Evaluations of the Pro's Pro Pilot:
Thomas, Dec 04, 2014:
Place of purchase: arfaian.com
Date of purchase: 11/2014
Table top, spring tension head, 6 point mounting, 2 fixed clamps. Awl, pliers and snips included.
Ordered a Pro's Pro Pilot to Sweden along with some additional stuff like strings etc. Paid 276 Euros (339 USD) for the machine, which was the best price I could find for any crank/lockout machine in Europe. Shipping was quite fast and inexpensive, around 5 days after payment. Everything was ok at arrival. I checked the tenson setting on the machine with a tension calibrator and it was spot on. I got quick replies on the support questions I had.
No manual was in the package, but was available online. It was sort of basic but I got everything up and running so it was ok.
The feel of the machine is ok for the price you pay. It's very robust, and the only thing that feels sort of unprofessional is that the tension head doesn't run super smooth. But it's totally fine to use, it's just a note on how it feels. I'm just going to use this for myself and close friends and I reckon it will be perfect for that.
A while after stringing my first racquet I found that the racquet head was slightly deformed. I then cut the strings, read up on the subject of mounting the racquet properly and tried again. Better, but the racquet still had shortened about 6mm, which is too much. I was a bit puzzled since I was really careful the second time. So I cut the strings again. The third time I found out why I had failed. The entire throat support columns had moved. And after a closer look I'm not surprised. The surface on the bottom of the column and on top of the "track" where it is mounted is very slippery. It should probably be more rugged as the tracks for the string clamps. Also at the bottom is a plastic washer which probably should be some sort of locking metal washer.
So to fix this I simply used a file to rough up the surfaces and switched to a metal washer. Also if that's not enough, you can switch the middle two screws that fixes the actual track for longer ones and attach some sort of stopper that definitely will hold the columns in place. Usually you don't need to alter the position of the columns anyway, you just use the micro adjustment knobs.
Another weird thing I found is that the tension head was sort of loose, it doesn't sit tight on the track. It didn't interfere with the function of the machine, but it just seemed unprofessional. So I started to try to tighten the screws holding the washers that fixes the tension head to the track, but they just went round as if they almost got the threading but then at the end of the turn lost it again. And as a matter of fact, the screw turned out to be a bit on the short side. Luckily I had the right size of screw at home so I could change them and now the tension head sits very stable on top of the track.
Seems just sloppy work since it now after a little modification is quite a nice solid machine. But I kind of expected these kinds of things with that low price so I'm not that bothered.
I just hope this can help others buying this or similar machines.
After modifications I'm very satisified with the machine.
Note that the information on this page reflects the personal subjective opinion of the evaluators. If you disagree, please send in your own opinion.