Squash Racquet Review – Dunlop GT-X 140, Dunlop Evolution 130 and Manta X Factor

December 13, 2012 in Racquet Reviews

Dunlop Biomimetic Pro GT-X 140 Squash Racquet

Dunlop Biomimetic Pro GT-X 140 Squash Racquet

On Thursday I played challenge match against Mel Miller for the Calgary AB Competitive Squash League. Since we had to play best of three sets, I thought it was a good opportunity to test drive some squash racquets that I had not used in match play before.

As most of you know, when I do these racquet reviews, I always grab three racquets to compare and I always choose a winner and a loser. The review is completely subjective and is based only on my experiences during that event. As a result, I might love a racquet in one review but hate it in another review a week later. It all depends on what it is being compared to and how well I play with it on that particular day.

In this case I grabbed three racquets at random from our demo rack: a Dunlop Biomimetic Pro GT-X 140, a Dunlop Biomimetic Evolution 130 and a Manta X Factor.

The Pro GT-X 140 is a 152 gram (finished weight), head light control frame with an oval-shaped head and a 470 sq cm string bed. The frame is made from HM6 Carbon fibre, which means that it has some flex and some feel. The stringing pattern is 14 x 18

As a contrast, the Evolution 130 is a teardrop shaped power frame with 490 cm sq sting bed and 142 grams of finished weight. Like the GTX-140, the Evolution 130 is made from flexible HM6 Carbon and has a 14 x 18 stringing pattern.

Manta X Factor Squash Racquet

Manta X Factor Squash Racquet

The final racquet of the day, the Manta X Factor, is virtually identical on paper to the Evolution 130. It has the same shape (teardrop) and finished weight (142 grams). And like the Dunlop Evolution 130, the Manta X Factor is also made of flexible carbon fibres (in this case Carbon 6). The only signficant differences between the two racquets are the head size (the X Factor is 20 sq sm larger) and the stringing pattern. While both racquets are 14 x 18, the Manta has a fan pattern in the mains while the Dunlop has a traditional square pattern.

To be completely honest, I didn’t love any of these racquets. While one was clearly better than the other two, none of these racquets had enough power to compete with a power player like Mel Miller.

The Dunlop GT-X 140 was certainly better for me on this day than the other two. Since Mel hits the ball hard and deep, I needed the extra 10 grams of finished weight provided by the GT-X 140 to compete. I also found that this racquet offered more touch in the front court and on lobs. As control frames go, this one is certainly a winner. I blame the fact that I lost the first set 3-0 on my feet, not on the racquet.

The second set wasn’t any better; another 3-0 loss, this time with the Dunlop Biomimetic Evolution 130. On this day, the teardrop shaped power frame was not powerful enough. It didn’t matter what I did, I couldn’t get any pop on my shots. Nor did I fare any better on the soft shots. The frame was too light and the string (Dunlop Precision) felt completely dead to me.

The Manta X Factor (discontinued in 2013, by the way) was marginally better in the final set; yet another 3-0 loss. It had a little more pop than the Evolution 130 — probably because of the larger string bed. It also had a little more touch — probably because of the string (Spin Touch 1.2 mm). But once again, I did not fall in love.

While it’s hard to fall in love with any racquet when you take a drubbing like I took today, I have to say the GT-X 140 clearly stood out as the best of the three racquets that I tested today. The margin between the other two racquets was significantly narrower with a small margin of victory going to the Manta X Factor. Even in the warm up, I struggled with the Dunlop Evolution 130. Everything seemed to go downhill from there.

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