Tennis Warehouse Playtest: Babolat Pure Aero VS 2020

Injured Again

Hall of Fame
On a side note, I'm curious why T Dubs isn't offering RG paint Clash 100? Quick Google search shows they are available at competitor websites. Would never buy from anywhere else because I love TW too much, lol, but just curious. I was initially not wowed by the RG paint but that blue is seriously growing on me after watching a few close ups.
TW is my go-to place for everything tennis as well, except for the things I absolutely can't find there like the set of full Weiss Cannon Rock'n Power (which is a hard pass anyway).

The Roland Garros edition I have is several months old so I'm not sure if the production ones are any different, but the blue is a really sharp looking blue with a matte, metallic sheen that changes color slightly when you look at it at an angle. It's extra pretty in sunlight.

On a sad note, it's raining and I'm about to miss my court time. It's supposed to rain tomorrow too. So no hitting with these racquets until Sunday when the weather will be dry. All I've done is to bounce a ball on the strings and even there, the three racquets sound different. The Pure Strike is the most muted, and there's minimal high frequency ping. The Pure Aero VS is in the middle - it's a sharper tone but still attenuates pretty quickly. The Pure Drive VS is the most hollow and tinny sounding, with a high frequency ping that lasts longer than on the PAVS. When I did my playtest with the PDVS, I didn't use a string vibration dampener and I'm going to do all of my playing without one as well.

I think three people have gotten and weighed theirs, and they have all come in at 304 grams. Nice!
 

g4driver

Hall of Fame
My racquet just arrived!



Will be taking to my pro shop shortly for stringing and will update once its strung and I take it out for a spin. Unstrung weight on my kitchen scale after taking off plastic and head board was 304 grams.

Thank you again Babolat and @TW Staff for this opportunity!
Nice ring ! Mine arrived also in an open box :oops:
 

am1899

Hall of Fame
Just got back from my first outing with the Pure Aero VS. Thank you again @TW Staff for this opportunity!

I strung it this afternoon with Hyper G 16g at 42lbs. This has been my setup with the APD lately, so I thought it was logical to start there. After the string, a Wilson pro og, and a dampener, the racquet weighed in at 334g.

Considering I hadn’t played all week, I played really well tonight. Here are my initial impressions, compared to the APD. (Note that this is not my full exhaustive review - I’ll provide at later date, when I’ve had more time to play with it).

1. If you’ve ever played with the APD, PD, Pure Aero, etc. did you ever have the feeling (like I did) that cheat mode was enabled? Well, that feeling is still there with the VS for me, but it’s not as pronounced. You can still slap some ridiculous winners with the VS, when you have little or no business being able to. The VS never felt demanding, nor did I worry about balls sailing if I swung too hard. It really strikes a great balance between power on tap and control.

2. What do you get in return from reduced cheat mode? The answer for me is feel. Volleys, half volleys, slices, and touch shots...you really get the kind of feedback from the VS that IMO is often missing from the APD and the like. You also get a noticeable upgrade in maneuverability - since the VS beam isn’t as thick, the VS is noticeably more agile up at the net, on quick exchanges, on the run, etc.

3. This is a phenomenal serving racquet. I can’t think of another time that I made more flat first serves than this outing tonight. Hitting kick and slice serves was also no problem...and those that I “caught” well, were about as devastating as have ever come off my racquet.

4. I’m not convinced Hyper G 16 is going to be “the one” for me in this racquet. That could be the fact that I don’t usually like to play with a racquet right off the stringer - I let ‘em sit and settle for a day if I can. It could also be that the 16g Hyper g is a smidge too much for me in this frame. I’ve got some 18g Black Knight on standby for the next string job, so comparing the 2 should give me some answers.

5. Comfort and Babolat racquets rarely seem to go hand in hand. But this frame compared to the APD is a significant upgrade in that department. I never felt my forearm or my wrist objecting to anything I did today. APD routinely causes a few tweaks here and there. And I have to watch it with overdoing the flat serve. Not so with the VS. I could actually feel the increased “give” when making contact with the VS...but it’s not so much that it feels like you’re swinging a noodle. Firm? Yes. Stiff? Not quite.

Final thought for today - I had recently tested the new Prestige Mid. While I loved the response from that racquet, it was clear that at my present level of play, fitness, and conditioning, the Prestige mid was a little too demanding for me - which is ultimately why I moved away from the 93p to the APD. The PA VS seems to bridge a gap for me between a frame like the 93p or the Prestige Mid and the APD. The PA VS doesn’t feel quite as sweet, perhaps even buttery - like the new Prestige Mid does. Nor is the VS as dampened as the Prestige. But, the VS allowed me a lot more leeway to play defensive shots and be out of position and still be able to stay in the point. So for me what the VS lacks in terms of feel compared to the Prestige Mid and the 93p (which for both of those it’s a pretty high bar), the VS makes up for that in forgiveness and ease of use.

Ok sorry, that was way more than I planned on writing. Full review to follow.
 
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mad dog1

G.O.A.T.
Just got back from my first outing with the Pure Aero VS. Thank you again @TW Staff for this opportunity!

I strung it this afternoon with Hyper G 16g at 42lbs. This has been my setup with the APD lately, so I thought it was logical to start there. After the string, a Wilson pro og, and a dampener, the racquet weighed in at 334g.

Considering I hadn’t played all week, I played really well tonight. Here are my initial impressions, compared to the APD. (Note that this is not my full exhaustive review - I’ll provide at later date, when I’ve had more time to play with it).

1. If you’ve ever played with the APD, PD, Pure Aero, etc. you may have felt at one time like I did that some shots felt like you had some kind of cheat mode enabled. It’s still there with the VS, but not nearly as pronounced. The VS never felt demanding, nor did I worry about balls sailing if I swung too hard. It really strikes a great balance between power on tap and control.

2. What do you get in return from reduced cheat mode? The answer for me is feel. Volleys, half volleys, slices, and touch shots...you really get the kind of feedback from the VS that IMO is often missing from the APD and the like.

3. This is a phenomenal serving racquet. I can’t think of another time that I made more flat first serves than this outing tonight. Hitting kick and slice serves was also no problem...and those that I “caught” well, were about as devastating as have ever come off my racquet.

4. I’m not convinced Hyper G 16 is going to be “the one” for me in this racquet. That could be the fact that I don’t usually like to play with a racquet right off the stringer - I let ‘em sit and settle for a day if I can. It could also be that the 16g Hyper g is a smidge too much for me in this frame. I’ve got some 18g Black Knight on standby for the next string job, so comparing the 2 should give me some answers.

5. Comfort and Babolat racquets rarely go hand in hand. But this frame compared to the APD is a significant upgrade in that department. I never felt my forearm or my wrist objecting to anything I did today. APD routinely causes a few tweaks here and there. And I have to watch it with overdoing the flat serve. Not so with the VS. I could actually feel the increased “give” when making contact with the VS...but it’s not so much that it feels like you’re swinging a noodle. Firm? Yes. Stiff? Not quite.

Final thought for today - I had recently tested the new Prestige Mid. While I loved the response from that racquet, it was clear that at my present level of fitness and conditioning, it was a little too demanding for me - for many of the same reasons I moved away from the 93p. The PA VS seems to bridge a gap for me between a frame like the Prestige Mid and the APD. The PA VS doesn’t feel quite as sweet, perhaps even buttery like the new Prestige Mid does...nor is the VS as dampened as the Prestige. But, the VS allowed me a lot more leeway to play defensive shots and be out of position and still be able to stay in the point.

Ok sorry, that was way more than I planned on writing. Full review to follow.
Pretty much mirrors my impressions. Well done!
 

sanister

Professional
Got mine yesterday(thanks @TW Staff & especially Brittany for helping with tracking).

Guys I was stringing it yesterday & my daughter asked me this. Wasn't sure myself so I thought I'd ask here.Wanted to know if these dots are the Cortex technology Babolat claims in this frame? I'm used to cortex in handle ala APDs so this is a bit new.These are on the sides of the hoop on the inside.



Very interesting looking frame that teenage my daughter is eyeing now (only because oh my gawd it looks so coool). Anyway its all strung up with HyperG 17 & taking out for morning hit right now.Will report back detailed findings & impressions soon.Have a 2013 APD side by side as well for a good comparison.Plan on full review soon as I have lots of free time and tennis ahead!
 

gutfeeling

Hall of Fame
Got mine yesterday(thanks @TW Staff & especially Brittany for helping with tracking).

Guys I was stringing it yesterday & my daughter asked me this. Wasn't sure myself so I thought I'd ask here.Wanted to know if these dots are the Cortex technology Babolat claims in this frame? I'm used to cortex in handle ala APDs so this is a bit new.These are on the sides of the hoop on the inside.



Very interesting looking frame that teenage my daughter is eyeing now (only because oh my gawd it looks so coool). Anyway its all strung up with HyperG 17 & taking out for morning hit right now.Will report back detailed findings & impressions soon.Have a 2013 APD side by side as well for a good comparison.Plan on full review soon as I have lots of free time and tennis ahead!
I believe the cortex is embedded in the frame and these dots are for aesthetics only. Apparently they are hard to counterfeit too.
 

Injured Again

Hall of Fame
Guys I was stringing it yesterday & my daughter asked me this. Wasn't sure myself so I thought I'd ask here.Wanted to know if these dots are the Cortex technology Babolat claims in this frame? I'm used to cortex in handle ala APDs so this is a bit new.These are on the sides of the hoop on the inside.

The bumps have been shown to reduce aerodynamic drag on airfoil surfaces and that may have been some part of the intent, but probably also to make it harder to counterfeit, as @gutfeeling says.
 

sanister

Professional
The bumps have been shown to reduce aerodynamic drag on airfoil surfaces and that may have been some part of the intent, but probably also to make it harder to counterfeit, as @gutfeeling says.
Ah so sort of like those fins on the Vcore SV line then?Strange that Babolat hasn't explained what these bumps are officially.Can't find it anywhere in their marketing etc (unless I missed it which is definitely a good possibility too).
 

Injured Again

Hall of Fame
Ah so sort of like those fins on the Vcore SV line then?Strange that Babolat hasn't explained what these bumps are officially.Can't find it anywhere in their marketing etc (unless I missed it which is definitely a good possibility too).
I think it's part of their "aeromodular" technology buzzword thingamajig.

I don't know how fast you'd have to swing a racquet to have those bumps really be effective. It might be faster than a recreational player could possibly swing it, and in any case the effect on swing speed would be orders of magnitude less than a slight reduction in swingweight. It really might be an anti-counterfeiting deterrent disguised as an aero aid.

EDIT: I did say earlier that in shadow swinging groundstrokes, the PAVS made the loudest "whoosh" of the three racquets. The would tend to indicate the most turbulence and worst aerodynamics. I'll go swing them again and pay a bit more attention to see if I can feel like it may have more drag.
 
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swfh

Semi-Pro
First impressions: I don't like it

Strung it with black code 1.24 at 55/53. I haven't played with a racket with a stiffness above 63 so I wasn't really used to the lack of flex. Compared to my yonex VCORE pro HD, the launch angle is higher, and it hits a pretty nice ball. However, I really hated the lack of feedback. Hopefully I can adjust to in in the coming week.

Also, I felt that the handle was a bit short for my 2 handed backhand.
 

Lavs

Hall of Fame
First impressions: I don't like it

Strung it with black code 1.24 at 55/53. I haven't played with a racket with a stiffness above 63 so I wasn't really used to the lack of flex. Compared to my yonex VCORE pro HD, the launch angle is higher, and it hits a pretty nice ball. However, I really hated the lack of feedback. Hopefully I can adjust to in in the coming week.

Also, I felt that the handle was a bit short for my 2 handed backhand.
What do you mean by "lack of feedback "? Is it just too harsh? Or you can not fell the ball on the racket?
 

mad dog1

G.O.A.T.
First impressions: I don't like it

Strung it with black code 1.24 at 55/53. I haven't played with a racket with a stiffness above 63 so I wasn't really used to the lack of flex. Compared to my yonex VCORE pro HD, the launch angle is higher, and it hits a pretty nice ball. However, I really hated the lack of feedback. Hopefully I can adjust to in in the coming week.

Also, I felt that the handle was a bit short for my 2 handed backhand.
Honestly doesn’t surprise me there was no feedback at that tension. Full poly at 55/53 is quite high. I started in the higher 40s and gradually dropped to 44/42 which I liked a lot more. Now trying 46/41 to see if I can get longer playability from the strings.
 

sanister

Professional
Gonna go compare the 2013 apd, apdo and PA VS in an hour! Same strings at 46/41.
Had a long session this morning with a side by side comparison.Was very pleasantly surprised.Not as much free power but a very good compromise I would say.Quicker and more maneuverable.Felt whippier as well probably due to smaller head.Great spin and similarly weighted ball.I liked it a lot.
 

mad dog1

G.O.A.T.
Had a long session this morning with a side by side comparison.Was very pleasantly surprised.Not as much free power but a very good compromise I would say.Quicker and more maneuverable.Felt whipper as well probably due to smaller head.
That’s what I’m expecting based on my previous experiences with the APDs. Been a long while since I’ve hit with ‘em. :)
 

g4driver

Hall of Fame
Hit 2.5 hours with the VS Aero strung with VCT 1.30mm at 54/52 where my Pure Aeros are strung at 56M/54

First impressions:

1) Less stiff than my PA/PA+ frames
2) More muted feel than a PA/PA+ frames but ample power and better touch at the net.
3) same easy spin but less pier

The two biggest adjustments I will deal witnessed is : a) 27" vs 27.5" on my sticks and weight. b) just use to a slightly heavier frame.

The length is most noticeable on serves and my 2HBH, as I like the longer grips for the + frames.
 

sanister

Professional
Playtesters - thank you for all first impressions. Can anyone comment to comfort pls?
I am in my fifties and have seen plenty of guys my age develop arm issues because they go super high,old school in tension dept.Have never had issues with comfort with my 2013 APDs probably because I string in mid to high 40s.

For me comfort was good, same as my 2013 APDs.It just feels a bit more muted.it definitely isn't harsh.If you are coming from softer flexier frames than yeah you might feel a difference in playability & lack of flex but comfort will still be there.
 

am1899

Hall of Fame
Can you please tell something about plow of this racket? Is it too low without lead?
Given the specs, I was surprised how much plow there was. I was afraid it would be too whippy and unstable, but that wasn’t my experience. Doesn’t mean i won’t try a little weight in the future, but it’s not a necessity for me - plays really well in stock form.

Edit: FWIW plow is really important to me b/c I use a lot of slice from the backcourt and to approach the net. IMO VS in stock form is no 93p in the plow department, but it’s no slouch either.
 

sanister

Professional
Given the specs, I was surprised how much plow there was. I was afraid it would be too whippy and unstable, but that wasn’t my experience. Doesn’t mean i won’t try a little weight in the future, but it’s not a necessity for me - plays really well in stock form.
Very similar thoughts here.
 

djNEiGht

Hall of Fame
First impressions: I don't like it

Strung it with black code 1.24 at 55/53. I haven't played with a racket with a stiffness above 63 so I wasn't really used to the lack of flex. Compared to my yonex VCORE pro HD, the launch angle is higher, and it hits a pretty nice ball. However, I really hated the lack of feedback. Hopefully I can adjust to in in the coming week.

Also, I felt that the handle was a bit short for my 2 handed backhand.
Do you string your vCore Pro HD at the same tension?

As for the feedback, I think I have experienced the same thing when hitting a Babolot for the first time. I was playing with lower RA frames for a while and then I hit with the Pure Drive. It felt hollow to me.
 

swfh

Semi-Pro
Do you string your vCore Pro HD at the same tension?

As for the feedback, I think I have experienced the same thing when hitting a Babolot for the first time. I was playing with lower RA frames for a while and then I hit with the Pure Drive. It felt hollow to me.
I string the vcore pro at 48/46, but thats a low powered 18x20
 

mad dog1

G.O.A.T.
compared to the APD.

1. If you’ve ever played with the APD, PD, Pure Aero, etc. did you ever have the feeling (like I did) that cheat mode was enabled? Well, that feeling is still there with the VS for me, but it’s not as pronounced. You can still slap some ridiculous winners with the VS, when you have little or no business being able to. The VS never felt demanding, nor did I worry about balls sailing if I swung too hard. It really strikes a great balance between power on tap and control.

2. What do you get in return from reduced cheat mode? The answer for me is feel. Volleys, half volleys, slices, and touch shots...you really get the kind of feedback from the VS that IMO is often missing from the APD and the like. You also get a noticeable upgrade in maneuverability - since the VS beam isn’t as thick, the VS is noticeably more agile up at the net, on quick exchanges, on the run, etc.

5. Comfort and Babolat racquets rarely seem to go hand in hand. But this frame compared to the APD is a significant upgrade in that department.
Just hit with my freshly strung APD 2013, APDO and PA VS. My thoughts are perfectly encapsulated by the quotes above from @am1899.
So basically:
less power (good)
More control (good)
More feel (good)
More comfort (good)

Will I be switching? Probably not cuz I just love my modded Ultra Tours more.
 

am1899

Hall of Fame
Just hit with my freshly strung APD 2013, APDO and PA VS. My thoughts are perfectly encapsulated by the quotes above from @am1899.
So basically:
less power (good)
More control (good)
More feel (good)
More comfort (good)

Will I be switching? Probably not cuz I just love my modded Ultra Tours more.
In your case, that makes perfect sense - if you can swing a weighted up UT, that probably offers better power, control, comfort, feel, etc.

But the one caveat i’d make is what about a player who is looking for some similar characteristics that a weighted up UT can provide, but that player can’t handle 12+ oz? My first impression is, the PAVS plays better in stock form than the UT did.
 

mad dog1

G.O.A.T.
In your case, that makes perfect sense - if you can swing a weighted up UT, that probably offers better power, control, comfort, feel, etc.

But the one caveat i’d make is what about a player who is looking for some similar characteristics that a weighted up UT can provide, but that player can’t handle 12+ oz? My first impression is, the PAVS plays better in stock form than the UT did.
Yes, the PA VS plays better than the UT in stock form!

mine are 11.8oz 31.8cm balance point.

modded PA VS vs modded WUT
powa: PA VS > WUT
spin: PA VS > WUT
control: WUT > PA VS
maneuverability: PA VS = WUT
feel: WUT > PA VS
comfort: WUT > PA VS
familiarity & confidence factor: WUT > PA VS
 

Injured Again

Hall of Fame
Got in a short'ish hit with the three Babolat racquets. Was outdoors in between rain showers so a bit of a gusty wind and varying bright sun to very cloudy. Went out again a bit later and the hitting was much better, but my timing wasn't great today.

First overall impression is that it was hard to get used to an inch shorter length and about 20-30 less swingweight units. The head of all the racquets comes through very quickly so there were a lot of mis-hits on the bottom of the frame. I made much better contact with a flatter swing trajectory.

I hit with each of the racquets for about 10-15 minutes. The Pure Aero VS and Pure Drive VS are much more similar than they are different. The Pure Aero VS feels a bit more forgiving than the Pure Drive VS, with a very slightly more cushioned feel and a very slightly larger sweetspot. Power levels and launch angles are very close as well, so close that they might as well be identical. The difference feels like it could be entirely due to the static and swing weight differences between the two.

Neither of these frames feels like my normal SW104. The ball doesn't feel like it compresses much against the stringbed. The dwell time feels short and the sensation is the ball rebounds with little energy loss. It is the same feeling as using a very crisp string, like a thicker gauge of Tour Bite, in my SW104 but strung at a tension higher than I would prefer, but without the feeling of frame flex that the SW104 gives me.

Where this feel does help is at the net. Volleys snap off the strings with good control and ball speed. It feels comfortable to aim for a smaller target, and the easy maneuverability seems to give an extra moment to pick up the ball to make clean contact. The light weight also made it easy to take speed off the ball, and I can hit better short angled volleys with the PAVS than my normal racquet.

Comparing the PAVS and PDVS, this first hit makes it feel like there are practically no differences that the static and swing weights couldn't account for. The string tension I chose, 46 pounds with 17 gauge Silver 7 Tour, feels too tight on both the PAVS and PDVS. There's minimal pocketing sensation and it feels like the tension is too high to create a lot of main string movement with the relatively low mass in the hoops of both of these racquets. At this tension, it feels much better suited for a flatter hitter who is an all court player and can work their way to the net to hit a precise volley. After a few hits, I'll try restringing both of these racquets in the 41-42 pound range, maybe with a bit of a differential between mains and crosses.

The Pure Strike 100, on the other hand, has a much different feel. Even though it is strung at the same tension as the PAVS and PDVS, it feels right for this frame. There's a feeling of an even flex throughout the frame that increases dwell time and pocketing sensation. The strings feel like they have better bite on the ball, and the increased weight and swingweight are closer to what I'm used to so it swings with more familiar timing. The Pure Strike is more muted and cushioned, and there's a lot less harshness on mis-hits. It's much closer to being a lighter, shorter version of the SW104 than from the same manufacturer as the PAVS/PDVS.

I'll get in several more hours with each of these racquets over the next couple of weeks, and will restring the PAVS and PDVS in about a week at 10% lower tension if the stringbed still feels to stiff at that time.
 

g4driver

Hall of Fame
Honestly doesn’t surprise me there was no feedback at that tension. Full poly at 55/53 is quite high. I started in the higher 40s and gradually dropped to 44/42 which I liked a lot more. Now trying 46/41 to see if I can get longer playability from the strings.
Perhaps I am the only person who uses a PA/PA+ with a softer poly (VCT 1.30mm) at higher tension 56M/54X. I didn't own any APD's so I can't compare those frames but dropped the VS Aero to 54M/52X as I knew it would be slightly less powerful. The VS Aero is definitely comfortable to me at 54M/52X with VCT, 1.30mm but I have been playing 7-9 times a week with my PA+ frames for 2.5 months since I haven't flown since March 31st. Nearly 2.5 months off now, so the first landing is going to be interesting next Sat :eek:

Those PA+ frames were comfortable until last week when my elbow started to feel the effects of hitting so much. 3-4 times a week has never bothered my elbow at all. Been using the PA+ for over three years without any issue. So would think it depends on the poly if you go higher and the frequency of play. The 4.5/5.0 guys I string for all use VCT in the range of 50 to 58 lbs strung on an Alpha Ghost. The highest is 58M/54X in an APD by one guy who was bumped to 5.0 in Dec 19 before he appealed back.

If a PA seem too stiff for one, the VS PA is a logical choice as it is definitely more comfortable.
 

mad dog1

G.O.A.T.
Perhaps I am the only person who uses a PA/PA+ with a softer poly (VCT 1.30mm) at higher tension 56M/54X. I didn't own any APD's so I can't compare those frames but dropped the VS Aero to 54M/52X as I knew it would be slightly less powerful. The VS Aero is definitely comfortable to me at 54M/52X with VCT, 1.30mm but I have been playing 7-9 times a week with my PA+ frames for 2.5 months since I haven't flown since March 31st. Nearly 2.5 months off now, so the first landing is going to be interesting next Sat :eek:

Those PA+ frames were comfortable until last week when my elbow started to feel the effects of hitting so much. 3-4 times a week has never bothered my elbow at all. Been using the PA+ for over three years without any issue. So would think it depends on the poly if you go higher and the frequency of play. The 4.5/5.0 guys I string for all use VCT in the range of 50 to 58 lbs strung on an Alpha Ghost. The highest is 58M/54X in an APD by one guy who was bumped to 5.0 in Dec 19 before he appealed back.

If a PA seem too stiff for one, the VS PA is a logical choice as it is definitely more comfortable.
I think VCT 1.30 is probably softer and livelier feeling than black code.
 
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