Dunlop iDapt Force 98 Racquet Review

Dunlop iDapt Force 98 Racquet

Video Review

Price:

$149.99

demo racquet
Dunlop iDapt Force 98 Scores
Power 80
Comfort 74
Touch/Feel 75
Serves 82
Groundstrokes 82
Returns 78
Slice 81
Topspin 83
Volleys 79
Overall 80

Upsides

  • Unprecedented customizing options
  • Powerful
  • Maneuverable
  • Spin-friendly

Downsides

  • Nothing we could agree on

Summary

Dunlop may be spawning the next evolution in tennis racquet technology with the introduction of iDapt. All about options, iDapt gives the player three different cosmetics, three different levels of feel and two different lengths to choose from. Basically, you pick the setup that is ideal for you. However you set it up, in the Force 98, Dunlop has created a modern player's frame that offers a nice blend of power, control and spin. There's also a lightweight, fast feel -- especially when set up in standard length. Want a little more heft and power? Add a half-inch of length by choosing the longer handle option. Find the racquet a little uncomfortable? Go with the softest-feeling Shock Sleeve. With all these different options our playtesters were able to find the setup that worked best for their unique games.

How iDapt works

Dunlop calls its iDapt technology: Individual, adaptable, performance.

We call it: Game changing.

What makes iDapt unique is that each racquet can be customized to suit the taste of the player. For instance, each racquet comes with three cosmetic options ranging from mild to wild. The feel of the racquet can be altered depending on the Shock Sleeve selected. For comfort, choose the red version, the blue for a blend of comfort and feedback and the green version for the most feedback. There are two handle lengths to choose from. One creates a standard 27-inch length racquet, the other a longer 27.5 inch length racquet. Once you have chosen the set up you'd like, we build the racquet for you and send it out.

Not sure which iDapt racquet or set up to go with? No problem. You can demo any iDapt racquet right here at Tennis Warehouse.

Groundstrokes - Score: 82

By using the customizable features of the Force 98, the playtesters were able to settle in with their preferred setup. Chris tried a number of different options, but finally settled on one that offered the power and spin he was looking for. He explained, "My favorite setup with this racquet was with the longer handle and the soft Shock Sleeve. The racquet played very crisply and felt nice and firm with good snap. I liked the softer feel of the red sleeve, and it dampened the racquet nicely. The result was a racquet that was comfortably crisp. The longer handle made the racquet considerably more powerful from the baseline. I was able to get more on my shots and force opponents off the baseline with more power and spin. I enjoyed the increased swingweight of the longer version the most. However, by adding some of the Dunlop Blast Zone tape I could weight the standard length version up to a similar swingweight for additional plow through. Either way, the racquet felt solid, crisp and spin-friendly, and the sweetspot felt very healthy."

Karly also liked how she could customize her options to find the perfect fit. She said, "I loved the quickness of this racquet, and I'm not just talking about the maneuverability! Not only was the Force 98 extremely fast and easy to swing, but it also had a quick response time on contact. Its lightweight feel made it so I didn't have to put much effort into swinging the racquet, and once I made contact the ball popped off the stringbed immediately. I was especially surprised with how crisp and solid the racquet felt since it's a lighter racquet. With the standard length version and the green or blue Shock Sleeves I felt that the combination of power and control was pretty even. I did have to work harder than usual to hit my shots deep within the court, and the racquet didn't offer a dampened feel, which made it a little uncomfortable on contact. However, the great thing about the iDapt series is being able to customize the racquet so easily. When I switched the handle to the extended length and the shock sleeve technology to the softest option, there was a noticeable improvement with depth and cushioning. Because of that, I preferred playing the Force 98 with the extended length and red shock absorption sleeve the most."

Granville's biggest concern with the iDapt system was whether it would play like a regular "one-piece" racquet. His concerns were laid to rest from the first groundstroke. He raved, "It took little time to gain confidence with this new stick. My mind was busy analyzing the feedback and thinking how I might improve the specs to best fit my game. With the standard length handle and medium (green) shock sleeve, I was very quickly and comfortably hitting out and NOT thinking about the racquet. With a stiff, precise response and easy maneuverability, the racquet let me drive the ball deep into either corner without much thought."

Mark was finding easy pace and spin with a setup that was very close to ideal for him. He said, "The version I played with came in very close to where I feel my ideal weight/balance is for a tennis racquet. At 11.3 ounces strung paired with a 315(ish) swingweight, I felt right at home at the baseline. I felt I was able to control the situation off the ground very well most of the time, with lots of spin and decent depth off both wings."

Dunlop iDapt Force 98 Racquet

Volleys - Score: 79

Most of our playtesters enjoyed the easy power and fast feel of the Force 98 at net. Granville was volleying naturally with it but would use the customizing features to give him even more easy power and depth in the future. He said, "It felt lively at net with good punch. I'll be adding some of the Blast Zone weights at 3 and 9 o'clock in hopes of a deeper ball pocket and even more punch on put-away volleys. It felt very maneuverable and quickly became an extension of my arm."

Chris was also able to use the modern attributes of the racquet quite easily and effectively at net. He praised, "It was point and shoot at net for me with this racquet. I liked the crisp response because it made the racquet feel ultra precise. I loved the way I could punch volleys away with pace. I also found plenty of spin when cutting under volleys to help my cross court angles drop short and out of reach. Again, the softer Shock Sleeve helped keep the racquet comfortably crisp. While the response was more modern in feel -- more power and maneuverability -- compared to Dunlops of old, I was able to use spin to hit solid drop volleys and get additional touch."

Mark enjoyed the quick yet responsive feel in the forecourt, but he found a slight lack of stability against bigger hitting opponents. He explained, "It was not until Chris, Karly or Troy started hitting with lots of pace that I felt the racquet was even a bit unstable. Otherwise, it was stable against heavy shots and it was maneuverable, so I could get the racquet in place for whatever shot I wanted to hit."

Once again, Karly really like the fast feel of the racquet, but ultimately she struggled with the comfort at contact on off-center shots. She said, "The Force 98 felt really light, so moving the racquet quickly wasn't an issue at all. I felt I could set up with confidence in time for each volley. I was also impressed with the forgiveness of the stringbed. The response was fairly consistent, so I knew where my shots were going no matter where I made contact on the stringbed. However, this wasn't the most comfortable racquet to hit volleys with. The racquet vibrations were magnified at net. I thought it lacked shock absorption and it irritated my arm quite a bit with the blue and green Shock Sleeves. It helped when I customized the racquet to the softest red option, but I still thought the racquet was hard on my arm at net."

Serves - Score: 82

Serves may have been the favorite stroke to hit for the playtesters with the Force 98, and they found loads of easy power and spin, especially with the extended length handle. Karly felt the added length helped slow down her swing speed and allowed her to control the power the racquet provided. She explained, "Serving was the area where I found the most power, so I liked serving with the extended length handle to get more control. It slowed down the racquet a little, but I could get more leverage behind my stroke to generate my own power with better control. The longer handle made the swingweight higher, but I thought the extra control was worth it. The power with the standard length was a little much for me and took some time for adjustment. Luckily, though, the access to spin was great, and I could use that to my advantage to keep the ball from going long."

Mark's service game was firing on all cylinders. He raved, "The serve was maybe my most comfortable shot with this racquet. Right away, I was effective and comfortable with it. I was delivering some serves that are about as good as I can muster with any racquet."

Like the others, Chris was utilizing the easy access to power and spin the Force 98 offered to serve effectively and consistently. He said, "I served well with this racquet. My first serves had good pace and I could add spin to them at will. I was serving some great slice serves with this racquet. I hit several aces past the forehand side of right handed opponents as I was getting the ball to swing nicely away from the returning player. I felt confident adding more pace to my second serves since I was getting enough spin and control to keep my serves in. The longer handle just upped the response of everything, giving me even more spin and pace."

Granville found excellent precision and will be further customizing the frame to improve the power. He said, "Here, too, I'm looking forward to adding a bit of weight with the Blast Zones in hopes of getting just a bit more pop and power on my serve. Targeting was spot on with little adjustment to my game."

Dunlop iDapt Force 98 Racquet

Returns - Score: 78

Service returns were made easy by the Force 98's fast and lively feel. Mark really enjoyed the stability of the racquet on his chip returns. He said, "I would like to spend a little more time with this racquet (another sign that I like the racquet), but I got pretty much the same feeling on my service return as I got from the volley. Under almost all circumstances, the racquet was plenty stable and my chip return style was assisted. Anyone who rips through the return will probably like this stick as well, since it is a very fast feeling racquet."

For Karly, it was the maneuverability of the racquet that allowed her to return effectively. She raved, "The tremendous maneuverability was a star feature on returns. The Force 98 made it easy to set up quickly and take the ball early without putting a great deal of effort into my shots. I could easily hit the ball on the rise for a quick, aggressive return. The combination of power and control also helped make it easier to be an aggressive returner. I could place the ball in the direction I wanted with enough pace to quickly go on the offensive."

Chris' full arsenal of creative returns was on display, and he was feeling completely comfortable returning serve throughout the playtest. He said, "Thanks to the light weight and maneuverable feel I found I had ample time to take a good crack at returns with this racquet. I enjoyed keeping my backswing short before driving through returns. I was able to use the pace of my opponent's serve, the crisp response of the racquet and the spin-friendly stringbed to hit some aggressive returns. I also liked the power I was getting on defensive returns. I could chip or punch returns back with depth. I felt like I had a good sense of directional and depth control, both of which gave me added confidence and lots of options."

Granville also enjoyed returning with the Force 98, but he felt a little more weight would make it easier to defend against stronger players. He said, "This racquet offers a good all-around response on returns. It felt a bit underpowered when defending against the biggest serves, but with Blast Zone weights I can improve that significantly."

Overall - Score: 80

Likes

Chris - "I loved the power, spin, control, maneuverability and crisp feel. The whole iDapt concept is very cool and I loved being able to try this racquet in two lengths and three levels of dampening."

Granville - "The technical challenges Dunlop overcame to provide the first totally customizable racquet is very impressive. The cosmetics are very colorful and contemporary, and the racquet is solid and maneuverable."

Mark - "I like the concept of being able to modify the feel with the three Shock Sleeves, along with the ability to swap out handle lengths. The execution was as good as the concept."

Karly - "I enjoyed the solid, crisp feel, considering how light the racquet felt. I loved being able to swing fast and experience a responsive feel on contact. Also, the purple/yellow was my favorite cosmetic!"

Dislikes

Chris - "A tad too crisp with the firm Shock Sleeve."

Granville - "Still thinking…"

Mark - "Two of the colors were a little bright for me. However, I liked the darker, closer to monochromatic cosmetic of the black version."

Karly - "It was tough to hit consistently deep with the standard length racquet, however, it was easier when the racquet was switched to the extended handle."

Comparing the racquet to others they've tried, our testers said:

Chris - "The ease with which I could generate spin and pace reminded me of the Head Graphene Radical Pro. However, the Force 98 feels a little lighter and faster in stock weight and at 27 inches in length. For me, this racquet sits somewhere between a Radical Pro and a Babolat AeroPro Drive. It has many of the better qualities of both, and I really enjoyed hitting with it."

Granville - "With is customization options, this iDapt Force 98 is totally unique and does not really compare to anything currently available."

Mark - "It felt similar to the Babolat Pure Drive, the Babolat AeroPro Drive, Head Extreme Midplus, Wilson Steam 99, Wilson Blade 98 (16x19), Volkl Organix 8, Volkl V1 Pro, Dunlop F5.0 Tour and the Yonex EZONE Ai 100."

Karly - "The closest racquet I can think of is the Wilson Blade 98 (16x19) in terms of having a stiffer feel and a similar amount of power and control. I think the biggest differences were the swingweight and dampening technology. The Dunlop Force 98 was easier to swing, but the Wilson Blade 98 absorbed shock better."

Technical Specifications

Length27 inches69 centimeters
Extended Length27.5 inches70 centimeters
Head Size98 square inches632 square centimeters
Strung Weight11.2 ounces318 grams
Extended Weight11.3 ounces320 grams
Balance Point13.04 inches
33 centimeters
4pts Head Light
Extended Balance Point13.46 inches
34 centimeters
2 pts Head Light
Construction22mm / 24mm / 22mm /
CompositionGraphite
String Pattern16 mains / 19 crosses

Babolat RDC Ratings

Score
Grade
Flex Rating67Range: 0-100
Swing Weight317Range: 200-400
Extended Swing Weight335Range: 200-400

Scores

(Scores are determined by averaging individual play test scores)


Chris' Scores
Power 8.3 Serves 8.5
Control 8 Groundstrokes 8.5
Maneuverability 8.6 Returns 8.5
Stability 7.8 Slice 8
Comfort 7.2 Topspin 8.4
Touch/Feel 7.4 Volleys 8.1
Overall 8.3
Granville's Scores
Power 7 Serves 7.5
Control 7.8 Groundstrokes 7.5
Maneuverability 8 Returns 7
Stability 8 Slice 8.3
Comfort 8 Topspin 8
Touch/Feel 7 Volleys 7.8
Overall 7.8
Mark's Scores
Power 8.5 Serves 9
Control 9 Groundstrokes 8.5
Maneuverability 8.5 Returns 7.5
Stability 7.5 Slice 7.5
Comfort 7.5 Topspin 8.5
Touch/Feel 8 Volleys 8
Overall 8
Karly's Scores
Power 8.3 Serves 7.8
Control 8.1 Groundstrokes 8.1
Maneuverability 8.6 Returns 8.3
Stability 7.9 Slice 8.5
Comfort 6.8 Topspin 8.1
Touch/Feel 7.5 Volleys 7.6
Overall 7.9
 

Playtester Profiles

Chris: 4.5 all-court player currently using the Wilson Six.One 95S. Chris uses a full-western forehand grip, has a fast swing style and hits a one-handed backhand.

Granville: 5.5 all-court player currently using a Babolat Pure Drive 107. Granville is an aggressive player who uses an eastern forehand grip and goes continental on everything else, hits with a flat swing and a one-handed backhand.

Karly: 4.0 baseline player currently playing with the Volkl Organix 10 Mid. She hits with a semi-western forehand grip and uses a two handed backhand.

Mark: 5.0 lefty all-court player with a one-handed backhand. He currently plays with the Wilson Steam 99S.

Review date: August 2014. If you found this review interesting or have further questions or comments please contact us.

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