Tennis Industry magazine

 

Playtest: Tecnifibre Multifeel 16

By Greg Raven

Tecnifibre Multifeel 16 is a solid-core single-wrap multifilament string, which according to Tecnifibre offers durability, dynamic performance, and comfort at an excellent price-to-value ratio.

Tecnifibre Multifeel 16

The durability comes from the central monofilament, which comprises 20 percent of the total volume of the string. Surrounding the central monofilament are 985 composite filaments arranged in bundles, lending Multifeel what Tecnifibre calls dynamic performance. As you would expect from Tecnifibre, the assembled central monofilament and multifilament wraps are immersed in polyurethane to bind everything together. This polyurethane infusion accounts for another 20 percent of the total volume of the string, and increases comfort by reducing shock and vibration. Finally, Multifeel has an anti-abrasion coating of Silicone Pyrogene Lubritec (SPL).

Tecnifibre hopes Multifeel will appeal to players currently using strings by other manufacturers in the mid-price range, offering quality in a string with 45 percent better durability than the most popular performance synthetic strings, while introducing them to a true “Tecnifibre” string, made with its patented manufacturing process.

Multifeel is available in 16 (1.30 mm) in natural only. It is priced from $9 per 40-foot set, and $120 per 660-foot reel. For more information or to order, contact Tecnifibre at 877-332-0825, or visit Tecnifibre on the web.

In the lab

The coil of 16-gauge Multifeel measured 40 feet 2 inches. The diameter measured 1.31-1.32 mm prior to stringing, and 1.25-1.27 mm after stringing. We recorded a stringbed stiffness of 71 RDC units immediately after stringing at 60 pounds in a Wilson Pro Staff 6.1 95 (16×18 pattern) on a constant-pull machine.

After 24 hours (no playing), stringbed stiffness measured 66 RDC units, representing a 7 percent tension loss. 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. Multifeel added 15 grams to the weight of our unstrung frame.

The string was tested for five weeks by 31 USRSA playtesters, with NTRP ratings from 3.5 to 6.0. These are blind tests, with playtesters receiving unmarked strings in unmarked packages. Average number of hours playtested was 25.3.

As noted by our playtesters, installing Multifeel is comparable to working with other strings. The SPL coating makes weaving the crosses easier, without leaving excess lubrication on your hands or equipment. Blocked holes were no problem.

One playtester broke his sample during stringing, five reported problems with coil memory, none reported problems tying knots, and one reported friction burn.

On the court

Tecnifibre strings are known for their comfortable playing characteristics, so it is not a surprise that Multifeel scored highest in Comfort with our playtest team, ranking seventh overall out of the 99 strings we have playtested to date. Of the six strings that ranked better than Multifeel, two were other Tecnifibre strings (X-One Biphase — still in first place — and 515 Gold Prestretched — which is no longer available), and two were natural gut hybrids.

Multifeel is more than a comfortable string, however, as it also ranks well above average in Playability, Power, Control, Touch/Feel, and Spin Potential. That’s right, even though Multifeel is not designed to be a power string, the members of our playtest team felt as though they were getting plenty of pop from this test sample.

Playtesters using racquets with head sizes above 98 square inches were slightly more excited about Multifeel’s durability than those using racquets with head sizes 98 square inches and less. On the other hand, playtesters with the small head-size racquets were wild about Multifeel’s other characteristics.

Ten playtesters broke the sample during the test, at 3.5, 5, 6, 9, 18 (two), 20, 22 (two), and 40 hours. Average normal string longevity for these playtesters is 19 hours. Average normal string longevity for the entire playtest team is 32 hours.

Conclusion

Lovers of soft multifilaments have reason to be excited about the introduction of Tecnifibre Multifeel. Comparing the results of Multifeel playtest against those of some of its best-selling competitors shows that Multifeel is equal to or better than others in its price range, especially in the Comfort category.

Multifeel’s strong showing among playtesters using racquets with head sizes of 98 square inches and less, indicates that it might be a great “starter” string to introduce a player to Tecnifibre strings, perhaps later moving them to NRG2 or X-One Biphase.

This does not mean that players with larger racquets are left out, though, as playtesters with these racquets appreciated the playability, control, comfort, and spin potential, and Multifeel’s dynamic response might be good for taming the power in an over-size racquet without resorting to the higher tensions that can sometimes aggravate arm problems.

Comments

“Nice soft string. Excellent feel. Actually reminds me of gut. Very easy string to work with. Excellent ball control. Also like the sound of the ball striking the string. Excellent control while volleying with this string.” 5.0 male all court player using Babolat Zylon strung at 52/50 pounds CP (Various 16 or 17)

“This string plays really nice. It seems to be easy on my arm and I have much better than average control. The string doesn’t last as long as my usual string, but given the much better control I would be likely to use it myself and offer it to my control-oriented players who don’t have a problem with string breakage. Overall, an excellent string.” 4.0 male all court player using Yonex RDX 500 MP strung at 63 pounds LO (Wilson Sensation 16)

“I knew I would like this string when I pulled it out of the package. It has the look of a softer synthetic, but the durability of a less-forgiving string. While there is more tension loss than expected, it still plays better than others. This is a good string for those hard on strings, but still wanting to control the ball with good feel. I highly recommend this string.” 5.0 male all court player using Wilson nSix-One 95 strung at 60 pounds LO (Wilson NXT Tour 17)

“Great string. It has a gut-like feel. Solid on volleys, able to hit moderate spin, great feel on groundstrokes. Really like the playability of this string. I would consider using it regularly.” 4.5 male all court player using Wilson n5 strung at 63 pounds LO (Wilson Reaction 16)

“I feel this is an excellent 16-gauge string, providing as good feel and control as my normal 17-gauge string. I was concerned about the fraying on the sweet spot, but it did not seem to effect playability or longevity.” 4.0 male all court player using Head Flexpoint 6 strung at 62 pounds CP (Gamma ESP 17)

“I am impressed with this string’s elasticity. It has a nice feel and is easy on my arm. The string also has nice durability given its superior feel. I would rate this one of the better strings I have playtested.” 4.5 male all court player using Wilson H Tour strung at 60 pounds CP (Wilson NXT 15L)

“This string has great playability. It holds tension very well and I am able to feel the ball coming off of the strings. Power generation is easily accomplished and not forced. The only downside to this string is that it does not resist movement well, and the strings fray very quickly in the sweet spot. The bigger concern for me is tension maintenance, and here this string held up well.” 5.0 female baseliner with heavy spin using Prince Shark strung at 58 pounds CP (Dunlop Max Comfort 16)

“Great playability string with huge spin potential. Durability was decent. Broke after five hours, but I usually break strings after three or four hours. Overall, it is a pretty good, soft string.” 5.0 male all court player using Wilson nSix-One 95 strung at 58 pounds CP (Wilson Synthetic Gut 16)

“Feels sticky when installing the sting. Bruises easily when clamping. Lasted well and has good control. Kept tension fairly well. About ten percent loss during use.” 4.0 male all court player using Zebest Fine 90 strung at 60 pounds LO (Cyberfile 16)

“This string is very easy to install. My overall rating is above average, primarily due to high scores for playability, power, control, comfort, touch/feel, and holding tension.” 5.0 male baseliner with moderate spin using Wilson Hyper Pro Staff strung at 60 pounds LO (Wilson Sensation 16)

“This string is better than average at holding control. It kinked easily due to coil memory. It felt stiff at first, but felt better with more play. A decent middle-or-the-road string.” 4.0 male baseliner with moderate spin using Babolat Pure Drive + strung at 58 pounds CP (Babolat gut 16)

“A little more power than I need. Durability could be better, but the sting overall is good.” 4.0 male baseliner with heavy spin using Prince Tour NXG strung at 63 pounds LO (Synthetic gut 16)

“Almost sticky, gel-like texture out of the package, but soft and easy to install. Nice touch and spin control. Tension still holding well.” 5.0 male all court player using Prince DB 800 strung at 63 pounds LO (Luxilon Big Banger / Babolat VS Touch 16/15L)

“Nice string.” 6.0 male serve-and-volleyer using Prince Shark MP strung at 62 pounds CP (Prince Sweet Perfection 16)

“The feel of power was most noticeable compared to my normal string.” 4.5 female all court player using Head Protector OS strung at 61 pounds CP (Wilson Sensation 17)

“This string plays like a typical synthetic gut. A little firmer than I like it, but overall not a bad string.” 3.5 male all court player using Head Flexpoint Radical MP strung at 55 pounds LO (Bow Brand Championship 16)

“This string shows no signs of wear even after 20 hours. The trade-off for lasting seemingly for dozens of matches is much less power. I felt my serves, groundstrokes, and volleys each suffered as a result. For a durable string this is relatively soft, resulting in noticeably notching.” 4.0 male serve-and-volleyer using Völkl Catapult 7 strung at 62 pounds CP (Natural gut 16)

“This feels like a Tecnifibre string. It did not last very long under playing conditions. The string would move, but it felt soft in nature, and was comfortable while it lasted. After about 30 minutes of hitting I felt like it wouldn’t last long. Still, a good comfortable string for people who don’t break strings often.” 5.0 male all court player using Head Liquidmetal strung at 55 pounds CP (Natural gut / Luxilon 16)

“The string played stiffer than expected the first two days, then there was a noticeable difference after that.” 4.5 male all court player using Völkl Tour 9 strung at 62 pounds LO (Wilson Sensation 16)

“I really enjoy the control, touch/feel, and spin potential of this string. Premature fraying and excessive movement are problems, though.” 4.0 male all court player using Head Liquidmetal 1 OS strung at 61 pounds LO (Head Ultratour 17)

“On first impression, I liked the color of this string, and the spiral pattern. I strung it at my normal tension and it initially played well, but I felt it was not holding tension well. The strings broke on a serve, which was a first for me.” 5.0 male baseliner with heavy spin using Head Liquidmetal 2 strung at 60 pounds LO (Wilson Sensation 16)

“So-so string.” 4.0 male all court player using Wilson Sledgehammer 3.8 PH OS strung at 64 pounds CP (Prince Premier 17)

“Stringing is relatively easy, with little coil memory. This string showed excessive fraying. There was excessive string movement throughout its play. Playability was average throughout the life of the string until just prior to breaking, where the string began to lose control as tension dropped. Power was also average from the baseline and with the serve. Overall there appeared to be nothing that would differentiate this string from other midlevel multifilaments.” 4.5 male baseliner with heavy spin using Head Flexpoint Radical MP strung at 62 pounds CP (Gosen Polylon SP 17)

“I did not care for this string as it did not hold tension, and it moved around every time I hit the ball.” 3.5 female all court player using Prince AirLaunch B925 strung at 64 pounds CP (Wilson NXT 17)

“An average string that doesn’t have much feel. There is no give or flexibility. The coating on the outer layer does not work with the inside filaments.” 4.5 male all court player using Fischer Twin Tec 950FT strung at 61 pounds CP (Gamma Synthetic 17)

“This string did not last long enough to gain my recommendation.” 5.0 male all court player using Wilson Hyper Pro Staff 6.1 strung at 63 pounds LO (Wilson Sensation Due 16)

“This string is very soft. I didn’t get the playability that I like with this string. After 15 hours of hitting, the strings felt “dead” and stiff, so I cut them out.” 4.5 female baseliner with heavy spin using Babolat Aero Pro Drive + strung at 57 pounds LO (Gosen Polylon 17)

“This string seems very average, except for power. I found that I had to really “give the ball a ride” to get any depth on the ball and/or power. It is not as comfortable as my normal string, which is a natural gut hybrid.” 4.0 male baseliner with moderate spin using Fischer Twin Tec 950 strung at 63 pounds LO (Klip X-Plosive 16)

“This string seemed fine out of the package, although I did notice the coating of lubricant. When I was pulling tension, it slipped out of the tension jaws, damaging the string. When I tried pulling tension again, it broke.” 5.0 male baseliner with moderate spin using Babolat Pure Control Zylon strung at 62 pounds CP (Babolat Attraction 17)

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

Ratings

EASE OF STRINGING
(compared to other strings)
Number of testers who said it was:
much easier 1
somewhat easier 6
about as easy 18
not quite as easy 6
not nearly as easy 0
OVERALL PLAYABILITY
(compared to string played most often)
Number of testers who said it was:
much better 1
somewhat better 6
about as playable 12
not quite as playable 7
not nearly as playable 4
OVERALL DURABILITY
(compared to other strings of similar gauge)
Number of testers who said it was:
much better 2
somewhat better 6
about as durable 11
not quite as durable 10
not nearly as durable 1
RATING AVERAGES
From 1 to 5 (best)
Playability 3.6
Durability 3.2
Power 3.4
Control 3.6
Comfort 3.8
Touch/Feel 3.6
Spin Potential 3.6
Holding Tension 3.2
Resistance to Movement 3.0

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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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