Alternative to kevlar/gut hybrid

Discussion in 'Strings' started by Shroud, Apr 18, 2013.

  1. Shroud

    Shroud Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2013
    Messages:
    3,405
    Location:
    Bay Area
    Pretty happy with the ashway kevlar/ vs gut combo, but have been thinking about poly.

    Actually just tried some ALU power rough for mains and technifibre NRG2 for crosses.

    Kevlar/gut is strung at 63/65 but I had the new poly and crosses strung at 63/63- because they say to string poly lower.

    Yikes. This is so springy I cant really use the racket unless I put heavy spin even then its springy nature makes it tough to be consistent.

    Is this how poly is, springy? Just a bad combo? or am I just a kevlar guy?
     
    #1
  2. McLovin

    McLovin Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2007
    Messages:
    3,184
    I too was a kevlar/gut person for years. I preferred the Gamma Extreme Spin 19g (kevlar-blend), but used Ashaway prior to that.

    Around 5 years ago I started down the gut mains/poly cross combo and haven't looked back. But, you have to forget all you believed before.

    First, you need to embrace lower tensions. I strung my kevlar/gut combo at 58/62. Now, with similar headsize & string pattern, I'm down to 53/51 with gut/poly. It takes time to adjust, but in the end, you will come to believe in it.

    Second, the feel. You are used to that stiff, boardy feel of a 2x4. Nothing wrong with that, but you will just have to hit for a while to adjust to the new feel. It took me ~ 3-4 months, but everyone is different.

    Third, experimentation. You will need to try many different polys before you settle on the right one for you. Smooth, shaped, thin, thick, soft, stiff, hybrid (gut or multi), full-bed. There are many different combinations.

    Fourth, and most important: The harder you swing, the better the results. Honestly. That is the double-edged sword that is Poly. If you do not swing hard enough, the ball will fly on you. Sounds counter intuitive I know, but again, that's the world of polys.

    Or, you can just continue on in the kevlar/gut world. If it works for you, no reason to change. But understand that once you start down this road, it can become very, very addictive...
     
    #2
  3. Lambsscroll

    Lambsscroll Professional

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2004
    Messages:
    1,471
    Location:
    United States
    I would just stick with the kevlar/gut hybrid since your happy with it. Whats nice about your hybrid is its consistent for many hours.
     
    #3
  4. travlerajm

    travlerajm Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2006
    Messages:
    4,415
    I'm a long-time kevlar user who has experimented with poly many times.

    My advice: don't bother with poly.

    Poly string is the polar opposite to kevlar as far as the playable lifespan goes:

    Kevlar has a 1-2 hour break-in period. After the break-in period, the tension is stable and reliable for many hours until it breaks (which can be a really long time if your use 16g).

    Poly has a 1-2 hour period when, at the right tension, it plays well. After the first 1-2 hours, the playability gradually declines with time. How long you can go depends on your tolerance for stringbeds that spray the ball. For me, it's only a few hours. Some people play with it for 4-6 hours before cutting it out, some even 10 hours (which is usually pushing it). And some people just keep playing with it, not realizing that the reason they are missing shots is that their stringbed is beyond its useful life. The lack of control of a "dead" poly stringbed is most obvious when you try to volley against an opponent who hits with heavy spin - the dwell time is too long and rebound angle is very difficult to control.

    The one neat feature of poly compared to other strings is that it is slippery, which makes the strings slide over each other, making it possible to hit with more spin when you use poly crosses. But any advantage from this increased spin is fleeting -- your control will begin to suffer after a few hours. Don't be drawn in.

    The reason poly is so popular with pro's is that they only use their racquets for an hour before they grab a freshly strung one. And sadly, the reason it's so popular with amateurs is because they want to use the same string the pros use.

    No pros use kevlar, but's only because they don't use strings long enough to reach the sweet plateau of broken-in kevlar at the right tension. But in my opinion, kevlar is the most underrated, unloved, underappreciated type of string. It gives unmatched control, and nearly as much spin as fresh poly.

    After playing 10 years with Problend, then another 5 years with Crossfire, I have played the past few years with kevlar/poly (which gives a little bit more spin than kevlar/syn gut or kevlar/gut). But the frustrating downside is that the poly loses tension so fast. I've currently found an upgrade to poly cross -- Ashaway Zyex Monogut. At the right tension, it will give you almost as much the extra spin of a poly cross, but with much, much, much better tension maintenance (after a boardy break-in period).

    I'm also beginning to experiment with thoroughly pre-stretched poly as cross (which in theory has much improved tension stability). But my sincere opinion (as a connoisseur of precision-control equipment) is there is no reason for a kevlar guy to mess with poly. In my opinion it's an inferior product. I'm pretty much done using poly in any situation unless it's thoroughly pre-stretched.
     
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2013
    #4
  5. mikeespinmusic

    mikeespinmusic Rookie

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2013
    Messages:
    165
    Great post as usual travlerajm :)

    Any kevlars at 16g you can recommend? for old player style racquets? I've tried Golden set 18g with a synthetic gut 17g cross at 40 lb mains kevlar, 50lbs crosses synth gut.

    As recommend by my german stringer. But Its not that resistant to movement unfortunately.
     
    #5
  6. corners

    corners Legend

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2008
    Messages:
    5,441
    Is anyone still making and selling 19g Kevlar strings?
     
    #6
  7. travlerajm

    travlerajm Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2006
    Messages:
    4,415
    I just put some 19g Gamma TNT Fusion kevlar mains into my shortened EXO Graphite mid, crossed with 18g OG micro at 45 lbs. Full bed weighed only 11g. Interesting deep-pocketing feel with nice predictable grip.

    I think you can still buy the Fusion.
     
    #7
  8. travlerajm

    travlerajm Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2006
    Messages:
    4,415
    Only 16g kevlars I've tried are Problend and Crossfire II. Problend is stiffer than Crossfire, but they play similarly.

    I've also played with 17g and 18g Crossfire, Forten 18g, and Gamma 19g.

    The durability drops off a lot with gauge. In my opinion, the biggest difference in playability between gauges is difference in weight of the bed.
     
    #8
  9. corners

    corners Legend

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2008
    Messages:
    5,441
    Thanks. What is "Elastamid"?
     
    #9
  10. travlerajm

    travlerajm Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2006
    Messages:
    4,415
    I don't know - but maybe that's why the Fusion 19g / 18g syn gut hybrid is giving me a little springier deep-pocketing feel than a kevlar/ syn gut ordinarily would.
     
    #10
  11. corners

    corners Legend

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2008
    Messages:
    5,441
    Just a guess, but I wonder if they haven't bound the braided strands of Kevlar together with polyurethane. That seems to be the go-to material for multi strings. If the braid is loose enough there would be enough play to allow the PU to add some elastic cushioning to the string.

    Have you noticed any change in the way the Fusion mains interact with crosses (notching, etc.)?
     
    #11
  12. travlerajm

    travlerajm Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2006
    Messages:
    4,415
    I just checked. After about 2 hours of play: zero noticeable notching in the crosses. The mains are all over the place and not straight.

    I also looked at my Blade: 17 hours of play: mains are straight as an arrow, and crosses also still looking smooth as new. Kevlar is worn, but not notched.
     
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2013
    #12
  13. corners

    corners Legend

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2008
    Messages:
    5,441
    Hmm, do those 19g Fushion mains have the gummy/sticky surface texture of a PU multi? The movement could also be due to the syngut crosses of course.
     
    #13
  14. travlerajm

    travlerajm Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2006
    Messages:
    4,415
    The surface is more like a smooth(possibly gummy) PU multi - no braided typical kevlar texture visible, other than the added spiral wrap.
     
    #14
  15. corners

    corners Legend

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2008
    Messages:
    5,441
    Interesting, so the kevlar strands are completely encapsulated. I wonder how they are configured inside. They must be braided or crimped somehow, otherwise the PU wouldn't have anything to do except act as glue.
     
    #15
  16. travlerajm

    travlerajm Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2006
    Messages:
    4,415
    I looked closer at the cross section of the cut end. It has a stiff transparent plastic shell, and a "furry" core of very fine fibers. So whatever elastomid is, it's probably the shell material (nylon?). The kevlar fibers don't appear to be bonded together.

    The only previous time I tried Fusion was 15 years ago, and I was using my stock Prostaff 4.7 OS and stringing at 70 lbs. It didn't last more than a week before the mains snapped. But at 45 lbs in the mid, it looks like it will probably last quite a while, as the protective outer shell doesn't seem to be wearing very fast at this tension.
     
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2013
    #16
  17. mikeespinmusic

    mikeespinmusic Rookie

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2013
    Messages:
    165
    Thanks travlerajm ! :D
     
    #17
  18. Shroud

    Shroud Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2013
    Messages:
    3,405
    Location:
    Bay Area
    Hey thanks for the great info.

    I hit about an hour and 1/2 with the poly strung racket. much easier on the arm, but it was so springy and I hit some great shots, especially slice.

    Later my partner left and I hit with a guy who was really good. Said he has beaten a few 5.0 players.

    I never bothered with the poly and grabbed the kevlar/gut stick....hit really well, and way better than with the poly.

    I think you hit it on the head travaler, poly is not for me.
     
    #18

Share This Page