Ronbus recently launched their new R1 and R3 Pulsar paddles, bringing innovation and affordable performance to the thermoformed carbon fiber paddle game. 

As a paddle junkie, I couldn’t wait to rally these next-gen rockets. 

Do they live up to the hype?

I took the Pulsars out for vigorous playtesting to find out.

Equipped with aerospace-grade materials and sleek, futuristic designs, I felt like a pro player stepping on the court with these paddles. 

The R1’s hybrid shape provided a confidence-inspiring sweet spot while the R3 oozed power from its elongated frame. 

The Pulsars handled everything I threw at them. Ronbus certainly delivered on bringing top-notch performance and innovative designs with these paddles. They feel ultra-modern in your hands but also comfortable like your favorite old hoodie.

But how exactly do the R1 and R3 Pulsars compare? Read on for an in-depth examination and side-by-side Ronbus Pulsar review.

R1 Pulsar Scores

Power79
Spin95
Control95
Touch/Feel84
Forgiveness83
Overall87

R3 Pulsar Scores

Power82
Spin95
Control92
Touch/Feel86
Forgiveness81
Overall87

Upsides

  • Spin
  • Control

Downsides

  • Stiff feel 

USAPA Approved

Yes

R1 Specs

  • Paddle Length: 16.5” or 16.25”
  • Face Width: 7.5”
  • Grip Length: 5.5” or 5.25”
  • Grip Circumference: 4.125” Octagon
  • Weight: 8.1oz, +/- 0.2oz
  • Swingweight: 117 or 113
  • Paddle Surface: Raw Toray T700 Carbon Fiber Textured
  • Paddle Shape: Hybrid
  • Core Material: Polypropylene Honeycomb
  • Core Thickness: 16mm
  • Edge Guard: Yes

R3 Specs

  • Paddle Length: 16.5”
  • Face Width: 7.5”
  • Grip Length: 5.5”
  • Grip Circumference: 4.125” Octagon
  • Weight: 8.1oz, +/- 0.2oz
  • Swingweight: 124
  • Paddle Surface: Raw Toray T700 Carbon Fiber Textured
  • Paddle Shape: Standard
  • Core Material: Polypropylene Honeycomb
  • Core Thickness: 16mm
  • Edge Guard: Yes

Features Overview

The R1 and R3 Pulsar are Ronbus’s first thermoformed pickleball paddles, built using their patented Thermofusion construction method.

Both paddles have a honeycomb polypropylene core and use raw Toray T700 carbon fiber for the paddle face. The uni-body design integrates the core and face layers seamlessly. Edge foam is applied around the entire perimeter.

While the paddles share many specs, they differ in their shape and balance. The R1 has a hybrid design with a curved top edge while the R3 has a traditional elongated rectangular shape. 

Ronbus uses premium aerospace-grade materials in the Pulsar paddles for maximum durability. So far, both models have shown no signs of delamination or breakdown after extensive playtesting.

The R1 leans more all-around in playstyle while the R3 is built for maximum power and spin. But both provide impressive performance and quality at a reasonable price point.

Features: R1 vs R3 Pulsar – What’s the difference?

The R1 and R3 Pulsar paddles are quite similar, which can make choosing between them difficult. Here’s an overview of how they compare:

Shape

The R1 has a hybrid shape with a curved top edge while the R3 has a traditional elongated rectangular shape.

The R1 hybrid shape gives it a larger sweet spot and more maneuverability compared to the traditional elongated R3 shape. The R3’s shape provides more power and stability.

Weight & Balance 

The R1 has a lower swingweight of 114 while the R3 is more head-heavy at 121 swingweight.

The R1 has a lower swing weight, making it feel faster moving through the air. The head-heavy R3 gives it more power on full swings.

Grip & Handle

The R1 offers two grip size options and a shorter 5.25-inch handle for quick exchanges at the net. The R3 only comes with a 5.5-inch handle preferred for groundstrokes.

Performance Overview

R1 Pulsar

The R1 Pulsar provides a great blend of power, control, and maneuverability thanks to its well-balanced design. 

Despite being lightweight at 8.1oz on average, it brings plenty of pop thanks to its stiff thermoformed face. The R1 delivers very respectable power for drives and punch volleys. Its hybrid shape gives it a larger sweet spot for stability while its low swing weight makes it easy to whip through the air.

While not as powerful from the baseline as the R3, the R1 leans more towards control. Its lightweight feel and flexible face provide an excellent touch on finesse shots. Drop shots, dinks, and blocks come off the R1’s face with a soft, muted response. 

The R1 offers superior control and placement for accurately directed shots. Its forgiving sweet spot also provides outstanding consistency for keeping balls in play.

The spin potential on the R1 is excellent. The textured carbon fiber face grips the ball well for heavy topspin. Both serve and groundstrokes can be hit with lots of underspin or topspin. The R1 excels at starting and finishing points with spinny shots.

The comfortable, balanced feel of the R1 Pulsar lends itself to precise shot-making. The paddle stays smooth and stable in hand without sacrificing quickness. Its hybrid shape is easy to swing and quick at the net.

Players looking for an excellent blend of stability, finesse, power, and maneuverability will love the R1 Pulsar. It brings touch and control reminiscent of composite paddles while still delivering the pop of carbon fiber. The R1 truly provides one of the best all-around playing experiences.

R3 Pulsar

The R3 Pulsar is built for power and spin. Its elongated head shape and head-heavy balance enable really cracking the ball from the baseline. 

Weighing 8.1oz on average, the R3 plows through shots with authority thanks to its stability and mass. The paddle feels solid and stable on off-center hits. Its mass also maintains ball speed and momentum on drives.

The R3 delivers very heavy topspin and slice on groundstrokes and serves. Its ultra-fine carbon fiber weave grips the ball with the tenacity to impart maximum underspin or overspin. The spin potential is top-notch.

Stability and power come at the cost of some maneuverability. The R3 feels more sluggish swinging through the air compared to smaller-faced paddles. However, its elongated shape provides excellent reach.

The R3 has a very firm, stiff face that provides great tactile feedback. Touch shots require finesse as the firm face has less muting effect. The face really cracks on punch volleys for quick reaction shots.

Control is certainly adequate but elite control players may find the R3’s heft more difficult to subtly manipulate. The paddle wants to be swung hard. Touch and finesse shots take a bit more effort compared to lighter and more flexible paddles.

For big hitters who love bending the ball with spin and pounding drives down the line, the R3 Pulsar is purpose-built for this style. The paddle eats up power and transforms it into heavy shots.

Performance – R1 vs R3 pulsar

Power

With its head-heavy balance and elongated shape, the R3 comes out ahead in terms of pure power potential. The R1 still brings plenty of pop but leans more towards control.

Control

The R1’s hybrid shape gives it a larger sweet spot and its lower weight makes it easier to maneuver, giving it the edge in control and finesse.

Touch/Feel

I prefer the softer, more buttery feel of the R1 Pulsar over the firmer face feel of the R3. Some players may like the extra tactile feedback from the R3’s stiffer face.

The R1 dampens vibration better and has a more muted, plush response when contacting the ball. Overall, it provides an excellent touch for delicate shots.

Forgiveness

The R1 and R3 Pulsar both benefit from their thermoformed construction, which enlarges the sweet spot for more forgiveness on off-center hits.

The R1’s hybrid shape gives it a touch more forgiveness compared to the R3’s smaller elongated head. Mishits are rare with both paddles but the R1 is slightly more forgiving.

Maneuverability

Thanks to its lightweight design and lower swing weight, the R1 Pulsar takes the cake when it comes to quickness and maneuverability.

The R3 is no slouch, but its heavier head requires a bit more effort to whip it around. The R1 has an edge in hand speed and agility.

Durability

So far both paddles have shown excellent durability. Ronbus uses aerospace-grade materials in their construction, which shows in the paddles’ resilience.

I haven’t experienced any issues with delamination, core breakdown, or excessive wear on either model after several weeks of play. Their unibody design also prevents edge chipping.

Value for Money

The Pulsar paddles are very attractively priced for the high-quality materials and construction used. They offer performance to rival much more expensive options.

At the price of $150, both the R1 and R3 Pulsar provide tremendous value. For the same price as many composite paddles, you get high-end thermoformed construction with aerospace-grade materials. The quality of materials and processes used by Ronbus’s rival paddles cost much more. You can expect these paddles to deliver consistent performance and hold up well over time. 

For players seeking carbon fiber power on a budget, it’s hard to beat the combination of quality and performance the Pulsar paddles provide at this reasonable price point. Both the R1 and R3 punch well above their weight class when it comes to value.

Bottom Line

Ronbus hit it out of the park with their first thermoformed pickleball paddles. Both the R1 and R3 Pulsar provide excellent performance and quality.

Overall, I prefer the R1 Pulsar for its blend of power, control, and maneuverability. The slightly softer face feels great and the paddle moves quickly in hand. Spin and power are still ample.

However, the R3 Pulsar is ideal for big hitters wanting to maximize their spin and drive power. Its elongated shape and head-heavy balance enable ripping shots with topspin.

You can’t go wrong with either paddle. The R1 leans more all-around while the R3 leans more power-focused. But both deliver fantastic performance with premium construction quality at a fair price point. Kudos to Ronbus on their first thermoformed offerings.

If you are interested in Ronbus paddles, check out my Ronbus R3 Nova Review.

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