Head Graphene 360 Radical S Specs

 

Head Size:    102 in² / 658 cm²

Length:    27in / 68,5cm

Strung Weight:    295g / 10,4oz

Unstrung Weight:    280g/9,9oz

Balance:    32,64cm / 5 pts HL

Swingweight:    307

String Pattern:    16 Mains / 19 Crosses

 

Our Review

 

Head has revamped the Radical range with their Graphene 360 technology and a great new paint job so we thought we’d get the Head Graphene 360 Radical S out to put it through its paces. My cousin, who’s a developing player recently bought this racket and loves everything about it, so I thought it was time to find out what the fuss is about!

Although I’ve never used the Radical range myself, I would have to say it’s one of the most consistent racket ranges out there. You know what you’re going to get with these rackets, and they always offer a nice balance between power, spin, and control.

The updated Radical S brings Graphene 360 technology to this racket and should address one of the weaker areas of the Radical rackets – comfort. Graphene 360 reinforces the frame to add a little bit more stability and comfort on contact, which should make playing with this racket a bit more comfortable. In the past, comfort would probably have been the one area where I would have some criticism of the Radical rackets, so I’m hopeful that the new technology will see big improvements in this area.

Specs wise, the Graphene 360 Radical S looks ideal for developing players, with a manageable 280g unstrung weight and a forgiving 102 sq inch head. All the Radical rackets tend to be pretty maneuverable but with its headlight balance, the Radical S should encourage some seriously speedy shots.

This leads me to believe that the Head Graphene 360 Radical S should be looking to compete with rackets like the Wilson Blade 98L, the Prince Textreme Beast 104 and the Babolat Pure Strike Team. All of these rackets offer a nice set up for developing players, and a good balance between spin, power, and control that should really help players looking to play an all-round game.

Like these other rackets, I think the Head Graphene 360 Radical S is nicely set up for a wide range of players, from juniors to intermediate adults, all the way through to senior players. That’s because the Radical S promises lightweight maneuverability with solid performance, ideal for those players who don’t want a heavy racket.

We often get asked what kind of string set up we use for our playtests, so I’ll let you know what we used for our Graphene 360 Radical S review and the thinking behind it. I always lean towards control, and since the Radical S is a much lighter racket than I would normally use, I went for a very control oriented setup of Big Banger Orginal at 54 lbs. Now, this setup is certainly not for everyone, so if you want a little advice on how to set up your new racket then check out Tom’s Tennis String Tension Guide.

I pretty much always say this, but I was especially excited for this playtest as I was interested to see just what it was that sold this racket to my cousin. I was hopeful that it would be great performance rather than just a bit of a sales pitch!

 

Groundstrokes – 7/10

 

Every shot is important, but certainly, in today’s game, groundstrokes are your bread and butter shots. If you’re not comfortable hitting groundstrokes with your racket then you need a new racket, simple as that. Otherwise, you’ll just see your performance drop and the injuries build up.

The good news is that racket companies have been making huge strides in racket comfort, and we can see that with Head’s Graphene 360 technology. This upgrade has gone really nicely into the Radical S and I must say, it is so easy to use.

It swings so naturally but yet, has surprising stability on contact given its weight. You don’t get too many harsh vibrations from this stick but you also don’t have to sacrifice greatly on performance. If you’re a beginner or intermediate then this is great news!

Of the rackets I mentioned earlier, I found the Radical S to be most similar to the Babolat Pure Strike Team, but I must admit, I found the Radical easier to use. The 102 sq inch head is more user-friendly and offers a little bit more easy power, which for me made this racket an excellent intermediate’s racket.

The Radical doesn’t quite have the same levels of performance as the Wilson Blade 98L in my opinion, but I did find it to be much more forgiving. The Wilson’s 98 sq inch head is slightly more difficult to play with, but in return, you do get better control. Like any racket, it’s really a question of what you’re looking for, and if you want easy playability with good performance then this Head Graphene 360 Radical S is a brilliant option.

Personally, as a slightly more experienced player, I would choose the Wilson Blade 98L out of all of these because of its excellent performance levels. However, the Blade 98L is my highest ranked racket under 300g and the Head Graphene 360 Radical S certainly isn’t far behind it.

If it’s easy playability you’re looking for then take a look at this racket! I’ve given the Head Graphene 360 Radical S a 7 out of 10 on the groundstrokes.

Volleys – 7/10

 

For a developing player, one of the most important qualities from a racket at the net is easy maneuverability. You want to be able to get your racket into position nice and quickly, ready to block the ball back. As we’ve already found out, the Head Graphene 360 Radical S has excellent maneuverability, so that makes it easy to volley with.

Because of its weight, the Radical S isn’t going to have the kind of stability that is necessary for volleying at the highest level, but you don’t need that as a developing player. You just need something that you find easy to work with and will be able to control the ball enough to give you a solid base. I found that the Radical S did exactly that, and proved itself to be a great racket for developing players once more.

The other thing I greatly appreciated with this racket was the comfort levels. As I’ve said before, this was an area I always had concerns with when it came to Radical rackets. I don’t know if it was just me but I found them a little bit stiff. That has changed with the Head Graphene 360 Radical S though and you can really notice it when you’re volleying.

Again, compared to the other three rackets, I would say that the Wilson Blade 98L offers the best performance levels at the net, but when it comes to playability I would choose the Radical S. It’s delightfully easy to play with and you don’t have to sacrifice much on performance.

I enjoyed playing with the Head Graphene 360 Radical S at the net, and gave it a very solid 7 out of 10 for its performance.

 

Serve – 6.5/10

 

I find the serve to be the most difficult balancing act for a racket. I want maneuverability but I also want stability and it’s not often you get the perfect blend of both. For me, the Radical S just leaned a little bit too much towards maneuverability and I did lose a little bit of performance on serve.

That’s not to say the balance of this racket is wrong for everyone though, and I think that for the majority of developing players, maneuverability would be more important than stability on serve. This is because the serve is a very complex shot that’s difficult to perfect so it’s much easier to have a racket that you’re comfortable getting into position.

If you can begin to maximize your racket head speed on the serve then you can really start to increase the power you get on the shot. The speed of the Radical S and it’s easy playability allow you to do this and that’s one aspect I particularly like about this racket – it encourages you to improve.

As you develop into a more advanced player then you might find it’s time to move to a slightly heavier racket, but while you’re still perfecting the serve, the Radical S is a very good racket.

I gave the Head Graphene 360 Radical S a 6.5 out of 10 on the serve, its lowest score of the playtest. This isn’t a bad score, especially for a 280g racket, it’s just the one area where I missed the extra stability of a heavier racket.

 

Overall – 7/10

 

Overall, I was very impressed with the improvements these rackets have made with the introduction of Graphene 360 technology. The Head Graphene 360 Radical S is now an extremely maneuverable racket that’s very comfortable to play with. The best part is that it does this without sacrificing too much on performance.

I found the Radical S performed particularly well from the back of the court, where its easy playability makes it ideal for beginner and intermediate players. There’s a tendency for light rackets to be a bit flimsy and lack performance, but I certainly didn’t get that feeling from this stick. If it’s maneuverability you’re after then you certainly won’t be disappointed with the Head’s groundstroke performance.

At net, the easy nature of this racket continues, and developing players are bound to benefit from this. You’ve got to feel confident that you can get into position quickly when you’re at the net, and you can’t fail to do that with the Radical S. Of course, at 280g it’s never going to have massive stability, but as long as you’re not playing at too high of a level this shouldn’t be a problem.

On a personal note, I found the weakest part of this playtest to be on the serve. I found I was craving more stability and thus the ability to inject more power into the shot. This is a personal preference though, and I do think developing players will be more concerned with maneuverability than stability. If that’s the case then you won’t be disappointed with the Radical S.

All in all, I would say this was an excellent playtest. The Head Graphene 360 Radical S is a racket that I would recommend to any developing player who wants a racket that is highly maneuverable and comfortable. I gave the Radical S a solid 7 out of 10.

 

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Review by: Will