David Palmer has been with Black Knight since 2008. He helped develop the ION series of squash racquets. His first signature model was the Black Knight Ion Storm. The Storm is still available but Palmer has moved to one of Black Knight’s new models – the Black Knight Ion X-Force Yellow Squash Racquet.
I have been watching the 2011 Australian Open on www.psasquashtv.com and have been intrigued to see what racquets the players would be using as this is the first event of the new season. I had discussed what Palmer was playing with my contact at Black Knight and had been told it was the Black Knight Ion X-Force Yellow but wanted to see for myself. I watched his matches with Azlan Iskander and then Tom Richards and indeed he was using it.
The Black Knight Ion X-Force Yellow is a very stiff racquet. It is also quite head light. Its weight is measured at 145 grams but its dynamic weight is 135 grams. Black Knight uses the dynamic weight to distinguish if a racquet is head light or head heavy. If the dynamic weight is less than the actual weight it plays head light. The 10 grams difference is fairly significant. This racquet also uses 3 of Black Knight’s latest technologies: Power of 6, Thermal Core and 16K Hyper Tensile.
Power of 6 – The frame is measured at 6 points during processing for optimum density, flex and balance. This process help ensure consistency from one racquet to the next in the manufacturing process.
Thermal Core - The standard manufacturing process of a racquet is done by sandwiching the carbon fibre framework of the racquet in a mold then inserting the mould into an oven to cure the fibres from the outside in. With Thermal core process Black Knight inserts a tube into the handle of the frame which injects superheated air into the racquet at the same time the mold is curing the fibres from the outside. The result is a uniformly cured racquet from both inside the frame and outside – that is why the racquet is more reactive as well there is less chance of uneven curing that could result in premature breakage.
16K Hyper Tensile - This is the latest and highest quality carbon fibre Black Knight uses. It incorporates 16,000 fibre filaments to produce the strongest graphite to date. The benefit is the ability to withstand high tension stringing without sacrificing the structural integrity of the frame.
The Black Knight Ion X-Force Yellow is a great new racquet and it is great to see David Palmer doing so well at the 2011 Australian Open. As of this post he had just beaten Karim Darwish which is an amazing result.
The Black Knight Magnum Corona6 Squash has just been released and it is an excellent edition to Black Knight’s lineup of squash racquets. Anyone that has played with the original Magnum Corona will feel right at home with this racquet. The head size, weight, and balance are the same. The big difference is in the addition of the Thermal Core Technology.
Thermal Core Technology is a new process that heats the racquet core to higher temperature during the curing phase, so that the racquet structure is cured uniformly inside and out. This TCT modification to the carbon fibres makes the frame extremely responsive – stiff yet playing with the reactive properties of a more flexible frame. The resulting hit is the best of both worlds – the control of a very stiff frame with the power of a more flexible frame.
The addition of the Thermal Core Technology does change the feel of the Corona6 from that of the original Corona. So while the weight, head size and balance are all the same the actual contact feels different. The Corona6 is a stiff racquet yet because of the Thermal Core Technology does not feel like a board like some overly stiff racquets do.
The head is relatively small at 475cm2. The smaller head size definitely helps with control. Like the older Corona it is head light. It is a 140g racquet but Black Knight lists it dynamic weight at 135g meaning it plays lighter than it is. This makes it great for volleying and quick exchanges at the ‘T’. While it is head light it is only by a bit which I think is generally good for most players. Mass in the head is important for most players as it helps you feel the racquet in your hand when playing drops and other touch shots.
Overall the Black Knight Magnum Corona6 is an improvement over the already good design of the original Magnum Corona. Anyone that is replacing the original Corona should check this racquet out as should anyone that is looking for a good control racquet.
We have it in stock and ready to ship should like pick one up. You can find it here at our online store.
Having good connections at Black Knight is terrific as we are one of the first retailers to receive the new Black Knight ION X-FORCE squash racquets. We received them a couple of days ago so naturally the first thing I did was try out one of the demos. I tried out the Black Knight ION X-FORCE Black. I must say that I am quite impressed with these new racquets. I am excited to see the Thermal Core technology make its appearance in these racquets.
Black Knight first used this technology in the Chameleon racquet which is now discontinued. The Thermal Core process heats the racquet core to higher temperature during the curing phase, so that the racquet structure is cured uniformly inside and out. This Thermal Core modification to the carbon fibres makes the frame extremely responsive – stiff yet playing with the reactive properties of a more flexible frame. The resulting hit is the best of both worlds – the control of a very stiff frame with the power of a more flexible frame.
The frame weight of 140g is a very average weight for a squash racquet but its dynamic weight of 130g makes it play a little lighter. The feel of the racquet on contact is terrific. The previous Ion series of racquets had a little vibration to them when hitting the ball. The new X-FORCE models do not. Black Knight’s rigidity rating on this racquet puts it at one of the stiffest racquets they have ever produced yet because of the Thermal Core technology it does not play as stiff as it is. The strings included, Ashaway’s Supernick XL Micro are a terrific set of strings and compliment this racquet very well. Overall a great racquet and definitely worth trying out.
This is a very new model and we are very excited to have it. If you interested in purchasing one please visit our online store to pick one up today.
The technical specifications are below:
Characteristics of the Black Knight Ion X-FORCE Black Squash Racquet :
String : Ashaway Supernick XL Micro
Recommended Tension : 26 lbs
Rigidity Index : 95
Avg. Frame Weight : 140 g
String Area : 475 cm2
Dynamic Weight : 130
The Ion series has been developed in collaboration with multiple British Open Champion David Palmer.
The Black Knight Ion X-Force series of squash racquets use Thermal Core technology. This heats the racquet core to higher temperature during the curing phase, so that the racquet structure is cured uniformly inside and out. This Thermal Core modification to the carbon fibres makes the frame extremely responsive – stiff yet playing with the reactive properties of a more flexible frame. The resulting hit is the best of both worlds – the control of a very stiff frame with the power of a more flexible frame.
Black Knight has some really great looking new squash racquets coming out very soon. We received our first product shots of them this week and they really do look amazing. There are new racquets in the ION series and Magnum series. I have not had a chance to try these racquets out yet but will be doing so in the next week or two if things go according to plan. I will be posting more information on them then. For now here are the pictures!
Black Knight is a great squash company. Not only do they have a great selection of squash racquets they put money back in to the sport.
What I like about Black Knight is where they put their money in to the sport. They sponsor David Palmer one of the hardest working players in history but most of the people that are sponsored are up and coming local players. Black Knight also is very good at supporting the local club.