Tennis Industry magazine

 

Playtest: Klip Detonator 16

By Greg Raven

Klip Detonator is another of Klip’s many Pro Doubles hybrid string offerings, this one combining Klip’s K-Boom poly with its Excellerator nylon. Klip recommends using K-Boom in the mains, and the Excellerator in the crosses. We’ve published playtest reports of four other Klip hybrids, Blast 17 (April 2004), X-Plosive 17 (November 2004), Screamer 17 (June 2005), and Lightning 16 (January 2006).

Klip Detonator

The K-Boom poly is a co-polymer with a carbon resin finish. In USRSA lab tests, we found that K-Boom 17 is one of the softer polys, with a dynamic stiffness of 234 pounds-per-inch.

The Excellerator nylon is a DuPont high modulus PA66 multifilament, twisted and bonded together with a softer polyurethane resin. The result, according to Klip, is a high-end multifilament with 30 percent more fiber than most other multifilament strings. The unique bonding of the high-density filaments uses less resin, providing more of a gut-like feel. In USRSA lab tests, we found Excellerator to be about average in dynamic stiffness at 195 pounds-per-inch, with a tension loss of only 11.44 pounds. (See the September/October 2006 issue of RSI for full string lab test results.)

According to Klip, Detonator is designed for string breakers who are looking for more feel than is typically available in an all-poly string-job, and for players just looking for a clean, crisp-playing string hybrid.

Detonator is available in 16 and 17 in silver/natural. It is priced from $10.50 per set with 22-foot mains and 22-foot crosses. For more information or to order, contact Klip at 866-554-7872, or visit klipstrings.com.

In the lab

We tested the 16-gauge Detonator, which is made up of 17-gauge K-Boom and 16-gauge Excellerator. (The 17-gauge Detonator is made up of 18-gauge K-Boom and 17-gauge Excellerator.) The coils measured 23’8” (K-Boom) and 24’2” (Excellerator). The diameters measured 1.17-1.21 mm and 1.24-1.27 mm prior to stringing, and 1.17-1.20 mm and 1.18-1.22 mm after stringing (K-Boom and Excellerator, respectively). We recorded a stringbed stiffness of 73 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 10 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. Detonator added 15 grams to the weight of our unstrung frame.

The string was tested for five weeks by 37 USRSA playtesters, with NTRP ratings from 3.0 to 6.0. These are blind tests, with playtesters receiving unmarked strings in unmarked packages. Average number of hours playtested was 19.7.

Our playtesters found Detonator easy to install. The bit of coil memory on the K-Boom isn’t bad because you’re only working with half a set, and then only for the mains, where it glides through the grommets. The Excellerator is soft and easy to weave in the crosses, yet blocked holes are not a problem.

No playtester broke the sample during stringing, six reported problems with coil memory, two reported problems tying knots, and none reported friction burn.

On the court

If you remember how well other Klip Pro Doubles hybrids have rated in our playtests, you’ll not be surprised by the results for Detonator. Detonator scored well above average for Durability, Holding Tension, and Resistance to Movement, each of which is important for a string that you want to last. Twenty-four of our 37 testers told us that Detonator has better or much better durability compared to other 16-gauge strings.

At the same time, it also scored above average for Playability, Control, and Spin Potential, which means that not only does it last, but it’s a pleasure to use.

The bottom line is that Klip Detonator garnered above-average overall ratings. Keep in mind that even though Klip recommends that tension of the K-Boom mains be reduced by 5 percent from normal tension, we had our playtest team install mains and crosses at the same tension. Dropping the tension on the mains would give more power and comfort, and might even increase the playability.

Seven playtesters broke the sample during play (presumably, the crosses).

Conclusion

Detonator seems to be another great-performing hybrid from Klip. And even though you get the same Excellerator for the crosses as you do in Klip’s premium Lightning Pro Doubles hybrid, Detonator’s per-package price is almost half that of the Lightning. Judging by the rankings it received (and the high number of positive comments) from our playtesters, Detonator is a real contender.

Playtester comments

“For a hybrid, this is one of the softest I’ve ever used. It has good spin and excellent durability. Surprisingly, it has very good touch and is comfortable on the arm. It is one of the best-feeling hybrids I’ve tried.” 5.0 male all-court player using Head i.Prestige MP strung at 56 pounds LO (Babolat Pro Hurricane 17)

“This hybrid has wonderful feel and great control—enhanced no doubt by a combination that provides the proper amount of bite, comfort, and power.” 5.0 male baseliner with moderate spin using Prince O3 Tour MS strung at 60 pounds CP (Prince Sweet Perfection 17)

“I really enjoyed the spin and control. The playability was exceptional.” 3.5 male all-court player using Prince Turbo Outlaw MP strung at 60 pounds LO (Gamma Synthetic Gut 16)

“I really enjoy playing with this string. It is easier on the arm than many of its peers, and it has the right mix of control and feel. It is perfect for those who want durability with a multifilament feel. Playing with this string makes you look forward to using it again.” 5.5 male all-court player using Prince Airstick OS strung at 58 pounds LO (Prince Premier w/Softflex 16)

“This has better feel than most other hybrids. More importantly, it is easy on the arm. This is proof that hybrids have come along way in the last two years.” 4.5 male all-court player using Prince Shark DB OS strung at 63 pounds LO (Babolat Conquest Ti 16)

“This hybrid strikes a better balance between durability and comfort than anything I have ever played. The stiff mains provide spin and depth control, while the softer crosses add some nice pocketing, comfort, and power. The manufacturer is right on the mark, creating a hybrid that bites the ball instead of the tendons. For dirt-ballers with western grips, look no further: This is a confidence string designed for big swings and mindless, all-day spin. The poly is not a deal breaker for timid swingers, meek pokers, or finicky touch artists: Just string it loose and let the soft crosses shine.” 5.5 male baseliner with heavy spin using Babolat Pure Drive Roddick strung at 68 pounds CP (Kirschbaum Touch turbo 17)

“With many years of playing and stringing behind me, I’ve found very few hybrids I really like. However, I like this one. There is no problem stringing or tying knots. This string holds tension well and the mains have very little movement. It not only provides plenty of punch and control, but exceptional ball bite.” 4.5 male all-court player using Head Protector strung at 58 pounds LO (Wilson Sensation 16)

“This is a great string, with good power and control. The durability and tension maintenance are well above average. It is a joy to use.” 4.5 male all-court player using Head i.Radical OS strung at 65 pounds LO (Alpha Gut 2000 17)

“This is a high performance hybrid, one of the nicest I’ve played. Though harsh at first, it has great pop, excellent tension maintenance, and very little movement.” 5.0 male all-court player using Wilson nTour strung at 55 pounds CP (Luxilon Big Banger Alu Power Rough 16L)

“This string holds up remarkably well. Excellent tension maintenance, comfort, and power.” 3.5 male all-court player using Babolat Pure Drive strung at 58 pounds (Natural Gut 16)

“I enjoyed this string. It plays with a perfect combination of power and control.” 4.0 female all-court player using Head Flexpoint 4 strung at 63 pounds LO (Nylon 15)

“This is a pleasure to string. The polyester has minimal friction on the grommets and the crosses glide easily. On the court, it offers great control and spin. Despite the stiffness of the poly, it is surprisingly comfortable. Based on my experience with polyester, the tension and elasticity losses are lower than anticipated.” 5.0 male all-court player using Head Flexpoint Instinct strung at 60 pounds CP (Luxilon Big Banger Alu Power 16L)

“The poly is 100% easier to work with than its peers and the crosses have low coil memory. Overall, this hybrid is a joy to work with.” 5.5 male all-court player using Prince O3 Tour MP strung at 61 pounds CP (Prince Synthetic Gut with Duraflex 16)

“This string has a solid feel and nice pop! It would play better if strung down 4 lbs.” 4.0 male baseliner with heavy spin using Head i.X3 MP strung at 58 pounds CP (Luxilon Alu Ice Blue 16)

“The stiffness of the stringbed requires a harder swing to unlock the playability. Topspin drives stay in, but touch shots are harder to execute. This string holds tension well.” 5.0 male all-court player using Wilson nPro Surge strung at 40 pounds LO (Luxilon Big Banger Alu Power Rough 16L)

“In colder conditions, the strings are harder and lose feel, especially in the upper hoop. Not only does this string have good feel, touch, and power, but also the sweet spot feels larger. While the crosses compliment the stiff mains, they do tend to notch after a short time.” 5.5 male all-court player using Head i.Radical MP strung at 57 pounds CP (Prince Synthetic Gut with Duraflex 16)

“I really enjoy playing with this hybrid. The crosses are some of the softest I’ve strung and played. The playability is greatly enhanced by a nice mix of pocketing and bite. I would consider switching to this string.” 4.0 male baseliner with heavy spin using Volkl DNX 8 strung at 58 pounds (Gosen OG-Sheep Micro Super 17)

“This is easy to string, with less coil memory than anticipated. It plays quite nicely and has good power and control. The strings don’t move very much—a pleasant surprise.” 4.5 male all-court player using Prince O3 White MP strung at 58 pounds LO (Pacific Space Power TX 16L)

“Once a poly blend, always a poly blend. This does a great job at holding tension. It is recommended for players who tend to break strings before they go dead. If you are looking for playability and durability, this is worth a try.” 5.0 male all-court player using Wilson nBlade OS strung at 63 pounds CP (Gamma TNT2 Fusion Plus 19)

“This is a viable alternative to my natural gut hybrid. Though it requires a break-in period, it feels good thereafter. It has better than anticipated spin.” 5.0 male serve and volleyer using Wilson nSix One Tour strung at 48 pounds CP (Luxilon Big Banger Alu Power/Babolat VS Touch 17/16)

“This string stays in place as well as any string I have ever used. The comfort—for a hybrid built around stiff mains—is above average.” 3.5 male all-court player using Prince Vortex MP strung at 52 pounds LO (Gamma Synthetic Gut 16)

“This string would be great for a 4.5 or better player with a high swing speed. This is a great make-your-own-power, control string.” 5.5 male all-court player using Wilson nSix One 95 (68 holes) strung at 58 pounds CP (Gamma Synthetic Gut 16)

“Polyester generally lacks feel and comfort. This string is designed for baseline spin artists. It is much better than some of its peers.” 5.0 male all-court player using Wilson Hyper Pro Staff Surge X MP strung at 60 pounds (Tecnifibre 515 SPL 17)

“This string has a pleasing stiffness, with good power and control.” 6.0 male all-court player using Wilson nTour 2 strung at 58 pounds CP (Wilson NXT 17)

“For a polyester, this is on the powerful side. For long, fast swings, I would advise higher tensions in order to curb the rebound speed. The durability is impressive. This string shows no wear after 14 hours.” 4.0 male all-court player using Prince AirDrive strung at 63 pounds CP (Wilson Sensation/Prince Synthetic Gut with Duraflex 17/18)

“This string is a bit stiffer than my multifilament. It plays like a classic poly/gut hybrid, but with lower power and touch. This string is not dead by any means though. A great choice for heavy hitters looking for durability.” 4.0 male all-court player using Tecnifibre T Feel 290 XL strung at 58 pounds CP (Klip Excellerator 17)

“This is an extremely stiff string. Similar to Kevlar, it has no coil memory. I reduced tension by 5 lbs, making it playable. I lost power at the baseline. This is also a very durable string, with no notching after 18 hours of play. I would recommend it to chronic string breakers.” 4.5 male baseliner with heavy spin using Wilson nSix-One Tour strung at 50 pounds LO (Wilson NXT Tour 17)

“This string has great spin potential and good control. Between hour 10 and 15, however, it caused elbow and shoulder pain.” 4.5 male all-court player using Wilson nBlade strung at 59 pounds CP (Wilson NXT 16)

“Though the soft crosses make it easy to string, I think they contributed to less depth and trajectory control. Additionally, the strings move too much.” 3.0 male baseliner with heavy spin using Prince 03 Blue strung at 65 pounds LO (Luxilon Big Banger Timo 18)

“Polyester tends to ‘eat’ soft crosses and this hybrid is no exception. The mains are adequate, but not as good as the best-of-breed polys.” 5.0 male all-court player using Head Liquidmetal Marauder strung at 64 pounds LO (Luxilon Big Banger Original 16)

“The overall softness of this hybrid leads to a lack of control and spin. For those who dislike the firmness of most polys, this string is the perfect introduction to the polyester universe.” 4.5 male all-court player using Dunlop 300G strung at 66 pounds LO (Wilson Enduro Pro 18)

“The initial six hours provide excellent control, power, and feel. However, the feel and touch diminish quickly. This combination is perfect against hard hitters because it offers great control. However, you will have to work harder to generate pace against defensive players.” 4.0 male baseliner with moderate spin using Pro Kennex Type C 98 Redondo Edition strung at 56 pounds CP (Gamma TNT2 18)

“This string was average in almost every department, with no outstanding qualities.” 4.0 male all-court player using Fischer Pro No. 1 strung at 65 pounds CP (Babolat VS Team 17)

“I always look forward to the crisp pop of new strings. This string did not deliver. It feels dead from the first hit. I do not like anything about this string.” 4.0 male all-court player using Triple Threat Graphite MP strung at 62 pounds CP (Luxilon Big Banger Original 16)

“This string lacks touch, feel, and spin. Balls tend to fly due to a lack of bite. The strings move almost immediately, but they do not fray.” 4.0 male all-court player using Prince O3 Tour MP strung at 61 pounds LO (Wilson Enduro Tour 16)

“This string not only has good control and feel, but it shines from the baseline, where full swings are rewarded with more than sufficient control and topspin. The crosses suffered excessive wear and broke too easily.” 3.5 male baseliner with heavy spin using Head Liquidmetal Radical MP strung at 58 pounds CP (Gamma Live Wire Professional 16)

“This hybrid doesn’t offer any advantages over high quality polys. The softer crosses did not enhance playability as much as anticipated.” 4.0 male all-court player using Head Flexpoint 4 strung at 60 pounds LO (Luxilon Big Banger Alu Rough 16)

(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 14
about as easy 20
not quite as easy 1
not nearly as easy 1
OVERALL PLAYABILITY
(compared to string played most often)
Number of testers who said it was:
much better 1
somewhat better 6
about as playable 10
not quite as playable 17
not nearly as playable 3
OVERALL DURABILITY
(compared to other strings of similar gauge)
Number of testers who said it was:
much better 5
somewhat better 19
about as durable 8
not quite as durable 4
not nearly as durable 1
RATING AVERAGES
From 1 to 5 (best)
Playability 3.2
Durability 4.1
Power 3.1
Control 3.4
Comfort 2.9
Touch/Feel 2.8
Spin Potential 3.2
Holding Tension 3.6
Resistance to Movement 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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