Head’s popular Radical series gets a new update that brings their Graphene technology to the lineup. Normally, when a manufacturer updates a popular frame line, it often doesn’t do much more than give it a fresh coat of paint. However, sometimes more than just cosmetic changes are in order, and that’s what Head does with this new racquet.
Introduced last year on the Speed and Instinct lines, this new frame technology is now incorporated into the Radical series. Graphene, the world’s strongest and lightest material, has allowed Head to redistribute the frame’s weight for optimal handling and increased power. The new Head Radicals certainly have an updated look—matte gunmetal grey in the throat, up to a glossy orange face—but that’s clearly not the only thing that got a makeover. The racquets come from an entirely new mold and are noticeably firmer than previous generations. Thanks to the introduction of Graphene to the throat, weight can be distributed more to the tip and the handle. So the balance and maneuverability remain user-friendly, but the power level goes up.
Head has created a unique combination of qualities with the Head YouTek Graphene Radical Rev. The use of Graphene has allowed Head to create a stable, solid feeling racquet that at 9.2oz (unstrung) is the lightest frame in the Radical line. However, the Rev has a higher swing weight than a typical lightweight racquet, resulting in a frame capable of generating a solid amount of power and feel. This racquet also has a slightly head heavy balance, aiding in its powerful feeling off the ground. The 98 square inch head size has enough space to offer extra forgiveness without making any sacrifices on precision. The frame’s low overall weight helps to keep it maneuverable from all areas of the court, even with its head heavy balance.
Also new is the string pattern: All the Radicals have a Dynamic 16×19 configuration. Usually a racquet with 16 mains will have six strings through the throat, but these have eight. So it’s tighter in the sweetspot for control, but more open outside of it for spin and forgiveness. This is certainly a departure from the previous Radicals (YouTek IG), which had a denser 18×20 pattern.
Change also came in the elimination of an oversize model. The Radical had been one of the few lines that carried a nearly 110 sq. in., 11+ oz. frame. The biggest YouTek Graphene Radical is now the S, which has a 102 sq. in. head size and weighs 9.9 oz (unstrung). It joins the Pro (the heaviest) and the REV (the lightest), and the Midplus in four frame line. The Midplus is considered the most versatile in the series, but with the REV, players seeking a light yet powerful racquet and players who want a platform racquet that they can modify to their desired specs would be well served with the new Graphene Radical Rev.
The compact head size delivers a very accurate response on full swings, a fact that should let big hitters attack the ball with more confidence. The Rev has a higher swing weight than a typical lightweight racquet, resulting in a frame capable of generating a solid amount of power and feel. This racquet also has a slightly head heavy balance, aiding in its powerful feeling off the ground.
The mobility is also an asset on serves where fast swings translates nicely into spin-loaded slices, big kickers and easy targeting. The increased power and spin compared to earlier Radicals was very noticeable on my serve as well. Still, to get big pace on a flat serve with this frame requires excellent technique. Slice or kick serves had a lot of action, out wide or down the T. I really liked the comfort too; I felt like I could serve all day.
At net the lighter weight makes it easier to position this racquet under pressure. Cleanly struck balls find their mark without much fuss. I appreciated the maneuverability of the Graphene Radical REV at the net. The head-light balance and modest swingweight gave the frame a fast feel when punching volleys. My ability to control those volleys, however, was good but not great. I had to work to get depth or touch.
The 98 square inch head size of the REV has enough space to offer extra forgiveness without making any sacrifices on precision. The frame’s low overall weight helps to keep it maneuverable from all areas of the court, even with its head-heavy balance. It’s definitely a bit stiffer than the Radical ‘s prior to the Youtek IG version, but is still a very comfortable frame, like its predecessors. It was easy to load up and hit aggressively with this frame. I found myself taking balls on the rise every chance I got, and even hit more swinging volleys than usual.
Ultimately, the Radical REV, with Graphene technology, signals a big change for Head’s most iconic player’s racquet. By trading mass and plow through for spin and mobility, this one is perfectly suited for those who want a lighter, more modern feeling.
Check out Tennis Express’s video review…