racket on my list. He claims this is THE best way to know for sure.

Well, *that* was a big help...!

I guess I'm about to order at least three more demo sticks. (Does anybody remember reading that I detest having to demo...?)

- KK
 

Kaptain Karl

Hall Of Fame
I examined all the specs on the rackets still on my list ... and made some changes. I just ordered the following ... which I hope will be my last demo order ... for eight or ten years(!).

Ionic Ki 10 PSE
PK Core1 No. 10
PK Pro 7G
Wilson Wilson nCode nPro Open X (I know! But I still long for the "good ol' days" with my Wilsons. I gotta try ONE...!)

The stiffness on that PD Roddick just scared me away. And even though it was highly recommended, the O3 Tour is also off my list. The stats on the Volkls also seemed a little hincky to me.

We'll see....

- KK
 

Kaptain Karl

Hall Of Fame
Okay, I just received these today:
Ionic Ki 10 PSE
PK Core1 No. 10
PK Pro 7G
Wilson nCode nPro Open X


One thing ... that Core 10 is almost as "oogly" as the Maxply McEnroe from Dunlop(!).

I'll post some feedback after Wednesday.

- KK
 
Interesting, Kaptain Karl.

I've always been curious about PKs. I've been a Volkl user for the past 7-8 years and they have been arm savers. However, the local distributor was terminated early last year and there is a void now that may never be filled.

In the meantime, my C10 Pro is getting long in the tooth and the next restring may not hold up due to worn grommets.

PKs are quite readily available here and I'm wondering if you've hit with the C10 Pro before? If you have, which PK do you think comes closest to it?

Bear in mind that I'm a 4.0 all-court player and like to S&V. I have a long loopy forehand, have a single backhand and slice a lot.

Look forward to your views.
 

Kaptain Karl

Hall Of Fame
GroundMaster said:
I've been a Volkl user for the past 7-8 years and they have been arm savers. However, the local distributor was terminated early last year and there is a void now that may never be filled.

In the meantime, my C10 Pro is getting long in the tooth and the next restring may not hold up due to worn grommets.
I sympathize....

PKs are quite readily available here and I'm wondering if you've hit with the C10 Pro before? If you have, which PK do you think comes closest to it?
I'm sorry. I've never hit with any Volkls.

I'm "Volkl averse." I can't stand their skiis; so -- completely illogically -- I refuse to try their rackets. (Truthfully, I don't like their skiis ... but everyone who I know who *plays* like me and uses Volkl seems to play with a very light stick and add LOTS of lead tape. I've just been through this with my Yonex. I'm trying to find a racket *at least* 11.3oz which I can then merely "tweak" with needed lead....)

I am aware that both Volkl and PK are considered very "arm friendly" manufacturers. Maybe some other TT Users have experience with both...?

- KK
 

Bolt

Semi-Pro
GroundMaster said:
PKs are quite readily available here and I'm wondering if you've hit with the C10 Pro before? If you have, which PK do you think comes closest to it?
The Core1 No.6 comes pretty close to the C10 Pro although I think to truly replicate the C10 you'd need to remove the headguard of the No.6 then play around with a little lead. With the guard on it swings heavier than the C10 and with it off it swings lighter. I prefer the guard off.

KK, I'm interested to hear what you think of the No.10 and Ki10.
 

Kaptain Karl

Hall Of Fame
Took all sticks to my Wednesday AM drilling session with my 5.0 hitting partner. This will be a “first impressions” review. I’ll hit them all again ... and again.

Ionic Ki 10 PSE - Reminded me of the PK Heritage Type SX. (It even seems like it may come out of the same physical mold.) It played “tinny” from the baseline. It feels / plays much more headlight than its published specs (3 HL). I finally figured out I couldn’t just stay back and hit a “rally” stroke with this frame. I had to stay only in “4th Gear” ... which I’d say is me hitting ground strokes with at least 75% of FULL power. Curiously, when I tried out 5th Gear(85%, plus) I tended to spray the ball with this racket.

Volleys were no fun with this stick. No punch. No touch. No ability to vary between sharp angles and deep forcing volleys. (But besides that it was great!)

PK Core1 No. 10 - This stick might be the one I like the second-best. It, too, plays more HL than its posted spec (of 3 HL). I’d like to have at least two rackets “competing” to be my next stick. At the moment, there’s still a gap between the PK 7G and the others. I’ll definitely spend more time with this one in the next three days....

Wilson Wilson nCode nPro Open X - Geez! This is the third “too HL-feeling” stick in a row! (At least this specs at 7.4 HL.) I quit hitting with this before trying any volleys. I tend to hit my FH ground strokes high in the stringbed ... and this upper string bed is *dead*. Ugh!

PK Pro 7G - Oh baby! I still think this is “the one.” I need to talk to TW....

To rank the nine rackets I’ve demoed so far....

1 - PK Pro 7G

3 - PK Core1 No. 10
4 - PK Ki 5x

6 - Dunlop M-Fil 200 Plus '05
7 - Maxply McEnroe
8 - (Tie) PK Ki 15, Wilson nCode nPro Open X
9 - (Tie) PK Ki 10, PK Heritage Type SX

More later.

- KK
 

serveitup911

Semi-Pro
Kaptain Karl, don't give up on the M-Fil 200 Plus 2K5. It just needs a little lead in the head. I have experimented and like a few grams at 3 and 9 for more stability, but a few grams at 2 and 10 would be good also and raise the sweet spot a bit.

I really like the 200 plus; it becomes an exceptional racquet with that little bit of lead.
 
Bolt said:
The Core1 No.6 comes pretty close to the C10 Pro although I think to truly replicate the C10 you'd need to remove the headguard of the No.6 then play around with a little lead. With the guard on it swings heavier than the C10 and with it off it swings lighter. I prefer the guard off.

KK, I'm interested to hear what you think of the No.10 and Ki10.
Thanks, bolt. When you said remove the headguard, is that a separate item from the grommet protectors? Or does one have to shave off the bumper guard?
 

Kaptain Karl

Hall Of Fame
servitup911 - Thanks for the suggestion. I just don't have confidence "a little lead" will keep me from busting a gut trying to play the M-Fil 200. I'm too old -- and don't play enough -- to be swinging at "near full power" on every stroke. (And that's what I was needing to do with that stick.)

See new comments....

PK Core1 No. 10 - This stick might be the one I like the second-best. It, too, plays more HL than its posted spec (of 3 HL). I’d like to have at least two rackets “competing” to be my next stick. At the moment, there’s still a gap between the PK 7G and the others. I’ll definitely spend more time with this one in the next three days....

I hit a lot more with this stick in another session. It seems somewhat "insubstantial" ... which is odd, considering it has the highest SW of any racket I've demoed. On both ground strokes and volleys it just lacks a bit of "oomph". This stick isn't in the running....


PK Pro 7G - Oh baby! I still think this is “the one.” I need to talk to TW....

The Pro 7G is still the only racket I've *liked* during this process. Serves, volleys, ground strokes (even when really *tagging* the ball) ... they all feel really good.

(Most of you are probably thinking, "Good. You've found your next racket." BUT ... my problem is I want to LOVE the racket. I only really like it. I'm in a quandry....)

The Pro 7G is still the clear leader among the sticks I've demoed. I'm just concerned I'm missing a special "gem". I'm open to suggestions: Anyone out there really like the PK Pro 7G but like some other racket even MORE...?


- KK
 

Bolt

Semi-Pro
GroundMaster said:
Thanks, bolt. When you said remove the headguard, is that a separate item from the grommet protectors? Or does one have to shave off the bumper guard?
The bumper guard / head guard is removable before stringing.
 
Bolt said:
The bumper guard / head guard is removable before stringing.
Thanks for the reply, Bolt. I must try and get my hands on a demo to play tomorrow night. I was checking out the website and have narrowed it down to 2 models: the Core 1 No. 6 and the Heritage Type C.

I'm just curious, there is mention of a hardwood spine in the No. 6. Where in the world is the spine of a racquet and is it really wood? If so, should there be concerns on warping?

KK, any thoughts?
 

Bolt

Semi-Pro
GroundMaster said:
I'm just curious, there is mention of a hardwood spine in the No. 6. Where in the world is the spine of a racquet and is it really wood? If so, should there be concerns on warping?
Inside the frame, in the hollow space, there is a wood filler. You can see it when you remove the grommet strip and you look through the holes. My guess is that it acts similar to the foam that's inserted in some frames, but it doesn't make the frame have that overly-muted feeling. I wouldn't say that the racquet feels or plays like a woodie, but the feel is definitely unique.

I don't think you need to worry about it warping.
 
Bolt said:
Inside the frame, in the hollow space, there is a wood filler. You can see it when you remove the grommet strip and you look through the holes. My guess is that it acts similar to the foam that's inserted in some frames, but it doesn't make the frame have that overly-muted feeling. I wouldn't say that the racquet feels or plays like a woodie, but the feel is definitely unique.

I don't think you need to worry about it warping.
This sounds really interesting and seems that you've hit with one before. It's been a while since I've played with a woodie, and do miss the feeling.

Okay, open mind. I'll try and get hold of a demo tomorrow and write up my thoughts about it in a new thread. Must thank KK for his patience in letting me highjack his thread briefly.

THANK YOU, KK.
 

Kaptain Karl

Hall Of Fame
Quoting out-of-order...

Bolt said:
I don't think you need to worry about it warping.
I agree. (Dating myself) I remember the Vilas being one of the first "combo" wood/graphite frames. I never heard of one of them warping.

Inside the frame, in the hollow space, there is a wood filler. ... My guess is that it acts similar to the foam that's inserted in some frames, but it doesn't make the frame have that overly-muted feeling. I wouldn't say that the racquet feels or plays like a woodie, but the feel is definitely unique.
Again, I agree. (Except I've only hit the Core1 No.10.) It does not emulate the feel of wood.

- KK
 

Bolt

Semi-Pro
Kaptain Karl said:
PK Core1 No. 10 ... It seems somewhat "insubstantial" ... which is odd, considering it has the highest SW of any racket I've demoed. On both ground strokes and volleys it just lacks a bit of "oomph."
Lacking substance is a good way to describe it. I think it needs the bumper removed and some well-placed lead just like its sibling the No.6.

Did you find it harsh at all?
 

Kaptain Karl

Hall Of Fame
Bolt said:
Did you find it harsh at all?
Ooooh! Good question, Bolt. YES, it was noticably "harsh" in two situations:
(1) When hitting volleys high on the string bed.
(2) If I made contact while merely stroking a ground stroke ... and again, making contact high in the string bed. (If I was driving a FH or BH and making contact about 2/3 up the string bed ... "no problem." But when just stroking a groundie at
(say) 65-70% of power ... "Ugh!")

Good term, Bolt. "Harsh" is just the right word.

- KK
 

Bolt

Semi-Pro
That's my one complaint against the No.6. The harshness of anything hit more than 3/4 of the way up the string bed. This is particularly true for serves. I've only had two racquets actually make me wince on poorly struck serves ...
 

Kaptain Karl

Hall Of Fame
This is a plea for help from the racquet "experts" on TT. What racquet(s) do you love as much / almost as much as the PK Pro 7G?

I've chronicled my search for my next frame on this thread. (I despise demo-ing racquets.) Here's the "Readers' Digest" version....

I've thoroughly studied TW's Racquet Finder. I've demoed nine sticks ... and the PK Pro 7G is the only frame I really *like*. (And I like it a lot.)

What's "spooky" about this for me is, usually I find I've narrowed my search to two or three frames ... and I struggle with the "Which one?" question until I make up my mind. Then I stick with that frame for 5-10 years. (Did I mention I hate demo-ing?) Soooo ... I'm just a little bit hesitant to "leap" for the 7G with no other frame even contending for my affections.

[I'm 6'2" and 200 lbs. I am a 5.0 All-courter, with an emphasis on Attack the Net. I have a big serve using Slice, Kick and Flat. I hit all strokes off both wings equally comfortably. (FHs are E & SW; OHBH) I'm 49 and not getting any more "fleet of foot...."]

Here's my ranking of what I've tested. (You'll note there's a GAP between the 7G and any other frame.) At the moment, I would not purchase any frame other than the 7G....

1 - PK Pro 7G

3 - PK Core1 No. 10
4 - PK Ki 5x

6 - Dunlop M-Fil 200 Plus '05
7 - Maxply McEnroe
8 - (Tie) PK Ki 15, Wilson nCode nPro Open X
9 - (Tie) PK Ki 10, PK Heritage Type SX


I'm open to your suggestions. Thanks, in advance.

- KK
 

Court_Jester

Hall of Fame
LOL! I'm not much of a help here but I actually got inspired by your current saga of racquet demos and I'm going to demo the 7G tomorrow when it gets here. Well, I was actually hoping to demo the 5G but when I saw that the 7G was available, I snapped it up.
 

J D

Rookie
KK, you may not have been around long enough to know, but the PK 7G was Don's (yes, TW Don) racquet of choice for a long time when it first came out. Since he gets to hit with practically everything, he would be a great one to ask about similar sticks.
 

jackcrawford

Professional
I'm no expert, but why don't you hit the new RQS 11? It's an improved V-Con and you could modify it in a similar fashion.
 

Redflea

Hall of Fame
Can't believe I'm suggesting this, but...did you see Chris from TW switched to the PD Roddick? Same weight as the PK 7g, same swing weight, similar string pattern, stiffer, but Chris (who is hitting w/it after a nasty arm injury) is saying it's very comfy and he's loving it. He came to it from an RDX Mid, strangely enough...read the TW review on the PD Roddick page, and also his comments on it in this thread:

http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=105935

If you want the extra length they have a Plus that's 27.5, but the SW gets up over the 7g, if that's an issue...
 

alb1

Rookie
KK

Go ahead and order the 7g, once PK has you hooked it's all over. I've been a 5g user for the last two years. Have had a few brief affairs with other rackets, the classic kinetic line is kind of plain looking and you won't "feel like Federer when you pick it up", but I keep on using the 5g. Two years for me with one racket is a long time. There's just something about the solid feel, comfort, and blend of power/control that other frames have not been able to match.
 

Kaptain Karl

Hall Of Fame
jackcrawford said:
... why don't you hit the new RQS 11? It's an improved V-Con and you could modify it in a similar fashion.
Thanks, Jack. I didn't bother to explain it on this thread, but I've "leaded up" my 17 so much ... it really isn't a 17 anymore. I want to start with a racket which is at least *close* to the weight I'll end up with.

Here are the current specs of my V-Con 17:
Strung Weight: 11.6oz (originally 10.3oz / 292g)
Balance: 2 pts Head Light
Swingweight: Don't know (originally 315; probably mid-320s now.)

As you can see, that's a lot of lead. The RQS 11 isn't nearly as heavy as what I now want.
_____________

alb1 said:
Go ahead and order the 7g, once PK has you hooked it's all over. ... There's just something about the solid feel, comfort, and blend of power/control that other frames have not been able to match.
You ... you ... you tempter, you!!!
_____________

Redflea - Thanks. I've sent Don a comm....

- KK
 

heycal

Hall of Fame
For what it's worth -- which isn't much since I know little about either rackets or tennis -- I liked the Core 10 the most out of a half dozen-plus rackets I demoed and so purchased one and had it strung with gut at 55lbs. (The Ki 15 PSE was a close runner up that was finally eliminated for being too powerful and uncontrollable for me.)

The Core 10 seemed to have the right amount of power and control for this 3.5'er out of all the rackets I tried, but I agree that it can feel harsh, which doesn't make it a brilliant choice for a TE sufferer, but oh well... I wouldn't describe myself as being head over in heels in love with this racket, but still satisfied overall. Pyschologically, I also like that it is slightly longer (27.25) with a slightly bigger head (102") without being an extra long or an oversize, and it's 11.3 weight seems a nice compromise too.

"Definitely worth a demo" says Heycal.
 

Kaptain Karl

Hall Of Fame
antontd said:
Why everybody prefers the 7G than the Ki 5x?Where is the "56% performance improvement"?
Did you read my reviews of these two sticks? They are quite a bit different. (Although, I wonder if an Intermediate player would notice the distinctions that much. No offense intended....)

PK Pro 7G - I'm really impressed with this racket. Groundstrokes were solid and firm. I use both SW and Eastern FH, and I could control the spin and placement with ease. When trying to really "peg" a crosscourt or DTL (mostly flat) shot ... this stick delivered and I experienced no "waffling" like with my 17. (Wahoo!) The weight and balance felt ... great.

Volleys were a breeze. I could maneuver back-and-forth, high-and-low, with ease. My volleys (a strong point for me) had excellent touch and "punch". I forced myself to switch sticks. I am really trying NOT to love this racket.

Serves with this racket were also great. I actually felt like I was hitting them with a few more mph ... and I was still able to hit my wide-angled spins. (If I cannot get these to work, I probably will not use the stick.)

PK Ki 5x - I only hit a few ground strokes and serves with this, but it reminded "feel-wise" a lot of the Pro 7G -- which is a good thing. I was hearing a "buzzing" vibration on each shot ... (That buzzing was annoying.)

Oh...! The source of the buzzing.... On most serves and (most topspin FHs) I hit high on the string bed. When I hit way high on the strings with the 5x -- which on my Yonex is the top of the sweet spot -- there is a pronounced buzzing and increased sensation of vibration. (I honestly wondered if this racket was cracked ... but I cannot see any cracks and it appears to be relatively new. Very few scuff marks.) "Oh well...."

Serving with this stick is a lot like the 7g ... minus the sensation that I was getting any extra mph. It delivers great spin, angles and power. Comfortable.

Ground strokes are solid and dependable with this stick. I had only about 50/50 success when really trying to blast a crosscourt FH. 5th gear is not as dependable as with the 7g.

Volleys were fine. Good touch. Good power. Easy to control for sharp angles.


The extra confidence in my serves when using the 7G -- and the ability to accurately and confidently "nail" a forcing ground stroke -- represent a significant difference for me. ( antontd, where'd you get that "56%" figure?"

- KK
 

oldguysrule

Semi-Pro
KK,
Your demos seemed to be heavy with PK's. Since my mind is not what it once was...did you have arm problems? Anyway, just for grins, and because I am enjoying how much you like this demo process, I ran the approximate specs for the 7g in the racquet finder. I may have run too large of a range, but I was surprised at the number of racquets that came back.

http://www.racquetfinder.com/FMPro?...&swMax=335&fMin=50&fMax=67&rbMin=-10&rbMax=-6

It seems that there are some well reviewed racquets in the mix. I was wondering why you didn't consider some of these others
 

Kaptain Karl

Hall Of Fame
oldguysrule said:
Your demos seemed to be heavy with PK's. Since my mind is not what it once was...did you have arm problems?
Yes. Pay attention, kids! All my Junior days, my Instructor kept telling me my service motion was so big, it was important to lift weights to protect my arm. I didn't listen. (I believed the hooey that lifting would make me bulky. Dummy!) By two years post-college, I could not twist a doorknob with my right arm. I quit playing for 20 years ... through boredom I ended up accidentally working-out on Nautilus machines 3x/week ... trained competitively in karate for 14 years ... realized "Hey! I'm doing stuff in karate I never could have done with that old tennis shoulder of mine." ... started coaching tennis almost five years ago ... I'm back! And playing better tennis than in my 20s ... and I still lift regularly. (I'm not a dummy anymore....)

Anyway, just for grins, and because I am enjoying how much you like this demo process ...
You are an evil man...!

... I ran the approximate specs for the 7g in the racquet finder. I may have run too large of a range, but I was surprised at the number of racquets that came back.

It seems that there are some well reviewed racquets in the mix. I was wondering why you didn't consider some of these others
The link doesn't work, but I was able to see what parameters you used and run it myself. Yes. Lot's of well-regarded frames in that search.

Because I did hit with two friends' Wilson nSix-One 95s, and one friend's Prostaff 6.0 Original 95 -- and did not like them -- I studied the stats and (arbitrarily?) determined that "Power: Low" sticks were off my list. (The nSix-One and PS 6.0 were similar to the Maxply McEnroe (and M-Fill 200 '05) in that they were not helping me with any power; I was having to do 99% of the work. I settled on demo-ing "Low-Mediums" and "Mediums". (But I've never even seen just a "Medium" powered racket on TW.) I also tended to avoid sticks TW listed as "Swing speed: Fast." Same reason....

Lastly, I am Babolat-, Prince- and Volkl-averse ... for assorted reasons. But I carefully studied the stats and reviews of each racket which came up on my many Searches with the Raquet Finder. I don't know that I was 100% rational about it, though I tried to be as scientific as I could.

All of the above narrowed-down the list quite a bit. If you have questions about specific decisions, let me know....

- KK
 

Steve H.

Semi-Pro
Hey heycal, do you use the Core 10 with or without the bumper?

and KK, we've all been following your quest with interest. Did you end up settling on the 7g, or what? If you aren't sold, and the Core 10 feels too harsh high in the bed, why not revisit the Ki15 PSE? With the pellets and tapered beam it definitely doesn't have that problem. And power is all relative -- I've been playing with the 15g version for six months now, and have found it quite easy to adjust with a little more top.
 
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