Testing Babolat RPM Blast, co polyester octagonal string. Gauge tested was calibre 1.19mm strung at 50lbs , played for around 12 hours.
Many of us will know the Babolat brand from Rafael Nadal’s racket . But the French company have a long and successful heritage in tennis. Orginally Babolat produced tennis string and then subsequently progressed into producing tennis rackets. Players like Dominic Thiem , Kim Clijsters and Andy Roddick all use Babolat and many more use Babolat strings.
When I think of RPM Blast, I am immediately drawn to Rafael Nadal’s famous topspin banana forehand. RPM first made its debut in Rafael Nadal’s racket at the 2010 Australian Open. This was one of the original co-polyester octagonal string designed to give players easy topspin. The product itself has been on sale for several years but this is the first official playtest we have carried out with the Blue Riband co-polyester string.
String Review – Spin
How much does this string make the ball spin? Does it help? I suppose this is what the string is advertised to do. I found on my groundstrokes the RPM definitely accentuated the spin I imparted on the ball. The string helps bite into the ball. This is noticeable relative to say a traditional nylon string. Players who hit groundstrokes with spin will certainly feel the benefit of the additional string the RPM provides. However NB players who hit flat balls; this string is not going to change you into a topspin king or queen. It will only accentuate spin shots.
I would not describe Babolat RPM blast as a powerful string but I really enjoyed the thwack noise it made as the balls catapaulted off the string. I suppose it is similar to many other polyester strings in that I have played with in that there isnt a great deal of power but it is more than adequate. If you do feel as if you require more power knock your tension down a few pounds.
The polyester RPM blast is a string which will give plenty of durability. After 12 hours of play the string showed absolutely no signs of wear and tear. There was a little tension loss but the string still retained its spin creation characteristics over the play test. In fact players will probably have to cut out the strings before they break given the reputation of Babolat RPM blast.
Although RPM blast gave great control over the ball with its easy spin generation it did not necessarily help with touch on volleys and close quarter combat at the net. RPM blast performed adequately in this regard but feel on this string wouldnt be one of the greatest strengths. It is fine but those looking for a softer string base may wish to consider something else.
Overall –Does the string live up to the Hype.
If it is spin you are after then RPM Blast will not disappoint. If it is good enough for Nadal then it will be more that good enough for you. You can purchase Babolat RPM Blast here.
Post Script – RPM Blast and Xcel Hybrid Combination.
Players who are susceptible to arm trouble may wish to consider a hybrid set up of RPM Blast and Xcel . This set up gives the ideal hybrid set up of spin and touch. On the one hand the RPM blast bites into the ball and the gives topspin but the softer crosses really does make a difference in terms of comfort. It is less stiff and more forgiving on the arm and on volleys. It r provides lovely feel. This is a great combination string and even after 12 hours of play in varying conditions the string bed still held its tension and had both the bite of the topspin and the comfort of the synthetic excel.
We will be reviewing the other top Babolat strings in the upcoming weeks. If they perform as well as this hybrid combination then we are in for a treat.