Head inaugurates the new testing season at Padel Magazine by revealing a new reference, both in terms of its designation and its characteristics. This introduction marks the closing of an already very diverse classification that we have recently explored, including the Gravity, Speed and recently Extreme ranges.
While we thought that the segmentation was complete, the Austrian brand surprised us by revealing a final name (after Extreme One) with particularly captivating assets. By remaining faithful to its reputation for innovation, it offers us the Radical Pro, which stands out with unique combinations that we will detail below.
As is customary, Head presents all the references in Pro (heaviest), Motion (lighter) and Elite (more accessible) versions. To begin our analysis, let's focus on its name.
The term “radical” is associated with fundamental metamorphoses, embodying a concept questioning the foundations to reach a deeper essence in its explorations. It seeks to act on the root cause of what we wish to modify, with a view to optimizing its effectiveness. In our particular situation, the use of the name “radical” is not trivial, because it aims to highlight the new features of this racket.
A new foam called Control Foam
To begin, let's discuss the composition of the foam in this racket. Goodbye to the Power Foam that is generally found on most models in the catalog, and welcome to the brand new Control Foam of lower density. The latter offers superior comfort thanks to its extended elasticity, facilitating effortless release of the ball while ensuring excellent vibration absorption, thus preserving your arm and joints.
Much more welcoming than Power Foam, this new rubber aims to reduce the stiffness of the core, thus promising a noticeable improvement with each stroke.
It is crucial to emphasize that the use of the term “Foam” by Head can be confusing. Indeed, if the word Foam means foam in English, the name FOAM designates very low density polyethylene foams, with an even more flexible texture than that of EVA Soft.
Head therefore adopts a particular classification to define the density of its foams according to their characteristics:
- Power Foam for power
- Control Foam for control
- Comfort Foam for comfort
- Soft Foam for flexibility (foam used on entry-level palas)
Now that the ambiguity has been cleared up, let's continue our test without further ado.
The 3K fiber favored for faces
Regarding the faces, the 3K carbon fiber was favored over the 12K found on the Speed Pro X for example, thus aiming to soften strikes to increase control and comfort.
Next, the deck design was redesigned by incorporating a sidebar to minimize frame deformation during powerful strikes.
Finally, the brand new drop-shaped mold, with a revisited drilling plan and a diameter of holes adjusted downwards, widens the ideal striking zone and offers more marked effects.
As a high-end racket, it incorporates all of the brand's latest technological advances (*see table), thus ensuring the sustainability of proven technologies while introducing new innovations.
In terms of design, much of the frame features a deep black hue, with a gradual transition outward, marked by a gradual decrease in color and apparent carbon. The logo stands out with a bright red, and this entire surface has a smooth, matte coating.
As for the bridge, it is dressed in a metallic midnight blue, with a thin border at the base of the frame. This lacquered finish brings a touch of chic and radiance. I noticed that the length of the handle has been increased slightly, which is a nice improvement, and the sliding wrist strap remains a standard feature that is constantly maintained.
During playing sessions, the racket is felt in the hand, but offers very pleasant hitting comfort and unfailing stability. The synergy between the latest generation foam and 3K carbon allows precise control of the ball while preserving remarkable power.
Although the technical specifications emphasize control and comfort, it is crucial to remember that this racket belongs to the Pro category, thus implying a high performance requirement. This is where the surprise was the biggest: this racket is surprisingly effective in the offensive phases, and I noticed no lack of power, even when I had to put a lot of intensity into my shots. On the contrary, its balance and the teardrop shape combined with a weight of 372 grams and an extended hitting zone, considerably simplify the achievement of smashes and powerful shots.
The sweet spot is simply divine, and vibrations are significantly reduced during vigorous strikes or during significant off-center strikes.
In defensive situations it also behaves satisfactorily, although you need to add a little extra push to get the ball flying when you find yourself backed against the back wall.
Head gave us a racket with some notable features at the start of the year, and it seems that this release aims to test new combinations with a view to popularizing them (or not) in the future.
Despite the expectation of a softer and more welcoming model, the new Control Foam core technology surprised me by presenting, certainly, a lower density than that of Power Foam, but nevertheless offering remarkable firepower. The performance and attack efficiency of this racket were impressive, contradicting technological indicators that suggested a more forgiving model.
Thus, it is a model with a relatively soft core, combined with 3K carbon, presenting substantial weight and balance, and quickly revealing limitations in terms of maneuverability for those new to the sport. I would recommend this racquet to right or left players with some technical comfort, because even though the sweet spot is considerably widened, the maneuverability could be a challenge for beginners. This pala is ideal for experienced players looking for stability and versatility, while offering that little extra control compared to the Speed range.
For those looking for a more pleasant gaming experience, the Gravity could be more suitable (as well as the Radical Motion or Elite), while those looking for more power could turn to a Speed Pro X or an Extreme Motion or Pro .
I warmly thank Evan and Pierre-Etienne Morillon for sending the racket and for their valuable assistance with regard to my various questions.
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!