Tennis Warehouse Playtest: Babolat Pure Drive Family

TobyTopspin

Professional
Ok good points.

It's been a while since I've played with anything like that stiffness, am presently 66 or 68 stiffness, so have to wonder how I would go in the jump to that higher figure (Pure Drive = 72!), could be interesting, and since not playing with dampener, I have to realise it could be an arm breaker, and a deal breaker, but I did use to use the PD (Swirly) so it's not impossible...

I would want to use solinco tour Bite soft, say at 48 or 50. Wonder how that combo would go in terms of delivering shock?

RPM is stiffer than STBS I believe...
RPM is certainly stiffer. With the Black Zone at 48, there really wasn't much shock. You can tell you are playing with a stiffer stick, but when you hit the sweetspot consistently, it's not really jarring at all. It feels nice to me. Once you start getting out of the sweetspot, then it starts to get more jarring.
 

TW Staff

Administrator
A_Instead,

The Pure Drive Plus was only picked by 1 or 2 playtesters so you won't see that many reviews on this thread of it.

Brittany, TW
 

TW Staff

Administrator
tide tennis,

Not all the Pure Drive racquets were selected for playtest as we choose the top 15 candidates and tried to get a range of racquets with the Pure Drive and Pure Drive Tour getting the most reviews as they are the most post popular in the racquet family.

Brittany, TW
 

jonestim

Hall of Fame
Updating my prior review. Previous comments in italics

Racquet Model tested: Pure Drive Tour + , 319g unstrung, 334g strung, 340g with damp and OG.
String and tension used for test: RPM 17/Origin 17@50/53lbs and then Prince Premier Control 16@55
Tennis experience/background: 3.5 years of play. 3.5 player. 1hbh Athletic with very good court coverage, not so good on the game plan. 85% singles play.
Describe your playing style (i.e. serve & volley): Mostly baseline, come to net on about 20% of points.
Current racquet/string setups: Prince Classic Graphite Longbody / Tier One Firewire 17g @ 52
How many hours did you play with the racquet? 13-15

Comments on racquet performance:

I did the first half of the test with the hybrid setup but my elbow said no. I then put in the full multi setup and my elbow was ok with it. I don't normally play with a multi. It did have a nicer feel and better touch - which was nice. I did lose spin, which I really enjoy.

-Groundstrokes:

Forehand:
I had some problems with my forehand when stepping into the court. I am not accustomed to this much power and hit long, which after too many of those had me not committing. As my forehand is often my better shot, I feel like I can figure this out better tomorrow. From behind the baseline I felt good and was able to hit deep without too much effort. I tagged more lines than usual today.


With the multi I found myself on average hitting softer to keep the shots under control. I still had depth and better placement, and I would only swing out when it was time for a put away. Shots that were out wide or hit while extended on the run were consistently deep and I was able to stay in points longer. I had some great rallies - hitting hard and deep - but couldn't quite get the angles I like with the multi.

Backhand
Topspin 1hbh was great. I was able to get deep shots and give my opponents trouble. They both stopped hitting to my backhand and focused on my forehand. This is the opposite of usual.

No complaints here. Topspin shots were still deep and consistent. The mass and swingweight help on slices and I was able to keep them low.

-Serves:Best serves I have hit. Both opponents commented on it. I actually hit some aces - which does not happen. Did I mention - best serves I have hit?

With the multi I was hitting more pace on my first, but less consistent. Days that my serve was on I had very little problem holding. Everyone I played against commented that my serves were better. My second was also less consistent and I had a few more doubles than with the hybrid, but a couple guys commented that even my seconds were better than usual. All in all though, a great serving racquet. More pace than my Graphite Longbody, but because I can use full poly in that racquet I get better spin and be more consistent.

-Volleys: Volley problems are problems with my feet, not the racquet. I found it no better, or worse than my normal racquet.

Volleys were fast, powerful, and lacked touch. I usually play with a heavy racquet and did not have more problems than I normally would getting it into position. I did error long more than usual, but given time I could reign that in. I recently picked up a Prince Rebel 95 and feel much more confident on volleys with it's low power and control. I prefer placement over speed.

-Serve returns:First serve returns were good. I was able to get deep returns and usually get the point at least to neutral. I had problems with second serves with my second opponent. His serves are quite loopy and short. I really had to step into the court, and that is where I had problems on the groundstrokes. I kept persisting and will figure it out - but I did not have great success here.

I did figure out how to step in and keep things under control. I was consistent at getting the point to neutral but lacked some control needed to hit hard and go offensive.

General reaction/comments on overall performance:
I served better and had better backhands, but my forehand problems had me lose 6/3 6/3 to an opponent I usually split sets with. He was leaving a lot short to make me come in. The other opponent plays more aggressive tennis, keeping me further back and I was able to take him 6/0. I usually beat him 6/2, sometimes 6/3.

This is a solid racquet. It's hefty with little flex. It is heavy but I did not find it at all unwieldy even with my 1hbh. I can't play it with a poly and I feel it needs that to get the spin and control for my game. With a multi it was comfortable enough but not as confidence inspiring. The feel is not great, although acceptable with a multi.

The quality was top notch with great paint. I am accustomed to Prince paint which chips if you look at it. If you haven't played a Babolat before I would recommend ordering a size down in grip. I usually play a 1/2 Prince and the 3/8 Babolat is very similar in size.


Bottom line:
If your elbow is ok this racquet can do wonders for your serve and allow you to hit deep, penetrating balls with less effort.

My elbow is not, so I will need to look elsewhere. It has me thinking about the PC 95+.....

Thank you TW and Babolat for this opportunity.
 
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Nuke

Hall of Fame
Racquet Model tested:
Pure Drive 110

String and tension used for test;
Topspin Cyber Flash 17 mains, Gosen OG Sheep Micro 16 crosses, both at 55 pounds. This is my usual setup.

Tennis experience/background:
4.0 league / recreational player, nearly all singles. I have been playing now for some 40 years. No prior experience with Pure Drives except a few shots here and there with borrowed racquets.

Describe your playing style (i.e. serve & volley):I
I am an aggressive junk-baller / counter puncher. Two-handed backhand. Heavy topspin and slice on both sides, playing mostly to keep the ball out the opponent’s strike zone, but will go for winners on short balls. Hard and spinny serve, in both directions (I have a good reverse slice serve that really moves). Will occasionally sneak in to net, but it is not a major aspect of my game.

Current racquet/string setups:
Prince Warrior OS, strung with Cyber Flash / OGSM hybrid at 55 pounds.

How many hours did you play with the racquet?
Eight hours total court time, used in two practice sessions and four league matches.

Comments on racquet performance:
-Groundstrokes:
Very solid hitting on full swings. Plenty of topspin, so not really a problem keeping the ball in for me. Slices were also OK, but I tend to hit slices softer than topspin shots, and this racquet performs better with a full swing. Softer shots were a bit tougher than usual for me. I don’t think there’s enough tactile feedback for touch shots, but that might just be something I need to get used to. This racquet rewards you for hitting out, which is not a bad thing. Really nice pop when you nail the sweet spot. Off center hits had a somewhat nasty feel, so I don’t think the racquet is too forgiving, but maybe that’s because it’s so light (only 9.9 ounces for this 110 model). I played the duration of this test with the racquet stock, but I’m thinking some lead tape at 3 and 9 o’clock will give it some more plowthrough and smooth things out on off-center hits.

-Serves:
My first eight serves with this racquet were absolute bombs, and this was its best feature for me. Even a lot of serves I thought I missed went in. Plenty of spin action, too. My new favorite serving stick!

-Volleys:
Very nice and solid on punch volleys. Less so on softer slice volleys and drop volleys. Just lots of power when you’re punching through the ball, but not enough feedback on softer shots. Have to remind myself not to get too cute with this racquet and just hit through the ball. Very cool “pop” sound when you hit a punch volley on the sweet spot.

-Serve returns:
It’s very easy at this weight and balance to move the racquet around quickly. It’s very maneuverable for an oversized racquet. But it’s a bit light to handle heavy incoming serves unless you really take a big swing, and for fast serves I generally shorten up my swing or just block it back, and that’s not what this racquet does best. I think I just need to weight the hoop up a bit for added stability and plowthrough, but with a trade-off on racquet head speed and maneuverability.

General reaction/comments on overall performance:
I like the extra half inch of length (same as my Warriors), which helped me to adjust to this new racquet, even though it’s otherwise a bit different from my old ones. I’m from an older era when racquets were heavier, and this PD is too light for me in stock form. I’ll have to play around with some lead tape to get it feeling more comfortable. I also need to experiment more with tension and string types. Will stick with the PD as a second racquet for now, while I’m figuring out how to tweak it, but I like the fact that it encourages me to hit harder, especially on serves.

As always, thanks to Tennis Warehouse for hosting these tests, and to Babolat for putting these racquets out there for us to try.
 
Racquet Model tested:
2015 PureDrive

String and tension used for test:

10 hours: RPM17/Origin17 - 50/48
10 Hours: YTex QuadroTwist/Origin17 - 50/48
10 hours: YTex QuadroTwist/ SquareX - 50/48

Tennis experience/background:

Learned to play as an adult, 3.5/4.0. Play USTA Tournaments once a month, USTA league matches and usually play 5 days a week. I am a tennis stringer more than I am a tennis player.

Describe your playing style (i.e. serve & volley):
I play on the baseline looking for a short ball to attack, I’ll go for the winner or hit an approach and take the net. If the match up is right, I prefer the all court game.

Current racquet/string setups:
Prince Tour 100T 16x18 (350g)
Ytex QuadroTwist/SquareX 48/46

How many hours did you play with the racquet?

30 Hours

Comments on racquet performance:


-Groundstrokes:
The 2015 PureDrive felt great hitting groundies. It gave me a nice amount of feedback, not muted nor board-like. You can counterpunch a heavy ball or generate some pace to keep them deep. I was able to control my depth and pace with confidence. I felt the access to top came naturally, sending deep kickers from the baseline was standard issue.

-Serves:
I was able to tap into a variety of serves with ease. Flat pace. Body Kicker. Short angle Wide. You would get some negative feedback if you contact off center, the serve would go in, but it just did not feel good. I leaded it up for the final 10 hours @ 9/3 and the torsional stability was considerably increased.

-Volleys:
Drive volleys felt great! It lacks torsional stability and mass at the net. It is quite maneuverable and I was able to hit some nice angles when centered. As mentioned, I leaded up the frame for the last 10 hours and the moved this frame into the all court territory. Off centered hits gave feedback, not blow back. The extra mass and the stiff frame made the ball pop nicely.

-Serve returns:
I hit a 2HBH. My RoS felt great with this racquet. If I had a heavy first serve, I could get some strings on it for a defensive return. I felt confident stepping in and attacking a second serve with nice control.

General reaction/comments on overall performance:


I think Babolat did a great job taking the user feedback/data from the PDPlay and applying it to this frame. Comparing this to the previous PureDrive, they have only improved it and lost nothing. The higher sweet spot and a tighter drill pattern gave this frame control that the older PureDrive lacks. I consider this a great platform frame that will benefit from customization to suite your style of play.

The stock strung specs were:
Swingweight: 311
Static Weight: 321
Balance: 6HL

I added 2grams of lead a 9 and 2grams at 3. (torsional stability and slight increase of SW)
I added 4 grams in the handle. (counters the hoop lead maintaining HL balance)
Played more stable and produced a deeper, heavier ball.

Thank you TennisWarehouse and Babolat for this playtest opportunity! Happy Holidays!!!
 

ejdtennis

New User
Racquet Model tested: Pure Drive

String and tension used for test: Prince Warrior Hybrid Touch - 54 lbs

Tennis experience/background: 46 years old. I play in various recreational leagues--mostly doubles at the 4.0 and 4.5 levels. Back in the late 1980s I played tennis at a D2 college.

Describe your playing style (i.e. serve & volley): Mostly baseline in singles, but come to net on short balls. Serve and volley in doubles.

Current racquet/string setups:
Prior to the test: Prince Tour Pro 100 ESP - (Prince Tour XS 15L 55 lbs) for 1 month
Favorite Racquet: Boris Becker London MP (Ytex Octo Twist 16L 48/45 lbs)

How many hours did you play with the racquet? 11 (4.5 doubles, 6.5 singles)

Comments on racquet performance:
-Groundstrokes - 8 of 10: When hitting topspin drives from the baseline, power was effortless and the racquet felt easy to swing, despite the higher swingweight listed on TW. I also felt that I got maybe a touch more spin than with the previous version. I needed all the spin I could get to keep my shots inside the baseline. Directional control may have also been a bit better than the previous version. I also like to slice quite a bit from the backhand side. Those were ok, but I would have preferred a slightly more flexible feel on those.

-Serves - 9.5 of 10: As with the previous Pure Drive, this was a great serving racquet, particularly in terms of first serves. I definitely feel some added MPH when serving with a Pure Drive vs. a more flexible frame. First serves were probably my favorite stroke to hit with this racquet. Spin serves were solid too, but unlike the groundstrokes, I don’t feel like spin was enhanced over the previous version.

-Volleys - 7 of 10: If I got the racquet in the right place, I didn’t have to do much more and volleys were pretty solid. I don’t generally like such a stiff racquet for touch volleys, but particularly with the nice Prince Hybrid, this had enough feel to get the job done. The racquet felt equally as maneuverable as the previous Pure Drive at net, but somehow such a wide frame still feels clunky to me at net when compared to the Becker London I used to play with.

-Serve returns - 9 of 10: Returning with this racquet was almost as good as serving. The large sweetspot was forgiving when returning big serves slightly off center (as I often do) and the power level lets you shorten up your swing and still get decent pace on returns. Here too, I maybe felt a bit of added directional control over the previous Pure Drive. I did feel that I lost a bit of control as the strings loosened up though.

General reaction/comments on overall performance: Having hit with the previous Pure Drive quite a bit when I tried to switch about a year ago, I was anxious to try this updated version. I even strung up my old Pure Drive with the same string and hit with it for a little while to refresh my memory. Though the two racquets have almost identical weights and balances, the new Pure Drive seemed to go through the ball a bit better/faster once I got it in motion (maybe a bit “whippier” for lack of a better word). I also think the raised sweetspot provided a bit more power as I felt I hit more balls in the sweet spot with this one. Pure speculation, but I wonder whether they moved some weight up towards the tip in order to raise the sweetspot.

If I strung again, I might go a couple pounds higher or try full poly just to tame the power a little bit. I’m kind of afraid of the stiffness on these so I went with the hybrid. The racquet did not bother my arm at all though.

I played pretty well with this racquet, but probably won’t switch even though I probably could without much of an issue. I just prefer a slightly more flexible feel.

Thanks so much to Tennis Warehouse and Babolat for providing this opportunity to playtest.
 

Devil_dog

Hall of Fame
One last/final update:

Just wanted to update my original post after a few more hitting sessions with the new Pure Drive. I've kept the same strings on the racquet (I'm not a big string breaker) but I believe the tension has loosened since and has altered the playing characteristics of the racquet somewhat. Here are my updated impressions.

Groundstrokes:

Initially, the racquet hit a bit firmer than the current PDs. And thus, with the same string setup, I was feeling a little loss in power in the new sticks but with noticeably more control. Spin was about the same. But since the strings has lost some tension, the new PD hits with a bit less firmness than when the strings were fresh. I'm feeling the power aspect come back back with little loss in the control department. The new PD feels really good right now. Perhaps I've grown accustomed to the new frame or the loosened tension has changed the characteristics but whichever the case, I'm really liking the stick. It feels just right at this point. If and when I restring the new PD, I would definitely start my hybrid poly/multi setup at a lower tension, probably around 52-53 pounds.

Volleys:

Just like groundstrokes, I believe the relaxed tension of the strings have also helped with the volleys on the new PD. Getting a nice pop off both wings and reasonable touch now too.

General reaction:

So after several hours and sessions of hitting with the racquet, I had some initial concerns with the stiffness and minor loss of power when the PD had fresh strings around 56 pounds. But since the strings have let up, the racquet is starting to really shine and reminds me a lot of my current PD sticks but, again, with added control to my shots. I had one of my friends hit with the new PD and she was very impressed by the racquet. She hits relatively flat but with the new PD, her shots had a definite increase in spin and the shots were heavier. We both also liked the aesthetics of the racquet. The new color combination and finish were eye-catching but not too over-the-top with labels, lettering, etc. Looks more refined than the previous edition. The racquet feels solid in the hand and has a good balance point for both groundstrokes and volleys. When attacked with heavier shots, I still get some push back but that would likely improve if I added some mass around the hoop. I'm not sure I want to add more weight simply because I really enjoy using this stick at its stock weight.

All in all, I think the new PD is a nice improvement. More evolutionary than revolutionary. It's still familiar enough for current users like me to adapt to and not yet feel like I have to learn a totally different stick. New and current users will love the added control. I would highly recommend using a lower string tension to temper some of the initial stiffness in the frame. Great frame and great job Babolat. Thanks for the opportunity. And thanks to Tennis Warehouse as well!

Update (last one I promise):

So got to use the new racquet more thoroughly in a match (friendly) but my strings broke and had to switch back to my (current model) Pure Drive - having to do this really gave me a great way to compare the current to the new, upcoming Pure Drive... So, I definitely think the new model has a more crisp and solid feel on all my strokes. The power loss (if any) is negligible in the new stick. The current model feels more muted compared to the new one. No doubt about it now. Also, the new PD plays better with a looser tension compare to the current PD. I could "feel" the ball better when the tension loosened up. I'm going to re-string the new PD with my preferred hybrid string set (Prince Warrior Hybrid Power) at probably 53-54 pounds instead of my initial set up at 56 pounds.

And in the area of serves: The new PD offered me much more precision and spin than my current PD. I definitely felt a difference in my serves when I had to switch from the new to the current PD. The new stick seemed to give me added control while not having to lessen my strength on the first or second serves. Man, I wish my strings didn't bust so quickly in the first set, I was loving serving with the new PD.

Okay, here's my entire and thorough review. Thanks again to Tennis Warehouse and Babolat for this great playtest!
Last update/review/comments/thoughts:

So, I had my wonderful local tennis retailer that also strings my racquets for me run some numbers on the racquet I play tested for those interested:

Here's the numbers:

weight: 305g (unstrung)
SW: 289
Flex: 72

After stringing:

weight: 319g / 328g with OG and dampener
sw: 313
flex: 70
 

sparkyS4

New User
Racquet Model tested: Pure Drive tour, 4 5/8, 338 grams, 32.7 mm balance, 339 swingweight.
String and tension used for test;Used the supplied RPM blast, 54lbs strung on a lockout stringer.
Tennis experience/background:Played satellites/challengers in the mid 90's, currently playing USTA 5.0 and owners club doubles.
Describe your playing style:Aggressive baseliner/all court player, serve and volley most of the time in doubles, 25% of the time in singles. One handed backhand, semi-western forehand, hit mostly kick/spin serves
Current racquet/string setups:Prince diablo mid, genesis typhoon at 56 lbs. I have hit with the last 2 generations of the Pure Drive Roddick pretty extensively.
How many hours did you play with the racquet?15 hours total, mostly practice/drills, played 1 casual doubles match and 1 singles set.

Comments on racquet performance:
-Groundstrokes:This is a story of 2 different results. On the forehand I felt like if I made any small mistake with the racquet face, the ball would go out, if I exaggerated the angle of my swing for more topspin, I had more margin of error, but still made some silly errors. But, compared to the previous PDR, I felt like there was better control and feel with this model. If I was dialed in with the forehand, I felt like I could hit a forcing shot from anywhere, but again, any small mistake would be exaggerated. I have had similar results through the years when trying more powerful racquets such as this.

My backhand was great with this stick, with previous PDR's I felt like I had to slow my swing down on my slice and try to hit as much topspin as possible on the drives. With this model I was hitting my backhand without much adjustment, slice was skidding and low and I was able to drive my backhand very successfully. I surprised a couple of guys with some touch shots I was able to pull off (slice angles). I even hit a couple of flat lob winners (not my game), I think this has to do with the inherent power of this frame, just stick the racquet out and let it do it's thing.

-Serves:As a spin server, I was hoping for a heavy/spinny serve from this, but didn't get quite the results I hoped for. My kick was moving sideways a little more, but was lacking a little height and heavieness. This would surely improve with more time spent with this frame. I hit a couple of harder serves and they had a lot of pace, but it was hard for me to make them consistently, again something that would improve with time.

-Volleys:Volleys were great, as long as I let the racquet do some of the work, I tend to hit hard deep volleys to set up an angle. I was able to get the ball deep pretty easily, letting the racquet's power come into play. Touch shots were pretty good. Reflex shots and half volleys were great, again because of the inherent power.

-Serve returns:Loved it on the backhand, not so much on the forehand. I was able to get alot of good slice returns in play, I could vary the height to get the ball low to a serve and volleyer, or push it higher and deeper against a baseliner, wasn't as comfortable on the drive backhand return, but still hit several good returns. On the forehand, I had to either hold back or roll the ball in, when I really tried to hit it, the ball would go deep pretty consistently.

General reaction/comments on overall performance:I really enjoyed hitting with this racquet, I believe that the new string pattern strategy works very well. I felt more in control with this versus the previous PDR's, but with little loss of power. The issues I have with it could probably be mitigated with string tension and more time with it. All in all, a great test, I let a couple of other guys try it and 2 of them are switching to this frame. Many thanks to TW and Babolat for the opportunity to playtest a great frame. Happy Holidays to everyone!!!!
 

OnyxZ28

Hall of Fame
Racquet Model tested: Pure Drive Tour Plus
String and tension used for test; Solinco Tour Bite at 52
Tennis experience/background: 4.0 with one year of varsity in high school as a pity letter from the coach.
Describe your playing style (i.e. serve & volley): Predominately a baseliner.
Current racquet/string setups: i.Prestige MP XL, although immediately preceding the Prestige I used the 2013 APD+ and have had a 2012 PDR+ in the bag since it came out.
How many hours did you play with the racquet? ~10 hours, unfortunately limited by the recent weather in Norcal

Comments on racquet performance:
-Groundstrokes: I found the PDT+ to be somewhat wanting from the baseline compared with the 2012 PDR+ and the 2013 APD+. The 2012 PDR+ was a hilarious winner machine. In contrast, groundstrokes struck with the PDT+ had noticeably less action on them and were flatter compared to the 2012. Although my PDT+ weighed in at 320g unstrung, vs 311 for my PDR+, the PDR+ hit a heavier ball. My hitting partner during the comparison noted that it was much easier to tee off on my shots when I was wielding the PDT+.
Compared to the i.Prestige MP XL (tipping the scales at 353g strung without CAPS), the PDT+ hit a loopier ball but was not as penetrating. So for me it seemed to be stuck in no-man's land: not quite a topspin-enabling stick, but also not quite a winner machine like the 2012 PDR.
-Serves: This was another area in which I felt the PDT+ didn't quite live up to the 2012 PDR. Flat serves did not have as much pace, and spin serves had less action.
-Volleys: The PDT+ is solid at net. The denser string pattern seemed to feel more solid. I noticed that the stringbed had less give than the 2012 PDR but I can't attribute that more to the new string pattern or the new grommet technology.
-Serve returns: Similar to groundstrokes, although with one caveat. The PDT+ seems to be better at blocking back big serves with a short stroke. I always found this to be a bit of a gamble with the 2012, which could be unpredictable on returns, feast or famine.
General reaction/comments on overall performance:
The PDT+ felt much stiffer than the 2012 PDR+. So much so, in fact, that near the end of the test I started developing wrist pain when using the PDT+ that I never experienced with the 2012 PDR+ or the 2013 APD+. The active cortex in the previous generation was a marvel but it seems that its effect on the PDT+ is more limited, so the muted comfort of the previous generation is not present.

The best way I can describe the PDT+ vs the 2012 PDR+ is this. The 2012 PDR is like young Roddick, who hit big and missed big. The PDT+ is like old Roddick, who dialed down the power and relied less on big shots.

Thanks again to TW and Babolat for the playtest opportunity!
 
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PhxRacket

Professional
Racquet Model tested: 2015 Pure Drive+
String and tension used for test; Origin @ 52 lbs
Tennis experience/background: Ranked junior and College-level player from the late 1980s. Haven;t really played seriously since Nirvana was on top of the charts, but would love to.
Describe your playing style (i.e. serve & volley): I like to mix it up. As snv is in my dna, I prefer quick points. I am tool old, and lack the requisite strength to grind. Maybe that is why men my age play open doubles in money tournaments? In any case I love a big first serve, kicker second and try to work points toward a finish on the forehand side. Backhand is just for show and defense.
Current racquet/string setups: BLX Blade 98 strung with NXT @ 48 lbs.
How many hours did you play with the racquet? 10

Comments on racquet performance:
-Groundstrokes: Absolutely loved this racket on groundies. It was crisp, powerful and, while not precise, featured control that I didn't think I would find. I liked the spin. Ironically, the lighter weight wasn't half bad once I was used to it. I did find that if my feet weren't set up properly, I was overmuscling shots and the ball took off with no control. I feel that the "old-school" flat hitter" in me loved this on groundstrokes.
-Serves: Unmatched! Serving was, no pun intended, a bomb with the PD+. Whether first or second, flat slice or kick, all serves were going in with really good location once I got used to the racquet-about 3 hours usage.
-Volleys: Great for one off, point winning volleys, a little shaky on touch volleys.
-Serve returns: Brilliant! Whether I was punching the ball back, or trying to take over a point, the PD+ left me in command and provided the punch to the gut of the server that any good return should be.
General reaction/comments on overall performance: I have to say that I was really surprised by this racquet. I had through it would hurt my arm, that it would be tinny, that it may be untamable and that it would be frustrating to hit shots 12 inches or less out. None of this is true. No part of my body every hurt using the PD+. It was not tinny. It felt pretty solid. My long session was 1.5 hours, no pain. The racquet, with true contact felt solid, yes a little stiff, but it is a PD after all. In terms of its "untamable" nature. UNTRUE!! Good form and clean technique made the PD+sing. I loved this racquet so much. I am not ready to say I would switch, but I am not going to put it away either. I even snuck a peak at the new PD bags. I would like to give a nod to the Origin string. I liked it. I liked it strung low. I know that people complain it is pricey, but tennis is a pricey sport. I may try the Origin in my Blade when I restring.

Thanks a ton Babolat and Tennis Warehouse. I hope I get another chance at play testing in the future.
 

Micalzon

Rookie
2015 Pure Drive Lite Review

Racquet Model tested: 2015 Pure Drive Lite
String and tension used for test:
1) Mains – RPM Blast @ 50lbs Crosses – Origin @ 52 lbs.
2) YTex Quadro Twist @ 49/46 lbs.

Tennis experience/background:
Recreational player for the last 9 years. Play about 2-3 times per week. Currently play in 4.0 league (singles).
Describe your playing style (i.e. serve & volley):
Aggressive baseline player, with a tendency to attempt serve & volley style just to mix it up a bit. Big server, aggressive return of serve player.
Current racquet/string setups:
2009 Babolat Pure Drive Lite – modified up to 12.5 ounces, 10 pts. HL. Strung with Volkl Cyclone Tour 17g mains @ 49 lbs. and OGSM 17g @ 52 lbs. crosses.
How many hours did you play with the racquet?
20 hours with string set up #1 played about 10 sets in match play/the rest in drills and practice. About 12 hours with string set up #2, mostly hitting drills and serve practice.

Comments on racquet performance:
-Groundstrokes: This racquet exceeded my expectations with my groundstrokes. Racquet provided easy access to power and an amazing amount of spin. Forehands were crisp and felt very solid. Backhands (1HBH) was even better. Very solid on my backhands from the baseline. Control wasn’t the best on FH/BH, but I chalk it up to the string set up.
-Serves: My serves were about the same as my other PD’s. I was hoping for some magic to happen but it wasn’t that much different from my other racquets. Slice and kick serves were about average for this class of racquet and accuracy was not quite on point.
-Volleys: Volleys weren’t much different from my previous PD’s and I wasn’t expecting much difference. However, where I was disappointed was with my touch volleys up at the net. This was definitely where the racquet significantly lacked. I’m sure when I get it modded up to slightly heavier and add some lead to the hoop it will perform much better at the net.
-Serve returns: Serve returns were actually very good. With the lighter frame I was able to get that quicker punch return FH against fast servers to throw them off a bit. I was able to step in and take a lot of serves early and this racquet performed really well in this area.
I also noticed a great deal of BH ROS winners up the line on the ad side. Something I don’t see too often.

General reaction/comments on overall performance:
Overall, this racquet is an improvement over the 2009 PD’s I currently use. I have never used any of the 2012’s so I can’t compare them. I would definitely move more to the 2015’s as my 09’s run their course. There was still the same easy access to power, nice crisp serves and groundstrokes and tremendous spin and definitely feels far less jarring than the RA would lead one to believe.
I’m going to continue to experiment with different string set ups. I'd like to find something that would help me to improve the control of this racquet which is where I felt it lacked the most. I thought I would love the RPM Blast/Origin hybrid since it’s close to what I typically use (though I’ve never used RPM Blast before) but didn’t love it, truth be told.
The final gut check question for me here would be, “would this be a racquet I would buy if I were shopping for something new right now?” My answer would be yes. I would go out and buy this racquet.
 

Bud

Bionic Poster
^^ Why modify the PD Lite way up to 12.5 oz? You can achieve that same weight/balance with the Tour or the regular PD with quite a bit less added weight.
 

smalahove

Hall of Fame
Racquet Model tested: Pure Drive

String and tension used for test: Prince Warrior Hybrid Touch - 54 lbs

Tennis experience/background: 46 years old. I play in various recreational leagues--mostly doubles at the 4.0 and 4.5 levels. Back in the late 1980s I played tennis at a D2 college.

Describe your playing style (i.e. serve & volley): Mostly baseline in singles, but come to net on short balls. Serve and volley in doubles.

Current racquet/string setups:
Prior to the test: Prince Tour Pro 100 ESP - (Prince Tour XS 15L 55 lbs) for 1 month
Favorite Racquet: Boris Becker London MP (Ytex Octo Twist 16L 48/45 lbs)

How many hours did you play with the racquet? 11 (4.5 doubles, 6.5 singles)

Comments on racquet performance:
-Groundstrokes - 8 of 10: When hitting topspin drives from the baseline, power was effortless and the racquet felt easy to swing, despite the higher swingweight listed on TW. I also felt that I got maybe a touch more spin than with the previous version. I needed all the spin I could get to keep my shots inside the baseline. Directional control may have also been a bit better than the previous version. I also like to slice quite a bit from the backhand side. Those were ok, but I would have preferred a slightly more flexible feel on those.

-Serves - 9.5 of 10: As with the previous Pure Drive, this was a great serving racquet, particularly in terms of first serves. I definitely feel some added MPH when serving with a Pure Drive vs. a more flexible frame. First serves were probably my favorite stroke to hit with this racquet. Spin serves were solid too, but unlike the groundstrokes, I don’t feel like spin was enhanced over the previous version.

-Volleys - 7 of 10: If I got the racquet in the right place, I didn’t have to do much more and volleys were pretty solid. I don’t generally like such a stiff racquet for touch volleys, but particularly with the nice Prince Hybrid, this had enough feel to get the job done. The racquet felt equally as maneuverable as the previous Pure Drive at net, but somehow such a wide frame still feels clunky to me at net when compared to the Becker London I used to play with.

-Serve returns - 9 of 10: Returning with this racquet was almost as good as serving. The large sweetspot was forgiving when returning big serves slightly off center (as I often do) and the power level lets you shorten up your swing and still get decent pace on returns. Here too, I maybe felt a bit of added directional control over the previous Pure Drive. I did feel that I lost a bit of control as the strings loosened up though.

General reaction/comments on overall performance: Having hit with the previous Pure Drive quite a bit when I tried to switch about a year ago, I was anxious to try this updated version. I even strung up my old Pure Drive with the same string and hit with it for a little while to refresh my memory. Though the two racquets have almost identical weights and balances, the new Pure Drive seemed to go through the ball a bit better/faster once I got it in motion (maybe a bit “whippier” for lack of a better word). I also think the raised sweetspot provided a bit more power as I felt I hit more balls in the sweet spot with this one. Pure speculation, but I wonder whether they moved some weight up towards the tip in order to raise the sweetspot.

If I strung again, I might go a couple pounds higher or try full poly just to tame the power a little bit. I’m kind of afraid of the stiffness on these so I went with the hybrid. The racquet did not bother my arm at all though.

I played pretty well with this racquet, but probably won’t switch even though I probably could without much of an issue. I just prefer a slightly more flexible feel.

Thanks so much to Tennis Warehouse and Babolat for providing this opportunity to playtest.
I notice you currently play with the Tour Pro 100 ESP, which I also do, so I was wondering how this compares to the new PD? I really enjoy the TP100E, but ime, the open pattern makes for too much liveliness, but I feel somewhat drawn to the idea of a lighter, faster frame - I currently play with IG Prestige MP and Pro.

Did you consider the PD Tour?

Thanks!
 

ejdtennis

New User
I notice you currently play with the Tour Pro 100 ESP, which I also do, so I was wondering how this compares to the new PD? I really enjoy the TP100E, but ime, the open pattern makes for too much liveliness, but I feel somewhat drawn to the idea of a lighter, faster frame - I currently play with IG Prestige MP and Pro.

Did you consider the PD Tour?

Thanks!
Hi, in comparing the Tour Pro 100 ESP to the new PD, I feel that I get significantly more spin from the Prince, and even more noticeably, higher trajectory over the net. This helps me in singles as I tend to hit too low/close to the net and this gives me more margin during rallies. In my doubles league against hard 4.5ish servers, I would almost prefer the PD just because of how much easier it is to return serve. With the Tour Pro 100 ESP, when facing a hard serve, I feel that the wide open pattern limits control, and it is also difficult to keep the ball low against incoming servers. The ball just seems to jump off the strings too quickly. This is why I sometimes drop the Prince and go back to my old Boris Becker London for these doubles league matches. This is not such a problem for me in singles because few people serve and volley and I have more court to work with.

Otherwise, I just like the slightly more flexible feel of the Prince more than the stiffness of the PD. The PD feels like it has a bigger sweetspot and is better for flattening out a hard shot, but I can hit some crazy angles and get nice net clearance with the Prince, and the spin helps me keep it in the court.

I never considered the PD Tour when sending the message requesting to be part of this test, mostly because I felt the regular PD was heavy enough for me. I've never tried the old Roddick or new PD Tour so don't really know how either compares.
 

jonestim

Hall of Fame
Do the grip sizes run large? In the past a babolat 4 1/4 felt more like a 4 3/8
Yes.

The quality was top notch with great paint. I am accustomed to Prince paint which chips if you look at it. If you haven't played a Babolat before I would recommend ordering a size down in grip. I usually play a 1/2 Prince and the 3/8 Babolat is very similar in size.

10 chars....
 

Bartelby

Bionic Poster
I'm always sceptical about Babolat grips running large and going down a size has certainly not worked for me.
 

bertrevert

Hall of Fame
I'm interested in the idea that the Bab's characteristic high stiffness is mitigated by the new more-open Spin string pattern in the centre of the frame.

If so, it could represent a sea-change for Babs and attitudes towards them.

I appreciate that there are many comments in the reviews of gaining more control up top where the string pattern is newly tighter.

However, does the alternate more-open area in the centre of the frame allow more plushness and feel? Is less vibration transmitted down the shaft also?

A lot of classic Bab frames clock in with high stiffness RA ratings that are harsh on elbows when striking shots outside centre of the stringbed. And I do reckon that mis-connecting during any tennis session, let's say striking the hoop several times, or just getting pounded by a better player and unable to middle the ball often - can often add up to a bad elbow afterwards. But I've used open-Spin frames (18x16 and 16x15) and they feel plusher and more forgiving.

Did any testers find an easier ride from the 2015 Bab frames in this respect?

ps. while they are still 16x19 yet the drill pattern is more open
 

Devil_dog

Hall of Fame
I'm interested in the idea that the Bab's characteristic high stiffness is mitigated by the new more-open Spin string pattern in the centre of the frame.

If so, it could represent a sea-change for Babs and attitudes towards them.

I appreciate that there are many comments in the reviews of gaining more control up top where the string pattern is newly tighter.

However, does the alternate more-open area in the centre of the frame allow more plushness and feel? Is less vibration transmitted down the shaft also?

A lot of classic Bab frames clock in with high stiffness RA ratings that are harsh on elbows when striking shots outside centre of the stringbed. And I do reckon that mis-connecting during any tennis session, let's say striking the hoop several times, or just getting pounded by a better player and unable to middle the ball often - can often add up to a bad elbow afterwards. But I've used open-Spin frames (18x16 and 16x15) and they feel plusher and more forgiving.

Did any testers find an easier ride from the 2015 Bab frames in this respect?

ps. while they are still 16x19 yet the drill pattern is more open
I think a combination of the right strings and tension can mitigate some of that stiffness from the frame. But, yes, on mis-hits the racquet can be jarring but overall the new Pure Drive feels more solid that the previous version. And maybe it's the new solid-feel that contributes to less vibration? Not sure but the new PD doesn't feel as "hollow" as the previous one. And I just may be lucky but I've experienced no elbow issues with the new PD. Then, again, I never had elbow issues with any Babolat frame I've used or tried so long as they're not strung with a full bed of poly.

Hitting in the raised sweet spot is sublime. I'm getting many more balls in with power, control and spin with this unique string pattern compared to my older version PD. I can still spray some shots of course! But getting a higher number of playable shots for sure in the new frame.
 

Bud

Bionic Poster
I'm interested in the idea that the Bab's characteristic high stiffness is mitigated by the new more-open Spin string pattern in the centre of the frame.

If so, it could represent a sea-change for Babs and attitudes towards them.

I appreciate that there are many comments in the reviews of gaining more control up top where the string pattern is newly tighter.

However, does the alternate more-open area in the centre of the frame allow more plushness and feel? Is less vibration transmitted down the shaft also?

A lot of classic Bab frames clock in with high stiffness RA ratings that are harsh on elbows when striking shots outside centre of the stringbed. And I do reckon that mis-connecting during any tennis session, let's say striking the hoop several times, or just getting pounded by a better player and unable to middle the ball often - can often add up to a bad elbow afterwards. But I've used open-Spin frames (18x16 and 16x15) and they feel plusher and more forgiving.

Did any testers find an easier ride from the 2015 Bab frames in this respect?

ps. while they are still 16x19 yet the drill pattern is more open
Babolat discovered via their play frames that most club players tend to strike the ball more toward the top of the frame. In response, they closed the string pattern in that area. There is no open string pattern to mitigate stiffness.

I've heard from other stringers the new frame should be strung a bit looser than the last generation of PD. I've not strung mine up yet and then tested it, so don't know how much truth there is to that.

- -

I played with mine for the first time last night and this frame is a huge improvement over the last generation (which itself was very good). It feels more solid and the control is better.
 

bertrevert

Hall of Fame
Excellent feedback Bud, and you're right the Play data has us all hitting higher than we thought. Makes sense. Still on any centred ball strike I think the more open pattern area should contribute to a nicer feel, as I found the Spin open patterns to be a bit easier going (a stringer once strung an 18x20 with poly too high and I couldn't actually hit with it!) so while the majority of hits in the tighter area should mean we should string a little looser yet the plusher centre should contribute to an easier ride.

Well if it's not the stringbed making a change I think, you and the other reviewers have now pointed to a newer characteristic that Babolat has done a good job on - a more solid response.

If getting rid of that hollow feeling is achieved then we're looking at Pure Drives that deliver a more connected hitting experience - and not leaving the player with that vibra-shoulder of old!

Is the handle foam-filled?

I wonder if a change in materials or the dampening has enabled this.

Have a happy holidays of hitting!
 

Bud

Bionic Poster
Excellent feedback Bud, and you're right the Play data has us all hitting higher than we thought. Makes sense. Still on any centred ball strike I think the more open pattern area should contribute to a nicer feel, as I found the Spin open patterns to be a bit easier going (a stringer once strung an 18x20 with poly too high and I couldn't actually hit with it!) so while the majority of hits in the tighter area should mean we should string a little looser yet the plusher centre should contribute to an easier ride.

Well if it's not the stringbed making a change I think, you and the other reviewers have now pointed to a newer characteristic that Babolat has done a good job on - a more solid response.

If getting rid of that hollow feeling is achieved then we're looking at Pure Drives that deliver a more connected hitting experience - and not leaving the player with that vibra-shoulder of old!

Is the handle foam-filled?

I wonder if a change in materials or the dampening has enabled this.

Have a happy holidays of hitting!
Will check it, later :)

- -

No foam inside the handle.
 
Last edited:

Sparky

Semi-Pro
A_Instead,

The Pure Drive Plus was only picked by 1 or 2 playtesters so you won't see that many reviews on this thread of it.

Brittany, TW
tide tennis,

Not all the Pure Drive racquets were selected for playtest as we choose the top 15 candidates and tried to get a range of racquets with the Pure Drive and Pure Drive Tour getting the most reviews as they are the most post popular in the racquet family.

Brittany, TW
:neutral:

No reviews?
The above 2 posts will answer your question.

Happy New Year!
 

TennisManiac

Hall of Fame
The RPM/Origin felt great for about 2 hours, then the RPM went limp.

I cut it out and strung Ytex QuadTwist16L @ 50 in the mains and Origin17 crosses @ 54.

This made the PD a weapon! The QuadTwist tamed the power and increased the control. I leaded 4 grams total at 10-n-2. It moves the baseliner into all court territory!

Next I will try a full bed QuadTwist @ 50/48 for comparison.
Did you ever try a full bed Of Quadro Twist? I'd like to hear how it went for you if you did.
 
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