New for 2018 is the highly anticipated YONEX VCore 98, the middle child in the new VCore series of YONEX frames launched on August 25 – the day before the start of the US Open championships. We received some early demos and did some testing prior to the open launch event so that we could provide feedback to YONEX and other attendees. YONEX has dropped the “SV” moniker similar to dropping “DR” from EZone and has completed the simplification of frames lines into “VCore Pro”, “VCore” and “EZone”, respectively. Similar to Babolat, retailers will end up suffixing frame models with the launch year – but it might be better than coming up with a new technology to nickname the frames. Onto the gear!
Aesthetically, these are gorgeous frames. The paint is a matte Ferrari red with subtle shades of burgundy, highlighted with metallic silver logos. In my opinion they are far more attractive than the VCore SV models. From a retail perspective the “95”, “98” and “100” labels are easier to read and identify at a quick glance than the SV models. FORM AND FUNCTION. New to the 2018 VCore are three distinct changes from the SV models: Aero Fins above the throat, newly engineered straight hole grommets and an Aero Trench to recess the grommets at the top of the frame. I have never personally put much stock in grommet or aero technology, but I can see how these items will add to the overall mission statement of the 2018 VCORE: Maxiumum Spin.
In true YONEX fashion, the first stick out of the stack measured in exactly at 305g without what I call “factory correction” – lead tape under the head guard, under the grip, or silicone in the handle after graphite production and handle moulding. YONEX manufacturing is truly remarkable in their consistency. Our test stick was strung with YONEX Poly Tour Strike 1.20 in Iron Grey at 53#. Specs as tested: (With YONEX Grap, YONEX dampener) Weight: 329g RA: 62 Swing weight: 324 Balance: 323mm
PLAYTEST: This frame is solid! Reminiscent of early 2000’s classics, it has feel & soul. The 3-4 points lower RA than the VCore SV 98 has a lot to do with this, and if you prefer stiff frames with less feedback you may not love this one. Although it’s flexible and has feel, it’s still crisp, more so than the EZone DR 98(+). As advertised, the spin potential is there. I swing an almost full western long and fast stroke and I don’t have problem hitting spin with most any frame – this is no exception. Serving with this frame for me was as good as any frame that I have ever used. I dumped a few balls into the net and then realized that this frame is flexible and generates spin and you can go all out – swing for the fences. I hit my spots with spin and pace on both sides and could snap flat serves with plenty of margin. Frame fitment will vary for every player and even every stroke, but right out of the box the VCore 98 is a frame that I could play with unmodified. I will add a leather grip and some weight to test this frame at 345g and 335sw which is where I setup my VCore SV 98 for an even comparison.
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