It's time for the HEAD Radical to get the Graphene Touch update. A few pics have been leaked on the tennis forums and I'm curious to hear what you think about them.
I'm a fan of the HEAD Radical series, all the way from the first editions (PT57B) that most racquetholics calls the “Bumblebee”, to the famous “Zebra”, the “Candycane”, the Liquidmetal Tour I use now, all the way to the IG Radical Pro, which for many was the last great Radical racquet. Others would argue that the first Graphene edition, the HEAD Graphene Radical Pro, was a worthy and highly playable (and much stiffer) successor, and I can agree to some extent myself, but the Graphene XT version hasn't gotten a lot of love among tennis aficionados.
Will HEAD go softer again with the “Touch” line? The idea with the HEAD Graphene Touch Speed was similar to Wilson's addition of Countervail – it was to dampen shock. This is the new edition of the “war on tennis elbows”, with the racquet companies bending over backwards to reduce the potentially negative effect of stiff racquets on player health.
But it makes sense to work on dampening and it's definitely nothing new. The older HEAD Radicals with “TwinTube” technology was also about dampening shock to the arm, but they were also heavier and more flexible, which is in stark contrast to the firm and light racquets of today. The game has gone from “feel” to “speed” and “power”, so here is HEAD, trying to introduce a little more “Touch” back into the game.
Judging by the racquetholics on the various forums, HEAD hasn't had a successful launch of a racquet in a while. Many are still hunting down and trying the older versions online and giving the new line-up a pass. I have a big bag of HEAD test racquets at home and I'm trying to identify if there is something great in there. Among the racquets I'm testing right now is the HEAD Graphene Touch Speed MP and Pro, the HEAD Graphene Touch MP (click here for the review), the HEAD MxG racquets (already reviewed them here) which Nadal was testing a year back and the HEAD Graphene Touch Instinct line which was also released as an “Adaptive” version.
This is my pic from my Instagram account:
So…quite a lot of racquets to test (the old-school HEAD Liquidmetal Radical Tour is what I'm currently playing with so I just put it there for laughs) and more in-depth information about the models coming soon. If I forget to write about something, don't hesitate to ask in the comments field.
But back to the HEAD Graphene Touch Radical Pro, which looks like this:
Andy Murray (read more about his racquet here) actually posed an update on Instagram where he had cleaned out his racquet closed and among all the beautiful PT57A 16×19 pro stocks that he's playing in various paint jobs. Among the racquets were the paint job of the new HEAD Graphene Touch Radical Pro that he's endorsing. Can you spot them in the picture?
What will the specs for the new HEAD Graphene Touch Radical Pro and MP be? Right now I don't know the stiffness ratings, but these are the unstrung specs for the HEAD Graphene Touch Radical Pro: 98 sq inches, 315 mm balance, 310 grams weight, standard length, beam 20/23/21 mm, string pattern 16/19. Definitely nothing shocking there!
Release date for the HEAD Graphene Touch racquets will be in November 2017.
What do you guys think about the Spider-Man inspired paint job? Is it Radical enough?
Really beautiful paint, i like this. Murray posing before 44 pieces of racquet. I don’t understand why pros don’t needs new technologies. Lot of technical sports giving new technologies and materials to world but tennis not. New technologies and materials there are only for maintaining interest about new products and maintaining profit?
You are right in a way, you would think that anyone would benefit from new technology but in tennis a racquet is like an extension of your arm so it takes quite a bit for a professional player to update their racquet and strings. Some players try new racquets from time to time – Verdasco is probably the best example and Rafa was playing with the new HEAD MxG racquet in the off-season but decided to stay with his trusted Babolat Aero Pro Drive Original.
The most adapted new technology is strings and that’s where the biggest advancements have been made in the last 10-20 years.
Cheers / Jonas
I believe all or most Radicals up to the Youtek can be CAPped with Prestige grommets due to the same head size and drilling pattern. I think the 16/19 pattern also works with Pro grommets.
When they did Graphene, they changed things, and actually now measures 98sq and not the 95sqin (labeled as 98) that they actually were. Prestige MP/Pro still measure 95 (also labeled 98)
Just some info if you are willing to fiddle with a higher swingweight to any of your past radicals. Note: Liquidmetal radicals ridges will make it a bit harder to CAP but doable.
Thanks for your comments. I compared the HEAD LM Radical MP and the Tour and the only thing that’s different is the stock weight, both have 18×20 string pattern.
The Radical Tours are quite heavy in stock form so I don’t really need to add any weight to these…
Cheers / Jonas
^^^unless the LM Radical Tour was actually differnet in head size and patterns.
As far as i remember, Head is using different palette shapes for different models (old Prestige & Radical had more rectangular ones and latest Speed & Instinct are rather square-shaped).
For years i was struggling with Prestige/Radicals only because of the palette. Now i started looking for a decent successor of my 5 yo Pure Storms GT and considering Speed Touch MP, Radical Touch MP, SV 97 and Strike 98/100.
Thus i wonder how things went with the latest Radical Touch MP/Pro – could you provide us some more information on the topic?
Yes, HEAD is using a more rectangular grip (pallet name TK82) for all their racquets except the Speed series which uses a more square grip (Wilson/Prince-ish) called TK82S. Since you can change HEAD pallets you can find the grip size that works for you. Just buy a pallet that fits your game and replace it, it’s rather simple.
I played with the Touch Radical Pro a little while ago and it isn’t a bad racquet. A little more muted than its predecessors it works well for a modern game. It’s not one my top ten list of racquets, but a solid racquet by HEAD. I would go either with that, the Yonex SV 98 or the Pure Strike 98 of the ones you mention. If you can play-test before you buy, that is always recommended of course. My guess would be you’d like the Pure Strike 98 best since you’re used to Babolats. It’s a fine racquet and good mix of power and control.
Good luck! Cheers / Jonas