The Head Graphene 360 Speed 135 – Power, speed, pace… and power!

Designed with power in mind, but also balanced to assist speed, this racquet suits every aspect of a high paced squash match!

HEAD Graphene 360 Squash Banner

First looks

The Head Graphene 360 Speed 135 comes in a much more subtle colour scheme than it’s Slimbody brother. It’s predominantly black with small bursts of strong red, finished with cool grey Head branding on the strings.

HEAD Graphene 360 Speed 135 Squash Racquet

This racquet comes strung with a 12X17 string pattern this will grant you all the power you desire. However, if power isn’t your game, fear not! As pictured above, you can also get it restrung with a much denser 16X17 fan pattern which will favour control.

Practice swings

With an unstrung weight of 135 grams, this racquet is on the heavier side, this means it will give you a good amount of weight behind each swing so power is easier to access. However, it’s worth mentioning that it has a very head-light balance point, making it very fast and maneuverable!

The Head Graphene 360 Speed 135 comes with a Head Hydrosorb Pro grip, which feels tacky but not uncomfortable on the hand.

Hitting the ball

I must admit I don’t have much experience hitting with such a low density string pattern as I don’t often use much pace, but it’s something I could definitely get used to! It feels almost effortless to put pace on a deep length or crosscourt, this could also be attributed to the teardrop head shape.

Again, in comparison to it’s brother racquet, the 135 Slimbody, the regular 135 has a bit more of a stiff feel to it, there is still some flex to the frame but not much, this stiffness further assists the power that this racquet can access.

Overall thoughts…

One more thing I would mention, concerning the string pattern primarily, is that with the 12X17 pattern, the sweet spot is relatively small, however, when you hit it just right, it feels amazing!

The option to get it strung with the denser fan pattern is a great idea by Head, and it really allows the player to customise their racquet to suit their needs!

View HEAD Graphene 360 Speed 135 Squash Racquet in our store.

The Head Graphene 360 Speed 135 Slimbody – I’m certainly a ‘fan’!

Comfortable, soft to play with, undeniably maneuverable… what more could you ask for from a squash racquet?

First looks

The 135 Slimbody’s colour scheme is simply awesome, coming with an icy white lower half (the grip and the shaft), and a black frame with bursts of electric green to match the strings! You can certainly say that this racquet has a striking appearance!

HEAD Graphene 360 Speed 135 Slimbody Squash Racquet

The racquet also comes strung with a very dense 16X17 fanned string pattern (hence the excellent pun in the title), this will greatly assist with control. However, if this isn’t your thing, you need not worry, as it can be restrung with a less dense 12X17 stringing pattern if you’re looking for a little more power.

Practice swings

Weighing 135, I must admit that I suspected this racquet to feel heavy, however, I was delightfully surprised after taking a few swings before going on court. The 135 SB has a head light balance point, making it feel easily maneuverable and fast.

A more subtle feature I must mention is the soft, yet tacky, Head Hydrosorb Pro grip, as someone who has stubbornly used Karakal grips since I started squash, it’s always refreshing to find a grip that might make me change my ways…

Hitting the ball

As well as being head light, this racquet also has an ultra-slim 16mm beam which makes it much more aerodynamic to swing. At the front of the court I am able to access a fast short swing when needed, and this greatly helps with deception and taking the ball earlier!

Like many of Head’s Slimbody racquets, the 135 has a noticable flex to the frame, allowing the user to feel the ball a lot better, combined with the dense string pattern, this makes the racquet very good in terms of control. The large 500cm2 head size further attributes to this.

I do also have to mention that you can still access a pretty powerful strike should you need it, as there is still a reasonable amount of weight behind each swing!

Overall thoughts…

You’ve can definitely class Head’s Graphene 360 Speed 135 Slimbody as a great all rounder, it’s got all the control and feel you need, without any absence of power!

I’d recommend it to any player looking for a control based racquet that doesn’t limit power!

The Tecnifibre Dynergy APX 135 – All the power you need!

Personally, I’ve never been that into hitting the ball hard, but after a few strikes with this racquet, my horizons have broadened!

Brief insight: the Dynergy APX series

Three new renditions of Tecnifibre’s Dynergy series will be arriving at Control the ‘T’ Sports within the next two weeks, and we can’t wait! Named the Dynergy APX series, these racquets are Tecnifibre’s newest creation and I hope you guys like them as much as I do!

The Dynergy AP series was the name of the older series, and the new APX racquets have had some sophisticated updates…

The sophisticated updates:

Beginning with one of the more obvious differences, the AP series had a dense 16×16 power-ring stringing pattern, the new APX line, however, has decided to go a different way. Using arch technology but with grommets and a 14×17 string pattern, in theory, this should make power much more accessible to the player.

Plus, another slightly less noticeable feature, but an important one nonetheless, is the new weight saving bumper on top of the head. Obviously, being lightweight is not the primary purpose of the  APX 135, but every little helps!

Practice swings

Now I’ve got a pretty large swing, needless to say the Dynergy APX 135 does a great job of assisting it!

Coming with a head heavy balance point, and with a frame weight of 135 grams, which can be considered to be leaning towards the heavy side, this racquet allows a large, smooth, powerful swing to be performed with ease.

One of the smaller details I began to enjoy whilst taking some practice swings is the grip. Tecnifibre have introduced a brand new tacky grip which is used on all three of the APX racquets, and it’s incredibly grippy, without being uncomfortable at all!

Hitting the ball

As I mentioned at the beginning, you can really get some great power with the APX 135! I hit length after length with a significant amount of power, and it felt almost effortless. 

The APX 135 comes with Tecnifibre’s own X-One BiPhase strings, which is definitely an overlooked bonus. Tecnifibre is known for producing excellent squash string, and the X-One BiPhase has an incredibly soft feel to it, and provides the user with a lot of power!

The Jumbo Shaft seems to provide all the benefits you could ever need, it makes the racquet feel incredibly strong and durable, it allows you to feel the ball very well, and also assists power! Could the Jumbo Shaft be the future of the squash racquet?

Final note

One final note about the APX 135, control is most certainly an option. Yes, it is the heaviest of the three APXs, but the racquets all have a certain flexibility to the frame which allows you to feel the ball even better, and put away a good solid drop shot from any position!

The Tecnifibre Dynergy 135, as well as it’s brothers, the 120, and the 130 are all available for pre-order now, just click below!

The Tecnifibre Dynergy APX 130 – ‘the perfect ‘all-rounder!’

If you’re looking for a squash racquet that’s not too light, but not too heavy, not too stiff, but not too flexible, you may be in luck…

Introducing Tecnifibre’s newest update to the Dynergy series… the APX!
I had the chance to test out all three of the racquets in the APX series (the 120, 130, and 135), and in this review I’ll be focusing on the 130.

At first glance…

Apart from weight, the primary noticeable difference between the three APX racquets is the string colour, and the grip colour. For the Dynergy APX 130, Tecnifibre have used a striking orange tacky Tecnifibre grip, which matches the 14×17 orange X-One Biphase strings. 
Its worth mentioning that these strings have a soft feel, and provide lots and lots of power!

​The rest of the racquet is a slick shade of black, featuring Tecnifibre branding around the frame. One of the less noticeable features is the weight saving bumper, although this is only a small update, it could end up making all the difference!

After a few practice swings

After swinging through thin air a few times, I instantly became pretty excited to give this racquet a shot on court!

The APX 130 has a head heavy balance point, which should be a great help if you’re looking to apply some pace.

It’s also worth mentioning that this racquet still has a frame weight of 130 grams, which I consider to still be on the lighter side. This means that short, fast swings were also on the cards, and access to maneuverability and control is still readily available.

After a few shots

In comparison to Tecnifibre’s Carboflex, the Dynergy APX 130 has a lot more flex to the frame, this allowed me to feel the ball really well with every shot. I could hit accurately and consistently, even when I have to react quickly and shorten my swing.

As mentioned above, the available control of this racquet is excellent, but I’ve gotta say, it really packs a punch too! This is likely due to the head heavy balance, but the Dynergy APX 130, and all the other racquets in this new series come with a Jumbo Shaft, which makes the racquet a lot more sturdy and powerful.

After thoughts?

This racquet is an amazing all-rounder, and I must admit that I am a big fan of it! It’s got the perfect balance of lightness, and access to power.

​The Tecnifibre Dynergy 130, as well as it’s brothers, the 120, and the 135 are all available for pre-order now, just click below!

The Tecnifibre Dynergy APX 120 – A squash racquet that caters to all levels!

Let me start off just by saying I’m a dedicated Carboflex user myself, and when I got a look at the new Dynergy APX series I didn’t really bat an eyelid… until I got to try them out!

Updated features…

For those of you who don’t know, the APX’s predecessor, named the Dynergy AP series, had a very dense 16×16 power-ring stringing pattern. This stringing technique in which the strings are wrapped around the frame at the top of the shaft is most commonly seen on Prince racquets.

The new APX line however, has decided to go a different way by using arch technology but with grommets and a 14×17 string pattern to increase power. Another slightly less noticeable feature, but an important one nonetheless, is the new weight saving bumper on top of the head.

The 120

In the previous AP series, 125 grams was the lightest available option, it’s great to see that Tecnifibre managed to shave off another 5 grams to make the APX 120!

In terms of balance, the Tecnifibre Dynergy APX 120 leans more towards the head heavy side, so although the racquet is light as a whole, you can still access plenty of power with ease.

After a few hits…

Starting from the bottom up, the APX 120 comes with Tecnifibre’s new tacky grip, which I became an instant fan of! It really does a great job of holding your hand in place, even if you get a little sweaty!

The racquet comes with a Jumbo Shaft which increases both power, and durability, whilst simultaneously allowing you to feel the ball incredibly well. This little bit of extra control goes a heck of a long way!

It’s no secret that Tecnifibre strings are one of the most, if not the most popular strings in the world of squash. A great plus of buying any Tecnifibre racquet, is the strings that they come with! The Dynergy APX 120 comes with X-One Biphase Strings, which have a soft feel and provide a heck of a lot of power.

Final thoughts:

(Using the Carboflex as a point of reference): the Dynergy APX is much more forgiving, the sweet spot is very much on the large side. This could be down to the reasonably large head size (490cm2), or it could be down to Jumbo Shaft, either way… I love it!

Overall, the Tecnifibre Dynergy APX 120 is a racquet I would recommend, and will be recommending, to any player looking to boost their all round game. This racquet assists all aspects of squash incredibly well, making it ideal for any standard of player, from beginner to pro!

Available for pre-order!!!

The latest version of an all-time favourite: the Tecnifibre Carboflex X-Speed 125 squash racquet

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

Looks

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!

Final words

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.

View the Harrow Vibe in our online store

Superman faces Mr Fantastic in the 2019 PSA World Championship quarter finals!

Photo credit http://worldsquashchamps.com

Paul Coll Vs Ali Farag match overview

It’s highly likely that any squash fanatic will be binge-watching the 2019 PSA World Championships going on right now in Chicago. However, for those of you who don’t know, the world championship is the most prestigious competition in the squash world. Attended only by the worlds top professional squash players, there have already been several unbelievable matches, which I highly advise you go and watch (if you haven’t already)!

One particular match that piqued my interest, was the quarter-final match of Paul Coll against Ali Farag. Both players are renowned for being some of the best movers in the game, however, the interesting part is that their movement styles are polar opposites of each other.

Paul Coll

Starting with 7 seed, Paul ‘Superman’ Coll, this nickname was rightly appointed, as he is famously known for being able to retrieve very tough balls using high-powered dives. The most well-known example of this being in a rally with James Willstrop, in which he manages to dive, retrieve, and recover from a series of incredible shots and still win the point! Coll’s movement revolves around extreme strength, endurance and power, if you’re looking to finish off a rally with a kill shot, you may struggle against Paul Coll.

Ali Farag

Known in the squash world as Mr Fantastic, Ali Farag is actually now world number one (as of March 1st), so congratulations are in order!
Farag’s movement style is very different to Coll’s, many people say he has the most efficient movement in squash at the moment. Fantastic Farag is very light on his feet, moves very fast and with a ‘water-like’ flow, it’s clear that movement is something that he’s spent a lot of time on and it’s incredibly pleasing to watch!

The Match

The first game…

Taken 11-8 by Farag, was played very steadily from both men, and there wasn’t much being taken to the front. The main difference from my perspective was that Farag seemed just that little bit calmer than Coll, although it’s clear that nerves were in the air for both players! Of course, to keep the crowd happy, the first game featured some trademark dives from Coll.

Taken 11-8 by Farag, was played very steadily from both men, and there wasn’t much being taken to the front. The main difference from my perspective was that Farag seemed just that little bit calmer than Coll, although it’s clear that nerves were in the air for both players! Of course, to keep the crowd happy, the first game featured some trademark dives from Coll.

It was the second game in which things began to liven up…

Coll took a quick 5-1 lead by being a lot more proactive and taking shots into the front with purpose, he also did an amazing job of mixing up the pace, switching from a series of high, deep lobs, to some low, hard lengths.

Farag seemed a little subdued at the beginning of this game, however, it was almost like he flipped a switch in his head at this point, and began forcing the mistakes from Coll. The rallies became very short and sharp, especially compared to the first, apart from one absolute monster rally lasting 2 minutes and 16 seconds! This rally was won by Farag and was maybe what tipped Coll over the edge…

Farag established a more dominant position on the ‘T’, and didn’t allow Coll to get into any sort of rhythm for the rest of the game. Farag managed to take the second game 11-7.

​Again starting very strong, Superman took an early 6-2 lead in the third game…

he managed to keep Farag pinned at the back of the court, and this time, he didn’t allow him to get back into the game. Taking a very dominant tee stance, stepping forwards whenever possible with strong strides, Coll managed to take this game 11-4. Farag seemed to be out of breath in this third game, he slowed down his fluid movement to conserve some energy, something that Coll took full advantage of by significantly stepping up the pace.

In the fourth and final game, Fantastic Farag came back very strong …

Managing to predict the majority of Paul Coll’s selected shots, and moving onto them incredibly fast, even Coll’s incredibly powerful lunges and dives weren’t enough to recover Farag’s super accurate shots. Farag confidently won this game 11-1, and thus the match.

It’s worth noting that throughout this game, Paul ‘Superman’ Coll’s ​fitness, power, and strength were unbelievable, and he endured the long rallies incredibly well. But in the end, Fantastic Farag’s conservative, light movement enabled him to take the ball earlier and apply that little bit of extra pressure that won him the match, and allowed him to advance to the semi-finals.

Well played guys!

A closer look at the Eye Rackets V-Lite 120 Control

The V-Lite 120 Control allows you to feel every single shot, without denying access to power!

The weapon of choice for “Fearless” Fares Dessouky

At first glance…

With Eye branding on the frame, hilt and strings, this racquet is the signature model of Egyptian Pro Fares Dessouky, and it also comes with his signature just above the grip, which is a lovely touch!

The V-Lite 120 Control has a slick aesthetic, coming in black and white, and featuring colourful splash of green, (which apparently is Dessouky’s favourite colour)!

First impressions…

As important as good control is to me, when I stepped on court with this racquet I was very pleasantly surprised by the ease in which power can be accessed.

Weighing only 120 grams this racquet is on the lighter side, however after a couple of large swings I did notice that it is slightly head heavy. I would say it has combined these two aspects very well, as the low weight allows a degree of maneuverability, whilst the balance means power is accessible.

Main thoughts…

After a fair amount of shots I found the sweet spot to be forgiving, this may be partially due to the larger 500cm² teardrop head shape, but more interestingly, the frame actually has some flex to it. This is excellent for helping the player to feel the ball upon contact.

If you’re the sort of player that is looking for touch, the softer feel of the frame is absolutely ideal. You might not be slotting in the nicks like ‘Fearless’ Fares straight away, but the V-Lite 120 Control definitely increases your chances!

Whether you’re hitting it hard with purpose, or soft to slow down a rally, you can be confident that you are in control of where your shot is going.

Final points…

As previously mentioned, I would say that the V-Lite 120 Control is the perfect combination of control and power, obviously control is the focus, but the power is such a great bonus!

I would recommend this racquet to any player that likes to take some risks, go for some winners, and just use every corner of the court.

View the Eye Rackets V.Lite 120 Control in our online store.

The Harrow Vapor – Pack a punch!

Don’t be fooled by how light this racquet is, you can access some serious power too…

Harrow Vapor Squash Racquet White Yellow

How does it look?

It comes as no surprise that a racquet named the ‘Vapor’ comes in such a light colour scheme, the racquet is clean white, and features bursts of yellow to give it an eye-catching appeal.

The Vapor has a traditional frame shape with a bridge, and comes strung with Harrow’s own red and white Barrage Pro strings.

How does it feel?

As soon as I picked up the Vapor, I instantly felt how light the racquet actually was, with a fully finished weight of 140 grams, it is very light!

This level of lightness definitely worried me at first, as I consider myself to have a pretty big swing, however, after a few practice swings, I was delighted to feel that this racquet is actually quite head heavy, which assisted my swing perfectly!

I couldn’t wait to give it a shot on court …

How does it play?

After a few lengths, a few drops and a few volleys I began to really enjoy playing with the Vapor!

This Harrow racquet has a stiff construction, which I personally quite like! The sweet spot is a little smaller due to the 470 cm2 head size, but after a few minutes of adjusting, it’s easy enough to find the sweet spot with every shot!

​It has a dense string pattern of 14 x 19, especially given the smaller overall head size, giving you more control over the ball as well as being slightly more durable which is always a plus!

Overall…

I would say that in terms of balance it is perfect for allowing good control as well as access to power. If you’re looking for a lightweight racquet that packs a punch, the Harrow Vapor is ideal!

View the Harrow Vapor in our online store

The Harrow Spark – lightest of the light

Control, power, and maneuverability. Just a few of the many things the Spark has to offer! …

Harrow Spark Black Green Manchester World Champs
Photo Credit to Steve Cubbins

How does it look?

Harrow have used a black colour scheme with punches of lime green all over the frame, giving it a nice eye-catching pop!
It also comes strung with Harrow’s zingy orange Barrage Pro multi-filament string, slightly on the softer side, this string is great for control and assists with putting some slice on the ball if that’s your style.

How does it feel?

I’ve never been one to fully appreciate a light squash racquet, but after trying out the Harrow Spark, I feel like a changed man!

With an ultralight finished weight of 135 grams, (much like it’s bestselling brother, the Vapor Ultralite), this racquet allows a great amount of maneuverability which is a massive help for getting you out of sticky situations in the front and back corners.

The Spark is also ever so slightly head-heavy, which is not too obvious at first, but after a few practice swings, you begin to feel it assist with a purposeful swing! Meaning that despite the racquet’s light weight, power is definitely an option should you need it.

How does it play?

Upon striking the ball it is immediately obvious that the Spark is a stiff racquet. The sweet spot is a little on the smaller side, this may be down to the slightly smaller head size of 470cm2, but once I found it, each strike felt silky smooth!

The Sparks 14 x 18 stringing pattern combined with the smaller head, helps to access control, but you can still deliver a heavy punch to the back if you find that sweet spot!

Overall…

I would say that the Harrow Spark is primarily a performance racquet, the most notable qualities being it’s ultralight weight, and stiffness, I would recommend this racquet to anybody looking for control and mobility, but for a player who also looks to pack a punch every once in a while!

View the Harrow Spark in our online store