Wilson Clash 100 Tour Specs

 

Head Size:    100 in² / 645 cm²

Length:    27in / 68,5cm

Strung Weight:    326g / 11,5oz

Unstrung Weight:    310g/10,9oz

Balance:    31,5cm / 9 pts HL

Swingweight:    322

String Pattern:    16 Mains / 19 Crosses

 

 

Our Review

 

We often refer to rackets as modern frames vs classic frames, but with the Clash, Wilson has taken modern to the next level with some innovative technology. We got our hands on the Wilson Clash 100 Tour to see just what this hotly anticipated racket had to offer and whether it has truly changed the way we look at rackets.

The promise of the Clash rackets is that they offer stability from a frame that isn’t too heavy or too stiff. To put that into simple terms, when we talk about stability, we’d normally expect that to give us power, spin, and control – performance. Normally though, to achieve stability a racket needs to either be heavier, or stiffer or some combination of the two.

The Wilson Clash 100 Tour, at 310g unstrung, and with a stiffness rating of 55 is neither of those. The Clash has a fairly thick frame, but it is super flexible, which means comfort and feel. So as you can see, the Clash is kind of promising the Holy Grail of great performance with great comfort, and of course, Wilson marketed this like crazy.

So how does the Clash achieve this magic mix of performance and comfort? Racket companies are always talking about their newest incredible technology, and in many cases, you can’t notice a difference, would that be the case with the Clash?

Well, to answer the second question, Wilson has put in such a massive media campaign about this technology that they’re going to look pretty silly if it doesn’t do anything. Answering the first question in great detail is well beyond my technical abilities, but I can tell you the information that Wilson gives us.

Key to the Clash 100 Tour’s ability to offer stability and flexibility are two technologies, FreeFlex and StableSmart. Together these technologies allow the racket to bend on impact to suit the swing your using. Obviously, it’s all pretty complicated, but this seems like a good thing if the Clash can pull it off.

Looking through the rest of the specifications of the Clash 100 Tour, everything looks pretty normal other than one aspect that stands out to me and worries me a little bit. This stick has a 9PT headlight balance which means it’s likely to be super whippy and fast through the swing. I normally prefer something that’s a bit more evenly balanced, but hopefully, the Clash would buck the trend here.

Seeing the specs of the Clash I suspected it might be a bit more power oriented than I’m used to, so I went with my full-on control swing set up of Big Banger Original at 52lbs. This should hopefully help me tame this racket and deaden the feel a little bit more to my liking.

We’ve heard so much hype about this racket, and now, it was finally time to give it a go!

 

Groundstrokes – 7/10

 

Tennis has changed so much in the past twenty years and you can really see that reflected in the rackets. A modern racket is going to have a lot of focus on how it performs from the back of the court, and it makes sense that they’re optimized towards groundstrokes.

That’s certainly what I found with the Wilson Clash 100 Tour. Everything about this stick seemed to me to be geared towards easy power and spin, with comfort thrown in for good measure. In many ways, it reminded me of a more comfortable version of the Babolat Pure Drive crossed with a more powerful version of the Wilson Burn 100S.

The problem is, neither of those rackets really worked for me, and neither did the Wilson Clash 100 Tour from the back of the court. What gets me is the Tour part of the name, which to me should indicate some kind of higher level performance in terms of control and touch, but I just didn’t find it.

I found power, I found spin, and I found comfort, but too often I didn’t find the court. Somehow within the marketing, Wilson has hinted the Clash is the kind of racket you can swing for the fences and have the control to put the ball where you want it, but for me, I swang for the fences and didn’t know where the ball was going to end up. Sometimes I didn’t swing for the fences and found my ball heading towards the fence.

I must say, the way this racket is set up wasn’t likely to suit me. The technology leans towards easy power and spin, with quite an involved feel whereas, I like quite a deadened feel with low spin and power potential. This might make the racket much more arm friendly, but it doesn’t get the most out of my game, and I don’t see it doing so for advanced players.

Where I do see the Clash 100 Tour being a big hit is with more intermediate players and advanced players who suffer from injuries. For these players, I think the Clash gives them the ability to swing near their full capability without pain whilst achieving really good power and spin.

Weirdly though, Larry was in Canada recently and had a bit of elbow pain, he played with a bunch of rackets, including the Clash 100 Tour, and he found all of them painful to play with other than the Wilson Blade 98 CV. As balancing performance and comfort goes, I’d certainly choose the Blade 98CV myself, but I do think the Clash 100 Tour has an added level of comfort for intermediate players.

This may not sound like the most positive review right now, but I do really respect what Wilson is trying to do. The difficulty for me is that it’s been so overhyped. There’s only so much you can do with a racket and invariably when you gain in one area you lose in another. In this case, I found the areas that the Clash lost out in were feel and control, both areas that are extremely important to me.

I can see the Wilson Clash 100 Tour working for players who want a power and spin boost without putting extra pressure on their body. I can’t see it working for the more advanced players out there, especially if they crave control and feel.

I gave the clash a 7 out of 10 on the groundstrokes.

Volleys – 7.5/10

 

I knew from the groundstrokes that the feel of the Clash 100 Tour wasn’t going to suit me too well at the net, so I tried to look past that and see what else this racket had to offer. The answer is pretty simple – comfort.

If you’re someone who’s not playing at the highest level then you do get incredible comfort from this racket and very easy performance. You put the racket in front of the ball and it’s got the stability to launch it back with good power and spin, and minimal fuss. That’s exactly what happens at the net.  It’s easy to get into position and it’s easy to play the ball back.

When you have to play a very difficult volley I found the performance does drop off a bit because I didn’t have the levels of control I wanted, but other than that the Clash put in a solid performance at the net. Especially on easy volleys and overheads, I was able to inject great pace into the ball and ensure my opponent wasn’t getting near it.

The Clash does deliver in terms of blending stability with flexibility, it’s just I find that doesn’t translate into performance of the highest level. That being said, I did prefer the Clash to the Pure Drive at the net, so that’s a positive!

I found the Wilson Clash 100 Tour to be solid on the easy volleys but a little bit temperamental on the difficult ones, I gave it a 7.5 out of 10.

 

Serve – 8/10

 

This is the one area where the Clash really performed for me. The headlight balance made it extremely maneuverable and meant I kept my racket head speed throughout the stroke and it had the stability to turn that speed into power.

Sometimes when I’m serving with slightly heavier rackets I find I just don’t get the racket head speed I need to hit with power. On the other hand, when I play with lighter rackets, the speed is there but the lack of stability means I don’t get the power. With the Clash, I felt like I had the best of both worlds, and I was able to use it to good effect.

I did lack a little bit of control compared to what I’m used to and I found my leftie slider out wide quite hard to get a hold of, but other than that, I did enjoy the serving part of this playtest. The Clash made it easy to generate plenty of swing speed and gave you good access to power and spin.

As I’ve mentioned, the overall feel of the racket isn’t quite right for me, but on the serve that didn’t matter too much and I managed to find some good performance. Again, I think the Clash is well suited to players who feel they are being held back by injuries. If you’re level drops considerably because of pain, the Clash might be the racket to fix that.

The serve was the most enjoyable part of the playtest for me. Good power and spin earn the Wilson Clash 100 Tour an 8 out of 10 on the serve.

 

Overall – 7.5/10

 

Overall, the Wilson Clash 100 Tour and I weren’t a perfect fit. While the Clash ticked many boxes in terms of comfort and easy power, I felt it was lacking when it came to control and feel. While it didn’t quite suit my preferences, and I don’t see it being a good racket for the most advanced players, I do think there is a big market for this racket, simply because of its comfort levels.

Anyone who finds their game is hampered by niggling injuries should at least take a look at this racket and see what it can do for them. I know I mentioned Larry still had some elbow pain with it, but I myself found it to be unbelievably comfortable. Everyone’s body is slightly different, but this racket might just allow you to play pain-free tennis once again.

Looking back, the Clash 100 Tour didn’t do too poorly on the volleys and the serve, matching the performance of the Babolat Pure Drive, it was just on the groundstrokes where I found it underwhelming. In reality, I would say the Clash comes close to giving the performance of a Pure Drive, just with overwhelmingly improved comfort.

If you like that style of racket and you can get the Clash to gel with your groundstrokes then you might well be on to a winner! For me, I’ll have to check out the Clash 98 Tour and see if that suits my style better, but I must say I’m not convinced.

My overriding thoughts are that Wilson has made a brave move with the Clash, and it’s a move that’s taking us in the right direction, thinking about the effects tennis has on our bodies. However, I think there’s still plenty of space for improvement, certainly if you’re looking to play a high level of tennis.

I gave the Wilson Clash 100 Tour a 7.5 out of 10 overall.

 

Review by: Will