DUNLOP Biomimetic F 3.0 Tour Tennis Racquet Review
Dunlop 300 series frames have been a big hit with players of all levels since the original 300G came out a decade ago. Dunlop has made incremental material changes over the years, but this year the new Biomimetic 3.0 series has been segmented quite nicely to appeal more directly to varying levels of play. In this review, we take up the “advanced” model, the Biomimetic F 3.0 Tour (the “F” designation implies use by players with faster swing speeds).
New Biomimetic Features
Dunlop calls Biomimetic “Engineering inspired by nature”, and have taken cues from the world around them to enhance the performance qualities of their frames. On the F 3.0 Tour, for example, Dunlop uses BioFibre, which places plant stem fibers in the throat and handle of the racquet. Strong but flexible, it allows for an 18% increase in stability and shock absorption for improved comfort and control. Aeroskin Cx, an aerodynamic aid inspired by sharkskin, has been strategically placed on the frame to improve swing speed by up to 11% over last year’s models (according to Dunlop that means up to 36% better than traditional frames). Higher swing speeds will aid in power, spin generation and maneuverability at net. Aeroskin Cx has been specifically designed for each racquet in the line, as Dunlop’s wind tunnel testing has shown that different swing speeds produce turbulence in varying areas of the frame, and Aeroskin Cx is placed accordingly.
MoS2 grommets are made of molybdenite, a mineral with an incredibly low coefficient of friction (according to Dunlop, it’s like rubbing wet ice against itself). MoS2 is similar to snake skin (self-lubricating), allowing for smoother string movement within the grommet barrel. If the strings can “slide” inside the grommet, the reduced friction has a twofold benefit: greater power (Dunlop estimates a 27% improvement), and less stress on the grommets themselves (Dunlop states a 40% increase in durability of the grommets). CX grommets, unique to the 3.0 series, are nearly flush-mounted with the frame’s beam, allowing for an 8% improvement in aerodynamics in this area of the frame alone. Improved airflow will allow for greater racquet speed.
The beams and head shape of the 3.0 series have been redesigned. True Oval is Dunlop’s name for a more rounded head shape providing a larger and wider sweet spot and greater spin-generating ability. The increase in head width from the center upwards gives the player more room to “brush” the ball on the forward swing, increasing the ability to create spin. Longer strings in this area will also increase the frame’s “trampoline effect” for improved ball pocketing and power.
The original 300 series’ beams had a traditional “box” shape which, while providing solid feel and stability, were an aerodynamic drag (no pun intended). The new 3.0 beams feature an aerodynamic “wing” shape for a smaller frontal area (portion of the frame directly going at the air). With a smaller cross-section being buffeted by the wind, racquet speed is increased for greater power and maneuverability.
The 27-inch F 3.0 Tour tips the scales at a pretty solid 322g (11.4 oz.) strung, and the balance point is 6 points head light at 324mm (12.75”). Flex is a moderate 62. Beams are a constant 22mm, implying good feel and control, and the swingweight (strung) is a solid 322. A dense 18x20 string pattern – new for this line --should provide great control for the traditional 3 series 98 square inch head size.
From the Baseline
The first thing you notice about the F 3.0 Tour is how easy it is to swing quickly. Combined with the True Oval head shape, you can generate big-time topspin off both sides, and the tight string pattern helps you control the ball and bring it down. There was precious little string movement thanks to the string bed density, which should help topspin players lower their string bills. The wider head contributes to an improved twistweight for the F 3.0 Tour and greater control on off-center hits from the baseline. There’s just enough weight in the head of the racquet to resist torque on mishits up high, making hitting out with the 3.0 Tour an enjoyable experience.
Feel is muted but very comfortable, and control is impeccable, although you will have to generate your own power: a narrow-beamed, lower-flexing frame is not a recipe for ball speed, so be prepared to move the racquet briskly by yourself. It would be a snap to customize the 3.0 Tour to add power, placing weight under the grip and/or at the head.
At Net and Serving
The F 3.0 Tour moves as quickly at net as it does from the baseline, so you’ll have no problem getting it in position for quick volley exchanges. The dense string bed provides excellent control, although feel is a little muted on touch shots in tight. Getting the racquet up on serves and overheads is a snap although, once again, you’ll need to provide your own punch. The soft frame and tight string pattern will give you excellent control even on the biggest serves.
The handle of the F 3.0 Tour is beautifully designed, and the fingers sit perfectly on the bevels no matter what grip you use. You’ll always know you have a good grip on it. The butt cap is a traditional “European” style, meaning is doesn’t flare out as much at the bottom as American-designed ones, making the handle more of a straight shot all the way down. The CX “flush-mount” bumper and grommets improve aerodynamics, but do not protect the strings from court abrasion as well as the 2.0 series. The strings sit in nicely designed “channels”, but there is not a lot between them and the court. If you are an aggressive net player, you’ll want to keep a supply of grommets on hand.
If you play with a lot of topspin and racquet speed, Dunlop has designed a great frame for you in the Biomimetic F 3.0 Tour. A light head combines with a soft flex and tight string pattern to provide opportunities for fast, controlled swings with massive spin. Maneuverability at net is also top-notch. Big-swinging baseline players of all levels will love its control and soft feel.