The Ronbus R3 Nova is an interesting new thermoformed graphite pickleball paddle. It features Ronbus’ Gen 3 woven carbon fiber edge and new edge grid technology for improved power and control.
In testing the Ronbus R3 Nova, I found it to be a very well-balanced and neutral-feeling paddle, not excelling in any one area but performing above average in all aspects.
It has enough power for drives and spin-on serves, but still offers good control and touch on drop shots and dinks. The $180 price tag makes it an attractive option compared to other graphite paddles.
Overall, the R3 Nova would make a great choice for all-around players looking for their first graphite paddle or players seeking more power than a typical control paddle without sacrificing too much feel.
- Excellent Touch and Feel
- Average Forgiveness
- Paddle Length: 16.5”
- Face Width: 7.5”
- Grip Length: 5.5”
- Grip Circumference: 4.125” Octagon
- Weight: 8.1oz
- Swingweight: 120
- Paddle Surface: Raw Toray T700 Carbon Fiber Textured
- Paddle Shape: Standard
- Core Material: Polypropylene Honeycomb
- Core Thickness: 16mm
- Edge Guard: Yes
- USAPA Approved: Yes
Ronbus R3 Nova – Features
The Ronbus Nova R3 features a woven carbon fiber edge and edge grid technology. This new design gives the paddle more power and stability than traditional thermoformed paddles.
The paddle also has a 5.5-inch grip length, which allows for extra room for two-handed backhands. The square top shape and the elongated 16.5-inch length enhance the paddle’s reach and sweet spot.
One thing I like a lot is the new aesthetic with a light blue edge guard and a logo gradient, making it very sharp-looking.
Ronbus Nova R3 comes with a six-month warranty from Ronbus, ensuring its quality and durability. It has a stock weight of 8.1 oz and a swing weight of 120, which provides a good balance of control and speed.
Ronbus R3 Nova – Performance
When looking at the R3 Nova’s capabilities as a whole, it truly shines as an exceptionally versatile and balanced paddle.
It gives players the ability to adapt their game and find success against a wide variety of opponents and play styles. The Nova isn’t going to wow you with any singular outstanding trait, rather it provides excellent performance in every category.
I found both my forehand and backhand strokes easy to control with the Nova and had great touch at the net on volleys.
The grip size and shape felt comfortable even during extended matches. Aside from playing characteristics, the Nova has attractive aesthetics and seems very durable.
The specs like 16mm core thickness, 5.5-inch grip, and 16.5-inch length are right in line with current paddle preferences. Between the balanced playability and smart design details, Ronbus really nailed it with the well-rounded R3 Nova.
With its swing weight of 120, the R3 Nova plows through the ball well on drives and serves. It wasn’t the most powerful paddle I’ve tried, but had no issues being offensive.
Power-wise it ranks around average among top paddles. The newly formulated R3 Nova showed nice improvements in power over the prototype version.
In serve speed tests it averaged 56 mph, in the upper tier for legal paddles. Also, the Ronbus R3 Nova has a very neutral balanced feel during play.
I measured the R3 Nova’s spin at 1,842 RPM on average, almost identical to the R1 Nova results. This puts it in the high spin category, though a bit less than the R3 Pulsar. The peel-ply carbon fiber face texture helps produce heavy spin on serves and drives. I found I could add a lot of action to the ball with the Nova.
The R3 Nova offers very solid control for a graphite paddle. At the stock weight of 8.1oz, I found control shots took a focused technique but were manageable. Adding the weight up to 8.6oz made a major improvement in stability and control.
With serves and drives, the Nova felt average in terms of keeping the ball in play, not amazing but not too erratic either. While testing I noticed the control would fluctuate based on shot power.
On lighter touch shots like drop shots, the control felt plush and responsive thanks to the way the carbon edge grid maintains softness.
But on harder-hit drives and serves, the grid stiffened up allowing better stability and directional control. This adaptive face gave me confidence in both dinking games and driving pace.
If playing a control-focused tournament, however, I’d likely choose a different paddle optimized for keeping the ball in play.
The Ronbus R3 Nova delivers an excellent balanced touch and feel during play. It has a crisp and responsive face feedback, while still feeling plush and dampened for its class.
The Nova doesn’t have the super muted feel of the R3 Pulsar but remains at the softer end of graphite paddles. You can feel the face absorb and pocket the ball on touch shots.
The pliable face adapts beautifully depending on the shot, from buttery smooth dinks to stable penetrating drives.
I achieved amazing touch at the net on volleys and drop shots thanks to the Nova’s nuanced feel.
The feel truly complements any style of play. My backhand strokes felt natural and fluid as the paddle smoothly guided the ball. Whether going for touch or power, the Ronbus R3 Nova provides outstanding ball pocketing and connection.
The R3 Nova played quite a bit more forgiving than the R1 version. I’d rate it average in terms of forgiveness, with a decently sized, slightly elongated sweet spot.
TheNova’s sweet spot shape and size are an upgrade over traditional graphite paddles. Adding weight to the perimeter helped increase stability and effectively enlarged the sweet spot.
Value for Money
When considering the R3 Nova’s $180 retail price, it provides fantastic value compared to other paddles in its performance class. Many comparable composite paddles cost $200+ yet don’t outplay the Nova.
The mid-range price point makes it very attractively priced for players looking to upgrade from entry-level wood or aluminum options.
With the R3 Nova, you get premium construction and materials like woven carbon fiber and a polypropylene honeycomb core, as well as the latest thermoformed shaping technology.
The six-month warranty also adds peace of mind. For the price, the R3 Nova punches far above its weight class, offering professional caliber performance and quality.
Given the balanced characteristics, it’s easy to justify the $180 investment knowing the Nova will provide an immediate boost to your game without breaking the bank.
The R3 Nova sets a new benchmark for value in the composite pickleball paddle market.
My Verdict – Is the Ronbus R3 Nova Good?:
The Ronbus R3 Nova is the most well-balanced and neutral-feeling paddle I’ve played with. It doesn’t particularly stand out in any one area, rather it offers solid performance across the board. With its blend of power, control, and forgiveness, I found the R3 Nova extremely versatile.
It would make an excellent choice as a step up from a starter paddle, or for all-around players looking to upgrade from wood or composite.
The price is very competitive among premium paddles. I would highly recommend the R3 Nova as a top option in the control-oriented graphite paddle category. It provides nice pop for drives and serves without being overwhelming, and still allows enough touch for the soft game.
I appreciate gear with versatility that can adapt to matches against different opponents. The Ronbus R3 Nova quickly became one of my favorite paddles for its supreme balance of qualities.
I loved the way shots seemed to slide effortlessly off the face, whether going for power or touch. Yet it still had enough pop and control to allow me to win more points with spin and drive pace.
This is the paddle I would suggest to newer players looking to upgrade to their first graphite option. With its well-rounded performance, the R3 Nova would help elevate any player’s game without the learning curve of more extreme power or control paddles. I can’t wait to get back on the courts with my R3 Nova!