HEAD Graphene Instinct MP Tennis Racquet Review
The Instinct MP tips the scales at a tweener-normal 11.2oz. (317g), and balances out at 12 7/8” (327mm) from the handle, or 5 points head light. Flex is a firm 69, and the swingweight is similar to other racquets in this class at 306. Beams are a mid-wide 23mm at the tip, 25mm at the center of the head, 23mm at the shoulders, and 21mm at the handle. A well-designed 16x19 string pattern should provide consistent feel and good spin potential. In short, it’s a classic tweener.
From the Baseline
The first thing I felt while hitting groundstrokes with the Graphene Instinct MP is how light it “swings." Lightning-fast through the air, I was able to effortlessly apply massive topspin (for me) to all my groundies, and never felt late hitting any shot. Power production was lower than I anticipated, but could be easily aided with a small addition of weight. You can hit the ball deep with a lot of spin and a high margin of error over the net with the light frame and nice, open string bed.
At Net and Serving
The Instinct’s lightness through the air also aids in quick net exchanges, allowing it to be brought into position quickly during even the fastest doubles rallies. The extra handle weighting makes it stable enough to resist “kicking back” in the hands on hard-hit passing shots. Swinging volleys – a modern game must – are excellent with the Instinct, its low weight and fast frame making the shot a snap.
A head light frame is normally a server’s friend, and the Graphene Instinct is just that, swinging quickly and easily overhead, its open string bed allowing big, breaking slice and kick serves. Hard, flat serves would do better with a little more weight but, again, that’s an easy fix. Overheads are much the same, as the fast-swinging Instinct frame makes quick work of just about all lobs, even those that get just a little bit behind you.
The Graphene Instinct MP uses Head’s Hydrosorb Pro grip, and it has a nice feel: not too soft, but not too firm, and edge definition on the handle is excellent. The Instinct MP uses Head’s normal handle design with foam pallets attached to the racquet shaft, and the soft nature of the pallets aid in shock absorption and feel (for all you “Headophiles” out there, the handle code is TK82).
The bumper guard is solid and has a nice depth to the string groove, which should provide good string protection from aggressive net play. The paint job is quite subtle and attractive, using a god combination of blue, white and silver. The butt cap is classic Head, meaning it flares out quite nicely, and the bottom of it is wide enough that you can hold it low on big serves without worry of it flying out of your hand.
In stock form, the Head Graphene Instinct MP is a lightning-fast spin machine for baseline players of all levels, and a fast net racquet for intermediate to advanced doubles players. Easy to swing and comfortable, it should aid the game of just about anyone who picks it up. If you have a big game and need a heavier stick, the Instinct is a snap to customize.