Ashaway 100% Zyex monofilament

Discussion in 'Strings' started by corners, Feb 22, 2012.

  1. mikeler

    mikeler G.O.A.T.

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    Julian,

    If I normally string full multis at 50 pounds which is quite low, do you still recommend the reduction in tension with the Zyex. It just seems strange to go into the 40s unless it is poly.
     
  2. Torres

    Torres Banned

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    ^ Obviously I'm not Julian (and I'm sure he'll answer anyway) but for Red ZX 1.27mm, definitely go into the low/mid 40s if you're stringing a multi at 50. I'm stringing it at soft poly tensions for my sticks and I think its fractionally too high.

    Obviously I can't comment on Natural 1.27 (ZX) or Natural 1.22 (ZX Pro), both of which I'm assuming will be softer. But don't make the mistake of basing tensions on what you're used to because this is different material that has its own characteristics.

    Tensions recommendations are on their page: http://www.ashawayusa.com/MonoGutZX.php
     
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2013
  3. Torres

    Torres Banned

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    Just found this on the Ashaway website. Seems to have very promising tension loss characteristics.

    Once the stringbed's settled, this suggests ZX maintains its tension for a couple of weeks without further tension loss. That's quite extraordinary.

    [​IMG]

    http://www.ashawayusa.com/TennisTip6.php

    If that table is representative, then presumably you would string it with the intention of the strings settling at their target tension by day 3.
     
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2013
  4. Torres

    Torres Banned

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    Hours 2-3 of hitting with Red ZX 1.27mm in a BLX Juice Pro....

    I definitely need to reduce the tension slightly next time as it feels like I've strung it slightly too high. Stringbed doesn't feel bad but it feels a little bit tinny unless you nail the ball perfectly in the sweetspot every time. I think a slightly lower tension will increase the forgiveness from the stringbed and open the sweetspot a bit more.

    The optimum tension isn't what you'd expect. I would string it at maybe 51lbs CP next time (compared to 53lbs CP originally). This compares to 52lbs for Black Magic 17, 53lbs for BHBR16, and about 58lbs CP for a synthetic gut even though ZX doesn't play as stiff those two polys (though I've never consider Black Magic or BHBR to be arm unfriendly unless they've gone dead). Contrary to what you'd expect, Ashaway's tension recommendation of 15-20% lower than nylon for Red ZX 1.27mm sounds about right.

    This string plays like a poly but without the poly stiffness and changeable tension loss characteristics of poly, and also unlike most polys it has the non-linear power characteristics of a multi/gut thrown in IF you want it. The BLX Juice Pro is a more spinny racquet than the 6.1 18x20 and its quite noticeable with some of the balls that you can produce. The swerve and cut you can put on slices, particularly slices with side spin is poly-esque. Spin on groundstrokes is poly-esque as well - maybe not quite as much as the ultimate 'grabby' polys but its not far off. Its not the easiest to tell though because the higher power of the string (well, higher power than a typical poly) elongates the trajectory of the ball. But power is there if you want it. Low power is there is there if you want it as well. It has very adjustable power characteristics. Poly like control from the stringbed too unless you mishit the ball, or you're being silly with your shots.

    Red Monogut ZX 1.27mm feels like the 'love child' of a poly and a multi/gut. It has characteristics of both, but couldn't be described as either. String it at a high(er) and it feels more poly-esque. String it lower and its like soft poly with more multi/gut power and touch characteristics thrown in. Personally, I think Red ZX 1.27mm leans more towards being a 'poly-lite' string - at the end of the day its still a type of plastic - but Ashaway really have created a new category of string here with a really interesting blend of characteristics.
     
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2013
  5. mikeler

    mikeler G.O.A.T.

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    ^^^ Good write up
     
  6. julianashaway

    julianashaway Rookie

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    The reason for the recommendation of 15-20% reduction in tension from Nylon is that Monogut ZX will hold tension much better than Nylon. Therefore, a 15-20% reduction is not much of a recuction at all once your Nylon strings have been in play. That being said, 50 lbs is quite low for Nylon. If you don't get a lot of play from your strings, you may find 50 lbs just fine for Monogut ZX and get longer lasting enjoyment at that tension. If you do get a lot of play from your Nylon strings at 50 lbs, you may prefer Monogut ZX in the 40's. Hope this helps.
     
  7. maxpotapov

    maxpotapov Hall of Fame

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    Alright everybody, so should I risk half set of Wilson Natural Gut to cross with Monogut ZX? Last time someone tried it, it did not go too well...
     
  8. scotus

    scotus Legend

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    From Ramon's findings, it seems to me that a poly main and ZX cross will be a better setup.

    What is your usual setup?
     
  9. mikeler

    mikeler G.O.A.T.

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    OK, thanks for the insight.
     
  10. maxpotapov

    maxpotapov Hall of Fame

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    Right now it's Pacific Tough Gut / WC Mosquito Bite.
    But I would not mind something softer and more energetic in my super dense and low powered Prestige LM Mid.
     
  11. scotus

    scotus Legend

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    I do not subscribe to the change-only-one-variable-at-a-time theory when an expensive piece of gut is on the line.

    I would probably go a bit higher on tension going from gut/poly to gut/zyex, but that's just me.
     
  12. Torres

    Torres Banned

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    The problem with Ramon's review is that he seems to have made alot of school boy errors when testing the string, and drawn quite a few mistaken conclusions about ZX as a result of those errors.
     
  13. mikeler

    mikeler G.O.A.T.

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    Not sure what school boy errors are but like you said, it does not appear he tested the ZX version.
     
  14. fgs

    fgs Hall of Fame

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    i think that before being renamed to monogut zx the string initially hit the market under the name zyex monogut - i could be wrong nevertheless.

    still can't be found in continental europe and obviously the german and austrian distributors have not even found out it exists!:oops:
     
  15. corners

    corners Legend

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    I'm definitely going to do it. But I won't be getting to it for another month or so, so whatever happens to me won't be useful to you in the meanwhile. :)

    But I would carefully consider at which tensions you string a) a bed of full gut, and b) gut mains with soft copoly crosses.

    Based on everything I know about those two setups, and everything I think I know, or currently assume, about ZX, I would personally string (in a mid):

    Full gut: 55-60 pounds
    Gut/soft copoly: 45-52 pounds
    Gut/ZX: 50-60 pounds

    ZX is much less stiff than any copoly on the market. It isn't even close. So I would definitely be thinking of stringing gut/ZX at a higher tension than I do with gut/copoly.

    Now, Ramon said that gut/ZX was very powerful, which is what we would expect, given that ZX is much more flexible than copoly. But he also said it didn't give him enough spin to bring the ball into the court. But here's the thing: anytime you change the cross string in a setup you're going to get a different rebound angle. If gut/ZX produces a higher rebound angle than full gut, you're going to hit long, even if gut/ZX actually produces more spin than full gut does. But rebound angle can be adjusted to quite easily, but it may take more than ten minutes.

    For example, a copoly string will rebound the ball at a higher angle than a multi will. But, the multi is also truly more powerful, it rebounds the ball at a faster speed than the copoly does. So when comparing them, you might end up getting similar distance on your shots, but the shot trajectories will be quite different: the copoly will produce a high, arcing trajectory and the multi will produce a line drive.

    But if you go from gut/copoly to gut/ZX you're going to get more ball speed, maybe less spin, and maybe a higher rebound angle. If one or more of things these are true, you're going to get more depth. You can freak out about this depth or hit with it a while to see if you can make it work for your game and figure out the source of the depth.

    If you're getting more depth because of more true ball speed, this is an unqualified good in my book.

    If you're getting more depth because of less spin, this is not so great, but you still might want to make it work if the extra speed and comfort is important to you. Ramon thought this is what happened and it was unacceptable to him.

    If you're getting more depth because of a higher natural rebound angle, it's not a big deal. You can adjust to this in a fairly short amount of time. If the string combo really floats your boat you could switch to a tighter string pattern which will make the adjustment for you. In my opinion, depth resulting from a high rebound angle could very easily be mistaken for less spin. I would be careful about jumping to conclusions about spin. Recent experiments have shown that player perception of spin is not very reliable.

    Personally, I'm hoping that gut/ZX will deliver a noticeable increase in speed and comfort over gut/copoly and that the spin will be near enough to gut/copoly to work for me. As long as the spin is better than a multi or syngut I'm not too concerned about rebound angle. Extremely-low tension copoly produces very high launch angles and I didn't find that very hard to adjust to at all.

    Anyway, keep in mind that I haven't even hit with this stuff yet. So all the above might be totally wrong.
     
  16. Torres

    Torres Banned

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    I really don't understand why people are talking about crossing this with natural gut. What's the point?
     
  17. corners

    corners Legend

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    Good question! :)

    Power?

    Spin?

    In your experience so far, Torres, how would you rate ZX in a full bed to gut/poly in these two categories?
     
  18. ultradr

    ultradr Hall of Fame

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    1. Cost saving
    2. Different playing characteristics.

    NG/Zyex hybrid must be at least better than NG/Poly, in terms of tension
    maintenance.
     
  19. maxpotapov

    maxpotapov Hall of Fame

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    Nono, natural gut mains!
    ZX looks like it's slick and elastic, what could be better as a cross?
    And frankly, I don't understand what's the point with full beds unless you hit totally flat.

    String on string friction can always be improved in hybrids over what you get in full bed. Denting/notching is also worse in full bed setup, strings lock in place from day one in most cases. Plus you get some cushioning from synthetic gut crosses without losing bite from poly mains. And it's more economical too.

    Why people use full bed of anything is beyond me, although I acknowledge that feel (the zing!) of fresh full Luxilon ALU is quite exhilarating. But who can afford to restring every match?
     
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2013
  20. maxpotapov

    maxpotapov Hall of Fame

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    Now I have to wait until Tough Gut / Mosquito Bite breaks, which takes forever considering slow indoor season (few hours per week). I could try it in a different racquet but I want to make apples to apples comparison. Besides, dense string pattern of Prestige Mid could really take advantage of higher launch angle and easier power/depth.
    I think I will go for 50/50 lbs with ZX crosses and Wilson Natural Gut mains. For Tough Gut / Mosquito Bite it was a bit too tight, I would string 48/46 next time.
     
  21. PBODY99

    PBODY99 Hall of Fame

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    Works for this Senior player....

    My ZX use is limited to the 1.27 but I have used it in a full bed, as the main with 1.25 smooth poly and as a cross with 4G mains.
    The full bed @ 50 plays like a multi but held its playability for a longer period than Recoil and TF Mutli-Feel.
    When crossed with poly I kept the tension at 46/46 for the hybrids. As I expected, the length of time these worked for me was longer than any other cross I have tried.
    Yes, I have used gut poly in my frames, but a Speedport Gold is just too stiff and open patterned for me to use gut, multis or Zyex Tough for any length of time.
    I have a 5.0 player trying it as the cross /1.25mm poly mains @ 58 lbs in his APD for over 4 weeks and 12+ hours he has not broken it yet.
    I used Ashway Dynamite for years and would string it as the wet weather string for my flat hitting gut players.
     
  22. Torres

    Torres Banned

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    Does this string go dead? How long does playability last? Does playability drop off with the strings being bashed hundreds of times?

    Those are my thoughts during hours 4-5 because I'm swinging for the hills, the moon, the stars and the sun and I don't seem to be producing a particularly heavy ball.....
     
  23. purple-n-gold

    purple-n-gold Professional

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    Torres, this is what I found with all the Zyex based strings I've tried so far, their playability or durability for me is short-lived and not worth the extra dough.
     
  24. corners

    corners Legend

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    Interesting. When you say your ball lacks heaviness, do you mean it lacks both speed and spin? Compared to what? I'm definitely interested in hearing more Torres.
     
  25. Torres

    Torres Banned

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    Heaviness as in combined speed and spin....action on the ball. Alot of balls seem to be coming back, a bit like if I was hitting with a synthetic gut or a dead poly. Opponent doesn't look uncomfortable taking the balls I'm hitting.

    Pulled out a stick freshly string with Yonex PTS and the balls are alive again off the bounce...
     
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2013
  26. corners

    corners Legend

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    That's not good. How big of a difference since the strings were fresh?
     
  27. Torres

    Torres Banned

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    Hard to be exact but maybe 50%. I just seem to be having to work so much harder to put my opponent under pressure and dominate points.

    Need to have another hit with it next week to make sure I'm not imagining it.
     
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2013
  28. mikeler

    mikeler G.O.A.T.

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    March version of RSI magazine has an Ashaway Monogut ZX Pro playtest.
     
  29. Torres

    Torres Banned

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    Am surprised by that. Surely its just the same string but a thinner gauge?
     
  30. julianashaway

    julianashaway Rookie

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    Monogut ZX Pro is the 17 gauge version. Blind testing has shown increased playability with little to no loss of durability in comparison to the 16 gauge version (Monogut ZX).
     
  31. corners

    corners Legend

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    Julian, the one poster here that is really trying this stuff out, Torres, recently experienced a full bed os zx red 16 "go dead" - he felt that both spin and speed dropped off hugely after playing with the strings for some hours. You can red his comments just upthread.

    How would you account for, or explain, what he experienced?
     
  32. Torres

    Torres Banned

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    I think this string goes the zyex equivalent of 'a bit dead' after a few hours of hitting. Had another hour or so of hitting, this time on an fast indoor carpeted court (which normally exaggerates the action of the ball off the ground) and I'm just not seeing the same action on the ball as during the first few hours. There's just not the same heaviness of ball.

    Its still perfectly playable - you can hit your spots, power is still there, its still directionally accurate, its not uncomfortable - but I wouldn't want to go into a tournament like this. Then again I wouldn't want to go into a tournament with a poly that's had 5 hours of hitting on it either.
     
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2013
  33. corners

    corners Legend

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    Hmm, when you put it into comparison with poly, yeah, it doesn't sound so bad. It would be nice if Julian from Ashaway would give us some insight on your experience of the string "going dead."
     
  34. polytheist

    polytheist Rookie

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    Hey cool, a multi that goes dead like a poly. The best of both worlds LOL.
     
  35. Lakers4Life

    Lakers4Life Hall of Fame

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    Is it safe to say that Zyex does not have the same tension stability of Natural Gut? Zyex by design is suppose to mimic natural gut, but falls sort in the tension stability department.
     
  36. Torres

    Torres Banned

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    Tension maintenance seems pretty exceptional, certainly during the length of time that I've been hitting with this string. At no time does the stringbed feel soggy or floppy and its doesn't feel like its lost much tension. But tension maintenance is not exactly the same thing as playability - its simply a factor. Given that this string is still a type of plastic, its difficult not to take the view that subjecting it to stress by bashing it with a ball hundreds of times isn't going to at least slightly change some of its playing characteristics.
     
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2013
  37. Torres

    Torres Banned

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    Well, firstly its not a multi. Secondly, it doesn't go dead in the extreme way that a poly does. It just losses that ultimate nth degree of performance that it seemed to have during the first few hours.
     
  38. corners

    corners Legend

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    According to TW University's numbers ZX 16 loses about as much tension from repeated impacts as a good soft copoly, so not even close to as good as natural gut. But, as Julian from Ashaway pointed out upthread, Zyex in general is similar to natural gut in that it's measured stiffness does not greatly decrease at lower tensions, which is very unlike nylon or poly strings. So even though it may lose tension it may still feel similar as before, because the stiffness won't change very much even after the strings elongate and lose tension. This is another example of how this string is quite unlike what we're familiar with and, in my opinion, another example of why we need to be careful in our evaluations of it. It's simply a very unusual strings with characteristics of various other materials but not in the combination we're used to. Trying to pull together what the lab numbers show with the small number of playtester reports we have, it seems that this strings is:

    Very flexible (low stiffness), like natural gut, but it does not offer quite the same energy return, so it's not as powerful as gut.

    Even though it is flexible it has a hard, slippery surface like a copoly. The new playtest report from USRSA of the red Pro version rated it 3.7 for string movement, the highest non-poly score in that category.

    It loses tension like a copoly but maintains a fairly constant stiffness even at low tensions, so it may not feel as though it's lost a lot of tension.

    According to one playtester (Torres) ball speed and spin drop off after 3-4 hours of play, suggesting that it may "go dead" like a copoly.
     
  39. Torres

    Torres Banned

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    I'd say its mostly spin and rotations on the ball (and the more awkward trajectory that that entails together with the movement of the ball off the bounce) that drops off and from about 4-5 hours. Performance starts to lean towards a synthetic gut in terms of the amount of action (or lack of action) that you can put on the ball. You can still boom a flat ball if you want to but flat balls are easy to return -opponents just use your pace - unless you can get it past your opponent. But that's akin to having to constantly hit winners. Still plays better than synthetic gut though, even after 5 hours.
     
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2013
  40. ewberner

    ewberner Rookie

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    My experience with this string is the same as yours. The first few hours were amazing. It is the best set up I have ever played with for that period and then the spin seems to disappear while all other characteristics are still present.
     
  41. polytheist

    polytheist Rookie

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    ok it's a synthetic that only goes half-dead?
     
  42. Torres

    Torres Banned

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    I concur. The string played beautifully at times during the first few hours. Its just a shame that that ultimate performance doesn't seem to last. If that performance could have lasted for say 15 hours, this string would have taken the market by storm.
     
  43. Torres

    Torres Banned

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    Yeah I suppose so. It does play beautifully though during the first few hours and even when its half dead, I still think it plays slightly better than a synthetic gut. Its just that much of its 'special mojo' seems to have gone....

    [​IMG]

    If Ashaway can get this string to maintain all of its initial playing properties for 15 hours, I'd be happy to buy reels of this string by the bucketload.

    Until then, that concludes my wrap up of my playing experiences with the Red ZX Monogut 1.27mm ;-)
     
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2013
  44. corners

    corners Legend

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    Do the strings start moving around/get stuck out of line at that 4-5 hour mark?
     
  45. Torres

    Torres Banned

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    ^ No movement at all. Absolutely none. Even if you pull them, they go back.

    But then the polys I used don't show string movement at the point when I cut them out (6-8 hours).

    Then again its probably less obvious given the typical tension I use, together with an electronic CP machine, and the denser pattern / smaller headed sticks that I use (95/18x20, 96/16x20 etc). It may be more obvious in something like an APDC strung using a crank but I'm not able to comment.
     
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2013
  46. corners

    corners Legend

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    Ok, thanks Torres. I was thinking that if they were getting stuck out of line we'd have our explanation - less spin after 4-5 hours because the snapback effect stopped working. That the he strings are staying straight does not mean definitively that snapback is still giving extra spin, but it is suggestive. Maybe they have lost elasticity at that stage, in which case maybe the mains are snapping back but not with enough energy to actually put additional rpms on the ball. Perhaps your observation gives us another reason why gut mains/zx crosses might be better than full ZX - the gut mains wouldn't go dead and should provide great spin for the life of the strings.

    It is interesting, though, that none of the RSI playtesters in either of the zx (16g and 17 g) playtests noted the spin decline you've observed. That doesn't necessarily mean anything though, as you are evaluating the string pretty thoroughly and criticly.
     
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2013
  47. mikeler

    mikeler G.O.A.T.

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    It would be nice to see FULL reviews from RSI rather than snippets.
     
  48. corners

    corners Legend

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    As I see it, the value of the RSI playtests is that A) they are blind, and B) there are a lot of playtesters involved. So even though we only get what amounts of soundbite evaluations from each playtester, we get a broader picture of how the string played for a variety of players at various levels who usually use a variety of different strings.

    That said, I think you're right - RSI should published a more complete evaluation from each player. They go through all the trouble to string it up and play with it for 10-40 hours, they may as well do a more complete write-up. And since RSI isn't paying anyone else to do this - the playtests are done by in-house staff, I believe - it shouldn't cost much more to include an extra page of playtester comments. Maybe for the print edition there would be a financial obstacle, but they could always expand the player evaluation section in the online editions.

    Anyway, big thanks to Torres for giving ZX a good run. I was initially encouraged by his reports, then slightly discouraged by this "going dead" business. But I'll still try it in the Spring, and still think it might be a good fit for me as a cross with gut mains. I'm thinking of putting the 17g Pro version head to head against Mosquito Bite and Gosen Polymaster II, all three as crosses with gut mains.
     
  49. Torres

    Torres Banned

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    Still got one packet of the red left. Am open to ideas as to what to do with it. Can hybrid it, string it in another stick, go for a lower tension etc.
     
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2013
  50. corners

    corners Legend

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    Two ideas:

    1) Gut mains/ZX crosses, 5 pounds tighter than you would do gut/soft copoly. I still think this could possibly be gut/copoly on steroids if the tension is got right.

    2) Your favorite bitey copoly mains/ZX crosses, same tension you'd do copoly/multi or copoly/syngut. I think ZX has the qualities to potentially be the ultimate cross for copoly mains. The most positive ZX reports have been about this combo.

    OR, you could try a full bed again, but follow Ashaway's extreme-sounding tension drop recommendation. The only reason I suggest this is that it could be, could be, that Ashaway's tension drop recommendation is really about tension loss. The 60 pound max tension restriction tells me that Zyex has low tensile strength, which may also result in greater loss of tension (undergo plastic deformation or creep) at higher tensions than at lower tensions. The loss of elasticity that many blame for polys "going dead" has yet to be quantified by the scientists that study strings, but we know that poly loses lots of tension and also seems to lose elasticity. It seems likely, then, that these things are intertwined. If ZX were to lose less tension when strung lower, it might also mean that it loses less elasticity. If elasticity loss is what has resulted in the spin-potential dropoff you've observed...

    To see if this might be worth a punt, note that in the second RSI Playtest report, on the Pro version, the testers did follow Ashaway's recommendation, while in the first one they were not told of that recommendation. So comparing the two reports might give some good info.

    I'd definitely keep it in the same stick for comparison purposes.
     
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2013

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