Racquet Technologies: Real vs Marketing

usb92

New User
I was always under the impression that graphite felt and performed the best. I thought newer technologies were just cost cutting measures. As a result, I stuck to and collected old "Made in Austria" Head Prestiges.

Then, everything changed when I played with the Prince Textreme Tour 95. It's got a great classic feel and stability I just haven't felt before. Maybe racquet technology does make a difference!

So my question is which racquet technologies have you played with where you could actually feel or notice a difference and which were just marketing?

Here's a list of recent technologies that I can recall. Feel free to comment ones that I've missed and I'll add them to the list.

Head
  • Intelligence
  • LiquidMetal
  • Flexpoint
  • Microgel
  • YouTek
  • Innegra
  • Graphene / XT / Touch
Wilson
  • Hyper
  • nCode
  • K-Factor
  • BLX
  • Countervail
Prince
  • Triple Treat
  • O3
  • EXO3
  • Textreme
To be added: Babolat, Yonex, Dunlop, Volkl, and more​
 

usb92

New User
For me in recent years, the following sticks out:

Head IG - softer, dampened feel
Prince Textreme - increased stability on returns and volleys
Prince O3 - larger sweetspot
 

Crocodile

Legend
This is an interesting topic and should provide a good discussion. For me to be absolutely certain of my views I'm currently buying up different generations of the same racquet and then making comparisons.
What I found so far is that each brand has progressed in different ways, some got better, some not so.
There is the time issue as well, if you go back long enough there is a real difference.
The thing that is a confronting topic is comparing current retail to classic pro stock type frames.
Then there are the subtle evolutionary changes in 3 or 4 year increments. I'm thinking that some brands have improved their comfort factor to take in consideration the use of poly strings which is why I would never string an 80's graphite frame in poly, I don't believe it was designed for that.
The brand that most questions my beliefs is Head because I still think their twin tube era was and still is better than their later offerings. That technology was very good. On the other hand the current Yonex frames to me seem really good.
Will look into various technologies and report back.
 

Fedinkum

Legend
I was always under the impression that graphite felt and performed the best. I thought newer technologies were just cost cutting measures. As a result, I stuck to and collected old "Made in Austria" Head Prestiges.

Then, everything changed when I played with the Prince Textreme Tour 95. It's got a great classic feel and stability I just haven't felt before. Maybe racquet technology does make a difference!

So my question is which racquet technologies have you played with where you could actually feel or notice a difference and which were just marketing?

Here's a list of recent technologies that I can recall. Feel free to comment ones that I've missed and I'll add them to the list.

Head
  • Intelligence
  • LiquidMetal
  • Flexpoint
  • Microgel
  • YouTek
  • Innegra
  • Graphene / XT / Touch
Wilson
  • Hyper
  • nCode
  • K-Factor
  • BLX
  • Countervail
Prince
  • Triple Treat
  • O3
  • EXO3
  • Textreme
To be added: Babolat, Yonex, Dunlop, Volkl, and more​
All the above technology can be traced back to a commonly used marketing material call: Bullshitanium [Bs 0], basically these technologies are found on thin air.
 
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jonestim

Hall of Fame
I believe Prince ports and Textreme make a difference, and have used both.

I have not tried Wilson Countervail, but have read up on it in other industries and believe it would make a difference.

Volkl's handle vibration dampening is real.

Flexpoint did something real - but for me it didn't improve performance. It just made the racquet feel really odd.
 

Crocodile

Legend
Good technologies so far:

1. Pro Kennex kinetic - excellent arm saver
2. Volkl handle systems (Twin absorber, Sensor Tour, Bio Sensor) - smooth feel
3. Various brands - bigger grommets and softer grommets - comfort
4. Head - Twin Tube - dampening
There are more but will post when I get to it.

Worst gimmick
1. Head flex point (those wholes are dreadful)
 

vsbabolat

G.O.A.T.
This is an interesting topic and should provide a good discussion. For me to be absolutely certain of my views I'm currently buying up different generations of the same racquet and then making comparisons.
What I found so far is that each brand has progressed in different ways, some got better, some not so.
There is the time issue as well, if you go back long enough there is a real difference.
The thing that is a confronting topic is comparing current retail to classic pro stock type frames.
Then there are the subtle evolutionary changes in 3 or 4 year increments. I'm thinking that some brands have improved their comfort factor to take in consideration the use of poly strings which is why I would never string an 80's graphite frame in poly, I don't believe it was designed for that.
The brand that most questions my beliefs is Head because I still think their twin tube era was and still is better than their later offerings. That technology was very good. On the other hand the current Yonex frames to me seem really good.
Will look into various technologies and report back.
Actually racquets from the 80's are more comfortable than most today's racquets because the internal walls are thicker and overall have more mass to absorb shock and vibration better. Yes, there were poly strings around in the 80's. In fact many players used a racquet with poly strings that came out in the 80's the HEAD Prestige Pro/Classic. Many players in the 90's and 2000's used that racquet with full bed Kirschbaum, Luxilon, and Poly Star. You just have the string the poly lower in the 80's graphite frame.
 

Crocodile

Legend
Actually racquets from the 80's are more comfortable than most today's racquets because the internal walls are thicker and overall have more mass to absorb shock and vibration better. Yes, there were poly strings around in the 80's. In fact many players used a racquet with poly strings that came out in the 80's the HEAD Prestige Pro/Classic. Many players in the 90's and 2000's used that racquet with full bed Kirschbaum, Luxilon, and Poly Star. You just have the string the poly lower in the 80's graphite frame.
I want to test this out. The only 80's stick I have at present is the Puma Power Beam Pro (Becker circa 1986) and its got quite a bit of vibration, it's flexy but not smooth. Probably need to get a hold of a 200g. The C10 is 90's is it? Any other 80's I should consider (PK Black Ace?)
 

vsbabolat

G.O.A.T.
I want to test this out. The only 80's stick I have at present is the Puma Power Beam Pro (Becker circa 1986) and its got quite a bit of vibration, it's flexy but not smooth. Probably need to get a hold of a 200g. The C10 is 90's is it? Any other 80's I should consider (PK Black Ace?)
Try the HEAD Graphite Pro, HEAD Comp Pro, HEAD Prestige Pro, Yonex R-7, R-22, R-50, RQ-180, Prince Graphite 90, 110, Prince Spectrum 90, 110, Prince Graphite Pro 90 and 110.
 

Rjtennis

Hall of Fame
All the above technology can be traced back to a commonly used marketing material call: Bullshitanium [Bs 0], basically these technologies are found on thin air.
It's all such BS. The actual technology hasn't changed in in 20 years. Specs have changed to fit the modern game better, but the materials and designs are pretty much the same. If anything quality control has gone down hill so the rackets are actually worse from a manufacturing standpoint.

If you look at what a bunch of the pros are using - it's the stick they used as junior paintjobbed to the current version. If the tech had improved they'd all be on board.
 
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Noah Swift

Rookie
What about Bab woofers? Some love it some hate it but it seems to make a difference.
Babolat has the:
1.) Woofer System
2.) GT technology
3.) FSI
-Spin
-Power
-Whatever is on the new PD 2018
4.) Aero (specially shaped frame)
5.) Play
6.)ExoBeam
And the list goes on. Some may work, some may not
 

ricki

Hall of Fame
Only these do SOMETHING:
- Prince ports - really change racqets
- Babolat tweaks of cross strings spacing

-all craps from graphene, basalt, amplifeel, textreme are just FAKE and do not make any difference. All matters is frame shape and how much graphite is there. Just break any racquet with so called "material technology" and all you will see is the good old same composite of synthetic resin and graphite fiber wowen. Thats it.
 

Lavs

Hall of Fame
Foam & Silicone - best tech that was used in last 20 years. Also Twaron and Kevlar.
All others are total Marketing.
 
Sureshian green and pink apparel has helped my phantom splitstep.
Unobtainium always takes me up a notch. Kidding. Nobody uses that stuff anymore, it's litrelly everywhere. Litrelly!

But seryeslly fokes.
Racquets are just stringholders.
The very best tech....
Gut mains,
Poly crosses.
Leather grip.
Lead tape.
Leather pads if necessary.
New shoes.
A few shirts per match.
A big bottle of water.
Vitalsox or eurosox.
A wristband and a fresh yonex or Wilson overgrip.
 
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Tommy Haas

Hall of Fame
Foam & Silicone - best tech that was used in last 20 years. Also Twaron and Kevlar.
All others are total Marketing.
Kevlar has to be braided for flexibility. The Wilson PS 85 had Kevlar, but was stiff. Compare that to the ultra flexible HPS Zone 7.1 or Dunlop Muscle Weave.
 

scotus

G.O.A.T.
Babolat has the:
1.) Woofer System
2.) GT technology
3.) FSI
-Spin
-Power
-Whatever is on the new PD 2018
4.) Aero (specially shaped frame)
5.) Play
6.)ExoBeam
And the list goes on. Some may work, some may not
The GT stands for Graphite Tungsten. It was proved that Babolat racquets with GT did not contain any Tungsten, which led Babolat to settle the class action lawsuit and issue partial refunds to consumers who had bought those GT racquets.
 

Crocodile

Legend
It's all such BS. The actual technology hasn't changed in in 20 years. Specs have changed to hit the modern game better, but the materials and designs are pretty much the same. If anything quality control has gone down hill so the rackets are actually worse from a manufacturing standpoint.

If you look at what a bunch of the pros are using - it's the stick they used as junior paintjobbed to the current version. If the tech had improved they'd all be on board.
The difficulty about the pros is many have probably never used retail frames, but I need to find out for sure.
If we go back 20 years (1997) and look at the retail frames then, was it still different to the product that the pros used then as well? Were they using the racquets that they had when they were juniors, I want to talk to some ex Pro's to get their view.
The other thing is maybe the marketing and how things are hyped by the companies is gimmickry, but the frames might have evolved in a way that's nothing to write home about, therefore they come up with some story to sell the virtues of the product.
Today I was talking to a pro stringer and he believes that 80's graphite was lower quality and heavier than later versions of graphite.
 

Crocodile

Legend
What about Bab woofers? Some love it some hate it but it seems to make a difference.
I think it does and so do many grommet systems. Volkl's V1 Classic has lots of thick, big grommets which do their job to cushion the feel. Bolt racquets also have a different take on their grommet systems.
 

vsbabolat

G.O.A.T.
Kevlar has to be braided for flexibility. The Wilson PS 85 had Kevlar, but was stiff. Compare that to the ultra flexible HPS Zone 7.1 or Dunlop Muscle Weave.
Kneissl used Kevlar before Wilson in the White Star Pro Master and it's pretty soft feeling. It's unidirectional and not braided
 

Kamshaft

New User
I'd be curious to know the rating of folks who claim that technology has advanced/hurt current performance. I played in the late 90's as a teen and gave up when I learned I was far less athletic then other kids on the team, and for the past few years have been playing again but enjoy the ability to stick with 3.5 tennis. In my opinion sticks now are very different then they felt then. I was a 15 year old playing with 110 sq in frame in extended length, and looking back at it that might have been part of my problem back then...but now playing with 100 sq in and standard length the dunlop I play feels better then my old skunk.
 

PBODY99

Legend
The end of the cold war freed up grades of lighter & stronger graphite to the sporting goods market. This led to the light,lighter, lightest race. Which did not give the feedback many players want.
As to the tech............
Volkl handles (over Head's short lived system), Prince Ports ( over Wilson rollers) & Pro Kennex movable mass system.
 

Noveson

Hall of Fame
All the above technology can be traced back to a commonly used marketing material call: Bullshitanium [Bs 0], basically these technologies are found on thin air.
I'd agree except for O3. Not saying it makes racquets BETTER, but it definitely significantly changes how racquets feel.
 

BlueB

Legend
I was always under the impression that graphite felt and performed the best. I thought newer technologies were just cost cutting measures. As a result, I stuck to and collected old "Made in Austria" Head Prestiges.

Then, everything changed when I played with the Prince Textreme Tour 95. It's got a great classic feel and stability I just haven't felt before. Maybe racquet technology does make a difference!

So my question is which racquet technologies have you played with where you could actually feel or notice a difference and which were just marketing?

Here's a list of recent technologies that I can recall. Feel free to comment ones that I've missed and I'll add them to the list.

Head
  • Intelligence
  • LiquidMetal
  • Flexpoint
  • Microgel
  • YouTek
  • Innegra
  • Graphene / XT / Touch
Wilson
  • Hyper
  • nCode
  • K-Factor
  • BLX
  • Countervail
Prince
  • Triple Treat
  • O3
  • EXO3
  • Textreme
To be added: Babolat, Yonex, Dunlop, Volkl, and more​
This topic, again? Ah well... Maybe you are a new user...
Out of the stuff you mentioned, some are gimmicks, some just fancy renaming of already existing materials/layups. Only 3 are real tech:
O3, EXO3 and Flexpoint. The first 2 are great, but one needs to get used to it. The Flexpoint is detrimental to the performance and feel of the racquet, so could be actually qualified as an "anti-technology".
Other real things would be Volkl's handle tech, Wilson's Triad system, Pro Kennex moving particles dampening systems, Prince rubber handles, and maybe the shock absorbing grips like Wilson Shock Shield and few similar ones from other brands... Yonex Isometric shape I'd qualify more as a design then tech, but is a real thing and does what it's supposed to do.
 

CopolyX

Hall of Fame
I honestly could can less of the stated technologies real or hyped.
I narrow my list down around my wheel house specs.
Then my hands and my game tells me.
I also try stay open, I have found some great surprises.
I also love to seek out the underdogs and the needles in the hay stack...
The first joy is the game.
I really enjoy strings because if the challenge of playing match mate with the racquet.
Sometimes that sleeping racquet is just waiting to be kissed by mr. right strings.

but remember.....
“The more we value things, the less we value ourselves”
-B.L
 

Rjtennis

Hall of Fame
The difficulty about the pros is many have probably never used retail frames, but I need to find out for sure.
If we go back 20 years (1997) and look at the retail frames then, was it still different to the product that the pros used then as well? Were they using the racquets that they had when they were juniors, I want to talk to some ex Pro's to get their view.
The other thing is maybe the marketing and how things are hyped by the companies is gimmickry, but the frames might have evolved in a way that's nothing to write home about, therefore they come up with some story to sell the virtues of the product.
Today I was talking to a pro stringer and he believes that 80's graphite was lower quality and heavier than later versions of graphite.
Maybe the top junior were getting pro stock frames early on, but I bet that majority used retail sticks.
 

BlueB

Legend
Today I was talking to a pro stringer and he believes that 80's graphite was lower quality and heavier than later versions of graphite.
No, not heavier, but lower modulus. In other words, you needed more of it to achieve the same stiffness. That's the old school feel, that so many around here tend to like...

Sent from my SM-G930W8 using Tapatalk
 

Rjtennis

Hall of Fame
You can't fault the racket companies for trying to find new ways to sell the same product though. As long as that are not blatantly lying ( like Head with Graphene) it's gives consumers the opportunity to update the racket colors and maybe the new models with slightly different specs benefits their game.
 

Noah Swift

Rookie
The GT stands for Graphite Tungsten. It was proved that Babolat racquets with GT did not contain any Tungsten, which led Babolat to settle the class action lawsuit and issue partial refunds to consumers who had bought those GT racquets.
i hadnt heard about this...too bad i didn't get a refund on that lol...thanks for the info
 
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