String of the week – Head FXP Tour

HFXPT16-BL-1

The basic facts

  • Construction: Four polyester fibers wrapped with 8 multifilament layers and a no-friction outer shell.

  • Gauges: 16 & 17

  • Color(s): Black & Blue

  • Available in: sets and reels

  • Feel: Comfortable (and quite muted) compared to a traditional polyester

  • Recommended to intermediates looking to transition into a more control oriented string. Also great for advanced players looking for the control, durability and spin of a co-poly with less impact shock and vibration on off-center hits. Adds comfort to lighter, stiffer frames.

How does it play?

Control meets comfort!

Head FXP Tour blends stiff and soft materials to provide a comfortably firm and somewhat muted feel with a nice balance of pop and precision, akin to a well crafted hybrid. The core of this innovative string is comprised of four polyester fibers. This supplies control and durability but with a friendlier feel and less vibration than a polyester monofilament. Surrounding the core are eight multifilament wraps designed to increase shock absorption and comfort. Head constructs this one with a firm and slippery coating to allow the strings to move out of position and snapback with more force. The result is easy access to spin punctuated by more RPMs and some explosive bounces. Players looking for exceptional durability, precision and spin (along with impressive comfort and liveliness for a control string) are encouraged to check this one out.

Staff feedback

  • Low vibration. Not a bad option for the poly player who is looking for a genuine boost in comfort. Somewhat muted feel.
  • Nice bite and pocketing with easy access to spin.
  • Plays like a very responsive hybrid with a good blend of control, durability and pop.
  • Very Versatile! Can be strung a little tighter than a monofilament to add more control without giving away too much comfort. Strung looser, this one provides a soft ride with some nice touch on volleys.

 

Multifilament of the month – Isospeed Professional

ISOPC17-1

The basic facts

  • Construction: Polyolefin Ribbons

  • Gauges: 17 (1.25mm)

  • Color(s): Natural

  • Available in: Sets

  • Feel: Extremely Comfortable. Low vibration.

  • Recommended to: all ability levels, but especially those whose chief concern is comfort. A great option for players with tennis elbow. Also perfect for adding feel and vibration dampening to a hybrid.

     

How does it play?

Isospeed Professional Classic does not have the name recognition of Wilson NXT, Tecnifibre NRG2 or Gamma Professional. Nor does it have the higher price tag. What it does share with these iconic multifilaments is comfort – outstanding comfort. In fact, in the TW String Lab this string received a stiffness score that places it closer to natural gut than any of its more famous peers. The unique ribbons that make up Professional Classic are pre-stretched under high heat. As a result, this string maintains playability quite well while also offering a more muted and controlled response than comparable strings. Finally, no mention of Professional Classic is complete without noting its “Best of Class” vibration dampening. Aside from natural gut, there are few other strings that are as effective at adding comfort to a stiff frame. Anyone in the market for an arm-friendly multi or the perfect hybrid cross is encouraged to give this one a try. (And the price is awfully hard to beat)

What our playtester said;

“Soft without being mushy.”

“Installed at the top of the tension range, this string enabled me to swing big enough to generate good spin. Control was excellent and I didn’t give away an inch of comfort.”

“High marks for tension maintenance, and surprisingly good durability.”

“Touch around the net is spectacular. And it has a level of precision and predictability that is typically seen with much firmer strings.”

 

Sneak Peak – Signum Pro Firestorm

Screen shot 2013-04-25 at 12.49.46 PM

 

The basic facts

  • Construction: Co-polyester monofilament with additives to boost comfort and power
  • Gauges: 16 (1.30mm) and 17 (1.25mm)
  • Color(s): Gold
  • Available in: sets and reels
  • Feel: firm with above average comfort for a poly-based string
  • Recommended to: intermediate and advanced players with long, fast strokes
  • Pros using this string: Mikhail Youzhny

How does it play?

This firm and durable co-poly is ideal for intermediate and advanced level players who like to swing big. Make no mistake though, this is not a dead poly made only for the biggest hitters. Indeed, what distinguishes this very playable control string is the high level of comfort and power. For this reason Firestorm fits perfectly inside the growing ranks of friendlier, more elastic co-polys like Dunlop Black Widow and Tourna Big Hitter Black 7. While this string is not likely to have enough pop or comfort for the player who prefers the ultra-soft feel of a multifilament or natural gut, it does provide big hitters with a cozy new option for adding some spark and spin to their game.

What our playtesters said

“You can really feel the ball jumping off the stringbed. I actually found I had to increase my tension a couple of pounds to harness a bit of the power and get the control that I needed.” 

“The ball sinks into the strings nicely, so when you do take a big rip at it, you are rewarded with good spin.”

“I found this string to be very comfortable for a co-poly. It felt like it was pocketing the ball exceptionally well.” 

“This turned out to be one of the longer playing co-polys I’ve tested. The longevity may be slightly to do with the higher reference tension I used, but comfort was never an issue for me over a four week test — very impressive for a poly.”

Check out our playtest video!

An interview with Ashaway’s Steve Crandall on his latest creation: MonoGut ZX, the world’s softest monofilament

For years the monofilament string market has been dominated by polyester — a substance that can be too firm and underpowered for less advanced players. About a decade ago, Ashaway’s Steve Crandall began working on a new concept: a monofilament control string with genuine comfort and power, closer on the stiffness spectrum to natural gut. In the early part of 2012, after years of testing and tweaking, Crandall finally found what he was looking for. It’s called MonoGut ZX. The ZX stands for Zyex, which is a much softer and more responsive material than polyester. On his most recent visit to Tennis Warehouse, we had the chance to interview Steve about his impressive new string. Here is what he said.
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2012 Favorites: Strings

With our favorite picks for racquets and shoes now in the books, we turn to the playtesters’ favorite strings in 2012. Which strings did you try this year that you consider standouts?

 

Luxilon 4G

Jason: ”With so much string too choose from, it takes a really special one to stand out, and that is the Luxilon 4G. As to be expected with a poly, control and spin are great. But the ball pocketing was surprisingly good as well. It doesn’t play as soft as my favorite string, Polyfibre TCS, but not nearly as firm as other polyesters. The best thing about it is that it maintains tension well. Which is something polyesters are not known for. I usually have to cut out a poly string within 2-3 weeks, but with the 4G, I can leave it in for a month.”

Chris: ”I’m a big fan of Luxilon 4G. I get great spin and control with 4G in my racquets. I’ve hit the string in a ton of racquets and have found it to work great in all of them. I recently even hit 4G in a wood racquet and it still felt great, adding some control and spin to help tame the 13.5 ounces of wood fueled plow through.”
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Treat yourself to some new tennis strings!

Now that the end of the year is coming, I fully endorse treating yourself for working so hard. My personal recommendation for all tennis addicts like myself is to try some new strings to see if there is something you like. Buy a present in the giv

ing season and give something to yourself: strings. Here are some new videos, highlighting some of the strings that we have here at the Warehouse. If you don’t see anything you like, make sure to check out our String Finder or to ask any of the playtesters any questions about string via the Talk Tennis Forum or our YouTube account.

Ashaway Monogut String

Mantis Comfort Synthetic String

Solinco Barb Wire String

Weiss Cannon Black 5 Edge String

Over and out!

Siobhan

 

Strings for the adventurous player!

Here’s another week’s worth of string! I like to do a range of strings; random picks, just to keep things spicy so you all may see some of the wonders we have here in the Warehouse! My favorite of these picks is Luxilon 4G, (we actually did a playtest on the 16L version of the string and also a written review), and I went on a mission to see if anyone else in the office liked it. Strangely enough, I didn’t have to look far.

Jason, who happens to sit right next to me (how lucky can I get, wit and sarcasm all within a one meter radius!?), loves Luxilon 4G right now. When I asked for reasons why he liked it, he said, “It has great ball pocketing, it feels good, it feels ‘right.’ ” He then followed with, “When you know, you know, right?!” Yes, well. Maybe, Jason. He also said, “It fits into the softer poly category, it doesnt hurt my arm so I can use it all day and night.” I had to agree with him. I also enjoy the poly qualities: how I can really rip the ball and have it still drop into the court, and how I am able to take full cuts with this string, and not have to lay off for fear of things flying long. Jason also continued to describe the string as a nice color (too far J, too far) and Chris chimed in saying, “It’s as good as gold!!” which I thought was clever until I realized he was quoting off the Luxilon packaging. ENOUGH! You should try it.

Babolat Hurricane Feel String

Luxilon 4G String

Gosen OG Sheep Micro String

Luxilon Big Banger XP String

Cheers!

Siobhan

Quick review: Volkl Cyclone Tour

The new Volkl Cyclone Tour is softer as well as twisted during production for added spin potential compared to the original Cyclone.

Volkl Cyclone has been, for a long time, one of my favorite polyester strings around! It performs as well as any poly out there, with the right blend of power and control, while also providing excellent ball grab for lots of spin potential. Furthermore, at only $7.99 a set, it’s affordable, too!

Building off the success of the Cyclone, Volkl has re-engineered it to make it even better. With new technology used in the material of the string, Volkl has made it softer and more arm-friendly than the original Cyclone. In addition, Volkl’s taken the 10-sided design and twisted it during production, giving it more spin potential than ever.

The new Cyclone Tour is available in single packs or in a 660' ft reel, good for 16-18 racquets.

I’ve had the chance to hit numerous sets of the Cyclone Tour in many different racquets, and once again I’m impressed by Volkl! It really is much softer and more powerful than the original Cyclone, so much so that I’ve had to increase the tension a couple of pounds to get the desired amount of control. Along with the improved comfort, it still keeps that outstanding ball feel at impact that I loved in the original version.

If you’ve been a fan of Cyclone in the past like me, give the new Cyclone Tour a try! Once again, at only $8.99 ($1 more than the original Cyclone), Volkl’s come out with a great polyester string at a great price. They continue to be one of the best values around in the polyester market.

Get a set now!

Thanks for reading,

AG

Strings for big hitters on a budget…

 

Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate the magic of Babolat RPM Blast …

….with its innovative cross-linked silicone coating, vicious snap back and otherworldly spin. I also appreciate the miracle that is Luxilon, especially on the professional tour, where strings like Alu Power have enabled the tornadic angular whip of the modern topspin game, allowing for exponentially higher levels of spin and control. Indeed, it only takes a few topspin forehands with either of these strings to realize why consumers shell out top dollar.

Does this mean you have to spend over $10 to get a good string?

If a polyester string costs less than $10 will it not snapback? Will it prevent me from reaching my personal best tennis? I humbly submit that the answer is “no”. Savvy consumers who are willing to poke around can find great performance for a low price.

For the love of Gosen

Of course, if you don’t feel like poking around, just go to the Gosen string page. There you will find the sorts of low cost/high performance strings that make home stringers giddy. More specifically, you will find the original Polylon, which prompted our resident polyester expert, Chris Edwards, to declare, “This string is legit. Sweet as a nut right off the stringer.” Needless to say, after a few sessions with Polylon, it’s easy to conclude that the $2.95 price tag is a typo.

For a softer feeling poly at a great price, there is the technology advanced Polybreak which provides the incredible spin and control of the original Polylon but with a slightly more flexible response. Finally, no mention of Gosen is complete without paying homage to OG Micro, an extremely responsive synthetic gut which has long been the standard-issue reel for stringers in need of reliable hybrid parts.

Gosen Polylon

Gosen Polybreak

And Tourna . . .

Poly players who have not experienced any of Tourna’s co-polys are hereby advised to make some room on their demo list for Big Hitter Silver and Big Hitter Blue (which both come in Rough versions for added grip). These innovative co-polys are not only loaded with control, spin and feel, they are steals at under $8. For players who like comfy (yet crisp) polys, Tourna Big Hitter Black 7 offers a combination of bite, comfort and control that is near impossible to beat for under $10. As someone who ran lab tests on the early prototypes of this string, I can safely say that the Tourna crew is extremely serious about meeting their design goals. They also have an ultra-comfortable multifilament called Quasi-Gut which is softer than NXT and NRG2 (at half the cost).

Tourna Big Hitter Silver

Tourna Big Hitter Blue Rough

MSV and Topspin

Big hitters on a budget do not have to sacrifice liveliness or comfort as long as Topspin keeps making Cyber Blue and Cyber Flash. The results from our TWU lab tests place these amongst the softest polys on the market. Another company with some impressively playable low cost polys is MSV. You can start by reading our string review of Focus Hex, a medium-firm co-poly with incredible control. After that, give both Co-Focus and Hepta-Twist a serious look. These meticulously engineered co-polys fit perfectly inside the growing ranks of elastic, user-friendly monofilaments, offering advanced players a friendlier response without sacrificing any spin or control.

Topspin Cyber Blue

MSV Co.-Focus

MSV Hepta-Twist

JW

 

Strings 4 U!

The range and selection of strings at TW are phenomenal. Yes, there are a lot that are the same, that play similarly and have the same qualities and characteristics.. But.. there so many that are different, and if you dig deep enough, you’ll be able to find the string that is perfect for you (or if you’re like me, multiple perfect strings). This week I have a sweet selection of string videos for you. Let me know what your favorite string is right now.

Signum Pro Poly-Plasma

Polyfibre Hightec Premium

Isospeed Professional Classic

Weiss Cannon Silverstring

Volkl Synthetic Gut

Auf Wiedersehen!

Siobhan