String Selector 2014
Use our exclusive guide to find the perfect strings for your customers.
By Dave Bone
When it comes to tennis strings, the U.S. market appears to be going in two directions. Most of the major manufacturers seem to be slowing the introduction of new string models, and some are even reducing the size of their lines. So, you might think the number of strings out there is declining.
But in the last several years, more new brands of string have entered the U.S. market than we can ever remember happening in such a short time frame. It’s not that these are all new string companies. Many have been around for some time, but their products have only been available in markets outside the U.S. Now, though, many of these brands have found U.S. distributors and felt the time was right to move into the U.S.
So, when you combine these brands entering the U.S. with the new brands popping up for the first time, the result is a string market that continues to grow at an alarming rate.
The USRSA now has lab-test results for nearly 900 models of string. We don’t know anyone who can say they’ve actually played with all the different models available, or who can say they know what every string on the market feels like.
That’s why our String Selector tool is more important than ever. It offers an apples-to-apples comparison of all the different models on the market because all the strings were tested using the same exacting procedures.
What does this mean for you? Stringers and retail shops can use the information in our String Selector to find models that offer exactly what their customers are looking for.
For advice on how to most efficiently use this information, make sure you read the section on “Using the String Selector.” For a better understanding of the string graph, read “The Geography of Feel.” Remember, though, that USRSA members have access to even more powerful tools — String Spec Search and String Selector — on the Members-Only section of the website, www.racquettech.com.
String Spec Search allows the user to choose the brand and model of string they are considering and see the specs of that string without having to search through the whole list of 900 strings. The String Selector tool allows the user to enter the brand and model of string a player is currently playing with as well as the changes they would like to make in their string. The tool then goes through all the strings currently available and returns a list of string that meets the requested changes.
It’s been two years since we published our String Selector (technical difficulties prevented us from completing our testing last year), so you can imagine there are a lot of new strings that have been introduced since January 2012. In order to save some trees and to focus on what’s new, we’ve decided in this printed edition of Tennis Industry to publish specs for just the new strings (the current strings that were not included in the 2012 guide).
Newest strings on the market
|Babolat VS Team 17 (BT7)||Natural Gut||1.25||90||7.74|
|Babolat Tonic + Ball Feel (BT7)||Natural Gut||1.29||94||8.8|
|Babolat VS Touch 16 (BT7)||Natural Gut||1.31||110||8.42|
|Ashaway MonoGut ZX Pro 17||Zyex||1.3||133||16.53|
|Ashaway MonoGut ZX||Zyex||1.3||135||18.31|
|Ashaway Dynamite Natural 17||Nylon & Zyex||1.26||145||13.17|
|Prince Premier Touch 16||Nylon||1.32||145||17.57|
|Yonex Tour Super Solid × 125||Nylon||1.23||151||18.75|
|Prince Premier Touch 15L||Nylon||1.34||152||16.8|
|Dunlop Pearl 17||Nylon||1.25||153||13.83|
|Victory Acelon Synthetic Gut TCF 17||Nylon||1.24||155||16.41|
|Victory Acelon Wildfire 17||Polyester||1.25||157||13.47|
|Volkl Classic Synthetic Gut 17||Nylon||1.25||157||16.21|
|Gosen TecFlex 17||Nylon & Polyurethane||1.23||158||9.95|
|Prince Premier Power 18||Nylon||1.19||158||15.17|
|Victory Acelon Wildfire 16||Polyester||1.31||158||16.64|
|Prince Premier Control 15L||Nylon||1.35||159||16.4|
|Ytex MicroFiber-X 16||Nylon||1.29||161||14.49|
|Wilson Optimus 16||Nylon||1.28||161||15.13|
|Prince Premier Power 17||Nylon||1.22||162||13.21|
|Gosen Tecflex 16||Nylon||1.31||162||13.45|
|Dunlop Pearl 16||Nylon||1.28||163||13.61|
|Yonex Tour Super Solid × 130||Nylon||1.3||163||16.28|
|Asics Resolution 16||Nylon & Polyurethane||1.29||164||12.35|
|Boris Becker Pulse 17||Nylon||1.25||164||12.61|
|Prince Premier Power 16||Nylon||1.25||164||13.27|
|Asics Challenger 17||Nylon & Polyester||1.25||165||12.61|
|Prince Premier Control 17||Nylon||1.25||165||12.7|
|Prince Premier Control 15||Nylon||1.37||165||14.51|
|Head FXP Tour 16||Nylon & Polyester||1.33||165||14.93|
|Gosen Tecgut Remplir 17||Nylon & Polyurethane||1.23||165||16.96|
|Tourna Quasi Gut Armor 16||Nylon||1.29||166||12.37|
|Victory Acelon Supermax 17||Nylon & Polyurethane||1.25||167||12.99|
|Asics Resolution 17||Nylon & Polyurethane||1.25||168||9.59|
|Prince Premier Control 16||Nylon||1.32||168||14|
|Volkl Classic Synthetic Gut 16||Nylon||1.29||168||14.95|
|Babolat SG Spiraltek 16||Nylon||1.27||170||13.07|
|Asics Challenger 16||Nylon & Polyester||1.3||170||13.56|
|Victory Acelon Supermax 16||Nylon & Polyurethane||1.29||170||13.65|
|Victory Acelon Advanced 17||Polyester||1.23||172||23.11|
|Tourna Big Hitter Silver 17||Polyester||1.2||173||23.74|
|Tier One Sports Triumph 130||Nylon||1.32||174||12.13|
|Victory Acelon Synthetic Gut TCF 16||Nylon||1.31||175||14.4|
|Golden Set Dura Match 16 (Crosses)||Nylon||1.29||177||14|
|Ytex Touch 16||Nylon||1.31||179||11.89|
|Tourna Synthetic Gut Armor 17||Nylon||1.24||179||13.63|
|Tourna Big Hitter Black 7 17||Polyester||1.2||179||21.79|
|Gamma FTX 17||Nylon||1.24||180||10.85|
|Yonex Poly Tour Pro 120||Polyester||1.19||181||21.08|
|Topspin Max ROTation 1.31||Polyester||1.27||182||19.54|
|Tourna Synthetic Gut Armor 16||Nylon||1.29||184||11.44|
|Golden Set Velvet 15L||Nylon||1.34||184||12.65|
|Wilson Synthetic Gut Power 16||Nylon||1.29||186||13.03|
|Volkl Cyclone Tour 18||Polyester||1.19||186||22.18|
|Ytex Sintex 16||Nylon||1.28||189||11.45|
|Prince Tour XT 18||Polyester||1.22||189||21.39|
|Gamma FTX 16||Nylon||1.29||191||10.3|
|Pacific DuraTech Flex 15L||Nylon||1.32||192||11.46|
|Volkl Cyclone Tour 17||Polyester||1.24||193||22.83|
|Tier One Sports T1 Firewire 120||Polyester||1.19||195||15.41|
|Gosen AK Pro Spin 15L||Nylon||1.37||196||11.8|
|Volkl V Torque 18||Polyester||1.18||196||16.03|
|Topspin Max ROTation 1.27||Polyester||1.23||196||16.78|
|Tier One Sports DuraFluxx 118||Polyester||1.21||196||20.27|
|Volkl V Torque 16||Polyester||1.26||197||23.46|
|Prince Tour XP 15L||Polyester||1.38||198||18.46|
|Gosen AK Power 16||Nylon||1.32||200||11.29|
|Ytex ProTour 1.20||Nylon||1.19||200||17.73|
|Prince Tour XS 1.25+||Polyester||1.37||200||18.9|
|Volkl Cyclone Tour 16||Polyester||1.32||200||23.26|
|Pro Supex Ultra Spin 1.23||Polyester||1.27||201||20.06|
|Wilson Synthetic Gut Power 15||Nylon||1.37||202||14.51|
|Wilson NXT Power 17||Nylon||1.27||203||12.46|
|Gamma RZR Rx 17||Thermoplastic Elastomer||1.28||204||17.11|
|Volkl V Torque 17||Polyester||1.21||204||22.03|
|Wilson Synthetic Gut Control 16||Nylon||1.28||205||10.3|
|Head Sonic Pro Edge 16||Polyester||1.31||205||19.53|
|Tier One Sports Tour Status 120||Polyester||1.2||206||15.86|
|Prince Tour XS 1.35+||Polyester||1.45||207||18.81|
|Golden Set Power Cord 17||Polyester||1.24||207||23.31|
|Volkl Cyclone 18||Polyester||1.2||208||15.94|
|Gosen Polylon ILD 16L||Polyester||1.26||208||16.51|
|Wilson NXT Power 18||Nylon||1.24||209||9.53|
|Luxilon ALU Power Feel 120||Polyester||1.2||209||18.35|
|Signum Pro Thunderstorm 1.30||Polyester||1.32||209||20.04|
|Gamma Poly-Z 17||Polyester||1.22||209||22.91|
|Wilson Synthetic Gut Control 17||Nylon||1.25||210||10.39|
|Gamma iO 18||Polyester||1.17||210||16.78|
|Prince Tour XP 17||Polyester||1.28||210||19.25|
|Ytex Octo-Twist 1.28||Polyester||1.29||210||21.35|
|Wilson NXT Duramax 16||Nylon||1.34||211||9.71|
|Gosen Polylon ILD 16||Polyester||1.31||211||17.35|
|Signum Pro Firestorm 1.30||Polyester||1.3||213||21.21|
|Ytex Dynamic Black Power 1.18||Polyester||1.15||214||19.18|
|Victory Acelon Seven 16L||Polyester||1.26||215||17.31|
|Pacific Poly Power Pro Black Series 16||Polyester||1.3||215||23.51|
|Prince Tour XP 16||Polyester||1.31||216||16.21|
|Golden Set Power Cord 16||Polyester||1.29||216||22.38|
|Tier One Sports Tour Status 125||Polyester||1.26||217||16.49|
|Head Hawk 17||Polyester||1.23||217||17.61|
|Boris Becker Bomber NYC 17||Polyester||1.25||218||15.15|
|Kirschbaum Super Smash Orange 1.23/17||Polyester||1.23||218||16.76|
|Victory Acelon Seven 17||Polyester||1.21||218||19.47|
|Wilson NXT Power 16||Nylon||1.31||219||8.98|
|Gamma RZR Rx 16||Thermoplastic Elastomer||1.3||220||15.92|
|Head Hawk 18||Polyester||1.22||220||16.78|
|Dunlop ICE 17||Polyester||1.2||220||18.28|
|Dunlop ICE 16||Polyester||1.29||220||22.44|
|Tier One Sports T1 Firewire 125||Polyester||1.29||221||13.85|
|Kirschbaum Black Shark 1.25/17||Polyester||1.23||222||19.49|
|Babolat RPM Team 17||Polyester||1.27||224||16.54|
|Head Hawk 16||Polyester||1.29||224||18.46|
|Gamma Poly-Z 16||Polyester||1.28||224||23.44|
|Kirschbaum Pro Line × 1.25/17||Polyester||1.23||225||15.61|
|Ytex Trivolution Black 1.25||Polyester||1.24||225||19.18|
|Genesis Typhoon 16||Polyester||1.3||225||21.94|
|Prince Tour XC 15||Polyester||1.4||226||22.36|
|Luxilon 4G Rough 125||Polyester||1.28||227||17.57|
|Gamma iO 17||Polyester||1.22||228||15.41|
|Boris Becker Bomber NYC 16||Polyester||1.25||228||15.61|
|Ytex ProTour 1.25||Nylon||1.25||230||15.92|
|Wilson Ripspin 17||Polyester||1.26||230||18.39|
|Gamma Moto 17||Polyester||1.24||231||15.35|
|Tier One Sports DuraFluxx 123||Polyester||1.3||231||15.67|
|Victory Acelon Advanced 16||Polyester||1.28||232||16.19|
|Prince Tour XC 17L||Polyester||1.2||232||18.85|
|Wilson Shock Shield Mono 17||Polyester||1.24||232||20.66|
|Wilson Ripspin 15||Polyester||1.34||232||21.69|
|Kirschbaum Black Shark 1.30/16||Polyester||1.29||233||20.22|
|Yonex Poly Tour HS 130 16||Polyester||1.27||235||17.2|
|Wilson Ripspin 16||Polyester||1.28||235||20.18|
|Tier One Sports T1 Firewire 130||Polyester||1.35||236||14.18|
|Tier One Sports Tour Status 130||Polyester||1.27||236||14.66|
|Yonex Poly Tour Spin 125 16L||Polyester||1.29||236||15.79|
|Ytex Dynamic Black Power 1.23||Polyester||1.23||236||16.83|
|Kirschbaum Pro Line × 1.30/16||Polyester||1.32||236||16.92|
|Kirschbaum Super Smash Orange 1.28/16L||Polyester||1.28||237||17.86|
|Prince Tour XC 16L||Polyester||1.26||238||19.09|
|Tecnifibre ATP Razor Code 18||Polyester||1.2||239||16.14|
|Gamma Moto 16||Polyester||1.29||240||13.83|
|Gamma Zo Dart 16||Polyester||1.29||242||15.1|
|Gamma iO 16||Polyester||1.27||242||15.51|
|Victory Acelon Seven 16||Polyester||1.29||243||16.09|
|Tier One Sports DuraFluxx 128||Polyester||1.27||244||16.87|
|Babolat RPM Dual 17||Polyester||1.26||245||14.37|
|Babolat RPM Dual 16||Polyester||1.29||245||16.03|
|Luxilon ALU Power 138||Polyester||1.37||247||19.94|
|Luxilon 4G 125||Polyester||1.24||249||13.3|
|Gamma Zo Dart 17||Polyester||1.24||250||15.06|
|Tecnifibre ATP Razor Code 17||Polyester||1.25||252||16.43|
|Gamma Zo Verve 16||Polyester||1.29||256||14.53|
|Genesis Black Magic 1.33||Polyester||1.37||266||18.7|
|Wilson Synthetic Gut Duramax 16L||Polyester||1.27||267||19.16|
|Luxilon 4G 130||Polyester||1.29||269||13.74|
|Ytex Dynamic Black Power 1.28||Polyester||1.28||270||15.85|
|Tecnifibre ATP Razor Code 16||Polyester||1.29||278||18.59|
|Luxilon 4G S 141||Polyester||1.46||287||15.65|
|Golden Set Dura Match 16 (Kevlar Mains)||Kevlar||1.27||336||10.81|
Using the String Selector
1. Start by finding the string your client currently uses in the appropriate list (we’ve broken the market down into four categories: Nylon, Polyester, Natural Gut and Kevlar).
2. Note the string’s stiffness and tension loss numbers, go to the appropriate map and find the dot located at these coordinates.
- If your client is completely satisfied with their current string and doesn’t want anything different from their next string, dots in the neighborhood (very close to their current string’s dot) will likely play similar.
- If your client is happy with how long their string plays well, but doesn’t love the feel of their string, try something on the same vertical level, but farther to the right or left. Strings to the right should feel stiffer (or more crisp), while strings to the left should feel softer (or more comfortable).
- If your client is happy with how their string feels, but not with how long it feels that way, try something in the same column, but higher or lower. Strings higher on the chart should soften (or loosen) up more quickly, while lower strings should hold their initial feel longer.
3. Once you’ve found a dot that seems interesting, note the coordinates and look them up in the table.
The Geography of “Feel”
Finding Your “Feel Good” Location
- Softer strings are to the left, stiffer strings to the right.
- Strings that lose more tension are at the top; those that lose less are at the bottom.
- All strings on the same vertical line should feel about the same, no matter the tension.
- All strings at different locations on the same horizontal line will feel different from each other.
- Stringbed power increases to the left.
- Player supplied power increases to the right.
- Stringbed control increases to the right.
- “Arm friendly” strings are to the left.
- “Feedback” intensity (shock) increases to right.
- Feel consistency over time tends to increase toward the bottom.
All strings were tensioned to 62 pounds and allowed to sit for 200 seconds. Then the string was hit five times with a force equivalent to hitting a 120 mph serve. The tension loss represents the total amount of the relaxation over both time and impact. The stiffness value is a calculation derived from the amount of force created at impact to stretch the string. Lower values represent softer strings and lower impact forces. Higher values represent stiffer strings and higher impact forces.
To look up a hybrid combination, you must look up each string separately. If it is a pre-packaged hybrid, most packaging indicates the name of each string. There are a few hybrids using strings that aren’t sold on their own. Those strings are included in our lists. They will be listed as the name of the hybrid with (main) or (cross) after the name. For example, Head Protector 16 (main) is the string used for the mains in Head’s Protector 16 string.
See all articles by Dave Bone
About the Author
Dave Bone is the CEO of the U.S. Racquet Stringers Association, and co-publisher of Racquet Sports Industry magazine.
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