A brief history of Carboflex…
As a very well established brand in the world of squash, it’s safe to say that Tecnifibre knows what they’re doing when it comes to creating a squash racquet!
Over the years, the renowned Carboflex range has had many updates, improvements, and additions. It could be argued that the latest models are the pinnacle of racquet technology. Although I’m unsure of when exactly the first Carboflex was released, they’ve certainly been around for a very long time!
The black and yellow Carboflex range was introduced in 2012, 125g being the lightest version, before this, 130g was always the lightest Carboflex. Following this, the black and red colourway was released in 2015, this finally brings us to the new, and hugely popular, X-Speed range which came out in 2018.
X-Speed and the Pros
Tecnifibre and the professional squash scene go hand in hand, and many of their racquets are trusted by some of the most well-known pros on the circuit, including current world champion Nour El Sherbini, and Marwan El Shorbagy. Most famously, however, the X-Speed range was actually developed with ex-world no.1, ‘The Beast of Alexandria’, Mohamed El Shorbagy.
The fact that Tecnifibre racquets are trusted by such highly respected players is actually what piqued my interest in the first place. It’s also what led me to try, buy, and continue buying racquets from the X-Speed range!
The infamous X-Speed 125
Paying homage to the fact that it is designed and manufactured in France, the Carboflex X-Speed 125 has a stroke of the blue and red seen on the French flag, this, combined with the slick black colour of the rest of the frame really gives the racquet a smart, professional vibe.
The racquet comes with Tecnifibre branding on the inside at the top of the frame, and also just above the grip on the brand new exclusive rubber grip mask. It’s worth noting that this grip mask does a great job of holding the grip in place, and it isn’t a feature I’ve seen on any other racquet!
How does it feel in hand?
I personally use the 130-gram Carboflex X-Speed, however after a few practice swings with the 125, it was instantly clear that those five grams made a heck of a difference.
The X-Speed 125 has an even balance point, meaning that although it is light, both power and control should still be accessible, but I’m predicting that control will be the primary focus. It comes gripped with a black Tecnifibre dry grip, which actually feels very comfy without being slippy at all! Considering grips that come with new racquets sometimes aren’t the best, this is definitely an underrated strength of the racquet!
After a few hits…
The most prominent feeling I get from this racquet after a few lengths, is control. It’s interesting, however, in comparison to other racquets that focus on control, the X-Speed just has a slightly different feel to it somehow… but I can assure you that this is a good thing! The best way to describe it is that it feels incredibly smooth, you can get a lovely flow with each swing.
The 125 X-Speed has a teardrop frame shape which does assist with power should you need it, but I have to stress, I can feel the ball so well! Control wise, this racquet is a dream, the light weight gives me a lot of maneuverability, as a player who likes to use a lot of wrist, especially at the front of the court, this ease of movement is key!
Coming with a standard 14×18 string pattern, I would like to point out that the sweet spot is on the smaller side, but only very slightly, and once you begin consistently hitting it, every shot is going to feel smooth and solid!
The old vs the new!
I managed to get my hands on the 2015, 125-gram black and red Carboflex to compare with the X-Speed. Of course, the two racquets had many similarities, but also some noticeable differences…
Similarities wise, the weighting, balance, and shape are all exactly the same, meaning if you’re thinking about updating from the 2015 Carboflex to the X-Speed, and are worried about adjusting to a different balance or weight, your swing shouldn’t feel any different!
When it comes to differences between the two, it’s all about the feel on contact with the ball… the X-Speed 125 has a much stiffer frame than it’s predecessor, the racquet feels a lot more sturdy on contact with the ball, giving you some extra power. This could be partially down to the newly introduced i-Blades on either side of the racquet just above the grip.
You may feel like you’re struggling to get a good feel of the ball with the first few shots, but trust me, as soon as you adjust to that sweet spot, you’ll love this racquet!
The Carboflex X-Speed 125 is an amazing all round racquet, and I would recommend it to anybody, period. It looks great, feels great and does an awesome job of assisting all essential aspects of competitive squash.