Tennis Industry magazine

 

Playtest: Luxilon M2 Plus

By Greg Raven

M2 Plus is a new “multi-mono” from Luxilon that offers the advantages of both multifilament and monofilament strings. Luxilon M2 Plus has dynamic variable flex which reacts to the power of your shots. It acts like a multifilament at lower power, touch shots — providing increased feel and softness — and like a monofilament at higher power shots — providing control.

Luxilon M2 Plus

The patent-pending M2 Plus consists of an interior of ten filaments — five triangular and five oval-shaped — surrounded by a matrix of polymer. All parts of the string are extruded simultaneously using Luxilon’s proprietary materials. For more information about Luxilon’s M2 line of strings and the “multi-mono” technology, see our playtest report of M2 Pro in the May 2009 issue of RSI magazine.

Luxilon M2 Plus

Luxilon tells us that M2 Plus is for players who want to experience the benefits of Luxilon string but need a softer feel from their string.

Unlike other Luxilon strings, there are no recommendations to lower the tension when stringing with M2 Plus. Due to its unique nature, this string can be strung like a normal synthetic, or with a slight reduction in tension.

M2 Plus is available in 16 gauge only in pearl only. It is priced from $17 per set of 40 feet, and $318.50 for reels of 660 feet. For more information or to order, contact Luxilon at 800-272-6060, or visit luxilon.com.

In the lab

We tested the 16 (1.30) gauge M2 Plus. The coil measured 40’. The diameter measured 1.33-1.36 mm before stringing, and 1.29-1.31 mm after stringing. 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 67 RDC units, representing an 8 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. M2 Plus added 18 grams to the weight of our unstrung frame.

The string was tested for five weeks by 39 USRSA playtesters, with NTRP ratings from 3.5 to 6. These are blind tests, with playtesters receiving unmarked strings in unmarked packages. To optimize playability, we instructed our playtest team to reduce the reference tension by 10 percent. Average number of hours playtested was 22.3.

During stringing, M2 Plus felt slippery enough that it was sometimes difficult to hold the tip between the fingers during installation of the crosses. M2 Plus also remained mildly cantankerous throughout the installation process, but on the other hand there was virtually no need to straighten the crosses afterward.

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

On the court

As with Luxilon M2 Pro we playtested earlier, our playtest team loved M2 Plus. M2 Plus scored 8th highest of the 137 strings we’ve playtested to date for Power, and 17th highest in both Durability and Resistance to Movement. It also scored well above average in Playability, Control, Spin Potential, and Tension Retention. In six of our nine voting categories — Durability, Power, Control, Spin Potential, Tension Retention, and Resistance to Movement — M2 Plus scored in the top ten percent of all strings we’ve tested. In the Power category, M2 Plus is the new top-scoring “poly.” All together, M2 Plus scored 12th best overall, with an overall average that is also in the top ten percent. In fact, M2 Plus was a virtual tie (.01 difference!) with Luxilon M2 Pro.

Two players broke the sample during the playtest period, one at two hours and one at seven hours.

Conclusion

As with Luxilon M2 Pro, there’s a lot to like with M2 Plus, but one number that jumped off the result sheet was the 8.2 percent tension loss that, while low for any synthetic string, is great for a “poly.” And with its range of tension possibilities, current “poly” users can string it up tightly to get the traditional benefits of a Luxilon string, while newer “poly” players and experimenters can string it more loosely to optimize playability or better match up in a hybrid combination.

Playtester comments

“Very solid feel at impact. Excellent spin. Uniquely playable poly.” 4.5 male all-court player using Prince O3 Speedport Black Team (port strung at 60 pounds LO (Prince Premier LT 17)

“This is an arm friendly polyester with the perfect blend of power and control. Where do I sign?” 4.5 male all-court player using Yonex RDS 001 strung at 52 pounds CP (Topspin Cyberflash 16)

“This is the best polyester I have ever tried. I can take a full swing without worry. The depth and trajectory are very predictable. After 25 hours, it shows no sign of wear. I have never been a fan of polyester … until now.” 4.5 male all-court player using Prince OZone Seven strung at 60 pounds LO (Babolat Conquest 16)

“The combination of power and control make this a truly exceptional polyester. The resistance to movement is excellent and the bite is extreme.” 4.5 male all-court player using Head MicroGEL Prestige Pro MP strung at 56 pounds CP (Luxilon Alu Power/Head UltraTour 16L/17)

“This is a surprisingly playable polyester. The feel is soft without being mushy. Outstanding tension maintenance. This string offers control and durability in a comfortable package.” 4.5 male all-court player using Wilson K Pro Open strung at 61 pounds CP (Wilson Hollow Core 16)

“This polyester has exceptional touch and playability. It feels very solid against pace. There is an interesting combination of softness and control, especially at net. This is a versatile string.” 5.0 male all-court player using Head i.Prestige MP strung at 55 pounds CP (Prince Tour Blend 16)

“Good control on touch shots. Comfortable feel for teaching. Because of this string’s native softness, higher tensions are no problem, especially for poly veterans. I would definitely use this string.” 5.0 male all-court player using Volkl V1 Classic strung at 53 pounds CP (Wilson Super Spin 16)

“Great control and power.” 4.0 male serve and volleyer using Prince O3 Speedport Black (port inserts) strung at 57 pounds LO (Prince Premier LT 16)

“Very little tension loss and no string movement. Excellent control, with the bite of an 18g string.” 5.0 male all-court player using Wilson K Tour strung at 59 pounds CP (Luxilon TIMO 18)

“This string has a nice feel and great pop on serves. Lowering the tension by 10% is a good call. This is a sweet string!” 4.5 male all-court player using Wilson K Tour strung at 47 pounds CP (Wilson K Gut 17)

“This is a very impressive, dynamic polyester. No coil memory. Though it feels thick, it is the most playable string I have playtested.” 4.5 male all-court player using Head MicroGEL Extreme Pro strung at 57 pounds CP (Tecnifibre Pro Red Code 17)

“After getting used to the somewhat springy response, I played my best tennis in recent memory. This string provides a unique combination of power and spin. It plays very well at low tensions.” 5.0 male all-court player using Prince Thunder Ultralite Titanium OS strung at 50 pounds LO (Luxilon Original Rough/Wilson Extreme Synthetic Gut 16/16)

“This is one of the best strings I have ever used. Stays crisp after the break-in period. Good balance of control and power. Until now, I thought a soft, high quality cross was necessary to achieve this kind of playability and comfort.” 5.0 male all-court player using Head Liquidmetal 4 strung at 58 pounds LO (Luxilon Original/Tecnifibre NRG2 16/16)

“Good control. No string movement. Topspin lobs come down hard and fast. Big hitting topspin players need look no further.” 3.5 male baseliner with heavy spin using Prince O3 Blue strung at 5.5 pounds CP (Luxilon TIMO 18)

“Above average tension maintenance. Very little string movement. Folks who can generate their own power will be rewarded with tremendous control.” 4.5 male all-court player using Head MicroGEL Prestige MP strung at 54 pounds LO (Luxilon Alu Power 16L)

“Wow! Effortless power and endless control. Defensive saves find the back court. This string enables confident tennis. After 6 hours of hard hitting, power and control suffer a bit.” 5.0 male touch player using Wilson K Five strung at 47.5 pounds (Polyester 16)

“Solid feel. Softer and more playable than most polyester strings.” 4.0 male baseliner with heavy spin using Wilson nTour strung at 56/54 pounds LO (Signum Pro Poly Plasma 17)

“This string is soft for a polyester. While it pockets the ball very nicely, it lacks the typical stiffness. Recommended to players looking for a softer durability option.” 4.0 male all-court player using Prince EXO3 Graphite (hole inserts) strung at 59 pounds LO (Prince Synthetic Gut Multifilament 17)

“This is a low-powered control string. Full swings are rewarded with pinpoint accuracy.” 4.0 male baseliner with heavy spin using Wilson K Blade strung at 50 pounds LO (Luxilon Alu Power 16L)

“Though not as crisp as some polyesters, this string offers some nice power and spin.” 4.0 male all-court player using Wilson K Zen strung at 57 pounds CP (Gamma Zo Tour 17)

“There is some noticeable shock to the arm. Reducing the tension is advised. Comfort increases over time. Great pop on serves.” 3.5 male baseliner with moderate spin using Wilson nTour strung at 55 pounds LO (Wilson Sensation 16)

“Installation is very quick and easy. This string is a little too powerful for my flat stroke style. This is recommended to topspin players looking for extra power.” 5.0 male all-court player using Wilson K Six One (68 Holes) strung at 54 pounds LO (Polyester/Natural Gut 16L/16)

“Plenty of power on ground strokes and serves. Less bite than anticipated, but easy on the arm. Good control.” 4.5 male baseliner with moderate spin using Volkl Power Bridge 10 (295g) strung at 55 pounds CP (Gamma Zo Tour 17)

“Very high overall playability. Great control and spin. Noticeable tension loss after the first few sessions.” 5.0 male all-court player using Prince EXO3 Graphite (hole inserts) strung at 48 pounds CP (Luxilon Alu Power 16L)

“Extremely easy installation. This string plays fairly soft with a good feel.” 6.0 male all-court player using Wilson K Tour strung at 53 pounds CP (Wilson NXT 17)

“Very comfortable and powerful for a polyester.” 4.0 male all-court player using Yonex RDS 002 strung at 60 pounds CP (Luxilon Alu Power 16L)

“This is a very stiff string that offers great control and durability. String breakers will like it.” 4.0 male baseliner with heavy spin using Babolat Pure Drive Roddick strung at 57 pounds LO (Babolat Pro Hurricane Tour 17)

“High marks for control, durability, and resistance to movement. Great string for players who want more spin. Not a lot of power, but surprisingly playable for a an all poly set-up.” 4.0 male serve and volleyer using Dunlop M Fil 300 strung at 62 pounds CP (Wilson Sensation/Prince Synthetic Gut w/Duraflex 17/18)

“This string has more give and power than typical polyesters. There is a little less bite. While the ball tends to sail a bit, adjustments are easily made. This is a good option for those who want a friendlier durability string.” 3.5 male baseliner with heavy spin using Prince Tour Diablo MP strung at 58 pounds CP (Luxilon Alu Power/Gamma Natural Gut Tour 16L/16)

“Great control and tension maintenance. Topspin players will appreciate the lack of string movement.” 4.5 male all-court player using Wilson nSix Two strung at 58 pounds CP (Wilson NXT 16)

“I am not normally a fan of full polyester set-ups, but this string is not bad. It has controllable power.” 3.5 male all-court player using Wilson K Blade strung at 55 pounds CP (Tecnifibre NRG2 17)

“I am not a polyester user, but this string has piqued my interest.” 4.5 male serve and volleyer using Head MicroGEL Radical Team MP strung at 58 pounds CP (Gamma Professional 17)

“While impressed by the durability, resistance to movement, and power, I find everything else to be average.” 4.5 male all-court player using Prince EXO3 Rebel (port inserts) strung at 56 pounds LO (Polyester/Nylon Multifilament 17/17)

“Good spin, not enough feel.” 6.0 male all-court player using Wilson K Six One (68 holes) strung at 57 pounds LO (Luxilon Alu Power Spin 16L)

“This string feels great, but the durability is low for a polyester. Decent playability, but a little too powerful.” 5.5 male all-court player using Volkl Tour 10 MP strung at 58 pounds LO (Luxilon Alu Power Rough/Wilson K Gut 16L/16)

“Great durability and resistance to movement. Lacks comfort, feel, and touch.” 3.5 male all-court player using Yonex RDS 003 MP strung at 54 pounds CP (Pro Supex Big Ace/Tecnifibre X-One Biphase 17/17)

“Good control and slightly above average comfort. Lacks the ‘wow’ factor.” 5.5 male all-court player using Babolat Pure Storm strung at 51/48 pounds LO (Pro Supex Blue Gear 17)

“This is a nice polyester with good durability and control. Adequate, but not life-changing.” 4.0 male baseliner with heavy spin using Prince O3 Tour MP strung at 57 pounds LO (Prince Synthetic Gut w/Duraflex 16)

“Save some minor coil memory, installation is painless. Even at low tensions, this string has a stiff response. Big hitters will appreciate the durability and control. Spin and touch are lacking. The string becomes noticeably less responsive after 8 hours.” 5.0 male all-court player using Yonex RDS 002 Tour strung at 52/49 pounds CP (Tecnifibre X-One Biphase 17)

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

Playtest ratings

EASE OF STRINGING
(compared to other strings)
Number of testers who said it was:
much easier 2
somewhat easier 4
about as easy 24
not quite as easy 7
not nearly as easy 2
OVERALL PLAYABILITY
(compared to string played most often)
Number of testers who said it was:
much better 0
somewhat better 9
about as playable 10
not quite as playable 19
not nearly as playable 1
OVERALL DURABILITY
(compared to other strings of similar gauge)
Number of testers who said it was:
much better 6
somewhat better 14
about as durable 17
not quite as durable 1
not nearly as durable 1
RATING AVERAGES
From 1 to 5 (best)
Playability 3.6
Durability (17th overall) 4.3
Power (8th overall) 3.7
Control 3.7
Comfort 3.2
Touch/Feel 3.2
Spin Potential (11th overall) 3.5
Holding Tension 3.6
Resistance to Movement (17th overall) 3.9

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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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