Babolat Pure Drive Lite Specs
Head Size: 100 in² / 645cm²
Length: 27in / 68,5 cm
Weight: 10.1oz / 286.33 g
Unstrung Weight: 9.5oz / 270g
Balance: 34,04cm / 1 pts HL
Unstrung Balance: 33cm / 4 pts HL
String Pattern:16 Mains / 19 Crosses
The Lite version of the iconic Babolat Pure Drive is ideal for intermediate adult players and strong junior players who are looking for some vicious spin and power. The Pure Drive is known for its ability to generate big power and spin and that is no different with the Babolat Pure Drive Lite.
The Pure Drive Lite has shed a fair bit of weight compared to its bigger brother, weighing in at 270g unstrung vs 300g unstrung for the regular Pure Drive. This makes it very manageable for young players and people who are just taking up the game. The Pure Drive is already an extremely manoeuvrable racket, so taking another 30g of weight out of it should make it lethally fast.
As always, when I play with the lighter racket in a range of racket like the Pure Drive, I’m hoping that it maintains the same characteristics of the heavier rackets. This is not always the case as weight makes a big difference to how a racket plays. There have been many occasions when I have tried the lighter version of a racket I love, and it has felt nothing like its heavier brother.
I find Babolat have a pretty good track record of keeping their racket ranges fairly consistent. I recently tried the Pure Strike Team and was very impressed with how it stayed true to the original Pure Strike, so I was hoping it would be the same with the Pure Drive Lite.
Personally, I like the weight of the Pure Strike Team (285g) a little more than the Pure Drive Lite. 270g is just a tiny bit lighter than people need in my opinion, but I’m sure there are plenty of people out there who would disagree. The swingweight is 300 on this racket, so it does have a little bit of plow through, but its main strength is its acceleration.
Like the other rackets in this range, the Pure Drive Lite 2018 benefits from FSI Power Technology, which gives the grommets a unique shape, extending the gaps between the strings and giving you a serious power boost. It also updates its dampening system with Cortex, which makes this racket pretty comfortable.
I always remember watching an Andy Roddick match, and a prominent British commentator who is quite prone to hyperbole claimed that the Pure Drive is clearly the best racket on the market at that moment. I certainly wouldn’t concur with him as I don’t think there’s every going to be one racket that is superior to the rest. What people find is that there’s one racket that suits them and that is certainly the case with the Pure Drive for lots of people.
The Pure Drive Lite is a racket I see around a lot, especially with youngsters, but I’d never tried it before. So, here was my chance to give the famous Lite version of the blue and white machine a go.
Groundstrokes – 7.5/10
When I did my review of the regular Pure Drive, I was a bit split about its performance on the groundstrokes. I played some pretty good tennis with it, but at the same time I didn’t love the feel. If anything, the Babolat Pure Drive Lite exacerbated my problems with the feel but didn’t really add much to the performance of the racket.
Do not worry though Pure Drive lovers! The super speedy, high power, high spin, feel of the Pure Strike Lite might not work for me, but if that’s what you seek in a racket then this stick is an absolute screamer.
Everything is set up to encourage you to rip through the ball with this racket. From the ease with which it swings, to the angle it launches the ball at, you know you’ve got to be aggressive to get the most out of this racket. I think this is a great quality for a beginner or junior racket. Ideally, you want something that encourages you to progress, and the Pure Drive Lite does just that.
When you do attack the ball, this racket gives you oodles of spin and power. If you get anything like the right motion, the Pure Drive Lite will enhance the amount of spin you naturally produce, adding another dimension to your game. Eventually, as your game progresses, you will find spin easier to generate and at this point. Upon reaching this level, I would then recommend a step up to a slightly heavier racket. For starting out, however, this racket is ideal.
I found I gelled better with this racket off the backhand side, where it helped me to generate a lot of racket head speed. With the weight that’s been taken off this racket, it does lack a little bit of stability and I felt that took a bit of power off my ball. Power can be quite a complicated thing because different rackets achieve it in different ways. Beginner players are going to find that light rackets offer them more power, whereas more advanced players will generally get more power from the heavier rackets.
This was certainly the case on my forehand side, where the Pure Drive Lite lacked the kind of stability I needed to make the most out of the racket head speed I created. For this reason, I would be much more drawn towards something like the Pure Drive Tour (+), but that is a step you can take as you progress your tennis.
In the end, I went for a 7.5 out of 10 for the Babolat Pure Drive Lite from the back of the court. As a personal preference, I much prefer the Pure Strike Team, but they are both very good rackets. Players who are seeking easy power and spin will love playing with this stick and it is an excellent racket to begin your tennis journey with.
Volleys – 6.5/10
I certainly wouldn’t say the Pure Drive family is best suited to the net. In general, I see these rackets in the hands of aggressive baseliners, who love to take big rips at the ball. The same is true for the Babolat Pure Drive Lite, which is much more comfortable hitting groundstrokes than it is difficult volleys.
The good thing is, that generally, beginners and junior players don’t really need a racket that is too adept at the net. Most players don’t spend much time at the net, and at this level, the ball isn’t coming too fast. This means that you don’t need a racket that has great control, and stability to play volleys.
On easy volleys, the Pure Drive Lite does a decent enough job for you to get the ball back into play and hits some winners. When you’re asked to hit a difficult volley, things get more complicated though. This racket just doesn’t have the stability to absorb power and this means you lose control.
For most people, this won’t be a huge issue and it shouldn’t take away from this racket’s effectiveness as a beginner racket. I gave the Pure Drive Lite a 6.5 out of 10 for the volleys, which is a pretty standard score for such a light racket. If I was looking at this racket, I wouldn’t worry too much about its performance at the net.
Serve – 7.5/10
Pure Drive rackets are always a blast to serve with, no matter which version you’re using. They are just so speedy and powerful, that you can’t help but it some huge serves. Obviously, the Lite is a little bit lighter than I would normally require, but that didn’t stop me from getting a lot out of this stick.
More than any other shot, the serve is an area where I can sometimes struggle to keep my racket head speed up when I’m playing with a heavy racket (320g +). So, it can be nice, once in a while, to do a playtest with a light frame like this one, where I know I’m going to be able to generate a ton of speed.
There’s not a whole lot of mass to control all the power you generate with this racket, but considering its lightweight, it does a pretty good job of keeping the ball in the court. It is very spin friendly, and I found that I was able to get good topspin on the second serve and it complemented my slice out wide really well.
Like the other Pure Drive, the Babolat Pure Drive Lite is an excellent weapon when it comes to the serve. The only question is finding which weight best suits you. If you’re just starting out in tennis, then the Lite version may just be perfect for you. If you’ve been playing for a little while, you might find that you get more out of one of the slightly heavier versions though.
This was my favorite part of the playtests as I found the Pure Drive Lite extremely quick and easy to settle into a rhythm with. I gave it another 7.5 out of 10, an excellent score for such a light racket.
Overall – 7.5/10
Having completed the playtest with the Babolat Pure Drive Lite, it’s not hard to understand why this is such a popular tennis racket. It makes tennis feel easy. You don’t have to put much effort into swinging this racket to get really good results, and you can easily see the results when you get the right technique.
Generating spin and power with this racket is as easy as you’ll find with any racket and that is what everyone loves about the Pure Drive range. If it was me personally choosing, I would go with the Pure Strike Team over this racket, but that’s just because I love a more control-oriented racket. But, if you’re the type of player who loves easy power and spin, then this is the one for you.
The Lite is best suited to an aggressive baseline game but also gives you great performance on the serve. Some of the biggest serving I have ever done has been with a Pure Drive and the Pure Drive Lite is about as powerful as they come for such a light racket.
The best thing about the Pure Drive Lite is that it stays true to the ways of the Pure Drive. The qualities that everyone loves in this range of rackets are abundantly clear in the Lite, and it gives young players a great platform from which to learn tennis.
Overall, I gave the Babolat Pure Drive Lite a 7.5 out of 10, which is an excellent score for such a lightweight racket. It’s not the most stable racket, but it is ultra-speedy and gives you great access to spin. It all depends on your preferences, but I would say the Pure Drive Lite is well worth a try.
Review by: Will