DUNLOP Biomimetic M 3.0 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 M 3.0 (the “M” designation implies use by players with medium 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 M 3.0, 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 M 3.0 tips the scales at a solid-but-not-heavy – for this segment -- 319g (11.25 oz) strung weight, and its balance point is 335mm (13 ¼”)from the handle, or 2 points head light, slightly lighter and more head heavy than the F 3.0 Tour. Swingweight is a very solid 324, statistically even with the Tour model. Beams are a constant 22mm, and the frame’s flex is a somewhat soft 63. An open 16x19 string pattern should provide plenty of feel and spin potential for the traditional 3 series 98 square inch head size.
From the Baseline
From the very first swing, the M 3.0 shows its comfort and forgiveness. While its open string pattern imparts a little more feel than the 3.0 Tour, there is very little shock transmitted to the player’s arm. There’s hardly even any noise on impact, so only the most sensitive players should feel the need for a string vibration dampener.
Along with this cushioned feel comes fine control on squarely-hit shots, and just a little loss of accuracy on mishits high on the face, as the narrow-beamed, soft-flexing frame oscillates noticeably on extended shots. Power is not the M 3.0’s strong suit, so be prepared to supply you own “oomph”, but it will reward you with comfort and control.
At Net and Serving
The M 3.0 swings “lighter” than its balance indicates, and is quite easy to swing overhead. The ease with which racquet speed is generated is seen in quite a few “sneaky fast” serves that should really surprise your opponents. Spin is also easy to apply, the fast-swinging frame and open string pattern being just the ticket for sharp slice and kick serves. Overheads are just as good, since you can get the M 3.0 moving up in a hurry: depth and angles on overheads are something it was made to do.
At net, the light weight of the M 3.0 makes it a lightning-fast doubles stick, and its low flex gives the player excellent control on touch shots in close. It’s a great “one/two punch” net racquet: after pushing your opponent back with a solid, deep volley, it’s just as easy to hit a dying, soft drop volley on the next one.
The handle of the M 3.0 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 on hand.
The Dunlop Biomimetic M 3.0 is a real boon for intermediate to advanced players, whether they like singles or doubles. Light and easy to swing, it lets you generate massive racquet speed and topspin from the baseline, along with control and touch at net. Comfortable and forgiving, you can play for hours on end without complaint.