Get ready for a revolution from Dunlop! In October 2012, Dunlop will be releasing their new line of racquets. But these aren’t the same racquets that we are used to seeing from Dunlop. Instead, they’ve completely redesigned their frames to better suit the modern game. With the help of some new technology, Dunlop’s trying to make a new identity for themselves in the world of racquets.
Without further ado, let’s take a look at the SIX NEW RACQUETS in the Dunlop line…
Biomimetic F 3.0 Tour:
-the racquet of choice for touring pros Jurgen Melzer and Tim Smyzcek
-98 sq. inch head size, 11.5 oz strung, 6 pts HL balance, 319 swingweight, 22 mm beam width, 64 stiffness, 18×20 string pattern
-replaces the Biomimetic 300 Tour
Biomimetic M 3.0:
-racquet of choice for touring pros Fernando Verdasco and Heather Watson
-98 sq. inch head size, 11 oz strung, 2 pts HL balance, 318 swingweight, 22 mm beam width, 66 stiffness, 16×19 string pattern
-replaces the Biomimetic 300
Biomimetic M 6.0:
-racquet of choice for touring pro Tommy Robredo
-102 sq. inch head size, 10.6 oz strung, 2 pts HL balance, 312 swingweight, 25 mm bead width, 70 stiffness, 16×19 string pattern
-replaces the Biomimetic 600
Biomimetic S 3.0 Lite:
-98 sq. inch head size, 10 oz strung, 2 pts HH balance, 300 swingweight, 22 mm bead width, 65 stiffness, 16×19 string pattern
-replaces the Aerogel 4D 300 Lite
Biomimetic S 6.0 Lite:
-racquet of choice for touring pro Dominika Cibulkova
-105 sq. inch head size, 1/4″ longer than standard length, 10.1 oz strung, 2 pts HL balance, 295 swingweight, 26 mm beam width, 69 stiffness, 16×19 string pattern
-replaces the Biomimetic 600 Lite
Biomimetic S 8.0 Lite:
-115 sq. inch head size, 1/2″ longer than standard length, 9.7 oz strung, 8 pts HH balance, 333 swingweight, 30 mm beam width, 70 stiffness, 16×19 string pattern
-replaces the Aerogel 800
Dunlop is introducing some new Biomimetic (inspired by nature) technologies in order to make their racquets lighter, faster, and more powerful. First, they’ve incorporated Biofibre, which is made from the stem skin of plants, and according to Dunlop is lighter than carbon and stronger than steel. It’s used in the throat of the frame to absorb shock and give it 18% greater feel and control.
Next, a state of the art grommet system was introduced made from a substance called MoS2. It’s designed to mimic the surface of snake skin, which is supposed to be more durable and also reduce friction between the frame and the string. It is designed to reduce string friction for 27% greater power and increase abrasion resistance for 40% greater durability.
Finally, the third new technology Dunlop has integrated into the racquet is called Aeroskin CX. It’s an upgrade on their previous Aeroskin technology, which is inspired by shark skin, and looks like little bubbles on the racquet at the 12, 4, and 8 o’clock positions. It’s intended to make the racquet more aerodynamic, dramatically reducing drag and allowing the player to generate much more racquet speed. In numbers, this reduces drag by up to 36%, an 11% increase from the older technology, resulting in a faster racquet speed for more power, maneuverability and reaction time.
All in all, Dunlop is moving away from their lower-powered, control-oriented frames. They even look way different and more modern. The beam is designed in more of an aerodynamic shape (think Babolat AeroPro Drive) as opposed to the classic box beam we have grown accustomed to from Dunlop. The grommets are sunken into the racquets instead of having the string sit above the frame, and the throat is deeper and longer to make the racquet easier to swing. Last but not least, maybe the most immediately noticeable difference in the shape of the head, which is much more of a tear drop shape, narrower towards the throat and flaring out towards the tip.
With their new look and new technologies, Dunlop is also introducing a new naming system to the whole series of racquets. The new racquets are labeled with a smaller number and a decimal (ex. 3.0, 6.0, 9.0 etc.), but people familiar with the old racquets rest assured that they pretty much align with their predecessors (3.0 = 300, 6.0 = 600, etc.). In addition, one of three letters that represents the swing style that best suits the racquet:
F = Full/fast swings
M = Medium/moderate swings
S = Short/slow swings
Oh, the agony. Have you ever wanted something so badly and been so close you could taste it? That’s me right now, sitting here, typing. Yeah, typing. Read: Not hitting. Not playing. Not swinging the new Dunop Biomimetic 300 Tour.
The racquet is sitting here on my desk. I feel like a kid who’s an inch too short to ride the roller coaster. I can see it, I can touch it. I’m oh so close! You’re probably thinking, “Stop your moaning and go hit!” Problem is that my pregnancy is now making tennis difficult for me. I’ve been playing throughout my pregnancy, but now eight months in, my efforts are fruitless and frustrating. I tire easily, I feel awkward swinging and as a hitting partner I feel woefully inadequate. We always want what we can’t have, I guess. (Plus Jason is working on that two-handed backhand … if I don’t watch out, he’ll no longer have a side to attack!)
In previous posts, I’ve talked a lot about the predecessor to this Biomimetic version, the Aerogel 4D 300 Tour. This had become my go-to stick in the recent past as the Yonex RDS 003 was discontinued. So back to this stick that’s sitting on my desk, glinting in the sunlight. Yes, it really is. That glint is coming off the sweet metallic finish of the Biomimetic 300 Tour. To round out the cosmetics, there’s the dimpled “skin” of the Aeroskin technology.
When Dunlop came to visit, we heard about Aeroskin and the rest of the new technologies in the Biomimetic line. All the Biomimetic technologies are inspired by something found in nature.
Aeroskin is inspired by sharkskin and is intended to improve the aerodynamics of the racquet. The frame has dimples around the hoop, and if you run your fingers over them, you can feel them. To me it feels a little bit like a basketball, but not too rough. This idea of dimples and aerodynamics is not new. Just take a look at a golf ball; it’s the same concept. So in theory this should make the racquet swing faster with up to 25% less drag, according to Dunlop. A faster racquet should equal more power and more spin potential. If there’s one thing about the 4D 300 Tour I wish I could amp up, it’s power, so this idea of a more powerful version of the 300 Tour with the same level of control is enticing.
Another new technology incorporated into the frame is HM6 Carbon. This time Dunlop looked at a hardworking bunch for inspiration: bees. Their honeycombs to be exact. The hexagonal shape of the honeycomb absorbs shock and disperses it very well. Dunlop created thin sheets of HM6 Carbon and added them to the layup of Aerogel in key areas of the frame, most predominantly in the shaft of the racquet. With fewer vibrations and less shock coming through the frame, feel should be enhanced. I’m all for that, too. Have you seen my drop volleys? They sometimes resemble Shaq’s free throw attempts. Yeah, they’re rocks.
Lastly, there is Gecko-Tac. Here they looked at gecko setae, and no that’s not the name of a certain insurance pitchman. Gecko setae are the hair-like structures on the feet of a gecko that allow it to cling to surfaces. Dunlop treated the surface of its Gecko-Tac grips to offer enhanced tack without being sticky. My favorite replacement grips are thin and balance moisture absorption and tackiness. This one feels good. My hands don’t stick to the grip, but it also doesn’t feel so dry that I might develop blisters. I also like that it doesn’t feel bulky in the hand so overgrips are not out of the question either.
When it comes to specs on the Biomimetic version, they’re very similar to the 4D 300 Tour. When it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Dunlop kept it pretty much the same. Though we don’t have our stock here to spec, I put our hitters on our Babolat RDC machine and compared them to Dunlop’s provided specs.
Our hitters………………………………Dunlop’s specs
11.3 ounces strung………………….11.3 ounces strung
64 RA……………………………………..64 RA
5 points head light ………………….Head light balance (320 mm)
The racquet is also the standard 27″ length with an 18×20 string pattern in a 97 square inch head size. The head size on the 4D 300 Tour was 98 square inches. I put the 4D 300 Tour up against the Biomimetic version, and the headsizes are pretty close so I’m not worried about the slight change.
So there it is. That’s the Biomimetic 300 Tour in a nutshell. You’ll probably hit this racquet before I do. The 300 Tour is in the first batch of Biomimetics that will be released. Look for it as well as the 200 Plus, 300, 600 and 600 Lite on our site for demo and purchase in early November. Or if you happen to know Jurgen Melzer, ask him for a loaner Biomimetic 300 Tour. He’ll be swinging it on Tour.