Watch gear editor Justin diFeliciantonio hit with the Dunlop S8.0 Lite, as TENNIS.com racquet advisor Bruce Levine discusses this super-sized frame:
Available: October 15
Head Size: 115 sq. in.
Length: 27.5 in.
Weight*: 9.5 oz.
Balance*: 8 pts. HH
Flexibility: Flexible to Firm
Beam Width: 26-30-28mm
String Pattern: 16x19
Ideal Swing: Short
NTRP: 2.5 to 3.5
*NOTE: Values represent strung frames.
The S8.0 Lite abounds in the latest Dunlop technologies. (According to the company’s nomenclature, racquets labeled F are for players with full/fast swings, M for medium/moderate swings, and S for shorter/slower swings.) These include Biofiber, a strong but lightweight material extracted from the stem fibers of plants, which Dunlop says is woven into the shaft to filter out unwanted racquet vibrations. They also include Aeroskin Cx, a surface–frame application that, according to the company, mimics the aerodynamics of sharkskin, enabling players to swing with greater racquet-head speed. Finally, the 8.0 features a sophisticated “3Dom” grommet system. These grommets fit flush against the frame, incorporate a pliant elastomer, and are fabricated from molybdenite, a near-frictionless mineral. The principle result, Dunlop claims, is more string movement upon impact with the ball, which in turn expands the frame’s sweet spot as well as its potential for power and spin. (For an in-depth discussion of Dunlop’s latest innovations, read our recent Gear Talk with Hunter Hines, the company’s Director of Marketing and Product Development, here and here.)
How It Tested
The S8.0 Lite, in contrast to Dunlop’s more control-oriented 3.0 and 6.0 series, aims to provide maximal power for beginner players with abbreviated strokes.
This is clear right off the shelf. With its large head size, light weight, head-heavy balance, and very thick beam, the S8.0 Lite is designed to yield increased ball velocity and margin of error for the slowest of swingers. “For someone, like an intermediate or high-level player, who has some zip to their swing, the S8.0 Lite is going to put way too much oomph on the ball,” says Bruce Levine, Racquet Advisor for Tennis Magazine. “But for club-dubs players, especially older players, all that extra power is going to be a plus around the court, not a minus.” Indeed, playtesters at 3.0 and 3.5 levels complimented the stick’s generous sweet spot and easy depth in the backcourt as well as at net.
However, while the S8.0 Lite’s power is alluring, players prone to arm injury should approach the racquet with caution. Although the stick’s construction isn’t nearly as stiff as many other game-improvement frames—thus reducing the amount of shock transmitted to the arm on impact—its sub-10 ounce weight and eight points head-heavy balance should still give pause to sufferers of elbow and shoulder pain. As a preventative measure against injury, it’s recommended that players string the S8.0 Lite with natural gut at medium to low tensions.
While much too powerful for intermediate and advanced players with longer swings, the S8.0 Lite’s oomph should be a boon for short-swinging beginners, especially those who play club-level doubles. But take heed: The S8.0 Lite isn’t for players with arm pain, and should be strung with natural gut string.
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