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Equipment Review: Cobra Radspeed Xb Driver - Putting my money where my mouth is

If you've been sitting on the fence thinking about upgrading your driver, 2021 is the year to do it. Every manufacturer in the industry has released a pair of new drivers so we are spoiled for choice. 

Cobra was one of the first to the fray with their Radspeed drivers, all three of them; the Radspeed, Radspeed Xb and Radspeed Xd. The Radspeed is the low spin bomber, the Xb (eXtreme back) will appeal to the greatest swath of golfers and the Xd which is optimized to help slicers find fairways. 

Since my current gamer - a Callaway Epic Flash Subzero/Tour AD VR is already a low spin, more player oriented driver, I got it into my head to build a less demanding driver that would gloss over slight mishits but not lose distance to the lower spinning driver in the process. 

In the interim, I'd also learned more about the new heads and how to eke more ball speed out of these more forgiving higher spinning heads without increasing spin too much and I was eager to put this knowledge to the test. The plan was to get an appropriate driver, pair it with a shaft that would get every iota of performance out of the head.

So arrangements were made with J-Ten Sports to borrow a Radspeed Xb to test and not the Radspeed. Previous to this I had already tested the Titleist TSi3 and the Srixon ZX7 and ZX5. I'm waiting to test the offerings from TaylorMade and Callaway too.

The demo arrived still wrapped in plastic. It's a real treat to unwrap a new club; I was like a kid tearing into a present. The head had 10.5 degrees of loft (adjustable to +/-1.5 degrees) and came with the 68-gram Fujikura Motore X F3, as requested. Lighter 50-gram shafts are available (Project X Evenflow Riptide) but this was (on paper) the best fit for my swing.

The name Radspeed has nothing to do with Southern California surf culture but has to do with the principle of radial weighting. Cobra positioned two 4-gram weights on the sole close to the clubface to balance 20-grams of weight (14-grams fixed, 6-grams interchangeable) to create the greatest moment of inertia (MOI) without adding too much spin or otherwise compromising performance.

The other compelling detail of the Radspeed Xb is that you can get it with high quality shafts. The Fujikura Motore X F3 is a premium shaft that retails for $275 on their website. This isn't a wimpy, "made-for" shaft; this thing is the real deal.

It's a big clubhead sat behind the ball. It's long too, at 46" in total with the Arccos Cobra Connect sensor in the grip. That's longer than most golfers can use and an inch longer to what most people play. Browsing the Cobra site, they offer a 44.5" Tour length version of their drivers. Unknown to most amateurs, professionals actually play drivers that are shorter in length than we do. 

I like the glossy black finish on the crown of the Radspeed Xb. I was initially really attracted to the matte finish on the Radspeed driver, but now prefer how the Infinity Face blends into the glossy crown of the Xb than on the matte head of the Radspeed.

I put it into play on the Zamora Championship Course at Puerto Azul the moment Cavite came out of the last lockdown. No range time, no practice ball. Got up there, teed it up and sent one a long way down the middle. It was also seriously long, from our regular tees, I had shorter clubs into all the holes on which I hit it. I found you could hit it almost anywhere on the clubface and as long as part of the golf ball found the infinity symbol on the clubface, ball speed remained high. 

How do I know? I hit some shots with the Xb that would have been put me in really bad spots if hit with my gamer that found the middle of the fairway and weren't much shorter than the best hits. If you need a driver that's just easy, you need to give the Radspeed Xb a hit. The ball flight was high... A bit too high for my taste. Good thing that you can adjust the loft on the Xb; turning it down to 9.5 degrees did the trick.

The Radspeed Xb feels powerful at impact. It feels like a sledgehammer when you hit the ball flush. Powerful and satisfying. Once we got it dialed in, it's as good as any driver on the market today, brand biases not withstanding. It filled me with so much confidence that I began to swing harder. When you get to this point in a demo or fitting, you know you're on to something really good.

Beyond the power, it was the consistency of the clubhead that impressed me the most. All hits fell into a pretty narrow window, dispersion was pretty tight which means I wasn't seeing huge spikes in spin on my mishits

It was so impressive and fit the criteria established for this build that I'm not giving it back. 

What is really impressive is the value proposition that the Cobra Radspeed family brings to the table; as is the Radspeed Xb I tested has a SRP of PhP31,500. That's PhP10-15,000 less than some of its rivals. That's not insignificant and will pay for the good part of a shaft upgrade or purchase another club or a new bag. 

It isn't perfect. The paint job on the sole looks like a sticker. Next to my two-year old Epic Flash Subzero, cosmetically, it doesn't measure up. I have a habit of taking stickers off all my clubs and almost took a Swiss Army knife to the paint job by the little loft window until I realized it wasn't a sticker. The stock grip slipped on me on more than one occasion, it needs to go. 

The Xb also plays too long for me which makes for an interesting build. As I swung harder, I began to feel a bit of instability with the Motore X F3, whether it was my impact location or a shortcoming on the shaft's part, I can't say but I know the Tensei in the M2 felt significantly better and I think it would feel awesome in the Cobra.

The Cobra Radspeed Xb with an Autoflex Rainbow - the possibilities are tantalizing

Oh, and I haven't gotten around to using the Arccos system yet. Seems to me that if I do put the app in play, I'll need to get the system for the rest of the set and I don't really know if I want to do that yet. Something for a future project, perhaps but for now, it makes the driver longer than I like and just adds weight.

Test Notes:

I took a 2016 TaylorMade M2 with a Tour (44.5") length Tensei Orange shaft to see how it would stack up to a modern 46" long driver. The results were enlightening. I hit both drivers off four holes on Puerto Azul's front nine. I used Srixon Z Star XV yellow balls and only compared good hits. The Radspeed Xb was definitely longer but only by 5-7 paces over the course of my limited test.

I'd originally planned to get a 50-gram x-flex shaft to pair with this head. Now, I'm not so sure that's the way forward. Now I have to decide between that or a Tour length shaft like the one in the M2. Maybe both. We'll see. 

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