We spent 2 hours in the cage with the 2016 Axe Element Hyperwhip (Direct for $289) and really appreciate the thoughtfulness of the design. In the thick of cage work, it’s hard to remember you are swinging a one piece alloy since the bat feels as balanced as any composite bat we’ve hit with. The over-sized barrel on the Hyperwhip adds to this illusion. Yet there is definitely some stiffness in the swing. As well, those who have never swung an Axe bat may need a handful of hacks to get accustomed to the asymmetric handle.
We’d expect the average player who prefers a stiffer feel in their bat but, can also appreciate the barrel size and lighter swing weight of a composite BBCOR, to fall in love with the 2016 Element for its stiff and balanced feel.
If any company receives extra points for pushing the limits of alloy and composite bat design it has to be Axe bats from Baden Sports. The decrease in swing weight while keeping the barrel size similar when compared to the 2015 version is made possible through two unique features, both of which are new to the 2016 Hyperwhip. First, the 2016 version replaces the alloy end cap and three inches of the end of the barrel with a lighter composite. This decrease in end weight drives the balance point of the bat more towards the hands—giving it a swing weight more in line with a balanced composite bat—without decreasing effective barrel size.
Second, because the bat’s handle forces once sided hitting, Axe shaved off the backside of the bat’s barrel towards the end cap. This again decreases weight towards the end of the bat and pushes creates a balance point more towards the hands for a lighter swing without decreasing effective barrel size.
The Element Hyperwhip comes in BBCOR at the moment and is the only bat in the Axe lineup with the asymmetric end cap discussed above. The serial number is L138D which is not to be confused with the L137D which, as far as we can tell, is the 2015 version of the Element but with an upgraded colorway to match the 2016 Hyperwhip’s design.
Most other bats we review have comparable bats in the market which are easy to point out. Not so much with the 2016 Axe Hyperwhip. No other bats use an asymmetric handle. No other bats have an asymmetric end cap. There are only a couple which use a few inches of composite at the end of a single piece alloy bat to lower the swing weight. In that regard, we can think of the 2016 Rawlings 5150 BBCOR or, maybe, the 2016 Rawlings VELO. But neither of those quite capture the unique nature the Hyperwhip has.
In the end, we’d be quickly recommend the 2016 AXE Hyperwhip to any BBCOR player who appreciates the distance gained from a stiff one piece aluminum bat but wouldn’t mind seeing one where the focus was more on bat speed and contact. The barrel size isn’t the largest on the market for sure, but it’s big enough to be considered a serious bat for serious players.