2017 Babolat Pure Strike vs Babolat Pure Aero: First Impressions

How to decide between the 2017 Pure Aero and the 2017 Pure Strike?

Our Babolat Aero and Pure Strike demos just arrived from Midwest Sports. We also tested the 16x19 Pure Strike directly from TennisTopia - the other online companies did not have them in stock. We took them out each out for a few hours and then played a practice set or two to compare.
Get the $25 for $50 Tennis Topia Groupon here!

Video Review:
2016-2017 Babolat Aero vs Pure Strike: Summary of Playtest and Review
WTA Pro Bethan Mattek-Sands using Pure Drive 100 (Compared to her Pure Drive)

Testing Setup:

  • We received these from Midwest Sports polyester strings with white Wilson Pro grips.
  • Dampeners used were the Pete Sampras "O" (to maintain minimal weight to the frames).
  • Strung at mid-tension @ ~55lbs with Babolat RPM Blast 16 gauge on both the mains and crosses.

Babolat Pure Aero vs Babolat Pure Strike Specs
Aero vs Strike Models
Both racquets are Mid-Plus in size (100 square inches with 4 points Head Light balance). Weights are 11.1 oz for the Pure Strike and 11.3 oz for the Pure Aero.

These Babolat Racquets are currently being endorsed by Rafael Nadal (green Pure Aero) and Dominic Thiem (white Pure Strike).

Babolat's Best Seller vs New Kid on the Block

The Pure Aero has been the #1 best seller for a long time. But what if you need a tad more control and slightly more maneuverable? Welcome to the new 2017 Pure Strike.

Also known as Project One 7, it is now being used by World's Top 10 Dominic Thiem.

Babolat Pure Strike

Dominic Thiem's very aggressive and hyper-extended swing was designed for this racquet!

Really liked the spin/control and offers a decent defense when on the run. Shots such as the slice and squash forehand are easily accessible in dire moments. The low swing-weight really helps get the racquet around on wide shots.

Serve felt a tad underpowered; Returned heavy serves with ease. It contains and reflects power very well.

Transition mid-court Volleys were very silky smooth (felt the Babolat Woofer grommet system cupping the ball for great placement).

There is added power that comes along with the new FSI system that made the gaps between the strings near the corners a bit wider.


Its main weakness is when you are late on the swing or jammed without enough room to follow through, this racquet will tend to spray the ball out.

Tennis Magazine Review
"Babolat is positioning the Pure Strike as a compromise between the Pure Drive and Pure Aero"

Tennis Magazine 2017 - Best All-Around Racquet
Even hitting against hard, flat incoming shots - it can still return lots of arch/spin;

It definitely rewards Boldness and Aggressive racquet acceleration. Won a few practice sets easily 6-2 against 4.0-4.5 players.

The main tactic was spreading the court with deep, heavy groundstrokes and coming in with angled approach shots, volleys, and put-away overheads.

Tennis Warehouse gave it very high marks for groundstrokes. Tennis Magazine gave the Pure Strike (98) the Best All Around Racquet Award of Spring-Summer 2017.

Best Price on the Babolat Pure Strike 100 (on Amazon)

Babolat Pure Aero

Rafael Nadal has switched to this model starting in 2016.

Seriously, what's with coloring all tennis products green?? Do we need to have tennis shirts, shorts, and now tennis racquet have to offer a color option in Tennis Ball GREEN for everything?! :)

Babolat's Aero Heritage
This is true to tradition Aero like previous models. It is a very easy-to-swing racket. Aeros tend to be forgiving on many off-center shots with a large sweet spot.

It also provides much more spin potential and power, but slightly less control than the Pure Strike.

Also your ball trajectory will be much loopier and more arch shaped with the Aero, whereas the Strike, it tends to be slightly flatter using the same swing.

Lives up to its tweener reputation: the racket for the masses!
Good choice for a wide skill range of 3.0-4.5's. It can let you stay on the baseline all day long. This is a best selling tennis racquet line for good reason.

Just like the Babolat Pure Drive, the Pure Aero's also needs a long, fast swing to do it justice. Simply pushing or blocking the ball will not deliver its full potential and will often land balls high but short in the court.

I enjoyed whipping it around for creating all sorts of angles and dips. Gets pushed around a bit against a hard and flat ball, though.

If you wish to get one with a bit more weight, try the Pure Aero "Tour" version.

Best Price on the Babolat Pure Aero (on Amazon)

AeroPro 2013 vs Pure Aero 2017: Saving Money, Losing the Paintjob

2013 AeroPro vs 2017 Pure Aero Tech Specs
If you wish to save a bit of money, see my youtube demo of the AeroPro (2013 model) which plays very similar.

Consider buying either version when it's on sale (below $219).

At Tennis-Bargains, we recommend you save a bit of money by not "upgrading" every year. Just like with Apple iPhones - do you think the iPhone 6 is that much better than the the iPhone 5S? Probably not - see our comparison chart (left).

Rule of thumb for Upgrading:
If you are going from a racket that is more 3 generations older than the current one (5+ years), then consider demoing both the newest racket and *the one just before it*.

If you cannot tell the difference and all the tech specs are the same, then you need to decide is it really worth paying $200+.

Final Thoughts and Differences: Babolat 2017: Pure Strike and Pure Aero

Throat Shapes
The Aero has maintained its sharp "V" throat area. This helps with cutting through the air.
The Strike has a wider "U" box shape at the throat which seems to help for off-center shots from torquing the frame.

Finding a Deal on Babolat (Rare!)
As for purchasing a racquet, I would definitely demo these rackets (and more so the Pure Strike) as it has more changes this year.

Midwest Sports offers a cool $20 off coupon with the demo, if you decide to buy from them.

Also, Babolat typically has a Black Friday sale near the end of November! I will certainly be on the lookout for a deal myself.


Final Decision:

If I had to switch to a Babolat today, I would use the Babolat Pure Strike 100.
For reference, my preferred stick is the Head Speed MP (see below). I typically play as a baseliner, counter-puncher with mostly singles and a bit of doubles at the 4.0-4.5 NTRP levels.



For comparison: Head Speed Touch Graphene MP

I have owned the Head GrapheneSpeed MP for over a year now.  It is very similar in specs if you look at the chart.

Not much has changed in 2 generations...maybe slightly more dampened feel in the latest generation with the new "Touch Graphene" material.

However, the polarized weight in the Tip and Handle is still apparent. Some players find the older generation of Liquidmetal frames more appealing, such as myself.

The Head Speed model overall has more all-around positives for me (maybe because I'm a Head fan with the Radical and Instinct) Still a solid all around racket...

Differences:
Head handle shapes tend to be more oval, whereas Babolat has a very circular shape. If you look at the bottom of the racquet butt cap, you'll see what I mean.



3 comments :

  1. Good analysis, but let's put a finer point on the references to the pros: Dominic Thiem doesn't use the Project 16X19, he uses the 18X20, and it's also been rumored that he's still using the old frame with new paint job. And Rafa has been using the same Aero Pro Drive for nearly 10 years (he's experimented with a few along the way). The only similarity between the Pure Aero and Rafa's racquet is the paint job. That's it. I believe he's still playing a 2008 Aero Pro Drive.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Rafa still plays with his Aero from 2004. The racquet we saw him winning the french in '05 and '06. He made some adjustments over the years using lead tape at the top of the frame, to give it more power.

      Delete
  2. Thanks for the comments! There is a thread on TT about Thiem's "real racquet": https://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/index.php?threads/dominic-thiem-racquet-specs.564639/
    In our review, we are comparing the 2016-2017 Babolat consumer models that players can try. As you probably know, rarely do the Pros use the exact stock specs in competition. They are usually modified to a large degree.

    ReplyDelete

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