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Home GearTennis RacquetsRacquet Reviews Babolat Pure Strike 98 Racquet Review – First Impressions

Babolat Pure Strike 98 Racquet Review – First Impressions

by Tennisnerd
Babolat Pure Strike 98 Racquet Review

Our friend and tennis nerd Christian Andersson has tried the new Babolat Pure Strike 98 and these are his first impressions.

The new Pure Strike 16×19 has now been released also in Europe a little later than the releases of the Pure Strike 100 and Pure Strike Team. The 2017 Pure Strike version called Project One 7 must be one of Babolats most popular and well-reviewed frames. As of today, I am still using a weighted up Pure Strike Team 2017 version as my “go-to-frame” that I have a  hard time leaving. I have been curious to test any of new Strikes but ended up getting a demo of the 16×19 version first.

Babolat Pure Strike 98 – Design, tech, and specs

Babolat Pure Strike 98 Racquet ReviewThe new design follows the old one in many aspects and I like it! But If I should complain about something I think they could have left out the “mess” of Pure Strike letters at the throat and bottom and left it cleaner. But the addition of red and darker gray feels “fresh”. String pattern and string spacing seem to be the same as the old one, which is a tiny bit tighter than the 100/Team versions. 

The unstrung advertised specs are:

Weight: 305g
Balance: 32cm
String Pattern: 16×19
Head Size: 98sq
Beam Width: 21mm / 23mm / 21mm
Flex: 70-72ra unstrung, 66-68ra (Strung)

Measuring the strung specs of this specific frame without an overgrip and dampener ended up like this:

Weight: 327g
Balance: 33,6cm
Swing Weight: 339?!

I was pretty shocked by the high swing weight. I cannot guarantee this value since I used the manual method and the Swing Tool app, but I am sure it must be well over 330.

Babolat Pure Strike 98 – QC Tolerance

Babolat Pure Strike 98 Racquet Review

As you can see this frame is also balanced about 0.5cm more towards the head in, making it less headlight than expected. TWH had 327 SW as average in their review, but I have also seen 334 and 330 on some other sites.

This frame was also around 4-5 grams heavier than advertised. Balance and weight seem to be in line with their variations though +-7grams and +-7 centimeters.

In my opinion, this is too much of a quality control tolerance. I mean if you get both factors in the +7 direction and your second racquet goes towards the minus direction you have two completely different frames!

My modified 2017 Pure Strike Team has about the same balance, and only about 4-5 grams lower static weight and a swing weight of about 325. 

The Babolat Pure Strike 98 – How does it play?

Babolat Pure Strike 98 Racquet Review

The demo arrived strung with Pro Kennex IQ Hexa 1.25mm at 53 lbs.

The first thing I noticed was that this thing was really heavy to swing. I was like night and day between this and my Pure Strike Team.

It felt very solid on impact, and low on vibration, but quite dampened. Power, spin and control all felt very nice. The launch angle was a bit lower than my Teams, but I had no issues really to quite quickly adapt my shots to it quickly. Serves and slices also felt fine.

But the big problem for me was that I felt immediately that I could never swing this one for a long time. I also felt that my wrist took a toll after just 5 minutes of hitting. It pretty much reminded me of the latest Pure Drive which felt soft and stiff at the same time in a strange combo. That one also had a higher swing weight than previous iterations and also utilizes the Pure Feel technology.

How does it play?

I did let a couple of my friends borrow it and hit and they both said the same thing that it was very difficult to swing and that it felt harsh to the wrist/lower arm.

I know this is not at all in line with some other reviews. But with this high swing weight and higher end of specs window of the frame, I guess it can be quite different experiences to be found among testers later on. Swinging the Head Gravity Pro was much easier side by side to give a comparison.

My Pure Strike Team offers easier power, plusher and more responsive feel with less control but I can wield it forever without any arm related issues, getting tired or loose racket head speed.

With more time I might have tried adding weight to the handle to make the frame more headlight to see what difference that would make to the feel of head heaviness, but of course, it won’t change the swing weight.

Conclusion

Babolat Pure Strike 98 Racquet Review

If you have used the previous two versions and have had no issues with your arms, and are not sensitive to a higher swing weight (as well as a more dampened response) I think you will enjoy this one too. But I also think many previous users might not like this update due to the feel of it.

Like with the RF97 Autograph, if you are lucky to end up in the lower end of the static weight and swing weight it can be a different story so do not take my words here for granted. But I would not recommend buying this frame blind if you are not sure that you are a really strong player. But in the right hands, it will be a serious weapon that does most things well.

Thanks Christian for your review! We see many companies struggle with quality control in the tennis industry and it can be very frustrating for the buyers. What is your experience here? Please comment below.

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5 comments

David September 10, 2019 - 12:22 pm

On your pure strike team where do you have weight and how much as this is a very low weight and Swing weight racquet in stock form.

Reply
Christian September 10, 2019 - 9:12 pm

Hi David! I have added a head leather grip. And a total of 6g lead split 3/9. 1 gram at 12. Then I use a Yonex dampener of 4 grams and an overgrip. This brings it up pretty good.

Reply
Andy September 12, 2019 - 7:39 am

Hello nerds,

I have done same expercise as you did.

Ordered the racket at TWE and got a similar Racket, but I think you also got a Pro Kennex IQ Hexa with 1.23 and not 1.25. I played the old Model some hundreds hours – my racket of choice (I think i killed 10 rackets last 2 years) and did not really feel too much difference in the way of impacting my game; the difference was that this one is much more dampened, far not like the Blades I have also tested but you can feel this also with other strings.

The Pro Kennex IQ Hexa is a very very soft string; it was lasting 40 minutes hitting with ex ATP 400… TWE also strung the PS 18/20 with this string. I have now already killed 4 strings and I can say I liked the new PS 16/19 quite well with Hyper-G again and also played it with RPM Blast both in 1.25.

I would say Babolat did a good job in making this one more dampened but offering same experience like with the old one. I can’t really agree to the higher swing weight compared to my old ones but finally as you say the problem is the quality.

I have ordered 8 Rackets of the 16/19,… as I know there is mostly a big difference and weight… and guys there was the lightest with 303g (incl 1.5g plastic on the handle) and highest 315g… sorry Babolat that’s shitty quality!! I have now kept 2 and they meet the 32 Balance and have 307g… the others will go back…

I also compared the TOUR weight… lightest was 318g and heaviest was 323g… you can feel they are much head heavier… As I am playing quite lot of spin.. Balance is 7mm more to the top… I want to test it also but I think I will rather put some lead tape to 3/9 on the PS 19/16…

I basically liked 18/20 version also, but the is much less free power and my play was much flatter but you could hit the ball crazy like hell and still dropped in the court,.. something for Thiem 😉 but not for me I would die in 3rd Set *gg*

Hope that comments helped a bit,…

Summary: I think most guys will like the new version and feel well with it. Also my 3 club mates agreed to this they also played the old one 2 years. But please don’t forget to balance them out.

BR Andy

Reply
Christian Andersson September 13, 2019 - 8:54 am

David! My Teams are modified with:
– Head leather grip
– 6 grams lead split 3/9
– 1 gram lead at 12
– Overgrip 4g
– Yonex dampener 4g

This brings them up to a to about to about 325g strung.

Reply
Andrei October 21, 2019 - 10:20 am

I got mine from TW Europe (PS 16×19, 4 size). I currently own a PureDrive 2015, Aero 2016 (I think) and a Head Extreme Pro MP 2.0.
I strung it with Excel @ 22.5 kg on mains and Hurricane Tour @ 21.5 kg on crosses. The PS which I received doesn’t seem at all difficult to swing. I would say it’s between the PD (which is lighter) and Aero. I like it more than the previous PS model (which I also had), it’s more stable and more plush. Compared to PD & Aero (which I always strung full poly), it’s a bit softer, doesn’t have the same amount of power and spin but outshines them in the control & angles department (the launch angle is lower). It’s easy to change direction with the new PS and you can really hit those acute angles from inside the court (with the ball just passing the net landing near the lines). When trying to finish the point from inside the court, with the PD or PA I had to put a lot of spin, as they tend to throw the ball up more and are more powerful. With this one, it’s almost point and shoot :). I can really say I played some of my best tennis with it (much to the upset of my playing partner 😛 ).

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