Discussion in 'Racquets' started by drakulie, Oct 16, 2012.
That could be true as well, but it begs the question...exactly who is this racquet designed for?
Don't have extensive time, but so far I love the 4GS in this racquet. Seems to be more durable than the 4G 16gauge, but also I oddly like the playability of it better.
I demoed the 99 versus the 99s over several hours last week. The 99s was strung with FXP/4Gs, while the 99 was strung with 4G. The 99s was way softer (presumably the hybrid strings) while the 99 was stiffer. I liked both, and both gave a nice clean hit. I used to play with a Head IG Radical Pro, and I would pick either of these two rackets over that in a heartbeat. But I had to chose one, and in the end I picked the regular 99 (non S).
Got way more control with the 99. I hit backhand early and relatively flat; with the 99s it sailed too often and was hard to control. On the forehand I found that I hit a lot of fluffballs with the 99s unless I took a real big swing. It's fine if you are hitting hard all the time, but I found it hard to vary the pace. Off speed shots tended to sit up and lack court penetration.
The regular 99 doesn't offer the same level of spin, but for me it offered enough to give me an edge and to make a substantial difference. Basically, the extra spin of the 99s didn't seem enough to accept the loss of control. The 99 on the other hand worked very well for me. I got enough spin to push my opponent back, and generally felt more confident and made fewer mistakes. With the old Head I used to miss into the net more than I liked, and found the racket to be generally sluggish, but with the 99 I didn't miss much, and when I did it was by going long a few inches.
Hit some really nice drop-shots and clean winners off both wings from the backcourt. Serving was a pleasure too, got more free points than usual. Only downside was that my timing was off on the volley. I was playing a tough 5.0 player who usually beats me without trouble, but this time I played him tough the whole way, and the difference was the first game I served with the 99 -- made a couple of double faults, and that was the difference.
Really liked the regular 99. Like really. Maybe the 99s would be even better if it were strung differently and if I took the time to get used to it, but the regular 99 felt so good that I don't feel I need to go through the hassle of learning to use the other racket. I was pretty skeptical that switching rackets could make a difference, but it did for me, over several days of play, including one where I was pretty tired to start with.
For what it's worth, I'm a 4.0 player. One other thing I noticed is that Wilson recommends NXT in the regular 99 for power and Spin Cycle for control. Obviously they are not worried about string durability. I played a solid 3 hours with regular 4g, and noticed no notching or anything like that.
Great post/feedback, thanks.
The 99S was spectacularly clean serving the ball for me, could just nail them all day long and consistently, it was just so easy. Same feel and stick speed (way frame moves through the air) with the 99 as the 99s on serves and groundies, just more control with the 99 and more spin with the 99s essentially?
That is about right. Both swing quick and clean. The 99 provided plenty of spin, more than enough for me. I also like the fact that I don't have to worry about restringing weekly with the 99.
Dry swinging they feel exactly the same. I doubt I could tell the difference if I closed my eyes. But the frames are not from the same mould. The shape of the head is slightly different -- one is slightly longer and thinner, maybe by 1/4 inch. Also the grip on the 99 seemed a bit longer.
Well that's weird. All else seems to indicate same frame, less strings.
I like everything that you're saying about the 99 except for the stiffer feel (love the feel of the 99s, stiffer/more tweenerish feel would be a definite downer). Also.. Weird thing about the 99s is that I actually could flatten the ball out fairly easily when needed. But, I definitely know what you mean on the 'gotta stay on the gas pedal' vibe to make the 99s work. It's an amazing pedal. But when you're not pressing it, that's when the floating can happen.
About the shapes: I was surprised too, but that's how it was. It not a huge difference. You wouldn't notice unless you held them one on top of the other.
I wouldn't worry too much about the stiffness issue. The 99 was strung with full bed poly, the 99s was a hybrid with a multi. I did not find the 99 stiff or uncomfortable given that it was strung with poly. I plan to put hybrid in mine, and I expect it will be fine.
You summarize the issue (such as it is) with the 99s well. It pretty much forces you to hit hard all the time. Softer shots go slow and loopy, and a good player will have lots of time to smack them. This happened to me with some frequency.
Ahhh... so that's the reason it's sitting up a bit too much for me and many others - simply not bashing hard enough. Might be obvious to some, but I confess I hadn't fully realised that TBH. Interesting stuff.
Nice. Let's see if you can get to 6-8 hours. 10 would be totally excellent news with this frame.
If you read the frame it tells you in black and white: for durability use 4GS...
This racquet is for people who value spin above all else. It works best with people with hard topspin shots. You need that spin to control the shots off this racquet, any flat stroke is going to produce floaters that sail long.
If you are not breaking strings regularly with your current racquet, you probably are not a good candidate for this racquet as many balls will sail on you.
Yes, this racquet is going to shorten the life of your string job even more (~1/2), but for many of us, that is worth the price of admission. I never liked to cut out string jobs, and now, the strings break when they start to go bad so I don't have to.
This racquet is awesome for doubles. Serves and volleys feel amazing. This is designed for people who hit with spin...Its like an improved APD...If you don't hit with spin this thing will be useless to you...
Sorry, I disagree with this in whole. This racquet, IMO, is designed to enhance whatever spin a player might have. It is for any player who likes an open string pattern as can be found in the POG or any number of frames from the past. There is nothing magical about the string pattern and truthfully you don't have to break strings every 30 minutes to get the best out of this frame.
I'm on board with you on this. I will also add that since no one hits a completely flat ball, the frame can be used by anyone.
Even if the s version is twice as durable as normal 4g it still would only last me as long as some other cheaper polys have lasted me yet cost twice the amount. For me 4g is a no go. For others it may be great.
Haha finally someone doing it right. I've been talking about 4GS being the prime suspect for this racket 50 pages back.
I don't understand how people think it's a good idea to put 17g string into such an open racket.
This is a really good point, guys. I can't tell you how many times i've flip-flopped between racquets. Ups and downs of your game has a lot to do with it..weather, string combination, opponent's playing style, differences in weights of racquets.
My quest for the holy grail of racquets is probably the same as anyone else. There never will be a racquet that does everything perfectly the way you want it. However, I can accept shortcomings with certain parts of my game if I can compensate for them in other ways.
I'm very happy with my PDRs, but I would love to try these just to do it. Not only the 99s, but also the 105s. That must be one crazy stick.
I'm sure it's somewhere in the thread, but why does this particular string pattern exacerbate spin so much?
I strung up some 4GS in a 99S and will try out to compare it with 4G in 16g. Also I added 2 layers of 4 inch strips of lead at the 12 and 2 layers of 4 inch strip at the 3 and 9 and it feels great. The sweetspot feels huge with this setup and the balance is around even.
Just received the demos today. The 99S has Tour Bite in it..not sure what the tension is at. Also have the Wilson Blade 98 16x19 with a black poly, not sure which one. Guys? Lastly, there is a Prince Warrior 100 with Babolat Revenge in it.
Playtest starts tomorrow.
That's weird, I'm playing with Blade 16x19, really like 99s, and used to play Juice 100 (in your sig). I also always wanted to check out a Warrior 100. :shock:
Keep us updated on your progress here, Bmr.
Perhaps I read this wrong? This would be about 24 grams! :shock: And with adding at 3, 9, and 12 thats gotta be crazy heavy! The SW has to be at least 380.
Interested to hear your thoughts on the blade verses the 99 s. I actually dumped the 99 s for the blade 16 X 19.
Thats exactly what I was thinking.
1 4" strip = 1 gr
So I'm counting 4 gr X 3 locations (3, 9, 12), so 12g total
I was thinking of Babolat that is 1 gram per 1 inch. What type of lead tape is 1 gram per 4"?
OK - first progress report after a few hours of hitting:
Steam 99S - Mixed thoughts so far. Like others have said- when you first hit with it your forehands will launch out like crazy until you figure out the power level. I really don't like Tour Bite, never have...so the playtest for me didn't go as well as i'd hoped. I also tend to string my racquets a lot higher than other people. I'd have this racquet strung in the low 60s for sure. I'd guess that it was already low 50s or below. Just waaaay too much uncontrollable power, even for me. Volleys felt a lot better than I would have imagined. Serves and groundies should be solid with the right string setup. All in all, looking for more court time with this.
Blade 98 16x19 - Here's where it gets interesting. I really like this racquet, but I'm not sure how much yet. I finally figured out that the black string is RPM Blast. This is another string that I don't like. I string this in my friend's Aero and I don't like the feel of it at all. The one that thing really stood out to me about this racquet is how you can flatten out your shots and produce a large amount of spin/kick if you desire. It's a tad more head heavy than what I am used to and this caused me to double long on a couple serves, but I can dial that in. Biggest surprise of the bunch so far.
Prince Warrior - I really like the feel of this racquet and served an ace my second time up. However, it is strung with Babolat Revenge (red) and there's no way I'd be using this string. It is so difficult to get a feel for these racquets when you have string in there that you'd never use.
I must also mention that I currently have Speedport Blacks, Wilson Juice and Head Extreme Pro 2 in my bag. Love them all for different reasons. The Speedport Black is still my main racquet, but the Juice has been getting a lot more time lately. Have some lead at the 3 and 9 on that one. The Warrior feels really close to the Black but a tad more weight in the head and a bit more solid feeling. Biggest complaint with the Black is the lack of feel at the net. I think I'm going to try to mess around with string to see if I can compensate for that.
Haha, one funny thing I was thinking about the Blade 98: I can't twirl that thing around my index finger when i'm waiting for someone to serve. Sounds stupid, I know...but if you try it you'll know exactly what I mean.
Interesting. Unfortunately sounds like the strings in these frames has had too much of an adverse effect. Still find it funny we like all/have history with the same frames (exception being SP Black.)
Re your closing comment... yep, Blade isn't really one for twirling round your index finger.
That is standard 0.25" lead tape
Steal a Warrior in the classifieds !
Update: Got the 99S 2-3 weeks ago and couldn't get used to it. It felt weird in terms of balance and stability.
So I went out and got some lead tape. 3 and 9 o'clock positions lead tape helped A LOT. It helped with control and I can really plow through the ball now.
Also, I was strung with Luxilon 4G and I felt the longer I played with it and the more I left it on the string bed, the better the racquet played!
Crazy top spin with this racquet if you use semi-western forehand grip. Lots of bite on slice too. My slice serve is just deadly. The opponent gets pulled way past the doubles alley when I serve.
The grip is crazy comfortable but I must say, my touch shots aren't spectacular with this racquet. A lot of dropshots turned into errors and drop-volleys always dropped into the net or too deep.
Overall, it is a great baseliner's racquet. I hit a lot of people off the court with this racquet because of the combination of spin and power. MAKE SURE YOU GET LEAD ON 3 and 9 OCLOCK!!!
How long with the 4GS now? 8 hours and upwards? More?!
Hey Ross I am at the 7 hour mark. String has exceeded my expectations for durability and playability. Really lovimg the combo. I bought a 105s as well...def switching to a steam.
Wow, beats out the 104? Have you tried the 105 yet or bought blindly? Seems like that would be a monster to tame.
I was able to hit briefly with the 105 and I liked the way it handled. I love the round big head on the 104 blade and the 105 is similar...also I like the way the balance felt, very natural in hand.
Steam 99 s
set up 1 - tour bite - 56 vs set up 2 - 15L cheap gut mains and 17 MSV at 55.
Feel and comfort - 2 is much better.
Spin - 2 is better
Control - 1 is much better
Serve - 2 is much better
I guess I like 2 more. 1 is easier to string though and cheaper.
Gold Star awarded to you for remaining in the Steam Room in the face of adversity.
That's excellent re the string and specially re the frame switch (I know we were both so looking forward to checking the 99s way way back.) Look forward to hearing your thoughts/experiences on all things Steam Room related.
I bought the 99s and 105s and I am ready to sell my 99s. The 105s is simply the best frame I have every used. It is just so had to find a 102-105 frame that has this SW and the very HL balance like the 105s. My teammates and hitting partners have all mentioned how different my game is with the 105s, in a positive way. Perhaps it is my conservative style of play by nature that does not launch balls like others seem to experience, but I don't care what it is, it works amazingly well for me
The Q for me would be how many hours this will be playable for. Do update us.
I have to say that I'm surprised by how much I like 4G in this frame. I've yet to play the 4GS, but the 1.30 and 1.25 play way better than the reviews I've read on here.
The other thing I've been thinking, once I settle on a string, the 99S is a perfect candidate for a reel. It takes 30 feet of string to string it, so you can get 22 string jobs out of a reel which knocks the cost of 4G down to $11.00 a string job.
Great stuff. Good to hear you settled on one of the two frames. What is going to be your set up? Strings, tension, etc?
Hey Rabbit. I agree. The 4g is much better than the reviews posted on here. Although not my preferred string, it compliments this frame extremely well. Also, the idea of a reel in this frame could really save the user some good amount of money.
I finally finished stringing at Sony, so got a chance to change the grip to a leather one last night. Will be playing tonight or tomorrow and post my thoughts.
Hi everyone, a few questions:
Approximately how much less string life do you get with this racquet compared to a regular racquet? Only 80% of what you normally get? Or more like 50%?
Even though there are fewer crosses, you guys are still breaking the mains first, right?
Does Wilson (or other companies) have plans to offer additional racquets in the 16x15 pattern?
I hit with a 99S the other day and I have to say I was pretty impressed. The ball really dwells on the strings, which makes the sweet spot feel huge. Hard to hit groundies long. Volleys were kind of an adventure due to the springyness of the strings. Topspin or slidespin serves were easy to hit and very effective. Pretty good stability and comfort for a relatively lighter racquet.
I'd say I get 50% less out of this than my APD GT. I'm breaking the mains still and on some it's been both but I've not yet broke a cross string on its own.
Couldnt possibly say for sure if any other companies will go 16/15 but I'd expect some to due to the hype the 99s has caused.
This is going to be the first racket where I get three of a kind. I'm normally OK with two. Trouble is I'm struggling to find any used ones which must mean its still quite popular with a lot of users.
Rabbit, I am going to punch about 20 Holes into the Wilson Bumper guard and see if it improves the maneuverability of the Spin 99S. What do you think ?
Can't believe you find the 99s not maneuverable? I wouldn't mess with that Wilson bumper guard. I had the same idea with the Blade and it was a major pain to get that thing back on without ruining it.
I thought these bumper guards with grommets just Pop off the racket. and after you punch some holes, you just pop it back in ?
In theory, yes. Didn't quite work like that for me though. It was a really struggle getting the headguard back on. There was always a couple of spots where it wouldn't go in properly. Maybe you'll be luckier than I was. Or maybe there's a trick to it? I think I read something about heating it up with a hair dryer first???
YOu have to use the ice pick, small version. Stringers have them and it is much easier for them. After you punch all the holes you want, I just give it to my stringer to put it back on. He told me it was easy to put back on.
Also I might try the Spin 105 and punch holes in that one. and if I can make that more maneuverable, then I may have a great doubles racket on that one.
Just to let my 2 cents here:
I hit with that frame yesterday again, black poly with synthetic gut around 55 Lbs.
this time it was a bit more comfortable, but it's amazing how much marketing there is on it. I get more kick with my Ezone Xi Team then with that racquet.
VCore 100S is just a tad less spiny (little less kick) then the Steam 99s, but with 99S there is no plow, unstable, sweet spot smaller and boy that looks like a wal-mart racquet, so cheap looking and ugly that not even for free I'd use that crap.
are you saying you don't like the 99S ?? What are you saying here exactly ???
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