Wilson Blade 104 Racquet Customer feedback

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Comments: This is a review for the 2014-2016 version. Four years on from a broken elbow, surgery and residual nerve pain, the Blade 104 will take some beating for the title of "most arm friendly racquet." I had never used anything larger than 100 square inches or longer than 27 inches, so I was sceptical. It plays just like a 100 square inch racquet and the extra 0.5" in length isn't noticeable until you serve and it simply adds a lot of effortless pop. Even on my single handed backhand, neither the head size nor the extra length make a difference, except maybe when trying to come over the ball on a high topspin shot to me -- marginally harder. The sweetspot is huge, the stringbed pockets very well. Only other racquet with that feel is the old Volkl Catapult 10. This racquet allows for very consistent baseline hitting and easy change of direction. I added 3g to the hoop for more thump. I found adding it to 3 and 9 stiffened up the hoop, made it feel dead. My only gripe is Wilson's quality control -- 5g difference between two frames and the the grip size 4 handles were slightly different size. Both rectifiable, but not very good. Strung it with Prince Premier Touch 1.25 at 52 lbs for a sheer gossamer feel. The new 2017 version of this stick is very stiff by comparison.
From: Louis, 11/16

Comments: WIth its size, weight and flex, this is a very unique racquet. What I loved about it was the comfort, surprising pop, very precise control for its size, and laser-like slice. The extreme flex is a mixed blessing; I somehow found myself missing the crisper feeling of my usual racquet. Topspin is better than you'd expect for a tight string pattern. The two deal breakers for me were that either unmodified or even with about 15 grams of weight divided between 9 and 3 and inside the grip, the racquet often had a kind of metallic brassy feel on contact, and stability was not very good.
From: Mike, 10/16

Comments: The Blade 104 is the answer. After just getting back into tennis a few years ago, I was disappointed in the modern racquet line up. After some time with POG OS, YT IG Prestige S, C10 Pro, Ki5 PSE, and QTour 325, I was still not finding the feel I was looking for. The Ki5 PSE checked off most of the boxes in what I was looking for but just didn't have the flexier feel I was craving. Enter the Blade 104. I had ignored the 104 for a long time due to its light weight, but as I progressed through various frames I realized that flex was one the characteristics you needed buy in a frame and weight could be customized later. Once I took the plunge on a pair of Blade 104's, I immediately modified them by adding a lot of lead at 3 and 9, a leather grip, and bluetac in the tubes under the butt cap. Adding in head tape, over grip, and dampener my 104's top out at 380 grams, 7 points head light. The modified Blade 104 is now my go to racquet. I feel as though I have improved my game in nearly every aspect; my groundstrokes have greatly improved as the 104 allows me to swing out with confidence, my serves and over heads are more powerful without a loss of accuracy, and my volleys are crisper and more powerful. I feel as though my consistency has improved greatly and I am seeing better results. Most of my errors are now due to strategy flaws like trying to paint the lines rather than getting a flyer or miss hit (although, they still do occur). I was also battling a case of TE (while using PK's no less) and since switching to the Blade 104 the symptoms have not returned (exercising with a flex bar and using a Band It brace helped me recover as well). I love the feel and comfort of the modded Blade 104 as it reminds me of my racquet of choice in the 80's, the PK Copper Ace. The sweet spot feels as large as the PK Ki5 PSE which was the largest sweet spot I had ever used, and is why I kept returning to the PSE after other failed racquet tests. With the Blade 104's larger sweet spot, I do not feel the need to return to the PSE as the 104 matches it or even exceeds it. I feel as though the Blade 104 is the best platform racquet on the market today, If you are willing to put in some customization, there is not a better racquet available. Strung mains with Ashaway Monogut ZX 16g (Natural) at 57 lbs and crosses: Tourna Big Hitter Silver 16g at 50 lbs. Strung on a Gamma X-ST with a Wise 2086.
From: Tim, 8/16

Comments: I like to demo new frames and watch the TW reviews but would be surprised if I ever find a frame that beats the Blade 104. Even though it has a low flex and people describe it as soft it really doesn't feel too soft, buttery or mushy. I try my friend's Blade 98S time to time and do get more spin off of it but don't notice much power difference and prefer this racquet but like the 98S over the few spin racquets I have tried.
From: Anonymous, 6/16

Comments: I have been playing for over 25 years and have tried a numerous amount of racquets. I played with the Volkl C10 Pro, Head Prestige Classic and recently the Boris Becker Delta Core London. Most of the racquets made today are much too stiff for players that have elbow or shoulder problems. I have had shoulder problems over the last 8 years. I can no longer play with a 12 ounce frame. The Blade 104 has to be one of the most flexible frames on the market today. This racquet is the real deal as far as comfort, feel, power and control. The stock weight is a little light. I added a few grams of lead at 3 and 9 to offer more stability and replaced the grip with a Gamma Hi-Tech Gel grip which also helps add stability and comfort. The racquet plays well with a multi, basic synthetic string a hybrid set up with a 17 gauge poly for the mains and Gosen OG 17 in the crosses. I like the hybrid set up as it offers more durability and control. I have used this racquet for 2 months and I am still tinkering around with string set ups. I am a 4.5 baseline player with a big semi- western grip and have a one handed backhand with a slightly extreme grip a little past an eastern. This racquet is very user friendly and is great for hitting on the rise. I think even higher level players could use this racquet with customization. I can play for hours and have no shoulder pain even with a poly hybrid. That can't be said for many of the modern racquets. I would highly recommend this racquet to either a good junior player or a middle age that can't handle 12 ounce player frames and suffers with arm problems. I hope Wilson does not discontinue this frame. It is one of kind due to the low flex and extended length. Kudos to Wilson for making a legendary racquet!
From: Ken, 5/16

Comments: Tried a second "spin racquet" -- i.e. Prince 98 Tour ESP. The Prince definitly produces much more effortless topspin. From the baseline, a real treat. Consistency goes though the roof. Where it (and also the Wilson 95S) completely collapses is volleys. You feel like a blindfolded monkey after a heated double session. This Blade does EVERYTHING well, in comparision. My most difficult shots, volleys and overheads, are simply intuitive. Not a big issue to step back to the Blade. I willingly trade in those blasting topspin baseline shots of the Prince for the solid all over performance of this Wilson Blade 104. I'll stock up for the future; I fear they will not produce this kind of racquet for much longer.
From: Andrew, 3/16

Comments: Yes! I have been playing with a 100 square inch racquet by Wilson that is 27.25 inches long. The transition to this frame was effortless. It's softer than the 65 RA of the 100L and has just a bit more head size and length. It never felt like a big 104 square inch however. I added about 4 inches of 1/4" lead tape from 8 to 11 o'clock and from 4 to 2 (approx). Added a leather grip. Very stable. Very powerful. Very soft on my arm and shoulder joints. I'm guessing I created an even balance. It's fast through the air. Low key cosmetic. Nice with a Wlson shaped grip. Great on flat or topspin. Slice is deadly. Serves are very controlled and easy on the shoulder. I am a 61 year old doubles player who was a dedicated Prestige/Radical stalwart. for 30 years, but Head lost its way creating those soft buttery classic frames into stiff, uncomfortable sticks that only a young arm can withstand. The MicroGel may be the last of a dying breed. Even the Prestige 63 RA frames are too crisp. Who wants that? Anyway, string this with a gut/multi hybrid at 54 lbs and you won't look back.
From: Mark, 2/16

Comments: I am a senior player and find the Blade 104 one of the best racquets I have played with in the last 40 years. It has both power and control and the balance is just about right for me. Also not too heavy (around 289 grams). It does not look like a slightly larger head sized racquet when you compare to a racquet that is 100 square inches. Also, it looks nice and if it's good enough for Serena Williams, it should be good enough for the rest of us.
From: Mike, 1/16

Comments: Played with it for three months now, first with it strung with Wilson Sensation (it was strung with that when I bought it), now with Wilson Revolve at mid tension. Lately, I put 10 grams of lead in the hoop which stabilizes spin and gives a bit more pop and plow, especially on serves. It replaced my Wilson 6.1. 95S. It is a real bliss -- it just gives me a bit bigger sweet zone for spin shots, where I shanked too many with the 95. It is a super sweet stick for touch shots as well. No trampoline feel at all, even with a multi. And it is very comfy. If you are a technically sound player and just want a racquet that gives you (back) a bit more confidence, you should try this one. I am very, very happy with this perfect for my game stick, unleaded or as it is now.
From: Andrew, 12/15

Comments: Recently, I experienced tennis elbow and some of my friends who are intensively playing tennis as older veterans (my friends are older than sixty years old in general) advised to try the Wilson Blade 104. Finally it seems comfortable and manaveurable enough after using the Babolat Pure Drive Roddick. My former racquet (Babolat Pure Drive) was really too heavy for me. I will advise my further experiences within a month.
From: Nebil, 9/15

Comments: I'm a 3.5 in my 40s and looking to transition more into doubles (my knees are getting too old for competitive singles!), so I wanted a faster racquet at the net. I demo'd this one and liked a lot of the qualities, like the grommet setup which allows the center strings to move more. It pockets the ball a bit and gives it a some pop or sling- shot effect. That is very similar to the madly popular Volkl V1 Classic, which I had for a while. But the V1 was 1 point head heavy and not compatible with my swing pattern (heavy topspin). The Blade 105 is 5 points head light and very agile. Good for quick moves at the net and helps with serving to get the racquet head around. With the demo, I wasn't getting the spin I normally would with the strings they had in it and lacked some control. Part of that spin loss may be the tight string pattern, too, 18x19. So I took a chance and purchased one with some Babolat RPM Blast 17 strung at 55 lbs. What a difference! Takes a little getting used to from my old racquet, Donnay Formula 100 (which I love for singles!). And oddly enough, I adjusted quicker to it with my one handed backhand. Still dialing in my forehand. So far looks very promising! Comfortable to hit with. Has less power than my Donnay, but the upside is I'm keeping more balls in the court! Has more touch. But you can dial it up and get plenty of power once you get used to it. Only difference I would make would get a larger grip size. I got the 4 1/2 and could use a 4 5/8. But I can remedy easily that with by replacing with a thicker grip.
From: Kenneth, 8/15

Comments: I now have several of these racquets and I have been trying different strings and tensions. I still find that the Wilson NXT 17g at 48 pounds works wonders for my game. If you haven't tried this slightly oversize racquet, try it for a great feel.
From: Mike, 7/15

Comments: I just bought this new version of the Blade 104, if anyone can remember the Kfactor series with Gold/Black markings, you will notice that the new version is identical in spec as the old Kfactor Blade Team. The only change is the embellishment of new paint. I still have the old Kfactor Blade Team and measured it, it's the same. I am glad they brought it back because I needed a replacement and was thinking of buying Kfactor Blade Team on Ebay for about the same dollar amount as the new Blade 104. I tried it as a demo not looking at it thinking it's the Black Flat Blade 104 from 2013, which is a totally different racquet on its own (so the people who liked 2013 version of Blade 104, great but it really wasn't the same as Kfactor Blade Team as Wilson tried to push it on to us as a replacement, it was a new racquet with totally new specs: with flat edges, uneven weight balance and felt stiff and less forgiving). But as I was saying, I didn't realize I was playing with a demo, because it felt just like mine. Then I looked at the demo closely and realized that it was just like my old Kfactor Blade Team. I was excited. Thank you Wilson for bringing it back. My friend who also has the old Kfactor Blade Team, bought the new one as well. We love it. I have waited a long time!
From: Leigh, 5/15

Comments: I demoed the new Blade 104 for the past week and I completely agree the with the reviewer below -- it essentially plays the same as the previous Blade 104s I own. Big sweet spot, lots of control, and great for serve and volley. The update is probably not different enough to be worth the purchase if you own the previous version. It would be better to buy the old version if possible, but I think players of all levels should give this racquet a try if you haven't already. It will be a pleasant surprise.
From: Brandon, 4/15

Comments: This "update" plays almost exactly like the previous 2013 version. This is a good thing, because the 2013 version had a lot going for it. The new version continues to be maneuverable, yet stable for its weight. It still has a ridiculously generous sweet spot, without producing too much power. Serves and volleys are particularly easy with this stick. I would agree that a little bit of weight at 3 and 9 o clock would help improve stability.
From: Sam, 4/15

Comments: This racquet is a must try for anyone with arm problems. I went from the Tour 95 and this is much easier on the arm. A friend switched to this from the POG and his elbow has healed. The 18x19 string pattern is actually very spin friendly, I may not have tried it given I don't like tight patterns. My volleys and blocked service returns are taking me longer to adjust from other racquets I have used given the power.
From: Michelle, 4/15

Comments: I had to add tape to 3:00, 9:00 and 12:00 positions to bring the weight up to 11.2 ounces. It really adds a lot of stability and more plow through on groundstrokes. I have two of these now strung with Wilson NXT 17g at 46.5 pounds. It really makes a huge impression on the people I am playing with/against. The 18x19 string pattern really keeps the ball from flying over the fences. It is a really good racquet with some customization.
From: Mike, 4/15

Comments: This is the best racquet for me on the market. I have tried almost everything over the last 2 years to find something that would be able to compete with the Dunlop Biomimetic 200 Tour for stability/power/control but would be lighter for a variety of reasons; well, this is it. It has as much stability as the Dunlop even though it is 45g lighter. The added length helps with stability and, after adjusted, helps with trajectory and spin on serves. The area of difference most noticeable to me is on volleys. The sweet spot is massive but very controlled with the 18x19 strings, therefore, you will be able to get more success at the net, especially with the more extreme angled shots. I can consistently place the volleys how and where I want whereas I sometimes struggled before with the Dunlop if I wasn't on a strong day. I can safely say I found an instant improvement and a way forward with my game. Don't worry about the slightly oversize head, it gives no drawbacks but loads of be nefits. I hit against the big hitters of my clubs and return 110+mph serves frequently. This copes with pace incredibly well and its maneuverability makes timing easier to achieve over many heavier frames. Very arm friendly with 57 lbs Wilson Revolve 16. I live in the UK but would say I am a 5.5 hitter and hit with two-handed backhand/semi-western grip.
From: Lawrence, 3/15

Comments: Including strings, a dampener, overgrip, and some protection tape, my Wilson Blade 104 weighs in at between 11.1 to 11.4 ounces. Most of the above accessories add mass to the head of the racquet, which I think makes it a bit less head light, and affects its balance, however I'm not an expert. There's good control with volleys up the net, and they feel pretty solid. Once you get used to the racquet you can do powerful serves with great precision. While transitioning into this racquet, it takes a bit of time to get used to all the new technologies (more specifically the grommet holes), before groundstrokes are at 100%, but I'm making some pretty good (passing) shots. I think people want to put weight at 3:00 and 9:00 to help with torsional stability, but that will make the racquet even heavier. Then again a lot pf pros prefer racquets that are 12+ ounces, so this racquet is a good compromise. Hope this review helps!
From: Basil, 3/15

Comments: I am a 65 year old 4.0 player. I was previously using the Wilson Six One Pro Staff 100.This is a great improvement with the slightly bigger head size. It is a very user friendly racquet, very stable. The entire racquet feels like the sweet spot. Great balance between power and control. There is no loss going with the larger head size and it is great on volleys. Good all around racquet, especially good for doubles with the larger head size. And the extended length helps on serves.
From: John, 3/15

Comments: It's a great racquet if you have arm pain. The only thing I don't like about it is the tight string pattern.
From: Michelle, 3/15

Comments: I got to go up against some big hitters last week and decided this racquet needed more weight. The strung weight is supposed to be 10.8 ounces but mine was 10.6. With a vibration dampener and over grip, it barely hit 10.8. I have it weighted now at 11.2 ounces after a lot of lead tape. The extra weight really helped out in so many ways. Guys at the 3.5 level or so would find this a good addition to their arsenal if you use an oversize racquet. My groundstrokes had a lot more pop and the serve was equally well served by the addition of the extra weight. I am not sure this racquet will replace my Head oversize racquets.
From: Mike, 3/15

Comments: Sorry Wilson, this is not an improvement at all. It has a larger sweetspot and softer feel but the feeling is gone, spin is gone, control is gone. It no longer feels like a players stick. I am back to the Blade 104 2013 version already. You should have only changed the paint job.
From: Teocem, 3/15

Comments: While I purchased this racquet locally, it is still worth posting a positive review here. I found this racquet to be quite good. It is strung with Wilson NXT 17g at 45 pounds. Even at that low tension, I found really good control on my groundstrokes. My serve definitely benefited from the extra half inch length. I was hitting good serves with placement and pop. I currently use the Prince Tour Pro 100 ESP which is about half an ounce heavier. I feel the Blade 104 is a very good alternative to a 107 or 110 head size racquet if you hit a two handed backhand.
From: Mike, 2/15

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