Pure Strike 16x19 / 18x20 kind of playtest review. Advice request

StasTs

New User
I'm 42 year old 4.5-5.0 baseline hitter. ~15 years not played and started playing again last summer. At the moment I'm using Wilson PS 97 RFA. I'm pretty good at baseline strikes with good spin. I'm loving control that PS give me and really making not many unforced errors.
But I'm got several difficulties with current racquet:
1) My FH/BH are that i'm using probably little bit short swing and with heavy PS i'm not getting enough speed on easy balls. That make actually hard to play with defensive players who (on good level) bring balls backs with moonballs/slices.
2) Same problem with racket speed, but in much less extend is happened when I'm playing long fast ball. I can block/return it, but can't really reliable strike it.

I've tried L/S versions of the PS family, but found it's just bad rackets comparing to RFA. Also I've tried Babolat Pure Drive/Aero, but it's just not for me, can't reliable hit with them. So, I've looked at Babolat Pure Strike and get both 16x19 and 18x20 for playtest.

Here some my feelings on testing:
1) 18x20 is very likely to RFA in terms of control. I can swich between RFA and 18x20 without changing my play. Clear that with 18x20 I can get to faster racquet speed in shorter time. I like that. There is less stability then in RFA, but enough for me. So, for me, it's like 18x20 is almost RFA, but lighter with little bit more power and almost same control.
2) 16x19 is different story. I really need to concentrate on getting balls in court when playing baseline strikes. A little bit less spin and ball going to be out. But on other hand it's fast, give even more power (that I probably need for winners). Here my impressions that I would need to be better myself, change a bit my technique/concentration level, invest more sping in every strike, but it looks rewarding.

So my questions are:
1) Is what I'm feeling is looking correct based on other people experience with RFA/Pro Strike racquets? I could be completely wrong with my feeling, because I haven't played a lot of different racquets in my life (played Wilson PS 6.1 for >10 years then it was 15 years almost no tennis for me).
2) I have 3 options:
  • stay with RFA but make myself better with swing speed. Probably I can get some progress but not much
  • switch to 18x20. Minimum change to my playing style, but getting some improvement in power
  • switch to 16x19. More time to adapt, probably most benefits in terms of speed and power.
3) Playtest/look for anything else?

PS. A lot of words :(
 

hurworld

Hall of Fame
If you decide to look at others, according to TW play testers, they suggested Yonex VCore Pro 97 (330g), Prince Phantom Pro 93P, and ProKennex Ki Q+ Tour Pro (325) as alternative.
 

StasTs

New User
If you decide to look at others, according to TW play testers, they suggested Yonex VCore Pro 97 (330g), Prince Phantom Pro 93P, and ProKennex Ki Q+ Tour Pro (325) as alternative.
I've just checked them. Prince/ProKennex are control oriented heavy racquets. I've already have RFA. Prince also has much smaller headsize.
Yonex looks promising, but also pack 330g unstrung weight. Close to RFA's 340g. That's what buy me in in Pure Strike, Babolat manage to pack enough control and power in 305g :)
 

redmini

Rookie
The Pure strikes hit similarly for me - just the normal extra precision , lower launch angle slightly less spin of the 18/20 versus the 16/19. It seems you have experienced more of a difference- I wonder if that could be due to the strings and their tension ? It sounds like they may be softer / looser in your 16x19. Tension can make a massive difference.

Also have you tried a standard Pro Staff 97 ? That seems the obvious choice if you want a faster RFA which still has power , stability , control etc. It’s 310g unstrung. The Pro staffs you mention are different beasts entirely. I’ve not tried the black cv version but the normal non cv version is a really nice frame and had a slightly more solid feel than the pure Strike. Also it will be the same grip shape as you are used to with the RFA.




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Rafaboy

Rookie
it took me about three months, six dsys a week @ i hr a day, to get used to my pure strike 16/19.

but it finally paid off. balls rocket off my fh and bh. its a muted feeling racket, but at my level of extreme hitting, it feels crisp.

i owned two of them, but at anout two months in, i kinda gave up and sold one of them, and started playing a pure aero.

but switching bak to pure strike, i realized the potential of the racket, when it started to feel like i was cracking a whip on my forehands. awesome racket!
 

Hww

New User
I’ve played with the PS line since the St. Vincent’s. After a long hiatus and getting back in I had good success with the 6.1’s. However, with aging, I was experiencing the same that you are having with the RF’s. They are heavier frames. I switched to Bab Pure Drive Roddick’s then the Pure Aero’s but I couldn’t quite control them and started getting elbow problems. Plus, they just didn’t have that traditional feel I liked about the PS line. I ended up switching to Angell’s. First with the TC100’s thinking I needed a larger frame, but I didn’t get the control I was looking for. I then settled on the TC95 at 63ra. I had to adjust to the flexy feel but am happy with it. At the end of the day, I needed a lighter racket that provided similar swing weight as my old PS. Advantage of Angell’s is you can customize weight and balance. 310-320g may be what you’re looking for.


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redmini

Rookie
I’ve played with the PS line since the St. Vincent’s. After a long hiatus and getting back in I had good success with the 6.1’s. However, with aging, I was experiencing the same that you are having with the RF’s. They are heavier frames. I switched to Bab Pure Drive Roddick’s then the Pure Aero’s but I couldn’t quite control them and started getting elbow problems. Plus, they just didn’t have that traditional feel I liked about the PS line. I ended up switching to Angell’s. First with the TC100’s thinking I needed a larger frame, but I didn’t get the control I was looking for. I then settled on the TC95 at 63ra. I had to adjust to the flexy feel but am happy with it. At the end of the day, I needed a lighter racket that provided similar swing weight as my old PS. Advantage of Angell’s is you can customize weight and balance. 310-320g may be what you’re looking for.


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Also the Angell tc95 and tc100 can also be got in a 70RA version. They measure the RA before handle and strings added and it’s more like 66RA ready to play. So, similar to a Pro Staff or Pure Strike in that regard. It’s supposed to be more arm friendly though. You can seek the owner Paul Angell’s advice via Facebook messenger too.


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Chezbeeno

Professional
Specs-wise the Blades are pretty comparable to the Pure Strikes, and I can't say enough good things about the 16x19 CV - you might need to string a little higher than with the RF to feel like you have the same control, but I switched from the RF97 to the newest Blades (without playtesting, which I would never recommend), and I have never once looked back.
 
You may want to consider the new Head Graphene 360 Speed Pro. I am switching from the Pure Strike P17 16x19.

The Head plays similarly but has bigger sweet spot and better bite for slices. It is a very stable, especially for a light racquet, on service returns and hard hit volleys. I think it has more feel than the PS due to the string pattern and to me, I can really aim toward smaller targets. It plays, though, like a 16x19 for spin and power, supposedly this is a more “open” 18x20. On serves, I am getting good pace (not Pure Drive pace) and lots of kick/spin; and the light weight helps my rotator tendon for serves.

It’s a bit less powerful than the PS but I think more forgiving. The lightweight takes a bit of getting used to — sometimes my swing is a bit too early (but I’ve only had 4 good sessions with it).

I strung my PS at 56 lbs and the Head at 53 lbs, both with HyperG 17 gauge.



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anfield

Semi-Pro
I used the RF97 for six months and started to develop some arm problems. It's crazy they don't make the PS97 with the same build quality, but a bit lighter and a few RA points less. But another nag was my forehand was a bit inconsistent, I just felt like I had to be on the gas all the time, I could not place the ball well for medium paced shots, like approach and rollers, it was just too stiff. I ended up blocking a lot of shots.

There is a bit of a hack to get the RF97 a bit lighter, replace the leather grip with a synthetic, and go with lighter strings, like a 17 and 18g, and some syngut for crosses. But it has quite an open pattern and it did not make for a consistent stringbed.

I'm using using a mix of the Yonex Tour G and Duel G 310g now which have great feel. The Tour G is really plush and flexible, can really shape the ball, but it does not take lead well. The Duel G 310g is a bit stiffer and takes lead well. But both are 16x20 and I think that's the perfect string pattern for consistent shot making. I just ordered the new Vcore 95, it's plush, fast and has the 16x20.

The new Vcore Pro 330 was just a bit flimsy for its weight.

I did not like the Angel TC95 in the 16x19 in the 70 or 63 RA. The string pattern is just too open.

The Radical Touch Pro was a great demo, it has good power and at a 65 RA it was comfy and could shape the ball a bit, but it is lacking in feel.

Have you looked at the Wilson Ultra Tour? 18x20 and good build quality.
 

Fairhit

Semi-Pro
Yes, I would recommend the Ultra Tour, control above anything else, decent spin and the possibility of adding weight, it easy o the arm, you can't go wrong with this frame.
 

topspn

Legend
I used the RF97 for six months and started to develop some arm problems. It's crazy they don't make the PS97 with the same build quality, but a bit lighter and a few RA points less. But another nag was my forehand was a bit inconsistent, I just felt like I had to be on the gas all the time, I could not place the ball well for medium paced shots, like approach and rollers, it was just too stiff. I ended up blocking a lot of shots.

There is a bit of a hack to get the RF97 a bit lighter, replace the leather grip with a synthetic, and go with lighter strings, like a 17 and 18g, and some syngut for crosses. But it has quite an open pattern and it did not make for a consistent stringbed.

I'm using using a mix of the Yonex Tour G and Duel G 310g now which have great feel. The Tour G is really plush and flexible, can really shape the ball, but it does not take lead well. The Duel G 310g is a bit stiffer and takes lead well. But both are 16x20 and I think that's the perfect string pattern for consistent shot making. I just ordered the new Vcore 95, it's plush, fast and has the 16x20.

The new Vcore Pro 330 was just a bit flimsy for its weight.

I did not like the Angel TC95 in the 16x19 in the 70 or 63 RA. The string pattern is just too open.

The Radical Touch Pro was a great demo, it has good power and at a 65 RA it was comfy and could shape the ball a bit, but it is lacking in feel.

Have you looked at the Wilson Ultra Tour? 18x20 and good build quality.
You should have tried TC95 18x20, it’s awesome
 
I will second the UltraTour, coming from the PureStrike 2014 18x20's. Love both frames but the UltraTour definitely has more control and is plusher/softer on the arm. I have leather grips and weight at 3:00 and 9:00 on all of my frames, the PureStrikes come in weight 5-6gm heavier.

Despite having less power, my speed/spin have gone up with the UltraTour perhaps because of confidence and comfort.*

I grew up playing Wilson - Sting, ProStaff 85. Then had hiatus with prince, head, and finally bab. I have been looking for a Wilson I could like (RFAuto just seems heavier and wears me out despite being similar weights).
 

StasTs

New User
Yes, I would recommend the Ultra Tour, control above anything else, decent spin and the possibility of adding weight, it easy o the arm, you can't go wrong with this frame.
I've got enough control in RFA, switching to Pure Strike 16x19 or 18x20 reduce control a bit, but add spin/power/swing speed. It's more and more I'm choosing some alternatives to Pure Strike. But also can't decide yet what PureStrike to take.
 

IowaGuy

Hall of Fame
I'm 42 year old 4.5-5.0 baseline hitter. ~15 years not played and started playing again last summer. At the moment I'm using Wilson PS 97 RFA. I'm pretty good at baseline strikes with good spin. I'm loving control that PS give me and really making not many unforced errors.
But I'm got several difficulties with current racquet:
1) My FH/BH are that i'm using probably little bit short swing and with heavy PS i'm not getting enough speed on easy balls. That make actually hard to play with defensive players who (on good level) bring balls backs with moonballs/slices.
2) Same problem with racket speed, but in much less extend is happened when I'm playing long fast ball. I can block/return it, but can't really reliable strike it.

I've tried L/S versions of the PS family, but found it's just bad rackets comparing to RFA. Also I've tried Babolat Pure Drive/Aero, but it's just not for me, can't reliable hit with them. So, I've looked at Babolat Pure Strike and get both 16x19 and 18x20 for playtest.

Here some my feelings on testing:
1) 18x20 is very likely to RFA in terms of control. I can swich between RFA and 18x20 without changing my play. Clear that with 18x20 I can get to faster racquet speed in shorter time. I like that. There is less stability then in RFA, but enough for me. So, for me, it's like 18x20 is almost RFA, but lighter with little bit more power and almost same control.
2) 16x19 is different story. I really need to concentrate on getting balls in court when playing baseline strikes. A little bit less spin and ball going to be out. But on other hand it's fast, give even more power (that I probably need for winners). Here my impressions that I would need to be better myself, change a bit my technique/concentration level, invest more sping in every strike, but it looks rewarding.

So my questions are:
1) Is what I'm feeling is looking correct based on other people experience with RFA/Pro Strike racquets? I could be completely wrong with my feeling, because I haven't played a lot of different racquets in my life (played Wilson PS 6.1 for >10 years then it was 15 years almost no tennis for me).
2) I have 3 options:
  • stay with RFA but make myself better with swing speed. Probably I can get some progress but not much
  • switch to 18x20. Minimum change to my playing style, but getting some improvement in power
  • switch to 16x19. More time to adapt, probably most benefits in terms of speed and power.
3) Playtest/look for anything else?

PS. A lot of words :(
What strings/tension are you currently using in your RF97A?

I really like my RF97A frames, but reduced the weight a bit by trimming off some of the leather grip. Also further adjusted the balance by adding a touch of lead to the hoop. Now I love how it plays with gut/poly at 60/55.
 

IowaGuy

Hall of Fame
It changes, currently it's Solinco HypeG 1.30 at 24kg (53lbs). Other option was Alu Power 1.25 at 25kg (55lbs)
Have you ever tried gut/poly in the RF97A?

IME, it plays quite differently with gut/poly compared to pure poly. I found it to have quite a bit more power with the gut mains, but still lots of spin.

Just a thought before you give up the frame...
 

time_fly

Hall of Fame
1) Is what I'm feeling is looking correct based on other people experience with RFA/Pro Strike racquets? I could be completely wrong with my feeling, because I haven't played a lot of different racquets in my life (played Wilson PS 6.1 for >10 years then it was 15 years almost no tennis for me).
2) I have 3 options:
  • stay with RFA but make myself better with swing speed. Probably I can get some progress but not much
  • switch to 18x20. Minimum change to my playing style, but getting some improvement in power
  • switch to 16x19. More time to adapt, probably most benefits in terms of speed and power.
3) Playtest/look for anything else?
I played both the 16x19 and 18x20 versions of the PS extensively. I had to give them up because of elbow problems. I think your assessment is correct. The big difference is the really the launch angle. You will get more height and therefore more depth with the 16x19 using the same swing versus the 18x20. I found the difference in power on completely flat swings to be minimal and well within the range that you could balance them out with stringing adjustments. Aside from the feel and arm issues, I really liked the racquets. My most common mistake with the 16x19 was hitting long. My most common mistake with the 18x20 was leaving the ball short and / or waist-high. If I decided to go back to them, it would be a tough choice but I would probably go 18x20 and keep the string setup as soft as possible.

I am currently using the Beast 98 and I think it plays a lot like the PS 16x19 but with more comfort and maybe a little less power. The new Volkl VFeel 10 (320g) could be an option. I liked the old V-Sense 10 (325g) a lot but once I got the balance where I wanted it with lead, the weight was just a bit much for me and I felt fatigued in long matches. I have heard great things about the new Yonex VCORE 98 but haven't tried it.
 

StasTs

New User
Have you ever tried gut/poly in the RF97A?
Both natural and good synthetic guts strings are too expensive for me, especially considering how often I'm breaking them :) Poly is good compromise, when I'm using minimum 1.25 or 1.30 strings. Playing with plenty of spin 3-4 times a week for 9 months in year and 1-2 times a week over winter time I have to spend a fortune on strings :(
 

Eptel

New User
@StasTs
What did you end up getting?
I'm in the same boat as you were. Was playing with RF97A (black) for the last year and a half and now contemplating to switch to PS.
Tried both 16x19 and 18x20 of new PS 2020 and still haven't decided on which I prefer the most.
 

StasTs

New User
@StasTs
What did you end up getting?
I've ended with 16*19, but it's previous 2nd generation of the PS. After 1 year, I've changed from 1.30 to 1.25 Solinco Hyper G, but it's really minor thing. In general I'm satisfied. Probably sometimes I'll switch to 3rd generation, need to playtest them first.
 

danbrenner

Hall of Fame
The PS is the best stick out there I use the 16x19. First and third generations but now mainly the third generation it is the ultimate hybrid Tennis Racket it just does everything well it’s the perfect medium
 

danbrenner

Hall of Fame
The way I look at it is that there are two racket lines that are the best of all worlds hybrid. The first one is my racket of choice the bad a lot pure strike either the 16 x 19 or the 18 x 20. This line of rackets simply does everything well and I personally use a 16 x 19 as it more closely mimics the Pure Aero Local and pure drive that I have used in the past. Then there is the Wilson blade which again does everything well either the 16 x 19 or the 18 x 20. This line again just does everything so so well and I feel the feel is incredible. So what you have or two racket lines from two different companies that are spot on and the perfect hybrid. I personally on both lines and have several rackets in both lines. But I think one of the main reasons that my go to Racquet is the Babbo is that B grip shape is to my preference in other words if I was making a mold grip it would be the Babel at Shape. Also I have use the pure arrow in my past years so there is a feeling of familiarity with the Babbo With C Pure Strike 16 x 19 I can still feel the characteristics of the Pure Aero But just much more refined and precise. So in closing my main point here is to say that those two lines of Tennis Racket’s are the world’s best.
 

esm

Professional
The way I look at it is that there are two racket lines that are the best of all worlds hybrid. The first one is my racket of choice the bad a lot pure strike either the 16 x 19 or the 18 x 20. This line of rackets simply does everything well and I personally use a 16 x 19 as it more closely mimics the Pure Aero Local and pure drive that I have used in the past. Then there is the Wilson blade which again does everything well either the 16 x 19 or the 18 x 20. This line again just does everything so so well and I feel the feel is incredible. So what you have or two racket lines from two different companies that are spot on and the perfect hybrid. I personally on both lines and have several rackets in both lines. But I think one of the main reasons that my go to Racquet is the Babbo is that B grip shape is to my preference in other words if I was making a mold grip it would be the Babel at Shape. Also I have use the pure arrow in my past years so there is a feeling of familiarity with the Babbo With C Pure Strike 16 x 19 I can still feel the characteristics of the Pure Aero But just much more refined and precise. So in closing my main point here is to say that those two lines of Tennis Racket’s are the world’s best.
same here - i have 4 main racquets in my bag & sometimes a 5th one...
the 4 main ones are 2 x 2013 Blade 98 18x20 and 2 x Pure Strike 98 (Gen 1) 16x19 - they are all pretty much the same spec (after mods) and same type of string setup. love the way it plays and feel.
the 5th ones is either TC95 16x19 63RA or K7 Red or DG VCore 97 310... 8-B
 

danbrenner

Hall of Fame
same here - i have 4 main racquets in my bag & sometimes a 5th one...
the 4 main ones are 2 x 2013 Blade 98 18x20 and 2 x Pure Strike 98 (Gen 1) 16x19 - they are all pretty much the same spec (after mods) and same type of string setup. love the way it plays and feel.
the 5th ones is either TC95 16x19 63RA or K7 Red or DG VCore 97 310... 8-B
thats awesome. i own the 2013 blx blade as well.. love it. if im comparing the blade to the psstrike id say for me that the blade feels more head heavy. even with the same weight distributioin.
the mass is more towards the head. and the strike is a little more head light. even art same specs. its just the nature of the way these frames were made.
so topspin def without a doubt goes to the pstrike. and feel and depth go to the blades. so its a 50/50. thats why i own both. lol
 
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esm

Professional
thats awesome. i own the 2013 blx blade as well.. love it. if im comparing the blade to the psstrike id say for me that the blade feels more head heavy. even with the same weight distributioin.
the mass is more towards the head. and the strike is a little more head light. even art same specs. its just the nature of the way these frames were made.
so topspin def without a doubt goes to the pstrike. and feel and depth go to the blades. so its a 50/50. thats why i own both. lol
(y)
yep - the Blade and PS are modded to the same spec of 339g/33.5cm & 340SW. i am enjoying the 8 mains & box beam setup at the minute. i only use fb of Syn Gut these days... the Blade is 50/46 and the PS is 48/44. no dampener and loving the sound.
 
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