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Bison Summit - pickleball paddle review

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Brandon Mackie

Published on: Nov 19, 2023

The Bison Summit pickleball paddle on a blue background

The Bison Summit is a raw carbon fiber paddle for $100. Built to give you lots of spin and a nice blend of power and control, I'd say it's a far superior option to the cheap beginner paddles on Amazon.

Read my honest Bison Summit review to see if I recommend it for beginners and new intermediates.

My verdict4.0star iconThe Bison Summit offers great value for money—it's one of the only raw carbon fiber paddles you can find for $100. I found it best on control, with enough power and spin to play competitively. While I think the Vatic Pro PRISM Flash and Six Zero Sapphire edge it at this price, I'd still recommend giving the Summit a look if you're after a step-up paddle on Amazon.

Buy or pass?

Buy if:

  • You’re on a budget:

    the $99.99 price makes the Bison Summit really attractive.

  • You want a step-up paddle:

    this is a great option if you're leaving your beginner paddle behind.

  • You want a cheap raw carbon fiber paddle:

    this is one of the only paddles made of raw carbon fiber that costs less than $100.

Pass if:

  • You need more spin:

    for the same price, the Vatic Pro PRISM Flash has more spin.

  • You want a pure power paddle:

    the Bread & Butter Filth is my top power paddle of 2023.

  • You can spend over $100:

    spending more will get you more performance, like in the Six Zero DBD – our top paddle of 2023.

Paddle Weight

7.8 oz

Paddle Length

16 ½"

Paddle Width

7 ½"

Handle Length

5 ½"

Grip Circumference

4 ⅛"

Paddle Face Material

Toray T700 raw carbon fiber

Core Material

Honeycomb polymer core

Core Thickness

14 mm (0.55”)

Sweet Spot


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Review summary

This is the paddle you buy when you're tempted by a cheap paddle on Amazon, but want to take your game seriously. You just can't find many raw carbon fiber paddles under $100—especially ones ready to ship via Amazon Prime.

The Summit certainly looks unique. True to the name, it features a mountain range on its paddle face. You can tell this is an Amazon budget brand, though, with how it focuses on value at a good price. It's nothing fancy, but I'd pay for performance over looks any day.

In the hand, it feels a little less premium than its competitors like the Vatic Pro PRISM Flash and the Six Zero Sapphire. Saying that, it is comfortable to use, so I don't really have any complaints.

Brandon Mackie holding the Bison Summit and Rampage pickleball paddles
Brandon Mackie holding the Bison Summit and Rampage pickleball paddles

If this were two years ago, I'd be calling the Bison Summit the best paddle under $100. However, the standard is now super high in 2024 and it's very competitive around the $100 mark.

That said, this is still one of the top paddles at that price point and might better suit some players. If you're closer to a beginner, I'd recommend this over the Vatic Pro PRISM Flash or Six Zero Sapphire.

On the court, this paddle had a nice weight for me. It's 7.8 oz, giving it a light and quick feel but still enough heft to feel stable.

The Summit is marketed as a "power" paddle. I'd call it an "all-court" paddle, leaning on control.

It's meant to have excellent spin (because of the carbon) with a nice blend of power and control to back it up. That wasn't necessarily the case. While it's decent in all three, it doesn't excel in any of them. I scored this paddle 7/10 in power, control, and spin.

Let's start with power—it's enough. I'm able to serve deep, and I can also drive and put away shots most of the time. While the power is nowhere near a top paddle like the Bread & Butter Filth, it's solid for the price point.

Control is good. I'd say this plays more like a control paddle than a power paddle. It helps that it's not thermoformed. My drops and dinks play as I'd expect, but it is lacking on more advanced shots like topspin-heavy third-shot drops.

Brandon Mackie holding the Bison Summit pickleball paddle
Brandon Mackie holding the Bison Summit pickleball paddle

With spin, it's the same—good but nothing to write home about. I gave the PRISM Flash 9/10 for spin, but that paddle is an exception. For the price point, the combination of power, control, and spin on the Summit is enough to let you play with more advanced players.

I found the paddle fairly forgiving, with a good medium-to-large size sweet spot. It just doesn't extend to the edges, so I did find some dead zones there, but nothing to worry about too much.

There are some drawbacks to the Summit, like the fact it can play "poppy". I tested it alongside another $99 paddle, the Six Zero Sapphire, and the Bison had a bit more pop and less control. I really felt this on my topspin third shot drops—I had a hard time putting them where I wanted.

The Summit is not super stable either. The tech in its build is pretty basic, and you don't get that plush feel you get with the Vatic Pro PRISM Flash, which is loaded with top technology at the same price.

All in all, the Bison Summit is a solid paddle. It's a dependable all-court paddle with a good combo of power, control, and spin that will help any beginner or new intermediate advance their game. Plus, at $100, it's a low-risk investment and a reliable alternative to other budget Amazon paddles.


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  • Good control, comparable to some thermoformed paddles

  • Enough spin to play with more advanced players

  • Way better build than cheap Amazon paddles


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  • Not super stable like the Vatic Pro PRISM Flash

  • No thermoformed or unibody construction

  • Sweet spot doesn't extend to edges


While Bison are essentially a budget brand, they charge a bit more than typical brands on Amazon. So, let's see what kind of features the Summit has to justify the $100 price tag.

Toray T700 raw carbon surface

This is the main feature that puts the Summit above a paddle like the Niupipo graphite paddle. With raw carbon built into the surface, it should hold up longer than most cheap Amazon paddles do.

It should also get you more spin and a stronger performance. That said, on the courts, it's less than what I'm used to with $150 or higher paddles.

14 mm polymer core

A paddle with a 14 mm polymer core is built for power. Often you'll see power paddles with a core thickness of 13 mm, so the extra millimeter here should give you a little more control alongside that power. I found that true in my testing.

Elongated shape

The Bison Summit has an elongated shape (16 ½" length x 7 ½" width). This is designed to give you more power but also extra reach at the kitchen, so you can defend lobs and put away roll volleys and overheads.

Similar build to CRBN-1

On paper, the Summit has a very similar build to the CRBN-1X Power Series. That's also a control-oriented Gen 1 carbon paddle with a polymer core. However, the Bison Summit costs $80 less.


















Power: 7/10

I expected a touch more power from a 14 mm paddle. That said, the Summit does put in a solid, decent performance in this category. I could hit reasonably hard serves, drives, and putaways. I just had to swing harder than I'm used to with thermoformed paddles.

Control: 7/10

In my testing sessions, I could hit drops from the transition zone and I could dink well enough. However, I couldn't place third shot drops like I can with the Diadem Edge 18K or even the Six Zero Sapphire.

I will say that because this paddle is not thermoformed, I felt more control than I'm used to with paddles that have more pop.

Spin: 7/10

The spin is adequate, but nothing special. The Toray T700 carbon does what it's supposed to, and lets you play a more advanced game than almost any other $100 paddle does.

While I was able to generate decent spin, it's nowhere near what's possible with $150 or higher paddles like the Legacy Pro.

Forgiveness: 7/10

I didn't have too many mishits with this paddle, partly thanks to a decent sweet spot. However, without the foam-injected walls that other paddles have, you do get dead zones near the edges.

This paddle is also prone to pop ups if you're not careful. While this might challenge some beginners and early intermediates, you should adjust to it after a while.

Weighting: 7/10

At 7.8 oz, the Summit feels light and maneuverable, especially for an elongated paddle. I was able to play quickly at the kitchen and didn't feel any lag in fast exchanges.

Grip: 7/10

While there's nothing special about this grip, it's definitely comfortable enough. It's not as premium as the grip on the Selkirk Power Air Invikta or JOOLA Perseus, but that's expected given the price. You can always add overgrip to make it feel better.

Durability: 7/10

Raw carbon paddles are known to last a long time, so I'm reasonably confident this one will have good durability. That said, you can tell it's a step down in quality from the Vatic Pro PRISM and Six Zero Sapphire, which both cost the same price.

Aerodynamics: 7/10

I didn't find anything special in the aerodynamics department. It plays light for an elongated paddle though.

Is this paddle right for you?

Before buying a paddle, it's important to make sure it fits your game. That's why I created a 30-second quiz that recommends the best paddles for your play style and budget.

Give it a try and see if the Bison Summit makes the list:

Find the perfect paddle

Find the perfect paddle

I've personally tested over 80 paddles. Take the quiz to see which ones fit your game best.

Take Paddle Fitting Quiz


The Bison Summit is priced at $99.99. A couple of years ago, this would have made it strictly a budget paddle, but there are now so many top-quality paddles in this price range. So, how does the Summit compare when it comes to value for money?

Value for money

I can't see anyone being disappointed with this purchase. It's under $100, available on Amazon Prime, and has great reviews.

This is leagues ahead of the budget paddles people usually buy on Amazon, like the Niupipo graphite. You're buying real raw carbon performance and, if you're a beginner, this is almost guaranteed to improve your game.

The Bison Summit pickleball paddle resting against a pickleball net
The Bison Summit pickleball paddle resting against a pickleball net

There's a catch, though—Bison have been outpaced by their competitors. New offerings from Vatic Pro (the PRISM Flash) and Six Zero (the Sapphire) are now offering better value and performance at the same price. The bar is high in 2024.

However, those paddles are more geared towards intermediates. So, if you're at the beginner level, I think the Bison Summit is a better buy.

Bottom line

This is great for the advancing beginner who's tired of playing with low-performing Amazon paddles. For $100, you can immediately boost your game with the Bison Summit.

However, if you're a more serious intermediate, you'll get better value out of the Six Zero Sapphire and the Vatic Pro PRISM Flash. If you can spend more than $100, I'd say skip this paddle entirely. The $140-170 range is packed with great choices like the Vatic Pro Flash, the PCKL Pro Series 16, and the Ronbus R1 PULSAR.

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About the author
Brandon Mackie
Brandon is an avid writer and co-founder of Pickleheads™. Once a competitive tennis player, Brandon can now be found these days honing his dinks on pickleball courts near Phoenix, Arizona.
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