Tennis Industry magazine

 

Playtest: Wilson Super Spin 16

By Greg Raven

Wilson Super Spin is a hexagonally shaped nylon string with a core consisting of two simultaneously extruded layers. Around the core are wrapped 20 nylon fibers. The hexagonal shape is achieved when the final outer layer is added. According to Wilson, co-extruding the core results in a soft feel with good energy return.

Wilson Super Spin 16

Wilson tells us that it is aiming Super Spin at players looking for more spin in a comfortable and durable string, although it is also a good choice for players who use and like nylon string, but are looking for something different to enhance play without giving up the benefits of nylon.

Super Spin is available in 16 gauge only (1.33 mm) in crystal, blue, orange, red, and yellow. The pricing is $4.50 per set of 40 feet, $15 for a “mini-reel” of 125 feet (crystal only), and $75 for reels of 660 feet (in red, yellow, or crystal). The mini-reel is offered for those who want to use Super Spin in hybrid string jobs. For more information or to order, contact Wilson at 773-714-6400, or visit wilson.com.

In the lab

We tested Super Spin in crystal. The coil measured 40 feet. The diameter measured 1.24-1.34 mm prior to stringing, and 1.21-1.29 mm after stringing. The large variance in measurements is due to the hexagonal shape of Super Spin. 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. Super Spin added 17 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. On average, each member of our playtest team used Super Spin for 18.6 hours.

Super Spin has a slightly rough texture, which is enough to catch your fingers a little bit when weaving the crosses. However, this same texture also helps you hold the string between your fingers, and the crosses seem to pull through the mains just fine. You can get some light scarring on the mains, but this is not unusual these days, and it doesn’t affect playability or durability. If you face a blocked hole, you’ll be glad to learn that Super Spin cuts to a fine point (AKA plastic awl) better than just about any string you can think of.

No playtester broke his sample during stringing, nine reported problems with coil memory, four reported problems tying knots, and 12 reported friction burn.

On the court

It’s always nice when a product meets or exceeds your expectations, and that’s a fair summary of our playtest team’s experience with Super Spin, which placed second overall in the Spin Potential category out of the 110 strings we’ve playtested to date. In case you’re wondering, the first place string is none other than Wilson Natural 16 (that’s “natural” as in “natural gut”). Our playtest team also rated Super Spin well above average in Playability, Durability, Control, Comfort, Holding Tension, and Resistance to Movement. Our team also rated Power as above average. It’s almost anticlimactic to learn that the overall average score was also well above average. As one playtester put it, “It excels in nearly every category.”

Two players broke the sample during testing, one at 3.5 hours and one at 6 hours.

Conclusion

Out of our nine rating categories, our playtest team rated Wilson Super Spin well above average in seven of them. This would be a good result for a high-end nylon, but Super Spin could give bargain strings some real competition based on price alone. That’s a heck of a combination.

In addition to our nine main rating categories, we also ask our playtesters to compare the playability of the test string against that of their favorite string. Not surprisingly, most of the time the test string doesn’t fare too well. Yet once again, Super Spin did well even in this area, rating in the top 20 percent of all the strings we’ve tested to date.

It’s no secret that textured strings haven’t always lived up to the claims made about them. In fact, lab tests suggest that the shape of the string doesn’t affect the spin very much, and over the years, our playtest teams have been extremely conservative in granting high ratings for Spin Potential. Based on our playtest team’s evaluation of Wilson Super Spin, it looks as though it’s time to go back to the lab and try again.

Playtester comments

“Very easy to string. Great tension maintenance and good spin potential. This string is very comfortable at impact.” 5.0 male all-court player using Head Prestige Tour strung at 58 pounds LO (polyester/natural gut 17)

“This string has outstanding durability and comfort. The low power level allows for a full swing, which adds loads of spin control.” 5.0 male all-court player using Head Flexpoint Instinct strung at 59/57 pounds CP (polyester/nylon 16L/17)

“This string is a very pleasant surprise. It excels in nearly every category. I expected a bland nylon, but I discovered outstanding power, feel, and touch. This is definitely a candidate for my next hybrid.” 5.0 male all-court player using Wilson nSix One Tour strung at 51 pounds CP (polyester/nylon 17/16)

“While the comfort and control are superb, the spin potential is simply off the charts. You can literally feel this string grab and rotate the ball. To top it off, the tension maintenance and durability are among the best I’ve seen. I’m sold.” 4.5 male all-court player using Yonex RD Ti 70 Long MP strung at 55 pounds CP (Luxilon Big Banger Alu Power Rough 16L)

“This string does everything well. It is very solid and predictable, with great control and durability. The crisp, powerful response made volleys easy to execute.” 5.5 male serve-and-volleyer using Prince More Game OS strung at 60 pounds LO (Pacific Prime Gut 16L)

“The bite provided by this string is impressive. I have played with various spin strings before, but nothing compares to this. Contrary to my expectations, this string has a very soft feel and great pocketing. Recommended to those who are looking for some kick!” 4.0 male all-court player using Yonex RDS 001 strung at 54 pounds CP (Wilson Sensation 16)

“After a minor adjustment period, this string has great feel and power. The feel is superior to my typical nylon selection. This is a great choice for the intermediate player looking for more feel.” 5.0 male all-court player using Head Flexpoint Prestige Mid strung at 60 pounds LO (Head UltraTour 17)

“This string has a great feel. It is very soft and comfortable. The control and power are impressive. I’m considering a permanent switch. It excels in nearly every category.” 6.0 male all-court player using Wilson nTour Two strung at 55 pounds CP (Wilson NXT 16)

“This string has an excess of coil memory. It is surprisingly soft and holds tension well. It is also very responsive and powerful. The comfort and playability are outstanding.” 4.0 male baseliner with heavy spin using Wilson nSix One strung at 50 pounds LO (Wilson NXT 17)

“This is one of those strings that plays well right out of the box, with nice bite and loads of dwell time.” 4.5 male all-court player using Head Liquidmetal Heat strung at 58 pounds LO (Gamma Live Wire Professional 16)

“Very easy to install. I’ve used shaped strings in the past and they were not arm friendly or durable. This string is not only durable, but also very comfortable and responsive. It’s good to know that someone finally got this concept right! ” 6.0 male all-court player using Wilson nSix two strung at 48 pounds CP (Gamma Live Wire XP 17)

“This is a truly enjoyable string. The control and comfort are outstanding.” 4.0 male serve-and-volleyer using Head Flexpoint 4 strung at 58 pounds LO (nylon 17)

“Great spin and control. The soft, elastic response makes for nice pocketing, comfort, and power. This is a great string for the baseline game.” 4.0 male baseliner with heavy spin using Fischer Vacuum Classic 280 MP strung at 60 pounds LO (Prince Synthetic Gut w/Duraflex 17)

“This is one comfortable string. The control and comfort are evident from the first hit. The ball seems to stay on the strings longer, providing more spin control. It’s also one of the most predictable strings I’ve ever used. Even at my low, arm-friendly tension, the trampoline effect is virtually non-existent. I’ve found my next string!” 4.5 male baseliner with heavy spin using Head Prestige Classic 600 strung at 49 pounds LO (polyester/nylon multifilament 17)

“This string settles very quickly and seems to do it all. It possesses crispness, power, and touch. The tension loss is minimal, despite hard play. Given the incredible spin potential, this string compares favorably to anything I’ve tried.” 5.0 male all-court player using Head i.S2 OS strung at 61 pounds LO (Luxilon Big Banger Original Rough/Isospeed Professional 17)

“Installation is trouble free. This is baseliner’s string for those with longer swings. Serves and groundstrokes are a pleasure. It is not quite as user-friendly on volleys, angles, or touch shots. The feel is not unpleasant, just a little different.” 5.0 male all-court player using Wilson Hyper Pro Staff Surge 5.1 strung at 60 pounds CP (Klip Screamer Titanium 16)

“This string requires no adjustment period. Not only are the comfort and control evident from the first hit, it does not lose playability over time. ” 3.5 male all-court player using Wilson Pro Staff 6.1 strung at 62 pounds CP (Gamma TNT Fat Core 17)

“This string has above average playability and control. The power is just right and the tension maintenance is surprisingly good.” 4.5 male all-court player using Prince Vortex MP strung at 55 pounds LO (Gamma Synthetic Gut 16)

“This string plays great at the maximum recommended tension. Although there is some notching, durability is not an issue. This is a great string and well worth a spot in my inventory.” 4.0 male all-court player using Prince Air Tight OS strung at 63 pounds CP (Wilson Sensation/Prince Synthetic Gut w/Duraflex 17/18)

“The hexagonal shape does not affect installation or spin potential in any unique way. This string holds tension well and stays in place. The playability is average. I would definitely stock a thinner gauge, if one ever comes on the market.” 4.0 male all-court player using Yonex RQS 11 strung at 60 pounds LO (Gamma TNT 2 17)

“This string has a very solid feel. The ball bite is exceptional, which allows for optimal spin control. This is not a power string, so it is recommended to those with full swings. ” 5.0 male serve-and-volleyer using Prince O3 Tour MS strung at 60 pounds CP (Prince Sweet Perfection 17)

“I really like this string. The spin potential is outstanding. Players with solid spin serves will love it. This is more of a control string and would be ideal for the aggressive baseliner.” 3.5 male baseliner with heavy spin using Head Liquidmetal Radical MP strung at 58 pounds CP (Gamma Livewire Professional 16)

“This string has significant coil memory. The lack of string movement produces incredible spin and control. The feel and comfort are excellent. It has a soft touch and absorbs the ball’s energy with little trampoline effect. The result is a low-powered hit that makes for great control.” 5.5 male all-court player using Head Flexpoint Radical MP strung at 57 pounds CP (Head RIP Control 16)

“This string has great bite and is recommend to topspin players looking for a durable non-poly, non-Kevlar option. Those looking for touch and feel will probably need a short adjustment period.” 4.5 male all-court player using Prince Shark DB OS strung at 61 pounds (Babolat Conquest 16)

“This string has pretty good playability. The power is noticeable from the beginning, but the touch and comfort are lacking.” 4.5 male baseliner with heavy spin using Head i. Radical MP strung at 60 pounds CP (Babolat Conquest 17)

“While there is a little extra bite, touch shots and soft angles are in short supply. There is more control when taking a full swing from the backcourt. It’s easy to keep the ball between the lines. No matter how big the swing, the ball seems to find the court. The extra bite helps bring the ball down. ” 3.5 male all-court player using Head Liquidmetal 8 strung at 61 pounds LO (Wilson Sensation 16)

“This string has excellent spin potential. The added spin was apparent from the first hit. Unfortunately, the strings moved alot and the strings broke. Perhaps using this as part of a hybrid would do the trick.” 5.0 male all-court player using Wilson nSix One strung at 66 pounds CP (Prince Synthetic Gut w/Duraflex 16)

“With no string movement and a very firm feel, this is a great control string. However, there is some noticeable tension loss. It is also a little harsh on the arm. I would use this in a hybrid with a soft cross.” 4.0 female baseliner with moderate spin using Pro Kennex Type C 98 Redondo Edition strung at 61 pounds CP (Gamma TNT2 17)

“This string has an elastic feel, but it plays quite crisply. The bite is exceptional and spin comes easily. The comfort level is surprisingly low for a synthetic. Power level is low, making it harder to achieve depth. Recommended to those who bring their own power.” 4.5 male all-court player using Wilson nTour Two strung at 61.5 pounds CP (Gamma Revelation 16)

“The durability, spin, and tension maintenance are top-notch, but the comfort and touch are not a good fit for my short strokes. I would try this in a hybrid with a soft, friendly cross.” 5.0 male all-court player using Fischer Pro Tour FT strung at 66/68 pounds CP (natural gut 17)

“String movement occurs after about eight hours. This string is not suitable for those in search of a crisp response.” 5.0 male touch player using Wilson n4 OS strung at 60 pounds CP (multifilament nylon 16)

“I hit with heavy spin, so I require good bite. This string has more than enough. I had some control issues, though, because the power did not seem predictable. I had some trouble controlling my depth and trajectory.” 4.5 male using Babolat Pure Drive Team strung at 57 pounds LO (polyester 17)

“Despite ample precautions, this string left some friction burn during installation. There is also a surprising amount of string movement during play. The sweetspot is reminiscent of my old T-2000. I had to quit using it due to mild tendon trauma.” 4.5 male all-court player using Head Ti. Radical strung at 66 pounds LO (Alpha Gut 2000 17)

“The elasticity makes each tension pull longer and, thus, increased installation time. Tension loss occurs at a higher rate than with typical nylons. I would recommend pre-stretching.” 4.0 male baseliner with heavy spin using Prince Triple Threat Bandit strung at 60 pounds CP (Gamma Synthetic Gut 16)

“I was not pleased with this string. The playability and power are just average, while the comfort and touch are sub-standard.” 6.0 male all-court player using Wilson nSix One strung at 58 pounds CP (Gamma Synthetic Gut 16)

“This is not a love-connection. While the comfort is acceptable, the playability and power are below average. Polyester users are advised to increase the tension in order to achieve a crisp response. Spin potential was not terrible, but I prefer more bite.” 3.0 male all-court player using Prince 03 Blue strung at 60 pounds LO (polyester 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 5
about as easy 20
not quite as easy 9
not nearly as easy 2
OVERALL PLAYABILITY
(compared to string played most often)
Number of testers who said it was:
much better 2
somewhat better 12
about as playable 5
not quite as playable 14
not nearly as playable 1
OVERALL DURABILITY
(compared to other strings of similar gauge)
Number of testers who said it was:
much better 1
somewhat better 13
about as durable 17
not quite as durable 3
not nearly as durable 0
RATING AVERAGES
From 1 to 5 (best)
Playability 3.4
Durability 3.6
Power 3.2
Control 3.5
Comfort 3.4
Touch/Feel 3.0
Spin Potential (#2 overall to date) 3.8
Holding Tension 3.6
Resistance to Movement 3.6

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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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