Tennis Industry magazine

 

Playtest: Klip X-Plosive

By Greg Raven

Klip X-Plosive is one of Klip’s “Pro Doubles” — or hybrid — strings that contain natural gut. In X-Plosive, the other string is Klip’s new K-Boom, a co-polymer polyester. Klip claims the fast response time of K-Boom makes it an ideal match for their Australian-made natural gut. Unlike Klip’s other natural gut hybrids (Adrenalin, Lightning, and Screamer), there is no recommendation on which string is meant for the mains and which for the crosses.

Klip X-Plosive 17

X-Plosive is available in 16 and 17 in natural and silver. It is priced from $18. For more information or to order, contact Klip at 866-554-7872, or visit Klip on the web.

IN THE LAB

Our control string, Prince Synthetic Gut Original Gold 16, measured 78 RDC units immediately after stringing and 71 RDC units after 24 hours, representing a 9 percent tension loss. See the table below for our measurements of the 17-gauge Klip X-Plosive we playtested. X-Plosive added 14.95 grams to the weight of our unstrung frame.

The string was tested for five weeks by 66 USRSA playtesters, with NTRP ratings from 3.0 to 6.0. The playtest was broken into two groups: One group installed the gut in the mains, and the other group installed the poly in the mains. These are blind tests, with playtesters receiving unmarked strings in unmarked packages. Average number of hours playtested was 22.5.

We expected it to be easier to install X-Plosive with the K-Boom poly in the mains, and it was, although our playtesters felt it was easier to string with the gut in the mains. The Klip gut has no lubrication, so your hands feel clean afterward, and the poly is smooth, which makes it slide more easily against the gut, although it also makes it more difficult to “grab” with your fingertips when weaving the crosses.

Three playtesters broke the sample during stringing, 15 reported problems with coil memory, 4 reported problems tying knots, and 5 reported friction burn.

ON THE COURT

Klip X-Plosive tested through the roof. With the gut in the mains, our playtesters gave it the highest rating for Power we’ve ever seen. X-Plosive with gut mains also garnered second-place rankings in Control and Touch/Feel, with ratings well above average in Playability, Durability, Comfort, Spin Potential, Holding Tension, and Resistance to Movement. These individual rankings were enough to give Klip X-Plosive an overall first-place ranking of all the strings we’ve ever tested, when used with the gut in the mains.

Amazingly, with the K-Boom poly in the mains, Klip X-Plosive did almost as well, with a second-place rating for Power (behind X-Plosive with gut in the mains), with ratings well above average for Playability, Durability, Control, Touch/Feel, Comfort, Spin Potential, and Resistance to movement. These individual rankings give Klip X-Plosive (with the K-Boom poly in the mains) an overall fifth place ranking of all the strings we’ve ever tested.

Seven playtesters using gut in the mains broke the sample while playing, one each at 3, 4, 6, 17, and 20 hours, and two at 12 hours, for an average of 10.57 hours before breakage. Eight playtesters using K-Boom poly in the mains broke the sample while playing, one each at 4, 6, 18, 20, 25.5, and 36 hours, and two at 15 hours, for an average of 17.44 hours before breakage.

CONCLUSION

No matter which way you string it, Klip X-Plosive has a lot to offer. In addition to bestowing first- and fifth-place overall rankings on X-Plosive, our playtesters gave Klip X-Plosive high marks compared to the string they use most often, as well as for durability compared to other strings of the same gauge — no matter which string they used in the mains. Those playtesters who used K-Boom poly in the mains averaged 60 percent more time before breakage, while playtesters who used gut in the mains had the advantage of using a string whose worst feature was good enough to merit a ranking of well above average of all the strings we’ve tested to date, lasts much longer than a 100 percent gut set, and costs a lot less. Tension retention of X-Plosive with gut in the mains was amazingly high, but even with K-Boom poly in the mains, the stringbed stiffness after 24 hours is higher than that of freshly strung X-Plosive with gut in the mains. With stats such as these, we are left with just two questions: How in the world is anyone else going to do better, and how are they going to do it?

Lab Results

Natural gut K-Boom poly
Coil measurements 19’10” 23’3”
Diameter unstrung 1.29-1.30 mm 1.26-1.30 mm
Diameter strung 1.22 mm 1.22-1.27 mm
RDC stringbed stiffness new 70 (gut mains, poly crosses) 76 (poly mains, gut crosses)
RDC stringbed stiffness after 24 hours 69 (gut mains, poly crosses) 72 (poly mains, gut crosses)
Tension loss 1 RDC 4 RDC
Tension loss % 1.43% 5.26%

Comments from playtesters using gut mains and poly crosses

“This is a great hybrid string. it combined playability, feel, touch, and power, without sacrificing durability. I would recommend this string to players who want a better feel, but break strings often. There was no noticeable loss of tension during play either. I would use this string myself and highly recommend it to others.” 5.0 male all court player using Wilson Triad 6.0 Hammer strung at 60 pounds LO (Wilson NXT Tour 17)

“I can’t wait to find out who makes this string as I have let some people use my racquet, so therefore, I have already presold this string. This string has great feel and touch with a good response to what’s going on at the racquet face.” 5.0 male all court player using Head Liquidmetal 8 strung at 61 pounds CP (Wilson Enduro 17)

“Really loved this string. I love the feel of the gut in the mains. It played great and is still playing great. Wasn’t as bad to string as I thought!” 4.5 male all court player using Wilson Pro Staff 6.1 Stretch strung at 61 pounds LO (Wilson NXT 17)

“I liked the string. I had a lot of power that at first was difficult to control. I’m a big fan of hybrids, so I would definitely buy it.” 3.5 male baseliner with heavy spin using Head i.Radical OS strung at 64 pounds LO (Forten Aramid Gear/Luxilon Big Banger 15/16)

“I liked the string. Very nice.” 6.0 male serve and volleyer using Wilson H Wave MP strung at 68 pounds CP (Wilson Sensation 16)

“The string played nice depending on the cost of this I could consider switching to this. It gives the feel of gut with the added durability of what I assume is some type of polyester string. Next time I would like to try switching the gut into the cross strings to feel the difference.” 5.0 male serve and volleyer using Head Liquidmetal Radical strung at 68 pounds LO (Wilson NXT 17)

“I enjoyed this string a lot, less the stringing. The crosses maintained tension. Felt I had nice control and feel.” 4.5 female all court player using Head Ti. Heat Comfort Zone strung at 63/60 pounds LO (Prince Perfection 17)

“Not a bad string, it lasted 7 hours more than my poly (although a lot of teaching was done with sample and not my usual string). Overall, not much spin potential, but I’d rate it an overall 4 out of 5. Good feel yet still had poly feeling.” 5.0 male all court player using Wilson Pro Staff 6.0 strung at 60 pounds CP (Gosen Polylon 17)

“Good string. Reminds me of playing with natural gut. I would recommend this to high intermediate to advanced players. Next time, I’d string the mains a little tighter. A good hybrid-I liked it.” 4.5 male all court player using Wilson H5 strung at 60/63 pounds LO (Wilson Stamina 16)

“Although my natural instinct was to use gut for the crosses, I am pleasantly surprised with the results obtained from using it in the mains. The combination of strings provided good power and durability. Despite the ten percent reduction on the cross strings, I rate the comfort as only average. Because it is rare to find string with good power and durability, I am very pleased with this product.” 3.5 male baseliner with moderate spin using Wilson Hyper Pro Staff 6.1 strung at 60/54 pounds LO (Wilson Sensation 16)

“Good hybrid, but I prefer natural gut that is softer. Lots of power, but after a few hours the string seems to lose control a bit. Perhaps a slightly thinner gauge for more spin potential would be warranted. Overall, there is much here to like—comfort, tension held throughout the test period, and touch was noteworthy on volleys.” 4.5 male serve and volleyer using Prestige Classic 600 strung at 61/55 pounds CP (BDE Perf. Gut 16)

“I liked the mix, but I think I should have strung both strings at the same tension instead of 10% less on the cross. I actually strung 5% less on the cross and it felt OK.” 4.5 male baseliner with moderate spin using Babolat Pure Control Zylon Plus strung at 62/59 pounds LO (Super Fine Play 17)

“The crosses were much more durable than the mains. I got very premature and early fraying and loss of tension in the mains. The strings would need changing after 2 hours of playtime. Actually, they improved as I adapted my style after 10 hours to ensure more consistency and control.” 4.5 male all court player using Prince Triple Threat Attitude strung at 58/53 pounds LO (Prince Duraflex 16)

“This string had great durability compared to my usual natural gut hybrid. My only complaint was the lack of touch and feel possibly due to the cross strings. Unlike other NG hybrids I use, I had trouble telling if the ball was going to sail long. I enjoyed the power and spin, especially during serves. I believe the stiff cross strings added a bit more control to this hybrid. I had some shoulder soreness after a couple days of competitive singles matches. This was unusual for me when I play with natural gut strings. I would like to know the brand name of this string so I can find a softer cross string as a substitute.” 3.5 male all court player using Volkl Tour 10 MP strung at 62/57 pounds CP (Pacific NG Hybrid 16L)

“Very nice—above average on comfort and playability. Will recommend its use for my clients who have problems with stiffer strings (if cost is not too high).” 3.5 male baseliner with heavy spin using Gosen Carbon Plus strung at 53/51 pounds LO (Gosen OG Sheep Micro 16)

“Truly amazing hybrid. Natural gut mains and, I’m assuming, a polyester cross string. The gut never moved and only slightly frayed at the end of the test period, over 20 hours. Maintained good control, moderate tension loss, and excellent durability. The gut strung up very easily, contrary to popular mythology. I found the string was a bit rough on my aging arm, though. May have been the cross string making a stiff stringbed. I would recommend this hybrid to younger players with more heavy and flexible racquets. The ease of stringing would not exact a service fee premium, as found with some natural gut business.” 4.0 male all court player using Prince TT Bandit OS strung at 60 pounds LO (Poly Polar 17/Prince Syn Gut Original 17/16)

“The gut/poly combination seemed as though it would be fun and it did not disappoint. There was a little more tension loss than I expected. Even though I enjoyed the string, I can’t place the customer niche that would pick this string.” 5.5 male baseliner with heavy spin using Head Liquidmetal 2 strung at 62 pounds LO (Wilson Sensation 16)

“For the first 3-4 hours of play this string played very well. I am easy on strings as I hit hard but rather flat. I noticed that my shots were going deep after about 4 hours of playing time so I checked tension and it had dropped 10 pounds. I then put “string-a-lings” in and it played well again for 4-6 hours. Today I checked tension once again due to my shots sailing and it had dropped again. I therefore could not recommend this string to my customers due to its lack of tension holding. I have played with natural gut over the years and have not had this much tension holding problems before. If the problem could be negated, the hybrid package would be a winner if the price was right.” 4.5 male baseliner with moderate spin using Fischer GDS Take Off 910 FT strung at 62 pounds LO (Luxilon Big Banger Alu Power 16)

“Initial feel of gut was slightly dry, not a lot of oily texture to it. Gut had a few bubbles on the string which increased the friction burn when silver string touched it. A lot of power on the initial feel when first hitting, became a lot easier to handle after first 10 minutes of play. Balls tended to fly off the racquet initially and with that there was added pinging noise and a little vibration feedback. After 5 hours of play time, racquet was a joy to hit with; the vibration decreased and there was no arm fatigue at all. Normally, with any type of Kevlar in my racquet I would hesitate to use due to increased arm soreness. But with this mixture of string it was a dream combination. Picking up the racquet after an extended break was always a little tricky to control the initial burst of power.” 5.0 female baseliner with heavy spin using Dunlop Quadro strung at 60/54 pounds CP (Dunlop Max Comfort 16)

“This string seemed very similar to Klip used by Sam Stosur. Biggest issue with me was dead feeling and loss of pop. Then again I am comparing to VS Touch crosses and mains. As play went on I enjoyed it more. 30th hour was better than the 1st.” 5.0 male all court player using Babolat Pure Control strung at 58/56 pounds CP (Babolat VS Touch 15L)

“Some notching, but not more than expected. I have often wondered how a natural gut/poly would play and here was my chance. I had no problems during the stringing process. At first the ball really seemed to jump off the stringbed and control was a bitt erratic, but after a few games it settled in. Overall the string played as well as my usual string, with the exception of durability. The hybrid setup did make for a softer feel than with a straight poly. Power was adequate throughout the playtest and I felt I really got good grip on the ball. Being a frequent string breaker, I’m not suure this setup would be suited for me. I would, however, like to offer something like this to my clients who might like the feel of poly but are concerned about arm shock.” 4.0 male all court player using Fischer Pro No. 1 strung at 64/58 pounds LO (Prince Lightning XX 17)

“The length of the main string was 1 ft. shorter than the length identified for this stringing pattern; however, there was plenty of string for the mains. None of the playability characteristics were especially noteworthy, other than durability. For the number of hours played, I would have expected the strings to have reached failure, or at least be significantly notched, which neither happened. It’s very common for there to be “ball fuzz” at the string intersections after I play. With this string there was practically none. The strings didn’t move at all which is a nice feature for heavy topspin players. Power, control and touch/feel are worth noting as being below average.” 5.0 male all court player using Head i.Radical OS strung at 63/60 pounds LO (Gamma Synthetic Gut 16)

“The gut was nice, but the poly did not allow the gut to play like a gut as much as a synthetic. I just like a softer feel.” 5.0 male serve and volleyer using Wilson Prostaff 6.1 strung at 52/48 pounds CP (NRG 17)

“The string frayed quicker than any other string I’ve used. I would have strung it 2-3 pounds tighter to get my usual tension.” 5.0 male baseliner with heavy spin using Prince More Game MP strung at 62 pounds LO (Prince Lightning XX 16)

Comments from playtesters using poly mains and gut crosses

“Excellent string overall. Very easy to adapt to and made playing improve. One of the best strings I have hit with so far. Problem with the crosses fraying unappealing to the eye but strings were quite durable. Good mixture of string for polyester not too stiff and was fine on the arm. Please let me know when the string is released because i will, without hesitation, place an order for some. I would recommend this string to any competitive player who is looking for a good feel out of their string and looking for good durability.” 4.5 male serve and volleyer using Babolat Pure Control Zylon 360 strung at 60 pounds LO (Gamma Live Wire XP 16)

“Could not finish the test as the racquet tip became soft. I actually won a tournament with this string and played in the finals under this condition (with obvious problems serving and control). I loved this string. It had better power on the serve than Pacific and control on volleys was excellent. I wonder if the offset stringing tensions would contribute to the softening of the head of my racquet. Very little stretch in the mains and normal gut in the crosses. I have sent my racquet back to Head.” 3.5 male all court player using Head Liquidmetal Radical strung at 58.5/65 pounds CP (Pacific Gut 16)

“Beautiful looking strings, no problem with stringing. I lowered the tension on the mains a few pounds less than the crosses, and strung it up at middle recommended for my frame. I normally go to the higher end of the tension range on my usual string, and thought I should back off a little on these. This was a mistake. The combination of these test strings was a very lively mix. I had too much springy power, having to put much more spin on all my shots to keep the ball in. I would string for control, not power, the next time. After a few hours of play the strings set in, and didn’t move at all, even at lower tension. No real signs of notching after 18 hours of play, I used lots of slice and topspin and expected to cut through these, but they held up well. I loved the feel of these strings, but was bummed I had strung it too loose to fully enjoy them. I hope these strings are not too pricy, (but they look it). I would want to try them again.” 3.0 male all court player using Volkl V1 OS strung at 56/60 pounds LO (Wilson NXT Tour 17)

“The string does not move at all. It feels great with a lot of pop. I’ve been trying some hybrid strings. Very good combination.” 4.5 male all court player using Wilson Surge 5.1 strung at 58/60 pounds LO (Wilson Polylast 17)

“Stringing this poly was easier than others (less coil memory). The power was more than adequate, as was the control (could swing out). I wondered if this was one of the Pacific Poly Hybrid strings. Would definitely consider using if I changed from all gut.” 4.0 male all court player using Volkl Tour 9 strung at 63 pounds LO (Pacific Classic Gut 17)

“If I had to name this string I would name it “The Pocket.” When I first started hitting with it, it reminded me of my baseball days when I used to catch with a catcher’s mitt. This has to be the best string as far as playability that I’ve played with. Unfortunately after about 8 hrs. it started to lose some of its power. But, I will buy this string as soon as I find out what it is.” 4.0 male baseliner with heavy spin using Wilson Hyper Hammer 4.3 strung at 64 pounds LO (Gamma Synthetic 16 m/18 x)

“Because I normally play with natural gut, I was looking forward to testing this hybrid. The string was very comfortable with good power and exceptional control. A 100% natural gut job still has more power, feel and spin potential, but this hybrid cuts the power a little, but improves the control considerably while sacrificing just a little feel.” 4.0 male all court player using Volkl V1 Classic strung at 56/60 pounds LO (Babolat Tonic 16)

“I would highly recommend this string to players who frequently break strings—especially mid to advanced players who would appreciate the outstanding playability of this string.” 4.5 male all court player using Pro Kennex Kinetic Pro 5g strung at 62 pounds LO (Gamma Livewire XP 16)

“Great blend similar to what I usually use.” 6.0 male all court player using Wilson Pro Staff 6.1 strung at 56 pounds LO (Poly/Gut 17/16)

“Interesting hybrid. I enjoyed using natural gut again.” 5.6-6.0 male all court player using Prince Tour Diablo strung at 61/63 pounds LO (Luxilon Alu Power 16)

“Nice playing string.” 4.5 male all court player using Wilson H Blaze 7.0 strung at 70 pounds CP (Luxilon Alu 16L)

“A very comfortable and powerful string with great durability. The string also offers great touch and feel, but loses control the longer the string is used. I would have enjoyed the string more if I had strung it about 7 - 10 pounds tighter and let it lose tension to get to my desired level. Overall, I rate it a good string and would consider using it if it isn’t extremely costly.” 5.0 male all court player using Prince Air Drive strung at 52/56 pounds LO (Wilson Stamina 16)

“A good combination of poly and gut. It plays well.” 4.0 male all court player using Prince Turbo Outlaw strung at 50/55 pounds LO (Prince Syn Gut w/Duraflex 17)

“I enjoyed the extra power. Strings (mains) did not seem to stretch as much as other polys (ex: Luxilon Al Power, Prince Polygut, Gamma Durablast). Easier on the arm than above-mentioned polys.” 5.0 male serve and volleyer using Wilson Surge 5.1 strung at 58 pounds CP (Gamma TNT 16)

“Good string for an advanced baseline banger with heavy topspin.” 4.0 male all court player using Head Classic MP strung at 55/60 pounds LO (Alpha 2000 16)

“A very soft string that has a very solid hit. Very nice to play with. Trying to tie the knots with the gut was difficult; getting it through the last grommets.” 5.0 male all court player using Head Liquidmetal Instinct strung at 58/61 pounds LO (Head Synthetic Gut 16)

“I hated it at first—too stiff despite stringing mains 10% lower, but as it wore in it is playing great with no visible string movement. Good power, yet control, and no signs of notching. I was skeptical of the gut, but it plays well. It is a stiff string, and would not recommend for anyone with medical ailments. Let me know name of string as I will definitely carry it.” 4.0 male all court player using Wilson Surge strung at 53/56 pounds CP (Gamma TNT 18)

“This hybrid was average. The use of the natural gut was wasted by using polyester for the mains. If a good synthetic gut was used for mains, it would have played a lot better. The mains lost tension very quickly and the stringbed became quite soft.” 4.5 male all court player using Wilson T3 strung at 60 pounds CP (Gamma Pro 17)

“I do not use natural gut strings all too often due to the cost factor. The hybrid string makes it more economical although I do not normally care for multicolored string jobs. Overall, fairly average string in my opinion compared with some of the newer synthetics out in the market currently.” 5.0 male all court player using Prince More Attack 920 strung at 60 pounds CP (Prince Premier 17)

“For natural gut, I thought it strung up much easier than other natural guts I have used. There was little to no coil memory and it was a pleasant experience to string. Playability was different however. My racquet felt hollow when contact was made with the ball. I didn’t feel the crispness of the current string I play in this frame. The string seemed to pocket the ball, but there was not feel or control upon release. I strung both the mains and crosses at 58, but the tension holding did not appear to be there. Maybe I expected much more playability since it was natural gut.” 4.5 male all court player using Babolat Pure Drive strung at 58 pounds CP (Head Ti. Fibre 17)

“Mains fairly easy to install—very little coil memory, even for the stiff composition of the string. the crosses (natural gut) were exceptionally easy to install—quality appeared great! Consequently, I expected a fairly playable result. Unfortunately, feel was lacking and it took some time to become accustomed to the string’s playability. Durability was exceptional even though the synthetic gut showed some minor fraying after about 20 hours of use. I used this string exclusively for about 30 hours, then compared them to my regular strings in a spare frame. I noticed a significant improvement in touch, feel, comfort, and playability when I used my regular strings. I would recommend this string only for hard hitters who want to retain some feel that is lost when using only polyester in both mains and crosses.” 4.5 male all court player using Fischer Pro Impact FT strung at 50/55 pounds LO (Gamma Live Wire 17)

“Wow, this sure was a unique set (combination of string). While on paper, the thought of combining poly and gut sounds like a great fit, the combination of a very “soft” string with a very “hard” string caused a few issues during stringing. Once I began playing with this unique hybrid, I was amazed at the feel that was produced. I am not a big fan of poly strings, or any “hard” strings for that matter. I only play with gut or NRG2. One saving grace for me in this playtest was the fact that the set of string was a hybrid with gut in it. For me, personally, a full set of poly string would give me fits. I just don’t like the feel, or lack of feel with the harder strings. During play I enjoyed a long amount of time where the tension was maintained. After a number of hours of play the string held its tension. The string played on the “lively” side, but fell short of what I am used to with NRG2.” 4.5 male all court player using Head Liquidmetal Radical MP strung at 65 pounds LO (Technifibre NRG2 18)

“The string played very well for the first week. Half way through the second week it was dead. Because of the damp climate, the gut went dead quickly (10 days). At the end of two weeks, the poly was also flat; very similar to Luxilon.” 5.5 male all court player using Wilson Tour 90 strung at 58 pounds (Gosen Micro 17)

“Very solid string that lasted me a long time. I liked the control it gave me, however, I disliked the stiffness of the string. I would play with this string in the future.” 4.5 male baseliner with heavy spin using Dunlop 300g strung at 56/58 pounds LO (Babolat Ballistic 16)

“The Silver string had a high memory similar to that of polyester string and there was a need to keep the coil “organized.” Care also needed to be taken not to cut a point on the end of the string that was too sharp as this could be dangerous and lead to blood on the string job! With the 17 gauge silver string, it was also important to check that the clamps were tight—but not too tight on the string. At the end of stringing the mains, it is important not to leave the cut ends too long as they could cause permanent damage to the player. Usual precautions needed to be taken with the natural gut cross string. Mainly, this was to ensure that the string didn’t “kink,” which would damage it and leave a white crease. I debated whether to pre stretch or “work” the gut or leave as is, and decided in the end to install as it came out of the packet. Installing the gut was a breeze with no friction notching and straightforward weaving. I could foresee some difficulty perhaps if the gut had to be passed through a grommet and forced past an outside silver string because of the rigidity of that string, but fortunately, this was not a problem on my frame. When playing, the first impression was of a string bed with lots of control, and I really grew to appreciater the qualities of the string. This was the first “hybrid” that I had played with for a lengthy period, and in my stiff frame, it responded superbly, giving me all of the control I needed. I was a little concerned about how the natural gut would react to damp conditions, but I need not have worried—there was no noticeable affect. Perhaps the most remarkable observation, which I should have expected with the qualities of natural gut, was that there was an absolute minimum of string movement. I am an inveterate sting straightener on court, using this distraction to focus on the next point, and each time that I looked at the string bed, I was amazed that there was almost nothing to put straight! At the end of 9 matches, several hours hitting and coaching, 24 hours in total, there is not a sign of wear on either the silver string or the gut. Overall, the string was relatively easy to install and was a joy to play with. Will I recommend the string? Of course! Will I use the string? Well, I quickly became a fan of the string combination. I would like to experience the string in wetter conditions before switching, and then, of course, there is always the price of consider … but I believe that I would be hard pressed to find another string that matched the racquet and my game so well.” 4.5 male serve and volleyer using Wilson Hyper Hammer 2.3 strung at 63 pounds (Wilson Sensation 16)

“They should not put a high price tag on this string as it performs at 50% the capacity of Babolat natural gut strings. I loved the main strings. Easy to string, durable, and has nice feel. Overall, I felt like the string lost its playability after 10 hours.” 5.0 male all court player using Babolat Pure Control Team strung at 57/55 pounds CP (Babolat Hurricane mains vs Team crosses 17)

“At first I enjoyed playing with the test string. I really like the ball speed touch and the ability for the string to grab the ball. The only setback was, I started developing some pain in the elbow area, otherwise, the string was a “hit.” Please advise name/brand of string and when available.” 5.5 male all court player using Head LM Instinct strung at 55/60 pounds CP (IntelliTour 17)

“A string that younger players would enjoy. A bit stiff for players my age.” 4.0 male all court player using Wilson H5 MP strung at 63 pounds CP (Wilson NXT Max 16)

“Even putting polyester crosses with a natural gut main string did nothing for comfort. The string was fairly lively, but I had little feel for the ball due to the stiffness of the main polyester strings. The gut could have been any soft synthetic and would have played very similar with the poly.” 4.5 male all court player using Volkl Catapult 7 strung at 55/53 pounds LO (Iso Speed Pro 17)

“I string the mains as instructed, but they felt mushy after 1st day of play. I like a firm string. I would have liked it much better if I had strung it with the mains and crosses the same.” 5.0 male baseliner with heavy spin using Wilson Pro Staff Tour strung at 60/66 pounds CP (Gamma TNT 17)

“I thought with gut I would love it. But, it did not perform to my expectations. Not enough power.” 5.0 male serve and volleyer using Head Liquidmetal 8 strung at 62 pounds LO (Head Perfect Power 16)

(Strings normally used by testers are indicated in parentheses.)

Playtester ratings

EASE OF STRINGING
(compared to other strings)
Gut
mains
Poly
mains
Number of testers who said it was:
much easier 0 0
somewhat easier 4 1
about as easy 16 15
not quite as easy 10 16
not nearly as easy 2 0
OVERALL PLAYABILITY
(compared to string played most often)
Number of testers who said it was:
much better 2 4
somewhat better 13 11
about as playable 8 8
not quite as playable 6 9
not nearly as playable 1 1
OVERALL DURABILITY
(compared to other strings of similar gauge)
Number of testers who said it was:
much better 1 5
somewhat better 13 13
about as durable 11 11
not quite as durable 4 2
not nearly as durable 1 2
RATING AVERAGES
From 1 to 5 (best)
Playability 3.8 3.8
Durability 3.7 3.9
Power 4.0 3.9
Control 3.8 3.7
Comfort 3.7 3.5
Touch/Feel 3.7 3.5
Spin Potential 3.5 3.5
Holding Tension 3.5 3.3
Resistance to Movement 3.6 3.8

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About the Author

Greg Raven  is an associate editor for RSI magazine and technical writer. He is certified as a Master Racquet Technician by the U.S. Racquet Stringers Association. He can be reached via e-mail at greg@usrsa.com, or through Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. He plays tennis five days a week, and is turning into an avid cyclist.

 

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