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Dunlop - I.C.E. Tour (Lee Beachill Signature)

Published: 10 May 2006 - 05:24 by BizarreCo

Updated: 24 May 2006 - 08:32

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Well, after seeing someone ask a question about this racket, I thought I'd oblige with a brief review, follwed by an open Q&A session for those of you who want to know more!

I've used this racket since November (it is now May) when I was given 2 as replacements for E-Squash rackets that broke for no reason!

The racket weight is 135g with a very slightly head-light balance. I use 2 grips on the handle so technically mine is even more head-light. The rackets come with the Dunlop Dura Ace string, which gives above average feel and power with very good durability.

From a players point of view, I play very much a touch game (lots of placed volley drops, drops and lobs). From my first warm up on court I loved this racket. There is a stiff feel to it which causes a nasty vibration, but gives great touch on the ball. I fixed this problem by adding a Head SmartSorb vibration dampner (in a fetching flourescent yellow!). The difference was highly noticeable by everyone who has tried the racket with and without the vibration dampner!

In my first match with the racket, it provided great responce and strong feedback from shot to shot. The weight is perfect for a powerful swing, whilst still being light enough so as not to hinder fast reaction times.

Another player in my club is a heavy hitter. He plays a power game and kills the ball whenever he can. He normally uses a Dunlop Hot Melt Pro Titanium racket (one of my old rackets!), which he broke the strings in recently. I lent him my I.C.E. tour which he proceeded to hit nick after nick with. He agrees that the responce and feel of the racket is fantastic, and seeing what the racket is capable of in the hands of a power player only added to my overall respect for the great job that Dunlop have done on this range.

 

Now the technical bits:

 

I.C.E = Internally Cooled Engineering

This is very similar to the Hot Melt technology of previous rackets, where the racket material is forged in a specifc way to add strength. The new addition is the cooling process which adds stiffness with a lower overall weight into the mixture (possibly causing the vibration mentioned above??). The hot melt rackets were renowned for their durability (I've only ever broken 2 out of 10 - one of which was deliberate), and I'm not known for keeping away from the walls! This new frame material is lighter and appears just as strong as the original Hot Melt rackets, but the flex and stiffness has definitley increased as a result!

 

Power Ridges

I'm sure Dunlop won't like me saying this, but the power-ridges around the top of the racket head are a blatant rip-off of something used by Prince on their top rackets. Instead of a smooth racket frame, the top edge of the racket has groves running from left edge to right edge. These grooves add stiffness and strength to the top of the racket, to help deal with top edge impacts from walls.

 

The new I.C.E shapes

The I.C.E rackets come in two distinct shapes. The I.C.E Tour racket looks like the older Hot Melt Pro rackets, with a slightly rounded head shape. There I.C.E Elite and I.C.E. Custom Elite rackets both have elongated heads giving a 500cm² surface versus the 470cm² Tour surface.

 

Drawbacks

Sadly with all great rackets, no one has managed to get everything perfect and Dunlop have made some fatal flaws. The racket is designed for Advanced Players (from Dunlop's own marketing!), but there is no protection for the strings at the side of the rackets. Players who retrieve low shots are more likely to catch the side of their rackets on the floor, and that's where the strings in mine are beinging to wear. Also these rackets are being made in a different factory to previous rackets (so I've been told - not confirmed!), and they use slightly different plastics for the bumper guard/gromet strip. I don't remeber ever wearing out a gurad on a previous Dunlop racket, but I've worn through 2 on these rackets as the gromet strip is made from a lighter, flimsier plastic which has a habit of wearing through. As mentioned earlier, by far the biggest drawback is the vibration caused by the extra stiffness in the racket - Great for touch play, but bad for power play. I highly recommend the Head SmartSorb vibration dampener to fix this problem (buy the longer one as the short one tends to snap too easily!)

 

I hope this helps people and I'm happy to answer questions. I am also in a position to give comparisons of this racket to:

1) E-Squash James Wilstrop Carbon³ Racket

2) Head Ti140 Racket

3) Dunlop Hot Melt Pro 05 (carbon and titanium versions)

4) Dunlop Hot Melt Pro 06 (Titanium version)

Cheers for reading!

ADZ

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From BizarreCo - 24 May 2006 - 08:32

I've had chance to test a Prince o3 racket and a Wilson nTour since I wrote the above review. And yes I can agree that both of these rackets felt stiffer than the Dunlop, but neither had the same high level of natural vibration that can be felt in the Dunlop. It was this vibration which is really the only major down point to the Dunlop.

It does seem to have more touch than the Prince (with better balance) and slightly more "omph" to it than the Wilson, but then again this probably comes down to string tensions used in the rackets I tested.

Certainly the Dunlop feels more substantial than the other two (the wilson and the prince). The prince doesn't look very sturdy, but I guess only time will tell in the o3 system proves to be durable enough for harder-wearing players.

ADZ

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From dakbrar - 20 May 2006 - 16:33

have you compared it with other rackets like prince, head or wilson?  i noticed you mentioned the racket had a "stiff feel to it which causes a nasty vibrations".  on the contrary, i found the ice tour to be very flexible and rather dead to the touch.  perhaps its because i'm used to playing with prince and wilson rackets, but i found the ice tour along with both the 05 and 06 hotmelts to be quite "bendy".  are there others that feel this way also?  the ice tour feels a bit head light than the hotmelts and feels very manuverable.  i would have kept my ice tour if it had more stiffness and feel to it, but ended up picking up a couple of ntours instead.  if you like the way dunlop rackets feel, i think ice tour is a great addition.

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