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Any chat room or discussion group surrounding DeMarini’s 2017 CF Zen in the 2 3/4 size contains at least one thread on its durability. Justbatreviews has received at least a dozen questions about the bat’s durability. In short, at least when compared to other bats on the market, the CF Zen 2 3/4 clearly struggles with durability. We discuss some solutions and DeMarini’s response to the issue below, but in short, we suggest you buy this bat new from certified vendors as to make sure your warranty is in tact. DeMarini is a legit company with a legit warranty process.
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After a number of direct requests from consumers, and at least a few stories about some awesome breaks, we reached out to our contacts at DeMarini. We asked, rather bluntly, was the CF Zen 2 3/4 breaking more than normal? Verbatim, here is the reasonable response we got:
“That model, like all DeMarini bats, is designed to perform at the maximum performance level allowed. They will, on occasion, break before they exceed the performance level. With that being said, we have considered the percentage of bats that are breaking and we have taken steps to reduce the level of warranty concerns on our new 2018 model that will launch in August. In the meantime, customers can continue to purchase our current 2017 model with the confidence that they will receive what we (DeMarini) believe is the best performance bat model in this category. If they should have a warranty-related issue, we will stand behind the product 100%.”
We do not think this is lipstick on a pig, but rather, a presentation of the simple facts. The bat is HOT but it also breaks more than DeMarini’s acceptable allowance. In the mean time, people can continue to buy this high performing bat, and if it does break, just replace it via warranty. 2018 will see some changes to the Zen that allow for more durability.
Although not always the reason, most composite bats (such as the CF Zen) are designed to break just before their trampoline effect reaches the max limit. It is why you hear people praising how hot the CF Zen 2 3/4 is as the bat improves in batted ball speed, and then, like it is supposed to, it breaks.
Some companies try and use the failure rate of other manufacturer’s bats against them. Yet those who understand why composite bats break will actually be attracted to composite barrels that give way. All the great and hot bats have durability issues. It is the name of the game: durability vs performance.
Just because a bat has a higher failure rate is not the reason to never purchase the bat. The 2 3/4 Zen is a brilliant bat with a perfect balance, good pedigree and serious performance. The fact DeMarini is willing to make a bat that pushes the durability envelope is proof they are trying to make a bat that performs at peak levels.
That said, durability issues are a reason to never buy a used CF Zen 2 3/4. Unless, of course, the price is very, very attractive. But comfort in a broken composite only comes in a receipt from a verified vendor and the warranty claim process of a major manufacturer who will be there when you need them.
In short, if the CF Zen is the bat you want, don’t hesitate. However, we do not recommend saving a few bucks by going with some third party, grey market, in this particular scenario.
We wrote an article a few weeks ago on the dark side of bat performance. That included some information on the idea of rolling and shaving bats. It may be worth a review.
There are a number of major vendors you can be sure will be there to deliver legitimate receipts. Our favorites are places like justbats.com and closeoutbats.com. Others, like Modell’s are worth a look, too.