Babolat RPM Soft String Review
The Babolat RPM family of strings has proved incredibly popular in recent years. The most famous of these, RPM Blast, is used by Rafael Nadal and is a pretty stiff string that aims to generate as much spin as possible. Off the back of this successful model, Babolat has expanded the RPM line and introduced the softest variant, RPM Soft. This string joins an ever-expanding category of tennis strings that seek to blend the characteristics of traditionally firm polyesters and typically forgiving multifilament strings. The idea is that these will mimic the characteristics of a hybrid setup, combining power, spin, control and feel. But has it actually worked with RPM Soft? Let’s find out!
8out of 10
Babolat RPM Soft is a string that technically needs its own classification. Normally, we categorise tennis strings based on their material or construction.
These are generally things like multifilament, polyester, natural gut, kevlar and so on. Within these categories, there are also sub-categories that describe the playing characteristics of the string, for example, a firm multifilament or a soft polyester.
However, in Babolat’s attempt to make RPM Soft and more forgiving, they have actually placed it between polyester and a synthetic gut.
RPM Soft is actually made from polyamide materials, which are not typically included in traditional polyester string composition.
The string is a monofilament so actually has a similar construction to its RPM brothers, but the materials used are much softer. This gives the string a very forgiving feel and helps it produce a lot more power than the rest of the RPM string range.
The string is powerful but well judged. You get a lot of pop out of the string bed and there is a good amount of ball pocketing to enhance that slingshot feel. But, the power is not uncontrollable as can be the case with some natural gut strings out there.
For players that have more compact swings and want their string to do more of the work in terms of generating pace, RPM Soft is well worth a try.
You get a much livelier response from RPM Soft compared to the rest of the copoly strings in the RPM line up. This helps the ball fly off the strings and gives you plenty of easy power.
Players that are more used to a traditional polyester string should be aware of the lack of spin that RPM Soft produces. Its soft nature and lack of snap back means shots can fly a bit long from time to time and you really need to work that windshield motion to get the ball dipping inside the court.
7out of 10
For a powerful string, Babolat RPM Soft does a good job of controlling the ball.
You get a great sense of connection with RPM Soft so it is easy to place the ball and modulate your inputs.
However, the liveliness of the string can make it a little unpredictable at times, and the softness encourages notching and string movement. You’ll probably find yourself adjusting your strings after every point if you are a heavy topspin hitter.
You don’t get that dead, consistent, predictable feeling from RPM Soft that you’ll get from say RPM Blast. This reduces the control you get on your shots somewhat, but doesn’t leave the string unplayable by any means.
8out of 10
Babolat RPM Soft has a lot of touch and feel to offer. Its softness means you can feel exactly what is going on as the ball leaves the string bed.
This makes it a great choice for players that like to use their hands and come into the net frequently. The combination of comfort, feel and touch you get from RPM Soft makes it feel pretty plush on contact.
Compared to the other polyester strings in the RPM line up, this is by far the most forgiving and comfortable on the arm.
Again, it is less of a performance string and more aimed at players that like that forgiveness associated with softer strings. RPM Soft feels great when you want to switch things up and play a drop shot in the middle of a long rally, as you can feel the ball so crisply.
5.5out of 10
Spin is not really Babolat RPM Soft’s strongest attribute. The fact that it’s so soft and comfortable make it great for players with tennis elbow, but this also hinders the amount of spin that can be generated.
The string has a smooth surface, which means that not much friction is imparted onto the ball as you brush it on contact. Effectively the ball slides off the string bed rather than being gripped and ripped like when using RPM Blast Rough for example.
RPM Soft is definitely more spin friendly and offers a crisper response than your average multifilament or natural gut.
However, it is also a string geared more towards power and comfort than spin and control.
The string is comfortable enough to be used at high tensions and this will enhance the spin and control that can be generated. But, if you want to benefit from the plushness of RPM Soft but also get a few more revolutions on the ball, you should try it out in a hybrid with a stiffer poly string.
7out of 10
The overall durability of Babolat RPM Soft is pretty good compared to a lot of other comfort strings on the market. The unique construction and coating helps the string to stand up to topspin and not break under pressure.
As with many softer strings, the tension maintenance of RPM Soft is strong.
The fact that the string retains its original tension for such a long time after it has been first strung is a real bonus.
You get consistent performance across the duration of the string’s life and this is great for players that perhaps play tennis a bit more infrequently but still want that familiar feel.
Whilst tension maintenance and overall longevity is great, RPM Soft does have a tendency to notch quite early and this impacts the feel of the string bed. This can actually cause some issues with string movement and therefore spin and control.
When strings notch, they get stuck in place and basically can’t move freely in the string bed or snap back. This means strings will initially move when you brush the ball, but won’t return to their original position.
This leaves big gaps between the mains and the crosses, which can impact the feel and definitely the spin you are able to generate.
This is definitely worth bearing in mind if you are a high performance player that hits with a lot of topspin. In this situation, it would definitely be recommended to use RPM Soft in a hybrid setup to offset the notching.
8.5out of 10
Comfort scores pretty well with Babolat RPM Soft. The string does a great job of absorbing shocks and deadening the ball on impact, giving you a more comfortable hitting experience.
The softer polyamide materials really help to keep RPM Soft as plush as possible without it becoming too mushy.
This string is communicative and lively so players that need a bit of extra pop from their strings can trust in RPM Soft to deliver the goods without sending shocks down their arm.
It strikes a good balance between a traditional multifilament and a firmer polyester. You get the bit more bite from the string compared to a multifilament, but also experience a more forgiving feeling than a poly.
However, compared to other middle of the road ‘hybrid’ strings that seek to strike this perfect blend of playing characteristics, RPM Soft falls on the more comfortable side.
8out of 10
Overall, Babolat RPM Soft is a good attempt at blending multiple string characteristics in one accessible package. The comfort, feel and damping from the string is impressive, making it a great choice for a junior or beginner player that needs a plush feeling package.
You get plenty of feedback from RPM Soft and it is crisper than traditional multifilament or natural gut strings.
However, the notching and lack of snap back may become an issue for higher level players that like to hit with a lot of spin and require a more control oriented set up.
Is This String Right For Your Game? Find Out With a Custom Fitting!
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