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Raquet Suggestions

Published: 22 Nov 2008 - 11:03 by Eddy01741

Updated: 02 Mar 2010 - 11:58

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Alright, I've been using my sister's old dunlop max comp ti for a while now (3-4 years old, cost 30 bucks when she bought it, linky to racket info http://www.amazon.com/Dunlop-Max-Comp-Squash-Racquet/dp/B00079FSQU ). As you can see from the link, it's a pretty darned heavy racket weighing in at 190 grams, and it's also head light. The strings havn't ever been restrung and it's got awful tension now compared to other squash rackets.

 

As it is the eve of thanksgiving break for my high school, I will be needing help on deciding on a racket to buy. I'm not quite sure what my price range is, but probably up to 100-120 dollars. I think I'd preferably go for even balance of head heavy balance, since I don't have the greatest power for a squash player (although I have decent power considering how long i've played squash). I think somewhere around the 120-150g range would be right. I tried a Flexpoint 130 today (my friend's racket) and I liked it a lot, it was a good weight and it's balance (supposedly 33.5cm according to the internet) was better than mine. The strings were also better, so the ball actually bounced off the racket when i hit it ever so softly (something my racket fails to do). Anyways, what rackets should I be looking at? I might be ordering online so there could be a pretty big selection for me to choose from (at discounted prices too).

P.S. What are the advantages and disadvantages of oval shaped head vs. teardrop shaped head?

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From rippa rit - 02 Mar 2010 - 11:58

Are these the two Karakal you refer to:

Karakal 4SL

Karakal 4Ti

These links are to our squashgame UK Shop (see top right tab) to chose which shop.

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From aznhippo - 01 Mar 2010 - 08:23   -   Updated: 01 Mar 2010 - 08:23

 is there a difference in feel between the Karakal evo 4t and 4sl

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From aznhippo - 01 Mar 2010 - 08:22

 Is there a difference in feel between the Karakal evo 4t and 4sl or is there just a difference in weight 

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From Adz - 19 Oct 2009 - 18:59

In my prolonged absense I've done a lot more research into the construction of racquets and the pro's and con's of different materials. I've avoided looking at "brands" and gone for the base construction. So what makes a racquet powerful??

1) Sweet-spot - Getting a bigger sweet spot is first on the list. With all else being equal it's the sweet-spot of the racquet that will generate the power.

2) Stringing Pattern - A dense stringing pattern naturally lends itself to control as does a loose stringing pattern lend itself to power. Most tear-drop racquets at the mid or lower price points tend to have looser patterns, but some of the top models (princes, head etc) can have denser patterns to aid with control.

3) Stringing type or tension - Arguably this could be the most important factor, but I'm going with 3rd for my reasoning. I recently changed my racquets and played the first matches with the factory string (no time to change!!). The power was awesome and almost uncontrollable at times. Changing to my own stringing preference increased the control, toned down the power and provided less negative feedback from the head. The result changed the racquet completely (including the balance as I used a thinner guage string). Getting the string type right is just as important as getting the right racquet (kind of like putting regular petrol into a jet-fighter!)

4) Frame stiffness - A frame that flexes can hinder or enhance the power and control of a racquet. I prefer my racquets to have a small amount of flex which I find helps with the final whip of the racquet head. Other pepole I've spoken to prefer a very stiff frame with little flex at all. They say that the crisp contact with the ball gives them better conrol and power. One thing I've learned recently is this aspect it very important but also very individual. The feel of the racquet needs to be right for you. Otherwise you just won't feel comfy using the racquet.

5) Weight - It tells you something when 90% of the top selling models of racquets are between 130g and 150g (unstrung). There must be a reason why this happens and it's a simple one..... too light is difficult to swing, probably weaker (as less material) and leads itself to lack of power (= weight * speed). Too heavy becomes difficult to generate head speed, but will usually be a strong construction. When you do make contact with the ball you'll have weight behind it so the power will be ok, but the speed aspect will limit your final power.

6) Balance - The balance is almost as important as the overall weight of the racquet. You tend to find that head light gives you a faster swing, but head-heavy lends to more weight into the shot. Many people prefer to use a combination of the two, which is why many of the more popular models are referred to as "even balance". Of course "even balance" isn't technically true once you add gromet strips, strings and other grips. The final balance of the racquet should always include your final set-up (as should the weight).

7) Head shape - I'm going to go out on a limb and say that head shape is completely irrelevant except for personal preference. I have friends who are semi or ex professionals. Some use tear-drops, some use oval heads. Are they wrong in their choices? Some use small heads (460-470 cm2), others use larger heads (500cm2). Does that make them wrong? Just like all the factors mentioned above it comes down to the personal preference of the user as to which type suits which needs. There are no pro's or con's to head shape (anymore....), and so your choices should be made on the above listed reasons (1-6) before worrying about the shape of the head. I dare say that head size should be decided on before head shape.

 

Now after some considerable years of experience I can tell you in detail exactly what racquets suit me......

Oval head around 470cm2

Round grip-type (e.g. not rectangular like the head grips but more rounded like the dunlops)

Medium stringing density (e.g. not too dense and not too loose)

130-145g unstrung

Even Balance (From Factory e.g. Thicker strings and only 1 grip)

Firm but slight flex in the throat and shaft

Stiff material in the contruction giving feedback but not too much negative vibration (usually carbon or titanium strengthening in the construction - or at least "feeling" like there is)

Thin string 1.10mm to 1.20mm. Preferably elastic but not stretchy giving a "snap" to it

String tension quite high (26-28 depending on string type and racquet model)

 

Now this suits me, but other friends of mine are completely different.

 

All good fun finding out what suits your game best, and the only way to get there is to try models from other people when you get a chance.....

 

Cheers!!!

 

Adz

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From dpiedra - 17 Oct 2009 - 12:47

I've been told that teardrop shaped racquets generally provide more power as the strings are further appart from each other at the point of crossovers. Oval racquets have smaller distance between strings which may provide a bit more surface area with strings closer together for better grip pon the ball for slicing, touch shots, etc. Of course the difference is likely minor for the average player.

I do notice that strings on tearshop shaped racquets move around more and break more than my friends who have oval racquets - their strings hardly move. 

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From micronerd - 22 Jul 2009 - 19:32   -   Updated: 22 Jul 2009 - 19:34

I'm not massively experienced in good or bad rackets but I've been playing with an aluminium racket for over a year now and I'm ok and it's time for a new racket.  In a shop I went to, they told me Browning rackets were rejects from the quality control departments of brands like Head.  They didn't stock Browning so might be biased.  is there any truth in it as very few shop web sites stock them. 

 

Also as I'm an intermediate looking for a new racket with some power so a reasonable weight, but a good degree of accuracy and mid price range what would you reccomend?

I'm not massively experienced in good or bad rackets but I've been playing with an aluminium racket for over a year now and I'm ok and it's time for a new racket.  In a shop I went to, they told me Browning rackets were rejects from the quality control departments of brands like Head.  They didn't stock Browning so might be biased.  is there any truth in it as very few shop web sites stock them. 

 

Also as I'm an intermediate looking for a new racket with some power so a reasonable weight, but a good degree of accuracy and mid price range what would you reccomend?

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From Eddy01741 - 10 Dec 2008 - 03:17

For the record, I ordered the nTour from squashgear.com on sunday. It was a tough choice, but it seemed like the best option. From searching and browsing aruond this forum, there were almost all positive reviews for the racket, it also fits my preferences that I see fit. I'll come back with impressions next week.

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From rippa rit - 05 Dec 2008 - 18:04   -   Updated: 05 Dec 2008 - 18:18

Eddy - there is a bit of reading for you listed under the "Relevant Content" tab and right here on this site is probably the best place to find out more info. 

Wilson nCode NRage $67.95

Wilson nRage $64.99

Hey, Eddy it is easy to surf around the Squashgame Shop, that is Select Squashgame US Shop from the tab on the top right, then select Squash Racket tab, then put in the Brand/Model you are wanting to view, and that is how I have come up with the above details for you.  I can see you are nervous. No worries.

 

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From Eddy01741 - 05 Dec 2008 - 12:58

Yeah, I saw that set in a couple sites, it seemed like a pretty good deal (basically on most sites it was paying an extra 5 bucks for goggles and 2 balls). Then again, I have goggles, and my team generally uses the Dunlop Pro balls (2 dot). I will consider it though, it's cheaper than the nblade and ntour and comes with accessories that, although maybe not useful to me now, could be useful int he future (if i break my goggles or need an extra squash ball for rec. playing).

 

Anyways, could you direct me to some of the good reccomendations of the nrage racket (or any rackets for that matter). It's painfully hard to find any reviews of rackets around the internet.

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From rippa rit - 04 Dec 2008 - 13:48   -   Updated: 04 Dec 2008 - 14:24

Eddy - I assume you looked at the squashgame US Shop, but in case you did not here is what I have found - check out the link; it looks a good deal and includes an eyeguard and two squash balls as well. The racket  does have good recommendations. 

Wilson nCode Tour Racket Set $68.95 plus $7 freight.

 

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From Eddy01741 - 04 Dec 2008 - 12:59

Alright, I'm gonna be ordering at the end of this week (saturday/sunday), hopefully it will ship out on monday and come by friday with the free shipping. I'm ordering from squashgear.com because of the cheap prices and free shipping. Oh, and I'm most likely getting the Wilson nCode nTour racket, it costs $87.95 and is a best seller from the website. Surfing around the gear forum I have heard a lot of positive reviews about it as well.

If anybody has any last minute suggestions, my guidelines are basically head heavy or even balance, between 130 and 150 grams, and less than a hundred bucks (get the prices from squashgear.com since that's where I'll be buying from).

Anyways, over thanksgiving I tried out my sister's 2005 Wilson nCode n145. It's a head heavy racket with a teardrop shape and weighs 145 grams. It was also restrung with ashaway supernick XL Ti strings (she told me they were "textured strings", they were from a pro squash/tennis shop, and were silver with blue and red, looked it up on the internet and Supernick XL Ti seemed closest to her description and my observations). It was a nice racket, had good power (much better than my crappy dunlop) and good control, it was also a lot more balanced towards the head than my dunlop. Comparing the two from usage back to back, the n145 was better in almost every way (as expected), my only qualm was with the teardrop shape, i wasn't used to the narrower profile (so lots of frame hits and some whiffs) and shots hit close to the handle were kinda weak. That's why I'm sorta straying towards the oval shaped rackets. Overall still a much better racket. This "demo" of a squash racket sort affirmed my preference for head heavy (along with my trial of the Flexpoint 130 which I mentioned earlier), and it also gave me a good weight range to choose from as well as leaning me towards oval shape vs. teardrop shape.

Right now I"m still considering some other rackets, namely the Dunlop Hot Melt Pro (even balance, 135 grams, oval shape, $73.95) and the nBlade (even balance, 140 grams, oval shape, $89.00).

 

All suggestions will be appreciated and considered, thanks in advance.

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From Adz - 01 Dec 2008 - 21:25

Although I haven't owned one, the Wilson N-Series are pretty good as a choice.

A good friend of mine had one and loved it. They seem to last as well as the Dunlops, and only broke after a particularly nasty mistake retrieving off the back wall in a game of 2 on 1.

 

If you can get one in your price range then they might be the best place to start. Also look for 2-for-€x deals as the cheaper n-series seems to have these quite a lot.

 

As for differences with Tear-drop and oval heads, I've always preferred the ovals personally. But my preferences shouldn't effect you with your racquet choice! Always try to get a few hits with a racquet BEFORE you buy one, and if you can't find the exact model to try, go with something else from the same range!

 

Cheers

 

Adz

 

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From rippa rit - 01 Dec 2008 - 21:15   -   Updated: 01 Dec 2008 - 21:17

A previous discussion Does Size Matter with a big reply by Adz which probably answers the question on head size.

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From mike - 01 Dec 2008 - 18:02

I don't know how tear drop vs. oval shapes compare in terms of feel (Adz probably does), but I'd suggest whatever you get will be a huge improvement over your current racquet. Trying a racquet first will be more valuable than most things you can read about it. I don't think you can really go too far wrong. You don't have years of practice invested in a particular racquet feel.

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From Eddy01741 - 01 Dec 2008 - 15:29

Alright, I havn't been posting much, but my quest to find a new racket is still in progress. I've mostly been lurking around this section of the forum (gear and gear reviews). So far I've found two brands that are mostly head heavy/even for balance, and those were Head and Wilson. I also have read that Head rackets are kinda fragile, especially the LM series (which is the main one in my price range). So, I might stray away from them. I was thinking about the ncode series, specifically the nblade and the ntour rackets, which are in my price range under 100 bucks and are oval.

 

Anyways, once again, what are the pros and cons of teardrop vs. oval shape?

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From dpiedra - 01 Dec 2008 - 01:23

If you like the Head FP130 I would say go for it as the proce has come down for it below $100US ... I have used Head racquets for the past 5 years and canot say they are any more prone to breaking than any others I have used (Dunlop, Technifibre, and Ashaway). I have used the FP150 (loved it), the Metalix 150, Ti Heat (lower end racquet), Liquidmetal Heat, and currently use the new Microgel 145 which I think is great

That being said, you need to consider your needs as you have done related to balance, weight, etc.

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From p3ga - 26 Nov 2008 - 04:50

I was in the same shoes as you just a few months back: Taking advantage of one dealer's program and recommendations, I tried a few Dunlop Hot Melt & Maxply, a Karakal MX150, and Karakal BX150.  Althought I played high B level racquetball with Heads' in my younger days (i.e. just after fire was discovered), the pro brought up the same issues of fragility that you voiced concern over.

I ended up purchasing the Karakal BX150. The Dunlops felt dead in my hands, and the MX150 took more effort than the BX to get the same power on the ball (think it has something to do with the neck design).

I've heard from a few discrete sources that BlackKnight and Karakal share the same molds, so there may be some crossover between the product lines.

So far, I'm very happy with the Karakal, they've been able to tolerate my errant, misguided attampts at getting balls off the back wall (old racquetball habit).

Hope this helps. If you can demo some racquets, take advantage of it.

 

 

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From snuffy - 25 Nov 2008 - 15:52   -   Updated: 25 Nov 2008 - 15:54

I like the BlackKnight series. Especially for "value" racquets, you cannot go wrong. I've got their Bandit model (about $70) and they are very good. I've demoed numerous Head and Dunlop racquets and the Black Knight is up there. They are great for someone at an "intermediate" level.

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From Eddy01741 - 23 Nov 2008 - 01:33

Thanks for the hasty reply. Anyways, just roaming around the gear forum it definitely seems to be that head rackets are less durable than others, as people keep commenting on how they keep breaking. So Head might not be the best choice since I still hit the walls and the floor a decent amount (not as much as mos the other people I play with, but I still do it).

The main issue I might have with dunlop is that they mostly head light rackets, and I think I would prefer a head heavy or even racket at this time. Although the  hot melt pro you suggested was an even balnced racket.

Karakal seems pretty good to me, they might be out of my price range, but I'll definitely take a look at them.

What do you guys think of other big racket brands like Prince, Wilson, and Black Knight?

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From mike - 22 Nov 2008 - 17:58

I like Karakal (use the EVO 4T myself), and think Dunlop also have a pretty good offering, though I don't own any Dunlops.

I'd recommend trying either a Dunlop recommended for beginner/intermediate player  (such as the Hot Melt Pro, which is $75 at squashgear.com). Do a search here in the gear forum and there'll be plenty of results.

From Karakal an EVO 3SL or 3T (SL is super light) could be good.

Strings also make a big difference. I usually break the factory strings that come with a new racquet in 2-3 weeks and then restring in a multifillament Technifibre such as the Technifibre 305.

Head racquets are typically less durable than Karakal in my experience.

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