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Racquet Review: Babolat Pure Drive/Pure Drive Lite

Monday, March 05, 2012 /by

BpdlMSRP: $189 (P.D.); $185 (Lite)
HEAD SIZE: 100 SQ. IN.
LENGTH: 27 IN.
WEIGHT: 11.1 OZ. (P.D.); 10.3 OZ. (LITE)
BALANCE: 4 PTS. HL (P.D.); 3 PTS. HL (LITE)
SWINGWEIGHT: 308 (P.D.); 298 (LITE)
FLEXIBILITY: VERY STIFF (P.D.); STIFF (LITE)
BEAM WIDTH: 23.5-26-22.5MM (P.D.); 22-25-22MM (LITE)
STRING PATTEN: 16 X 19
IDEAL SWING: MEDIUM TO LONG
NTRP: 3.5+ (P.D.); 3.5 TO 4.5 (LITE)

The Pitch: The Babolat Pure Drive, now in its seventh generation, has been updated with Cortex Active Technology. C.A.T. links the handle and frame with the Cortex Damping System, which selectively filters out unwanted vibrations (high frequencies) and preserves useful sensations (low frequencies) for optimal feedback, according to Babolat. As always, the Pure Drive is constructed with Woofer technology, a grommet system that expands the sweetspot and increases dwell time by engaging more strings upon impact, as well as Graphite Tungsten (GT) materials that strengthen the frame for added stability and power.

Like the Pure Drive, the Pure Drive Lite has been updated with Cortex Active Technology. And it also has the features, such as the Woofer system and Graphite Tungsten, that acolytes of this frame have come to revere.

How It Tested: The Pure Drive offers players of various ages and ability levels, from club and college players to Kim Clijsters, the balance of power and control they need to play today’s fast-paced, power-baseline game. While net rushers and spin doctors should take heed that this isn’t the most subtle of sticks, grinders said that the Pure Drive’s open string pattern, generous sweet spot and rigid stability gave them what they needed to fight the battle from the baseline. As one 4.0 playtester summed up the Pure Drive, in suitably staccato terms, “Groundstrokes. Power. Maneuverable. Forgiving. Sweet spot.”

If the Pure Drive is still too hefty for you, test out the Pure Drive Lite (pictured). Similar to the Pure Drive 107 in weight and balance, but without its control-sacrificing oversized head, the Pure Drive Lite is easy to handle and a breeze to swing. Many playtesters noted that its effortless maneuverability helped them block back more returns and add punch to their serves and groundstrokes. Others, however, accustomed to a bigger stringbed, observed that the sweetspot was somewhat small—precisely what the doctor ordered for juniors players still honing their strokes. Said one 3.5 playtester, it was “tough for an intermediate player like me to make correct contact consistently, but when I hit the sweet spot I was lavishly rewarded. Without fail, a great shot or outright winner. It’s a racquet I would like to have in tow and play towards, working with it over time to develop a better feel.”

Bottom Line: Tried and true instrument for intermediate to advanced baseline grinders.


More Racquet Reviews:

 Babolat Pure Drive/Pure Drive Lite
Babolat Pure Drive 107
Donnay Pro One 16 x 19
Dunlop Biomimetic 700
GAMMA RZR 98/98T
HEAD YouTek IG Prestige (Pro, MP, Mid)
HEAD YouTek IG Radical (Pro, MP, OS)
HEAD YouTek IG Prestige S/Radical S
Prince EXO3 Rebel 95/98
Prince EXO Warrior 100
SOLINCO Tour 8
Völkl ORGANIX V1 (MP, OS)
Wilson Juice 100/108 BLX
Wilson Pro Staff Six.One 100 BLX
Wilson Steam 100 BLX
YONEX EZONE Xi 98/100
YONEX EZONE Xi 107

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