Volkl V1 Classic Specs
Head Size: 102 sq. in. / 658.06 sq. cm.
Length: 27in / 68.58cm
Strung Weight:10.8oz / 306g
Unstrung Weight: 10.1oz / 284g
Balance: 13.38in / 33.99cm / 1 pts HL
String Pattern: 16 Mains / 19 Crosses
For once, the term classic isn’t just a piece of marketing hyperbole. The Volkl V1 Classic is actually a classic, having first been launched in 1994. We’re big fans of one of Volkl’s other classic rackets, the C10 Pro, so we thought we would check out what the V1 Classic had to offer.
The V1 Classic is known for its great comfort levels and at 284g should be very easy to play with for intermediate players. It’s got a nice, even balance that gives it a 318 swingweight and should give plenty of stability at contact point.
Despite being over 20 years old, this stick is known to be very forgiving due to Volkl’s excellent dampening system called Dual Dampening Grip System. It also has a rather large 102 sq. inch head, which gives you a little bit more margin for error when it comes to timing and makes for a nice safety net for intermediate players.
I always warn against going for rackets with enormous heads. Bigger isn’t always better when it comes to head size, but 102 sq. inches is a pretty reasonable compromise. The thing I find with the massive heads, like 104 sq. inch + is that they’re not really necessary.
I don’t think intermediate players struggle to find the middle of the racket that much, and you have to remember you’re not going to be an intermediate for long. As you progress your game, you’re going to get a lot more out of a smaller head. 102 sq. inch seems like a reasonable middle ground between short term utility and long term performance though.
In terms of competitors to this racket, I’m going to have to pick out some more modern sticks. Rackets like the Babolat Pure Aero Team or something like the Wilson Blade 104 come to mind, but obviously, they don’t have that classic aspect to them. I would expect the V1 Classic to be somewhere in between those two rackets, perhaps with a little less performance but more comfort than the Pure Aero and a little more performance but less comfort than the Blade.
I often find the lighter Volkl rackets have quite an involved feel to them, which isn’t really my cup of tea, so I strung the V1 Classic up with some Big Banger Original at 54lbs just to try and give this racket a bit more of the control and deadened feel I prefer.
I have to say, a 102 sq. inch racket would not normally get me too excited for a playtest, but I was quite looking forward to this one. It’s great to see a classic racket that still functions so well in today’s technology-driven racket market. I think the fact that it is still so popular goes back to Volkl’s early commitment to making comfortable rackets, which also means you’ll find Volkl’s rackets to be some of the most comfortable to play with today.
Groundstrokes – 7/10
This racket is so easy to play with! The balance is excellent, and it combines good swing speed with enough stability to convert your racket head speed into good power and spin. Of course, at 284g it’s not going to be the most stable racket out there, but when you’re an intermediate player, the manoeuvrability of the racket is much more important.
As an intermediate, the main goal is to develop your strokes so you can step up to the next level as soon as possible. A racket like the Volkl V1 Classic is ideal for this because it ticks all the boxes. It’s extremely manoeuvrable, which will help you find the right positions for your shots, but it also gives good all-round performance.
Don’t fall into the classic trap of over-valuing power as an intermediate. What you want is something that gives you power, spin, and control in equal measures. As you improve your strokes, you’ll find you naturally get a lot more spin and power, and when this happens, you’ll be thankful for a racket with a bit of control.
That’s why I always recommend rackets like the Volkl V1 Classic, the Babolat Pure Aero Team, and the Yonex VCore Pro 98 (290) to intermediate players. You’ll obviously have your own preferences for feel, but ideally, you want something that does a bit of everything.
That’s exactly what I found with the V1 Classic – It did everything I wanted it to nicely. It’s very easy to get good racket head speed with this racket, and particularly on the backhand side, I was able to use this to get great length and put myself on the front foot in the point.
This allowed me to open up the court and bring my best shot, the forehand into play to really control the point and take the game to my opponent. I did find the V1 Classic worked very well with an aggressive baseline style, but equally, when I had to play off the back foot, it was very easy to use and I had the control I needed to guide the ball back into the court.
The V1 did struggle a bit when the power levels were amped up. It’s not a racket that you’d use at an advanced level, but that’s not something people who are looking at this racket should worry about too much. The V1 Classic is designed to make life easy for intermediate players and allow them to quickly improve their game, and that’s exactly what it does.
Score-wise, the Volkl V1 Classic gets a 7 out of 10 for groundstrokes. It’s an excellent racket for intermediate players and does a very good job at that level but it’s a bit limited when you increase the level.
Volleys – 7.5/10
I feel compelled to start out by reiterating how comfortable this racket is. Light rackets aren’t normally a fun ride to be at the net with because they don’t have the mass to be able to absorb power well, but somehow the V1 Classic overcomes this problem. The result is high levels of comfort and decent feel for such a light racket.
I think the 318 swingweight makes a big difference when it comes to volleying because it just gives the racket a little bit more stability on contact with the ball. This means that rather than the ball winning the collision and knocking the racket back, the racket comes out on top more often than not. This gives you good levels of control and makes volleying much easier than with many other sub 300g rackets.
The V1 Classic is never going to be able to compete with a 310+ g racket when the power levels get really high, but when you are playing at an intermediate level, the manoeuvrability is the most important thing and the V1 gives you that.
No matter how fast the ball came at me, I found I was able to quickly whip the racket into position, putting me in the perfect place to make the volley. Whether I was hitting difficult pick-up volleys or easy overheads, the V1 Classic ticked all the boxes.
I gave the Volkl V1 Classic a 7.5 out of 10 on the volleys where it outperformed my expectations.
Serve – 7.5/10
The Volkl V1 Classic is speedy through the swing and gives you a good blend of power, spin, and control on contact, giving you plenty of confidence on your serve. Of course, as we’ve already established, it’s super comfortable to play with as well!
The serve is one of the most difficult shots to master, so it’s always nice when you’ve got a racket that is going to help you out as much as possible. The V1 Classic does that through wonderful playability. If you get something slightly wrong, it is very accommodating and won’t punish you with any nasty shocks.
I took my time with the V1 Classic to focus on hitting a high percentage of first serves and found I was able to hit some very good, consistent serves without having to break my back doing it. I was hitting my leftie slider out wide particularly well, with enough control to keep a high percentage but enough spin to get it moving off the court.
As with the rest of the playtest, there weren’t really any drawbacks to this racket, and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it to intermediate players. I gave the Volkl V1 Classic a 7.5 out 10 for the serve.
Overall – 7.5/10
Certainly, a racket I would recommend to any intermediate players or anyone who craves comfort in a tennis racket. As long as you’re not playing against someone who hits with a ton of power, this racket will do an excellent job for you, especially for a racket that weighs just 284g unstrung.
Whether you’re hitting groundstrokes, volleys, serves, or returns, this racket has excellent comfort levels and a good blend of power, spin, and control. The most important one for me is control, and unlike many rackets in this weight class, the Volkl V1 Classic delivers in this area.
For me, the most important qualities of an intermediate racket are manoeuvrability, comfort, and control, all of which are defining characteristics of the V1 Classic. There’s a reason this racket has lasted for over 20-years and that’s because it is a great racket.
You may find that my comments have been all positive, but the scores haven’t quite reflected that. The reason is it’s quite difficult to score rackets of different weights. Do I think the V1 Classic is a great racket for its weight? Yes, but do I think it as good overall as something like my Babolat Pure Strike? The answer is no.
That’s why the Volkl V1 Classic gets a 7.5 out of 10 from me. As rackets that weigh 284g go, this is an excellent score and I would certainly look at it if I was seeking a lightweight racket.
Review by: Will