The old school "ceramics" arm friendly????

Discussion in 'Classic Racquet Talk' started by jimanuel12, Jun 4, 2012.

  1. jimanuel12

    jimanuel12 Semi-Pro

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    I have read conflicting views on the old school ceramics from the 80's (I am guessing) but i have found them to be pretty flexy myself - not the high beam (wide) series though.
    Some people think they are pretty stiff but i thought the ceramic was pretty flexible when inter-graded with graphite?
    :confused:
    your opinions please.
     
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  2. retrowagen

    retrowagen Hall of Fame

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    It really depends on the application, the layup. My opinion is that it has a higher modulus of stiffness per ounce than Kevlar or other Aramide (Twaron) fiber; generally a more "brittle" feel as it doesn't shed higher frequency vibration as well as some other materials by unit of weight. But it all entirely depends on how the racquet engineers spec'ed specific layups.

    For instance, Fischer relied heavily on Silicon Carbide (ceramic) fibers in their layups of the late 1980's through mid-1990's, frames that were noted for a softer/flexier/arm-friendlier feel. However, I play routinely with one Fischer mold (it's become my main racquet) that was available in both Graphite-Ceramic and Graphite-Kevlar layups. And all other factors being equal (weight, balance, grip type, string type and tension), the Kevlar-enhanced ones feel "softer" than the Ceramic-enhanced ones, for whatever that's worth.
     
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  3. rich s

    rich s Hall of Fame

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    arm friendliness is related to frame weight and stiffness/flex..... not material type


    higher stiffness/lower weight...... more likely to be less arm friendly

    lower stiffness/higher weight.... more likely to be more arm friendly.....

    material type and laminate orientation/lay-up can influence weight and stiffness, but when considered solely you can't make generalized statements about material and arm friendliness of a frame.


    my $.02
     
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2012
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  4. latershow

    latershow New User

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    Very true. I have played extensively with the Fischer Pro 1 in all its incarnations of graphite/ceramic, from the blue/pink, red/black/yellow, red/silver, and they are all quite crisp. Also the Vacuum Pro Classic, Revolution, Mid Size were all ceramic too and they all have that same crispness.

    Recently I found one of the original Fischer Elliptics on ****. Its the opposite taper to the Pro 1, where it gets narrower at the head. Its purely made from graphite, and feels easier on the arm than the ceramic fischers. As retrowagen said, the Elliptic came in Graph/Ceramic and Graph/Kevlar too, and I would like to see how these compare with mine some day.
     
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  5. coachrick

    coachrick Hall of Fame

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    While plenty of our customers enjoyed the Pro Staff and Kramer Staff, I can't remember a single person who thought the Wilson Ceramic was arm-friendly. Quite a few folks tried it and switched away, feeling the Ceramic was too brittle.

    The Dunlop SC95 was a good seller for me...pretty crisp, I'd say...but not too stiff.
     
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  6. retrowagen

    retrowagen Hall of Fame

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    I have many variants of the Elliptic (it's been my main frame this year), including the Graphite, Graphite-Ceramic, and Graphite-Kevlar. The Graphite-Kevlar is my favorite, followed by the Graphite, then the Graphite-Ceramic. They're all pretty nice, though. I wish Fischer was still around, and that they still made this mould.
     
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  7. latershow

    latershow New User

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    Retrowagen, I just managed to track down 2 more Elliptics (1 x graphite/ceramic, 1 x graphite/kevlar) to add to my graphite Elliptic. Cant wait to see how these play. They are in transit.

    I find the Elliptic just seems to makes topspin so much easier for me with the beam not being so thick at the top like the Pro 1, yet still getting that control and feel Fischer is renowned for. They really are solid bats these Elliptics!

    I've also got a TwinTec and an Open Pro arriving with them too.
     
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  8. retrowagen

    retrowagen Hall of Fame

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    Wow, that's a nice haul of classic Fischers!

    I'm with you; I'm afraid with the thicker hoop top of the Pro 1, I mishit my slice and heavy topspin cuts. Not so with the Elliptics!

    Enjoy--!
     
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  9. jimanuel12

    jimanuel12 Semi-Pro

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    what about the Yamaha white gold? i have heard that they are very arm friendly.:)
     
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  10. Hannah19

    Hannah19 Professional

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    Packing them for ya as we speak....!!!
    BTW, Retrowagen has found a couple of his in my stock too...:)
     
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  11. Hannah19

    Hannah19 Professional

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    Retrowagen, I've got a few more Twin Tec's in stock if you are interested..:)
    One is going to Latershow, got 3 more in stock.
    Drop me a line......:)
     
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  12. retrowagen

    retrowagen Hall of Fame

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    Thanks, Hans; I am happy with what I have at the moment. I just bought one of the old pro stock of Karl-Uwe Steeb. Lately, I've been playing all my matches with the Elliptic Comps (G-K); they are very nice :). If my ball striking accuracy improves over the summer :oops:, I may switch back to my Elite Pros.
     
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  13. coachrick

    coachrick Hall of Fame

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    I think you'll find the Yamaha is a marshmallow compared to the Wilson in terms of shock transmission. The White Gold 100 was the 'highest rated' overall racket at the time of its intro. Actually a bit of flutter above center on the 110...much more than the Wilson Ceramic.
     
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  14. jimanuel12

    jimanuel12 Semi-Pro

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    thanks i had heard that the yamaha white gold was very arm friendly.:)
     
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  15. Virginia

    Virginia Hall of Fame

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    How about the White Gold 90 - equally friendly?
     
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  16. latershow

    latershow New User

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    You might find I'll be in touch to buy your remaining TwinTecs too, depending on how I find them!:)
    Thanks for all your help btw. And do keep me posted if u get more Fischers from this era in stock.
     
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  17. Hannah19

    Hannah19 Professional

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    Will do, there is another Twin Tec on the way to me.
    A camouflage paint job version.
     
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  18. coachrick

    coachrick Hall of Fame

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    Strung properly, I'd say yes, given the 'challenges' of needing to stay close to center. Kind of an ugly string pattern in the 90 series, as I recall. Not sure if the specs actually called for it, but I believe the 90s were more evenly balanced and a touch heavier overall(taking a page out of the Head Pro vs Head Master series of rackets during the late '80s.)

    Many (all?) of that series of Yamahas had the slide-on/off balance 'piece' that would 'cap' the strings on the sides of the racket and increase the overall weight and move the balance point. I doubt that half of the consumers even took the strips out of the cover ;) .

    In what would have been a huge mistake on my part, I suggested ordering the 90 and the 110 to represent the mid and over-sized segments, thinking the 100 was 'neither' large enough or small enough to 'fit'. As it turned out, of the dozens and dozens of those frames we sold, probably 80% were the 100 size. The White Gold 100 was a phenomenally popular racket in Atlanta back then. Most of the popular Yamahas for the next couple of years were 100-ish in size.
     
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  19. JIMWORLDWITHINAWORLD

    JIMWORLDWITHINAWORLD New User

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    I have both frames and I agree. The white gold was my "go to" doubles racket for a long time. I like how the Wilson ceramic plays even with factory strings. I am going to put Ashaway dynamite soft 18 ga in the verticles at 40lbs and OG sheep 17 at 30 in the horizontals . Pretty crazy low,huh? And see how it plays.
     
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  20. vsbabolat

    vsbabolat G.O.A.T.

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    I love the Head turquoise Graphite Pro and white Comp Pro. Both very nice and plush!
     
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  21. JIMWORLDWITHINAWORLD

    JIMWORLDWITHINAWORLD New User

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    I never owned a White Gold 90. But , I used a ceramic 85 Fox WB ( I think 210 ?) It was arm friendly, served well and just played all shots well. It was the ceramic version of the graphite Fox WB that Brad Gilbert played with. And he was top 10 for many years.
     
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  22. Steve Huff

    Steve Huff Legend

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    I used a Fox WB 210 Ceramic way back in the late 80s. I never had arm issues. But, rumors were being circulated that ceramic was bad for the arm. Lots of manufacturers quit advertising the "ceramic" part and quit painting the frames white. Still, many rackets still had ceramic in their layup.
     
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  23. Ronaldo

    Ronaldo Talk Tennis Guru

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    Was the Prince Spectrum ceramic?
     
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  24. Don't Let It Bounce

    Don't Let It Bounce Hall of Fame

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    I clicked on this thread hoping I'd stumble across a good way to describe the feel of the ceramic frames. I *know* exactly what they feel like, and they feel like each other, but I am unable to describe it. I sometimes want to say that a ceramic feels stiffer than it really is. I also want to say that they give less feedback than other contemporary composites, but I don't mean in the muted way modern frames, with modern damping materials and techniques, reduce feedback. It's more like I have less of a sense of where the frame is flexing, sometimes so much less that it seems like it isn't flexing. Could it be that there is less residual vibration, given similar flex and mass?

    I've never felt a "ping" from a ceramic frame, but they don't have the deep "thunk" of a heavy, flexible, non-ceramic composite.

    The Spectrum was ceramic. It had a little bit of just about everything else, too. My Spectrum feels stiffer to me than my Graphite Comps (immediate predecessor, same mold, plays similar, 80% graphite & 20% fiberglass), but there may not be much actual difference in their flex.
     
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  25. BorgCash

    BorgCash Hall of Fame

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    That's the way the manufacturers act.
     
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  26. BorgCash

    BorgCash Hall of Fame

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    That's the way the manufacturers act.
     
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  27. NLBwell

    NLBwell Legend

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    I have the feeling like it is playing with a glass racket.
     
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  28. coachrick

    coachrick Hall of Fame

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    The more solid ones like the Spectrum Comp were akin to playing with a plaster racket(IMO), not a lot of feedback, just thump!. The smoother ones like the Yamaha White Gold were not bad at all, quite solid feeling and the Wilson Ceramic was like playing with a broken Pro Staff.
     
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  29. Don't Let It Bounce

    Don't Let It Bounce Hall of Fame

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    Hah!

    I remember the praise heaped upon the Yamaha White Gold at the time, but I don't think I ever hit with one. Other Yamaha 100 frames (what the geometrically-inclined would call "94 or 95") have tended to be a little small for my humble hand-eye, but I bet I'd like that 110.
     
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  30. JIMWORLDWITHINAWORLD

    JIMWORLDWITHINAWORLD New User

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    In my humble opinion, "ping" comes from widebody newer rackets with chopped not stranded graphite . And high tension stiff strings contribute. There may be other factor? I don't remember whether the T-2000 or aluminum rackets would "ping"? I know that aluminum softball bats "ping" but, composite bats do not.
     
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  31. coachrick

    coachrick Hall of Fame

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    We could get a decent ping out of a Red Head Pro with gut; but a T2000 sounded more like mattress box springs!
    I think the foam filled composites of yesteryear were the benchmark for solid frames...sounding quite strong and damped. The thinner the walls got, the higher pitched the sound, especially with the hollow frames and lighter weights...Clank!!!!!!
     
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  32. JIMWORLDWITHINAWORLD

    JIMWORLDWITHINAWORLD New User

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    In my humble opinion, "ping" comes from widebody newer rackets with chopped not stranded graphite . And high tension stiff strings contribute. There may be other factor? I don't remember whether the T-2000 or aluminum rackets would "ping"? I know that aluminum softball bats "ping" but, composite bats do not.
    Interesting! ...broken Pro Staff. I just played this morning (cold morning) with 3 rackets - a Fox, an about 100 white Wimbledon narrow beam, and a 110 Wilson ceramic that I just put low tension strings in the crosses. Of the 3 the Wilson ceramic played best for me. Of course, I am a junk ball player, not a hard ground stoke player. That could very well be the difference.
     
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  33. coachrick

    coachrick Hall of Fame

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    We could get a decent ping out of a Red Head Pro with gut; but a T2000 sounded more like mattress box springs!
    I think the foam filled composites of yesteryear were the benchmark for solid frames...sounding quite strong and damped. The thinner the walls got, the higher pitched the sound, especially with the hollow frames and lighter weights...Clank!!!!!!
    The Yamaha 90 was darned small and almost teardrop shaped. When placing a large initial order,I remember "almost" insisting that the 90 and 110 would be the way to go, eschewing the 100 that seemed to be just a compromise. Boy, would I have been WRONG!!! We sold a zillion White Gold 100s...maybe as many as all the others combined! In Atlanta, if you didn't have one, your partner or someone in your family probably DID!!! Good golly, that was a hot frame.

    As I've mentioned before, the White Gold 110 was a bit fluttery toward the top of the face...variously called a marshmallow or balloon by harder hitters. The little slip-on "weights" that could attach to the outside of the frame were usually left in the cover...every now and then a racket in for restringing would have them installed(firmly on one side but falling off the other!).

    Ah, the good old days! :)
     
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  34. JIMWORLDWITHINAWORLD

    JIMWORLDWITHINAWORLD New User

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    I agree. I think foam filled is superior. Head went to hollow frames and made some great ones. I believe the best had twaron (aka kevlar) in them for dampening and they were relatively heavy frames. I think that the average player wanted lighter and lighter frames so the manufacturers stopped using foam and made their hollow ones with ever thinning walls. I don't think that trend made better frames or better players. I think that modern frames are not so good. Modern strings have improved the game. I tend to have outlier opinions so, I apologize for that in advance !
     
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  35. Ronaldo

    Ronaldo Talk Tennis Guru

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    Curious, there is a red Wilson Ultra Graphite, blue Ultra FPK, and a white Ultra Kevlar. Did it have ceramic fibers?
     
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  36. Don't Let It Bounce

    Don't Let It Bounce Hall of Fame

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    I remember those three late-80s Ultras. The ceramic craze had died down by then, replaced by the widebody craze, but so many of the ceramic frames had been painted white I remember being surprised that the white Ultra Kevlar (80% carbon, 20% Kevlar fibers) did not contain ceramic.

    Oddly enough, though, when I went looking to confirm what I remembered, I found this old thread. Post #11 suggests, credibly, that the "Fiber FP" contained in that beautiful blue Ultra FPK (that quickly turned purple with the application of sunlight) was a DuPont ceramic!
     
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  37. Ronaldo

    Ronaldo Talk Tennis Guru

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    Still own all three including the Hana Mandlikova autograph FPK with an 85" head.
    [​IMG]
     
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  38. coachrick

    coachrick Hall of Fame

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    Those white frames often took on the color of the grip as it bled onto the hands of the player!
     
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  39. Don't Let It Bounce

    Don't Let It Bounce Hall of Fame

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    Ceramic was sort of the Graphene (among others) of the mid-80s: a miracle material whose miracles are in reality to be found outside tennis.

    Still, though... If you were playing a set on a sub-orbital platform, had a bad day, and in your wrath threw your Spectrum Comp overboard, you could go pick that sucker up off the ground after you returned to Earth. Try getting these Pure-Whatever-addicted kids these days to appreciate that.

    * I know, I know. My example of the advantages of ceramic frames is complete science fiction: who would ever have a bad day with a Spectrum Comp?
     
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  40. Don't Let It Bounce

    Don't Let It Bounce Hall of Fame

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    Man, I'd forgotten Zina's sumo wrestler return-of-serve stance. She had to have had inhuman hands to make that work well enough to deal with Navratilova's S&V. Me, I'd still be feeling around for the handle after the serve had hit the back fence.

    Also, I'm digging the pink grip and strings (Leoina UFO, maybe?) in that Ultra Kevlar.
     
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  41. retrowagen

    retrowagen Hall of Fame

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    Zina Garrison was also unorthodox in her racquet grip material, removing the leather or synthetic grip, and wrapping adhesive "trainer's tape" onto the pallet.
     
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  42. coachrick

    coachrick Hall of Fame

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    Don't forget the aerobics/running in place footwork on the service return! It was like Tracy Austin's Riverdance on steroids !!! :)
     
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  43. Don't Let It Bounce

    Don't Let It Bounce Hall of Fame

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    Inspired by this thread, I went to watch the end of her big upset of Navratilova at the '88 U.S. Open. I love Zina's net mobility, but jeez, some of those second serves are hard to watch. It looked almost like Jana Novotna-level Yips, only with a happy ending. (Better to get The Yips against Martina, for whom they might prove contagious, than against Steffi, I guess.)

    Sorry, OP, I have wandered far from the topic... but at least I've enjoyed the trip.
     
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  44. WestboroChe

    WestboroChe Semi-Pro

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    Yes. I used to have one. It was heavy and pretty soft. It also had a pretty thin beam though. As someone already said the layup and beam width is a greater factor in arm friendliness than the actual fibers being used.

    Also we shouldn’t forget that these are composite materials the resin used to bond all these textiles into a solid mass also has more or less vibration damening properties depending on its chemical makeup which is not typically published.
     
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  45. LOBALOT

    LOBALOT Rookie

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    You got me thinking... I used to hit with an old Yamaha mid-sized fiberglass racquet in the late 70s and I broke it. It was great/cutting edge racquet and it was no longer made. I replaced it with a Yamaha Series 90 Ceramic racquet which wasn't the same. I have it right here. I am going to have to have to restring the thing and try the thing out!
     
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  46. Hg's dad1

    Hg's dad1 New User

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    Played with Wilson ceramic mid in college. Excellent feel and pretty arm friendly from what I remember. Not as much emphasis on power back then.
     
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  47. JIMWORLDWITHINAWORLD

    JIMWORLDWITHINAWORLD New User

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    I always liked ceramic "old school" rackets. For about 4yrs I would play all singles with a Fox WB ceramic and then sometimes switch to a Yamaha ceramic gold 100 for any doubles tournaments (only local state level) . Recently, I own and sometimes use a Wilson ceramic 110 . I used to use rackets to play tennis. Now I use the game of tennis to further my addiction to playing many classic rackets.
    Back to your statement about not much emphasis on power in the 70's and 80's ; the good players at any level wanted control primarily. If they had a special opportunity in a game to jack up the pace they would just take a bigger swing and/or hit flatter. At the recent AO when Chilic successfully dominated play over Roger, it was because of his pace due to a flatter hit ball. But, conversely, it was harder for him to control that pace for the entire match. And his game is more susceptible to nerves. And , interestingly, he MAY ? have been using a frame from a 1980's mold...not a wide beam? But, those type of details are beyond my pay grade And, I stray biggly from the original ceramic topic.
     
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  48. JIMWORLDWITHINAWORLD

    JIMWORLDWITHINAWORLD New User

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    I have a Yamaha 90 ceramic. It plays great! All Yahaha rackets (and motorcycles) are top quality.
     
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  49. LOBALOT

    LOBALOT Rookie

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    That Fiberglass Yamaha YFG 20 I had was a great racquet. At the time there was nothing like it.

    I liked the Yamaha Ceramic 90 as well. You reminded me to take the time to restring it this weekend and play with it.
     
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  50. Don't Let It Bounce

    Don't Let It Bounce Hall of Fame

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    Another thought about the 80s ceramics: I play with 80s Prince frames a lot, and the Spectrum Comp is the only one I can stand having full poly in. (I mean only that I don't like the feel of full poly in any of the others, not that it doesn't perform well.)

    Regarding the OP's original question, the 80s ceramics were arm-friendly, but they were also heavy, high-swing weight, and flexible, like most of the other non-ceramic mid-80s frames. When Fischer built some stiffer, lower-swing-weight ceramics in the 90s, they were less arm-friendly. I'm not convinced that the presence of the material itself, in the amounts and configurations you'd find in a typical frame layup, impacts arm-friendliness much.
     
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