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Franklin Tour Paddle Review: My In-Depth Thoughts

The Franklin Tour paddle
(Illustration Dan Langston)
Verdict
The Franklin Tour paddle is a high value paddle that costs significantly less than its competitors. It is, finally, a Franklin paddle that ranks!  If you used the Franklin STK, don’t think that this paddle is anything like it. The grit, power, and feel all are higher with the Tour. I also love that it comes in different shapes, as I think this opens it up to a much larger audience. Overall, I would rank this paddle 8/10.

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SpecsDescription
Paddle Weight8.35 oz
Paddle Face MaterialT700 Raw Carbon Fiber
Paddle Core MaterialPolypropylene, High Density Foam Perimeter, Thermoformed
Paddle ShapeOptions for standard or elongated
Paddle Length 15.9″ 
Paddle Width8″ 
Grip Size4.3″ (Medium)
Handle Length 5″ 
Richard hitting with the new Franklin tour
(Picture Richard Livornese Jr)

First Look

The Franklin Tour paddle is the newest high performance paddle from Franklin. Franklin says “These USA Pickleball approved FS Tour Series pickleball paddles are constructed with premium T700 raw carbon fiber surface layer which creates a naturally textured paddle surface to increase spin and shot-making”. They also highlight the industry standard, at this point, which is a unibody (all one piece design) which gives considerably greater feel and control than the old school 2 part design. This paddle comes in 2 shapes: the more rectangular Dynasty, and the more ovular, Tempo, and both come in 16 and 14mm. The paddle also comes in at 8.5 oz for the 16mm and 8 oz for the 14mm which is on the slightly heavier side. Lastly, the price point for this paddle is $150 which is the lowest of all of the high end paddles I have looked into so far.

Background Research

After researching and using the Franklin Tour paddle, I concluded that Franklin focused on making this paddle for all types of players. What I mean is that the paddle is very compromising where other paddles choose one side.  With the different shapes and long handle, people won’t have the same elbow issues or problem of not being able to use a two hander on it. With that said, I think that by keeping the price point low, it is attractive for the “up and coming” players as they want a higher end paddle without having to pay the 250-300 dollars that many companies are asking for.

Richard hitting the new Franklin tour paddle
(Picture Richard Livornese Jr)

Performance Review & My Experience

Feel/Warmup

The Franklin Tour has “good feel”.  Indeed, that’s the first thing I noticed. I am going to be talking about the 16mm as that is the one I played with most. I was able to feel the dinks and drops right away and was able to be pretty consistent with my dinks and drops while also hitting with a good amount of spin. When driving, this paddle applied good shape to the ball, not the craziest I’ve seen, like the proXR, but pretty good. I was very quickly able to adjust from the normal paddles I use. When I was playing points with it, I had good hand speed and power. 

Control

This is definitely a strong point for the paddle, as the feel it gives is better control  than most paddles I’ve used. Because of this, it is pretty easy to reset and hit our dinks with good control. I think that the paddle also has a pretty large sweet spot so even if I didn’t hit the middle of the paddle, the shots were pretty good. This paddle should be “ok” for almost anyone, as the control is high which, I think, is the most important thing to have for lower level players.

Spin

The spin on this paddle is pretty standard for the industry. I am able to dip the ball and also hit big drives and serves, but it does not have the unique shape that the proXR does. I would say it is on par with paddles like the Joolas and the Crbns, which is to say, it will do what you want it to. 

Similarities

This is one of the simplest paddles that I have reviewed. It is not the top paddle in power, spin or feel but overall, it scores high in all three regards. It is one of the best paddles and because there are 4 versions of it, I think that most players can find one of these to play, in a way that feels good to them.  The closest paddle to this that I have played with, is definitely the Crbn which is very good in all aspects as well. I think this paddle, however, does rank slightly higher in power than the Crbns.

Final Thoughts

I would rank it like this:

Power7.5/10
Control8.5/10
Spin7.5/10

The Franklin Tour is definitely a high end paddle and it wins my endorsement because it is the “best paddle for the money spent”  out of all paddles that I have seen thus far. Of course, like all the paddles that I have reviewed, there’s a small modification that would make it slightly better.  Specifically, adding a little more pop to the 14mm version would help the players get the counter power they are looking for. In the end, I think that this is a great paddle and people of all ages and skills will love it.

At just 21 years old, New Jersey native Richard Livornese, Jr. is a rising star in the professional pickleball world and a member of the 2023 APP Next Gen National Team. Initially a college lacrosse player at Stevens Institute of Technology, Richard switched gears to pickleball during the COVID-19 pandemic, co-founding a pickleball academy in his hometown and setting his sights on professional competition. Most recently he has committed to a three-year contract with Major League Pickleball, 2024 through 2026. Richard is an aggressively enterprising person and athlete that is not only finding success on the court, but plans to use his influence to promote the sport’s growth. As a regular contributor to Pickleball Portal, he provides valuable insights through news articles, reviews, and how-to guides. richard@pickleballportal.com

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