Ronbus R3 Pulsar - Can you have it all?

Will Chaing
Will Chaing
November 7, 2023

The R3 Pulsar Paddle: A Deep Dive

I've had the pleasure of using this paddle for the past 4-6 months, it’s been a mainstay in my bag and I can't wait to share my thoughts and insights with you. Stick around till the end, where we'll explore some alternatives and how the R3 Pulsar stacks up against the competition.

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The Touch and Feel

Let's kick things off by talking about the most immediate impression I had when I first laid hands on the R3 Pulsar – its touch and feel. Having previously played with paddles like the CRBNx series, Vatic Pro V7, and the, I can confidently say that the R3 Pulsar offers one of the best feelings among them.

Compared to other thermoform paddles, it has a more muted and plush sensation. It's noticeably softer and provides a quieter feedback when you strike the ball, unlike the slightly more vibrating and punchy feel of paddles like the CRBNx, Vatic Pros, and BnB Filth. I'd place the R3 Pulsar's feel somewhere between the 6zero DBD and a Vatic Prism V7.

This muted response becomes especially valuable when executing drops and resets, where precision and control are key. While adapting to this paddle's feel might require a bit of finesse to adjust the pace of play or reset hard-hitting shots, it ultimately allows you to maintain better control over your shots.

Harnessing the Power

Now, let's talk about power, one of the R3 Pulsar's standout features. This paddle packs a punch, especially when you're at the baseline or transitioning toward the kitchen line. With its higher swing weight and elongated length, it enables you to deliver impressive passing shots that can leave your opponents in disbelief. If you have a background in tennis or solid groundstrokes, this paddle could be an excellent choice for you.

The 5.5-inch elongated handle is particularly well-suited for two-handed backhands. The feel and sound of the ball at impact are comfortable, and you'll find that the ball's trajectory off the paddle's face is intuitive, allowing for natural adjustments to your shots on the fly.

The Question of Pop

Moving on to pop, it's important to clarify the distinction between pop and power. Pop refers to the speed at which the ball comes off the paddle face with minimal extra force – think blocks, resets, volleys, punch volleys, and flicks. On the other hand, power pertains to the velocity the ball maintains as it travels through the air over an extended distance or period of time – think serves, returns, drives, and overheads.

In terms of pop, the R3 Pulsar falls slightly below average when compared to other thermoformed unibody paddles. Whether this is a positive or negative aspect depends on your personal preference. Don't get me wrong; the pop it provides is entirely adequate, especially if you're transitioning from a Gen1 non-thermoformed paddle. However, it may have slightly less pop than paddles like the CRBN1x, Electrum Elite, GRUVN/MUVN 16, Vatic V7 Pro, and ProDrive Carbon. Its pop profile is closer to that of the Bread n Butter Filth, Vatic Prisms, and Selkirk 006.

The Spin Factor

Now, let's delve into one of the R3 Pulsar's strengths – spin. This paddle is a top-tier performer when it comes to generating spin. As confirmed by RPM tests conducted by experts like John Kew and Chris Olson, the R3 Pulsar consistently ranks among the best in terms of spin.

However, there's a caveat. This high spin experience is most prominent when executing hard and fast strokes from the baseline. While the paddle excels in providing phenomenal spin for serves and groundstrokes, it experiences a slight dip in spin performance when it comes to shots that demand finesse and touch, such as rolls, volleys, and drop volleys.

This dip in spin can be attributed, in part, to the R3Pulsar's relatively high swing weight, making it slightly more challenging to achieve the paddle head acceleration required for these delicate shots. In contrast, paddles with grittier surfaces, such as the Filth, Volair Forza, CRBNx, Joola, Electrum, and ProXR, tend to perform better in such scenarios.

Durability and Longevity

Now, let's talk about durability – a crucial aspect for any serious pickleball player. I've had the R3Pulsar in my possession for a little over six months, and I'm pleased to report that it has held up remarkably well. There have been no issues with delamination, disbanding, or core corruption.

These paddles are built to last, and I've heard similar positive feedback regarding their durability from other players. It's worth noting that, like most paddles, after around 3-4 months of heavy use, the spin and surface may experience a slight reduction. However, this doesn't significantly affect the paddle's overall performance and is a common occurrence in the life of any paddle.


  • 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

Is It a Dope or Nope?

In conclusion, the R3 Pulsar is undoubtedly a "dope" paddle. It ranks among the best paddles on the market, and it's a personal favorite of mine. Offering a great balance of feel, control, and power at an affordable price point, it has earned its place in my paddle bag.

However, I've mentioned that I've been using it a bit less lately, and here's why. As I've reached a plateau in my game, I've realized the need to drill more to continue improving. Two areas I've been focusing on are hand speed and executing rolls that dip below the net. I've found that I benefit from the crisp feedback I get from some other paddles in these aspects.

The R3 Pulsar, with its higher swing weight, has occasionally left me feeling like I'm losing some of the quick exchanges at the kitchen line. As I've transitioned into playing more doubles, I've been gravitating toward standard-shaped paddles or those with greater maneuverability, such as the Scorpeus from Joola and the MUVN 13s from GRUVN. If hand speed and maneuverability are your priorities, consider exploring options like the R1 Pulsar, Vatic Flash, and Double Black Diamond from 6zero.

On the other hand, if you still favor an elongated paddle for maximum reach and prefer more bite on your ball at the kitchen line rather than the baseline, you might want to explore paddles like the Bread and Butter Filth, CRBN1x, and the Volair Forza 16mm. If you don't require the extra length in the handle, the CRBN3x and the Vatic V7s are also excellent choices to consider.

That's a wrap for this comprehensive review. If you found this article informative, don't forget to show your support by liking it. And if you're new here, consider subscribing for more pickleball content. Until next time, play better, peace!