Playtest: Luxilon Alu Power Fluoro 123
By Greg Raven
Alu Power Fluoro is the latest monofilament string from Luxilon. It is based on the original Alu Power 125, which took the pro tour by storm before becoming a favorite with other competitive players. It is created with a poly-ether-ether-material augmented with fluorocarbon and aluminum fibers. The fluorocarbon migrates to the outer surface of the string during the extrusion process, and creates a softer feeling string.
Luxilon recommends Alu Power Fluoro to any player seeking more comfort in a softer feeling high performance monofilament string, which includes those seeking to include Luxilon’s famous characteristics in hybrid string combinations.
Alu Power Fluoro 123 is available in 1.23 (17 gauge) in silver. It is priced from $15 for 40 feet, 125-foot mini-reel for $45, and 726-foot reels for $250. For more information or to order, contact Wilson at 773-714-6400, or visit wilson.com.
IN THE LAB
The coil measured 40 feet. The diameter measured 1.22-1.25 mm prior to stringing, and 1.18-1.21 mm after stringing. We recorded a stringbed stiffness of 75 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 12 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. Alu Power Fluoro 123 added 16 grams to the weight of our unstrung frame.
The string was tested for five weeks by 35 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 23.7.
Luxilon recommends lowering the reference tension by at least 10 percent when stringing any of its Big Banger strings. We instructed our playtesters to lower the reference tension by 5 to 10 percent.
Out of the package, Alu Power Fluoro feels much the same as Alu Power. The softness of the added fluorocarbon is felt during play, not during installation. Therefore, installing Alu Power Fluoro is very similar to installing Alu Power, as expected. However, we did not notice any burning of the main strings when installing the crosses, as can sometimes happen with Alu Power. Blocked holes were not a problem.
No playtester broke his sample during stringing, 17 reported problems with coil memory, 6 reported problems tying knots, and none reported friction burn.
ON THE COURT
Our playtest team loved Alu Power Fluoro’s Resistance to Movement, Durability, Tension Retention, and Control. Alu Power Fluoro’s scores for Resistance to Movement put it in a tie for first place of the 119 strings we’ve playtested to date. In the Durability category, it scored a third-place finish of all the strings we’ve tested. In the category of Tension Retention, Alu Power Fluoro came in seventh overall, and in the category of Control, it came in 14th overall. On top of this, each of these four top-20 scores puts Luxilon Alu Power Fluoro ahead of all other Luxilon strings in these categories. In addition — and this will be no surprise if you’re familiar with Alu Power — Alu Power Fluoro scored well above average in the category of Spin Potential. Alu Power Fluoro also received above average scores for Playability and Power.
Luxilon Alu Power Fluoro looks to be an excellent candidate to extend Luxilon’s reach into the market. Recreational players who like — or think they might like — the benefits of Alu Power but want a more comfortable string, should give Alu Power Fluoro a try. Between the softer feel and the fact that our playtesters felt that it holds tension well, you have a premium monofilament that might suit a wide variety of big hitters, both straight up and in hybrid string sets.
“Finally, a comfortable polyester that holds tension well. My serve is 5 mph faster. The spin potential is out of this world. I am now a fan of polyester. Sign me up.” 4.5 male all-court player using Wilson nTour Two strung at 60 pounds CP (Gamma Asterisk 16)
“The high coil memory increases the stringing time. It’s worth the wait, though, because this string excels in nearly every category. The playability and control are outstanding. Given the comfort level, I would even recommend it to my less serious recreational players.” 3.0 male using Prince O3 Citron OS strung at 61 pounds LO (Polyester 17)
“This is a great alternative to the Luxilon Big Banger Original, which many of us mortals find a bit too stiff. Finally, a comfortable polyester option for the rest of us!” 5.0 male all-court player using Völkl DNX 10 Mid strung at 62 pounds CP (Prince Synthetic Gut w/Duraflex 16)
“This is the perfect string for a baseline power player interested in comfort and durability. It has a very solid feeling. This isn’t just a niche string for string breakers. It has a high degree of touch on volleys and short angles.” 5.0 male all-court player using Wilson Hyper Pro Staff 5.1 Surge strung at 60 pounds LO (Klip Kicker 16)
“This string represents an improvement over the first generation polys. It has much better touch and feel than its peers, and it’s easy on the arm. It seems to have the benefits of a durability string without the typical downside. I would be confident recommending this string to all my players, even the ones who have shied away from polyester in the past.” 3.5 male all-court player using Head Liquidmetal Radical MP strung at 55 pounds LO (Gamma Professional 16)
“With a 5 percent tension reduction, this string is as comfortable as a polyester/natural gut hybrid. It has great control and the strings don’t move. After 31 hours, it is still playing perfectly. If this isn’t a Luxilon, somebody should be checking patents.” 4.0 male all-court player using Prince Triple Threat Graphite MP strung at 59 pounds CP (Babolat Pro Hurricane 16)
“Installation is quick and easy. I can feel the string pocket and launch the ball. Power is impressive. I would not only recommend this to string breakers, but anybody looking for a high degree of playability.” 4.0 male all-court player using Prince O3 Hybrid Hornet MP strung at 53 pounds LO (Gosen OG Sheep Micro Super 16)
“The crisp response and lack of string movement produce some incredible spin. My kick serve is explosive with this string. I still cannot get over the playability and control.” 4.0 male all-court player using Prince O3 Tour strung at 54 pounds LO (Wilson Sensation 17)
“Control and predictability are essential to feeding good balls in a lesson format. This is the perfect string for hitting well placed balls to one’s students. This string has a very uniform, predictable response. I feel like I have a tremendous amount of control over the ball’s height, depth, spin, and speed.” 4.0 male all-court player using Völkl DNX 8 strung at 58 pounds CP (Wilson Reaction 17)
“This string has nice power and good control. Thankfully, it is not as stiff as other polyesters.” 5.0 male all-court player using Wilson K Six.One Team strung at 53 pounds CP (Polyester 16L)
“This is the most durable string that I have ever used. String movement is non-existent. The feel and power is not quite enough for volleys and touch shots. It is most likely designed for hard hitting baseliners. Everybody else is advised to hybrid it with a soft cross.” 4.5 male all-court player using Head Ti. Radical MP strung at 65 pounds LO (Alpha Gut 2000 17)
“With a 5 percent reduction in tension, this string is quite comfortable and surprisingly powerful. More importantly, unlike with other polyesters, it didn’t bother my wrist.” 4.0 male all-court player using Tecnifibre T Feel 290 XL strung at 56 pounds LO (Klip Excellerator 17)
“This is not your average polyester. It is comfortable and has great feel. It can handle touch shots with ease.” 5.0 male all-court player using Wilson n4 strung at 50 pounds LO (Polyester 16)
“This string has a comfortable feel and good playability. The control on groundies and volleys is striking. The ball comes off the stringbed with a deep, solid thwap.” 5.0 male all-court player using Head Liquidmetal Radical OS strung at 60 pounds CP (Head RIP Control 16)
“This is a stiff string. It holds tension well and there is very little string movement. Touch players are advised to hybrid this with a soft cross.” 4.5 male baseliner with heavy spin using Wilson nSix-One 95 (68 Holes) strung at 45 pounds LO (Wilson NXT 17)
“This string added control, spin, and power to my serve. The tension maintenance is better than expected, considering the breed.” 4.0 male baseliner with heavy spin using Prince Triple Threat Bandit strung at 55 pounds LO (Gamma Synthetic Gut 16)
“This string has a solid feel and tons of pop. Volleys feel very crisp. Players with tender tendons are advised to string at the low end of the range.” 4.5 male baseliner with heavy spin using Wilson nPS strung at 58 pounds CP (Tecnifibre NRG2 16)
“This string has more feel than anticipated. The power, comfort, and spin are incredible. As with most polys, tension loss is noticeable, so pre-stretching is in order.” 4.5 male all-court player using Head Protector MP strung at 56 pounds LO (Luxilon Alu Power Rough 16)
“The spin is excellent and the stringbed feels surprisingly soft. Even more impressive is the shock absorption. Polys have come a long way.” 5.0 male baseliner with heavy spin using Head Prestige Tour 300 MP (660) strung at 56 pounds LO (Babolat Pro Hurricane 17)
“The stringbed is very firm without being uncomfortable. The control is phenomenal. Recommended to heavy hitters and topspin players looking for a comfortable option.” 4.0 male all-court player using Prince Air Tight strung at 60 pounds CP (Wilson Sensation/Prince Synthetic Gut w/Duraflex 17/18)
“This is easier than most polyesters to string. It can be pulled very quickly without tangling. Resistance to movement is very high and tension holds up surprisingly well. This is more powerful than most of the polys I’ve tried, and the power is remarkably easy to control.” 5.0 male all-court player using Head MicroGEL Extreme Pro strung at 58 pounds CP (Pacific Classic Gut 16)
“This string has an nice combination of power and spin. It seems to perform best with longer, harder strokes. The durability is fantastic It is perfect for chronic string breakers who play aggressive tennis.” 5.5 male baseliner with heavy spin using Prince AirStick B1025 OS strung at 54 pounds LO (Wilson Sensation 16)
“This string has a very seductive feel and wonderful control. Like any polester, though, the tension drops over time. Heavy topspin hitters will appreciate the lack of string movement.” 5.0 male serve-and-volleyer using Prince O3 Tour MS strung at 53 pounds CP (Luxilon Alu Power Rough 16L)
“This string is quite stiff. While the control is excellent, I prefer a softer response.” 4.5 male all-court player using Völkl C10 Pro strung at 55 pounds (Natural Gut 17)
“High coil memory and difficulty tying knots make this a tough string to install. On the court, it feels very stiff, especially on slower strokes and touch shots. This is definitely a candidate for a hybrid, as it would work better with a soft cross.” 5 male all-court player using Wilson nSix-One 95 (68 Holes) strung at 58 pounds LO (Gamma Synthetic Gut w/Wearguard 16)
“Plays firm, with a crisp response. Comfort is pretty low and I cannot get a feel for touch shots.” 5.0 male all-court player using Wilson Hyper Pro Staff Extreme 6.7 strung at 62 pounds CP (Polyester/Nylon 18/17)
“This string is pretty consistent with the current crop of polyesters on the market. It would work best in a hybrid. As a full set-up, it has little feel, power, or comfort. Tension maintenance, durability, and resistance to movement place this slightly above its peers. Add a high-performance, multifilament cross, and you would have a very nice set-up.” 4.5 male all-court player using Yonex RD Ti 70 Long MP strung at 52 pounds CP (Luxilon Big Banger Alu Power Rough/Natural Gut 16L/17)
“This feels like a premium poly. It has very good control. The overall playablity does not quite separate it from the pack.” 5.0 male serve-and-volleyer using Prince O3 Hybrid Tour (16×18) strung at 53 pounds CP (Polyester/Natural Gut 17/16)
“This is softer and more comfortable than most strings in the poly family. Unfortunately, it was a little too dead for my liking.” 6.0 male all-court player using Wilson nTour Two strung at 55 pounds CP (Wilson Super Spin 16)
“This is a very easy string to play with, but it lacks the “wow” factor. It does not play markedly different from most of the polyesters I’ve tried. It is slightly more comfortable, but this fact alone will probably not sway people who prefer high playability multifilaments.” 4.5 female all-court player using Head Flexpoint Radical OS strung at 56 pounds LO (Wilson NXT 16)
“This is not as good as Luxilon. It does not have the same feel and touch.” 5.0 male all-court player using Head Liquidmetal Prestige Mid strung at 60 pounds LO (Luxillon Big Banger Alu Power Rough 16L)
“This is a boardy string with very little feel. It has high tension maintenance and durability. It is most likely aimed at heavy hitters as opposed to touch artists.” 6.0 male all-court player using Wilson KSix One (68 Holes) strung at 48 pounds CP (Gamma Live Wire XP 17)
“This string lacks feel. The lack of useful feedback makes it hard to control serves and volleys.” 4.5 male all-court player using Prince O3 White MP strung at 63 pounds LO (Babolat Conquest Ti 16)
“This polyester does not stand out. The stringbed seems to have unpredictable power variations. The sweet spot has some zip, but off-center hits are kind of lifeless. On service returns and volleys, blocked shots failed to penetrate the backcourt.” 4.5 male all-court player using Prince Tour Diablo MP strung at 58 pounds LO (Babolat Hurricane Tour 16)
“Initially, though stiff, this string possesses good control. After the tension loss, however, the ball’s flight seems less predictable. As a multifilament loyalist, I have never been able to appreciate polyester. I simply prefer a softer feel. This polyester did not change my mind.” 5.0 male all-court player using Head i.S6 OS strung at 59 pounds LO (Tecnifibre NRG² 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||20|
|not quite as easy||13|
|not nearly as easy||0|
(compared to string played most often)
|Number of testers who said it was:|
|about as playable||17|
|not quite as playable||13|
|not nearly as playable||1|
(compared to other strings of similar gauge)
|Number of testers who said it was:|
|about as durable||16|
|not quite as durable||0|
|not nearly as durable||0|
|From 1 to 5 (best)|
|Durability (3rd overall)||4.5|
|Control (14th overall)||3.8|
|Holding Tension (7th overall)||3.7|
|Resistance to Movement (1st overall)||4.2|
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 email@example.com, or through Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. He plays tennis five days a week, and is turning into an avid cyclist.