Racket Brands; which is in a demise and which is doing a good job?

Frans Bleker

Professional
So I was just wondering about the point of views on the current state of the major racket brands. I personally think Head for example has started a downfall since the Youtek IG, especially the Graphene XT has been really bad imo and I'm not really impressed by touch so far. So I'm wondering what people think of the current state of Head and other brands.

I'll start:

Head: In a major downfall if you ask me (Please give back the Youtek molds!)
Babolat: Delivering steadily the frames that they are known for, decent.
Wilson: Were always pretty decent, I personally think Wilson has done a bad job with Countervail.
Yonex: Was solid and still is solid.
Prince: Still the same good quality frame imo.

./Discuss
 

Christian Olsson

Professional
The only frames I would buy today is Volkl or Angell. Luckily I already have mine. Wilson needs to get control of QC. Head needs a direction, don't know what they're up to. Prince, excellent frames bad management.


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jonestim

Hall of Fame
Babolat : Current crop of frames is better than 5 years ago.
Prince : Frames are great, but the company is in decline.
Head : Seems to be in decline, but I haven't hit with one in a couple years. They aren't really making much that appeals to me, and the ones that do on paper get pretty bad reviews.
Wilson : Seems to be about the same quality. Some frames are better, some worse. QC still suspect.
 

esgee48

G.O.A.T.
Current state of the brands? Still see the new lines from Wilson, Head and Babolat on the courts. Do not see the newer Prince frames. Dunlop, Donnay have disappeared. See occasional Yonex, Pro Kennex, Volkl frames, but not many [1-3%].

Better players than me are using older Wilsons and Heads. Some Babolats, but not many in that crowd.
 

ollinger

G.O.A.T.
Head: In a major downfall if you ask me (Please give back the Youtek molds!)
Babolat: Delivering steadily the frames that they are known for, decent.
Wilson: Were always pretty decent, I personally think Wilson has done a bad job with Countervail.
Yonex: Was solid and still is solid.
Prince: Still the same good quality frame imo.
in other words, the most commercially successful, in your view, are delivering crap. Sort of like movies and music.
 

Sambuccashake

Hall of Fame
Everyone should just get an Angell TC95 (63RA) and (if needed) take a few lessons.
If this doesn't work, all the blame lies in your end.

All other brands are somewhat superfluous.
 

nvr2old

Hall of Fame
Interesting premise. Newly returned to the game after 35 years. I have acquired Head, Prince,Yonex, Wilson sticks in the last 2 months in my search. Honestly all are fantastic IMO. Of course don't have every frame and have not tried every frame. Have been picky and gone for softer flex control frames which may bias me. Would love to try an Angell but can't demo I'd guess. Ken
 

mhkeuns

Hall of Fame
Sad to.say that Dunlop has lost most of its, if not all, following. I don't understand how Prince messed up with their Textreme series.
I think Yonex has done well since.the Vcore.Tour G and the Ezone AI lines. Though Head may have lost many of the loyal following g, I see many Juniors using g them, so I think they are just following their plans.
I believe Wilson & Babolat are doing the best... because they are spend the most effort on marketing & advertising.
 
2

2HBH-DTL

Guest
I think Yonex and Babolat are up at the top followed by Wilson and Head.

Prince brand just needs to die off.
 
To me, the ups and downs of each manufacturer has to do with the popularity of the pro's using that brand (unfortunately). When Roddick was serving all those aces and Nadal was hitting all that topspin, Babolat couldn't do anything wrong. When Federer was setting all his records, Wilson was selling like hotcakes. Recently, Wawrinka won a slam, Kyrios has been doing well (the latest upstart), so Yonex seems to be riding that wave. Head--well Djokovic is on a losing streak (according to the media anyway) and Murray is unpredictable at best. Dunlop--who is using Dunlop? Prince--lost all focus when people criticized their O3 and Speedport designs. Isner never lived up to expectations I suppose either. Pro Kennex, Angell--never had an endorsement, although they make great rackets, as does a company called Zus (though most people have never heard of them). I guess this says the key is to get the right pro to endorse your frames. Doesn't matter if they're good, bad, neutral. Just get an up and coming pro that can out serve, out spin, or out win the rest of the crowd.
 

SCRAP IRON

Professional
Has anybody tried Solinco rackets? I heard some good things about their frames. We all know how well their strings perform.
 

JohnBPittsburgh

Hall of Fame
As long as Tecnifibre keeps putting out good frames (LTD's) I will support them. the big four have lost the plot. Angell is another great option out there for players who know what they want
 

Frans Bleker

Professional
I think Yonex and Babolat are up at the top followed by Wilson and Head.

Prince brand just needs to die off.
I personally think Prince frames are under-rated by the consumer. That might be due to their branding and marketing which is not top notch imo.
 
Today (IMO): Babolat, Wilson, Yonex with probably Head next
Five years ago: I would have put Dunlop and Volkl in that mix with Yonex and Wilson on the outside most likely.
 
So I was just wondering about the point of views on the current state of the major racket brands. I personally think Head for example has started a downfall since the Youtek IG, especially the Graphene XT has been really bad imo and I'm not really impressed by touch so far. So I'm wondering what people think of the current state of Head and other brands.

I'll start:

Head: In a major downfall if you ask me (Please give back the Youtek molds!)
Babolat: Delivering steadily the frames that they are known for, decent.
Wilson: Were always pretty decent, I personally think Wilson has done a bad job with Countervail.
Yonex: Was solid and still is solid.
Prince: Still the same good quality frame imo.

./Discuss
Everybody is going to hate on the Graphene XT tech, but I am one of the small minority who are actually a firm believer in the change, at least for the new Prestige Pro mold.

I might be slightly bias considering that I have only tried the Prestige Pro version of this particular technology and actually prefer customized sticks on the heavier side, but as somebody that has used and more importantly modified every variation of the prestige pro series, this particular model has been the best in my opinion when modded up to my preferred specs (12.5-6 oz, 8 pts HL, 340-45 SW).

As some background, I have only successfully used the Wilson 6.1 Hyper Carbon Pro Staff competitively before eventually venturing over to the dark side (Babolat APD/PD) and picking up some bad habits along the way. But I was still able to get to a Div 1 college level, including a National Championship appearance, while relying far too heavily on physical attributes/basic strategy rather than actual technique. It wasn't until I started using the Prestige Pro series and gaining some strength to wield such a racket that I actually started to see a dramatic improvement in my game.

The main difference I have seen between the Graphene XT Prestige Pro and other versions is how much more polarized it is, at least towards the tip of the hoop. Now, because I prefer a stick that is much more on the headlight side of things coming from the HC 6.1 Pro Staff, this was not immediately achieved without adding A LOT of weight under the grip (leather + lead) and even a bunch under the buttcap (0.6 to 0.8 oz both total) to get closer to a 8 pts HL balance. But, because of the increased weight distributed closer to 12, I no longer have to add "fake weight" to the tip of the racket to get enough swing weight to hit solid serves and attacking shots that have been lacking from previous versions. I find that supplementing with lead instead of using the actual weight of the racket feels much less natural, especially at 12 where you feel it the most.

That being said, the racket at stock still has too low of a twistweight to counter incoming hard shots/serves, which is probably why so many people are turned off by it at first strike, but I find that this is easily countered by adding a small amount of lead at 3 and 9 (1-2 grams) and even a bit in the throat which feels slightly more hollow than previous versions. The hollow feeling might not be one you would familiarize with the Prestige series right off the bat, but I find that the new mold has more of a Babolat feel, which I believe adds to the power and unbelievable spin created when you hit the ball clean. This might also be another turn-off about this particular frame, as it is not a stick that lends itself to improper technique or off-centered shots, at least when you string it with a stiff poly at higher tensions (low tensions might be too powerful), but throw in a softer poly or a little bit of multi/gut into a hybrid and you have a plush-feeling beast of a control-orientated stick to dominate your opponent.

TL;DR: The full potential of some new technologies might not be felt immediately during the "demo phase" without ensuring that you fully understand the changes and how to maximize the potential of the envisioned benefits, while minimizing the perceived deficiencies.
 
Last edited:

Frans Bleker

Professional
Everybody is going to hate on the Graphene XT tech, but I am one of the small minority who are actually a firm believer in the change, at least for the new Prestige Pro mold.

I might be slightly bias considering that I have only tried the Prestige Pro version of this particular technology and actually prefer customized sticks on the heavier side, but as somebody that has used and more importantly modified every variation of the prestige pro series, this particular model has been the best in my opinion when modded up to my preferred specs (12.5-6 oz, 8 pts HL, 340-45 SW).

As some background, I have only successfully used the Wilson 6.1 Hyper Carbon Pro Staff competitively before eventually venturing over to the dark side (Babolat APD/PD) and picking up some bad habits along the way. But I was still able to get to a Div 1 college level, including a National Championship appearance, while relying far too heavily on physical attributes/basic strategy rather than actual technique. It wasn't until I started using the Prestige Pro series and gaining some strength to wield such a racket that I actually started to see a dramatic improvement in my game.

The main difference I have seen between the Graphene XT Prestige Pro and other versions is how much more polarized it is, at least towards the tip of the hoop. Now, because I prefer a stick that is much more on the headlight side of things coming from the HC 6.1 Pro Staff, this was not immediately achieved without adding A LOT of weight under the grip (leather + lead) and even a bunch under the buttcap (0.6 to 0.8 oz both total) to get closer to a 8 pts HL balance. But, because of the increased weight distributed closer to 12, I no longer have to add "fake weight" to the tip of the racket to get enough swing weight to hit solid serves and attacking shots that have been lacking from previous versions. I find that supplementing with lead instead of using the natural weight of the racket feels much less natural, especially at 12 where you feel it the most.

That being said, the racket at stock still has too low of a twistweight to counter incoming hard shots/serves, which is probably why so many people are turned off by it at first strike, but I find that this is easily countered by adding a small amount of lead at 3 and 9 (1-2 grams) and even a bit in the throat which feels slightly more hollow than previous versions. The hollow feeling might not be one you would familiarize with the Prestige series right off the bat, but I find that the new mold has more of a Babolat feel, which I believe adds to the power and unbelievable spin created when you hit the ball clean. This might also be another turn-off about this particular frame, as it is not a stick that lends itself to improper technique or off-centered shots, at least when you string it with a stiff poly at higher tensions (low tensions might be too powerful), but throw in a softer poly or a little bit of multi/gut into a hybrid and you have a plush-feeling beast of a control-orientated stick to dominate your opponent.

TL;DR: The full potential of some new technologies might not be felt immediately during the "demo phase" without ensuring that you fully understand the changes and how to maximize the potential of the envisioned benefits, while minimizing the perceived deficiencies.
I have also tried the Graphene XT Prestige Pro, and to be honest I found this one of the few Graphene XT frames that was actually pretty decent. Next to that I hear good things about the Extreme XT, and found the Prestige and speed Rev Pro's to be good. I think the XT Radicals are dramatic, the Prestige S was really bad, the Prestige MP as well, and the XT Speed Pro is one of the worst frames I have ever tested.
 

crazyups

Professional
To me, the ups and downs of each manufacturer has to do with the popularity of the pro's using that brand (unfortunately). When Roddick was serving all those aces and Nadal was hitting all that topspin, Babolat couldn't do anything wrong. When Federer was setting all his records, Wilson was selling like hotcakes. Recently, Wawrinka won a slam, Kyrios has been doing well (the latest upstart), so Yonex seems to be riding that wave. Head--well Djokovic is on a losing streak (according to the media anyway) and Murray is unpredictable at best. Dunlop--who is using Dunlop? Prince--lost all focus when people criticized their O3 and Speedport designs. Isner never lived up to expectations I suppose either. Pro Kennex, Angell--never had an endorsement, although they make great rackets, as does a company called Zus (though most people have never heard of them). I guess this says the key is to get the right pro to endorse your frames. Doesn't matter if they're good, bad, neutral. Just get an up and coming pro that can out serve, out spin, or out win the rest of the crowd.
Prokennex is endorsed by Andreas Seppi
 
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