Babolat Pure Drive Tour Specs
Head Size: 100in²/645cm²
Length: 27in/ 68,5cm
Weight: 11.7oz /332g
Unstrung Weight: 11.11oz /315g
Balance: 32.39cm / 6 pts HL
Unstrung Balance: 31.5 cm /9 pts HL
16 Mains / 19 Crosses
I played with the Babolat Pure Drive recently and got on with it reasonably well. My only criticism was a lack of stability on impact and a pingy feel. In theory, the Pure Drive Tour should be the perfect upgrade for me, as it has a little bit more weight at 315g as opposed to the 300g of the regular Pure Drive.
The extra weight results in a slightly bigger swingweight of 327, which should allow players to swing through the ball with lots of power. Like it’s slightly lighter brother, this racket is very much the power racket of the Babolat range, and its newest technological advancements should make it an excellent racket for hitting with bags of spin and power.
This version of the Pure Drive Tour includes Babolat’s FSI Power Technology and Cortex, which should come together to add a little bit more comfort and spin compared to previous iterations of this racket.
FSI Power Technology has changed the grommets to a more diamond shape and increased the gaps between the strings. This should allow for a little bit more power and spin as the strings have more space to move and create friction against the ball.
Cortex is Babolat’s new dampening system which uses a viscoelastic rubber to reduce shocks and absorb more vibrations. This special rubber is used in the space industry no less, so we will be sure to find out whether it’s actually useful, or just another gimmick!
The Pure Drive Tour comes in its traditional blue, black, and white colour scheme that is so recognizable. I don’t know if this racket is especially good-looking, or just so iconic, that it’s what we expect a racket to look like. Either way, it does the job for me looks wise.
Although the regular Pure Drive’s specs aren’t really what I’d look for, I actually played pretty well with it. So, the Pure Drive Tour, which has a little bit more weight lead to good expectations for the playtest!
I was hitting some big serves with the 300g racket, so with an extra 15g behind the ball with the Pure Drive Tour, I was excited to see what kind of mph I could clock up.
Conditions were far from perfect for this playtest, as the wind, rain, and cold that epitomise virtually every day in the UK made it particularly unpleasant to play tennis in. When you’re playing in miserable weather though, it can be quite handy to have something with a bit of extra power, just to get the ball moving a bit through the cold air. Luckily for me, the Babolat Pure Drive Tour is just that.
Groundstrokes – 8/10
The Babolat Pure Drive Tour weighs 15g more than the regular Pure Drive, so those who love the easy manoeuvrability of the Pure Drive might be worried that would be lost with the extra weight.
Babolat have put most of that weight low down near the handle though, which has changed the balance from 4 PTS HL in the regular Pure Drive to 6 PTS HL in the Pure Drive Tour. This means that the two rackets feel remarkably similar in terms of manoeuvrability.
This means that you get tremendously fast and whippy strokes with the Pure Drive Tour, but you also get the added advantage of a little bit more stability on the hit.
Off the backhand side, I noticed this difference immediately. With the regular Pure Drive, I struggled to hit a heavy ball on the backhand side, often dropping the ball shot, and putting myself under pressure. The racket just lacked a little weight to make the most of the swing speed and it really showed on my weaker shot.
As expected, the extra weight of the Tour version made a positive impact on this shot, as I was able to hit through the ball much better. This resulted in a better depth and more power on the ball.
On the forehand side, everything worked pretty well with the Pure Drive Tour. The one negative for me was the new string system, which seemed to launch the ball at an extremely high angle.
I naturally get a good flightpath on the forehand side, so the high trajectory of the ball just meant that I had to add spin and reduce power to keep the ball in. When I’m playing with a racket that’s geared towards power, I’d like to be able to use it, so in many ways, it becomes a bit redundant.
The fast swing speed of this racket, and easy spin and power make me think it would suit a mid-level player, who’s swings aren’t super-fast, and would benefit from the power of the racket without it being too much. The 16 x 19 string pattern and trajectory with which it hits the ball just didn’t suit my swing style, particularly on the forehand side. I think the Pure Drive Tour would suit someone with slightly less whippy strokes.
Playing style wise, I said the regular Pure Drive would suit an aggressive baseliner, because you must put a lot of energy into controlling the power. The Pure Drive Tour is a little easier to play with, and you can sit back a bit more and use your opponent’s power. This would make it a little better suited to a counter-attacker, and I do think the Pure Drive Tour appeals to a greater variety of styles.
Overall, I think the Babolat Pure Drive Tour does a reasonable job on the groundstrokes. If you like a pingier, more powerful feel from your racket, then you will enjoy the Pure Drive Tour. However, if you value control and a more deadened feel, it’s not going to be the one for you.
If you’re ready to move up in weight and are already playing with the regular Pure Drive, then I don’t think you lose anything by moving up, but you do gain a little bit more stability and power.
Like its baby brother, I gave the Pure Drive Tour an 8 out of 10 from the back of the court.
Volleys – 7.5/10
I didn’t have a great experience with the 300g Pure Drive at the net. I felt it had poor stability and the angle it hits the ball at being a big problem. The Pure Drive Tour solves the stability problem slightly, but the problems with angles still persist.
Stability wise, I don’t think the Pure Drive is ever going to be quite what you want at the net. It’s set up for power and spin, so it’s not also going to be amazing at this aspect. However, control and feel, which is what I look for at the net.
Being 315g though, the Pure Drive Tour does improve on the performance of the regular Pure Drive at the net. It is much more solid, and fewer balls flew long, over the baseline.
I was still struggling with the angle the Pure Drive Tour hits the ball at though, as it tends to pop the ball up. Eventually, I overcame this by keeping a very closed racket face, but I’d still pop the ball up from time to time.
This makes the Pure Drive Tour especially difficult to use in doubles. In match play, I want to be keeping my volleys as low as possible over the net, so they don’t get cut out. But, with the Pure Drive Tour the ball tends to float over to the other side, making me a big target when my opponents intercept at the net.
I gave the regular Pure Drive a 7 out of 10 at the net, but I do think there is a slight improvement with the Pure Drive Tour. I’ve given the Tour a 7.5 out of 10; the stability of the racket is now adequate, but it still pops a lot of volleys up.
Serve – 8.5/10
I really enjoyed serving with the Pure Drive, and the Pure Drive Tour was no different. Although Babolat have added a little bit more weight in the Tour, the balance of the racket means it still has the same manoeuvrability, and you can generate great racket head speed on the serve.
If anything, the extra weight just helps you get a little bit more power and spin, allowing you to control the ball that little bit more. I was hitting some huge serves with the Pure Drive Tour, hitting my targets and getting a lot of free points of the serve.
The racket also felt solid on the second serve and I had complete confidence that I could generate the kind of spin to make my second serve hard to attack whilst keeping good consistency.
The Pure Drive Tour still doesn’t have the kind of feel I’d usually go for. For me, it is a bit too responsive and pingy, but that didn’t stop me playing some excellent tennis with it. If you enjoy a very involved kind of feel from your racket, then you will love serving with the Babolat Pure Drive Tour.
I gave it an 8.5 out of 10 on the serve and was really impressed with the results. It’s got power, spin, and control and will do a good job for a variety of players.
Conclusion – 8/10
Having already tried the 300g Pure Drive, I was confident that the Pure Drive Tour would be an excellent racket, and I wasn’t wrong. Babolat have done a very good job of adding weight to the Pure Drive without changing its characteristics too much.
Despite the added weight, you still get an extremely manoeuvrable racket and bags of power and spin. The Tour is more of an all-round racket than the lighter Pure Drive and is even better when it comes to serving time.
My problem with the racket was that you can’t utilize all the power if you already have fast strokes. If your natural ball flightpath is a little higher than average, then you may find the Pure Drive tour to launch the ball at much too high of an angle, which means you’ve got to put a lot of effort into making even more spin to bring the ball down.
However, I think for more intermediate players, whose strokes aren’t quite as fast, this would be an excellent racket, with much to offer. The 315g weight is about perfect in my opinion and I’m sure there are a lot of people who would benefit from using this racket.
Overall, I have given the Babolat Pure Drive Tour an 8 out of 10. It’s got great power and spin, is wonderful to serve with and has few weaknesses. The one area where we didn’t get on was the open string pattern which launches the ball at quite an extreme angle.
Review by: Will