Volkl V-Feel 8 300g Specs

 

Head Size: 100 sq. in. / 645 sq. cm.
Length: 27in / 68.5cm
Strung Weight: 315g / 11.1oz
Unstrung Weight: 300g / 10.6 oz
Balance: 32.99cm / 4 pts HL
Swingweight: 315
16 Mains / 18 Crosses

 

Our Review

 

Looking at the specs of the Volkl V-Feel 8, it’s not really the kind of racket that I normally get on with. It’s got a very open string pattern, 16 x 18, which should give it huge spin potential, and it’s got a middling swingweight of 315. String pattern wise, my 18 x 20 Pure Strike is right at the other end of the spectrum and isn’t the easiest to generate spin with, so the V-Feel 8 might take a little bit of getting used to.

The V-Feel 8 weight in at 300g unstrung, so slightly on the lighter side, but I’ve generally had good experiences with Volkl’s racket, so I was looking forward to seeing how this one played. I always find that Volkl do a good job of making their rackets comfortable to play with, and the V-Feel 8 has the same shock absorbing technology that I’ve enjoyed in some of their other rackets.

The V-Feel 8 is updated with the V-Feel Technology, which uses a V-Cell material to increase feel and responsiveness. There is also an update to the VSensor handle, introducing a strong material called REVA to absorb more shock.

In my opinion, any extra shock absorption is a real bonus and most racket companies have made good steps forward with this in recent years. I often get pain in my wrist and shoulder, especially when I miss-time a ball, so I enjoy doing playtests with the more comfortable rackets.

The V-Feel 8 has got a new paint job, and I can’t say I’m a massive fan of it, but it’s not too bad. The frame is predominantly black with some honeycomb shaped orange stripes throughout. The one thing I do like about this racket, and Volkl tend to be good about this, is that it looks like a sleek, uncomplicated design. It looks like a classic player’s racket, and that’s something I enjoy.

It looks like this racket has been designed for aggressive baseliners who love to attack with lots of spin. The lightweight feel of this frame and the extremely open string pattern should mean that spin is super easy to come by, but it’s possible you might need all that spin to keep control of the ball. I normally like to work the other way and play with a racket that doesn’t give easy access to spin, preferring instead to generate the spin myself, so that might be the area where the Volkl and I fall out.

Warming up in the box, this stick felt well balanced, and you can feel the added cushion from all that technology. It wasn’t a racket that took me too long to get used to and we had a pretty productive warm up. In many ways, the V-Feel 8 reminded me of the Babolat Pure Drive. It has the same launch angle, and offers the same levels of spin, but is perhaps a little less powerful.

 

Groundstrokes – 7.5/10

 

I was always going to notice a big difference between my regular racket and the Volkl in the way the ball comes off the strings. The V-Feel 8 launches the ball at a much higher angle than most rackets that I have played with, and this means that you have to hit a good amount of topspin to drop the ball back in court. Luckily, this racket gives you access to a huge amount of spin. The 16 x 18 string pattern means that the strings have a ton of space to move around and get the ball rotating. Consequently, you hit with a very arced flight path, giving you good margin for error over the net and allowing the ball to drop inside the baseline.

On the backhand side this worked out quite nicely for me. I can often hit too flat on the backhand side and the V-Feel 8 forced me to hit with a bit more spin and push my opponent deep in the court. Balance and comfort wise, the V-Feel felt great and I wouldn’t mind playing a long match with it.

The downside for me on the backhand side was that I just felt it lacked a little bit of control. The strings move so much, and the racket head is so lively it can be difficult to redirect power accurately when the level of play goes up. I’m a fan of a much more deadened feel from my rackets, so I would probably end up stringing this racket fairly tight with something like Big Banger Original just to try and tame it a little bit.

The forehand side was always going to be where I had problems with this stick. Off this side, I need help flattening the ball out rather than hitting spin, so the easy access to spin was a little bit wasted on me. The angle at which this racket launches the ball is very high, so you’re forced to hit with a lot of topspin to bring the ball back into court.

For me personally, I don’t need any help generating topspin, but for those people who look for spin potential in a racket, this is an excellent option. Again, I saw quite a few similarities with the Babolat Pure Drive, and if you’re looking at that racket, then I would suggest giving this one a go too.

The V-Feel 8 feels great from the back of the court and is going to make you hit with plenty of topspin. If that’s what you’re looking for, then great, you may have just found your new racket, but it wasn’t something that suited me. For this reason, I have given the Volkl V-Feel 8 a 7.5 out of 10. V solid racket, but too spin focused.

 

Volleys – 7/10

 

The Volkl is a little bit down on swingweight for the kind of feel I go for at the net and it’s spin friendly nature doesn’t have too much use on the volley. However, it is very manoeuvrable, which means it is easy to get into position, and it does have great cushioning on impact. Even when the ball is hit at you extremely hard, the V-Feel absorbs all those vibrations and makes the shot extremely comfortable.

The V-Feel 8 might lack a little bit of control at the net, but it does have decent stability for its weight, which meant I was able to redirect the ball nicely. The feel is just a little bit too involved for my liking and the ball seemed to pop off the strings a little bit too much for me to get good control on the ball.

I would suggest that this racket is suited to an aggressive baseliner, but it isn’t completely out of place at the net. I wouldn’t want to be chip charging with it, but for coming in to finish off the point, it is not bad.

I may sound like a bit of a broken record, but I’d like to see this racket with an 18 x 20 string pattern! Short of that, I would have to string it up really tight to try and add a bit more control. I gave the Volkl V-Feel 8 a 7 out of 10 at the net. It was solid without being spectacular.

Serve – 8/10

 

This was my favorite part of the playtest as I was able to get some serious pop and spin on the serve. The V-Feel encourages fast strokes and rewards you with plenty of power and spin.

On the first serve, I could completely forget about putting effort into getting the slice on my leftie serve out wide, as I naturally got the curve I was looking for. The problem, if anything was that I got a little bit too much slice and lost some control.

On the second serve though, the easy topspin that the V-Feel 8 gave me was ideal for getting the ball to dip back into the court and give me great margin for error. I enjoyed the easy manoeuvrability of the racket and it suited my serving style, putting me in a great position to win lots of points.

I have gone for an 8 out of 10 on the V-Feel 8 for the serve. It’s not your traditional big server’s racket, but you can do a fair amount of damage with it, nonetheless.

 

Conclusion – 7.5/10

 

A good racket from Volkl. If I was looking for a stick around the 300g mark that was big on spin, then I would certainly be interested in this one. It is very easy to play with and you’re sure to get a boost in the amount of spin you get.

The V-Feel 8 reminded me of the Babolat Pure Drive and the Head Graphene Extreme MP in nature. It has a little less swingweight than those two rackets and the Pure Drive probably has a bit more power and the Extreme a little bit more control, but the Volkl fits quite neatly somewhere in between. What they all have in common though is crazy amounts of spin.

Which one would I pick? I liked the feel of the Volkl slightly more than the Pure Drive as I thought it was more comfortable, but I’d probably take the Extreme if push came to shove. Everyone will have their own preferences though, and I can certainly see plenty of people choosing the V-Feel 8.

Like the other two rackets, the V-Feel 8 is definitely suited to an aggressive baseliner who likes to use spin to outmanoeuvre their opponents. I was hitting with a great flight path with this racket that gave me good margin for error, but still kept my opponent on the back foot.

There really wasn’t much to grumble about with the Volkl V-Feel 8 and it was another enjoyable playtest from Volkl. I have given the V-Feel 8 an overall score of 7.5 out of 10, it was a little too much spin for me, but other than that I couldn’t find too many negatives.

 

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Review by: Will