Head Graphene 360+ Speed Lite Racket Review
Head have continued their use of the famous Graphene 360+ technology into their new line of Speed rackets, offering a great combination of stability and comfort. The Speed Lite opens up the line that Novak Djokovic endorses to a more inexperienced audience, as the incredibly light weight makes this racket accessible to all playing levels.
The key thing to remember with this updated version of Graphene 360+ technology is that it utilises Spiral Fibre technology that stretches upon impact, making the racket feel more comfortable.
Many of the specs remain unchanged compared to the previous version of the Speed Lite, however the new location of these fibres add a little more plushness to this otherwise stiffer frame.
One of the first things you notice about this racket is the striking new paint job. The Speed line has traditionally been quite an understated racket, particularly compared to the bright colours used for the Instinct, Prestige and Radical lines from Head.
However, in this updated version, Head has favoured the white colour over the black to take up most of the frame’s design scheme.
The Lite version of the Speed racket has always been a whippy and spin friendly racket, and this new version is no different.
As we have mentioned, this model opens up the line to a less experienced audience who want a racket that is easier to swing and more user friendly, whilst still having access to the control and feel that the Speed line is renowned for.
Whilst this was an easy racket to swing, it was not as stable and well damped as I would have liked. It was great for whipping up the back of the ball and generating a lot of racket head speed, but was not necessarily the most stable feeling racket out there.
The new technology definitely enhanced the feel of the racket, so when the ball was timed well and a clean constant was made the racket did pocket the ball nicely and there was a lot of control.
However, when this was not the case the racket did have a tendency to feel a little flimsy at times.
8out of 10
There were some upsides and downsides to the Lite version of the new Head Speed Graphene 360+. On the plus side, the lack of mass in this racket helps you to swing through the ball with incredible ease, making the racket feel very easy to maneuver.
You can get the racker behind the ball incredibly easily and when you make a solid, clean contact with the ball it is a rewarding racket to hit with.
The technology helps the racket feel comfortable as well as controlled and the lack of weight enables you to get your arm through the ball with ease, meaning you can generate a lot of ball speed and spin (especially thanks to the open 16×19 string pattern).
However, the lack of weight is a bit of a double edged sword here. Whilst it makes the racket very easy to swing and get into position, it can feel a little tinny when you strike the ball off centre.
This is because there is not much in the way of resistance coming from the racket, so any fast incoming balls that you try to redirect with any authority can sometimes be left short and the sensation through the hand is a bit unpleasant.
Although the new technology definitely helps with the plushness of the racket when you contact the ball inside the sweet spot, it is not a magical formula that can offset the lack of plow through from such a light frame.
On low balls that I wanted to whip up the back of and use my wrist it was a very good performer.
When defending and counter punching too the racket did have its good moments, as it was so easy to get the racket behind the ball.
However, if my body was not behind the ball too the racket did lack a bit of stability to feel comfortable going for a slap forehand for example. It could have perhaps done with a little more weight up in the hoop to enhance that solid feeling.
However, maybe I am being overly critical of the racket. It is after all aimed at a beginner player that needs a racket that is easy to swing but is not too overbearing or mushy.
With this in mind, the Head Graphene 360+ Speed Lite is a solid option, as it offers a good amount of control and is easy to swing.
So, if you are looking to improve your technique and need a control friendly racket with a lot of feel when you make good contact, this is a good option for you.
In fact, it will definitely let you know when you hit the ball in the sweet spot and when you don’t, so it’s probably a smart choice for getting into good habits early!
6.5out of 10
Again, the Speed Lite was a bit of a mixed bag up at the net. Whilst it was a very crisp feeling when the racket was in position to make clean contact, it did feel a little flimsy on off centre hits due to the lack of weight.
If you are someone that struggles with getting clean contact on your volleys and you find the technique a bit of a challenge to master, you may be better off going for a more substantial racket with a slightly larger head size.
When you have time to get the racket back behind the ball and really punch through your volleys, you feel like you have a lot of control and can basically put the ball wherever you want.
This is another major plus point of the stick, as it is easy to maneuver and you can react quickly to fast balls. There is plenty of feel with this racket, particularly when you middle the ball.
It would be a great racket for doubles, particularly as a net player fending off attacks from your opposing net player, but it does feel a little unstable on high volleys and smashes when back peddling.
7.5out of 10
On serve the Head Graphene 360+ Speed Lite is easy on the arm and the shoulder, so you won’t tire out too easily. It is a comfortable racket to put in the hours with and is very rewarding when you hit the sweet spot.
The open 16×19 string pattern gives a lot of easy access to spin, whilst the low swing weight allows you to generate a lot of racket head speed, helping you kick the ball out of your opponent’s reach!
It doesn’t have the most plow through compared to its competitors, so getting extra power from the racket on big first serves is lacking slightly.
Nonetheless, it is an easy racket to swing and opens up the control oriented line of rackets from Head to a wider audience.
7.5out of 10
The Speed Lite was great for returning sevres aggressively, as its whippy nature allows for big swings and it is easy to generate a lot of spin.
A successful play with this racket can be stepping back and taking a bigger cut at the ball, hitting looping ground strokes back to push your opponent behind the baseline and dictate the play.
What’s more, the low swing weight means you can react quickly to fast serve and flick the racket at the ball and still have a decent amount of control over where you place your return.
However, it is not the most solid feeling racket when you strike the ball outside of the sweet spot, and its lack of weight does mean it can take a bit of time to dial in and find your rhythm, particularly when trying to block the ball back deep.
7.5out of 10
Overall, the Head Graphene 360+ Speed Lite is a great racket for the player that wants to benefit from Head’s latest technology but needs a racket that is easy to swing. You can generate a lot of racket head speed with the low swing weight and this helps create a lot of topspin on the ball.
Whilst the racket doesn’t feel as stable as you might like at times, it is a good lightweight alternative to the mid plus and pro versions of the racket.
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