Babolat RPM Blast Review & Playtest Notes
When you’re searching for a new set of strings, it pays to do your research and get a sense of what to expect, and unfortunately, you can’t rely entirely on the marketing a company provides. After all, they’re in the business of selling you their products.
With that in mind, I’ve thoroughly tested Babolat RPM Blast on the court to share my thoughts and experience with you.
Although any review by its nature is somewhat subjective, I’ve done my best to remove opinions and rate RPM Blast on the following criteria, which I use for all of my string reviews.
To learn more about why I gave the string a specific score, check out my playtest notes in the following sections.
For reference, I’m taking into consideration the fact that I’m playing with the Babolat Pure Drive 2021, which is a higher-powered frame.
I’ve hit RPM Blast with a wide range of racquets, including the Babolat Pure Aero 2019, Wilson Pro Staff 97, and Yonex EZONE 98, to name a few, so I’ve brought that context to the table when sharing my notes below.
As you’d expect from a poly, Babolat RPM Blast falls on the lower end of the power spectrum. However, relative to other polys, I find it’s reasonably lively and therefore falls somewhere in the middle of the pack.
On groundstrokes, I felt confident swinging out without overhitting, and on serves, I didn’t feel like I’m giving up too much, which I find is often a drawback when stringing a full bed of poly.
Without a doubt, RPM Blast excels when it comes to topspin. However, I wouldn’t say it entirely lives up to the hype, which Nadal heavily influences through his use and endorsement of this string.
In other words, I find many players see what Rafa achieves with RPM Blast and give the string far too much credit.
Despite that, spin is one of RPM Blast’s strengths, and I think it’s fair to say it’s one of the best in this regard. However, I’d encourage players to temper their expectations and keep in mind that spin is primarily a function of a player’s technique and racquet head speed.
Touch & Feel
Not to be confused with comfort, the area of performance that I think will surprise most first-time users of RPM Blast is touch or feel, which I find to be above average for a poly.
The string offers excellent feel and ball pocketing from the baseline, which helps instill greater confidence when striking the ball. However, it doesn’t disappoint up at the net, where many other polys often fall short.
When it comes to control, a variety of factors have to align, and for the most part, RPM Blast hits all the right marks.
It’s low-powered and delivers exceptional spin along with respectable feel, all of which combine to provide excellent control.
Although it’s possible to overhit with any string, I find I’m able to swing bigger without the ball sailing long, which further translates to added confidence and a sense of control.
As far as comfort goes, don’t expect too much from RPM Blast. It’s a stiff poly that falls on the lower end of the comfort spectrum, so if you’ve had a history of arm injuries or discomfort, I’d steer clear.
With that said, I’ve never had any issues with RPM Blast, and I don’t find it to be overly jarring. As a result, I’d encourage players to recognize the pitfall and monitor their comfort. However, I don’t think it should be a significant deterrent for its use relative to other polys.
One of the biggest pitfalls with polyester tennis strings is how quickly performance can drop off, often resulting in frequent restringing.
Therefore, as you might expect, RPM Blast posts sub-par performance in this area. I find I can usually get a solid 8-12 hours of hitting over two to three weeks before I begin to notice a more substantial decline.
Although reasonably acceptable for this category of strings, RPM Blast is pricey, which, combined with more frequent stringing, presents what I find to be one of the string’s biggest pitfalls.
Due to the string’s respectable durability, many players will be able to go quite a bit longer without restringing their racquet. How often you restring is a personal preference, so you may find you’re satisfied with your string’s performance at week three or four and beyond. With that said, a dead poly can wreak havoc on a player’s arm, so I’d encourage players to restring RPM Blast more frequently.
Regarding durability, RPM Blast is solid, and I find it tends to survive until restringing instead of breaking along the way.
Of course, you’ll have to keep in mind that it’s often not getting the point of breaking for me because I’m cutting it out every two to three weeks.
I’ve always tended to break strings, and on occasion, RPM Blast will fail before restringing, but more often than not, it lasts.
If you find you are breaking RPM Blast, you do have the option to bump up to their thicker 15L gauge, which will better withstand breakage.
Although it’s one of the least valuable criteria when selecting a tennis string, I’ve always appreciated having a baseline for string movement.
RPM Blast is a resilient poly and will snap back into place after contacting the ball. As a result, there is relatively limited string movement and a subsequent need to adjust your strings constantly.
I find the center mains will need a minor touch-up from time to time, but they tend to stay put for the most part. For reference, the above photo shows what the strings look like untouched after four hours of play.
In many ways, I find people oversell the performance and benefits of RPM Blast, which Rafa’s endorsement magnifies. In other words, I feel like it’s almost impossible for the string to live up to expectations fully.
With that said, I do consider it to be one of the best polyester strings on the market, and it’s undoubtedly one of the most prevalent.
Overall, it delivers exceptionally well on performance areas you hope to see in a poly, and its feel is what I believe separates it from many others.
However, if you suffer from arm discomfort, you’re a beginner, or you’re price-sensitive or want to avoid frequent restringing, then I’d encourage you to seek out alternative tennis strings.