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HEAD Radical 2023 Review

by TN

The new Radicals are revealed. For this HEAD Radical 2023 Review, I have tested the HEAD Radical Auxetic MP and Pro.

HEAD RADICAL 2023 REVIEW

The Radical is what HEAD calls the “people’s racquet.” Why? Because this racquet is a versatile, middle-ground racquet that works for many players at the intermediate to advanced level. The MP is relatively easy to use with a focus on control, while the Pro is more for the advanced aggressive striker.

What is new in the HEAD Radical 2023?

This racquet is very similar to the predecessor called the Graphene 360+. What’s new is the Auxetic technology. What is Auxetic and how does it work? This is how HEAD describes it.

Auxetic constructions show a unique deformation compared to non-Auxetic constructions. Due to their internal properties, Auxetic constructions widen when a “pull” force is applied and contract when squeezed. The bigger the applied force, the bigger the Auxetic reaction.

I felt like the Auxetic tech has slightly altered the feel of most of the racquets in the HEAD line-up. But the change is subtle and you need to really focus on feeling it.

If you are happy with your current 360+ racquet, I don’t think the difference is significant enough to get the new ones. But on a note of the cosmetics, I would say they look better.

You can check out the new HEAD Radicals at Tennis Warehouse, Tennis Warehouse Europe, and Tennis Only.

Specs

The mold and the specs of the new Radical racquets are the same as the 360+ version. The MP offers a bit more power. The MP also has a slightly lower stiffness, but I haven’t seen any data yet to back this up.

MP

CPI: 400
WEIGHT (UNSTRUNG): 300 g / 10.6 oz
STRING PATTERN: 16/19
HEAD SIZE: 630 cm² / 98 in²
GRIP SIZE: 1-5
BALANCE: 320 mm / 1 in HL
LENGTH: 685 mm / 27.0 in
BEAM: 20/23/21 mm

PRO

CPI: 200
WEIGHT (UNSTRUNG): 315 g / 11.1 oz
STRING PATTERN: 16/19
HEAD SIZE: 630 cm² / 98 in²
GRIP SIZE: 1-5
BALANCE: 315 mm / 1 in HL
LENGTH: 685 mm / 27.0 in
BEAM: 20/21.5/21 mm

Stringing the new Radicals

I strung the racquets up with a few different setups. A full bed of HEAD Lynx Tour, a full bed of HEAD Hawk Power and a hybrid setup (I went for X-One Bi-Phase) with a multi in the mains and HEAD Lynx Tour orange in the crosses.

To me, Hawk Power felt a little firm during the first hour in the Radical Pro, but softened up later on. But I still believe that a hybrid setup is the way to go for both of these racquets unless you are a string breaker.

I use 51 lbs (23 kg) as a reference tension, but I think these racquets could be strung lower, down to around 47 lbs and still play controlled. I’d string the multi a few lbs higher than the poly with a hybrid setup.

How do they play?

The Radicals offer a nice balance between control, stability, spin and power. They are more on the control spectrum and require you to be able to create your own power.

There are no real standout features, but they offer a nice balance for intermediate to advanced players. You can hit out with confidence, but I would have liked a slightly softer feel. The last great Radical to me is the HEAD IG Radical, which felt very nice and plush on impact. These racquets are a more modern interpretation of the Radical. It’s halfway between old-school Radical and the stiffest first generation Graphene.

The best way to describe both Radicals is balanced—just a racquet to pick up and play. No frills. No standout features. Just dependable racquets. Kind of HEAD’s response to the Wilson Blade.

360+ vs Auxetic

They are not much in terms of difference between the Auxetic and the 360+. Perhaps the feel is a tad softer, but they are similar enough that it will be hard for most players to tell the difference.

In terms of comparing the Radical MP and the Pro, I would say the MP is more forgiving, powerful and easier on the arm. I think 80% of players should go for the MP and if you want more weight, you can always customize it.

I enjoyed the MP more and preferred a softer string setup with a hybrid over a full bed of poly. A full bed of HEAD Hawk Power in the Radical Pro was a bit tough on the arm.

Summary

The new Auxetic Radicals are not far away from the previous generation. I think HEAD’s step into the Auxetic era is very subtle. Maybe too subtle in most cases to be called much of an update. But you can argue that you shouldn’t mess with a good thing. And the Radicals are good racquets. They are dependable and balanced frames that do most things well, but nothing exceptionally.

One thing I would have liked from these racquets is a slightly softer feel, more towards the IG Radicals. But that is my personal taste.

If you like the previous Radicals, you will enjoy these. But it might not be worth the update unless you prefer the cosmetic of the new ones.

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3 comments

Robert January 17, 2023 - 13:57

Hi Jonas,

where can I purchase the Head Hawk Power in Germany/Europe? I’m really curious to test it in a Blade V8 100. I currently play the Grapplesnake Tour M8 1.25 which really suits the racket. How can you compare the two strings? Both seem to be a new art of poly.

Cheers Rob

Reply
Jason January 20, 2023 - 01:20

“One thing I would have liked from these racquets is a slightly softer feel”
Ok, that is good info. Responding to that comment what I would do is have mine strung with a Multifilament (or GUT) at 24 kgs max. OR go the low tension POLY route: get a low gauge (and lower stiffness) poly and string it at 44 lbs / 20 kgs or even lower.

Reply
Jorge Tirado January 25, 2023 - 13:51

Why do you recommend a hybrid for this racquet? That seems like a new statement from you, and this isn’t the stiffest racquet you’ve reviewed obviously. What makes this racquet in particular a good candidate for a hybrid?

Reply

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