Tennis Industry magazine

 

Playtest: Luxilon Alu Power Feel 1.20

By Greg Raven

The most popular string on the pro tour now comes in a thinner gauge. Luxilon Alu Power Feel is one of the latest additions to the Alu Power lineup.

The Alu Power line is a poly-ether-ether, which gives it different qualities than typical polyester strings. According to Luxilon, its characteristics include no noticeable tension loss, less plastic deformation than polyester strings, and durability, while the thinner gauge allows for added spin potential and increased power. Luxilon also tells us that its production process allows for near perfect quality standards and near zero variance within the string. This combination of characteristics, along with Alu Power’s imperviousness to atmospheric conditions, allows it to retain its playability until it breaks.

Luxilon says Alu Power Feel is ideal for players looking for legendary Alu Power performance in a thinner gauge for more feel.

Alu Power Feel is available in 1.20mm (18 gauge) in Luxilon’s iconic silver. It is priced from $15 for 40-foot sets, and $243 for 200-meter reels. For more information or to order, contact Luxilon at 800-272-6060, or visit wilson.com.

In the Lab

The coil measured 41 feet, 1 inch. The diameter measured 1.19 mm prior to stringing, and 1.15 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 Alu Power Feel 1.20 has a stiffness of 209 and a tension loss of 18.35 pounds. Alu Power Feel 1.20 added 14.4 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 6.0. These are blind tests, with playtesters receiving unmarked strings in unmarked packages. Average number of hours playtested was 26.4.

Luxilon recommends installing Alu Power Feel with 5 to 10 percent lower reference tension than that used when installing a traditional nylon string, so that’s what we recommended to our playtesters.

It’s obvious right out of the package that Alu Power Feel is thin, but otherwise installation is identical to its heavier-gauge Alu Power siblings.

No playtesters broke the sample during stringing, seven reported problems with coil memory, two reported problems tying knots, none reported friction burn, and four reported other problems.

On the Court

Our playtesters rated Alu Power Feel excellent in the Resistance to Movement, Spin Potential, and Power categories. They also found it to be well above average in the Control and Playability categories. As a result, overall Alu Power Feel garnered a rating well above average for the 181 strings we’ve playtested for publication to date.

No playtester reported premature fraying or peeling, none reported buzzing, and 12 reported notching.

Seven playtesters broke the sample during the playtest period: Two at 2.5 hours, and one each at 10, 15, 24, 36, and 46 hours.

Conclusion

Due to the tremendous success on the pro tours of Luxilon Alu Power, it seems that just about every tennis player on the planet has tried it at least once. Adding a 1.20-mm version to the old standby 1.25-mm version (with a 1.38-mm version now filling out the top end) is bound find favor with players at all levels who like a thinner “poly” string.

Playtester Comments

“This string is fantastic! The control and power combination is excellent. Great spin! I would highly recommend this to high level juniors and college players!” 4.5 male serve-and-volley player using Pacific X-force strung at 52 pounds CP (Genesis Black Magic 17)

“An excellent string overall! I felt that I had great touch with this string and maintained this touch during the entire test period. I had excellent control and power with this string and I will recommend it to my customers.” 4.0 male baseliner with moderate spin using Yonex EZone Team + strung at 46 pounds CP (Wilson Sensation 16)

“Excellent power while serving and on groundstrokes. Placement of the ball was extremely good. This string is an overall excellent string for groundstrokes, serves, and overheads. Excellent racquet control so drop shots were fairly easy.” 5.5 male all court player using Babolat Pure Drive strung at 60 pounds CP (Babolat VS Gut 16)

“INCREDIBLE spin potential. I was able to hit HEAVY groundstrokes and kick serves with ease. Very forgiving for a poly and great power was a plus. Top notch string for someone looking for power and exceptions spin!” 4.5 male all court player using Wilson Steam strung at 47 pounds CP (Luxilon 4G 1.25)

“Another excellent poly on the market to choose from.” 4.0 female all court player using Babolat Pure Drive strung at 50 pounds CP (Natural Gut 16)

“Not sure if it was because it looks, feels, and strings like Big Banger Alu Power, but it really reminded me of that. However, it didn’t slip around nearly as much and although my serves were the same, my groundstrokes just felt a touch stronger with this string. Would consider making the switch if the price was right!” 4.0 male all court player using Babolat Pure Drive strung at 60 pounds CP (Luxilon Alu Power 1.25)

“I loved the feel of this string while stringing and playing. Not as firm as most poly strings, and the spin was wonderful.” 5.0 male all court player using Head Graphene Speed Rev strung at 65 pounds CP (Luxilon Timo 1.10)

“One of the better polys I’ve played with as of late. The balance of power and playability was perfect for my game. Though I had to end the test earlier than expected (due to injury), this is the most impressed I’ve been with a poly in quite some time.” 4.5 male all court player using Prince Tour strung at 49 pounds CP (Solinco Tour Bite/Prince Premier Control 17/17)

“I really liked the feel of this polyester string. It did not feel too stiff in the racquet and was not hard on the hands when stringing. It felt like it pocketed the ball well. I was surprised how much spin I got considering this was not one of those shaped strings. I would definitely carry this string and recommend it to customers who felt like they are looking for a playable poly string that did not feel like it was an ultra-stiff stringbed. I think this would make and excellent hybrid option with a multifilament for someone looking for a good feel/spin package.” 4.0 male all court player using Babolat Storm Tour GT + strung at 44 pounds CP (Head RIP Control 16)

“The power for this co-poly was exceptional. Loved the power it gave me on my serve. It was very easy on the arm. The spin potential was awesome, generated excessive spin with ease. Strings did not move, even with the heavy topspin shots. No noticeable loss of tension. The durability is outstanding; the string shows very little notching after 90 hours of play/teaching. I would recommend this string to any customer looking to get tons of spin and power to go with it.” 4.0 male all court player using Dunlop Biomimetic M2.0 strung at 46.7 pounds CP (Wilson Sensation/Prince Synthetic Gut 17/18)

“Playability and comfort were stand-out characteristics not normally associated with a poly. The high spin potential made control easy and tamed the power. A great poly for first-time users. Please let me know the name of this string. I’d like to keep it in my arsenal.” 4.0 male baseliner with heavy spin using Dunlop Aerogel 4D 100 strung at 40 pounds LO (Volkl Cyclone 16)

“This is a fantastic all-around string. I felt very comfortable and confident hitting out with big topspin. I was disappointed when this string broke. I’m looking forward to finding out what it is so I can hit with it again.” 4.0 male baseliner with heavy spin using Wilson BLX Six One 95 S strung at 50 pounds CP (Luxilon Alu Power Spin 16L)

“This string feels soft and lively. I wish it gave more spin. It provides good spin, but not great spin. There was absolutely no movement with this string.” 4.0 male baseliner with heavy spin using Wilson Steam strung at 60 pounds (17)

“Great playing string that bites into ball as well as adding more power. Big hitters will love the extra spin and power from this thinner polyester. Frequent string breakers beware. Playability from this thinner string increases, but durability is sacrificed. When comparing to other monofilament strings, this string beats them in playability, spin, and power. If you aren’t worried about durability, this is the polyester string for you!” 5.5 male baseliner with heavy spin using Wilson BLX Pro Open strung at 58 pounds LO (Luxilon Alu Power 1.25)

“What? Another generic gray poly! Actually, this was a pleasant surprise. Soft, powerful, balanced with control. Good snapback. Very little straightening required. Could use less aggressive string texturing.” 4.0 male baseliner with moderate spin using Prince O3 Speedport Black strung at 48 pounds CP (MSV Hex 19)

“Very soft initial feel, which was surprising for a poly. Easily wove crosses, which can be tough on the tight patterns when using poly. The strings moved around a good amount, when playing, but overall was a solid hit. Surprisingly easy on the arm when feeding, and equally good when playing matches. I’m looking forward to finding out what string this is!” 6.0 male all court player using Wilson Pro Staff strung at 50 pounds CP (Luxilon 4G 1.25)

“Very interesting string … Tinny out of the package, but after a few hours really morphed into an excellent string. Lost its luster at about 15 hours overall. A really nicely responsive co-poly, but I’d question its longevity.” 5.0 male all court player using Wilson Blade strung at 50 pounds LO (Wilson Duo 17/16)

“Traditional feeling poly with great control, spin, and resistance to movement. Held tension fairly well and was also durable. My touch shots suffered a little bit and in a stiff frame the comfort level was lower. I would like to try it in a more flexible frame at a lower tension to compare it.” 4.0 male all court player using Babolat Pure Drive Plus strung at 49 pounds CP (Head Hawk 17)

“There was a noticeable loss of tension after 6 hours of play, but then the stringbed settled in and tension stayed steady. Depending on price, this string earns a unique distinction of one that would play well both in a full bed or blended, especially as a cross string. This string would be best suited for harder hitters and more advanced players.” 4.5 male all court player using Head Youtek Graphene Instinct strung at 50 pounds CP (Solinco Tour Bite/Solinco Vanquish 18/16)

“I recorded a DT of 38 with the ERT. The next morning it was still at 38, which is unusual for poly. They still feel decently crisp even after 1 week or 17 hours of hitting. My normal string is not so good for playing after this amount of time.” 4.5 male baseliner with heavy spin using Head Graphene Prestige MP (18x20) strung at 50 pounds CP (Head Sonic Pro 17)

“I like the way all polys feel and react. Can’t tell any noticeable difference between polys to say ‘wow, that’s new.’ So, yes I like this string because it feels like others.” 5.0 male all court player using Head Prestige 600 strung at 35 pounds CP (Solinco Tour Bite 16)

“This 17 gauge string (poly?) installed easily due to its stealth profile. It seemed extremely flexible for its construction. The smooth finish aided stringing ease, but did not provide much spin potential. It played too softly for my preference, but seems like a good choice for serious players with arm issues. Very interesting string!” 4.5 male all court player using Prince EXO3 Warrior strung at 54 pounds CP (Tecnifibre Red Code 120/Gamma Synthetic Gut 130 18/16)

“With this string I found that the break-in period is like 1-2 hours of play. It initially felt stiff, but after that it performed outstanding. It had plenty of power and exhibited lots of spin. Some vibration with off-center hits on the volleys, but overall, I would recommend this string for all-court players.” 4.5 male serve-and-volley player using Head Graphene Radical MP strung at 53 pounds CP (Wilson Hollow Core/Genesis Black Magic 17/17)

“The strings felt good. Nothing really stands out but it was more comfortable than my current setup. The strings felt stiff when stringing, but were pretty comfortable during play. It had a bit more power and control compared to Black 5. I would use this string again.” 3.5 male baseliner with moderate spin using Head Graphene Prestige MP strung at 45 pounds CP (Weiss Cannon Black 5 Edge 17)

“The string hit well. It did not seem as stiff and maybe more forgiving in the arm than other polys. Recommend for someone who want to try polyester, but was concerned about the stiffness.” 4.0 male baseliner with heavy spin using Babolat Pure Drive Roddick strung at 60 pounds LO (Solinco Tour Bite 16L)

“Nice poly string. Not too hard to string up the racquet. Playing was very nice — comfortable on groundies and good feel at the net. Serve was popping.” 4.0 male all court player using Wilson Steam S strung at 60 pounds CP (Ashaway Monogut 16)

“Nice playing polyester from the baseline contributing great spin. Impressive feel and touch at net. Would highly recommend this string to any all-court player who can control the baseline while dominating the net with accuracy and touch. The only negative would be its tension maintenance as string movement happened relatively early in the test play.” 4.5 male baseliner with heavy spin using Head Graphene Speed MP strung at 60 pounds CP (Ytex Pro Tour 16L)

“I liked it. It felt like my usual polyester, although without quite the bite and spin. I’ll stick with my old string.” 5.0 male all court player using Babolat Pure Drive + strung at 40 pounds LO (Luxilon Alu Power 1.25)

“The test string had a soft feel as well as a soft sound. I expected a crisp pop from the thin gauge like I get from Luxilon’s Timo. I had good control although spin potential and power were below my expectations. Unfortunately the durability is what I expect from an 18 gauge string.” 5.0 male all court player using Babolat Pure Storm GT Tour + strung at 56 pounds CP (Yonex Poly Tour Pro 16)

“Tester felt that the string could have allowed more control. The tension holding seemed to be satisfactory. Some knot-tying problems; during stringing the string wanted to knot or kink. Spin was okay. Control was not overly good. Notches made string adjustments difficult. Comfort was all right, not real hard on the arm. Durability was good, at 33 hours … that’s roughly where I usually replace the strings anyway. Control was nothing special. Power was good. Playability was in the mid-range. I checked the tension at about 30 hours of playing time, the holding tension was reasonable.” 4.0 male baseliner with moderate spin using Head Youtek Graphene Instinct PWR strung at 55 pounds LO (Luxilon 4G/Prince Lightning XX Spin)

“The string is softer than my usual string which is good for those with arm issues. But, it lacks in overall feel and power. Had a tough time generating spin. Overall, playability is low.” 4.0 male all court player using Babolat Pure Drive Roddick strung at 55 pounds CP (Solinco Tour Bite Soft 16)

“I was pleasantly surprised by the comfort level of this type of string, especially since I had shoulder surgery just three months ago. Perhaps this was due to the 10% lower string tension which also may account for some slight perceived string movement.” 4.0 male all court player using Head Graphene Speed PWR strung at 46 pounds CP (Gamma Moto 17)

“My initial take on the string was that it was very much like other polyesters I’ve tried. But, after a couple of hitting sessions, my arm was not only fatigued, but sore as well. I was forced to alternate racquets to keep on the court. I did enjoy the spin I was able to create and the pop generated on my serve.” 4.5 male all court player using Babolat Aero Pro Drive strung at 54 pounds LO (Babolat RPM Blast 16)

“String appeared to be very playable initially. The comfort level was high as was the feel. However, after playing in a competitive match, I found that the power level was too great and the spin potential was very low. All power and no control is a difficult pill to swallow.” 4.5 male serve-and-volley player using Babolat Pure Drive strung at 57 pounds CP (Luxilon 4G/Tecnifibre NRG2 17/16)

“Good all-around string, similar to many already being marketed. Nothing ‘wowed’ me about this product.” 4.0 male baseliner with heavy spin using Head Extreme S strung at 50 pounds LO (Head Hawk 16)

“String tension dropped from normal stringing for my racquet by seven pounds. This made string play better.” 4.0 male all court player using Volkl strung at 50 pounds CP (Wilson Hyper Spin 16/17)

“The thinner gauge felt like I got good bite. I felt it lacked power because I had to swing harder to generate pace. Control was similar to other poly strings and did great at resisting movement. In the end, I did not notice much difference from this string to other poly strings.” 4.0 male all court player using Pro Kennex Kinetic Pro 7g strung at 57 pounds CP (Luxilon Big Banger Alu 16)

“This string hurt both my wrist and shoulder. I thought it performed like a typical polyester. Decent with spin, control, and durability, but low on power and comfort. As good as many other polyester strings on the market, but nothing special to set it apart. It felt hard on my wrist and shoulder after very little use. Also, it lost considerable tension (as most polyesters do).” 4.5 male all court player using Head Graphene Speed S strung at 50 pounds CP (Tourna Big Hitter 7 16)

“I did not care for this string. Felt dead from the beginning. Actually felt a little better after several hours, but then perhaps I was just getting accustomed to it.” 3.5 male all court player using Wilson Blade (18x20) strung at 53 pounds CP (Solinco Tour Bite/Gamma TNT2 17/17)

Playtester Ratings

Ease of Stringing (compared to other strings)
much easier 2
somewhat easier 6
about as easy 26
not quite as easy 4
not nearly as easy 1
Overall Playability (compared to the string played most often)
much better 1
somewhat better 7
about as playable 16
not quite as playable 10
not nearly as playable 3
Overall Durability (compared to other strings of similar gauge)
much better 3
somewhat better 10
about as durable 19
not quite as durable 4
not nearly as durable 1
Rating Averages
From 1 to 5 (best)
Playability 3.6
Durability 3.7
Power 3.5
Control 3.7
Comfort 3.2
Touch/Feel 3.1
Spin Potential 3.6
Holding Tension 3.3
Resistance to Movement 3.9

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About the Author

Greg Raven  is an associate editor for Tennis Industry 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 three to five days a week, and is turning into an avid cyclist.

 

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