Racquet Preview: Babolat Pure Drive (2021)

by: Jon Levey | September 01, 2020

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Babolat Pure Drive

Powerful, stable, user-friendly and capable of mashing the ball at a moment’s notice. That’s what fans of the Babolat Pure Drive have come to expect of the hugely popular frame. So, when an updated model arrives, reinvention is generally out of the question. The 2021 edition retains all the hallmarks that have earned the racquet its large following, with refinements designed to improve the responsiveness on off-center hits and enhance the feel and sound clarity at impact. 

The first addition is the High Torsional Rigidity System. It’s a new lay-up composition in the hoop of the frame for better stability and subsequent energy return, particularly at faster swing speeds. Babolat touts this will raise the “explosivity” of the Pure Drive, allowing it to hit winners from just about any position on the court.

The second upgrade is SWX Pure Feel. The SMAC material—a thin viscoelastic rubber integrated into the lay-up—has been extended into the shaft. This additional location helps disperse vibrations, rather than simply dampen like the 2018 edition. The result is better ball feel and sound clarity at contact.

In terms of specs, there’s nothing new to report. However, there is one casualty to the line: The Pure Drive Tour + has been discontinued. The frame that Andy Roddick popularized is getting shelved this time around. The bombast brought on by the added weight and length has fallen out of favor in today’s game, shrinking its audience. Users of the frame will either have to stock up on the current model, or beef up the new Pure Drive +. 

From an aesthetics standpoint, the iconic blue coloring mixes deeper shades from the previous model. The logo combines the designs of a sledgehammer with a lightning bolt to drive home the image of a powerful and sudden strike racquet. The bumper guard is also longer, extending down well passed the 3 and 9 o’clock positions on the head.

Model Head Size
(sq. in.)
Length
(in.)

Unstrung
Weight
(oz.)

Unstrung
Balance
RA/Stiffness String
Pattern
Pure Drive 100 27 10.6 315 mm 72 16x19
Pure Drive Tour 100 27 11.1 315 mm 74 16x19
Pure Drive + 100 27.5 10.6 320 mm 72 16x19
Pure Drive Team 100 27 10.1 320 mm 72 16x19
Pure Drive Lite 100 27 9.5 330 mm 72 16x19
Pure Drive 110  110 27.6 9 330 mm 72 16x19
Pure Drive 107 107 27.2 10.1 320 mm 72 16x19
Pure Drive Super Lite 100 27 9 330 mm 72 16x19

 

The new Pure Drive sells for $229 and launches September 24. Check back in the coming weeks for detailed reviews.

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