Playtest: Klip Venom 17
By Greg Raven
Klip Venom is a high-end multifilament made of DuPont High Modulus PA66 nylon, which is impregnated with polyurethane resin and then twisted with high tenacity monofilament wraps and two polyester metallic yarns. Klip calls these two visible black twists Venom’s “power coil.”
According to Klip, Venom offers excellent ball pocketing and comfort qualities. This combination makes Venom a great choice for players seeking feel, power, and playability in an arm-friendly string with good control. Klip also recommends Venom for those looking for a way of adding comfort to a stiff racquet.
Venom is available in 16 and 17 in natural with black “power coil.” It is priced from $14. For more information or to order, contact Klip at 866 KLIP USA (554 7872), or visit klipstrings.com.
In the lab
We tested the 17-gauge Venom. The coil measured 41 feet 8 inches. The diameter measured 1.27-1.28 mm prior to stringing, and 1.22-1.23 mm after stringing. We recorded a stringbed stiffness of 79 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 73 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. Venom added 13 grams to the weight of our unstrung frame.
The string was tested for five weeks by 34 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 33.
According to our playtest team, Klip Venom is very easy to install. Not only did the team rate it easier than average to string, but there were only three reported problems with the stringing portion of the test, each of which was due to coil memory. No playtester broke his sample during stringing, reported problems tying knots, or reported friction burn. As you might expect with a 17-gauge string, there were no problems with blocked holes.
On the court
Our playtest team agreed with Klip about the playability of Venom, rating it well above average in this category. Part of this might have been due to the thinner gauge, as more than half of our playtesters use a 17- or 18-gauge string. Yet, durability didn’t suffer much, as our team awarded Venom an above-average score in that category, too, along with above-average scores in Power, Control, Comfort, Spin Potential, Tension Holding, and Resistance to Movement. Not surprisingly, the result is an above-average overall score for Venom.
Five players broke Venom during play, two at five hours, one at six, one at nine, and one at 18 hours.
Our playtesters seemed to appreciate having a chance to use a string that is easy to install and has good playability — and who wouldn’t? Some of our playtesters were also impressed by Venom’s appearance, likening it to some of the favorite strings of old. The appearance alone might be a reason to use it, if you’re stringing a racquet that has to have that “old time” look.
Based on the ratings given by our playtest team, Venom’s qualities seem to be very well balanced. This implies that a wide range of players could find something to like about Venom.
“A real surprise. Judging from the exterior it looked liked a turbocharged average synthetic. But once on the court it showed its real colors. I played three doubles matches and it had great touch, feel, and power. A wolf in sheep’s clothing. This could become another favorite.” 5.0 male all court player using Wilson nSix-One 95 strung at 54 pounds LO (Wilson NXT Tour 17)
“Great string. Loved the feel. No break-in needed. Felt great immediately.” 5.0 male baseliner with moderate spin using Prince Tour Diablo MP strung at 62 pounds CP (Prince Premier 17)
“A good-playing string with lots of power that held tension well. Overall, a really good string.” 4.0 male all court player using Pro Kennex Core 10 strung at 65 pounds LO (Tecnifibre TRC 16)
“Very durable, decent spin, and great control. Very crisp for about 18 hours, after which the crosses started to move. Even this did not drastically decrease the great aspects of this string.” 4.0 male baseliner with heavy spin using Dunlop 200G strung at 65 pounds CP (Prince Synthetic Gut w/Duraflex 16)
“String is a pleasant surprise. Above average across the board. No one area was phenomenal, but overall one of my favorite strings in the past three years. Very nice control at low tensions. The look of the string reminded me of the old Imperial Gut.” 5.0 male serve-and-volleyer using Pro Kennex Ki-20 strung at 42 pounds LO (Gamma Durablast 16)
“Easy to install, and it maintained tension exceptionally well. Played with a crisp, snappy feel while offering good control during the entire testing period. I like the string.” 4.0 male baseliner with moderate spin using Wilson T3 OS strung at 54 pounds CP (Wilson Stamina 18)
“I normally play with poly strung at the top of the range for control, and was concerned that this string may not provide the stringbed stiffness to give me the control I want. I am surprised this string maintains tension and provides excellent control with sufficient feel. It also seemed more durable than expected.” 4.0 male all court player using Head Protector 280 strung at 60 pounds CP (Unique Pro Poly 17)
“Feels very similar to the string I normally use, although a little firmer and less forgiving with the extra braid around the core.” 5.5 male all court player using Wilson H Tour MP strung at 55lbs pounds CP (Wilson Extreme Synthetic Gut 16)
“Good string for the average player looking for durability and consistency.” 5.5 male all court player using Babolat Pure Drive strung at 67 pounds LO (Prince Perfection Control 16)
“With a thinner string, I was surprised to see it last as long as it did. I liked the feel and control of the string; seems to hold tension quite well. String did have some peeling after a week of play.” 5.0 male serve-and-volleyer using Wilson n1 strung at 65 pounds LO (Wilson NXT Tour 16)
“Feels good playing. I prefer a soft string as I’m not a breaker. Control us good. Overall, a nice string. I don’t love it as much as some of those we’ve tried lately, but I would play it.” 3.5 male serve-and-volleyer using Wilson Pro Staff 6.1 Stretch strung at 62 pounds CP (Gamma TNT Fat Core 17)
“Very nice string overall. Since I normally use a thinner gauge, I would like to try this in a 17. It had good control, although lacking zip on the serve. Like a lot of the new strings, it maintained its resistance to movement. A reasonable price would make this a stockable string. A high price would group it in the pack for those who request it.” 4.0 male all court player using Prince O3 Red strung at 61 pounds LO (Gamma TNT2 Pro Plus 17L)
“Good string for playing and teaching. Good durability and resistance to movement. If I was looking for a durable, good playing string than this would be considered.” 5.0 male all court player using Head Liquidmetal Radical MP strung at pounds LO (Prince Synthetic Gut 17)
“Nice string — shows very little use and holds tension well. Could not spin the ball as well as normal and seem to have a little less power. Nice feel and touch on volleys.” 4.5 male all court player using Head Liquidmetal 8 strung at 60 pounds LO (Prince Synthetic Gut w/Duraflex 16)
“On durability — there was no noticeable wear in 25 hours. This appears to be an average nylon string. Because of playability, it would be of interest to know the price before judging weather to stock it.” 3.5 male all court player using Wilson HH 5.7 OS strung at 58/56 pounds CP (Wilson Sensation 17)
“Nice string. Felt a little stiff for first hour of play, but improved with age. Very comfy on volleys but little pop on groundies.” 4.0 male using Prince Turbo Shark OS strung at 65 pounds LO (Prince Synthetic Gut w/Duraflex 18)
“A very nice string to string and play with. I enjoyed its control and power. Great for an all-courter. Cannot say anything negative about the string.” 5 male baseliner with heavy spin using Head Flexpoint Tour strung at 58 pounds CP (Head FXP 17)
“This string was fairly soft, though it didn’t offer as much feel as I would like. I missed the spin of my thinner gauge. I was impressed by the tension maintenance, and would consider it for my shop.” 5.5 male serve-and-volleyer using Head Liquidmetal Prestige Mid strung at 64 pounds LO (Head PPS 18)
“A good overall string with good control.” 3.5 male all court player using Head Liquidmetal Instinct MP strung at 58 pounds CP (Gamma Professional 16)
“String plays and feels like a thin gauge. It also reminds me of spiral gut.” 4.5 male all court player using Head Flexpoint Tour Mid strung at 59 pounds CP (Head Synthetic Gut/Head FXP 17/17)
“Just about average. When I first saw and felt this string I was excited because it appeared to be a very playable product. Once I had a chance to test it, I immediately knew that it is an average string. Too bad!” 5.0 male serve-and-volleyer using Wilson nPS 95 strung at 57 pounds CP (Natural Gut 16/17)
“The string felt somewhat stiff while being strung, yet it had a fair amount of stretch during constant-pull tensioning. Played quite pingy, especially in colder temps. Unremarkable in most areas but appears to be fairly durable for the somewhat thinner guage.” 4.5 male all court player using Volkl BB 10 strung at 62 pounds CP (Tecnifibre NRG2 17 & 18)
“The strings seemed powerful but not much feel.” 5.0 male all court player using Wilson HH 3.3 Outer Limits strung at 63 pounds LO (Prince Synthetic Gut 17)
“The string was difficult to string due to kinking and coil memory. It played pretty good after about an hour. A dampener definitely makes it feel better.” 4.5 male all court player using Prince More Control DB 850 OS strung at 62 pounds LO (Prince Premier 16)
“Initially, I was pleased with the overall playability, control, and power. However, after approximately 10 hours of play, the string started losing playability and control. I finally gave up and cut it out. Overall: just an average string.” 4.0 male all court player using Head I. X 5 OS strung at 5.5 pounds CP (Wilson NXT 17)
“Nice power. Overall this is a well-rounded string, but it’s nothing spectacular. My main complaint is a lack of control when playing against hard hitters. The ball tends to trampoline more than my usual string. Also durability is less than expected.” 4.5 male baseliner with heavy spin using Pro Kennex 7g strung at 68 pounds CP (Babolat Pro Hurricane 16)
“Looked like it was going to break, but held out for another day.” 6.0 male all court player using Prince DB Tour OS strung at 65 pounds LO (Wilson Sensation/Stamina 16)
“Very soft and flexible to work with; felt stiff during play.” 3.5 male all court player using Volkl Tour 9 V-Engine strung at 57 pounds CP (Klippermate Legend Gut 16)
“Can’t get a real good take on this string — seems pretty average to me.” 4.5 female all court player using Prince O3 Tour MP strung at 58 pounds CP (Tecnifibre 17)
“Seems like a thin gauge — 17g or 18g — and feels almost brittle. I have a game where I need good feel and this is lacking.” 3.5 male all court player using Wilson n5 MP strung at 63 pounds LO (Wilson NXT 16)
“Ugly strings. Reminds me of the days when we used cheap strings to learn our trade. I cannot remember being so happy to break a set of strings.” 5.0 male all court player using Prince O3 Tour MP strung at 70 pounds CP (Prince Sweet Perfection 16)
“Don’t like the string.” 5.0 male all court player using Wilson nTour MP strung at pounds LO (Babolat XCel Premium 16)
(Strings normally used by testers are indicated in parentheses.)
| EASE OF STRINGING
(compared to other strings)
|Number of testers who said it was:|
|about as easy||19|
|not quite as easy||3|
|not nearly as easy||0|
| OVERALL PLAYABILITY
(compared to string played most often)
|Number of testers who said it was:|
|about as playable||9|
|not quite as playable||15|
|not nearly as playable||3|
| OVERALL DURABILITY
(compared to other strings of similar gauge)
|Number of testers who said it was:|
|about as durable||18|
|not quite as durable||5|
|not nearly as durable||1|
|From 1 to 5 (best)|
|Resistance to Movement||3.2|
See all articles by Greg Raven
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 firstname.lastname@example.org, or through Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. He plays tennis five days a week, and is turning into an avid cyclist.