Volkl V-Feel 8 (315) Specs
Head Size: 100 sq. in. / 645 sq. cm.
Length: 27in / 68.5cm
Strung Weight: 329g / 11.6oz
Unstrung Weight:315g / 11.1oz
Balance: 32.41cm / 6 pts HL
Unstrung Balance: 31,5cm / 9 pts HL
String Pattern: 16 Mains / 18 Crosses
A 12-year-old me used to proudly rep the Volkl rackets and today I returned to my old racket company to try the Volkl V-Feel 8 (315). Now I’m not about to tell you this is a good looking racket. It’s not. But sometimes you’ve just got to look and see what’s on the inside. That was the goal as I got my hands on one of Volkl’s signature sticks.
I always find that Volkl makes some quite good rackets. The problem is, there’s a few I didn’t like much mixed in there. We love the classic C10 Pro and the V-Sense 10 Tour but there are some I just didn’t get along with.
The V-Feel range is one of Volkl’s signature rackets, so we felt pretty confident that this stick would live up to our standards. The specs don’t look perfectly up my ally, with the V-Feel coming out a little lower than I would expect for swingweight (319), but that’s not a terminal problem and there is plenty of technology in the racket to make up for that.
The V-Feel 8 has Volkl’s V-Feel Technology, which uses a material called V-Cell to increase the rackets feel. The handle is also fitted with VSENSOR, which uses the reinforced material REVA for extra shock absorption.
We have found these Volkl technologies to work really well in the past, making them some of the most comfortable rackets on the market. They generally absorb shocks extremely well and are excellent rackets for anybody who struggles with joint pains.
This particular racket seems to be very stiff though, so the V-Feel and V-Sensor technology might have to work overtime. From what I’d heard, this stick is super powerful, so it had the potential to be a bit of a challenging playtest. You’ve probably heard me babble on about control, control, control, so I was excited to see what I would get from the V-Feel 8.
As I was warming up, I quickly noticed the power potential of this racket. It’s manoeuvrable, and it really launches the ball at some speed. It took a fair bit of adjusting to and I must admit we were warming up for a long time!
Eventually, I somewhat settled down with the V-Feel, but always had to remain vigilant to make sure balls didn’t start flying out the back of the court. It’s quite nice to try something different to what you’re used to though and I enjoyed the challenge of getting the most out of the V-Feel 8 (315).
Groundstrokes – 6.5/10
Let’s get this out the way quickly – the V-Feel 8 just wasn’t for me. I’m trying to think who it might suit but I’m really drawing blanks. Maybe if you just love slapping winners without regard for margin for error, this could be the one. Or, if you enjoy putting tons of spin on the ball to try and drag it back into court, but I think those players are very few and far between.
Normally a racket will work out for me on either the forehand or backhand, but I didn’t find any joy off either side with this racket. I just have no need for the kind of power this racket gives you. Don’t get me wrong, I love to hit the ball hard, but I do it through my own power, not through the racket.
I found I got low levels of control from the back of the court, and my only effective way of putting the ball in was to put crazy amounts of topspin on the ball which negated the power of the racket anyway. Maybe I’m missing something, but I don’t know who this racket is aimed at.
Obviously, the V-Feel is the opposite of the kind of racket that I look for; it majors on power and has a very responsive feel. I’m someone who likes quite a deadened feel and lots of control from my racket, so I was never destined to get on perfectly with this stick. The thing is, the V-Feel just goes so far in the other direction that I can’t see too many people getting on with it.
As time went on with this racket, I did get my consistency up a little bit and was able to use lots of topspin to push my opponent around the court, but as soon as the rally got long, I was second favorite to win it. If I was to pick a style of player that could work with this racket it would be the legend that is Fernando Gonzalez. He could just hit absolute bombs off the forehand side and figured out a way to get the ball back in play off the backhand.
Evidently, I wasn’t a massive fan of this racket from the back of the court, and it gets a 6.5 out of 10. There are much better Volkl rackets than this is in my opinion.
Volleys – 7.5/10
For some reason, I found the V-Feel 8 to be much more reliable at the net than it was from the back of the court. On the groundstrokes, I felt like I didn’t really know what I was going to get from the racket, but it was much more assured on the volleys.
I think the stiffness of the racket works much better for volleys, where it did a good job of absorbing power. My setup was a little bit looser than I would have liked, but I could have counteracted that by stringing it up a little bit tighter.
I do find that Volkl makes some very comfortable rackets, but the V-Feel 8 would be on the harsher side. The V-Feel Technology does its best, but you still get the feeling that this is quite a harsh racket and it shows on the volleys. It has a very involved feel, where you pick up a lot of the vibrations coming through the racket, and that’s not something I am a fan of.
There are players who love an involved feel though, and those people will quite enjoy volleying with the V-Feel 8. It’s stable enough on the difficult volleys to allow you to guide the ball back into court, but you do get a good power boost on the put away volleys.
I hit some frighteningly big overheads during the warmup, which boded well for when it came to serving time! However, the one thing that held the Volkl back from a better score on volleys was the harsh feel. I ended up giving the Volkl V-Feel 8 a 7.5 out of 10 on the volleys. I played pretty well with it, but the feel wasn’t perfect.
Serve – 7.5/10
This was easily the most enjoyable part of the playtest for me. If there’s one area where everyone loves a little bit of a power boost, then it is the serve and the V-Feel 8 certainly gave me that. I was hitting some bombs with this stick, but unfortunately, I did have to sacrifice a little of accuracy.
It’s fairly easy to get the V-Feel moving quickly through the motion and once you get to contact point, the strings unleash an explosion upon the ball that tends to get the speed gun really excited! When I got my flat serve in court, I was normally rewarded with a free point. The problem was getting it in with consistency.
Again, I found the feel of the V-Feel to be a little bit too involved, and this made it difficult to effectively hit my slice serve out wide and my topspin second serve. I just felt like everything was too geared towards power and I struggled to keep hold of the ball like I normally would.
I would have to string this racket up pretty tight to get the levels of control I need, but that leads to another problem. This racket is already quite stiff, so stringing it really tight could lead to problems with your joints.
Perhaps players who play a huge power game might be happy with the V-Feel 8 as it is, but I think there are going to be more players who don’t get along with this racket than players that do.
Still, the serve was probably the best shot for the Volkl V-Feel 8, and I gave it a 7.5 out of 10. Its performance wasn’t bad, but the feel just wasn’t there for me.
Overall – 7/10
This was more one of Volkl’s misses than hits. The V-Feel 8 was never set up for a player with my kind of preferences, but even approaching this playtest with an open mind, it just didn’t tick many boxes. The only box I can truly say it ticked was power but that seemed to be at the cost of almost every other quality.
I normally find Volkl’s rackets very comfortable to play with, but that wasn’t the case with the V-Feel, as its stiff frame negated many of the benefits of the V-Feel technology. This creates a bit of a problem because my normal answer to playing with a racket which is short on control would be to string it really tight. I would be reluctant to do that with this stick though because it would place a lot of pressure on your joints.
The groundstroke portion of this playtest really wasn’t enjoyable as I struggled to put balls in the court, but it did improve as it went along. There are players who will get along quite well with the V-Feel 8 on volleys and the serve, which could potentially lend itself to a serve volleyer. Certainly, whoever ends up playing with this racket is going to enjoy hitting some huge shots and keeping the rallies short.
Unfortunately, that’s not me, and I don’t think there are a whole lot of people who play that way these days! I wouldn’t be at all confident with this racket in a long baseline rally and that’s its main downfall.
Big hitters and serve-volleyers only for the Volkl V-Feel 8 I would say. I gave it a 7 out of 10 overall, but certainly did not find it to my tastes.
Review by: Will