Gearbox 2012-13 Solid 1.0 170 Racquets






  • Powerful


  • Lack of Control Due to Balance
Read about the Gearbox 2012 Solid 1.0 165 Racquet

Since its inception, Gearbox has been all about simplicity but, most importantly, functionality and the highest quality. With sharp new decals, the 2012-13 Gearbox Solid 1.0 racquets are no exception. By eliminating the weight from paint, they were able to include more graphite to further strengthen the racquet. With similar specs to their predecessors, the Gearbox Solid 1.0 170g racquets are the most universal racquets in the second series of the Solid 1.0 line. Gearbox has also added two new technologies in conjunction with their Solid Head and Proportional Frame designs. New for 2012 are the Displacement Channels, for improved structural integrity and maximum power, and the new String Dimples, designed to reduce harsh string angles and improve frame durability. The clean cosmetics give these improved frames an elegant, fresh, and contemporary look.

Quadraform Power: 90/100

Teardrop Power: 92/100

At 170 grams with a head-heavy balance, the 2012-13 Solid 1.0 line clearly was going to be strong in the power category. The addition of the Displacement Channels to maximize power was definitely evident to the team, and the testers spoke highly of the new technology. Croft started with, “I’ve played on tour with multiple Gearbox racquets in the past, so I had a good feeling about the new sticks from Gearbox. Just like in the 165 playtest, I felt I got more power from the Teardrop. It might be in my head, but I just feel it has a more centralized sweet spot, making it more powerful when I connected perfectly with the ball. The head-heavy balance did take away some of my power during rallies because I couldn’t turn on the ball and generate power.” Different from the 165-gram playtest, Ben L. had trouble choosing. He said, “Power generation has always been easy for me with Gearbox racquets, and the Solid 1.0 170’s were no exception. In my preferred 170 weight and with more head weight than the GB 250’s, I found ample power everywhere on the court and in all shots including reaction shots. I rated the quad higher overall because of its access to power throughout the entire stringbed, but in a straight shoot-out, I gave the edge to the Teardrop.”

Quadraform Control: 88/100

Teardrop Control: 89/100

Due to the weight and the head-heaviness of the 170’s, control was one category that didn’t live up to the team’s high expectations of the Solid 1.0. Ben L. spoke about the control saying, “At first I was disappointed in the increased head weight of the Solid 1.0 as I thought the GB 250 was perfectly balanced, but quickly changed my mind when I got them on the court. The Teardrop shined for me in this category and dialed in my accuracy, while the Quadraform was a bit more unwieldy. When hitting with both racquets neither finesse nor touch came to mind, but when I wanted to hit with power, I was consistently impressed with how well I could control it.” Croft’s input was a bit different. He added, “I was on the same page with Ben L. I was a huge fan of the weight and balance of the GB 250. I felt the head-heavy balance caused my swing to be late when I was forced to play defense, and that took away from my accuracy. On setups I felt both performed very well even on mishits due to the heavier balance and stability, but thought the Teardrop barely edged out the Quad during the rallies. Since the Teardrop features a narrower frame it enhanced my control, which is why I was a fan of the Tear more than the Quad in this category.”

Quadraform Feel: 90/100

Teardrop Feel: 89/100

A smooth combination of focused stiffness and flexibility, the second generation of Solid 1.0’s performed impressively in this category. Usually fans of stiffer racquets, the team appreciated the mixture that came with this line. Ben L. started by saying, “While feel is by nature subjective, these played into my preferences superbly. The Solid name is an understatement both in durability and playability as the stiffness was immediately evident, which I really liked. I preferred the Quadraform for its larger hitting zone and generous sweet spot while the teardrop seemed to sacrifice some feel in favor of the higher sweet spot.” Croft shared the same sentiments adding, “I thought the 170 was a great mixture of stiffness and flexibility. This was the one category where I felt the Quadraform outperformed the Tear because of the shape of the frame. The 18 gauge strings in these racquets not only aided in power, but also maximized the feel of the racquet for me. Head to head, the Quad barely passed the Tear in this category.”

Quadraform Overall: 89/100

Teardrop Overal: 90/100

As expected, the RbW playtesters enjoyed all aspects of the 2012-13 Gearbox Solid 1.0 170 racquets. Although they felt power was the main benefit to this line, control and feel were not left out of the design. Ben L. wrapped up his playtest happily saying, “Since the inception of Gearbox I’ve enjoyed hitting their racquets and that streak continues. I do wish the Solid 1.0 line had a less head-heavy option, but these 170’s definitely exceeded my expectations.” Croft agreed, ending with, “Although the GB 250 is a tough racquet to compete with in my book, the second series of the Solid 1.0 170’s were a hit. Powerful, controllable, with a nice feel to them and a clean cosmetic, they hit just as well, if not better than the previous Solid 1.0’s.”