Welcome to the Volair Mach 1 Forza Paddle Review! In the world of paddle sports, thermoformed paddles have become the talk of the town, and nearly every brand is racing to create their own version. As we step into the latter part of 2023, many of these new paddles may not bring groundbreaking innovations but rather subtle improvements on what’s already popular. So, in this review, we won’t just be exploring how thermoformed paddles perform in general (which is well-documented by now), but rather, we’ll delve into how the Mach 1 Forza by Volair stacks up against the competition.
Volair introduced the Mach 1 Forza in July 2023, with their pro and co-founder, Julian Arnold, having tested it in professional tournaments for a few months prior. Julian, known for his captivating style of play, is one of our favorite players to watch, and his involvement with the Mach 1 Forza was a compelling reason for us to review it.
This paddle boasts an elongated shape with an extended 5.5-inch handle and a sleek tapered top that may help reduce drag. It’s available in both 14mm and 16mm options. While it bears a resemblance to the popular Six Zero Double Black Diamond, it doesn’t flare out towards the top like the Double Black Diamond does.
After rigorously testing the 16mm version over two weeks, we’re here to provide you with an in-depth review of its performance.
Volair, a paddle company founded in 2022, is co-owned by the pickleball pro, Julian Arnold. The Mach 1 Forza is Volair’s second paddle model, following the original Mach 1, which is a reliable performer.
Although we didn’t review the original Mach 1 as it closely resembled a paddle we already had (the Ronbus R1.16), we’re excited to explore the new Mach 1 Forza, which is a thermoformed version of the original and comes in both 16mm and 14mm models.
In this article, we’ll primarily focus on the performance of the 16mm version, with a discussion of the differences between the two towards the end.
The Mach 1 Forza enters the Gen. 2 thermoformed paddle market, featuring a heat-treated, unibody design, perimeter edge foam injections, and a raw T700 carbon fiber face. It’s a well-crafted paddle that matches the quality standards of the best Gen. 2 paddles available.
As expected, the Forza plays similarly to other thermoformed paddles, offering a stiff feel, extra pop, and power. It’s a versatile paddle that strikes a balance between power, control, pop, and spin.
The Forza stands out with its impressive pop and spin capabilities, making it feel like a formidable offensive tool. While it offers a lively pop, it remains stable and forgiving for consistent control. The spin it generates is top-tier, enhancing your game’s versatility.
Aesthetically, the paddle boasts a clean and attractive design, featuring a blue/black theme. You might notice similarities with the Ronbus Nova’s design. Additionally, the Forza comes with a generous assortment of bonus items in its high-quality packaging, including a paddle cover, paddle eraser, extra stock grip, additional grip band, and a sticker.
Now, let’s dive deep into the specific characteristics that make the Mach 1 Forza stand out in this detailed review.
Technical Specifications of Volair Mach 1 Forza
- Shape: Hybrid
- Core thickness: 16mm & 14mm
- Face: Raw Carbon T700
- Average weight: 8.0 oz
- Grip length: 5.5″
- Swing weight: (117 – 16mm) – (111 – 14mm)
- Grip size: 4.125″
- Core: High-Performance Polypropylene Honeycomb, Foam Walls
- Width: 7.5″
- Swingweight: 117
- Twistweight: 6.57
- Length: 16.3″ (it’s listed at 16.5″ but measures 16.3″)
Volair Mach 1 Forza Paddle Review
Let’s dive into this comprehensive review of Volair Mach 1 Forza Paddle we’ll explore each and everything of this thermoformed paddle, dissect its performance in detail, and compare it to similar paddles on the market. If you’re considering an upgrade to your pickleball gear, keep reading to discover if the Mach 1 Forza should be your next choice.
Volair Mach 1 Forza Paddle Face
The face of the Volair Mach 1 Forza paddle is a testament to precision engineering. Crafted from Raw T700 Carbon Fiber, it embodies a perfect blend of strength and agility. This premium material ensures that every shot you make is backed by the rigidity and resilience needed to dominate the pickleball court. The result? A paddle face that maximizes power and spin, setting the stage for game-changing plays.
Volair Mach 1 Forza Paddle Core
At the heart of the Forza lies a core of Polypropylene Honeycomb with Foam Walls. This cutting-edge construction provides the ideal balance of responsiveness and control. The honeycomb structure enhances the paddle’s overall strength, ensuring it can withstand the rigors of competitive play. Simultaneously, the foam walls contribute to a more forgiving touch, allowing for precise shot placement and heightened finesse when needed. Together, they form the backbone of a paddle designed for performance.
Volair Mach 1 Forza Dimensions and Weight
- Paddle Length: 16.5 in
- Paddle Width: 7.5 in
- Thickness: 14 mm
- Average Weight: 8 oz
- Paddle Length: 16.5 in
- Paddle Width: 7.5 in
- Thickness: 16 mm
- Average Weight: 8.2 oz
These numbers paint a picture of a paddle meticulously crafted for players seeking a precise balance of power and control. The dimensions are optimized to ensure a generous sweet spot, giving you the confidence to make impactful shots. With a thoughtfully calibrated weight, each swing feels deliberate, allowing you to execute your game plan with confidence. Whether you prefer the 14mm or 16mm version, the Forza offers a paddle that complements your style of play.
Orignally Volair Mach 1 Forza marketed as elongated paddle with total length of 16,5”, but it is actually under 16.3” which makes it more like a hybrid paddle. This places it in a category with paddles like the R1 Nova, Black Diamond, Double Black Diamond, Vatic Pro Flash, and R1 Pulsar paddles, all of which share a similar length, including the 5.25-inch handle.
Volair Mach 1 Forza Handle and Grip
The handle of the Volair Mach 1 Forza is designed with the player’s comfort and control in mind. Measuring at 5.5 inches, it strikes a perfect balance between maneuverability and stability. This longer handle provides additional leverage, especially valuable for players who rely on swift, precise movements at the net. The grip circumference at 4.125 inches ensures a secure hold, allowing you to maintain a firm grasp during intense rallies.
The integration of EVA parts within the grip serves a dual purpose. Not only do they contribute to vibration dampening, enhancing overall comfort, but they also provide a cushioned feel that allows for extended periods of play without fatigue. This attention to detail showcases Volair’s commitment to creating a paddle that feels like a natural extension of your hand.
Performance Rating of Volair Mach 1 Forza Paddle
In this section, we’ll delve deep into the performance rating of the Volair Mach 1 Forza paddle, breaking down its capabilities and highlighting what makes it a formidable choice for players seeking an edge on the court.
The Volair Mach 1 Forza doesn’t just deliver power; it packs a punch that can elevate your game. Thanks to its thermoformed construction, it manages to harness more power than your typical paddle in this category like the Mach 1 Forza appears to offer greater power than the Vatic Pro Flash, similar power to the Double Black Diamond and Ronbus Pulsar, but falls short of the power provided by the Black Diamond. With a responsive Polypropylene Honeycomb core and foam walls, it strikes the perfect balance between stiffness and control, giving you the extra oomph needed for those winning shots.
One aspect that sets the Forza apart is its ability to maintain a lower launch angle. This seemingly small detail makes a significant difference, especially when it comes to drives and drops. The paddle’s design allows you to keep those shots low, catching your opponents off guard and gaining a tactical advantage. It’s a feature that’s not to be underestimated in a sport where precision matters.
Spin is a game-changer in pickleball, and the Forza excels in this department. With a quality thermoformed paddle like this, you can expect spin that’s off the charts. The implications of this high spin capability ripple through every aspect of your gameplay. Your drives become dippy, serves more unpredictable, and returns gain that extra bite.
The ability to put more spin on the ball means you have greater control over its trajectory and direction. This translates to shots that dip and swerve, making it challenging for your opponents to predict your next move. It’s a strategic advantage that can tilt the odds in your favor, especially during intense rallies.
While the Forza shines in terms of power and spin, it’s important to note that thermoformed paddles, including the Forza, have a characteristic stiff feel. This can take some getting used to, especially for players transitioning from other types of paddles. However, this stiffness is not unique to the Forza; it’s a common trait in this category of paddles.
Players with developed control skills will adapt to this paddle’s stiffer feel more readily. It may take some time, but it’s worth it. The Forza offers more power while remaining controllable, striking a balance that many players appreciate. If you’ve honed your control, you’ll find that the Forza provides that extra edge without sacrificing precision.
Weight and Swingweight: Finding the Right Balance
The Forza comes in two variants: the 14mm and the 16mm. These options cater to players with varying preferences, allowing you to find the perfect balance for your game.
- Forza 14mm: Lighter and Nimble
- Average Weight: 8 oz
- Swingweight: 111
- Forza 16mm: A Touch Heavier with Stability
- Average Weight: 8.2 oz
- Swingweight: 117
The choice between the 14mm and 16mm versions boils down to your individual playing style. The 14mm offers a lighter and more nimble feel, making it ideal for those who prioritize hand speed during net play. On the other hand, the 16mm variant brings a touch more weight and stability, making it a reliable choice for baseline rallies and powerful shots.
The Forza’s swingweight is a testament to its quick and agile nature. With a swingweight of 117 for the 16mm and 111 for the 14mm, this paddle is designed to keep up with your rapid-fire shots and hand battles at the kitchen.
The Forza’s maneuverability is further enhanced by its hybrid shape. It’s slightly shorter than traditional elongated paddles, giving you the edge in terms of quick, precise movements. Whether you’re engaging in hand battles or delivering powerful overheads, this paddle’s agility ensures you’re always one step ahead of the competition.
The Mach 1 Forza boasts exceptional “pop” across its entire paddle surface, setting it apart as a standout feature. It imparts more speed to the ball upon contact compared to most paddles I’ve played with. Its level of pop is on par with that of paddles like the CRBN X series, Vatic Pro V7, Electrum Model E Elite, Legacy Pro, and Black Diamond. In fact, it’s slightly livelier than the Double Black Diamond, Ronbus Nova, and Ronbus Pulsar.
For those accustomed to thermoformed paddles, the Forza’s high level of pop should not come as a surprise, and you should be able to harness this feature effectively. Engaging in volleys, countering shots, and executing winning plays become even more enjoyable thanks to this extra pop. However, if you’re new to thermoformed paddles, it might take some time to master and control this heightened pop for precise gameplay.
Volair Mach 1 Forza vs. Thermoformed Paddle Competitors
When it comes to pickleball paddles, the market offers a plethora of options, each with its own unique features and strengths. In this section, we’ll delve into a detailed comparison of the Volair Mach 1 Forza with other prominent thermoformed paddles in the market. This head-to-head showdown will help you make an informed decision about which paddle best suits your playing style and preferences.
Forza vs. Six Zero Double Black Diamond 16mm
Both paddles are powerhouses in their own right, but the Forza edges ahead slightly. The Forza’s slightly heavier design provides it with a touch more power, especially in baseline rallies and overhead shots. This extra power can be a game-changer for players seeking that extra oomph in their gameplay.
Forza vs. CRBN 1X
These two paddles are closely matched in terms of power, making it a tough call. The CRBN 1X may have a slight edge in sheer power, but the Forza is not far behind. It’s a testament to the Forza’s prowess in delivering a strong performance on the court.
Forza vs. JOOLA Perseus
While the JOOLA Perseus leans towards control-oriented gameplay, the Forza manages to strike a balance between power and control. It retains enough control for precise shots, but also packs that extra punch when needed. This versatility makes the Forza a valuable choice for players looking to maintain control without sacrificing power.
Forza vs. Selkirk Power Air
The Selkirk Power Air is known for its sheer power, but the Forza brings a unique advantage to the table. It offers more controllability while still packing a powerful punch. This makes it a more well-rounded choice for players who want to harness the benefits of a power paddle without compromising on shot precision.
Forza vs. Original Mach 1 14mm
It’s interesting to note that Julian Arnold, despite being associated with the Forza, prefers the original Mach 1 14mm. His choice emphasizes the value of touch and resets over sheer power. This sheds light on the personal preferences of players and highlights that there is no one-size-fits-all paddle.
The comparison between the Volair Mach 1 Forza and its thermoformed counterparts paints a vivid picture of the strengths and characteristics of each paddle. Ultimately, the right choice depends on your individual playing style, preferences, and priorities on the court.
Volair Mach 1 Forza: 16mm vs. 14mm
After thoroughly examining the 16mm version of the Mach 1 Forza, I couldn’t resist exploring the 14mm variant. This offered a valuable opportunity to compare the two and provide insights into their distinctive characteristics.
The 14mm Forza stands out as one of the softer options in the realm of thermoformed paddles. While it retains a stiffer feel compared to its 16mm counterpart, it offers a more pleasant impact experience when compared to 14mm paddles from other brands. This subtle difference in feel can significantly impact your gameplay.
Weight and Maneuverability
One of the most noticeable disparities between the 14mm and 16mm versions lies in their weight and maneuverability. The 14mm comes in significantly lighter, coupled with a thinner frame. This combination results in swift and nimble movements through the air. However, it’s important to note that this agility comes at a trade-off – the 14mm is less forgiving than its 16mm counterpart, leading to a potential increase in errors.
Experience Level Matters
Out of the box, the 14mm Forza caters more towards experienced players. If you’re in search of a more forgiving 14mm thermoformed paddle, other options like the CRBN X series or the Six Zero Double Black Diamond 14mm might be better suited. However, the advantage of the 14mm lies in its lighter weight, providing an opportunity for customization with lead tape to enhance stability. Once customized, the paddle truly shines with its softer feel.
Net Play Dominance
The 14mm version of the Forza elevates your net play with increased pop on counters. This transforms the paddle into a formidable weapon at the net. However, in terms of baseline power, it holds its ground, delivering shots with comparable pace to the 16mm variant on groundstrokes and serves.
Customization is Key
For those willing to invest in lead tape customization, the 14mm Forza emerges as a strong contender in the realm of thermoformed paddles. Its softer feel sets it apart from the competition. However, without customization, managing the paddle straight out of the box may pose a challenge due to its smaller sweet spot.
Pros Of Volair Mach 1 Forza
- Quality Build
- Enhanced Power
- High Spin
- Value-Added Accessories
- Balanced Power-Control Ratio
Cons Of Volair Mach 1 Forza
- Slight Length Deviation: Measures slightly shorter than stated, around 16.3 inches, rather than the advertised 16.5 inches.
- Stiff Feel for Some Players
Final Thoughts on Volair Mach 1 Forza Paddle Review
In conclusion, the Volair Mach 1 Forza Paddle lives up to its reputation, offering a winning combination of power, spin, and durability. While it may deviate slightly from advertised measurements, its performance more than compensates. With thoughtful extras and a competitive price, it’s a strong contender in the thermoformed paddle market. For players seeking a reliable, high-performing option,
If you are an intermediate player , we have covered some of the best pickleball paddles for intermediate players make sure to also check them out.