As the name would suggest, the Dunlop Viper Dry Overgrip is designed to be super absorbent and keep your racket firmly in your hands. You don’t need to produce Andy Roddick levels of sweat to have problems holding on to your racket in hot conditions; it’s certainly a problem most tennis players have encountered.
Finding the perfect grip for your racket can be a challenge. Not absorbent enough and you see your valuable racket cartwheeling down the court, too absorbent and you come off court with your hands shredded. Many players will just accept torn up hands as an occupational hazard, but I for one, do not think this is a reality people have to accept.
I’m fairly convinced I’ve already found the perfect overgrip for me in the Wilson Pro Overgrip, but that hasn’t stopped me searching to see if there’s anything else out there. The Dunlop Viper Dry Overgrip has been described to me as something between the Wilson and the Tourna, which piqued my interest.
The Tourna and the Wilson are probably the two most popular overgrips, but they are very different. The Tourna is like super absorbent sandpaper, it absorbs sweat really well, but even when it can’t absorb any more you still get a great grip because, well, it’s “sandpaper”.
The Wilson, on the other hand, is like very absorbent velvet. It’s a bit like holding onto a cloud, but a particularly grippy cloud. The Tourna has better absorbency, but the Wilson has better comfort, so could the Dunlop possibly be the perfect middle ground?
I took the Dunlop out on a pretty chilly day, but my hands can still get pretty sweaty with a good workout, so I felt confident I could give it a good playtest. We played a pretty intense set of tennis, and it’s in these moments when the pressure gets ramped up that you learn if you can really trust a grip.
I’ll cut to the chase on this one, the Dunlop isn’t in the class of the Wilson or Tourna. It offers elements of each one, but generally on the negative side. It has the comfort levels of the Tourna; not something to be proud about, but if it was as absorbent as the Tourna, you could deal with that.
Anyway, I have broken the Viper down into its various categories of comfort, absorbency, and thinness for you to take a look at.
Comfort – 6/10
Tom gave the Tourna grip a 5 out of 10 for comfort, so I’ll have to be nice to the Dunlop and give it a 6. Ordinarily, I’d give the Tourna a 2 and the Dunlop a 3. The Dunlop is marginally more comfortable, but it’s not a big improvement.
When you’re beginning your practice, the Dunlop Viper Dry is supremely dry and rough, and this creates a lot of friction between racket and hand. Like the Tourna, if you’re hands are not used to this kind of grip, then they are going to take some punishment. It will take some time to build up callouses and thicker skin when using these types of grips and in the meantime, your hands will pay the price.
In the case of the Tourna grip, this is a price people are willing to pay if it means they get great absorbency. There are few things more frustrating than seeing your racket flying out of your hands. I was paying the price in comfort at the beginning of my session with the Dunlop, but it could perhaps be retrievable if it performed very well in absorbency.
Absorbency – 8/10
This is one of those grips that is supposed to get tacky as it gets damp. This always worries me. I find that tack is fine when your hand is dry, but when your hand gets sweaty, tack = slip. Unfortunately, the Dunlop Viper Dry wasn’t the grip to change my opinion on this.
This grip does have good absorbency, but once it reaches a point, its so-called tack makes it slightly slippery. It performs similarly to the Wilson Pro Overgrip when your hands get a bit sweaty, which, when you take into account the comfort levels of both grips is not a good performance.
The Tourna sets the standard when it comes to sweat absorption and the Dunlop Viper gets nowhere close to that. Rather than a middle ground to the Wilson and the Tourna, the Dunlop either fits as a poor man’s Tourna or Wilson.
Thinness – 9/10
The Viper Dry has similar levels of thinness to the Wilson and the Tourna. This is useful because it gives you options. If you enjoy the super thin feel and being close to the racket, then you’ve got that option. If you like something slightly thicker though, you can build the grip up and use as many overgrips as you like.
For me, the one overgrip is the perfect amount and I had no problems with the feel of the grip on the handle. It wasn’t an ideal playtest for me, but at least I felt connected with the handle bevels with this thin grip.
Conclusion – 7/10
For me, there are two standout grips on the market, and the Dunlop is not one of them. Between the Wilson Pro Overgrip and the Tourna XL Dry Feel, they have pretty much all bases covered. One does exceptional comfort with good absorption and the other does incredible absorption for the super sweaty.
The Viper seems to lean more towards the absorption side, but unfortunately, it doesn’t compete with the Tourna when it comes to not slipping. It may just be me, but when I hear tacky, I think slippery, and that is exactly what I found with the Dunlop Viper Dry Overgrip.
Overall, I gave the Viper a 7 out of 10, it is not in the top echelons of grips, but I’m sure there will be people out there who it suits.
Review by: Will