Volair Mach 1 Forza Paddle Review (Feel, Power, Spin, Control)

The paddle company Volair was founded in 2022 and is co-owned by pickleball pro Julian Arnold. Julian is an energetic player on the pro tour, best known for his fiery demeanor and his frequent shouts of “Andiamo!” during matches, which is Italian for “Let’s go!”

Volair’s second paddle model is the Mach 1 Forza. Their original Mach 1 paddle was a solid performer and came highly recommended. I didn’t write a review for the original Mach 1 because it is identical to another paddle I reviewed, the Ronbus R1.16.

The new Mach 1 Forza is a thermoformed version of the original Mach 1. The Volair Mach 1 Forza is available in two thicknesses: 16mm and 14mm. This article primarily focuses on the performance of the 16mm model, which I’ve played with extensively. I also cover the differences between the 14mm and 16mm versions in detail towards the end of the article.

Alright, let’s dive into the review.

Volair Mach 1 Forza Technical Specifications

  • Price: $179.99 BUY
  • Shape: Hybrid
  • Core thickness: 16mm & 14mm
  • Face: Raw Carbon T700
  • Average weight: 7.9 oz
  • Grip length: 5.5″
  • Swing weight: 117 (16mm) 111 (14mm)
  • Grip size: 4.125″
  • Core: High-Performance Polypropylene
  • Total length: 16.5″ (16.3″ in reality)
  • Width: 7.5″
  • Warranty: 30-day test drive & 90-day warranty for defects

Volair Mach 1 Forza Quick Summary

The Mach 1 Forza is the latest paddle to join the Gen 2 thermoformed market. Like all Gen. 2 thermos, the Forza features a heat-treated, unibody design, perimeter edge foam injections, and a raw T700 carbon fiber face. It’s a well-crafted paddle that rivals the quality of the best Gen. 2 paddles available.

The Forza plays similarly to other thermoformed paddles, as you might expect, but with some distinct differences. It has the stiff feel typical of a hot-molded thermoform, combined with extra pop and power. It’s a versatile all-court paddle that offers an appealing mix of power, control, pop, and impressive spin.

The Forza’s pop and spin output are exceptional for a thermoform paddle. Despite its poppy nature, it remains stable and forgiving, providing consistency and control. I really enjoy the crisp, poppy feel of the Forza, and the spin is absolutely top-tier. These qualities, along with its substantial thermoform power, make the Forza feel like an offensive weapon.

Aesthetically, the paddle looks clean and is one of my favorites with its blue/black theme. The Ronbus Nova seems to have taken inspiration from the Forza’s design. Additionally, I appreciate the high-end packaging and bonus items that come with the Forza. The box includes a paddle cover, paddle eraser, extra stock grip, extra grip band, and a sticker.

Now, let’s take a deep dive into the specific characteristics of the paddle.

Shape & feel

The Forza is officially listed as a fully elongated 16.5″ paddle, but its actual length is just under 16.3″. This places it at the same length as the hybrid-shaped thermoformed R1 Nova, Black Diamond, Double Black Diamond, Vatic Pro Flash, and the 5.25″ handle R1 Pulsar paddles. Unlike the paddles from Six Zero and Vatic, which feature a slight curvature, the Forza’s paddle face doesn’t taper.

Among these paddles, the Mach 1 Forza is unique in featuring a long 5.5″ handle. This design choice results in the shortest paddle face of the group to accommodate the longer handle. Personally, I prefer this design as the 5.5″ handle length is my favorite, and this configuration is the only way to achieve it with a short hybrid-shaped paddle.


The Forza’s average weight of 8.2 oz places it at the upper end of the typical thermoform paddle weight range. My paddle came in at 8.0 oz, and it felt very balanced right out of the box, though it was slightly on the lighter side. The Forza doesn’t feel head-heavy, and I haven’t encountered anyone who received a Forza with a higher overall weight.


Being thermoformed, the Forza packs a significant amount of power, placing it in the upper tier of thermoformed paddles. Compared to other hybrid-shaped thermoformed paddles, the Mach 1 Forza seems to deliver more power than the Vatic Pro Flash, similar power to the Double Black Diamond and Ronbus Pulsar, and slightly less power than the Black Diamond.

Overall, the Forza offers ample power. I didn’t feel the need to add lead tape for an extra boost. Its power might not be overwhelmingly impressive if you’re already familiar with thermoformed paddles, but it should leave you plenty satisfied. If you’re transitioning from a traditional non-thermoformed power paddle, like the Power Air or Black Ace, the Forza’s power, combined with its enhanced spin and control, should meet your expectations.


The Mach 1 Forza is exceptionally poppy across its entire paddle face, which is one of its standout features. Balls fly off the face more quickly than with most paddles I’ve played with. Its level of pop is comparable to the CRBN X series, Vatic Pro V7, Electrum Model E Elite, Legacy Pro, and Black Diamond. It’s slightly poppier than the Double Black Diamond, Ronbus Nova, and Ronbus Pulsar.

If you’re used to thermoformed paddles, the Forza’s high pop shouldn’t surprise you, and you’ll likely be able to leverage its strengths effectively. Hand battles, counters, and putaways are particularly enjoyable with that extra pop. However, if you’re new to thermoformed paddles, it might take some time to adjust and control the Forza’s pop.


If you’re transitioning from a non-thermoformed paddle, you might find the Mach 1 Forza somewhat challenging to control. It’s stiffer, poppier, and more powerful, requiring some adjustment to your game.

For those already using thermoformed paddles, the Forza might seem slightly less forgiving than softer thermos like the Ronbus Pulsar or Six Zero Double Black Diamond. This is because the Forza’s higher pop makes it more sensitive in the soft and finesse aspects of the game.

Personally, I prefer the stiffer and more responsive feel of a thermoformed paddle. My main paddle for both singles and doubles recently has been a Black Diamond, which I’ve weighted up to 9 oz. Since I’m already accustomed to a poppy paddle, the Forza felt very natural for me to adjust to. My drops and dinks with the Forza were good right from the start and became great after I added weight to bring it up to 9.0 oz.

Regarding weight, I found the Forza to be quite lightweight at its stock weight. Adding weight improved its touch and stability, boosting my confidence with tough resets and blocks. The added weight enhanced the power, stability, sweet spot, and overall controllability of the Forza.

Overall, the Forza falls on the poppier and more responsive end of the spectrum for thermoformed paddles. If that’s your preferred style, this paddle will suit you well. Its excellent spin and solid sweet spot make it one of my favorite thermos for control.

Interestingly, Julian Arnold doesn’t use the Forza much, even though it’s his signature paddle. He used it for a while but reverted to his original signature Mach 1 14mm. He prefers the improved touch and resets of the original Mach 1 over the power of the Mach 1 Forza.


The Mach 1 Forza excels in generating high spin, making it a standout paddle in this regard and earning it a spot on my list of the top spinning pickleball paddles. When you combine its high spin capability with its powerful pop and impressive power, the Forza becomes a formidable tool on the court.

In my tests, the Forza consistently achieved RPMs averaging 2028, which is exceptional. This performance is due to its high-quality, gritty textured peel-ply paddle surface, similar to the surfaces used in Carbon X Series and Ronbus paddles.

The high spin potential allows you to effortlessly shape your shots and create unpredictable bounces, which can be very challenging for opponents. My slice returns have been particularly effective with this paddle.

While I prefer to add weight to my Forza, it delivers impressive spin right out of the box due to its lighter stock weight. Mine weighed in at 7.9 oz, which is on the lighter side for this paddle. During my first few games at this weight, the spin I generated was particularly challenging for my opponents to handle.

Maneuverability/Hand speed

With a swing weight of 117 for the 16mm and 111 for the 14mm, the Mach 1 Forza is a quick and maneuverable thermoformed paddle. This makes it easy to whip through hand battles and fire-fights.

The Forza achieves its high maneuverability by maintaining a low overall weight and utilizing a hybrid shape, which is slightly shorter and more aerodynamic than traditional elongated paddles.

The 16mm model, with a swing weight of 117, offers average maneuverability for hybrid-shaped paddles. It allows for quick movements while still providing enough substance for powerful drives and overheads.

The 14mm model, with a swing weight of 111, is even faster and easier to maneuver. However, it sacrifices a bit of plow-through and stability compared to the 16mm. You can always add lead tape to adjust the weight and balance to your preference.


The Forza is a Gen. 2 thermoformed paddle, featuring a unibody design. The hot-molded unibody construction process enhances the paddle’s durability, ensuring it can withstand structural stress and avoiding issues like handle breakage. The T700 carbon fiber face is also highly durable, similar to other high-quality paddles.

Thermoformed paddles often face manufacturing defects such as delaminating, disbonding, and core failure. Volair took their time entering the thermoformed paddle market to address these issues. From my experience, they have succeeded, as I have encountered no durability problems with either of my Forza paddles.

Additionally, Volair offers a full 30-day return policy and a 90-day manufacturer’s warranty, providing peace of mind with your purchase.


This paddle packs a punch with its Gen. 2 thermoform construction, offering both high performance and a sleek appearance. Volair has really put in the effort to ensure durability, addressing potential issues head-on.

But wait, there’s more! Volair goes above and beyond with its packaging and extras. The paddle comes in a well-designed gift box, complete with a paddle cover, replacement grip, paddle eraser, extra paddle neckband, and even a sticker to show off your Volair pride.

And let’s talk warranty. A 30-day warranty might not sound like much, but it’s actually pretty generous compared to other small paddle companies. You’ve got a whole month to put the Forza through its paces, deciding whether it’s the one for you. With all these perks, it’s hard to go wrong with the Mach 1 Forza.

Should you buy the Volair Mach 1 Forza?

The Forza paddle might not be breaking new ground in paddle technology, but it doesn’t have to. It’s a reliable addition to the Gen. 2 thermoforming paddle lineup, and overall, it’s a standout paddle.

What makes it shine? Well, it’s got impressive spin, pop, and maneuverability, along with a sleek design and an extended 5.5″ handle. Personally, I’m a fan of the blue gradient and blue handle look, not to mention all the bonus goodies it comes with.

This paddle ticks off all the boxes for what most intermediate- to high-level recreational players are after: top-notch power and spin. In the hands of the right player, it can be a serious offensive asset, thanks to its generous sweet spot and foam-injected edges.

If you’re looking to take it up a notch, consider adding some extra weight to really dial in the performance. All in all, Forza is a winner in my book.

Should you get the 16mm or 14mm Forza?

When comparing the 14mm and 16mm versions, they play quite similarly overall. However, there are some distinct differences worth noting.

The 16mm offers more stability, which translates to easier drops and resets. It’s a solid choice if you prioritize control in your gameplay. On the other hand, the 14mm is lighter and has a lower swing weight, giving it a quicker feel in the hand. This makes it great for quick maneuvers during hand battles in the kitchen.

For most players, especially those undecided, the 16mm is the safer bet due to its ease of use and reliability. But if you prefer a thinner paddle and prioritize hand speed, the 14mm might be a better fit for you.

Ultimately, it comes down to personal preference and playing style. Both versions have their strengths, so it’s about choosing what feels best for your game.

FAQs about Volair Mach 1 Forza

What makes the Mach 1 Forza paddle stand out?

The Mach 1 Forza stands out for its high spin, high pop, maneuverability, clean aesthetic, and longer 5.5″ handle. It’s designed to offer top-tier power and spin for intermediate to high-level recreational players.

What is included with the Mach 1 Forza paddle?

The paddle comes with a range of extras, including a paddle cover, replacement grip, paddle eraser, extra paddle neckband, and a sticker. This adds value to the purchase and ensures you’re well-equipped for your games.

What is the difference between the 14mm and 16mm versions of the Mach 1 Forza?

The 16mm version offers more stability, making drops and resets easier. It’s a bit heavier, but it provides better control. The 14mm version, on the other hand, is lighter with a lower swing weight, making it feel quicker in hand and ideal for fast maneuvers during hand battles at the kitchen.

What warranty does Volair offer for the Mach 1 Forza paddle?

Volair offers a 30-day warranty for the Mach 1 Forza paddle, allowing players to thoroughly test it out and decide if it’s the right fit for their game.

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