Head YOUTEK Radical OS Review
by Dan Martin | September 29th, 2009, 11:50 pm
  • 8 Comments

I was invited to test HEAD’s new YOUTEK series of rackets this past August. HEAD was kind enough to let me demo a model suited to my needs as a player. As a matter of disclosure, I used HEAD rackets during my years of playing USTA junior tournaments, team tennis and high school tennis. I was excited to see how I would play with a HEAD racket after ten years of using other brands (Dunlop, Prince and Völkl if you were curious).

The YOUTEK line has a series of informational grids a player can use to find a desired combination of power and control for a given frame in the YOUTEK series. I selected the YOUTEK Radical OS with a 4 5/8” grip as I figured my net approaches and doubles play would benefit from a 106” racket face even if my pride kept telling me to try a smaller racket face.

HEAD also offered a grid of information on strings I could select with the goal of finding an optimal match for my needs. I chose HEAD Natural Gut for my main/vertical strings and HEAD Sonic Pro strings for my cross strings. This combination was intended to maximize spin and durability for the user. I have never used a different stringing pattern so I was excited to see how this would impact my play.

Upon receiving the racket, I found someone to hit with that evening and I worked the racket over. I liked how the racket responded. It was easy for me to generate topspin. The racket itself is more head light than what I have traditionally used, but I found the lighter head a bit easier to accelerate through my forehand and topspin backhand. Solid slice approach shots were easy to hit as well. My first impression was that the YOUTEK Radical OS had a good mix of power and control.

I find that I typically like any racket the first time I use it because I concentrate on technique when using a new racket. With the goal of giving a thorough review, I have hit with the racket many more times with different hitting partners. My fondness for the frame increased with greater use. I play an all court game that is geared toward making my way to the net if an opportunity presents itself in a rally. The YOUTEK Radical OS matches this style of play quite well. The aspect I like best about the YOUTEK Radical OS is how well it transitions from rallying to net play. I have used a frame or two over the years that were great for volleying, but that did not lend themselves to hitting heavy or stinging ground strokes. I found the YOUTEK Radical OS to be firm on volleys and easy to maneuver at the net while also providing nice control and direction for ground strokes.

I think a player should demo a few frames from a few companies before making a purchase. Having said that, I liked the YOUTEK Radical OS enough that it is my primary racket and has replaced my previous frames. My final analysis is that the HEAD YOUTEK line deserves a serious look if you are in the market for a new racket.


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8 Comments for Head YOUTEK Radical OS Review

JoshDragon Says:

I really don’t like the over-sized head frames but I am interested in demoing a Youtek racquet.

What’s your NTRP?


Duro Says:

10 days ago I bought Babolat Pure Drive GT. I am more than thrilled! The best racquet I ever had. Felt like I was using it for years… I’m strongly, strongly recommending it to everyone.


Mike Says:

Do Heads still have that funky oblong grip?


Dan Martin Says:

Josh, my last rating was a 4.5 but that was years ago when I was playing doubles or singles everyday so fitness and skill wise I don’t think I am there. Mike, as for the grip I will compare it to my Vokl frames but it seemed pretty similar. It was not something I noticed, but it might have a variation that is slight.


Diego Says:

Sounds about right, I’ve been using Radicals since the first yellow/black one, I love ‘em.

Having said that, my last Radical was the liquidmetal OS, I recently tried the YouTek Speed MP, and I have to say that I LOVE IT, it does everything good.

BUT

and the biggest BUT for me, I no longer play tennis that much, probably 1-2 times a week, so the weight of the racquet is a problem for me, for the first 20 min of play the racquet plays amazing, but as my arm gets tired, the stick will not forgive you, so sad.

So I’m back to my old LiquidMetal OS, actually bought a couple more since they are dirt cheap.


JoshDragon Says:

Oh, I see. I’m in that 4.5-5.0 range right now. Like I said before I don’t really like the over-sized heads that much. I like the mid-plus size the most and the regular mid size is good too (although the smaller sweet spot can make it challenging.)

I hope you do some reviews on the Mid plus size racquets preferably on the Babolat Pure Drives or the Wilson K Factors. I haven’t hit with many of those yet but I hope to get the chance in the near future.

Also, I really like your blog. I come here just about every day to read articles.:D


Mike Says:

I love my Wilson K Blade Tour…at 93 sq. in. it’s surely the smallest head-size I’ve ever used, but for whatever reason (surely not improved hand-eye coordination in my old age!) I don’t find that I shank it too often. And when I get it in the sweet spot, I absolutely crush my groundies. It’s a bit heavy though, so if you don’t play regularly (which I unfortunately don’t anymore) it can get a bit tiring on a one-handed backhand.

Still, by far the best stick I’ve ever wielded!


Jeff Says:

If you take the 100 square inch “Midplus” Babolat Pure Drive racquets and put one up against a 107 square inch “Oversize” racquet like the Radical OSes, you won’t see much of a difference. People forget that the lineage of the Radical OS comes from the classic Prince Graphite OS. Head created the Radical line for Agassi who started out as a pro with the Prince Graphite OS and back then, pros like Michael Chang and Gabriella Sabatini used it as well. Perhaps in today’s hightech racquet designs where recreational players can be using racquets that are up to 120 square inches, is where oversize can really be looked down upon as to saying what kind of skill level you want to be. But in today’s power game, a 107 square inch size racquet with a relatively thin beam profile like the Radicals still takes a skilled player to make the most out of it.

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