Harrow has sprung back onto the scene with a vengeance with the introduction of three new top-of-the-line racquets. With the experience of lifelong racquetball loyalist and elite player Woody Clouse, Harrow has combined common sense and physics to create a top-notch blend of control, durability, and leverage. The narrow frame and ultra-tight string pattern creates stability and maximizes control, alongside a longer throat that creates extra leverage to translate into added power. The Harrow Spiritus 180 is not just a heavier option, but also a formidable piece of equipment on the court. Feeling lighter than a typical 180 gram racquet, and with a more even balance than its lighter Harrow siblings, the Spiritus is a powerhouse of a racquet. While our playtest team will generally recommend 180 gram racquets to those with slower game styles, someone using a 175 that demos this racquet is definitely in danger of going up in weight for their racquet.
Like other 180 gram racquets the RbW team has reviewed, the expectations were that the Spiritus would be too heavy for their game to generate power. However, after getting it on the court, the team found the opposite. Ben L. started by saying, “Power generation with this racquet was easy and seamless. Given that I usually use a lighter racquet, the hardest part was to not over-swing and to let the racquet do the work. I benefitted most from the added power in my service game and down-the-line passes.” Croft concurred, saying, “I felt I generated as much power with the Spiritus 180 as I did with the Sovereign 170, which is rare for me. The balance of the racquet gave me the ability to swing smoothly through the ball. Although it’s still head-heavy, it didn’t feel that way on the court – it felt much more evenly balanced. I was shocked I was able to generate as much power as I did with the Spiritus.”
With such a narrow frame, tight string pattern, and being the third Harrow racquet the team reviewed, they knew it would be a very controlled racquet. Ben L. started with, “Control is what would make this racquet stand out against other heavier weight racquets in the industry. Once I adjusted my timing a bit to the weight, I found the control to be better than expected. I was able to hit my wide angles pretty well both for passes and serves, and felt very consistent on ceiling balls, but had trouble keeping my pinches down. The dense string pattern of this racquet really helps keep the racquet from overpowering the player.” Croft was on the same page saying, “I usually struggle to control heavier racquets because of their weight, but that wasn’t the case with the Spiritus. Once again the frame shape and the string pattern shined. I did lose a little control compared to the Connect or Sovereign simply because of the weight, but for me it was the easiest 180 gram racquet to control.”
The team wasn’t sure what to expect the feel of the Spiritus to be like after hitting the Connect and Sovereign, but was eager to see how the 180 would match up. Croft kicked it off by saying, “Heavier frames never have the same feel as lighter racquets due to their extra mass. The Spiritus was no real exception to that for me. It just felt a little too dampened for me. I don’t like much feedback from the strings, but I was actually looking for more feedback that what I received.” Ben L. had almost identical thoughts stating, “The greater frame mass naturally takes away vibration and dampens the overall feel of the racquet. Combining that with a dense string pattern and a dampener doesn’t leave much to be felt by the player. I prefer some string bed feedback so this was a negative for me, but for players who want the most dampened feel possible, the Spiritus is a solid option.”
Overall the RbW team was impressed with Harrow’s ability to produce such a versatile 180-gram racquet. Ben L. finished with, “The Spiritus 180 should break into the heavy-weight racquet market confidently, and gain popularity quickly. It is well controlled given its bias towards power, and should be a demo for anyone upgrading their heavy frame, or even a player on the fence between 170 and 180 grams.” Croft was impressed with the overall playability, wrapping up with, “The Spiritus hit surprisingly well for me. I’ve never been as comfortable with a 180-gram racquet until I hit the Spiritus.”