When I think of Volkl racquets, I generally envision thin, flexible, comfortable frames that have lots of feel and control, but maybe not so much punch. Perhaps that’s because a large majority of my experience is with the company’s 10 series of frames, which are some of the best around for advanced players. (The C10 Pro is still one of the all-time classics in this category). However, move to the lower numbers in the Volkl family and the playing experience can be vastly different.
Take the new Organix 8 Super G (315). If the 10’s have a cushy, marshmallow feel, then the 8 Super G is like solid oak; it has one of the stiffest RA ratings of any of the frames we’ve recently tested. Fortunately, while it’s plenty firm, it doesn’t feel overly harsh. There’s a crisp response to balls hit in the sweet spot, while misses aren’t punishing.
Volkls have always scored high in the cushioning and dampening departments and the racquet plays more comfortably than the numbers would suggest. Part of this could be attributed to the Super G—the grommet system designed to allow more string movement for better shock absorption and energy transfer—and the V-Sponse material—a pliable elastomer in the grommets and the handle.
(Volkl has introduced a new Pin System—made of the V-Sponse material—in the handles of their frames. Depending on preference, players can select a colored pin that corresponds to the level of dampening: Red is the softest and most muted; yellow gives a slightly firmer feel; and black provides maximum feedback. The 8 I demoed came with a yellow pin.)
Still, few players choose stiff frames for the feel; they’re looking to put some hurt on the ball. And while the 8 Super G provides plenty of pace, I found it to be at a pretty manageable level. I could certainly step on ground strokes when I had the opportunity—I hit a few forehands with more spice than I thought I had left in my chicken wing—yet never felt like I had to reel in rally balls for fear of spraying shots long. Directional control, something I happen to enjoy with most stiff racquets—a similarity to firm strings, perhaps—was also quite good.
Surprisingly, though, my favorite shot to hit was probably my slice one-hander. Having a two-handed backhand, the slice is not one of the stronger shots in my arsenal. I generally call upon it for defensive purposes, or for the occasional change of pace. With the 8 Super G I felt very comfortable using it with more regularity as I had little trouble getting spin and depth with minimal effort.
I find serving with frames at this weight and stiffness to be quite effective, and it was another strength of this particular racquet. As with ground strokes, pace was easy to generate, yet generally stayed well south of wild. I was able to create decent angles on wide serves, and kicks had enough hop to keep my opponent at neutral. I didn’t find the playfulness or versatility I can summon from a thinner, more flexible model, but the weight of the shot made up for it.
Volleying was solid, if a little one-dimensional. The racquet handles well and has plenty of substance to absorb power. Even though it’s slightly lighter than I prefer, I didn’t feel it needed more mass. However, there’s room for customizing, and the Optispot graphics around the hoop serve as useful guides for lead tape. (The bright yellow contrast coloring is supposed to encourage more contact in the sweet spot. I’m not so sure about that, but it looks pretty cool. In fact, for those that care about such things and can stomach Washington Redskins colors, the frame is quite a looker.)
I found I could stick volleys with pace and placement, but the firmness made touch shots a little challenging. With time and the right complementary string it’s something that could improve, but I don’t think it will ever be a strength of the racquet. That said, the performance on the serve and the stability on blocked shots and volleys could make this an attractive frame for aggressive doubles players.
I played well and enjoyed the test run, but ultimately I came away feeling the Organix 8 Super G is probably still a little too firm for me. However, I think it compares favorably with many of the racquets in its category. Any player who enjoys racquets like the Babolat Pure Drive, Wilson Juice, Dunlop F4.0 Tour, or Tecnifibre TFlash 315 will want to give this one a try. It certainly wasn’t what I was expecting from a Volkl, which actually turned out to be a good thing.
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