Discussion in 'Strings' started by corners, Feb 22, 2012.
ok Thanks Jack, your a great help.
Thanks Jack. I've ordered a couple of sets of 18 (as Crossfire) from TW. Postage is $10 so that's not too bad. Will be interesting to see how it plays as this will be my first time with kevlar.
I finally got my Dunlop MW 200G strung with MonoGut ZX 16 as a cross and Forten Sweet 16 Gold mains @50/50 lbs.
First impressions from hitting few balls and practicing serve: it feels lighter on my arm than other syn gut / poly hybrids. Overall the stringbed feels more lightweight even though the response is quite solid (in a good way).
For a 12.7 oz/360 g heavy frame it is a very welcome "headlightedness".
Being a natural gut hybrids user, I would in no way compare Zyex to natural gut. It just sounds and feels and behaves more like plastic, than organic material. Not as forgiving on off-center shots. But compared to any poly cross it provides unusual cushioning/suspension, much like multi. Less punishing when hit outside the sweetspot. Must be good with natural gut mains.
There is a bit of squeaky sound (hence the plastic feeling), but it is dampened well with synthetic gut mains. I don't think I would use it in full bed configuration, not a fan of "squeaky clean" sound and feel.
The stringbed response is crisp and energetic and controlled. And, again, light on my arm. 50 lbs is probably optimal tension for this particular frame.
This is the unfortunate reality of a ZX/Poly hybrid. One of the key benefits of ZX is its ability to maintain tension after the initial settling period. This benefit is wasted by limiting it to the tension maintenance of the poly in the ZX/ Poly set-up. You should fare much better in this regard with the ZX/Kevlar set-up.
Torres, 4G/ZX might be worth a try. 4G lost very little tension in the TWU lab; its the clear top poly on the market in terms of tension maintenance. And while the lab numbers may not always correspond directly to on-court performance, they do provide an apples to apples comparison: poly vs. poly, same testing conditions. I haven't seen much about 4G from guys using RacquetTune to track tension loss. I wonder how it's faring there. 4G also returns more energy than any other poly, but is also quite stiff, qualities that might be nice to have in the mains with ZX crosses.
I really think the Zyex would cheapen up and extend the life of a gut mains setup. Poly/Zyex would be interesting but like Julian said, the poly going dead will limit the life of the setup.
That's an interesting idea actually - hadn't thought of that. It doesn't have much spin compared to the best grabby polys out there and its a beit dead feeling but 4G tension maintenance is pretty good, though my arm didn't like it as a full bed. 25 hours or so over 3 weeks and my arm felt like it was on fire.
Think I'll try it with some ZX crosses and see how it plays.
The only thing I've heard about 4G that might make it suck in the mains with ZX crosses is that it apparently has a rather soft surface and notches readily. To achieve tension maintenance and elasticity, Luxilon may have put some stuff in 4G that is rubbery, decreasing its surface hardness compared to other stiff copolys. (Luxilon did not take a patent out on 4G, so we can only guess what it's made of.)
A few months ago I tried 4G in full bed in C10 Pro, side by side with Hurricane feel, both 1.25. 4G felt softer the first few times out, than they felt about the same. Interestingly Hurricane feel shower a few percent better tension maintenance, but there are too many variables, like I am not sure how long I hit with each one, although about the same.
I suspect that 4G will get stuck and will not be snapping back into place with ZX, just my feeling after handling ZX, it has a weird surface that sort of wrinkles, although I did not have any problems with it snapping back when I used as full setup, but I only had it in for two weeks and cut it out. Hurricane feel was pretty stiff and low powered, and was very smooth, so probably better than 4G in the mains with ZX, but I really don't see much benefit to using both in a hybrid with ZX when it comes to performance/making you actually play better, the only benefit would be softening up the setup while exhibiting longer tension maintenance. I think 18g Kevlar/ZX would have a much better performance, if it snaps back like Trav said it did in his 18x20.
I have a friend who is going to try Gut/ZX in a Fischer vac pro 90, which is a very low powered racket. I will be stringing it for him and probably will hit a few balls with it. I had pacific tough gut in that racket at 51 lb and even that was low powered as full setup.
"just my feeling after handling ZX" I meant 4G
Looks like the "17g" Kevlar I was buying from the local shop is actually 18g Kevlar (I did not inspect the reel the guy was cutting from, he said it was 17g), because I just got a reel of Ashaway 17g Kevlar, and it's noticeably thicker than the previous "17g" It looks exactly like Bow Brand Kevlar 1.20mm that came with natural gut/kelvar hybrid pacs. I suspect that Bow Brand buys it's Kevlar from Ashaway for these hybrids, which is good because I really liked that Kevlar even so it was thicker it had good sliding properties once notched, and the crosses did not slide up and down. Will have to try this 17g with red ZX cross vs a natural ZX cross, and maybe vs a thin poly cross like WC Mosquito Bite or Genesis Heptonic.
Julian, can you ask and confirm that the Bow Brand Kevlar is actually Ashaway Kevlar? I am 99% sure, but this would save me buying a set and testing it against Ashaway.
When Hurricane Feel first came out it was the poly tension maintenance champ according to TW University testing. Since then, a handful of strings have lost less tension than Feel in the lab, including 4G. But I'm not surprised that Feel and 4G were very close in your on-court testing. It's still in the top 10 for tension maintenance.
You might be right. It might snap back initially, but then lock up once the surface of the 4G gets notched, wrinckled, whatever.
Feel might be better in the mains than 4G. It showed lower inter-string friction in the lab.
From my readings of the TW Professor's papers on string snap back and string patterns, I would think that if kevlar/ZX snaps back in an 18x20 but does not in a more open pattern, that the fix would be to up the tension in the open pattern. In this paper on how string stiffness influences snapback, the Professor found that when kevlar mains were used in a very open (16x10) pattern, that the cross strings had to be tensioned quite tight. If they were too loose, the kevlar mains slid too far out of line and then failed to snap back in time to impart additional spin.
Those experiments with kevlar mains and copoly crosses in extremely open patterns, as well as others in that paper done with conventional patterns, led him to suggest "goldilocks principles" of snapback-generated spin:
The optimization rules for spin appear to be "Goldilocks Principles": the stringbed must be not too soft and not too stiff, not too closed and not too open, and not too rough and not too smooth. You can have too much or too little of each. Stiffness helps keep movement in check in open patterns and helps to overcome friction in tighter, higher friction environments. But stiffer materials and higher tensions also create greater inter-string friction and may too severely constrain lateral string movement, thus not getting the maximum spin benefit.
So if the cross strings are too tight, or there are too many of them, the main strings may not be free enough to slide and stretch sideways with the ball. So no additional spin from snapback because the strings weren't able to slide sideways.
But if the crosses are too loose, or if there are too few of them, the main strings will be able to slide sideways too easily and too far, and then not have time/energy to snap back in time, or with enough energy, to impart additional spin.
I have high hopes for gut/ZX, but after reading several reports about it, as well as about other ZX hybrids, I suspect that the ZX crosses, being so flexible, are going to demand higher tensions than people used to gut/poly would think. I usually do gut/soft copoly at around 50 in a 16x19 midsize. I'm thinking between 57 and 60 with gut/ZX might be about right to get the ZX crosses stiff enough to prevent too much sideways gut movement in that open pattern. The posters who have reported on gut/ZX have pretty much all strung low, around 50 if I remember right, and have described the strings "moving all over the place." This suggests to me that, at those low tensions, the flexible ZX is allowing the flexible gut to slide way too far sideways, where it either gets stuck, or alternately, does snap back, but after the ball has left the strings. Without the resistance of the ball, the sideways snapping strings might then snap back past their original position and get stuck on the "other" side of the stringbed.
So gut/ZX might be the ultimate "goldilocks" setup, because both strings are so flexible, requiring lots of trial and error to get the tension "just right." If so, it could be very expensive to find "just right"; and worse, "just right" might slip away as soon as the ZX loses some tension. Hopefully not.
If you have good eyes (or a magnifying glass), you can check the gauge of the Ashaway Kevlar you got by looking at the stamp on the string. Ashaway USA 17 (for 17 gauge) or Ashaway USA 18 (for 18 gauge).
As for the question about Bow Kevlar, I will have to do some research.
Corners, I thought I strung the Kev/ZX pretty high, 56/58 lb, but Ashaway Kevlar lost 28lb of tension in the USRSA tests, but it snaps back fine with poly at lower tension. I know Trav pre-stretched his, so that would help with snapback. Everything else you mentioned I agree with, and was familiar with the studies and test you mentioned.
Julian, I could see the stamp on the 18g half set that I ordered from TW, but for the stuff I bought here it doesn't have a stamp. I think the Kevlar this pro shop had is a decade old. The coating on it is not the same as on the current stuff.
I can confirm that Bow has purchased Kevlar from our factory in the past.
Thanks Julian, I really appreciate the info because I really liked that "Bow Brand Kevlar" but it only came in a hybrid with natural gut, which is great if you can afford to use natural gut, or don't live in London and don't play on wet courts. I am looking forward now to trying the 17g Kevlar with ZX.
Any idea if Ashaway is planing to make 18g Kevlar Plus in the near future? The 17g Plus plays ok, but 18g would obviously be a "plus"
No plans for an 18g Plus in the near future. Possibility further out as Plus becomes more popular and demand for a thinner version arises. I am pushing for the 1st ZX hybrid offering to be ZX w/ Kevlar Plus. I think the Plus has the potential to take away the least from the benefits (power, arm friendly, tension maintenance) of ZX while adding control. It would also be less expensive than a full set of ZX because the Kevlar is less expensive than the Zyex.
Yes, Plus/ZX would be a brilliant setup, much better than the current basic synthetic gut that comes with it. The only problem I envision is some movement of ZX up and down the Plus mains, since Plus doesn't seem to have the gold/sticky coating of the regular 17g kevlar that notches slightly at the beginning and promotes the mains sliding straight across similar to rails.
Ok, I'm tempted once more!
I didn't like it much last time around, it felt harsh yet overpowered and not at all soft.
However I was forced to play a set today with RPM Blast in a friends racquet, the spin and power level were addictive to say the least.
I do not want to switch back to full poly as the tension loss and dying of the strings is just unbearable in a short time.
I did find good spin from the ZX last time, I'm thinking of trying Babolat N.vy in the crosses to slightly soften it up in my 90 sq inch Dunlop 100, my previous tension was 50lbs. any ideas on tension for such a hybrid?
Crosses higher or lower?
I WANT TO LOVE THIS STUFF!
After a hitting session with Forten Sweet 16/ MonoGut ZX @ 50 lbs in Dunlop MW 200G I can say the setup is not very forgiving on off-center shots. When hit in the sweetspot with a very relaxed swing it does produce great results and feels good. But if I try to force the racquet onto the ball it is of no help and feels harsh. Great training tool for me, I do enjoy putting the racquet to work, not my arm, and Zyex stringbed reacts like a on/off switch if I'm relaxed/smooth or tense/jerky.
This should be interesting....Weiscannon B5E 1.24 / ZX 1.27 @ 51/53 CP.
Weiscannon B5E isn't a string I particularly like, but it is grabby. TW review: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A7YdDHZkxSU
Julian, do you have any stiffness numbers on Plus vs. regular Kevlar?
Handling some Red ZX 1.27 and 'wheat' ZX 1.27 from 2 different sets of ZX earlier today, the wheat ZX definitely seems to me to be a slightly thicker gauge (or the Red is a thinner gauge). It was the same with the previous set of 'wheat' 1.27 that I had. The wheat also felt like a heavier gauge when I strung it as full bed, compared to the Red. Obviously, with any manufacturing process there's a range of manufacturing tolerances, but I'm half tempted to try and find a micrometer to prove whether or not I'm right....
Anyway, going to string up a Wilson Natural Gut 1.30 / Wheat ZX 1.27 hybrid in my BLX Juice Pro (96/16x20) to see what that's like.
Any suggestions as to tension?
Poly/ZX I normally string at 52/53CP
Previously strung Wilson 16/AluR 17 at 54/50CP but the gut seemed to powerful (with the whole thing turning to crap when the Alu loses too much tension).
I'm thinking maybe 58/56CP? 60/56CP? 60/58CP?
After reading your post, I went and compared the thickness of the Wheat 1.27 vs the Red 1.27, as I have both - they appear identical thickness to the naked eye.
I pre-stretched 18 feet of the 1.27 wheat along with 18 feet of 18g kevlar last night on my pulley rack - getting ready to lace of my Blade and see if I can tell any difference between the Red and the wheat.
After about 24h of singles play, the pre-stretched ZX/kevlar is still playing just fine, with minimal tension loss. The kevlar is about 50% sawed through in the sweet spot with only a few more hours before it snaps, so I think it's about time to change it out while it's the weekend.
OMG, that looks beautiful! At first, I was thinking your tension was too low but then I remembered you live in Europe.
Which do you like better, wheat or red? I'm not a fan of strings that bleed and the red does bleed slightly. As for tension, that Wilson 16 has serious pop. If your weather coming up will be warm, I'd say string them both at 60. Maybe a little less if playing in cooler weather.
Well, B5E is a stiffish string...even stiffer than Gosen Micro... ;-)
On a serious note though, there's a big difference between CP and LO. This at 51/53 CP will be about right I think for a small 97/16x19 (I tend to use the Wilson Biairdo electronic machine at the club).
I haven't used my own crank machine to string this particular string combination before, but I did string BHSR17 (poly) / Gosen 17 a few weeks back and 56/60 LO was perfect as a reference tension. It's not the weather my friend, its the stringing machines!
Not sure. I still haven't completely figured out this string but I do think its great as a cross (power, softness, tension maintenance etc). From handling several sets of this, I really am wondering if the red is slightly thinner, so the choice between the two probably depends on the particular application, racquet, tension etc. Going to have to get a measuring caliper as its starting to bug me now...
I forgot you have a CP machine. You'll be the best judge of tension I say.
24 hours! Excellent! How does your arm feel?
I use a 370 SW, so there is no concern about arm discomfort due to stringbed stiffness. I prefer a firm stringbed due to the control advantage. Even with a fairly firm stringbed, I believe my frame is probably more comfortable than if it were strung with nat gut but at 320 SW.
I just replaced the stringbed with 18g kevlar/ 1.27 ZX wheat, both pre-stretched thoroughly on my pulley rack, strung at 56 lbs (upped 1 lb from my last set-up).
Haven't played with it yet. But I did do a quick test of the dentablility of the string:
Each of the 3 string segments in the first photo (click thumbnail to enlarge) were squeezed once in the middle with the flat surface of the widebase of a needlenose pliers, squeezed with as much force as I could apply with one hand.
The orange one is 1.23 SPPP for reference as typical poly. You can see that it has a lot of plasticity, with the squeeed portion deformed and flattened.
The ZX Red 1.27 still flattens, but just a little.
The ZX Wheat 1.27 hardly flattens at all.
So it looks like the dye in the Red adds a little bit of plasticity (hard to tell in the photo, but the red flattened a little more than the wheat, but not nearly as much as the poly).
The fact that the ZX is much less malleable than poly is consistent with its much superior tension stability.
Dentability of SPPP, ZX Red, and ZX Natural
Edit: Here's a comparison with a 2-handed squeeze (double the squeezing force) to better show the difference in plasticity/malleability between the Red and the Natural:
I actually suspect that the red might be more slightly more elastic/lively that the wheat (though bear in mind my previous thoughts that the wheat might be fractionally thicker).
Following your experiment, using heavy duty pliers, and squeezing two handed with all the force I can, ZX does 'squish' though not as much as a poly, despite the ZX being significantly softer. I think its due to the ZX material having more spring to it than poly.
B5E 17 poly turned into a pancake
Red ZX 16 flattened though nowhere near as much as B5E
Interesting how 'clean' the cut is on the ZX, whereas the B5E despite being a significantly stiffer string, 'squishes' in the direction of the cut.
Natural gut (top strring in photo below) and nylon multifilament (bottom string in photo below):-
Natural gut (Wilson) squishes but nowhere near as much as the nylon multifilament (Technifibre Multifeel) which flattens into a pancake.
Photo proof of higher energy return.
Interesting pics for sure.
I just noticed that in my black / red string photo, if you ignore the shadow on the Red ZX, they're pretty comparable thicknesses aren't they?
B5E17 is supposedly 1.24mm, and Red ZX is supposedly 1.27mm. I wonder if I've got a thin batch of Red ZX? It seems to be thinner than the wheat.
If you click on the top photo in my post 879 (and then click again to enlarge to full res), you can compare the gauge of the Red and Wheat side by side. They look identical to me, at least in the batches I received. But they also look identical in thickness to the 1.23 SPPP.
ReDifficult to tell with the naked eye. Zooming up on my photo and using a pixel ruler, the brown is 125px across. The red is about 120px across measuring up to the middle of the shadow to the right of the red string (the flash on my camera comes from the left slightly so the flash direction would have been more above the brown string and the left of the red string). That pixel count actually translates fairly well to the actual physical gauge in mm.....
Using your photo at #879 at its original full size, and then rotating it 90 degrees so that the strings are vertical and adding a further 300% zoom, the wheat measures 140px, the red 133px. Your photo is actually clearer in terms of seeing the edge of the string as there's no shadow.
So in both cases, it seems that the red is actually slightly thinner....
[Edit: I took some more measurements of the strings in your photo at different / random positions - its a poor methodology to only take 1 reading!
Wheat 130px Red 139px
Wheat 134px Red 136px
Wheat 140px Red 141px
Wheat 136px Red 133px
Wheat 132px Red 130px
Wheat 133px Red 134px
Wheat 130px Red 136px
Wheat Av 134px Red Av 135px
So I suspect that your strings are the same gauge and any variances are simply within expected manufacturing tolerances.
Taking multiple readings of my two strings still results in the red being thinner though. Maybe I'll take another photo and see if that's any different.]
Just got back from playing on court with the 18g kev/ZX 1.27 Wheat in my Blade.
The stringbed felt about 5 lbs tighter than with the Kevlar/Red hybrid. I had upped the tension 1 lb, but it played at least 5 lbs tighter (tighter than I wanted). It still played ok, with good control, but boardier, lower power, and less spin than optimum. The strings still mostly slide, but the interaction between the kevlar mains and the ZX seems a little stickier than it did with the Red. The mains are mostly straight afterward, but not arrow-straight like they were with the kevlar/Red hybrid even after 20+ hours.
My only explanations fro the higher effective tension are:
1. Maybe I inadvertently pre-stretched the Wheat or the Kevlar significantly more than I did the Red and kevlar last time (since this time I didn't systematically measure the amount of pre-stretch)?
2. The Wheat has significantly less tension loss than the Red, causing the effective tension to be significantly higher?
I can't rule out #1, but I think #2 is also likely, given my observation that the red squishes significantly more with the pliers squeeze test.
The difference in effective tension can be adjusted for, but the surface stickiness is a concern. I probably should have heeded Yev's warning after his play-test and swapped my reel of Wheat for a reel of Red, but I was impatient and curious and couldn't help myself.
At least I know my observations were not a fluke, even at higher tension the wheat seems to have less snapback than the red. This is odd as it seems to be stiffer than the red, which should allow for less denting and more sliding, so it must be the surface coating.
Perhaps if there is a little more friction between the mains and crosses, this could explain why the tension seems a little higher. I know when I spray silicone of PTFE on a poly stringbed that is not snapping back fully, and hit with is after it feels a little more lively, although not for very long.
I still have two sets of wheat ZX left, I will try to exchange them for red. Planing to string up a set of Gut/ZX and Kevlar/ZX in a pair of matched Fischer Pro Classic 98's, this is a low powered stick compared to the Volkl C10 Pro where Gut/ZX is not really an option.
I really like this stuff. Once I got the power dialed in (it's high) its very comfortable and really has Natual Gut feel/power. I have it strung with a low powered spinny Poly (Genesis Spin X) and it plays really good. The low powered poly helps tame the power in my Wilson BLX 6.1 95 16X18.
Good to hear! Are you using the 16 gauge or the 17 gauge? red or natural? What tension for both ZX and Poly? What type of game do you play?
I'm definitely going to buy some more of this stuff and was considering the wheat version but with your comments here and Torres measuring a thicker string, I'm inclined to stick with the red string. I just can't break the darn stuff and it continues to play well against most of my opponents. It seems to get springy now against the heavier spin players. I used it against a pusher yesterday and it worked well.
I forgot to post in the other thread, but that is very interesting about the cost of PEEK versus nylon. It is also exciting that this string is so new and it came out pretty darn good on the first try. With your interest in all the playtester comments, further tweaking should only make it better.
I play an all court game (quite a bit of net) with quite a bit of doubles as well. 16G in my 16x18 stick. I have tried both..they feel very similar..Red looks better so I use it. Poly Mains 52/Zyex 57. I am competitive 4.5 player.
There were a lot of R+D iterations before we settled on the current version for the market. We really need to get as much information as possible about this string before we try to push further.
As someone who enjoys the string, I am interested - what type of game do you play? spin vs flat? a lot of net or mostly groundstrokes?
I see that you are a big proponent of nylon, but use Poly in the mains when your arm can handle it. Have you considered Poly mains with a ZX cross?
Another mark in the plus column for 16 gauge in the 56,57, maybe 58 range. Interesting!
I'm a 4.5 mostly singles player but do play some doubles. My game would be best described as all court. I tend to hit with a lot of spin. Playing on clay, getting to net is usually not a great idea against bigger hitters but I do like to get up there against more defensive minded players.
I'm not really a fan of nylon, just forced to use it at times. I like the control and spin of polyester.
I probably will try poly/zx at some point. For the summer, I'll try and have 1 racket with the ZX and my other two with the poly/multi setup. In wet clay conditions (rainy season here in Florida), I'd go for the ZX to get more power. In hotter faster conditions, I'd opt for the poly/multi setup. When the weather cools off again I plan on just using ZX and mixing in some multi string tests.
Mine was 16g at 56 and also with a 16x18 pattern.
Is there anything about your game that you think lends it to controlling the ZX better than some others have been able to? or do you chalk it up more to the racquet/ tension/ gauge combination? I understand you would only be speculating. Just your opinion.
In general, the 17 gauge is too thin for such a powerful string. I'm of the opinion that a 15g might be what the more powerful frames need to not exceed the 60 pound tension limit of the Zyex. The string needs higher tension to control the power/launch angle.
My Prince Exo Tours have a flex rating of 52 so the racket lacks power to begin with so the ZX compliments it well. I rarely hit screamers that barely clear the net. I could see where those players could struggle hitting the ball long because they are hitting flatter. The high spin potential combined with my looping topspin is a great combination.
Before I playtested this string, if somebody asked me the question what string is closest to gut my answer was X1 Biphase. My answer is now Monogut ZX. While it does not feel the same (plush versus crunchy), the power level matches that of Wilson Gut 16 which is the most powerful string I've used.
I don't wish to hijack but aside from tension/gauge etc, I think it helps if you have full and complete strokes. When I was playing with a full bed of this at what I considered to be an optimum-ish tension, I found that I was accentuating my strokes, following through alot more, concentrating on the finish...its almost as if the string encourages you hold the ball on the strings for as long as possible to try and get that nth degree of control. I found that I was almost trying massage the ball for as long as I could. I think a lower level hacker would struggle more with this type of string because they tend to choppier, shorter strokes. Interestingly, I found the string to become lower powered and more control orientated (albeit with less spin) around the 10 hour mark, and when that happened I adopted more of a 'bash, bash, bash' playing style as you would with a poly. Still very forgiving though even at that stage, even if the same heaviness of ball wasn't being generated.
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