The weird racquet review

the dark knight there is 2 different versions of the handler , paradox ond the arrow what sets these apart from each other ?

The arrow is the the original and the paradox is the newer and More modern version.

I'm not sure what the difference is but I think the paradox frame is twisted to a closed face by 22 degrees into a perfectly closed semi western position. All you need to do is stand still and swing ....the racquet will do everything else .
 

t-swede

Semi-Pro
175 usd isnt that bad but shipping to sweden would add another 150 usd to the total ! Almost as much as one racket ! lol btw do you have both models ?
The arrow is the the original and the paradox is the newer and More modern version.

I'm not sure what the difference is but I think the paradox frame is twisted to a closed face by 22 degrees into a perfectly closed semi western position. All you need to do is stand still and swing ....the racquet will do everything else .
 
175 usd isnt that bad but shipping to sweden would add another 150 usd to the total ! Almost as much as one racket ! lol btw do you have both models ?

Wow that is expensive ....no I only have the paradox .

I'm not really a "collector" per se . I have a fetish for strange racquets but I don't buy them to resell or for display ..... rather I actually play with them.

I have been feeling pretty guilty about my blackburne Excalibur 97 as there Were only three ever made .

One is in Mexico ,one is with me and the third one Mr. blackburne is keeping for himself and will not sell it .

I just love playing with it so much but I really should just put it on a wall or something .

I should be getting the dynospot water racquet in about a month . I cannot wait to hit with it although I'm going to feel pretty guilty about that one as well .
 

Autodidactic player

Professional
... I have been feeling pretty guilty about my blackburne Excalibur 97 as there Were only three ever made ....

It troubles me that you are feeling guilty. ;) Perhaps if you traded the Excaliber to me that would alleviate some of your guilt. :cool:

I've got a large collection of odd/weird rackets and would make you a very good deal! :)
 
I think "The Handler", left in the picture below, which has no other name on the racket, is the "original". The "Arrow", right in the picture below, came later.


You are correct however I think but he was asking about the paradox which is the newest version. That's the one I use . It is this version where the frame is twisted by 22 degrees to form an automatic semiwestern shot.

This is the paradox.....as you can see it's a different paint job :

eVgJ4m.jpg


Here is the difference according to the website :

The Paradox has the same performance characteristics as the Arrow with the following added features:



Curved Grip. The handle extended curvature allows you to use the full 29 inches of the racket for every stroke. The racket is designed to fit comfortably with the natural curve of your hand for better control and stroke efficiency. This griping method holding the racquet at the curved section provides stroke efficiency and versatility for flat or topspin stroke selection with a targeted follow through.

Offset Handle: The offset handle positions the racquet face below the holding point reducing the lifting effect for all ground strokes swinging directly to the target achieving natural and effortless follow through. It also provides strong benefits for the volleys and the serve: on the volleys it enhances the gripping technique to achieve control, accuracy and versatility of stroke production. On the serve due to the offset and increased racquet length, will add more leverage resulting in more power, control, accuracy natural pronation and efficiency.

New Design. The Handler Paradox is the latest in racket technology, incorporating 25 years of engineering innovation from BouKheir Tennis. It’s universal design is engineered for ultimate maneuverability of effective weight distribution, power of a rigid frame and control as a result of handles spaced apart for ultimate counter balance.
 
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t-swede

Semi-Pro
when i looked at both the arrow and the paradox it looked to me like the paradox did not have the 22 deegres tilted racket like the arrow has , or am i wrong ?
 
when i looked at both the arrow and the paradox it looked to me like the paradox did not have the 22 deegres tilted racket like the arrow has , or am i wrong ?

The paradox definitely has it . I don't know about the arrow because I don't have that one .....I think auto has that one .
 
ES_116.png


Length: 29 in.
Weight: 9.9 ounces strung
Balance: 6-8pts HH strung
Pattern: 14m x 15c
Flex: 70#RA
Head 116

description
The ES 116 has to go down as one of the most powerful rackets ever made. With the widest string pattern ever in a racket this size, the power and spin is off the charts. At 9.9 ounces strung, head-heavy and one of the largest sweet spots ever created, this racket is simply a MONSTER!!! It's strictly for serve and volleyer or doubles players.

Serve:

7

This racquet is a monster for serves but it doesn't have the greates control .
If you have a full swing then you need to dial it down.

Volleys

10

I'm sorry I can't give this hire marks . This is the greatest volley racquet of all time . Extremely maneuverable at just under 10 ounces strung but it's also huge at 116 square inches . Just amazing at the net.

Topspin :

1

This is not a topspin stick at all . It's meant for chip and chargers

Slice and chips

10

Just incredible . Absolute perfection .

Overheads

10

Again cannot ask for a better stick in this department .

Lobs

7

It's a bit too powerful and balls can go sailing out .

Return of serve

10

WOW!!!! A perfect 10 . Cannot ask for a better stick.

Conclusion : this racquet is a specialty racquet . If you are a chip and charger you will love it but if are a topspin monkey then forget this stick.
 
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Well today I received my dynaspot illegal water racquet !

There's a tube of water around the head of the racquet with some sort of liquid inside . The theory is that the water moves to the spot where you need it changing the mass and power of the racquet upon contact with the ball.

Upon looking at the stick it's a 14x18 pattern which is sort of weird . I swung it a bit and didn't really notice any difference from a regular stick....not really sure why it's illegal but I can't wait to find out why !

I'll be doing a proper review once I get it strung but if anyone has tried this stick please feel free to share their experiences :

QslEsg.jpg
 

EVP

New User
I have been feeling pretty guilty about my blackburne Excalibur 97 as there Were only three ever made .

One is in Mexico ,one is with me and the third one Mr. blackburne is keeping for himself and will not sell it .

I just love playing with it so much but I really should just put it on a wall or something .

I should be getting the dynospot water racquet in about a month . I cannot wait to hit with it although I'm going to feel pretty guilty about that one as well .[/QUOTE]

Dark knight,
I would be the other one who wealds Excalibur (97pro) so far as I know we are the only ones, Robin had told me there was the one I had and one that his us partner had. I didn't think that he still owned one himself or was under the impression that he sold me his own but I may be totally wrong, ironically the card he signed for me says I have the only one, lol but that was after he already told me he had two of the prototypes made. So there is either 2 or possibly 3 excalibers or like I like to think there is mine and then there is the singing sword. The two prototypes cost him 40 grand to have made, so you have a very expensive and rare racke..., just like me.

I broke the original multifiliment strings after about a month of practice and had it restrung( specs below) I also had a grommet in the main strings break, which I repaired, then I had a grommet in the lower cross strings snap so I'm thinking Bermuda was not kind to the grommets on mine. As a side note if you are ever parting out one of your 97s sell me half your Gromets please. ( right now I'm just fixing them with 107 grommets cut individually)

I also broke some of the original strings on one of my 107s and I think it was mostly from the same dead balls in the ball machine.

I am curious if you happen to have the twist weight specs ?

I tried to get mine today using the swingweight app from racket tune but had a horrible time getting it balanced to be able to test it and the losest reading I can register is 50 which is a massive crazy high number, now I have added 20g of tungsten at the tip inside the hoop and extending down to the 9 and 3 my swing weight is 401-406 and my total dry weight is 359. It is strung with vs team natural gut at 38lbs in the mains 32lbs in the crosses. I then added string eyes on almost every cross string spot and that eased the tension possibly a pound or two. I am using a sorbothaine grip and a sony tennis sensor in the but cap. I have 6 DS107s with varing setups and got used to the high swingweight of the 107 so I decided to add some weight to Excalibur at the top to try for more power and more spin it brought my ground strokes up another 10-18mph across the board. Right now rackettune is averaging my tension to 20 lbs on each side so it would be considered a very low tension racket right now, when reading the patent applications for the SP.IN. Rackets it became clear the designer (who had a phd in phisics) says the most spin could be obtained from a 20lb difference between mains and crosses however the Blackburn frame cannot withstand the difference so I did the best I can. I did invent a device that will allow us to benefit from longer main strings on the Blackburnes however we would need to be able to sting in two pieces. I'm thrilled that you like the other racket so much I'm really happy with mine and it is all I play with, ( unless stings break them I have to use a 107.
 

EVP

New User
Just in case I don't quote you right in my message.
Well today I received my dynaspot illegal water racquet !

There's a tube of water around the head of the racquet with some sort of liquid inside . The theory is that the water moves to the spot where you need it changing the mass and power of the racquet upon contact with the ball.

Upon looking at the stick it's a 14x18 pattern which is sort of weird . I swung it a bit and didn't really notice any difference from a regular stick....not really sure why it's illegal but I can't wait to find out why !

I'll be doing a proper review once I get it strung but if anyone has tried this stick please feel free to share their experiences :

QslEsg.jpg
I did t qu
Well today I received my dynaspot illegal water racquet !

There's a tube of water around the head of the racquet with some sort of liquid inside . The theory is that the water moves to the spot where you need it changing the mass and power of the racquet upon contact with the ball.

Upon looking at the stick it's a 14x18 pattern which is sort of weird . I swung it a bit and didn't really notice any difference from a regular stick....not really sure why it's illegal but I can't wait to find out why !

I'll be doing a proper review once I get it strung but if anyone has tried this stick please feel free to share their experiences :

QslEsg.jpg
 
THE DARK KNIGHT said:
I have been feeling pretty guilty about my blackburne Excalibur 97 as there Were only three ever made .

One is in Mexico ,one is with me and the third one Mr. blackburne is keeping for himself and will not sell it .

I just love playing with it so much but I really should just put it on a wall or something .

I should be getting the dynospot water racquet in about a month . I cannot wait to hit with it although I'm going to feel pretty guilty about that one as well .

EVP said:
Dark knight,
I would be the other one who wealds Excalibur (97pro) so far as I know we are the only ones, Robin had told me there was the one I had and one that his us partner had. I didn't think that he still owned one himself or was under the impression that he sold me his own but I may be totally wrong, ironically the card he signed for me says I have the only one, lol but that was after he already told me he had two of the prototypes made. So there is either 2 or possibly 3 excalibers or like I like to think there is mine and then there is the singing sword. The two prototypes cost him 40 grand to have made, so you have a very expensive and rare racke..., just like me.

I broke the original multifiliment strings after about a month of practice and had it restrung( specs below) I also had a grommet in the main strings break, which I repaired, then I had a grommet in the lower cross strings snap so I'm thinking Bermuda was not kind to the grommets on mine. As a side note if you are ever parting out one of your 97s sell me half your Gromets please. ( right now I'm just fixing them with 107 grommets cut individually)

I also broke some of the original strings on one of my 107s and I think it was mostly from the same dead balls in the ball machine.

I am curious if you happen to have the twist weight specs ?

I tried to get mine today using the swingweight app from racket tune but had a horrible time getting it balanced to be able to test it and the losest reading I can register is 50 which is a massive crazy high number, now I have added 20g of tungsten at the tip inside the hoop and extending down to the 9 and 3 my swing weight is 401-406 and my total dry weight is 359. It is strung with vs team natural gut at 38lbs in the mains 32lbs in the crosses. I then added string eyes on almost every cross string spot and that eased the tension possibly a pound or two. I am using a sorbothaine grip and a sony tennis sensor in the but cap. I have 6 DS107s with varing setups and got used to the high swingweight of the 107 so I decided to add some weight to Excalibur at the top to try for more power and more spin it brought my ground strokes up another 10-18mph across the board. Right now rackettune is averaging my tension to 20 lbs on each side so it would be considered a very low tension racket right now, when reading the patent applications for the SP.IN. Rackets it became clear the designer (who had a phd in phisics) says the most spin could be obtained from a 20lb difference between mains and crosses however the Blackburn frame cannot withstand the difference so I did the best I can. I did invent a device that will allow us to benefit from longer main strings on the Blackburnes however we would need to be able to sting in two pieces. I'm thrilled that you like the other racket so much I'm really happy with mine and it is all I play with, ( unless stings break them I have to use a 107.

Hey brother !

We are in a very elite club .

Yes I only have a prototype . In fact it does not even say Excalibur on it ....rather it just has a paper scotch taped to it that says "prototype Excalibur ".

I paid $300 for it years ago ....maybe 10 years . I hope it's real ! I think it is?
It's seems lighter and the paint is a bit lighter as well . I'm sure Mr Blackburne would not lie to me .

Anyway ....back in the 90's I came across the 107's st the sharper image . I absolutely loved the stick but the problem was it was not maneuverable enough at the net for me.

I don't know how many 107's I have but I believe I had 4? I gave one away to Agi Szavay former #12 in the world and she beat Venus 6-0,6-0 at the FO.....I actually dated her a bit but that's another story....the Blackburn is what got me in the door! So it was worth it . Unfortunately Agi had to retire due to a back injury .

I also met Yanick Noah at the Roosevelt Island racquet club in NYC. I showed him the 107 and he was pretty amazed by it but did not try it .

Anyway I then found out about the 97's. I immediately went nuts for it .

The 97 was not as good on ground strokes but it was far better at the net and way more precise on serves .

I loved it so much I bought 4. I then became afraid that what would happen if I couldn't get my hands on anymore .

I called blackburne and I think he had another 6 left ? So I said "I'll take all
Of them ". I completely wiped him out.

I now live in both NY and Europe . I have 3 in Europe and the rest in the states . But I'm not sure how many ? At least 6?

I then became afraid about the grommets so I bought a bunch from
Blackburne as well . I have a crap load of grommets I can give you !

I just became obsessed with the stick and finally asked Blackburne to sell me the Excalibur .

Anyway I have a bunch of 97's and grommets to last me a lifetime .

It's just so vastly superior to any racquet ever made . I cannot ever go back to a conventional stick .

People will poo poo this racquet but that's fine with me . You and I both know how much more stable this racquet is, how much smoother , and how much more plow through it has despite being light .

I don't know about all the torsional measurements and stuff but I'm sure it will measure better than any other racquet ever made .

As far as the strings the blacburne strings suck. Being that Stringing is so difficult with these strings I want strings that play the same for the longest amount of time.....

Therefore I use forten Kevlar in the mains ( stay away from ashaway....tension retention sucks) and babolat VS in the crosses.

The scientific fact is that Kevlar (except for ashaway) and gut holds its characteristics more than any other string on the planet.....and gut in the crosses with a 15 gauge rarely breaks . My set up plays the same for the longest amount of time . So far 6 months and I have not had to change strings and it plays the same as when it was first strung.

There's a far easier way around the string differential tension that the "ESP" guy came up with . Simply put string savers down every other main . Watch the video this totally boring guy put up. It really works (but lord is he boring) :


So what's this about your invention ? I would be very interested !

I also use 2 wonder wedges on the handle ( I can talk about that later )

The racquet is a dream and simply blows everything else away .

Welcome to the club bro.....it's a very very elite club . Enjoy !
 
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I feel a lot of love in this thread :cool:

Well yeah ! We are like the only ones who use a blackburne ....and the 97 version is even rarer !

The stick I feel is the greatest racquet ever made and here's why :

Brad Gilberts book "Winning ugly" really helped my game but there is one thing he wrote that really stuck out in my mind : " at the club level the player who makes the least mistakes wins".

Folllwing that line of logic the blackburne is the greatest racquet ever made for club players because errors are rare with the racquet .

"The racquet gives you the edge because it has no edge" ....in other words you will never hit a frame shot again .

Secondly it's 3D design is just far far more stable than the 2 dimensional design of your standard racquet . There is virtually no twisting whatsoever .

Every shot is a sweet spot no matter how much you close the frame or how barely you get your hands on a volley . It is a beast because of it monster stable head but yet it's super light and maneuverable .

It is simply the greatest racquet ever made in my opinion .
 

EVP

New User
Well yeah ! We are like the only ones who use a blackburne ....and the 97 version is even rarer !

The stick I feel is the greatest racquet ever made and here's why :

Brad Gilberts book "Winning ugly" really helped my game but there is one thing he wrote that really stuck out in my mind : " at the club level the player who makes the least mistakes wins".

Folllwing that line of logic the blackburne is the greatest racquet ever made for club players because errors are rare with the racquet .

"The racquet gives you the edge because it has no edge" ....in other words you will never hit a frame shot again .

Secondly it's 3D design is just far far more stable than the 2 dimensional design of your standard racquet . There is virtually no twisting whatsoever .

Every shot is a sweet spot no matter how much you close the frame or how barely you get your hands on a volley. It is a beast because of it monster stable head but yet it's super light and maneuverable .

It is simply the greatest racquet ever made in my opinion .

I would totally love to get some grommets from you ( since you are the last person on earth that has extra lol ) I wrote you about this in our conversation. I it's funny you mention string savers since I put them (string eyes from shine) on every intersection of one side and most of the other side of the VS team I had the Excalibur strung with, not supriseinglt after 3 and a half months I finally
Broke a string from one of the crosses that didn't have a string saver on it and had to cut them out yesterday, based on what the racket tune app shows I was able to maintain tension for a fairly long time (and I hit hard and with heavy topspin) in the end I lost about 7lbs from where the gut settled in at after an hour or so, so that's not bad but at 45 to string the racket ( which is a deal really ) plus string it's not a cheap string job ( throw 6 packs of string eyes in there and it really gets up there! )

I'm going to have to send you some pictures of Excalibur, since I think I have one of the only ones with the labels, there is also a cool clear paint job On the bottom of the beams that allows you to see some of the titanium mesh wrapped on the graphite or carbon. Also a slight sparkle light blue paint job. And yes it is lighter by a significant amount once you put it on a gram scale but it's hard to notice in hand unless your playing allot.

I have only been thrilled beyond belief with mine and play exclusively with it or if the strings break like yesterday with the SR 71 Blackburne (my experimental DS107) ( I actually have thought of stenciling the fan art SR71 blackbird double eagle silhouette on the strings for fun) I will have to put some pictures up of some of my Blackburne collection since I have some rather unique grips.

More to come soon!
 
I would totally love to get some grommets from you ( since you are the last person on earth that has extra lol ) I wrote you about this in our conversation. I it's funny you mention string savers since I put them (string eyes from shine) on every intersection of one side and most of the other side of the VS team I had the Excalibur strung with, not supriseinglt after 3 and a half months I finally
Broke a string from one of the crosses that didn't have a string saver on it and had to cut them out yesterday, based on what the racket tune app shows I was able to maintain tension for a fairly long time (and I hit hard and with heavy topspin) in the end I lost about 7lbs from where the gut settled in at after an hour or so, so that's not bad but at 45 to string the racket ( which is a deal really ) plus string it's not a cheap string job ( throw 6 packs of string eyes in there and it really gets up there! )

I'm going to have to send you some pictures of Excalibur, since I think I have one of the only ones with the labels, there is also a cool clear paint job On the bottom of the beams that allows you to see some of the titanium mesh wrapped on the graphite or carbon. Also a slight sparkle light blue paint job. And yes it is lighter by a significant amount once you put it on a gram scale but it's hard to notice in hand unless your playing allot.

I have only been thrilled beyond belief with mine and play exclusively with it or if the strings break like yesterday with the SR 71 Blackburne (my experimental DS107) ( I actually have thought of stenciling the fan art SR71 blackbird double eagle silhouette on the strings for fun) I will have to put some pictures up of some of my Blackburne collection since I have some rather unique grips.

More to come soon!

Yes please post! I would love to see it . I'll try and post some of mine as well.

I'm sure there is a difference in weight between the Excalibur and the regular 97 and the exacalibur does feel a bit lighter in the hand when swinging around in the living room . However when actually playing I do not notice any difference at all .

As far as the grommets I am more than happy to send you some but they are a bit hard to get to as I travel between Europe and the USA extensively and the grommets are at my ex wife's house in the suburbs .....I go there rarely but when I am there I will be happy to send them to you .

It's 11:30 pm where I am now and the family is asleep . I'm writing in the dark and I don't have the sticks in front of me . But from memory the blackburne has a strange pattern .....I think it's 16 x 20 or something ?

Yeah I absolutely love the stick and would never play with anything else .
 
EVP said:
I play with the Excalibur every day unless it's being strung then I play with a DS 107 , any chance you want to sell grommets for a 97 since they are the same ? Robin actually sent me a set of grommets all the way from Bermuda at no charge but they turned out to be for a 107 and he's totally out , I've been patching grommets together on it but two days ago when I broke the stings on one side I noticed that I have 3 broken or crushed grommets on the mains on the bottom of the hoop so I'm thinking the grommets must have been made with the wrong mix of plastics .

I love the Excalibur and play with it exclusively so I'm not interested in selling it right now ( and I'm guessing you wouldn't be interested in selling your lol) mine has a Wilson but cap on it so I can use a smart tenis sensor , I have the same setup on 2 of my 107s also so I've done some testing with the Excalibur vs the 107 and I would have to say that the Excalibur actually hits slightly harder, I used the same sensor same day rackets strung by the same person same tension same day both newly strung, the interesting thing is the 107 feels like your hitting harder but for a serve at least it's about 6-9 mph slower, which is probably from a higher twist weight. Anyways all kinds of fun stuff, ohhh as an interesting note 20g of weight on the tip of the Excalibur inside the frame will give you nearly
Identically swing weight as a 107 ( 406 vs. 408) just in case you were wounding.

I will not sell the grommets to you , I will give them to you . The problem is getting to them as I explained above .

I have not played with the 107's in years but from what I can remember it was significantly more powerful than the 97's .

From memory I found the 107 to be far better on groundstrokes you could hit some bombs . What I really didn't like is that I had serious mobility issues at the net with the 107.

Another issue with the 107 if I remember correctly is that I had a hard time keeping serves in and also accuracy suffered ? On the other hand I remember also hitting bigger bombs with the 107. Although I'm really working from memory on that .....what do you find the differences are ?

You guessed right . I will not part with any of my 97's . I'll count how many I have tommorow just for fun though . I bought them all out of fear . I just don't enjoy tennis as much without this racquet .

Some interesting stories ....

Roscoe Tanner and I think Gene Mayer teamed up in doubles at Wimbledon and both used the blackburnes . I'm not sure which ones though ? Do you know ?

I had played the match of my life in USTA. It was regionals or something in a remote area . There was a huge crowd . People were talking about the match even the next day .

The guy I played was way better than me . But somehow I matched up well .
He had an amazing serve but the blackburne is the greatest return racquet in history . The bigger the serve the harder it came back at the guy.

Make a long story short we were in a super tiebreaker when the ref stops
The match and says "let me see your racquet".

She says "that racquet is illegal "( this was before the internet was really popular and definitely not on a phone yet ).

I said "it's completely legal". We argued back and forth for what seemed like 20 minutes ? I think it really screwed up my opponent and the whole crowd was into it .

I said to the ref finally "why don't you just hold the match under protest and if after the match you still think it's illegal then just disqualify me ".

She agreed and let us continue . I won the match by some insane score like 34-32 or something .

It was awesome . Of course I was not disqualified as we all know that the racquet is perfectly legal .

Anyway that's my story .
 

EVP

New User
Wow that's really generous of you, thank you very much, just the same I have sent you a private message with my contact details and info so I can at least cover shipping.

That's a great story! When I broke the stings on Excalibur a few weeks back I had to switch back to the 107 so that I could still play and have not had the opertunity to get it strung up again, my Excalibur was weighted at the tip to give me nearly identical swing weight as the 107 and it made a significant difference in power picking up 15mph on the Sony smart tennis sensor in ball speed. So I know the extra weight of the 107 is a factor in power for sure, so far as serves if you are under 35lbs of tension it's difficult if not nearly impossible to keep the ball in the service box with a 107, at the recommended tension 50-55 lbs it's easy. I recently played a match with one of my 107s that had the original 107 multifiliment blackburn strings on it and it was significantly more easy to control however there was so much lesss power that might have been why. I know with solor eclipse stings strung at 38lbs in the mains and 35lbs in the crosses you have to be hitting with super human topspin to keep it on the cort, however those balls which are on the cort are all winners and top five level strokes. I told my sister the other day I'm the best tennis player in the world.... every five shots . The problem is the high percentage of unforced errors with this setup makes it mathematically improbable that you will win a match. Raising the tension on a 107 brings this back to statisitaly good results but drops the performance from awe inspiring to very good. My experience with the same tension on the Excalibur was different, the smaller head size and identical tension with a full bed of VS team guy was in fact awe inspiring all the way up until the stings broke at 3 months and 15 lbs less tension. The smaller size head really makes a difference in control.

They used the 97's you have at Wimbledon I asked Robbin about it. In truth if there had been a 107 Excalibur I would have bought it since I figured the larger head was a huge advantage , I'm not sure about that now since I have noticed ground strokes on the Excalibur are so so good it's really hard to imagine any possible improvements, and if your hiring the sweet spot 98% of the time the larger is not a huge advantage. I suspect but have not been able to measure that the twist weight of the 107 is many many points higher and this may account for the significant difference at the net. And would also explain why they used the 97 for dobles since they were probably going to spend allot more time up there.




I will not sell the grommets to you , I will give them to you . The problem is getting to them as I explained above .

I have not played with the 107's in years but from what I can remember it was significantly more powerful than the 97's .

From memory I found the 107 to be far better on groundstrokes you could hit some bombs . What I really didn't like is that I had serious mobility issues at the net with the 107.

Another issue with the 107 if I remember correctly is that I had a hard time keeping serves in and also accuracy suffered ? On the other hand I remember also hitting bigger bombs with the 107. Although I'm really working from memory on that .....what do you find the differences are ?

You guessed right . I will not part with any of my 97's . I'll count how many I have tommorow just for fun though . I bought them all out of fear . I just don't enjoy tennis as much without this racquet .

Some interesting stories ....

Roscoe Tanner and I think Gene Mayer teamed up in doubles at Wimbledon and both used the blackburnes . I'm not sure which ones though ? Do you know ?

I had played the match of my life in USTA. It was regionals or something in a remote area . There was a huge crowd . People were talking about the match even the next day .

The guy I played was way better than me . But somehow I matched up well .
He had an amazing serve but the blackburne is the greatest return racquet in history . The bigger the serve the harder it came back at the guy.

Make a long story short we were in a super tiebreaker when the ref stops
The match and says "let me see your racquet".

She says "that racquet is illegal "( this was before the internet was really popular and definitely not on a phone yet ).

I said "it's completely legal". We argued back and forth for what seemed like 20 minutes ? I think it really screwed up my opponent and the whole crowd was into it .

I said to the ref finally "why don't you just hold the match under protest and if after the match you still think it's illegal then just disqualify me ".

She agreed and let us continue . I won the match by some insane score like 34-32 or something .

It was awesome . Of course I was not disqualified as we all know that the racquet is perfectly legal .

Anyway that's my story .
of you
 
Wow that's really generous of you, thank you very much, just the same I have sent you a private message with my contact details and info so I can at least cover shipping.

That's a great story! When I broke the stings on Excalibur a few weeks back I had to switch back to the 107 so that I could still play and have not had the opertunity to get it strung up again, my Excalibur was weighted at the tip to give me nearly identical swing weight as the 107 and it made a significant difference in power picking up 15mph on the Sony smart tennis sensor in ball speed. So I know the extra weight of the 107 is a factor in power for sure, so far as serves if you are under 35lbs of tension it's difficult if not nearly impossible to keep the ball in the service box with a 107, at the recommended tension 50-55 lbs it's easy. I recently played a match with one of my 107s that had the original 107 multifiliment blackburn strings on it and it was significantly more easy to control however there was so much lesss power that might have been why. I know with solor eclipse stings strung at 38lbs in the mains and 35lbs in the crosses you have to be hitting with super human topspin to keep it on the cort, however those balls which are on the cort are all winners and top five level strokes. I told my sister the other day I'm the best tennis player in the world.... every five shots . The problem is the high percentage of unforced errors with this setup makes it mathematically improbable that you will win a match. Raising the tension on a 107 brings this back to statisitaly good results but drops the performance from awe inspiring to very good. My experience with the same tension on the Excalibur was different, the smaller head size and identical tension with a full bed of VS team guy was in fact awe inspiring all the way up until the stings broke at 3 months and 15 lbs less tension. The smaller size head really makes a difference in control.

They used the 97's you have at Wimbledon I asked Robbin about it. In truth if there had been a 107 Excalibur I would have bought it since I figured the larger head was a huge advantage , I'm not sure about that now since I have noticed ground strokes on the Excalibur are so so good it's really hard to imagine any possible improvements, and if your hiring the sweet spot 98% of the time the larger is not a huge advantage. I suspect but have not been able to measure that the twist weight of the 107 is many many points higher and this may account for the significant difference at the net. And would also explain why they used the 97 for dobles since they were probably going to spend allot more time up there.





of you

I also thought the 97's were superior in every way .

I can tell you that I really do not notice much of a difference with the Excalibur or a regular 97 at all . In fact if you blindfolded me then I could not tell you which I was playing with .

So if you can get your hands on a regular 97 just buy it .
 

Bob2017

New User
Hi.

I have both the Blackburne 107" and the 97". The 107" is lighter, but I prefer the heaver 97" - great power and spin potential with good control. The only downside is that touch shots can be tricky and some people may find manoeuvrability at the net an issue. I find it to be a great practise racquet (I also sometimes play with it) as it really helps me transfer over topspin/slice technique when playing with my normal Head Speed Pro racquet.
 

Simon_the_furry

Hall of Fame
Well today I received my dynaspot illegal water racquet !

There's a tube of water around the head of the racquet with some sort of liquid inside . The theory is that the water moves to the spot where you need it changing the mass and power of the racquet upon contact with the ball.

Upon looking at the stick it's a 14x18 pattern which is sort of weird . I swung it a bit and didn't really notice any difference from a regular stick....not really sure why it's illegal but I can't wait to find out why !

I'll be doing a proper review once I get it strung but if anyone has tried this stick please feel free to share their experiences :

QslEsg.jpg
Niiiiiice.
I think the fluid in the racquet qualifies it for banning under Appendix II, section D of the ITF rules.
"The racket shall be free of any attached object, protrusion, or device which makes it possible to change materially the shape of the racket, or its moment of inertia about any principal axis, or to change any physical property which may affect the performance of the racket during the playing of a point."
 

toby55555

Hall of Fame
The company that made this racket is called "Sports Innovations". It's abbreviated to "SP.IN" which you'll see on the side of the racket. They had a pretty long and, for a maker of odd rackets, successful run. They even convinced British pro Jo Durie to use their rackets in the early 1990's. The design was supposed to help relieve tennis elbow and other ailments. According to the script on their rackets: "extremely long main strings at much higher tension makes network extremely responsive, forgiving and shock free." I've got quite a few of these. The picture you posted is of one of their later designs. Here is a better picture:


My favorite model is one made to be given as a gift at company functions by the giant American company Xerox:


Takes me back, I used this model. Quite a few frames were cracked by stringers guessing how to resting them.
 

toby55555

Hall of Fame
I seem to remember reading about a racket you could string up yourself then use a tensioner in the handle to get desired tension??
 

Autodidactic player

Professional
I seem to remember reading about a racket you could string up yourself then use a tensioner in the handle to get desired tension??

As far as I know, MacGregor sold the first successful example of this technology called the MacGregor Bergelin Longstring. MacGregor made two models of this racket, creatively calling them model I and model II. ;)

Here's the model I:



and here's the model II:



Protogon also successfully marketed several rackets with this technology. Here's one called the Protogon TM-400:



There were lots of other rackets with tensioners in the handle but none that I can think of that were designed to be strung without a machine only using the tensioner. Here's are a couple of examples of Craven rackets from the 1920's with tensioners in the handle. The first is called the "Evertite":







Here's another called "Invincible:"



 

Autodidactic player

Professional

In the Puma version, the adjustment in the handle adjusts the length of the racket not the tension of the strings. I don't think you can string the Puma without a machine - or at minimum a lever to pull tension and an awl to hold the string tension at the hole - since the racket, unlike the MacGregor, provides no way of tensioning the strings.
 

toby55555

Hall of Fame
As far as I know, MacGregor sold the first successful example of this technology called the MacGregor Bergelin Longstring. MacGregor made two models of this racket, creatively calling them model I and model II. ;)

Here's the model I:



and here's the model II:



Protogon also successfully marketed several rackets with this technology. Here's one called the Protogon TM-400:



There were lots of other rackets with tensioners in the handle but none that I can think of that were designed to be strung without a machine only using the tensioner. Here's are a couple of examples of Craven rackets from the 1920's with tensioners in the handle. The first is called the "Evertite":







Here's another called "Invincible:"



That’s very Interesting thank you. I bet it was a right pain to string up those models.
I remember now I had a racket back in the 80s or early 90s that came with weights you could insert in the head or handle, any idea what that model was?
 

Autodidactic player

Professional
... I had a racket back in the 80s or early 90s that came with weights you could insert in the head or handle, any idea what that model was?

Ok, I'll take a shot in the dark. :D

Donnay made a series of rackets around the time-frame you mentioned which came with a pouch containing various weights that were screwed into the butt to change the weight to make the racket more, or less, head or tail heavy. Here are a couple of pictures:

Donnay Revolutive E.U Apollo


Donnay Revolutive VST Apollo


Donnay Revolutive Athena


The racket with weights that could be added to the head might have been the Dunlop Max Competition Plus. It came with a little box of tiny ball bearings that could be added to the racket at 3:00 and 9:00. Here is a picture:



Off the top of my head, these are the most common rackets that I remember with added weights. * Of course, adding lead tape is the most common way to change racket weight.
 

toby55555

Hall of Fame
Ok, I'll take a shot in the dark. :D

Donnay made a series of rackets around the time-frame you mentioned which came with a pouch containing various weights that were screwed into the butt to change the weight to make the racket more, or less, head or tail heavy. Here are a couple of pictures:

Donnay Revolutive E.U Apollo


Donnay Revolutive VST Apollo


Donnay Revolutive Athena


The racket with weights that could be added to the head might have been the Dunlop Max Competition Plus. It came with a little box of tiny ball bearings that could be added to the racket at 3:00 and 9:00. Here is a picture:



Off the top of my head, these are the most common rackets that I remember with added weights. * Of course, adding lead tape is the most common way to change racket weight.
Likely it was the Donnay as I remember the coach at the time was a rep for them. In which case it was just weights for the handle (hopefully the frame unadjusted was slightly head heavy then). I think I spent so much time experimenting I couldn’t focus on my game!
 

joe sch

Legend
Ok, I'll take a shot in the dark. :D

Donnay made a series of rackets around the time-frame you mentioned which came with a pouch containing various weights that were screwed into the butt to change the weight to make the racket more, or less, head or tail heavy. Here are a couple of pictures:

Donnay Revolutive E.U Apollo


Donnay Revolutive VST Apollo


Donnay Revolutive Athena


The racket with weights that could be added to the head might have been the Dunlop Max Competition Plus. It came with a little box of tiny ball bearings that could be added to the racket at 3:00 and 9:00. Here is a picture:



Off the top of my head, these are the most common rackets that I remember with added weights. * Of course, adding lead tape is the most common way to change racket weight.
Excellent reply !
I remembered the Dunlop Max Competition Plus. These weight adding options were really just marketing since most of the serious players would use lead tape as you mentioned.
 

EVP

New User
I also thought the 97's were superior in every way .

I can tell you that I really do not notice much of a difference with the Excalibur or a regular 97 at all . In fact if you blindfolded me then I could not tell you which I was playing with .

So if you can get your hands on a regular 97 just buy it .


I was able to get a 97 on the bay a few weeks ago, I bought it because I needed the grommets for Excalibur since I’ve had to fix too many busted ones recently, I am going to but it on the gram scale and compare swing weight with the swing weight app and see what the difference is. ( other then the visible titanium and cool paint job on the Excalibur)
 

EVP

New User
I also thought the 97's were superior in every way .

I can tell you that I really do not notice much of a difference with the Excalibur or a regular 97 at all . In fact if you blindfolded me then I could not tell you which I was playing with .

So if you can get your hands on a regular 97 just buy it .


I was able to get a 97 on the bay a few weeks ago, I bought it because I needed the grommets for Excalibur since I’ve had to fix too many busted ones recently, I am going to but it on the gram scale and compare swing weight with the swing weight app and see what the difference is. ( other then the visible titanium and cool paint job on the Excalibur)
 

EBauman

New User
Cool !!

I'm curious about the big bubba 32 inch and the Dunlop super long max.

I heard although the serve speed was not any greater it was more consistent.

Philopusis increased his serve percentage to 80% and the same rate was found with recreational players . I also heard return of serve was great as well .

After I finish my reviews of the racquets I listed above I'm going to try the monsters for fun.

Hi Dark Knight, I'm also a big fan of unusual racquets, and have used quite a few of the ones mentioned. (I really like the Blackburne DS-97 too, and own 2 of them.) I was wondering if you had a chance to try out the Big Bubba 32 inch? That is one of my favorite racquets, and I use it all the time. I bought two new when it came out, and have picked up two more over the years. I just wish I could find a source for the head guard, as it's really easy to scrape it on the ground. :) The feel of the 32 inch model is unique, and really needs to be experienced. It's very light, and feels soft and flexible. Yet, it swings very heavy and is slow to move through the air. It produces insane power on ground strokes and serves. My experience is that I can serve much harder. I've used it to blow away players that I can't usually beat. It's so different that it feels like you're playing a different game, not exactly tennis. It's way fun, and you should definitely try one out.

Btw, another interest of mine is spaghetti style sting patterns. I really like the pattern that TW University called 3-plane faux spaghetti. I modified it a bit, and found it very usable, with a great soft spinny feel. It's so easy on the arm that I think it's much healthier and would allow many people to play without pain. Not legal, but again, sure is fun.
 
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Simplicius

Semi-Pro
Do the holes on the throat actually improve the racquet or is it just a gimmick?

Too late is better than never...
Sorry Dark. I've just notice your question.
:oops:

Speaking for Wilson Kobra Team, the holes on the throat maybe make the frame a little bit flexier.
But when you hit near the tip, the racquet shakes like no other!
IMHO, only with lead on 12 makes it playble...
 

AmbiMango

New User
Wow!!! Someone else besides me actually got their hands on the 97?????

I actually bought the last few they had because I loved it so much . In fact one version called the "Excalibur" which was only a prototype and never mass marketed I bought as well . There are only 3 of them i
Anyway I agree they are a pain in the ars to string ! And yes I have someone string for me .

But it's worth it as far as I'm concerned ....never in my life have I found a racquet this stable . It's just rock solid and every shot is a clean sweet spot .

I tried to go back to a regular stick after beating my pro ( pure strike 2017) and I just hated it .

The Blackburne 97 is my new stick for sure .

I can't believe I found someone else who has one ! Furthermore you didn't say it was crap !

So cool . Thanks !

w
Wow!!! Someone else besides me actually got their hands on the 97?????

I actually bought the last few they had because I loved it so much . In fact one version called the "Excalibur" which was only a prototype and never mass marketed I bought as well . There are only 3 of them in the world .

Anyway I agree they are a pain in the ars to string ! And yes I have someone string for me .

But it's worth it as far as I'm concerned ....never in my life have I found a racquet this stable . It's just rock solid and every shot is a clean sweet spot .

I tried to go back to a regular stick after beating my pro ( pure strike 2017) and I just hated it .

The Blackburne 97 is my new stick for sure .

I can't believe I found someone else who has one ! Furthermore you didn't say it was crap !

So cool . Thanks !

What would you give to have a blackburne 97 with mad raq string pattern?
 

Matko

New User
Coming in super late on this one ….! (Brits always do). I have used a Blackburn 97 for about 10 years now. As others have said, it’s a super racquet for the slightly older player like me (56) because it’s powerful combined with very good control.
e.g. if you are at the net in dubs and your opponent smashes the ball at you, you have an excellent chance of returning the ball as the racquet will take a hit even off centre. It’s just a very strong vibration free racquet … think of the two sets of strings as adding lots of strength like a bridge with two sets of supports.

I play county leagues in the UK (like state leagues). Loads of opponents have tried my Blackburne and found it very positive.
What holds them back? Maybe tennis players are very conservative? Costs of stringing … but I get a full restring for £34 ($50).

I ride road and mountain bikes and they have moved on tremendously even in the last 10 years. Yet tennis racquets have not improved hardly at all for 15 to 20 years.

Such as shame that ITF have banned the Blackburne. But they must consider it a superior product in that case.

Also, unlike other unusual racquets the Blackburne is conventional to play with. I also have a diagonal strung PowerAngle, but that kicks strangely to the side off the serve so you need to adjust your game. With the Blackburne no adjustment required.

Just a great racquet. I have 6 and none are for sale!
 
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joe sch

Legend
w


What would you give to have a blackburne 97 with mad raq string pattern?
I did not think the madraq string pattern was an improvement of the standard for spin or control, infact I did not like the deflection. I guess one could get use to it buy may have to change the strokes or impact point some.
 

joe sch

Legend
I agree that the Blackburne racket and string pattern should not have been banned.
Whats not to like about having a racket that has two playable sides and an extended sweet spot.
The staggered drill pattern like the old Prince Vortex provided an extended sweet spot and it was not banned.
The Blackburne is pretty heavy so you have to be pretty strong have big swings with it.
As far as bikes vs rackets, you really have to compare frames and steel, AL, TI, and the new hard carbons are all still used and popular in the cycling world, but not tennis rackets. Very few play classic woods, AL or steel rackets and the manufactures did not attempt to use the materials for the larger head OS rackets past the mid 80s.
 

graycrait

Legend
Looks like I need to wipe the dust off my BB 107 just to aggravate myself some more:) I swear I could defy gravity inadvertently drilling shots straight into the fence with the BB107, but I am going to "buck up" and see if I can use this racket.

The Blackburne double-strung racket was initially outlawed by the International Tennis Federation (ITF) for nearly ten years. After appeal, the ITF eventually conceded that the racket did not contravene their rules and in 1995 it was approved for ITF and USTA sanctioned play by both amateurs and professionals.
 

Matko

New User
Does anyone know if you can string a Blackburne with a mad raq string pattern?
I believe I heard a while ago that a lot of conventional racquets can be strung mad raq style.
 

Matko

New User
I have both Blackburne 97 and 107 racquets. The 97 is way better. The 107 is just too powerful unless strung well above the recommended tension. While the 97 strung at around 58 pounds has excellent control.

I played a match last week here in Dorset UK and when I turned up at the opponents club they said “Hey, you are the weird guy with the weird racquet”, to which I replied “How dare you call the racquet weird!”

(apologies for weird British humour)
 

EVP

New User
Figured I should bring this one back from the dead, something happened early 2020 that put me off track for s few years. Love the humor!!! I also wanted to know if anyone knows how to contact the dark knight since I sent s reply to a previous private message but I'm not sure if it will ever get to him since the user seems to have disappeared from the form.


Also I'll be posting some pictures that are like 5 years overdue of "Excalibur 97 pro" one of two prototype racquets that Robin had made ( at a cost of 20k each ) before he said they were too expensive to produce and would have had to retail for around ($700) these would be 2001 dollars back when expensive cell phones were $350


So there we are good threads never die
I have both Blackburne 97 and 107 racquets. The 97 is way better. The 107 is just too powerful unless strung well above the recommended tension. While the 97 strung at around 58 pounds has excellent control.

I played a match last week here in Dorset UK and when I turned up at the opponents club they said “Hey, you are the weird guy with the weird racquet”, to which I replied “How dare you call the weird!”

(apologies for weird British humour)
 

Matko

New User
EVP, look forward to seeing the pictures of the Excalibur 97 Pro.

I called Robin Blackburne around 10 years ago. I think he found the struggle of promoting the Blackburne racket against the megabucks budgets of Wilson, Head, Prince etc. really tough. But was clearly really proud of the achievement and rightly so. Sadly, Robin passed away a few years ago.

The problem is that better products often do not succeed simply because they are not promoted by the pros.
I am still playing with the Blackburne 97.
 
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