Wilson Pro Staff RF97 Autograph - red or black

Zverev

Professional

PMChambers

Hall of Fame
I've only hit / own the red. It plays just like its specs nothing magical but nothing disappointing. The black will play very similars QA difference likely greater than the changes
 

Crashbaby

Rookie
I’ll hit squad training tomorrow with the blackie in hand, but come Saturday when league starts, I’ll have come to my senses and will have an ezone 98 in the bag as per last season... Some say the Blackie is easier to hit with than the red RF, I’ve had both and couldn’t tell a difference apart the feel in the fingertips due to the velvet paint on the throat. Go black! But be forewarned, it’s now due for replacement, as it came out way back in 2016. Wilson marketing won’t let it reach 2 years of age without an update. So the cool as Blackie, will be yesterday’s news shortly. :)
 

asifallasleep

Hall of Fame
Black one is much easier to swing not sure if it's a better looking cosmetic placebo effect ------- the universal conclusion, even with the TW playtesters, is that the black one easier to swing while having the same specs as the red one.

Black one looks loads better. I think it's the best racquet ever made.

No matter which one you buy make sure you have them matched. The Wilson QC is bonkers.

I've had about 15 black RF97's and the specs are everywhere.

My most recent batch are 361g (2 frames) and 365g (1 frame) static weight strung with Volkl Cyclone Black 16g.

The lovely part this go around is that I selected all insanely HL sticks. The 365g frame was 11.5 pts HL and the 2 (361g) frames 10.5-11pts HL.

I have them all modded to 365 g static weight and 11.5 pts HL.

Love it.
 
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Zverev

Professional
Black one is much easier to swing not sure if it's a better looking cosmetic placebo effect ------- the universal conclusion, even with the TW playtesters, is that the black one easier to swing while having the same specs as the red one.
Black one looks loads better. I think it's the best racquet ever made.
No matter which one you buy make sure you have them matched. The Wilson QC is bonkers.
I've had about 15 black RF97's and the specs are everywhere.
My most recent batch are 361g (2 frames) and 365g (1 frame) static weight strung with Volkl Cyclone Black 16g.
The lovely part this go around is that I selected all insanely HL sticks. The 365g frame was 11.5 pts HL and the 2 (361g) frames 10.5-11pts HL.
I have them all modded to 365 g static weight and 11.5 pts HL.
Love it.
Great info. Thanks
Somehow I have assumed that the red is older batch.
Then Wilson would have changed the painting job only recently (like in the last year).
It might not be correct assumption.
I must say I haven't played with Wilson gear for over 10 years since I sold my Prostaff 7.1 Zone (Taylor Dent's stick or so they say).
We have both RF97s in the club, one guy has the red ( a beginner) and another fellow (4.5) who has the black can hit solid balls with anything.
So it's hard to compare, but I did hold them both at different points of time and can say that the black looks incredibly cool.
I didn't try to hit with either of the RF97s.
 
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A

Attila_the_gorilla

Guest
Based on the Tennis Warehouse samples, the red one had a substantially higher twistweight. 14.9 vs 13.94 on average for the black ones they measured. That's a huge difference in stability, and on the other hand maneouvrability and ease of swinging.
 

xFullCourtTenniSx

Hall of Fame
I've hit with both, but in retrospect I can't guarantee the red and black one wasn't modded (it was someone else's and I just hit with it for a few minutes assuming it was stock, since you rarely run into someone that adds lead and it's even rarer to run into someone that hides it). It swung like something with a 370 swingweight rather than something with a swingweight in the mid 330s. Wilson QC will never be THAT bad (that's taking one that's on spec and throwing 10.5 grams to the tip).

The black one, I don't remember hitting any groundstrokes with it. I swung it in the air and it felt like a normal racket (which didn't feel true with the black and red). I took a few serves, and aside from it being light, it felt like a normal racket.

TWU notes that the red one has a higher twistweight than the black one. The black one for sure didn't have an enormous twistweight (I hit a serve off center and I felt it). The red one I hit with felt the same where ever I hit the strings. Given how hard it was for me to swing around, I doubt I was hitting every ball on center. All in all, it felt like a racket with a high twistweight.

For 2 rackets with the same swingweight, both will have the same power, so the one that's easier to swing (the black one) will be significantly more efficient to use unless you struggle with hitting the center.

However, the black has issues with the paint. Apparently a lot of people return it because the paint goes downhill fairly quickly for some. I'd gladly take the black one with the red and black paintjob instead. The red and black looks better to me, and I'd rather have regular paint than the velvet.

If I ever meet someone with both rackets (in stock form), I'd gladly measure the specs of both (except twistweight, cause that's a pain) and then do a playtest to reconfirm. But I'm unlikely to run into such a person.

tl;dr The red and black I hit with (which I can't guarantee was in stock form even though it had no visible lead) did not remotely swing like what I would've expected from its specs. The black one swung (and served) exactly like what I'd expect from its specs.
 

KaiserW

Hall of Fame
Black one is much easier to swing not sure if it's a better looking cosmetic placebo effect ------- the universal conclusion, even with the TW playtesters, is that the black one easier to swing while having the same specs as the red one.

Black one looks loads better. I think it's the best racquet ever made.

No matter which one you buy make sure you have them matched. The Wilson QC is bonkers.

I've had about 15 black RF97's and the specs are everywhere.

My most recent batch are 361g (2 frames) and 365g (1 frame) static weight strung with Volkl Cyclone Black 16g.

The lovely part this go around is that I selected all insanely HL sticks. The 365g frame was 11.5 pts HL and the 2 (361g) frames 10.5-11pts HL.

I have them all modded to 365 g static weight and 11.5 pts HL.

Love it.
What were you unstrung swingweights and have you measured strung sw? I would like to have mine that headlight without adding weight to the handle. Recently strung one with Cyclone 18L and it is 9.5 HL. I took off leather for Bab Skin Feel, so with leather would be 10 HL. This is the old version.

Oh by the way I see you are back on the horse with the RF! I have also strayed but keep coming back to the RF. Just nothing as good for me.
 

asifallasleep

Hall of Fame
What were you unstrung swingweights and have you measured strung sw? I would like to have mine that headlight without adding weight to the handle. Recently strung one with Cyclone 18L and it is 9.5 HL. I took off leather for Bab Skin Feel, so with leather would be 10 HL. This is the old version.

Oh by the way I see you are back on the horse with the RF! I have also strayed but keep coming back to the RF. Just nothing as good for me.

I didn't get around to measuring the swing weight as it would be something else for me to be paranoid about if they weren't all the same, lol.

My main issue with all the RF's i've had is getting them very HL without adding tons of weight in the handle -----------so I totally understand what you're talking about. For a while I was using 19g strings and even tried Bab Skin Feel grips to make my previous ones more HL.

The very high HL balance makes the heavy swing and static weight more manageable for me. No time for the gym anymore as my strength has declined.

The 3 I have now are soooo insanely HL even with 16g strings. I never use 16g, so If I went to 18 or 19 I guess they'd be 12pts HL.

I went through a stack of about 20 RF's to select these 3 and the frame balances and static weights were all over the place.

If you can go to a local store, when measuring the specs with the plastic on the handle and the big card still in the face, you need about them to be about 357 grams and the balance to be between 10.5-11 inches on the balance beam. You could also give these specs to TW to have them match frames.

You are right, I can't leave this frame and I feel it's by far the best racquet ever made. The only limitations are on the user.

The big difference between the RF and my H19's is the mass and the plow. It really is that addictive. My H19 now feels like a thin beam to me and shockingly so, I prefer the thickness of the RF97 now.
It just feels perfect.
 

KaiserW

Hall of Fame
I didn't get around to measuring the swing weight as it would be something else for me to be paranoid about if they weren't all the same, lol.

My main issue with all the RF's i've had is getting them very HL without adding tons of weight in the handle -----------so I totally understand what you're talking about. For a while I was using 19g strings and even tried Bab Skin Feel grips to make my previous ones more HL.

The very high HL balance makes the heavy swing and static weight more manageable for me. No time for the gym anymore as my strength has declined.

The 3 I have now are soooo insanely HL even with 16g strings. I never use 16g, so If I went to 18 or 19 I guess they'd be 12pts HL.

I went through a stack of about 20 RF's to select these 3 and the frame balances and static weights were all over the place.

If you can go to a local store, when measuring the specs with the plastic on the handle and the big card still in the face, you need about them to be about 357 grams and the balance to be between 10.5-11 inches on the balance beam. You could also give these specs to TW to have them match frames.

You are right, I can't leave this frame and I feel it's by far the best racquet ever made. The only limitations are on the user.

The big difference between the RF and my H19's is the mass and the plow. It really is that addictive. My H19 now feels like a thin beam to me and shockingly so, I prefer the thickness of the RF97 now.
It just feels perfect.
Enjoy!
 

Sardines

Professional
Not only is the swingweight lower with the '16 blacks, but they are more polarized, and the swing weights were lower too . I have 2 '14 red ones and had 2 '16 black ones. The QC is quite shocking!
 

xFullCourtTenniSx

Hall of Fame
Not only is the swingweight lower with the '16 blacks, but they are more polarized, and the swing weights were lower too . I have 2 '14 red ones and had 2 '16 black ones. The QC is quite shocking!
The swingweight is supposed to be the same. If yours are different, then it's just unlucky on the side of QC.
 

Sardines

Professional
The swingweight is supposed to be the same. If yours are different, then it's just unlucky on the side of QC.
The polarity issue isn't though. After my experience with the '14 RF97A QC, I decided to go to the store and have them RDC their L4 stock for swingweight. Of the 15 they did, only 2 had 335 swingweight, which were the ones I bought.
As for the polarity issue, it's quite noticeable by my hand. It's quite frustrating as it takes quite a bit of lead to get it to my specs. That's one of the reasons why I moved to the SV98+. Yonex has better QC and the racquet adaption wasn't as bad as dealing to tinker with a racquet spec to suit my game.
 

Zverev

Professional
Got myself a red one, mostly out of curiosity.
Wow. It is a club. 348 gram out of the box, 352 g with overgrip on.
Haven't strung it yet, but with a string it would be like around 370 g?
Not sure what swing weight is but swings heavy unstrung.
Will I play tennis with it? I will give it a go.
Will I go hunting for wild boar with it? I might.
 

Karma Tennis

Hall of Fame
Got myself a red one, mostly out of curiosity.
Wow. It is a club. 348 gram out of the box, 352 g with overgrip on.
Haven't strung it yet, but with a string it would be like around 370 g?
Not sure what swing weight is but swings heavy unstrung.
Will I play tennis with it? I will give it a go.
Will I go hunting for wild boar with it? I might.
If you want to minimise the static weight ...

Take the overgrip off.
Remove the Leather Grip and replace it with a thin sythetic grip that is trimmed only as far up the handle as you need it to be.
Put the overgrip back on it.

Of course doing that will change the Balance. How much? Who knows? It will depend on the QC and how much weight is in the hoop and the handle.
 

Zverev

Professional
Thanks.
Not sure how many grams I could save replacing the grip, 2-3?
The leather seems to be pretty thin.
I am also thinking of removing plastic guard from the top of the racket.
Haven't checked the construction of it yet.
I have done this on one of mu heads long time ago, and stripped the paint - helped a lot,
 

Karma Tennis

Hall of Fame
Thanks.
Not sure how many grams I could save replacing the grip, 2-3?
The leather seems to be pretty thin.
Depends on the weight of the leather grip you got. They seem to vary from 17 grams to 25 grams. I imagine with a thin synthetic grip you could possibly save 10g. Of course you could ditch the grip altogether and just use one or two overgrips.
 

Zverev

Professional
Ok, just checked the construction and it's impossible to take the plastic protection cover off as it's one with the grommets, unlike on the head racket I own.
Wilson premium leather grip feels thin.
Anyway, do not see much point in making grip lighter, won't help with swing weight.
Would rather remove something from the top.
Cheers
 
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KaiserW

Hall of Fame
Ok, just checked the construction and it's impossible to take the plastic protection cover off as it's one with the grommets, unlike on the head racket I own.
Wilson premium leather grip feels thin.
Anyway, do not see much point in making grip lighter, won't help with swing weight.
Would rather remove something from the top.
Cheers
Your best bet to reduce swingweight is to go with a really thin string 18 or 19 gauge. I am using Cyclone 18L right now. Going to try Hyper G 20 next.
 

Karma Tennis

Hall of Fame
Ok, just checked the construction and it's impossible to take the plastic protection cover off as it's one with the grommets, unlike on the head racket I own.
Wilson premium leather grip feels thin.
Anyway, do not see much point in making grip lighter, won't help with swing weight.
Would rather remove something from the top.
Cheers
The thickness of the grip is not an indication of its weight. The only way you will know for sure is to take the grip off and weigh it. Others have said it can weigh anywhere from 15 to 25 grams. Also check inside the handle to see if there is any foam or silicone. That can add weight as well.

The Swing Weight of a racquet is a function of its overall static weight. Reducing the weight of the handle will reduce the swing weight.

These are the only options you have apart from using a lighter string as @KaiserW has said. Otherwise, you need to consider going to a different racquet or getting into the gym and building up your physical strength.
 

Icsa

Rookie
If weight is your concern, you should go with the regular 97 instead. And build up with lead from it.
 

swizzy

Hall of Fame
i have been a pro staff user for decades.. and i grabbed a red and black one used from a buddy for $50.. he had to get the black one.. in fact he got 3. i hit with mine and his.. they are incredibly similar.
 

Zverev

Professional
If weight is your concern, you should go with the regular 97 instead. And build up with lead from it.
Weight is not that much of a concern....all my rackets are around 12.5 oz
This one will be the heaviest at around 13.2
Could be the best one I own, who knows...until I hit with it.
Waiting for my kevlar strings to arrive....
 

USPTARF97

Hall of Fame
Have been playing with the RF97 since 2014. The 14’ Red/Black racquets had black butt caps and the 15’ had black/red butt caps. These racquets were identical otherwise. The 15’ racquets specs were exactly the same. Must have gotten lucky. Play with the 16’-17’ black racquets now. Have taken the leather grips off of all of the frames and replaced with lighter synthetic grips. Taking the weight off has made them easier to serve and volley in my opinion and also the synthetic grips are more comfortable on the arm.
The black racquets have a different feel and if you think about it how could they not? The are covered with rubberized paint. Every little bit helps with taking weight off of the racquet for me. No dampener, lighter strings, no over grip, synthetic grip. Best racquet on the market for me because this racquet is the closest to what I grew up playing with and suites my style of play. My racquets are 12.4 which is perfect. Have some 16’ PS97’s that started out an oz lighter but after adding the leather grip to them and tweaking the weight they are 12.2. That being said my wheel house must be in the 12.2-12.4 range. Playing with either racquet, it’s all good.
 
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Soul_Evisceration

Hall of Fame
Have been playing with the RF97 since 2014. The 14’ Red/Black racquets had black butt caps and the 15’ had black/red butt caps. These racquets were identical otherwise. The 15’ racquets specs were exactly the same. Must have gotten lucky. Play with the 16’-17’ black racquets now. Have taken the leather grips off of all of them and replaced with lighter synthetic grips. Taking the weight off has made them easier to serve and volley with in my opinion and also the synthetic grips are more comfortable on the arm.
The black racquets have a different feel and if you think about it how could they not? The are covered with rubberized paint. Every little bit helps with taking weight off of the racquet for me. No dampener, lighter strings, no over grip, synthetic grip. Best racquet on the market for me because this racquet is the closest to what I grew up playing with and suites my style of play. My racquets are 12.4 which is perfect. Have some 16’ PS97’s that started out an oz lighter but after adding the leather grip to them and tweaking the weight they are 12.2. That being said my wheel house must be in the 12.2-12.4 range. Playing with either racquet, it’s all good.
100% agree with your analysis as I have both the Red Black 2014 and all Black 2016 RF97 and I definitely prefer the feel and impact on balls with the 2016 All black RF97.

I also removed the black leather grip with the Babolat Synthetic grip and just play with Biphase X one at 54/52 lbs (might even go lower to 52/50) and the racquet is almost perfect for my game.
 

Elcer

New User
If you want to minimise the static weight ...

Take the overgrip off.
Remove the Leather Grip and replace it with a thin sythetic grip that is trimmed only as far up the handle as you need it to be.
Put the overgrip back on it.

Of course doing that will change the Balance. How much? Who knows? It will depend on the QC and how much weight is in the hoop and the handle.
I bought 3 Wilson RFA Red in 2014. They were all spot on with regards to static weight. For the first 6-8 months using these racquets I struggled heavily in regards to manoeuvrability. But I was slowly improving because of my resilient; hard works and patience. I did try to replace the leather grip to synthetic grip but went back to the original grip. I am currently playing with an altered setup. I added 8 grams of lead tape at 5 inches above the butt cup. They are all 372 grams in static weight with 12 points head light. I have them strung with Luxilon Alu Power 125 Rough Big Banger in the main and Babolat Pro Hurricane Tour in the cross. All in the tension at 52lbs. So far I am happy with my 3 Wilson RFA Red (2014 model).
 

Zverev

Professional
I bought 3 Wilson RFA Red in 2014. They were all spot on with regards to static weight. For the first 6-8 months using these racquets I struggled heavily in regards to manoeuvrability. But I was slowly improving because of my resilient; hard works and patience. I did try to replace the leather grip to synthetic grip but went back to the original grip. I am currently playing with an altered setup. I added 8 grams of lead tape at 5 inches above the butt cup. They are all 372 grams in static weight with 12 points head light. I have them strung with Luxilon Alu Power 125 Rough Big Banger in the main and Babolat Pro Hurricane Tour in the cross. All in the tension at 52lbs. So far I am happy with my 3 Wilson RFA Red (2014 model).
Excellent post.
Would you be able to describe the weight difference please when you went to synthetic grip and back to leather?
 
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Elcer

New User
Excellent post.
Would you be able to describe the weight difference please when you went to synthetic grip and back to leather?
1) Original = Leather + overgrip + dampener = 368 grams static weight

During my first 6-8 months I felt that the racquets were just too heavy and unwielding on my forehand and OHBH. In short I was always late in all my strokes including my serve. Mind you before and during this time I was already tuning my muscles in the gym plus practicing hitting balls against the wall. I did not progressed to my expectations in spite of my being a B Grade player (working on A). I mostly play singles but occasionally doubles.

2) First alteration: Change to synthetic grip (+ overgrip+ dampener ) from the original leather grip.

I think the static weight of these racquets were all 353 grams. Although, there were huge amount of weight reduce from 368 to 353 I felt that these racquets were too head heavy. They were not right for me because just imagine a 353 grams static weight racquet with head heavy. I might as well get a 300 grams racquet with head heavy. So in the end I scratched these alterations.

3) Second alteration: Change from synthetic grip back to original leather grip.

In this post they mentioned about customizing your racquet. If you add lead tape at the head you must counter it at the handle. Some post mentioned about countering about 8 inches above the butt cup. This is what I did. I added 8 grams just 5 inches above the butt cup. Now all my new customized racquets with 376 static weight and 12 points head light are just right if not perfect for my needs.
 

movdqa

Talk Tennis Guru
First time I hit with it - it felt too light. I added about 15 grams of lead from 10:00 - 2:00 and it felt much better.
 

USPTARF97

Hall of Fame
I bought 3 Wilson RFA Red in 2014. They were all spot on with regards to static weight. For the first 6-8 months using these racquets I struggled heavily in regards to manoeuvrability. But I was slowly improving because of my resilient; hard works and patience. I did try to replace the leather grip to synthetic grip but went back to the original grip. I am currently playing with an altered setup. I added 8 grams of lead tape at 5 inches above the butt cup. They are all 372 grams in static weight with 12 points head light. I have them strung with Luxilon Alu Power 125 Rough Big Banger in the main and Babolat Pro Hurricane Tour in the cross. All in the tension at 52lbs. So far I am happy with my 3 Wilson RFA Red (2014 model).
It is interesting how you can string this racquet with a number of different set ups in the 52 range and it plays well. Multi, poly , gut/poly, poly/syn gut. Multi/ poly I have gone up to 55/52. Made all of mine more maneuverable by taking weight off but whatever works. Great racquets.
 

Karma Tennis

Hall of Fame
2) First alteration: Change to synthetic grip (+ overgrip+ dampener ) from the original leather grip.

I think the static weight of these racquets were all 353 grams. Although, there were huge amount of weight reduce from 368 to 353 I felt that these racquets were too head heavy. They were not right for me because just imagine a 353 grams static weight racquet with head heavy. I might as well get a 300 grams racquet with head heavy. So in the end I scratched these alterations.
Is the 353 grams static strung or unstrung? If it's strung, why wouldn't you just lead up a PS97. You would end up with a racquet which is more maneuvarable and probably a bit flexier. If you went with a PS97CV it would be softer and flexier still. Both these options would be supercharged with a full bed of decent co-poly string.

I know this is an RF97 thread but I imagine there are a lot of RF97 users out there who would do very well to try a PS97. Much easier to generate higher RHS with a PS97. And you don't have to be Superman to still play a great game deep into the 3rd Set.
 

USPTARF97

Hall of Fame
1) Original = Leather + overgrip + dampener = 368 grams static weight

During my first 6-8 months I felt that the racquets were just too heavy and unwielding on my forehand and OHBH. In short I was always late in all my strokes including my serve. Mind you before and during this time I was already tuning my muscles in the gym plus practicing hitting balls against the wall. I did not progressed to my expectations in spite of my being a B Grade player (working on A). I mostly play singles but occasionally doubles.

2) First alteration: Change to synthetic grip (+ overgrip+ dampener ) from the original leather grip.

I think the static weight of these racquets were all 353 grams. Although, there were huge amount of weight reduce from 368 to 353 I felt that these racquets were too head heavy. They were not right for me because just imagine a 353 grams static weight racquet with head heavy. I might as well get a 300 grams racquet with head heavy. So in the end I scratched these alterations.

3) Second alteration: Change from synthetic grip back to original leather grip.

In this post they mentioned about customizing your racquet. If you add lead tape at the head you must counter it at the handle. Some post mentioned about countering about 8 inches above the butt cup. This is what I did. I added 8 grams just 5 inches above the butt cup. Now all my new customized racquets with 376 static weight and 12 points head light are just right if not perfect for my needs.
Once you get to this point it is all personal preference.
 
I play my red/black with just two overgrips (Wilson Pro on Tournagrip). Puts the racket at 347g and about 32,5cm balance. Before it was maybe 15 g's heavier, and one cm more headlight. Even if sw is not much lower, it is easier to move/swing the overall lighter racket forwards. Gosen Polylon 16 at 25 kgs.
 
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