Head Radical Pro (2023) Review
So, you want to know all about the newest racket to come from Head, the 2023 version of their fabled Radical frame?
Since Andre Agassi adopted the Radical line it has held a special place in the pantheon of famous frames and here we take a deep dive into the 2023 Pro model.
A frame notorious for its use by more accomplished players, we were fascinated to see what Head had done with this iteration and to discover who would benefit from putting this specific racket into play.
Quick Notes on the Head Radical Pro (2023)
Head has a comprehensive range of frames that cater to every level and game style and as you would expect, we have comprehensive coverage in our guide to all things Head. But where does the new Radical Pro 2023 fit into what is already a stellar stable of rackets?
Essentially, when we think of Radical Pro users, we get images of experienced players with a strong skill set and ample power. The ‘Pro’ has always been a racket that demands something of its user in terms of power, but is nonetheless phenomenally dependable and accurate at all times.
So, our mission on this test was to see if the Austrian-based manufacturer had veered from their tried and trusted Radical formula, or doubled down on the qualities known to be synonymous with this much-loved racket.
9out of 10
The previous iteration of the Radical line was divisive – many loved the Dayglo Orange paired with silver while others (me!) felt that it was a bit too much. For 2023 Head stayed with the orange motif but has turned down the contrast a little, anchoring a darker, more red aesthetic with a rich blue that brings a touch of calm and class to the frame.
For 2023, there is still enough pop to please those who like their frames on the jazzy side, and while purists won’t necessarily be convinced, this model will unquestionably find favor with a broader audience based on appearances alone.
8.5out of 10
Make no mistake, some players will give this frame 4/10 for groundstrokes while others will undoubtedly give it full marks – as we will explain.
Head has its own ‘index’, a system whereby its rackets are attributed a number based upon how powerful/controlled that frame is. This is called the CPI (Control Power Index) with the least powerful (most controllable) Head frame coming in at 100 on the scale, and the most powerful (least controllable) scoring 1000 on the index.
The Head Radical Pro (2023) comes in at 200 on the index thanks to its thin beam (20mm, 21.5mm, 21mm) and substantial unstrung weight of 315g. Thus, it takes some maneuvering and demands that you apply a fair share of muscle to each shot.
Whilst warming up the racket’s weight, beam, and inherent stiffness made for an unresponsive experience. But once we were ready to ramp things up, the racket responded nicely and never missed a step when it came to accuracy.
The official RA (stiffness rating) of 64 suggests that this frame should feel softer than it does – but it strangely handles a little stouter than expected.
Those who would score this frame poorly for groundstrokes would be players that need their frame to compensate for maybe a lack of spin or power – for them, there are ample other options such as the Extreme or Boom from Head’s line-up.
Conversely, however, for stronger players who need their frame to be predictable, irrespective of how hard they attack the ball, the Radical Pro is a willing servant, capable of rewarding a player’s power with unerring accuracy.
In terms of spin, the 16×19 string bed will aid the creation of revs but the frame is not particularly aerodynamic – that said, the thinnish beam moves well through the air, and backhand slices left the racket with decent bite.
That said, generating Rafa-like top-spin was beyond our physical capabilities with the Radical Pro and instead we traded in more Murray-like shots – flat, heavy, and well-directed.
8.5out of 10
We always like a 98-sq inch head for volleying and around the net the Radical Pro (2023) acquitted itself well. The weight for many could prove a little cumbersome but for experienced racket handlers who loiter around the net, specifically for doubles, this frame will dispatch volleys with supreme accuracy and real authority.
For 2023 Head has added their proprietary ‘Auxetic’ technology into the construction which in theory should bring a little more feel into the mix, but being completely honest, we failed to see an appreciable difference when volleying – compared to the outgoing iteration that is.
8out of 10
As with groundstrokes, your mileage with the Radical Pro will vary greatly when serving, depending upon your technique and strength.
More accomplished and athletic players will love the Radical Pro’s weight and directional dependability and when paired with a spin-centric string, a heavy kick-serve can easily be created. And for those unbothered about spin, if you can move this stick with speed be prepared to unleash some heavy bombs that few will enjoy facing!
For those players however, who tend to favor something around 300 grams to 305 grams with a substantial beam (such as Babaolat’s Pure Aero) we would recommend looking past the Radical Pro which when it comes to serving, tends to really reward the more aggressive pass at the ball and does not give you free power.
8.5out of 10
Providing you can maneuver the Radical Pro, it will definitely help when it comes to returning – especially with blocking against harder hitters.
The seriously strong player who can wield this frame without issue can possibly ‘fight fire with fire’, leaning on this frame’s solid nature to hammer back a taxing return, but for mere mortals (like us), we enjoyed the Radical Pro’s stability in order to block the fiercest of serves without fuss.
Of course, we would much prefer to return ‘with interest’ and ask something of our opponent, but you would really need to be an accomplished player for that, but for those of us who are happy to merely stay in the point, the Radical Pro will answer the stiffest of serves without buckling.
8out of 10
There is a lot to like about the Head Radical Pro (2023), it is stable, dependable, and a highly faithful friend that is the model of consistency.
It is not the life and soul of the party and has no real eccentricities, but you know what you are going to get – every time. And for a certain demographic, that is gold dust.
In the right hands, the Radical Pro 2023 will deliver heavy balls with pinpoint accuracy, and while the Auxetic technology fails to really revolutionize the hitting experience, it does add a little bit of feel – most notably when slicing.
Fundamentally speaking, this racket specifically caters to stronger hitters who are good technicians, and for those players, the Radical Pro in 2023, just like previous iterations of this line, will prove itself a very capable weapon. For everyone else, there is the lighter and more manageable MP version or maybe something else from Head’s sizeable range.
And if you are intrigued about which racket is for you, why not take a look at our hugely popular custom fitting service? The service has helped countless players find the right racket for them.
Maybe we could suggest the Radical Pro 2023 for your game!
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