Info for Your Squashgame

A Quiet Week? And New Racquets!!

Published: 08 Apr 2008 - 07:57 by Adz

Updated: 22 Apr 2008 - 19:07

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Well unless my browser is stuck in some unknown "pause" mode, it appears that the forums have ground to a hault over the past few days.

 

I know that I'm not around that much anymore to bore everyone with extremely long posts of trivial squash information, but I do call in every now and then but haven't seen any activitiy on the forum for a good few days?!?! Is there some 4 day silence that I wasn't told about?

 

Anyhow, to start off a new thread, I've just purchased two ICE Elite racquets, which on hind sight might have been a very silly move by me given that they are the complete opposite balance to the aerogel tours that I'm using now!

 

So I know that a few other members use or have used these racquets and I was wondering what you think are the pros and cons? Any scare stories? Do they break easily? Should I keep them away from the wall at all costs?

 

This is also the first time in about 8 years that I'm using a racquet with a 470+ cm/sqrd head size. I imagine that this is going to take some getting used to!!

 

Adz

 

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Replies...

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From scar - 22 Apr 2008 - 15:51   -   Updated: 22 Apr 2008 - 15:51

It's done gentlemen. I will continue with the hotmelt pros for this coming period till the season.

Maybe, at the end of this one - I will treat myself. Working pretty hard right now - almost 4-5 hours of solo practice every week. (some group).

Think I got myself  a reasonable deal - almost $120 for two of those rackets (net since the cost of 160 included a pair of $40 shoes that I was looking for anyway).

The rackets should be here next week - and with new grips and strings, should be good to go.

Once again - I think this thread has been extremely enlightening about racquets (Dunlop in particular), and some aspects of those like playability etc.

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From bosartek - 21 Apr 2008 - 22:54   -   Updated: 21 Apr 2008 - 22:58

I agree with Adz here... a set of performance strings is the easiest and most cost-effective way to improve touch/feel, whichever racquet you choose. Try out some higher gauge/thinner string such as TF225 or Ashaway Powernick. The TF225 are especially springy and feel great on the hotmelts (and because they are so thin (1.10mm), they help create a more head-light feel-- just tweak the grip a bit and you're all set!).

As for durability, I think the hotmelts have it.

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From Adz - 21 Apr 2008 - 09:58

Scar,

 

It's a pity that you aren't in the UK cause I know of someone trying to sell 2 or 3 of them cheaply!! Also there's a shop over here selling them for 2 for £79.99. Not sure of the cheapest place in the US for racquets, but I've always found SquashGear very cheap for strings (especially to the UK - $10.50 shipping for a reel!! Bargain!!)

 

Best of luck and keep us informed of how you get on!

 

Cheers

 

Adz

 

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From scar - 21 Apr 2008 - 09:11   -   Updated: 21 Apr 2008 - 09:11

Adz,

Thanks for the post. Yes, I did use supernick on the hotmelts that I had. Agree with you on the smaller head size completely - do not intend to stray away from the 470 sq cm head size at all.

I will try the Ice tour I think - am doing some shopping for the best price now.  I do realize that hotmelts are going to be more durable, but I think I will appreciate the feedback from tour.

After I feel good about my work  - I can indulge in fanciful stuff!

Cheers,

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From Adz - 21 Apr 2008 - 09:04

Scar,

Someone mentioned in a different post about the ICE Elite having a very intollerant feel when striking shots off-center. I can certainly agree that the racquet feels like it wants to twist out of your hand if you don't strike the ball cleanly. I never got this with the ICE Tour of the ICE Pro, so perhaps the 500cm2 ICE range have this characteristic?

The Hotmelts certainly don't, and neither did my 470cm2 Aerogel Tours. But the aerogels do give a more vibrating feel when not struck cleanly (as Bosartek said).

If you're trying to learn control and want to use a Dunlop, then stick to the 470cm2 head size. Once you've mastered the control element then I'd consider moving onto the 500cm2 head size, which allows for more effortless power. To get this power you have to sacrifice effortless control as the larger head sizes are less compensating for off-center or poorly hit shots.

 

As for durability...... I'd go with the Hotmelt every time, but for feedback I'd go with the ICE range. Maybe move from one into the other as the year progresses and you improve your technique / control?

 

Either way, good luck and let us know what you choose!

 

Cheers

 

 

Adz

 

p.s. I'd seriously think about getting a good quality string in either racket to improve the feedback. The Dura-ace stock stringing can feel a little dull compared to a TF305 or Ashaway supernick or Powernick. Go for something with some good elasticity and reasonable durability (TF305 1.3mm??)

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From scar - 20 Apr 2008 - 15:22

Bosartek,

Actually your post is enlightening, and dead-on. I mentioned in an earlier post in this same thread that I am actually working on my technique right now and trying to get to a good 5.0 level. Hence, all the points about technique that you mentioned are some of the things I am working on making sure to learn, correct, and close gaps where existent.

Hence, Dunlop hotmelt/tour would be fine. Maybe by next season after this year of solid practice and work on technique, I can switch to something lighter etc. and that too if needed. What you said makes perfect sense. The tours and hotmelt cost around the same - wondering if one is really more durable over the other? Those are the racquets I think I am going to continue with.

Thanks again my friend.

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From bosartek - 20 Apr 2008 - 02:56   -   Updated: 20 Apr 2008 - 03:54

Don't get me wrong, the new Dunlops are very good, but they are different than the hotmelts. Aside from variations in weight/balance, the aerogels differ primarily in stiffness. As such, the racquets offer better feedback** and touch but at the cost of decreased tolerance for error. If you have good technique and hit consistently well, a stiff racquet gives excellent control as well as power. If you have only fair technique and hit reasonably well, a stiff racquet is far less forgiving. This translates into more mishits and consequent vibration as energy intended for the ball-strike is more readily redirected through the racquet, back into your arm. It is for the the same reason that I never recommend a very light/head-light racquet to a beginner (look back at my old post again, linked somewhere below); a light, stiff racquet often "feels" nice and is "easy" to swing, but the lack of weight makes it difficult for the muscles to learn and develop proper technique.

**Please understand the distinction here: when I say "better feedback", I refer to the action of contacting/striking the ball. However, a heavier racquet will provide better "feedback" in regard to the preparation, swing, and follow-through, factors far more critical when developing technique. Basically, it comes down to 'feeling the racquet' as opposed to 'feeling the ball;'  you must first learn to control your body/racquet and control of the ball will follow.

...... 

"Ok, so what's wrong with that?," you ask... well, nothing!

There is nothing 'wrong' with choosing a stiffer racquet... I don't mean to imply anything about your racquet skills or level of play, only that you must be aware of these things when comparing an aerogel to a hotmelt. That is the simple reason why I can't tell you to get one over the other; it depends on where you are on the learning curve and what is most helpful to your game at this moment. The hotmelts are excellent all around, and you can't go wrong with them. The aerogels are different, not necessarily better or worse. My most general advice to anyone would be this: if you hit with the aerogel and it doesn't really feel all that different to you, the hotmelt is a better choice (both for your technique and your wallet). Whenever I make any changes to my technique, I always practice with a heavier racquet (the hotmelt or ice tour), so that I can really feel the swing, until the changes are incorporated into muscle memory. Then I can go back to the aerogel and re-focus on the subtleties of striking the ball. I hope that makes sense!

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From scar - 19 Apr 2008 - 00:00

Thanks Bosartek. Yes, I am looking into that actually.

Just that - I have played with the hotmelts and enjoyed them. The tour from what you said offers a little more power/maybe better touch.

If I am not mistaken, there was nothing really very strong about the other Dunlops over the hotmelts, and part of me just wants to stick with those and get some more, but I guess no harm in trying and playing with some more of those Dunlops!

Thanks very much mate.

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From bosartek - 18 Apr 2008 - 22:04   -   Updated: 18 Apr 2008 - 22:07

Scar,

There are several online shops that offer very reasonable demo programs (up to $30 for 4 racquets for one week, including return postage). Sounds like that might be your best bet (at least for the Dunlops), and you certainly can't beat the convenience.

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From zatoichi - 18 Apr 2008 - 11:47

The possibility of finding spare parts for racquet's, is rarely focused on, but is really because head bumpers don't last forever ... ..so if gray's have the audacity to charge a premium price for their product then i expect them to be able to deliver grommet kits.. so when they seem pretty nonchalant in this regard then i for one will stay well clear of their products...

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From Adz - 18 Apr 2008 - 10:31

I think that Grays did their best to copy the weights and balances of Dunlop and Prince with the powerflow range, but when you actually use the racquets something just feels different.

Personally the Superlite feels like the head is too big for the racquet, which was something I was worried about when looking at the ICE Elite which I now use, but for some reason the ICE Elite feels right but the Superlite felt wrong.

Same thing goes with the Ultima and Lite, as I don't like using teardrops, but they just felt like they had the right balance.

All down to preference of course, and possibly down to string type and pattern and number of grips and thickness of gromit strip etc.

Anyway you can find anyone who has one to try first? It's always easier! The Ultima for £50 ($100usd) would be a good deal, but that much for the Superlite seems a bit of a rip off!! I personally wouldn't pay more that £40 ($80usd) for the Superlite, and even then I'd be looking to find a Dunlop Elite or Ultimate for a similar price to suit my balance requirements.

 

Well each to their own anyway! One word of warning though, getting hold of the replacement gromit strips for the Grays is like getting blood from a stone. I requested one from the Grays company directly and after 3 months hadn't got a thing!! Perhaps now their in more ready supply, but alwas useful to check first!!

 

Cheers

 

Adz

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From scar - 18 Apr 2008 - 09:46   -   Updated: 18 Apr 2008 - 09:46

Adz - Thank you for your comments. They are very helpful indeed. It seems that the Ultima/Superlite (new) might be available from someone around in the club for about 100 USD (~50 UK Pounds).

The Hotmelt/Ice tour cost pretty much the same - around 80USD range from competitive sellers here in the US. Ice Pro is higher.

Ideally, I would have to loved to try a bunch of these racquets before making my choice. Given the circumstances, I really value your opinions Adz and Bosartek (and of course more on this forum).

Thank you very much for those. Adz, btw I thought that the Grays Superlite specifications (135 g weight and 500sq cm head with an open throat) is identical to the Dunlop JP Ice Elite (135g and 500 sq cm head). Fundamentally, there must be something about the racquet I guess. Thought that the open throat design would help, but I guess it does not.

Cheers,

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From Adz - 18 Apr 2008 - 04:17   -   Updated: 18 Apr 2008 - 04:18

Scar,

 

Some good questions there!

Agreed that the Hotmelt is as good an option as the ICE Pro or the ICE Tour, probably better given the prices! Gray's are expensive over here but no ideas how much they cost in the USA.

When I first got sponsored by Grays I got all four of the Powerflow series (Elite, Ultima, Lite and Superlite), to have a bit of a play and see the benefits of each one. Firstly I have to add that I don't really get on well with teardrop racquets and prefer a round head, but for some reason the Gray's Ultima and Lite felt really nice to play with. The Ultima definately needs to have the right strings in it - I used Ashaway Supernick XL Pros and they felt much nicer than the stock stringing. I can't remember what strings I used in the Lite, but I remember that the racquet itself was the best value for money of all of the Poweflow range (I think I was getting them for around £25 each at first!!!). The superlite seems a little too large in the head when swinging the racquet. Nothing like the Dunlops, but more like the Wilson Hammer range. Lots of power, but it didn't have the right "feel" for me to get touch with it. Again a good value for money racquet, but not really suitable for a touch orientated player. Adjusting to the larger head size was quite difficult and the racquet felt like it was 600cm2 as opposed to 500cm2!

If I was looking for different racquets that offered feedback then I'd probably go with:

1. Aerogel Tour

2. Gray's Powerflow Elite

3. Hotmelt

4. ICE Elite

5. ICE Tour / ICE Pro

6. Gray's Powerflow Lite

7. Gray's Ultima

8. Gray's Superlite

 

Please keep in mind that this list is based on how much I managed to perfect the racquet / string combination over a period of time, so expect the ICE Elite to move up the rankings to first or second once I've got used to playing with it.

 

Cheers!!

 

Adz

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From scar - 17 Apr 2008 - 14:19   -   Updated: 17 Apr 2008 - 14:19

Gentlemen,

Thank you very much for the valuable feedback. It really is detailed description about durability/playability. So - thank you.

Based on all that has been said - seems like Hotmelt pro might still be a fair choice compared to ice tour/pro. I did not hear any really clear and strong opinions on the superiority of those two models over the hotmelt pro (white frame). Grays is good - but hard to get a hold of the elite in the USA.

Any opinions on the Ultima or Superlite (seems that there is a possibility that those two might be available here in the states, not confirmed)? How easy has it been to adjust to the 500 sqcm head after playing all along with the 470sq cm?

I don't want to sound finicky - but I just don't want something too forgiving so that I lose out on the racquet feedback especially when I am trying to learn (trying to get to a good 5.0 level here).

So, again - thoughts would be much appreciated.

 

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From bosartek - 17 Apr 2008 - 12:52

Kind words, thank you Adz!

Yes, unfortunately the stock strings really fail to do justice to the new aerogel line. The racquets also come strung at very high tension and that, together with the mediocre string, leaves first impressions rather disappointing. As does Adz, I also have the luxury of stringing myself and that makes things much easier, but new strings make a world of difference on the aerogels. Ultimately, I would still prefer a racquet somewhere between the GT and Tour (say head-light, 140g)... basically, the Elite but with a smaller head size.

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From Adz - 17 Apr 2008 - 08:10

Yikes, this thread has really taken off!

 

Firstly top credit to Bosartek for an excellent post covering some really good points!

 

Scar:

1. Difference between Ice tour and Ice pro?

The balance and weighting is slightly different with the ICE Pro (slightly lighter in the head), and slightly lighter overall. I'd have to say that for some reason I found that the Tours were a bit more durable than the ICE Pros, but still easy to break if you hit the wall too hard! My funniest moment was completely losing the plot and misjudging my distance to the back wall. The racquet came through the swing, hit the wall and the only thing left to swing through to the ball was the grip and shaft of the racquet! The rest had broke off cleanly at the throat section. Funny at the time until you come to buy a replacement!

 

2. Have you tried Aerogel Pro GT?

One of the guys playing locally uses one, and I've had a hit with it but something just didn't feel right to me. I wasn't really paying attention to the weight / balance too much at the time, but remember it feeling dead with the power - then again he hadn't restrung it and was still using the m-fil stuff which I quickly realised I hate when buying my Aerogel Tours.

 

3. How would you compare Dunlop Hotmelt/Ice Tour/Ice Pro etc vs. Gray Powerflow Elite?

Ah the fabled Powerflow Elite. The story goes: I was searching online to find something different to play with after I'd broke a few ICE Tours and fancied something a bit different. I found the Gray's racquets being advertised but NO-ONE had them for sale. Anywhere! So I wrote to Gray's and after a conversation I got given terms on the racquets as I was a county coach at the time. I've used all of the Powerflow range and the Elite is the closest thing to the standard Dunlop designs (470cm2). Balance is about the same as the Tour. Weight is there or there abouts. The big difference was in the feedback through the frame. At first I had to use a vibration dampener in the Tour as I found the frame feedback was giving me elbow problems, but when I changed to the Powerflow Elite I found these problems disappeared (but I also changed string types!). The frame's are quite stiff when you strike the ball cleanly, but I found the Tour flexes a bit. The main downside to the Powerflow is the stupidly high cost compared to the Dunlops on the market. Even on terms I had to pay £40 a racquet which they wanted to put up to £60 after the first year. When I complained they offered to drop that price to £50, but I could buy 2 ICE Pros for £80 and thus my Gray's days came to an end and I moved onto the ICE Pros.

4. Someone was mentioning "feather" racquets the other day and commending them for their durability and playing quality.

Seen them but never used one so I couldn't comment. Although I would add that I've also never heard anyone complain about them.

5. I am sure answer is "NO" - but is Muscleweaves are completely unavailable, right?

Unfortunately they are unavailable unless you can find one once in a blue moon on ebay. They do come up, usually used, and sell for about £30 each. I saw an unused one on there a few months back that went for £45 and that wasn't even strung!! So they do command a bit of a premium as people know how good they were "back in the day!!"

 

Junaidq:

I string my new ICE Elites using powernick 18 red at 24lbs. As recommended by Ashaway I use 3lbs less tension on the powernick as with other strings. Then after they bed in a touch I find they have enough tension for excellent touch, but when hit cleanly can really put a lot of power into the ball! I have a bit of a benefit by restringing myself, so I get to play around finding the right tension - something that would normally cost a non-stringer about 3 or 4 restrings to get perfect!

So I hope that adds my 2p worth to your questions!

 

Cheers

 

Adz

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From weiran - 17 Apr 2008 - 04:26   -   Updated: 17 Apr 2008 - 04:27

junaidq: regarding Aerogel Ultimate tension, I strung mine at 27lbs but found that too tight for the string (Powernick 18) and the dense pattern of the Ultimate, I'l probably try something lower, 23-5lbs perhaps with thin strings.

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From bosartek - 17 Apr 2008 - 03:08   -   Updated: 17 Apr 2008 - 12:30

scar,

1. I have played with both the ICE Tour and ICE Pro and prefer the Tour. The Tour is head-light and the Pro is even balanced, but I find the Pro to feel slightly too head-heavy (even compared with the Hotmelt Pro, though perhaps only marginally). The shape of the ICE racquet-head provides for a bit more power than the Hotmelt, so I find the Tour offers ample power but also a lighter touch, which I have come to prefer. If you like a heavier feel and lots of power (and are used to the Hotmelt Pro) the ICE Pro is good but, after playing with the ICE Tour, the ICE Pro (and my old Hotmelt) feels quite heavy.

2. I have also played with the Aerogel Pro GT (I've actually played with the entire aerogel line). Initially I was reluctant to use the GT because, not only is it lighter than the old hotmelt (137g vs. 140g), it is also head-light as opposed to even. Having used Hotmelts for several years, I thought the GT felt a little weak (see my older post for more on this: http://www.squashgame.info/articleview/3157). That was several months ago and I can now say that the weight/balance issues no longer bother me. The racquet has a very satisfying pop when hitting cleanly and, with correct technique, can generate good power. Strings make a big difference here as well, as the stock strings really make the GT feel dead. I restring my GT with Tecnifibre 225 and have come to appreciate the stiffness, touch and feedback, but it certainly took some getting-used-to after the Hotmelt (same for the Aerogel Elite, which I have restrung with Ashaway Powernick 18, though I tend to prefer the smaller sized head anyway). That said, there is still something about the overall feel of the aerogels that bothers me... hard to say exactly, but they have a delicate or even toy-like quality about them. To be fair, this may be entirely psychological as a result of the new cosmetics or the stiffer frame, but the old Hotmelts have a more solid feel/look. As for durability, I can say that I broke a GT and a Tour within one month (the Tour actually broke after just a few games), whereas I still have my Hotmelts from 3 years ago. I don't know if this is because of the stiffer aerogel construction or if the racquets were just defective, but I will keep you updated if you're interested.

...

5. Basically, yes, the muscleweaves are no longer available. I'm sure there are still a few floating around somewhere (I actually have a new muscleweave pro from the last year of production before the hotmelt was introduced, but I haven't thought about selling it). I suppose there is always a chance one might show up on ebay, but it's unlikely. As an aside for Adz, I also have an old Muscle Weave Inferno 140, though I haven't used it for quite some time now.

 

junaidq,

If it's of any help, I restrung my Aerogel Elite with Powernick 18 at 27lbs (12kg) as I like a slightly tighter string bed. However, for the denser string pattern of the Ultimate I would probably drop tension by 1lbs (~0.5kg) or more. Generally, higher tension means more control and less power but it also depends on the thickness and type of string used as well as the size and shape of the racquet head. My advice would be to select a string that you like and tension somewhere in the middle. Make a note of it, see how it plays, and next time adjust by plus or minus 1lbs/0.5kg. It just comes down to trial and error and your particular preference. Just to give you an idea... earlier this year during a tournament , I spoke with James Willstrop and he told me that he was playing with stock string in all of his racquets. Go figure! He wasn't particularly concerned with string at all provided the tension between his racquets was always consistent (around 28lbs at the time).

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From yaehbhi - 16 Apr 2008 - 21:54

Adz,

I can provide my 2cents on Head racquets. I've always used Heads and liked their feel and power, but they break too easy. I've used LM, Flexpoint and Metallix range. So far Metallix 150 has lasted for few months but I'm keeping my fingers crossed!

I always wanted to move to a more reliable brand, tried Wilson ncode but didn't like them that much. I have been considering Dunlop after reading the great reviews on the forum.

I've recently bought an Aerogel Ultimate, haven't tried it yet, so will be able to comment on it very soon. Btw, can anyone comment on the string tension for Aerogel Ultimate, what tension do you guys normally use?

cheers,

J

 

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From scar - 16 Apr 2008 - 16:13

Adz,

Have been using the Dunlop Hotmelt Pro for the last 2 years and have enjoyed these racquets. A bit whippy, but good feedback in all the shots. If you get the timing and spot right, they produce teh sweetest shots. I was looking to get some new ones, and the range of racquets available is so overwhelming. One thing that I am certain of - I want to stick to the 470 sqcm. head size. I am not comfortable with the some of the larger sizes that I have played with. Especially now - I am working hard on my improving my technique/racquet skills etc, I do not want to deviate from that.

Long story short. Would love thoughts on:

1. Difference between Ice tour and Ice pro?

2. Have you tried Aerogel Pro GT?

3. How would you compare Dunlop Hotmelt/Ice Tour/Ice Pro etc vs. Gray Powerflow Elite?

4. Someone was mentioning "feather" racquets the other day and commending them for their durability and playing quality.

5. I am sure answer is "NO" - but is Muscleweaves are completely unavailable, right?

All opinions and thoughts are welcome.

Thanks,

 

 

 

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From Adz - 16 Apr 2008 - 14:43

Well I can't speak about all the O3 range, but I have know quite a few to break on the ports and even more to get "cuts" into the frame on the ports where the strings seem to cut into the frame.

 

I'm sure that the cuts aren't a big problem, but I would still be a bit worried in case they cause the strings to be sliced through.

 

Cheers

 

Adz

 

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From weiran - 16 Apr 2008 - 11:12   -   Updated: 16 Apr 2008 - 11:15

I've used an Aerogel Ultimate for a few months now, but ever since the Royal Mail lost it in the post when I sent it to be restrung I've been using an Aerogel Tour and they feel very similar to me. The Tour is more head light and the difference is noticeable, but it didn't seem to affect my game (I'm still using the stock strings on the Tour, they feel very dead and seem very tight but I'm too cheap to get them changed) and I quickly adapted to it.

I'm not sure how much difference in balance having the Ultimate strung in Ashaway Powernick 18 made though. I've tried the Ultimate, Tour, and Pro GT, and I'd probably go for the Pro GT now and use the money saved to restring with Powernick 18 or 305.

Adz: are the Prince O3 known for breaking? My squash partner has hit his (I think Tour) on the wall quite hard a lot of times and it seems to have shrugged them off quite well.

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From Adz - 16 Apr 2008 - 04:17

Jimbob, apologies for the late reply, but I've never used any of the m-fil racquets so I couldn't make a fair comparison with the ICE range or the Aerogel range.

 

Junaidq, I've only ever had a hit around with the Aerogel Ultimate once for about a minute, but first impressions were that the racquet was even to head heavy balance and stiff framed. Although I wouldn't trust anyone's opinion of a racquet after only a minute's use!

 

As for Head vs Dunlop, my girlfriend (and soon to be wife!) used a head racquet for quite a while after I found one on sale at a great price in our local sport shop. It was one of the old 140g racquets and she loved it (so did I). Balance was spot on, good overall weight and the feedback was just right. Given that she doesn't have a very powerful swing, I was really disappointed to see the racquet break with just a small impact of the wall. When this happened I spoke to a lot of people in the area who used Head racquets and they all said that even though the racquets feel great to play with, they do tend to be more breakable than Dunlops or Prince (non-O3) racquets. I have no idea if this continues with the new Head Microgel range, but my doubles partner uses one and had given it a few hits on the wall and it is still in one piece (then again it is only 2 weeks old!!). I'll keep you posted incase it does actually break, but nothing as of yet!

 

Cheers

 

Adz

 

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From yaehbhi - 16 Apr 2008 - 01:14

Adz, thanks for the great review. what are your thoughts on Aerogel Ultimate?

Any thoughts on how does the Dunlop racquets compare to Head in terms of durability, power and control.

cheers,
J

 

 

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From jimbob1965 - 11 Apr 2008 - 15:47

I have an M-Fil Tour.  How does this compare to the Aerogel Tour?  Just wondering what to do when the M-Fil gives up the ghost, which I hope won't be for quite a while yet.

Cheers

Jimbob

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From Adz - 11 Apr 2008 - 04:34   -   Updated: 11 Apr 2008 - 04:35

Well I started to write the comparison yesterday but my boss came in so I had to close the window before publishing it to get him some info!

So, I start again without fear of interuption (as he's off today!!)

When I first got the ICE Elite it felt slightly head light compared to what you'd expect based on the larger head-size than the Aerogel Tour. The first thing I always do with a new racquet is to strip off the grip, replacing them with 1 overwrap grip (to bulk out the handle slightly) and one Karakal PU supergrip on the top to give the best feel. As well as this I tend to change the original factory stringing in the Dunlops as I find the ICE strings (Dura-ace) too spongy and the Aerogel strings (M-Fil) too dead in feel. My choice for both racquets was Ashaway Powernick 18 red which I find gives a sharper feel with good elasticity (but then sacrificing endurance!).

So after changing the grips and strings, I've measured up both racquets in hand to see if I could feel and see and obvious differences!

Colours:

Tour - Red and white with areas of black

Eilte - ICE Blue and black with White lettering

 

Grips:

The Tour is slightly more rectangular and a touch longer up the throat than the Elite.

 

Head-Size

Tour - 470cm2

Elite - 500cm2

Both have the same oval shape, but the Elite is slightly more elongated than the Tour

 

Balance & Weight

Tour - Labelled Head Light 145g

Elite - Labelled Even 145g

Despite the factory labels, both racquets feel slightly head light when you consider the thinner guage string and two grips used. The Tour does feel slightly lighter in the head, but the Elite is only a shade difference and probably is a closer match to the original Hot Melt evenly balanced racquets. This aside, the swing weight of both racquets is virtually identical and both feel the same during a non-striking swing.

 

Striking

I find that the slightly smaller head of the Tour gives a crisp strike when struck cleanly, with a focused shot. This is why I have always used smaller head racquets. My impression was that a slightly larger head would give me a more powerful shot hit sweetly, but would be worse for touch play. Upon starting with the Elite I found that I was overhitting during the warm up (so I was right about the power aspect) but when I slowed my swing slightly I was surprised to see the touch eliment of the Elite was extremely good. The shots gave good feedback through the slightly stiff frame (not as stiff as the Tour though!), and I could get the touch shots reasonably accurate given the 3 minutes that I'd been using the racquet for!

Moving through the match would tell a slightly difference story though.........

I had previously read a review of the Elite where it stated that the racquets was very unforgiving for mis-hit shots that didn't hit the sweet-spot. The description was that the racquet felt like it wanted to turn in your hand. Sadly to my cost in a few full-stretch rallies I found this to be exactly the case when hitting on the sides of the racquet face. The racquet felt like it was "torquing" out of my grip for full stretch shots played with power. Something I must add I am very happy to live with with just 1 hour on court as I feel I got used to is as the game moved on and could easily overcome in the furture with more court-time with the racquet.

 

Overall

I would say that the ICE Elite and Aerogel Tour are both surprisingly similar racquets with my set up (strings & grip). In the past I have used:

Muscle Weave (The 2nd best racquet ever made??)

Muscle Weave Inferno (wonderful racquet - BRING IT BACK PLEASE!!!)

Hotmelt Pro

ICE Tours (Lots of flex and feedback and reasonable durability)

ICE Pros (How easy do these things break!??! 6 in FIVE weeks!!)

Grays Powerflow Elites (VERY similar to the ICE Pro, but way too expensive!)

Aerogel Tour (Head light so took getting used to, but wonderful racquet)

ICE Elite (Torque will take getting used to, but excellent touch and increased power over the Aerogel Tour)

 

So that my round up on how I have experienced the Dunlop ranges. Personally I love the Dunlops racquets and for durability, playability and value there probably isn't another brand out there that comes close!!

 

If I was going to recommend anything to people I would do the following:

£20-£30 - Sabre Tour 2.0 on Ebay

£30-£40 - Sabre Tour 2.0 on Ebay

£40-£50 - Dunlop Hotmelt Pro

£50-£60 - Dunlop Hotmelt Pro

£60-£70 - Aerogel Tour / ICE Elite

£70-£80 - Aerogel Tour / ICE Elite

£80 - Why spend this much when you can buy the Tour or the Elite for £70?!?!?!?!?

 

Hope this helps people out there, and no I don't work for Dunlop or have ever been sponsored by them, but if someone from Dunlop is reading this........ I'd be happy if you offered sponsorship!!!

 

Ha!!

 

Adz

 

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From missing_record26 - 10 Apr 2008 - 05:22

well, as you have used Dunlops for years, i think that you`ll quickly get used to ICE Elite. i also did order two of them [via ebay in UK .. the price was really good] and second one went to my squash partner who has used only Dunlops. i guess he was comfortable with it after some 40min on court, so if you have tournament, first of all good luck, and if i were you, i`d tried to find some time to hit the ball before the match.

p.s. can you later please post some comparison to ICE Elite and you Aerogel Tour ?

cheers

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From Adz - 10 Apr 2008 - 03:18

I've used Dunlops for years, only breaking the cycle to used the Gray's Powerflow Elite (which is very similar to a typical Dunlop design anyway).

 

But these racquets are the first time that I've moved to the 500cm2 head size (the others are 470cm2). I'm sure it will be quick enough to get used to, but I'll know tonight as I'm using the ICE Elite for a league match!!

 

They (x2) arrived yesterday and I've restrung them with Powernick 18 Red strings (about 24lbs), and so far they feel amazing to swing and manouver, but I have yet to hit a ball with them.

 

Time will tell I guess!!

 

Adz

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From missing_record26 - 09 Apr 2008 - 08:14

i recently bought ICE elite. first of all must say that i definitely needed to get used to it. before i had  Wilson and Tecnifibre rackets, both were more or less head heavy. ICE Elite is even balanced and when i first took it to court i felt like i can not hit the ball. my shots were weak and somehow not going for good length. BUT for the first time i really felt when drop shot or any touch shot will be perfect or not.

what concerns hitting the wall. i can say that couple of times i did hit the wall when ball was very close to it and thought - hope it is ok [somewhere read that they break easily], but so far so good.

so anyway i must say that i try to keep the distance from the wall so that if hitting the wall the racket slightly touches the wall, i do not smack it against the wall (:

have never used aerogel racket thus i can not tell the diff between these.

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