Tennis Industry magazine

 

Playtest: Luxilon Savage White

By Greg Raven

Savage is a new shaped monofilament that builds on Luxilon’s experiences with the proprietary materials and technologies it uses in its other strings. Luxilon tells us that the combination of these materials has resulted in a string that is comfortable with a very lively feel. Luxilon reportedly worked hard to soften Savage’s six edges to make it easy to install and prevent sawing between the mains and crosses, while still having enough shape to bite the ball for extreme spin potential. Feel is enhanced by the use of Liquid Crystalline Polymer, which is also found in the Luxilon Adrenaline we playtested in the August 2010 issue.

Savage is designed for the player who is looking to hit a hard, heavy, spin-loaded shot. Typically this player is a baseliner who takes big cuts at the ball and wants as much spin as possible.

Savage is available in 16L (1.27 mm) only as Savage White, Savage Black, and Savage Lime. It is priced from $11 for sets of 40 feet, and $150 for 600-foot reels. This puts Savage pricewise between Luxilon Alu Power on the high end and Adrenaline on the low end. For more information or to order, contact Luxilon at 800-272-6060, or visit luxilon.com. If you are a USRSA member, there is a sample set of Luxilon Savage White included with this magazine.

In the lab

We tested Savage White. The coil measured 40 feet. The diameter measured 1.26-1.28 mm prior to stringing, and 1.24-1.25 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 x 18 pattern) on a constant-pull machine.

After 24 hours (no playing), stringbed stiffness measured 69 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. In lab testing, Prince Synthetic Gut Original has a stiffness of 217 and a tension loss of 11.67 pounds, while Luxilon Savage White 127 has a stiffness of 274 and a tension loss of 18.57 pounds. Savage 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 33.7.

Luxilon Savage has a smooth, hard exterior that is easy to handle during stringing. If you twirl Savage between your finger and thumb you can tell it is a multi-sided string, but the shape doesn’t interfere with weaving. While stiff, crosses are not a problem because they slide across the mains. When tying off, you have to pay a little extra attention to make certain that the knot cinches fully down.

No playtester broke his sample during stringing, eight reported problems with coil memory, seven reported problems tying knots, and one reported friction burn.

On the court

Our playtest teams ratings and comments classify Luxilon Savage as a string with good durability. In fact, Savage’s rating in the Durability category is good enough to rank it in 11th place of the 152 strings we’ve playtested to date for publication. Savage also scored well above average in Resistance to Movement, a key category for durability strings. Compared to Luxilon’s first Liquid Crystalline Polymer string, Adrenaline, Savage is a little bit stiffer with better tension maintenance.

One playtester broke the sample during the playtest period after 10 hours of play.

Conclusion

As Luxilon intended, Savage scored better with our baseliner playtesters, particularly in the categories of Power, Control, and Spin Potential. Speaking of spin, the packaging for Luxilon Savage features a large hexagon on the front, which should help your customers identify the string with the results.

If you’re a USRSA member and you think that Luxilon Savage might be for you, there’s a set included with this issue of the magazine.

Playtester comments

“Those who favor a crisp, controlled response will enjoy this arm friendly polyester.” 4.5 male all court player using Pro Kennex Graphite Acclaim strung at 52 pounds CP (Babolat VS Team Thermogut 17)

“This is a powerful polyester with great feel. Very lively on serves and returns. This would make a great tool for all court players who rely on a wide variety of pace. Touch shots are as easy to control as big baseline strokes.” 5.0 male all court player using Wilson K Six One (68 Holes) strung at 54 pounds LO (Tecnifibre Black Code 17)

“Two words: Powerful polyester.” 5.0 male all court player using Babolat Pure Storm Tour GT strung at 59 pounds CP (Babolat Pro Hurricane/Prince Synthetic Gut Original 16/16)

“The high power level is very easy to control. Playability and feel are outstanding.” 5.5 male all court player using Babolat Pure Drive Roddick strung at 59 pounds CP (Luxilon Alu Power 16L)

“At a 10% tension reduction, this string has excellent control. Power, tension maintenance, and durability are exceptional.” 4.5 male all court player using Head MicroGEL Radical MP strung at 54 pounds LO (Babolat Xcel Premium 16)

“This is a high performance polyester with unmatched comfort, feel, and touch. The extra bite is noticeable. Control is outstanding, especially on serves.” 4.5 male all court player using Babolat AeroPro Drive strung at 56/59 pounds CP (Genesis Typhoon 17)

“This polyester has unusually good touch and feel.” 5.0 male all court player using Babolat Aero Storm Tour strung at 51 pounds CP (Natural Gut/Polyester 16/18)

“Poly players looking for more power should start here.” 3.0 male baseliner with heavy spin using Prince O3 Silver strung at 60 pounds CP (Luxilon Alu Power Rough 16L)

“This is a very powerful polyester. It’s not quite as comfortable as some nylon multifilaments. For senior players with no arm problems, this is perfect. Finally, a polyester that’s not just for big hitters.” 4.0 male baseliner with heavy spin using Wilson n1 strung at 62 pounds LO (Tecnifibre X One Biphase 17)

“This is not a harsh polyester. It has surprisingly good feel, touch, comfort, and playability.” 5.0 male all court player using Prince O3 Red MP strung at 52 pounds CP (Prince Synthetic Gut w/Duraflex 17)

“Hard hitting juniors will love the combination of control, spin, and durability. Senior players will appreciate the comfortable response.” 4.5 male all court player using Pro Kennex 7g strung at 62 pounds CP (Prince Lightening XX 16)

“For a durable string, this polyester has a nice feel and lively response. String movement is minimal. Tension maintenance is exceptional.” 4.5 male baseliner with heavy spin using Babolat Pure Storm GT strung at 56 pounds CP (Gosen Polylon 17)

“While quite stiff, this string provides surprising power and control on off-center hits. Bite is pronounced. Bottom line: Touch and feel exceeded my expectations.” 5.5 male all court player using Babolat Pure Drive strung at 56 pounds CP (Babolat VS Team Thermogut 17)

“This is a durable string with a little extra pop.” 4.0 male all court player using Wilson K Blade Team strung at 57 pounds LO (Luxilon Adrenaline 17)

“This is recommended to aggressive baseliners with fast swing speeds. Big hitters can ‘swing away’ without fear of the ball flying Long. While there is no significant impact shock, this string has a somewhat ‘dead’ feel.” 5.0 male all court player using Wilson K Six One (68 Holes) strung at 60 pounds LO (Wilson NXT 16)

“The spin potential is outstanding. Playability not only improves over time, it also goes up on warmer days.” 4.0 male baseliner with heavy spin using Dunlop 200G (Muscle Weave) strung at 54 pounds CP (Gamma Advantage 15L)

“Overall playability is adequate, but power and feel are lacking.” 5.0 male all court player using Wilson BLX Tour strung at 52 pounds CP (Luxilon Alu Power Rough 16L)

“Durability and power are decent, but comfort and spin are on the low side. Cold weather doesn’t help matters. Perhaps a lower tension would brighten things up.” 4.5 male all court player using Wilson K Six One (68 Holes) strung at 60 pounds LO (Wilson Hollow Core Pro 17)

“Control and spin are above average. Feel is a little lacking.” 4.0 male baseliner with heavy spin using Wilson nTour strung at 50 pounds LO (Solinco Tour Bite 16)

“This poly has above-average touch. On spin shots, the ball seems to slide off the string bed. Perhaps a tension adjustment would address this.” 5.0 male all court player using Prince EXO3 White strung at 58 pounds CP (Prince Premier LT 16)

“Baseliners with high head speed will get loads of control form this string. The stiff feel is not optimal for touch volleys. Folks with arm problems might want to steer clear.” 4.0 male all court player using Volkl Power Bridge 10 Mid strung at 50 pounds CP (Gosen Polylon 17)

“Great control on a wide variety of shots, but overall not spectacular. Comfort is low, noise is high.” 5.0 male all court player using Volkl DNX V1 MP strung at 42 pounds LO (Gamma Zo Tour 16)

“Decent control from the baseline, but not enough pop on volleys. Insufficient feel on slower strokes. I cannot imagine installing this at a high tension.” 4.0 male all court player using Prince O3 Red MP strung at 50 pounds CP (Gamma TNT2 Pro Plus 17L)

“The high coil memory adds some time to installation. Spin and durability are the only qualities that are above average.” 4.0 male all court player using Head Prestige Classic 600 strung at 57 pounds LO (Gamma Professional 18)

“Recommended to big hitters and string breakers who care more about power than feel.” 5.0 male all court player using Wilson BLX Tour strung at 55 pounds CP (Wilson Hollow Core 16)

“Plenty of power on serves and ground strokes, but not enough control. Too many balls fly long. Perhaps a tension adjustment would correct this.” 4.0 male all court player using Babolat AeroPro Drive Cortex strung at 58 pounds LO (Gamma TNT2 16)

“This string plays a little better than a typical polyester, but it isn’t truly exceptional.” 4.0 male all court player using Pacific Raptor strung at 51 pounds LO (Pacific X Force/Gosen OG Sheep Micro 18/17)

“This string plays lively for the first 5 hours. Over time, however, it loses resilience and feel. Spin potential is the major upside.” 5.0 male serve-and-volley player using Wilson BLX Six One (68 Holes) strung at 58 pounds LO (Wilson NXT 17)

“Initially this string plays too stiff. Power is high, but playability is lacking. This string would be good for string breakers in need of a little extra zip.” 5.0 male serve-and-volley player using Prince EXO3 Hybrid strung at 57 pounds LO (Prince Premier LT 16)

“This poly relaxes after a few hours and becomes quite arm friendly. String movement is minimal, but tension loss is too high. Feel and playability are wanting.” 4.5 male all court player using Wilson K Pro Staff strung at 58 pounds LO (Luxilon Alu Power 16L)

“The lack of feel and power leads to control problems. Tension loss is substantial.” 6.0 male all court player using Vantage VT002 White strung at 60 pounds CP (Natural Gut 16)

“Durability is excellent, but the feel is too stiff and the power too low. Control, comfort, and spin are also below average.” 5.0 male serve-and-volley player using Head Prestige Classic strung at 52 pounds CP (Tecnifibre Black Code 17)

“Tension loss becomes noticeable after the first week. Not much spin or power. Lacks the ‘wow factor.’” 4.5 male baseliner with heavy spin using Babolat AeroPro Drive strung at 55 pounds CP (Babolat RPM Blast 16)

“Tension maintenance is sub-par. This string feels too stiff on balls struck off center.” 4.0 male serve-and-volley player using Gamma T Seven strung at 60 pounds LO (Babolat Pro Hurricane 17)

“Even with a tension reduction, this string is uncomfortable. This might work for big hitters, but finesse players will probably want more feel.” 4.0 female all court player using Prince O3 Tour MS strung at 52 pounds CP (Tecnifibre NRG2 17)

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

Playtester ratings

EASE OF STRINGING
(compared to other strings)
Number of testers who said it was:
much easier 0
somewhat easier 2
about as easy 18
not quite as easy 13
not nearly as easy 2
OVERALL PLAYABILITY
(compared to string played most often)
Number of testers who said it was:
much better 1
somewhat better 3
about as playable 6
not quite as playable 20
not nearly as playable 5
OVERALL DURABILITY
(compared to other strings of similar gauge)
Number of testers who said it was:
much better 8
somewhat better 12
about as durable 15
not quite as durable 0
not nearly as durable 0
RATING AVERAGES
From 1 to 5 (best)
Playability 3.1
Durability (11th overall) 4.3
Power 3.3
Control 3.3
Comfort 2.8
Touch/Feel 2.7
Spin Potential 3.2
Holding Tension 3.3
Resistance to Movement 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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