Wilson Prostaff 85 - old vs new

Bobby Jr

G.O.A.T.
I took the plunge and bought a couple of the new PS85 frames (at $129 at TW they were too cheap to ignore).

I modified them to make them the same basic weight and balance as my existing frames and then had 3 strung at the same time* - one St Vincent, one late Taiwanese frame (bought in 1993) and the 2012 version.

Now, it's impossible to factor out that the older frames have been used for basically 20-25 years and will have gotten more flexible but thought I'd share some of the first observations on them.

The older frames plays way, way more similar to each other in terms of the sound they make on impact. They make a deeper, deader sound on impact than the new frame which makes a more metallic ping.

So far as power goes the newer frame has the edge for sure - most likely because it's stiffer since it's new, but doesn't feel any more harsh on the arm in terms of shock as you'd expect a stiffer frame too. That was the nice surprise.

Feel is where they feel completely different - in addition to the metallic sound on impact the newer frames feel less solid/dense through the middle section. Balls hit in the lower part the string bed or off-centre are noticeably worse than on the older frames - both in feel and power.

They're still lovely frames to play with but - as I've have long suspected - the build technique and materials used has not stayed the same, resulting in them being more different to the older versions than you'd hope.

I'd happily use them, and will from now on, but they're not the same by any means. If a percentage scale was made based on the St Vincent I'd put the Taiwanese frames at about 95%, the older (mid-late 90s) Chinese frames at about 85% and these about the same. I usually use two Taiwanese frames and, fwiw, they're the best balance of characteristics amongst all made - even if the St Vincents have the legend status.

Has anyone else ever done a side by side comparison of older and new iterations? I'd love to see a flex test done on a new and old version to see how much they differ.

(*strung with Weiss Cannon Silverstring 17/OG Sheep Micro 16 @ 48/52, with Tourna vibration damper, weighted to 370gms and approx 6-7pts head light)
 

giokkk67

New User
I've compared 2 SV vs Ps 6.0 China vs KPS88.
They were all in stock form:

- PS SV bumperless(65-70lbs),12.31 oz ,9HL unstrung
- PS SV bumper version (55-65lbs),12.27oz,9HL unstrung
- PS 6.0 China,12,06,12HL unstrung
- KPS88 China,12.38oz,9HL unstrung

All the racquet were strung with technifibre Xone biphase 1.24 50/48 lbs.

The 2 SV 18mm thick,the PS 6.0 and KPS88 17mm measured.

I did a test on the Babolat for the stiffness once strung:

SV bumperless:64RA
SV bumper:62RA
PS 6.0:65RA
KPS: 67RA

The PS 6.0 compared to the SV and the KPS,apart from the different specs,seems to have less mass in the throat, sounds "empty" on the upper hoop.

The SV compared to the KPS seems to have more mass in the mid section,or a "different kind" of mass.

I agree with you about the different feel,with the KPS closer to the SV than the PS 6.0.
 
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mad dog1

G.O.A.T.
bobby jr, thanks for sharing...my experiences mirror most of yours as well. i have 1 taiwan, 1 early china and 1 latest reissued PS85. the early china and taiwan sticks play and feel more similar than the latest reissued one. although they feel more solid and stiffer, my reissued stick plays alot better for me. the sweet spot on the taiwan and early china sticks are much smaller. any balls hit outside of the sweet spot don't have much pace whereas the sweet spot on my reissued stick is much bigger. i find that due to the increased flex, it's plays more forgiving and pockets the ball better. even though the balance of all 3 sticks is the same, the reissue swings easier so while it doesn't feel quite the same, i actually prefer and enjoy hitting w/ the reissued stick alot more. i think it's due to the way the weight is distributed around the hoop. the taiwan and early china sticks seem to have more mass in the bridge.
 
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giokkk67

New User
Thank you mad dog1! :)

Have you a chance to measure the real stiffness of your reissued edition on a Babolat RDC?
 

giokkk67

New User
^^ i haven't yet. interesting that your re-issue measures out stiffer than the SVs.
I own the previous version, the PS 6.0 85 late China,the one with the black but cap,not the reissued PS.

The Svs are quite old ,they've lost some stiffness (3-4 point from the original 67RA) as natural.

The PS late China is almost new,just 2 string jobs,I've found on the Babolat the same stiffness stated from Wilson,65 RA.

Would be interesting to measure the real stiffness of the reissue,should be really lower compared to the late China.
 

Bobby Jr

G.O.A.T.
bobby jr, thanks for sharing...my experiences mirror most of yours as well. i have 1 taiwan, 1 early china and 1 latest reissued PS85. the early china and taiwan sticks play and feel more similar than the latest reissued one.....

...i think it's due to the way the weight is distributed around the hoop. the taiwan and early china sticks seem to have more mass in the bridge.
Interesting... Yeah, I agree - the Taiwan and early Chinese ones do seem more solid through the mid-section. I'm so used to this that it feels right. The newest iteration feel good but I think it's just a case of adjusting slightly.

The noise when hitting is the thing which seems the most different. I wonder how much this is related to them being brand new as opposed to any significant differences in composition or fabrication methods???
 

mad dog1

G.O.A.T.
I own the previous version, the PS 6.0 85 late China,the one with the black but cap,not the reissued PS.

The Svs are quite old ,they've lost some stiffness (3-4 point from the original 67RA) as natural.

The PS late China is almost new,just 2 string jobs,I've found on the Babolat the same stiffness stated from Wilson,65 RA.

Would be interesting to measure the real stiffness of the reissue,should be really lower compared to the late China.
ah. that makes perfect sense.
 

mad dog1

G.O.A.T.
Interesting... Yeah, I agree - the Taiwan and early Chinese ones do seem more solid through the mid-section. I'm so used to this that it feels right. The newest iteration feel good but I think it's just a case of adjusting slightly.

The noise when hitting is the thing which seems the most different. I wonder how much this is related to them being brand new as opposed to any significant differences in composition or fabrication methods???
agreed. the sound the ball makes off the string bed of the new ones is more of a THWACK! sound whereas the sound the ball makes off the string bed of the Taiwan and early China ones is more of a THUD! sound
 

giokkk67

New User
agreed. the sound the ball makes off the string bed of the new ones is more of a THWACK! sound whereas the sound the ball makes off the string bed of the Taiwan and early China ones is more of a THUD! sound

Great, you managed to perfectly describe the difference!! :) :) :)
 

Bobby Jr

G.O.A.T.
One thing I just noticed today on picking up a newly strung frame is that on the new production run the drilling pattern is noticeably different on the crosses where the PWS is. I'd be surprised if the new grommets will fit these new frames.

Will post pics later.
 

anirut

Legend
From your comparisons, would you feel, then, that the current PS85 (let's call it the 85-2012 for now) is slightly tuned for the "modern game" where players tend to hang around the baseline a lot more and tend to hit more topspins than flats?

Just curious.
 
One thing I just noticed today on picking up a newly strung frame is that on the new production run the drilling pattern is noticeably different on the crosses where the PWS is. I'd be surprised if the new grommets will fit these new frames.

Will post pics later.
Like the PS Tour 90/N90 where the center is denser and perimeter being more open?

Or like the K90/BLX90/PSBLX90 where it's universally open?
 

Bobby Jr

G.O.A.T.
From your comparisons, would you feel, then, that the current PS85 (let's call it the 85-2012 for now) is slightly tuned for the "modern game" where players tend to hang around the baseline a lot more and tend to hit more topspins than flats?
Well, I wouldn't have drawn an inference quite that detailed from the changes, nor that any changes were made to cater to any change in eras. I imagine it's more likely that, after a break in production - with a possible change in machinery, staff and supply chain - the end product is simply different from other production versions over the years (as they were from each other as well).

And that's not even considering that they may have sped up, fine-tuned or cut corners during the fabrication process. I'd not be at all surprised to discover any of these things given how in-exact racquet manufacturing is.

I played for two hours tonight with the new frame and the thing that strikes me as being different is they feel less dense through the mid-section - despite being new and, in theory, stiffer than my (close to) 20 year old frames.
 
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giokkk67

New User
One thing I just noticed today on picking up a newly strung frame is that on the new production run the drilling pattern is noticeably different on the crosses where the PWS is. I'd be surprised if the new grommets will fit these new frames.

Will post pics later.

Thank you very much for your depht analisys Bobby! :)
It will be very interesting to see on pictures the differences between the two PWS.

Well, I wouldn't have drawn an inference quite that detailed from the changes, nor that any changes were made to cater to any change in eras. I imagine it's more likely that, after a break in production - with a possible change in machinery, staff and supply chain - the end product is simply different from other production versions over the years (as they were from each other as well).

And that's not even considering that they may have sped up, fine-tuned or cut corners during the fabrication process. I'd not be at all surprised to discover any of these things given how in-exact racquet manufacturing is.

I played for two hours tonight with the new frame and the thing that strikes me as being different is they feel less dense through the mid-section - despite being new and, in theory, stiffer than my (close to) 20 year old frames.

It's the same feeling I've had swapping from PS Saint Vincent's to PS 6.0 China's,an "empty" mid-section sensation.

From your impressions Bobby, seems like PS 6.0 2012 could play like a Ps 6.0 China with a softer stiff rate?
 

Bobby Jr

G.O.A.T.
Like the PS Tour 90/N90 where the center is denser and perimeter being more open?

Or like the K90/BLX90/PSBLX90 where it's universally open?
Seems more they've shifted a couple down the frame - the spacing seems not to have changed to any specific plan - they sync back up. The holes for the main strings match.

A merged pic. The white lines are the 1993 frame, the red are the 2012 frame. On the 2012 frames the cross strings are symmetrically placed and centred perfectly on the PWS section - on the older frames they're placed off-centre towards the top of the PWS section.


The individual pics:
1993 PS - Taiwan > http://i.imgur.com/DkM0m.jpg
2012 PS - China > http://i.imgur.com/29KJS.jpg
Note: the holes near the right side of the pic - which is the head end fyi - appear not to line up either. They do, it's just a result of the camera distortion towards the edge of the pic)
 
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akind

Banned
Thanks to ruup2it for leading me to here.

I'm having a second thought of buying the new PS 85 now... the bad feel of the off centre hit slightly turns me off... though i'd rather like the sound of more power but that doesn't worry me because the lead tape and power pads do wonders.

Perhaps the St. Vincent factory workers were more dedicated to their job and did a more thorough job.
 

Bobby Jr

G.O.A.T.
Thanks to ruup2it for leading me to here.

I'm having a second thought of buying the new PS 85 now... the bad feel of the off centre hit slightly turns me off...
I wouldn't worry about that sort of thing Akind - having used these for a couple of weeks now I'd say the difference is negligible.

Most people who says things like frames are noticeably worse in off-centre hits are probably imagining or overthinking things - nothing a little weight on/near the PWS can't solve. Other than that > fantastic frames in-general... assuming you like this kind of frame that is.

They're not St Vincents but, from experience, 9 out of 10 people who talk about St Vincents being the "only PS85" worth hitting with couldn't tell the difference if their life depended on it. They want to be able to.
 

mad dog1

G.O.A.T.
Thanks to ruup2it for leading me to here.

I'm having a second thought of buying the new PS 85 now... the bad feel of the off centre hit slightly turns me off... though i'd rather like the sound of more power but that doesn't worry me because the lead tape and power pads do wonders.

Perhaps the St. Vincent factory workers were more dedicated to their job and did a more thorough job.
since the sweet spot on my re-issued PS85 is larger than my PS85 taiwan, i actually get less bad feel on off center hits with the new stick.
 

mad dog1

G.O.A.T.
also wanted to share, i've been messing around w/ my PS85 BLX and PS85 early china. i've been hitting w/ the early china which has a full poly string job that is 6 months old so it's lost quite a bit of tension. interestingly, this stick now plays alot more like my BLX version so i believe by lowering the tension in the early china and taiwan PS85s, i can get them to feel very similar.

i string my PS85 reissued with full poly @ 46/46# on a CP machine. i'm going to try restringing the taiwan and early china at 41#s to test my theory.
 
About PWS:

Any idea as to why the PS85 (any version) has a slightly shorter but more protruding PWS?

Whereas the Tour 90 (any version) has a slightly longer but flatter PWS?
 

WilsonPlyr

New User
PS85 comments

Speculation from a former tour player I had string my brand new PS85 is that these are not new racquets...they are old racquets...that is why they have new grips with different color butt caps on them (the original grips installed would need to be replaced they sat on a shelf so long)....suspicion on where it says 'Use Sensation String' inside as well since far more advanced strings are available now....the 88 I have does not say this either. They weighed the racquet and checked the balance point...everything checks out. Why does everyone think it's so crazy that Wilson could make a racquet like this again? I feel that different factories would be held to the same standards as well..as far as paying $500 for a 'St. Vincent' goes....I agree with many on here that most could never tell the difference if their life depended on it...it's like anything else...tour players don't use any of these anyway...they have custom racquets that are painted to make you feel like you have the same thing you bought at the nearest Sports Authority....
 

Tennis Man

Hall of Fame
I took the plunge and bought a couple of the new PS85 frames (at $129 at TW they were too cheap to ignore).

I modified them to make them the same basic weight and balance as my existing frames and then had 3 strung at the same time* - one St Vincent, one late Taiwanese frame (bought in 1993) and the 2012 version.

Now, it's impossible to factor out that the older frames have been used for basically 20-25 years and will have gotten more flexible but thought I'd share some of the first observations on them.

The older frames plays way, way more similar to each other in terms of the sound they make on impact. They make a deeper, deader sound on impact than the new frame which makes a more metallic ping.

So far as power goes the newer frame has the edge for sure - most likely because it's stiffer since it's new, but doesn't feel any more harsh on the arm in terms of shock as you'd expect a stiffer frame too. That was the nice surprise.

Feel is where they feel completely different - in addition to the metallic sound on impact the newer frames feel less solid/dense through the middle section. Balls hit in the lower part the string bed or off-centre are noticeably worse than on the older frames - both in feel and power.

They're still lovely frames to play with but - as I've have long suspected - the build technique and materials used has not stayed the same, resulting in them being more different to the older versions than you'd hope.

I'd happily use them, and will from now on, but they're not the same by any means. If a percentage scale was made based on the St Vincent I'd put the Taiwanese frames at about 95%, the older (mid-late 90s) Chinese frames at about 85% and these about the same. I usually use two Taiwanese frames and, fwiw, they're the best balance of characteristics amongst all made - even if the St Vincents have the legend status.

Has anyone else ever done a side by side comparison of older and new iterations? I'd love to see a flex test done on a new and old version to see how much they differ.

I really like your comparison and the fact that you confirm once again that St Vincent frames can't be replicated in China. :)

I regularly play with St Vincent and sometimes Taiwan and notice a huge difference even between these two in terms of feel and touch.

On your scale I would rate them as follows:

Taiwanese frames at about 80%,
earlier Chinese frames at about 75%
recent Chinese (TW) frames at about 70%
 

vsbabolat

G.O.A.T.
Interesting... Yeah, I agree - the Taiwan and early Chinese ones do seem more solid through the mid-section. I'm so used to this that it feels right. The newest iteration feel good but I think it's just a case of adjusting slightly.

The noise when hitting is the thing which seems the most different. I wonder how much this is related to them being brand new as opposed to any significant differences in composition or fabrication methods???
It's the new Carbon fibre. Unless they stop using Braided Graphite and Kevlar. The early Taiwanese frames were unidirectional Graphite and Kevlar.
 

Eddie Kao

New User
Do you play reissued ps85 (2012) with good feel if there were no any previous version for comparison.
I am trying to buy some of the reissues, worth to go?
 

joe sch

Legend
Do you play reissued ps85 (2012) with good feel if there were no any previous version for comparison.
I am trying to buy some of the reissues, worth to go?
If your not hooked on the original feel and want a nice change of pace compared to the current air shells, then yes, give it a go, you should enjoy.
 

mhkeuns

Hall of Fame
Have to try the St. Vincent or the Chicago version. I couldn't tell those two versions apart, but I noticed a significant difference with the Taiwan version in feel. The St. Vincent's and Chicago versions are so solid with the greatest feel, almost like it has some wood in it. The Taiwan version felt more hollow.
 

Eddie Kao

New User
Have to try the St. Vincent or the Chicago version. I couldn't tell those two versions apart, but I noticed a significant difference with the Taiwan version in feel. The St. Vincent's and Chicago versions are so solid with the greatest feel, almost like it has some wood in it. The Taiwan version felt more hollow.
Like to have one st viceent or chicago if I can find a reliable supply. And problem is their price may be same as RF97 depends on its condition.
 

mhkeuns

Hall of Fame
Like to have one st viceent or chicago if I can find a reliable supply. And problem is their price may be same as RF97 depends on its condition.
Yeah... I was looking for more and couldn't believe the asking price. Some are priced much more than any new rackets, including the RF 97 and Pure Aero. Luckily, I have two of each and one Taiwan version to last me a while. For some odd reason, the 85 sq. in. head plays easier than the 90 and way more powerful than both the 90 and 95, ime.
 

BreakPoint

Bionic Poster
PS85 comments

Speculation from a former tour player I had string my brand new PS85 is that these are not new racquets...they are old racquets...that is why they have new grips with different color butt caps on them (the original grips installed would need to be replaced they sat on a shelf so long)....suspicion on where it says 'Use Sensation String' inside as well since far more advanced strings are available now....the 88 I have does not say this either. They weighed the racquet and checked the balance point...everything checks out. Why does everyone think it's so crazy that Wilson could make a racquet like this again? I feel that different factories would be held to the same standards as well..as far as paying $500 for a 'St. Vincent' goes....I agree with many on here that most could never tell the difference if their life depended on it...it's like anything else...tour players don't use any of these anyway...they have custom racquets that are painted to make you feel like you have the same thing you bought at the nearest Sports Authority....
Interesting point. Wilson moved from the Sensation recommendation to NXT quite some time ago.
Nah...these are newly manufactured since TW has to commit to buying a large quantity each time for Wilson to be willing to do a special production run on these. This is why they are called "SMU" (Special Make Up). Besides, TW has sold many thousands of these since they brought back these re-issues, so I highly doubt Wilson had that many laying around collecting dust.

As far as the string recommendation, I'm sure since this is a re-issue and not a new model, Wilson was not going to bother (nor incur the additional cost of) changing the decals and graphics on any part of the frame. They may even have had some of the older decals still in stock. Besides, the immediate China versions which were sold prior to these re-issues (in the mid-2000's) had a completely different updated graphic sticker inside of the throat. So if these frames were just left over stock from when they stopped production previously, they would have had that completely different spec sticker inside of the throat.

This one from the mid-2000's production with the 'modern" updated spec decal inside of the throat:

 
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Eddie Kao

New User
Anyway, I can not find here in Taiwan, so I bought 2 from TW USA, tried it, it's too good, I end up gave my other big head racquets free to my friends. Doesn't matter it's old, new, reissue or long time stock, it's cool. OHBH me, I feel a sword in hand!
 
Finally snagged one of thes for $3 from goodwill.

It has the hologram sticker but the specs are printed on the inside of the frame and arent on a sticker. It says manufactured by CHIAO TA and has a Fairway grip. Recommends wilson sensation string too.

what iteration is this... a later taiwanese version? pretty nice condition.
 

Pistol10

Professional
@mhkeuns @Bobby Jr

For who used both PS85, The St. Vincent Sampras (bumper guard, tension recommendation 50-60), and the late Taiwanese (using wilson syn gut recommendation on the throat).

Which one is stiffer & harsher? I have the Taiwanese, very stiff & harsh, soecially the throat.

I've heard the the St. Vincent is buttery, but the personal stringer of Pete Sampras said in an interview the the St. Vincent is Harsher!! He didn't mention the Taiwanese, but he compared it to the early chinese 6.0 85.
 

John

Semi-Pro
Sampras use bumperless one only!

The early Chicago, st. Vincent are 70+++++
Taiwan made are softer,
China, and TW replica are flexible.

I dont’ know whats In your head, really. You need extra hard racquet to be able to pin point flat serve.
PS85 give precise accuracy and it comes from its hardness.
 

Antónis

Professional
Sampras used the last batches of St. V., with butt cap code BSQ, also called "the tickers", because supposedly those were 1 mm thicker than the previous batches, due to worn looser molds.
I believe Courier used those too. If my memory is correct, Edberg was the one who used bumperless Pro Staff's
 

John

Semi-Pro
Sampras used the latest version of St. Vincent, not bumperless. Info & pictures below:
https://www.hdtennis.com/grs/pro_racquet_specs/sampras_wilson.html
Lol very funny. I believe this is a professionally customed racquet with no doubt. But you better watch close ups of past match video and see what was actually used on field.

Of course, we can’t rule the possibility that he changed alone his career path. But please don’t make assumptions from a photo with no one holds it.
 

John

Semi-Pro
Sampras used the latest version of St. Vincent, not bumperless. Info & pictures below:
https://www.hdtennis.com/grs/pro_racquet_specs/sampras_wilson.html
I am sorry. I just did some search and found a handful of photo shows Pete was using racquet with bumper guard. But there are a lot more photo out there can’t tell if bumper guard exists. Especially in motion. Due old technology resolution.
I do see some photo that reallydont looks like with bumperguard.
 

Sanglier

Semi-Pro
Sampras used the last batches of St. V., with butt cap code BSQ, also called "the tickers", because supposedly those were 1 mm thicker than the previous batches, due to worn looser molds.
Has anyone gone over a BSQ with a caliper to verify this persistent myth/legend about its thickness? I've measured a dozen or so PS85 of different vintage and found that all SV models came out to around 17.5 mm (+/- 0.1 mm), regardless of year of production. The difference between the thickest example (at 17.70 mm, a Taiwan model) and thinnest example (at 17.14 mm, a Belgian model) among the units I've measured is under 0.6 mm - a difference that is already noticeable to the naked eye, and certainly between the fingers. A 1.0 mm difference (from 17.5mm to 18.5mm) would have been enormous and cannot be missed!!

Let's not forget that when we say "the mold", it's not just a single mold that we are talking about. A dozen or more molds are run in parallel during the manufacture of these popular models to churn out hundreds of frames every day. Molds are replaced when defects are detected, so there "could" have been older and newer molds being used together during the production of the same batch of racquets, so long as no actual change had been made to the manufacture protocol. Moreover, the amount of pressure being applied to the inside of the frame during the molding process is far lower than the pressure generated by the clamps from the outside, so it is quite improbable that any kind of "loosening" could have occurred to the mold overtime (short of human error). If a particular mold had nevertheless loosened to the point where its inside dimension had increased by a whole millimeter, much more molten resin would have leaked out from the seams during the baking step, and the mold would most likely have been discarded by any conscientious production staff (St Vincent's workers had a reputation for doing things by the book, and producing racquets with consistent specs. I can't imagine them not noticing that one or more molds had loosened up on their top-of-the-line product).

For the BSQ myth to be true, most if not all of the molds in the production run would have had to be loosened by the same amount simultaneously and evenly across the entire frame. Alternatively, Wilson would have had to commission a new batch of molds for this model just as they were beginning to wind down their St Vincent production, only to have the mold maker accidentally make them out of spec without anyone noticing. Neither scenario seems very plausible to me.

I wish I could test this myth myself, but people still price these frames so high thanks to the Sampras legend that it is not in the cards. In any case, a legend wouldn't be a legend unless it came with some myths, and many myths outlast the legend from which they were born, so the BSQ myths will probably live on long after this thread is dead and forgotten.
 
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Pistol10

Professional
Yes, the story about thick ps, is not confirmed by a reliable source. I never believed it, it's just not logical as what have you explained @Sanglier
 
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