Decathlon, the French brand recognized worldwide for the reliability, performance and accessibility of its products, is once again causing a sensation by unveiling its latest collection of palas thanks to Kuikma, its satellite specializing in padel for almost five years.

This new series is aimed at all levels of players, with particular attention to those who are in the progression phase, and who are looking for an extremely comfortable and efficient product. Fruit of the hard work of the Research and Development department based in Madrid and available in three classic shapes – round, hybrid and diamond – they offer an ideal gaming experience thanks to a unique combination of innovative technologies.

After the Kuikma Carbon, make way for Kuikma Metal!

Metal: a design that captivates the eyes

Metal racquets not only perform well, they also look strikingly beautiful. Each shape has a unique color code that reflects its personality and character. The designers deserve a round of applause for their remarkable work in this area! Their creations, once again, captivate us with their striking beauty, and they undeniably testify that simplicity can perfectly coexist with excellence.

The round shape, a symbol of control and precision, is adorned with a sumptuous gradient. It begins with an intense emerald black, recalling the depth and richness of the eponymous precious stone. Subtle green highlights creep in, adding a touch of sophistication and elegance. The fade then continues to a sublime lichen green, evoking the freshness of lush forests and the serenity of nature; this shade brings a final touch of harmony and refinement to the whole. A true visual signature, the bright gold logo stands out with its solar shine. The metallic color catches the eye and irresistibly evokes victory and wealth, like an emblem that expresses the ambition and success of a brand that never ceases to shine.

The diamond shape is dressed in a simple and effective color code: the classic and timeless red and black duo – a symbiosis of colors for a powerful and elegant racket. Black, a symbol of depth and mystery, blends subtly with a dark purplish red tending towards garnet. This nuance evokes both passion and vitality, but also danger and provocation, perfectly reflecting the pugnacious spirit of this racket. The proven combination of red and black for this racket, considered the most powerful in the Metal series, once again confirms the timeless success of this chromatic duo. The logo, meanwhile, features a pastel coral, a mix of sparkling and vibrant orange-pink. This shade is characterized by its warmth and liveliness, and brings a touch of softness to the whole.

The hybrid form presents itself in a black glittery green dress, enhanced with a magnificent verdigris on its sides. This patina, inseparable from the passing of time, tells the story of the object and invites contemplation. The logo is decorated in a sober and timeless matte black, adding a dimension of depth to its aesthetic. This color embodies classic elegance, transcending eras without losing its appeal.

It is worth noting the subtleties present on the faces, aligned with the name of the brand, accompanied by a small logo representing the shape of the racket. A small circle, a drop of water or a triangle are present to signify that it is a round, teardrop or diamond format. This key provides additional information, particularly useful for the less initiated among us.

I was pleasantly surprised by the comfort and softness of the grip when holding it. It is simply exceptional, so much so that I didn't feel the need to add an overgrip on top, as the calibration is perfect for my hand. The quality of the original grip from Kuikma is remarkable, and you will be able to play many games before having to change it. In addition, the handle, perfectly sized in length, is completed by a padded and embroidered Kuikma wrist strap, a detail that I particularly appreciate.

Metal: heading towards innovation

Kuikma's new Metal range stands out for its striking strike quality, ideal for players looking for flexibility, offering a unique gaming experience thanks to the Metal Biaxial Core, which combines a braided metal mesh with 3 layers of fiberglass for maximum comfort and a masterful sweet spot.

Metal Biaxial Core: innovative technology for an experience of padel extraordinary

Metal Biaxial Core is the revolutionary technology behind the exceptional ball feel and improved performance of this new range of racquets. Here's what makes it so unique:

  • Innovative combination : it is a braided metal mesh associated with fiberglass. This fusion of materials makes it possible to obtain properties that one could not offer alone.
  • Ultra-soft ball touch : the metal mesh offers exceptional flexibility and cushioning, providing an unparalleled feeling of comfort with every strike.
  • Lightness and maneuverability : fiberglass helps reduce the weight of the racket, facilitating quick maneuvers and changes of direction.
  • Exceptional ball release : the structure of the Metal Biaxial Core allows optimized energy transfer between the ball and the racket, ensuring powerful strikes while deploying a minimum of effort.

Second advantage: Eva Soft rubber

In addition to Metal Biaxial Core technology, this new range of racquets incorporates a soft core into its heart. This foam helps potentiate the energy of the ball and returns it with minimal effort, promoting optimal performance at moderate speed and greater tolerance to off-center hits. Here is how this rubber contributes to the performance of the Metal range:

  • Maximum cushioning : it absorbs vibrations and shocks, providing an incomparable feeling of comfort with each strike.
  • Optimal comfort : its low density offers a soft bounce, allowing players to return the ball correctly even if it is off-center.
  • Explosive ball release : the combination of Eva Soft rubber and Metal Biaxial Core maximizes energy transfer for shots with divine ball release.

But that's not all ! This series benefits from almost all the integrated technologies of its big sisters, namely:

  1. Air Foam Frame : incorporating EVA foam to reinforce the frame, this technology aims to improve power transfer while maintaining the lightness of the racket.
  2. High Modulus Carbon : offering increased power, improved durability and essential lightness for optimal handling.
  3. Scalable Hole Size : aimed at balancing control and power by offering an enlarged sweetspot and optimized weight distribution.
  4. Twin Carbon Tube : reinforcing the rigidity of the racket, increasing power while maintaining good vibration absorption for better comfort and tolerance.
  5. Rough surface : promoting effective grip on the ball for more spin, better control and a more aggressive game.
  6. Shock Block System : reducing up to 30% of vibrations upon impact, this exclusive system provides clear comfort and prevents injuries, certified by Testea Padel.

Kuikma offers players looking for balance customization a box containing five weights of 3 grams each, which integrate harmoniously with the frame and neck inserts, and this option is already available on the site .

On track

Unsurprisingly, first impressions were excellent. Typing quality is enhanced by unwavering comfort, and the sweet spot seems limitless. The flexible frame, like a trampoline, provides great ease for moderate strikes, but be careful not to force too much! Although mid-intensity smashes are smooth, performance degrades significantly when it comes to power hits. Beyond a certain intensity threshold, the glass fiber mesh tends to deteriorate (breaking point), leading to an obvious loss of power.

When it comes to volleys, precise timing of shots is essential, as the combination of soft rubber and the new Metal Biaxial Core process can compromise accuracy if shots are not well timed. In defensive situations, the Metal series stands out masterfully for its ability to bounce the ball flawlessly, ensuring that even the most difficult balls under pressure can be cleared with minimal effort.

Without common distinction, these three references are focused on playing pleasure thanks to optimal comfort and fantastic ball release. The Power Metal is distinguished by a different drilling plan which gives it more power. Its convincing head balance also contributes to having more heaviness during decisive strikes. I did not find any notable differences in terms of power and handling between the round version and the hybrid version, and your choice may ultimately be based solely on the aesthetic aspect. These two palas will be recommended to those looking for that little extra maneuverability, thanks to a lower balance compared to the Power version.

Conclusion

Kuikma capitalizes on the success of its Carbon series by launching new innovative and affordable Metal rackets, significantly enriching its 2024 pala catalog and making performance accessible to all players. A softer rubber and the use of innovative fibers on the faces in place of the 12 K Carbon fibers provide the racket with exceptional tolerance and hitting comfort, while retaining appreciable power thanks to its non-negligible weight. Bridging the gap between the stiffer LS, MS and Carbon models, the Metal series is aimed at players looking for a pala that is easy to play, reliable and easy on the joints.

Kuikma 2024 comparison

Perfect for beginners, it offers an exceptional ball release which will facilitate your smooth progress. Progress at your own pace with this series designed to support you in your ascent, and overcome the levels at full speed. When you feel ready, upgrade to stiffer models for more precision and power. Kuikma is also shaking up the price scales: palas displayed at the incredible price of €110, offering unbeatable value for money for models equipped with cutting-edge technologies. Beautiful, pleasant to play and solid, these references are a must have for budget-conscious gamers looking for a premium gaming experience.

I would like to highlight the exceptional responsiveness of Baptiste Savary, Sales Director France at Kuikma, which enabled this new series to be made available quickly. The quality of our regular exchanges also allows me to benefit from his valuable clarifications on all the questions I ask him.

Stéphane Penso

Fan of padel, Stéphane has become the official tester of the planet padel in Europe. Everything goes through his expert hands. Thanks to his extensive experience in the snowshoeing world, he is able to scan your gear from head to toe!