ASICS has built a steady following in the shoe market with its bright color schemes and impressive list of features. As 2014 winds down, the brand is looking to make some noise in the player’s racquet department with the introduction of the all new BZ100 frame. Utilizing Bending Zone Technology in the throat design, the racquet seeks to marry the high power of a modern frame with improved feel and response. Here’s a closer look at how it performs on the court.
The BZ 100 possesses tremendous power off the ground. Its 73 RA stiffness and 26/24/26mm beams provide tremendous energy transfer, allowing you to hit with authority from either wing. I found the sweet spot average in size for a 100” head and the frame had a bit more vibration and brassiness when contact was made outside the sweet spot. The Bending Zone throat design does impart better feel on contact and also provides a more dampened feel than usual for frames at this level of stiffness.
The 16×19 string pattern provides easy access to spin while still being able to flatten out mid court balls easily. At 11.2oz (strung) the racquet has enough weight to put the ball deep in the court on offense as well as absorb pace from bigger hitters while on defense. The head light balance makes it easy to accelerate through contact, allowing advanced players to further ramp up the spin and power with higher swing speeds.
Volleys & serves
At net, the BZ100 is a bit of a mixed bag. It maneuvers quickly and knocks off finishing volleys with ease. High volleys get driven back into the court at will off either side. Although the Bending Zone throat does provide improved feedback, I still found it lacking when it came to touch volleys. The racquet just felt a bit too rigid to execute touch and drop volleys with reliability.
Serving with the BZ100 provides a variety of options. The thicker beam and increased stiffness provide ample power to flatten serves out and hammer them at your opponent. The easy acceleration and open string pattern also allow for easy access to spin. I was able to use a wide variety of kick and slice serves to keep opponents off balance. One area that was slightly weaker was directional accuracy. It was a little more difficult to pick specific locations with high accuracy, but overall, it was in line with other power-focused modern frames
The unique Bending Zone technology used in throat provides a noticeable change in feel from what I was expecting. The throat flattens and flares in the middle, allowing the frame to flex better and dissipate impact more effectively. It plays more comfortably and with better response than racquets with a 70+ stiffness typically do.
The BZ100 continues ASICS long standing tradition of instantly recognizable products with its bright color scheme and unique Bending Zone throat design. It offers tremendous power and spin while also offering improved feel and response over many modern frame designs. It is a bit rough around the edges when outside the sweet spot, but offers quick response and finishing capability from anywhere on court. Players who want power and speed in a package that stands out from the crowd will want to take the court with the ASICS BZ100.
About the Reviewer: Matt Locke currently serves as the Junior Programs & Development Coordinator for USTA-Idaho and is an active USTA League and Tournament player.