Tennis Industry magazine

 

Playtest: Tecnifibre Multifeel 16

By Greg Raven

Tecnifibre Multifeel is a solid-core single-wrap multifilament string, which, according to Tecnifibre, offers durability, dynamic performance, and comfort in a “made in France” string featuring many of the same great features of the premium Tecnifibre strings (HDX Tour, X-One, and NRG2) at an excellent price-to-value ratio.

Tecnifibre tells us the durability comes from the central monofilament. Surrounding the central monofilament are 985 composite filaments arranged in bundles. The assembled central monofilament and multifilament wraps are immersed in polyurethane (PU 400), giving the string 400 percent elasticity for outstanding power, excellent shock absorption, and less arm fatigue. Finally, Multifeel has an anti-abrasion coating of Silicone Pyrogene Lubritec (SPL) for additional durability.

Tecnifibre hopes Multifeel will appeal to players looking to upgrade from a typical nylon string to a soft PU string with excellent durability, without a huge price increase.

Multifeel is available in 16 and 17 gauges in Mineral. MAP is $9.95 for 40-foot sets, with 200-foot reels available. For more information or to order, contact Tecnifibre at 888-301-7878, or visit tecnifibre.com.

In the Lab

We tested the 16-gauge Multifeel. The coil measured 41 feet, 2 inches. The diameter measured 1.29 mm prior to stringing, and 1.24 mm after stringing. We recorded a stringbed stiffness of 83 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 75 RDC units, representing a 10 percent tension loss. Our control string, Prince Synthetic Gut Original Gold 16, measured 84 RDC units immediately after stringing and 77 RDC units after 24 hours, representing an 8.3 percent tension loss. In lab testing, Prince Synthetic Gut Original has a stiffness of 217 and a tension loss of 11.67 pounds, while Tecnifibre Multifeel 16 has a stiffness of 189 and a tension loss of 9.81 pounds. Multifeel 16 added 15.1 grams to the weight of our unstrung frame.

The string was tested for five weeks by 36 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 27.2.

As noted by our playtesters, Multifeel is easy to install. The SPL coating makes weaving the crosses easier, without leaving excess lubrication on your hands or equipment. Blocked holes were not a problem.

One playtester broke the sample during stringing, one reported problems with coil memory, one reported problems tying knots, one reported friction burn, and one reported other problems.

On the Court

Our playtest team confirmed Tecnifibre’s assessment of Multifeel, rating it 10th best of the 190 strings we’ve playtested to date in the Playability category, and 15th best in the Comfort category. Multifeel also earned an excellent rating in the Touch/Feel category, and was well above average in both the Control and Tension Retention categories. Overall, our playtesters rated Multifeel well above average.

We tested a previous version of Multifeel for the February 2006 issue of Racquet Sports Industry magazine. Compared to the earlier version, this sample tested better in Playability, Comfort, and Tension Retention, and much better in Resistance to Movement.

Seven playtesters reported premature fraying or peeling, two reported buzzing, and 10 reported notching. One playtester broke the sample after five hours of play.

Conclusion

As with our earlier playtest of Multifeel, there’s good news here for lovers of soft multifilament strings. Three of the strings rated higher in Playability than Multifeel are other, more expensive strings from Tecnifibre, and one much more expensive natural gut. In the Comfort category, five of the higher-rated strings are from Tecnifibre and one is a natural gut. That’s pretty heady territory for a string at this price range.

Playtester Ratings

Ease of Stringing (compared to other strings)
much easier 6
somewhat easier 11
about as easy 19
not quite as easy 0
not nearly as easy 0
Overall Playability (compared to the string played most often)
much better 0
somewhat better 11
about as playable 9
not quite as playable 13
not nearly as playable 3
Overall Durability (compared to other strings of similar gauge)
much better 3
somewhat better 8
about as durable 13
not quite as durable 5
not nearly as durable 7
Rating Averages from 1 to 5 (best)
Playability (10th overall) 3.9
Durability 3.1
Power 3.3
Control 3.6
Comfort (15th overall) 3.9
Touch/Feel 3.5
Spin Potential 3.2
Holding Tension 3.4
Resistance to Movement 3.4

Playtester Comments

“Test string was very comfortable while playing. Impressed with feel of stringing with the same main and cross strings. Very happy with the feel of the strings off the serve and while hitting volleys. Control was not a problem when it comes to hitting spin with depth. I would be very comfortable playing a tournament match with these strings.” 4.0 male serve-and-volley player using Prince Textreme Warrior strung at 50 pounds LO (Prince Tour XT/Prince Premier Control 18/17)

“This is a well designed string. It does it all, with little negative against it. While it may not truly excel in any one area, it’s good in all, making this an unusual string that can be highly recommended. One odd and positive thing about the string was how long it lasted even after it started fraying. I suspect it has a stiff inner core with a much softer outer wrap. It played slightly stiffer than expected given how soft it felt as I was stringing it. The string was so soft going in that it gave me some trouble getting through blocked holes. But in my racquet while playing with it, it was stiff enough to remind me of my poly/nylon hybrid set up. It didn’t have quite the spin of my hybrid, but it did have more comfort and playability. I use a fair amount of spin, so the lack of spin from the strings caused me to lose some control. Hard, flat balls were the most rewarding to hit. Hard slices worked good, as well. But I was often not as rewarded as I’m use to when trying to spin the ball off the court or up into someone’s weaker shot or simply out of their strike zone. I liked the string more as it aged and I’d encourage anyone to try stringing at lower than normal tensions and see how that works for them. Overall, an excellent string. Even though I had some lack of spin issues, I would recommend this string to anyone because it can do so many other things.” 4.5 male all court player using Wilson Pro Staff 90 strung at 55 pounds CP (Volkl Classic Synthetic Gut/Topspin Cyber Blue 16/17)

“This was a very sweet feeling string when playing with it. I enjoyed plenty of touch and feel as well as control to put the ball where I wanted, when I wanted. I was disappointed when it broke, but with such good feel, it might be a nice compliment to put in a hybrid stringing. I am sold on it.” 5.0 male serve-and-volley player using Wilson BLX Juice S strung at 62 pounds CP (Luxilon 4G/Wilson NXT 17/17)

“I liked this string, and it had pop and precision aplenty. While it did not offer great spin potential, it felt good on all strokes. Not being a string breaker, I would love to try this in a 17 gauge. All in all, I would recommend this for players, like myself, who like a traditional string.” 4.0 male all court player using Prince O3 Red strung at 56 pounds CP (Gamma TNT2 Pro Plus 17L)

“Nice touch and feel, especially around the net. Easy to string and easy on the arm.” 5.0 male serve-and-volley player using Prince Tour strung at 60 pounds LO (Gamma TNT 17)

“This one felt like a multifilament with some of the spin and control of a poly. I am a fan of this string. While I prefer gut/poly, I would recommend this for the player who dislikes the expense of gut or seeks to avoid the harder feel of polyester monofilaments.” 5.0 male touch player using Babolat Pure Strike 16/19 strung at 56/52 pounds CP (Babolat VS Touch/Head Hawk Touch 16/18)

“This is a very comfortable, excellent playing string. It is very easy on the arm.” 4.5 male all court player using Babolat Pure Aero strung at 58 pounds CP (Babolat Origin 17)

“It was easy to find poly-like power from the string when necessary, but also versatile enough to hit with touch (i.e. from a multifilament) as needed.” 4.7 male baseliner with moderate spin using Babolat Pure Drive + strung at 50 pounds CP (Babolat RPM Blast/Babolat Xcel 17/17)

“I thought it was a great string overall. Resistance to movement was excellent, Comfort and feel were great. I think it would make a great cross string in a Poly hybrid setup. Looking forward to trying it in a hybrid setup.” 4.0 male all court player using Babolat Aeropro Drive strung at 58 pounds CP (Volkl Cyclone/Tourna Synthetic Gut Armor 19/17)

“An excellent all-around string from both a stringer’s and a player’s perspective. I felt this string to have superb playability, control, durability, comfort, and power. I would recommend this string to all intermediate and advanced players as a string to benefit ‘all court’ play, due to its overall superior characteristics.” 4.0 male all court player using Head Microgel Radical MP strung at 60 pounds LO (Babolat Xcel Premium 17)

“Very nice string. Super easy to string. No coil memory. Feels like a high-end multifilament. People are not going to give up their poly. I see this string as a nice one for hybrid stringing. Excellent playability. Feels like a throwback string (in a good way) as opposed to modern day poly/co-poly.” 4.0 male all court player using Head Flexpoint Prestige MP strung at 48 pounds LO (Gamma Professional 17)

“For me, this was one of the best strings I’ve tested. I felt it played well on all aspects of the game. It felt great on groundstrokes, volleys, serves, etc. I had incredible feel around the net volleying and I like the combination of control, power, and feel I had from the baseline. I think this string would be a great string for any style of player.” 5.0 male all court player using Wilson Pro Staff RF strung at 48 pounds LO (Luxilon Timo 110/Wilson NXT 18/17)

“A comfortable string. Installation was a breeze. Played crisply and performed well for touch shots. Experienced some notching but nothing too severe. Would definitely stock it.” 4.0 male baseliner with heavy spin using Dunlop 200G strung at 65 pounds CP (Prince Synthetic Gut with Duraflex 16/17)

“Comfortable string and easy on the arm. Good touch and control on most shots, especially volleys. I prefer shaped strings for more spin and shot placement.” 4.0 male all court player using Prince Triple Threat Viper strung at 60 pounds LO (Gamma Ruff 16)

“Good string for the average market.” 4.0 male all court player using Prince Textreme Warrior strung at 58 pounds CP (Prince Tour XP 17)

“Very responsive stringbed, which provided good pop. I could hit out without fear of balls sailing. Strings were very accepting when hitting touch shots or heavy spin. They are a very comfortable string that I would like to play with although they may not last as long as some may desire.” 4.0 male all court player using Prince LS strung at 55 pounds CP (Gamma TNT2 17)

“The string played with a little less pop from the string than I am accustomed to. Felt good with the control and touch of the string, might have strung it looser for a bit more response.” 4.5 male serve-and-volley player using Wilson BLX Two strung at 60 pounds LO (Wilson NXT 16)

“Easy to string. Very comfortable multifilament string.” 3.5 male baseliner with heavy spin using Wilson Pro Staff strung at 53 pounds CP (Babolat Natural Gut 16)

“I enjoyed this string very much. Good feel and control. It had plenty of power and easy on the arm. I had no string movement, which surprised me a little since it was such a soft feeling string. Around five hours of play the string started to fray badly. This did affect tension and feel. Should be a good cross string with poly. I think it would be a good string and would last longer if not being used in a racquet with such an open string pattern as the one I was using. In my opinion would be good for arm problems.” 5.0 male all court player using Prince Tour ESP strung at 50 pounds CP (Prince Tour XP 17)

“I liked this string. The feel was soft and touch was excellent — a pleasant change from stiff strings. The soft feel of the string also made playing with it very comfortable compared to other strings of similar construction. The only shortcoming noticed was premature fraying although it did not appear to affect playability or durability. I would recommend this string specifically for anyone who experiences elbow problems and wants a softer feel while not sacrificing touch or feel.” 4.5 male all court player using Prince O3 Red LS strung at 55/53 pounds LO (Tecnifibre X-1 Biphase/Tecnifibre NRG2 18/18)

“Very nice playability and power was decent. I would have liked more spin. The string did start to fray in a few spots, but it did not break.” 4.0 male baseliner with heavy spin using Volkl Organix 8 Super G 300 strung at 59 pounds LO (Luxilon Savage/Solinco Tour Bite 17/17)

“Good string. Soft feel, which I like. String didn’t move around much and held tension pretty well. I would use this string possibly as the soft side of a hybrid.” 4.5 male baseliner with moderate spin using Wilson BLX Five strung at 57 pounds LO (Wilson NXT 17)

“Seemed like a nice, soft playable multifilament.” 4.0 male all court player using Boris Becker Delta Core London Mid strung at 56/53 pounds CP (Ytex Octo Twist 16L)

“Nice string, Seemed responsive with good control.” 4.5 male all court player using Prince Tour T ESP strung at 60 pounds CP (Prince Premiere Power 17)

“I used the string in a 100 sq. in. racquet and I liked the way it played. I don’t generally break strings, so I cant speak to durability. I generally do not hit with a lot of spin, either. There seems to be very little fraying at this point. I liked the string for its control and all around playability and comfort. Putting the string into the frame posed no problem aside from minor coil memory issues, and so far it seems to be holding tension really well (lost only ten percent in 20 days at the time of this writing). I would recommend this string for its playability, including comfort and control.” 4.0 male baseliner with moderate spin using Pacific Feel Tour strung at 57 pounds LO (Pacific Natural Gut 15L)

“Soft string that played above average but lasted well below average. Enjoyed the feel and control, but the string broke after two matches and a 45 minute practice session. It started fraying during the first match that I played with it. Hard hitters won’t be able to keep this string in the frame for long.” 4.5 male all court player using Prince Tour ESP strung at 58/62 pounds LO (Prince Tour XS 17)

“At first, I was not comfortable with the string. The longer I played with it the better it began to feel. It’s possible the string felt heavy in the racquet? I began to like the feel on my ground strokes but not as well on the serve and volleys.” 4.0 male all court player using Wilson Burn S strung at 60 pounds CP (Luxilon Spin/Wilson NXT 16/16)

“Good comfortable playing string. Not a very responsive string. Started fraying after three hours of play.” 5.0 male all court player using Head Graphene Prestige strung at 60 pounds LO (Head Sonic Pro 16)

“Was an average string to me.” 5.0 male all court player using Head Prestige strung at 55 pounds LO (Prince Synthetic Gut 16)

“Great feeling string and wonderful feel. I loved the way it played, but with an open string pattern racquet like I play with, this string isn’t durable. It broke after less than two hours of singles play.” 6.0 male all court player using Wilson Juice S strung at 57/58 pounds CP (Luxilon 4G 16)

“Could see visible signs of fray at three hours but string did not break until hour 15. Literally shredded to individual strands.” 4.5 male baseliner with heavy spin using Head Graphene Radical MP strung at 45 pounds CP (Tecnifibre Black Code 4S 18)

“For stringers — you shouldn’t have any problems with this string while stringing a racquet. For players — this string is average in all characteristics — playability, control, power, durability, etc.” 4.0 female all court player using Prince Warrior L ESP strung at 56 pounds CP (Tecnifibre NRG2 17)

“This is an average string and its benefit is that is has predictable characteristics. If the price is right this could be a good string to recommend for a player that has a solid game.” 4.0 male baseliner with moderate spin using Babolat Pure Drive strung at 55 pounds CP (Babolat Natural Gut 17)

“The string broke after about two weeks of heavy hitting and started fraying early.” 5.0 male baseliner with heavy spin using Pure Storm Limited strung at 53/50 pounds LO (Forten Gut 16)

“The string was tested during the Winter USTA season, which is colder than the balance of the year. I found the string to be ‘jarring.’ It didn’t absorb vibration, sending the shock into my body. The string feels like it has a coating, which could be the reason the string wasn’t notching. At the same time, it didn’t grab the ball as well, affecting my directional control. I thought it would be a softer multifilament string, but it played more like a monofilament string.” 4.0 male all court player using Volkl Organix 4 Super G strung at 58 pounds CP (Volkl V-Twist 17)

“Below average string. This string did nothing well. Little touch, little control, below average power.” 4.0 male all court player using Pacific Raptor strung at 57 pounds CP (Pacific Premium X 16)

(Strings normally used by testers are indicated in parentheses. For the rest of the tester comments, visit tennisindustrymag.com.)

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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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