Tennis racquet review: Dunlop Biomimetic 400 & 400 Tour
October 22nd, 2011
filed in Tennis Product Reviews, Tennis Racquet Reviews
I was visiting “Do It Tennis” the other day when they received their shipment of Dunlop Tennis Racquets. I could sense the staff’s excitement—and for good reason—Dunlop’s brand-new Biomimetic 400 Series tennis racquets were inside the box! Having recently read info on these products, I jumped on the chance to play-test them. I chose two—the Biomimetic 400 and the Biomimetic 400 Tour. Here are my results…
APPEARANCE / STYLE
The Dunlop Biomimetic 400 and 400 Tour are very similar in appearance. The 400 is black, while the 400 Tour is black chrome (very cool!). Each racquet is accented with a rather bright lime (Earth?) green series of stripes and swooshes. The 400 has some additional gray sections while the 400 Tour features these in black. The Dunlop logo and name appear in white lettering and the grips are black. I think it is attractive, but it took me a little time to accept the unusual green color.
As I have stated in previous reviews, Dunlop’s “Biomimetic” slogan is broken down into 2 parts: Bio = Life and Mimetic = to imitate. That’s their way of saying this new racquet line is inspired by Nature’s technology. You know, a bird’s wing inspired aircraft wings, bee honeycombs inspire Formula 1 car crash cells, etc.
Specifically, Dunlop originally used 3 primary designs: 1) Aeroskin: increases racquet speed up to 25% and is inspired by the skin of sharks (a textured appliqué that reduces air turbulence; 2) HM6 Carbon: reduces racquet vibration and frequency to enhance energy return and feel, and is inspired by a bee’s honeycomb (6 sided high-modulus carbon); and 3) Gecko-Tac Grip: provides superior levels of grip and is inspired by the foot pads of a Gecko.
Since the introduction of the Biomimetic racquet line, Dunlop has added a few new design elements—which are featured on the 400 and the 400 Tour—as follows: 1) Anatomic Construction: an inverted throat design inspired by natural bone contours to minimize torsional deflection on ball impact (twisting). You can see this technology as you peer down “into” the “v” of the racquet throat.; 2) CX Technology: an aerodynamic profile throughout the racquet hoop, inspired by the wing structure of birds of prey to reduce drag; and 3) Anti-Friction Grommets: micro-ridge friction grommet design inspired by lizard skin which delivers increased string movement (bigger sweet-spot).
I noticed many small bumps around the hoop, evenly spaced close together on the sides (Aeroskin). One cannot see the HM6 Carbon—but the racquet has a neat butt-cap insert that is 3-D with honeycomb images. The grip is nice and tacky and slightly perforated. The racquet hoop is an “aero” shape—ever so slightly… And I could see the string/grommet contact points have itsy-bitsy ridges which prevent the string from laying totally flat against the grommet.
The DUNLOP BIOMIMETIC 400 weighs 10.93 oz strung and approx. .7” head-light. Its head is 100” and it is 27 inches in length. It is relatively stiff, having a rating of 68 on the RDC. Finally, it has an open 16 x 19 string pattern.
The DUNLOP BIOMEMETIC 400 TOUR is identical to the 400 except for the following: Strung Weight: 11.46 oz. and Balance: approx. 1.2” head-light.
The Dunlop 400 Tour felt very solid and stable. I sensed that it’s heavier weight really helped overcome resistance (incoming ball) and allowed good control. But I had to swing fast and hard to generate power and shot depth. This surprised me a bit because it is a relatively stiff racquet.
The Dunlop 400 was a totally different story. I immediately noticed that it generated fantastic power and really comes-around quickly. I felt like I could last “all day” in a baseline rally—and then when the right ball arrives—hit a winner! I also felt that if offered wonderful control and encourages “going for the lines”.
The Dunlop 400 Tour and 400 were about even at the net. Their head-light balance enables quick reflex volleys and each has great control I sensed that the 400 gave a little more power.
The Dunlop 400 Tour can really smash a ball! With it’s 11+ oz. weight and head-light balance I was able to powerfully drive overheads with control.
The 400 also performed well on overheads. I enjoyed it’s lighter weight which really assisted in racquet head speed.
Both, the 400 Tour and the 400 serve very well. Their design allows very accurate placement and each has sufficient power.
The Dunlop 400 Tour and Dunlop 400 each have open 16 x 19 string patterns. This allows the strings to “bite” the ball just a bit more than tighter patterns, which can assist in producing more spin. I was able to generate more spin with the 400 due to it’s faster racquet-head speed (for my style of stroke) resultant from it’s lighter weight.
The Dunlop 400 Tour gave me the sensation that it would efficiently put the ball anywhere I want it—but it was totally up to me if I wanted speed and power. It almost seemed like it was “challenging” me to “go for it”! I kept thinking how well this racquet would perform in a Pro’s hands…
The Dunlop 400 immediately felt like an “old friend”. It helped with power when needed. It kept me out of trouble (control). And it just simply felt good.
I think the Dunlop 400 Tour would be great for 4.5+ players with solid and long strokes. And the Dunlop 400 is a good choice for almost any player with moderate to long strokes who play at the 3.5+ level.
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