Benefits of Kevlar Strings Today?

Discussion in 'Strings' started by almagro, Mar 21, 2013.

  1. almagro

    almagro New User

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    Was wondering if you guys know of any benefits kevlar has over the polys of today?

    I have sets of both, but haven't tried them out.

    From what I've heard, kevlar results in more spin potential, but how does that compare with a string such as RPM or Tour Bite?

    Kevlar I am assuming still wins in durability, but is harsher on the arm.

    Is this correct? Do you guys have anything to add?

    Any comments much appreciated. :grin:
     
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  2. travlerajm

    travlerajm Hall of Fame

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    I'm a long-time Kevlar user (been using at as my primary string setup for more than 20 years). I currently hybrid it with poly cross.

    The biggest benefit of Kevlar over poly is tension maintenance. Kevlar loses quite a bit of tension during a break-in period (first hour or two of hitting). After that, it plateaus and plays very consistently with relatively little tension loss or change in playing characteristics until it breaks (which can be up to several months).

    Poly is very different - it continues to creep and lose tension over time, never really giving you a plateau of consistent playing characteristics. Eventually, after 5-10 hours (depending on your tolerance for a stringbed with poor control) it's time to cut the poly out and re-string.

    The reason I use poly crosses is to create a slippery surface for the kevlar mains to slide and snapback with the ball. A kevlar/poly stringbed at low enough tension gives more spin than full poly (I believe because of the increased stiffness). A stiffer stringbed flattens the ball more on impact, which results in more spin as the ball's effective radius increases during decompression.

    However, with poly crosses, the tension loss of the poly determines the life of the stringbed, and I eventually have to cut it out anyway. I currently use 18g Kevlar mains (which breaks in a few weeks when used with poly crosses), since there's no point in having longer lasting thicker gauge kevlar if the poly will stretch out and kill the stringbed in a few weeks.

    I like the Kevlar/poly combo best in closed patterns at low tension.

    If you really want a durable stringbed with good playing characteristics that last for months, then you can't use poly cross. You can use either syn gut cross or nat gut cross with 16g kevlar mains. This type of stringbed works very well in an open pattern frame. It doesn't give quite as much spin as fresh full poly (since the strings lock in place), but it can be almost as much if you drop the tension enough. And even though the spin is slightly less than full poly, I think the rebound angle is more reproducible since there is no unpredictable impact location dependent) lateral of sliding of the stringbed.

    As far as stiffness, it is considerably stiffer than poly (especially during the break-in period). It is more comfortable in heavier high swingweight frames, or in short frames. I don't recommend it for light frames or extended length frames.

    Another significant benefit of a stiffer stringbed is the ability to control rebound angble better against heavy incoming spin. No stringbed volleys more accurately than fresh kevlar.

    Also, keep in mind that kevlar (being a braided string that is almost half air) is very lightweight compared to poly (especially if you use a thin gauge). For a fair comparison, you should weigh your frame before you switch from poly to kevlar, and then add lead at 3 & 9 to match to the same weight as you had with the poly. I think many people overlook the weighting factor and overlook the fact that their swingweight has dropped 10 kg-cm^2, making the frame less elbow-friendly. Kevlar gets a bad rap due to this.
     
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2013
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  3. Lambsscroll

    Lambsscroll Professional

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    For us club players its extremely viable. Holds tension well after the very short break in period. I think the kevlar main natural gut cross is one of the best hybrids a club player could have.
     
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  4. TheLambsheadrep

    TheLambsheadrep Professional

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    Travlerajm, you know I've been using kevlar w/syn gut for a while and love it. But I have to ask, wouldn't kevlar tear into gut strings pretty fast (due to the stiffness and material differences) and kinda ruin the gut? I mean for $30 or more, you'd want to get the most out of gut that you could, right haha.
     
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  5. JT_2eighty

    JT_2eighty Hall of Fame

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    Well, travlerajm really summed up the pros and cons, and some good setup suggestions.

    I think most people look at kevlar on those string databases, and seeing the very high stiffness values turns them off immediately.

    However, kevlar can be less harsh on your arm than poly, especially when used in heavier frames, and with gut crosses, and strung toward the low end of your frame's range, even slightly below.

    The control on kevlar/gut is great due to the predictable launch angle and playability plateau discussed above. Big spin can also be had with kevlar/poly, another interesting setup I also have tried.

    I used to use 18g Gamma aramid crossed with 16g gut, in my 18x20 PT280 (flex 58 ), strung in the 40-45 lb range, and never had arm pain that some polys in the same frame could give over time. I think the braided nature of kevlar/aramid strings allow for additional dampening that you don't get with a poly monofilament. I could be wrong about the dampening part, but I do know my arm did not react badly to Kevlar/Gut, when it did to say a string like ALU or Tour Bite.
     
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  6. guitarplayer

    guitarplayer Guest

    I am 58. Been using Forten Ultra Thin Blend for 12 years. So consistent. Grips the ball where as for me poly seems too slippery. I drop the tension 5 lbs below the low range. Never an issue. It actually feels soft.
     
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  7. tlm

    tlm Legend

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    The main benefit for me with kevlar is control, control and more control, plus the stringbed plays consistently for a lot longer than poly.
     
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  8. Lambsscroll

    Lambsscroll Professional

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    Fortens kevlar unlike Ashaways is smooth. So natural gut will last much longer with Forten kevlar.
     
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  9. corners

    corners Legend

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    Great summary by Trav. The only thing I'd add is that the braided kevlar strings also have very high ball/string friction, so if you believe that this is an important string characteristic...


    And: one of the chief benefits of kevlar today is that it can actually make a Steam 99s or 105s a playable racquet rather than a string breaking device. I see these threads where people are trying this, that and the other poly in an attempt to find something that plays for a decent length of time in these frames, and all the while 19g kevlar is sitting around, just waiting to partner up with a slick copoly cross and kick butt in the mains.
     
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  10. webbeing

    webbeing Rookie

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    The kevlar (pro pure aramid) main and poly cross is the only combination that I've found so far that doesn't break in 3 sets in the Steam 99S.
     
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  11. NLBwell

    NLBwell Legend

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    I used a kevlar/gut setup for much of last year. One string job lasted almost the whole summer. Spin is very good - not as good as full Luxilon Spin, but as good as some poly setups like SPPP. The benefit was that is was consistent from start to finish as it wore and it wan't sensitive to temperature changes. I tried kevlar/poly but it started to hurt my wrist a tiny bit so I cut it out quickly. It definitely gave a lot of spin - more than I could get used to initially. A different feel, like I could actually feel the strings sliding, which was a bit disconcerting to me.
     
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  12. Sander001

    Sander001 Hall of Fame

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    How do you like it? And how would you compare it to full poly?
     
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  13. webbeing

    webbeing Rookie

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    >How do you like it? And how would you compare it to full poly?

    With both freshly strung racquets side by side, the full poly had a noticeably (but not significantly more) more spin, power and feel than kevlar/poly. However after 2 sets, or about 1/2 hour of continuous hitting, the kevlar/poly played better. The full poly was half way (16g) notched with this usage time, which led to less spin and power.
     
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  14. Sander001

    Sander001 Hall of Fame

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    Is that Forten Aramid Gear?
     
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  15. Lambsscroll

    Lambsscroll Professional

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    The one i'm thinking of was on a reel so I'm not sure if it was Aramid. I know Gosens Aramid isn't smooth but its texture may not saw the gut like Ashaways.
     
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  16. NLBwell

    NLBwell Legend

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    The cross-section of Gear, as the name implies, is gear-shaped and quite sharp (my stringer cursed me for it). Forten Thin Blend is round and fairly smooth.
     
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  17. Sander001

    Sander001 Hall of Fame

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    I'm looking for a smooth Kevlar, hopefully 16g. Is there such a thing?
    [perhaps I'll ask in the TW section]
     
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  18. Lambsscroll

    Lambsscroll Professional

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    Yeah, it was called Thin Blend. That kevlar is smooth. You may have to buy a reel which shouldn't be that much.
     
    #18
  19. Lambsscroll

    Lambsscroll Professional

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    Fortens Aramid 16g might be smooth. Call TW and they will look at it with you on the phone.
     
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  20. 2ndServe

    2ndServe Professional

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    what are other good kevlar reels, I've used the ashaway, 18, 17, 16, and now the ashaway kevlar plus 17.
     
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  21. Sander001

    Sander001 Hall of Fame

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    travlerajm or anybody else who'd like to chime in: What's a good poly cross for the Kevlar mains?
     
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  22. travlerajm

    travlerajm Hall of Fame

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    Answer: there is no poly I'd recommend, unless you don't mind having to re-string after a few hours of play to maintain good performance. Poly loses tension too fast.

    I highly recommend Ashaway Monogut ZX (in my signature). It's not a poly, but it's surface is slippery like a poly, so kevlar mains can snap back well. It's stretchy like syn gut, and it holds tension much, much better than the best poly's (after it's pre-stretched or broken in).

    If you do a good job pre-stetching both the kevlar and the ZX, then the break-in need will be minimal. Once it's stretched out, it plays great for a long time. Don't string too low though. There are two threads devoted to this string, where I've posted my reviews of the kevlar/ZX hybrid.
     
    Last edited: May 9, 2013
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  23. The Dark Knight

    The Dark Knight Legend

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    I agree .....in my opinion Poly goes bad relatively quickly .

    Travel have you thought about gut? I think it's the best way to go.
     
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  24. Sander001

    Sander001 Hall of Fame

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    Good thing you bumped this thread so I could follow up; I did use Black Code 16 as a cross and it there was no discernable drop in performance from beginning to end. The poly and Kevlar continued to snap back very well right up until the Kevlar mains snapped[Ash 1.3mm]. And that was between 25 and 30hrs.
     
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  25. The Dark Knight

    The Dark Knight Legend

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    Could not agree more. The only people who don't like it is people who have not tried it.
     
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  26. Tennusdude

    Tennusdude Rookie

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    I usually string my rackets at 32 pounds with synthetic gut, I tried forten thin blend and loved strung at 32 but only held tension about 5 days, For those five days I had great control now I have lost that great control. can you please explain how much to prestretch my machine has several prestretch amounts that can be used. I dont want the final job to be too tight where it never loses enough tension to be in the range that I am used to.
     
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  27. The Dark Knight

    The Dark Knight Legend

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    Why not just use real gut?

    The only reason I can think of is the price .......

    But it's not that much at all.....if you put the gut in the crosses they really don't break ....especially in 15 guage .

    guts playability is the greatest of all strings so it will last. The kevlar also lasts .

    So half a set of gut will cost you about 15 bucks and will last really really long . Is that so much ? I'm sure there is even cheaper gut.

    By the way synthetic gut is a misnomer ......it's really just nylon .
     
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  28. HunterST

    HunterST Hall of Fame

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    I tried a bunch of different polyesters recently to see how I liked it compared to my usual kevlar/synth gut hybrid.

    My conclusion was that kevlar gives me more control and plays way more consistently. It just feels solid.

    The top polyesters give you more pop than the kevlar and close to the same amount of control, but only for a few hours. Then your shots slowly start flying on you more and more.

    I'm really interested to see how a kevlar hybrid with the new gamma glide string will be. The one thing I don't love about kevlar is its tendency to move around and not slide back.

    Kevlar that snaps back into place could be a very, very beautiful thing.
     
    #28
  29. Tennusdude

    Tennusdude Rookie

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    You didnt tell me anything that I already didnt know. And I am not sure where the answer to my question is on prestretching the kevlar so it doesnt lose tension to the point of being a trampoline. Although you may not realize it but Natural Gut does not play well at lower tensions such as 30-32 pounds which I prefer.
    I am quite aware that synthetic gut is nylon is most cases, but not all cases as you imply. bet you cant tell me the other material synthetic gut is made out of? :)
     
    #29
  30. Tennusdude

    Tennusdude Rookie

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    I play tennis everday, the gut in the crosses will break within two weeks tops, I dont consider that a really long time. And the cheaper gut lasts even less time, it is usually made from sheeps gut, not cattle. I get VS Touch for 25 dollars but it does not play well at the tension I prefer. Thanks for you input though
     
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  31. Shroud

    Shroud Hall of Fame

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    I string a bit lower, though I never used the 19g kevlar. Just the ashaway 16, 17 and currently 18g.

    I followed Travs advice and do a manual prestretch where I tie one end to a door knob and using a starting clamp pull with my body leaning forward as long as I can till my hand gets sore. I do the same thing with the crosses.

    THEN I set my machine to the max prestretch of 20%.

    If you are just string at 32 and using the machine to prestretch you are not getting even 50lbs of tension. According to trav if you lean with your body its 80lbs or so of tension.

    I have had pretty good tension maintenance on the kevlar though the poly is a different story.

    Today I strung up the famous Ashaway kev 18g/ Monogut zx ( though I used some pro I had which is 17g) at 32lbs/27lbs.

    It was great and I did notice more spin than with the poly but not a ton more.

    According to trav that combo is the best for spin, stiff stringbed and tension maintenance. I can see that...
     
    #31
  32. The Dark Knight

    The Dark Knight Legend

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    I have never in my life broken a cross string . Gut in the CROSSES especially 15 guage should last you at least 6 months ....and it's playabilty will last as well.

    If you are getting VS gut for $25 bucks then a half set will cost you $12.50 .....that's really not much for at least 6 months of play.
     
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  33. Tennusdude

    Tennusdude Rookie

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    You also never in your life have strung you racket at 30-32 pounds! Them strings are moving up down and all around dude! They break in 2-4 weeks guaranteed. Well I will admit the Kevlar 18g will probably break first. It already has notches actually gouges in it after 2 weeks. This is forten 18g. Okay so lets say the Aramid Fibers as they call them break first, what good is the unbroken gut in the crosses? At any rate are you singing the praises of gut on the crosses because you feel this is an absolutely awesome combination, unrivaled by any other combination when it comes to Kevlar?
     
    #33
  34. The Dark Knight

    The Dark Knight Legend

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    Actually yes. It's amazing to be quite honest . My game has improved exponentially .

    The touch is unbelievable and the spin and control
    Of the kevlar is great .

    There's a reason why Federer uses a gut poly combo . Granted for him the gut is on the mains.....( which I love even more ....the problem is that the strings break ) ....but plenty of pros use this mix .

    I would use a poly and gut mix but poly just loses it's playability too quickly.

    With the gut kevlar combo you have the best of both worlds and the two most long lasting strings in the playability category . No two strings are Playable for quite as long .

    As far as stringing at 32 pounds .....yeah I have . However I currently string at 45 pounds and yes I have tried it in the Wilson spin racquets.

    As far a breakage ....no problem in the crosses . Like I said .....I have never broken a cross in my life .

    Finally .....why do you pre judge? Why not just try it ? If you don't like it then that's fine . But you should have an open mind about it and give it a shot instead of just saying "it won't work" before ever even trying it. That is a pretty negative attitude .

    I have no reason to lie or make this up......I absolutely love this combo and there are no breakage issues even at 32 pounds on the Wilson 99s.

    I use a 15 guage kevlar ( which I LOVE ) and a 17 guage gut in the crosses.

    The combo of feel , power and control is only equaled or actually better with a
    Fresh poly and gut combo. However after a week of play the kevlar & gut combo is far superior.

    Trust me ....gut in the crosses will not break. Go ahead and prove me wrong if you dare.

    Why on earth would you use nylon ? Nylon is the crappiest string of them all. You have fallen for the advertisements.....tennis string companies have sold you crappy nylon and have repackaged it as "synthetic gut". What bs !

    There is no comparison to gut......don't fall for this "synthetic gut "Baloney . It's just cheap crappt nylon that you get in racquets sold at sports authority .

    It's like driving in a Hyundai when you could be sitting in a plush Mercedes .
     
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2014
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  35. tlm

    tlm Legend

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    I use kevlar main with lux 4G x's and it plays very well, 4G holds its playability much longer than a lot of polys. So it plays good with the kevlar main and dose not lose tension real fast like a lot of poly strings.
     
    #35
  36. struggle

    struggle Hall of Fame

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    Darkness..... I realize this is kevlar thread but why not just go full gut?

    I'm just now, at 45yo, finally playing natural gut. Full bed. I can't imagine why I would hybrid it with Kevlar.

    Anyhow, cheers!
     
    #36
  37. Tennusdude

    Tennusdude Rookie

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    AMEN BROTHER! Playing with Kevlar is like driving in a yugo, while playing with Natural Gut is like riding in a Rolls Royce!
     
    #37
  38. Dimcorner

    Dimcorner Professional

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    3 months on the Kevlar/Monogut ZX combo and still going strong!
    Kevlar is looking a little worn thou. No notching on the monogut.
     
    #38
  39. The Dark Knight

    The Dark Knight Legend

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    And combining the two is poetry. Try it you might actually like it......

    Think about it logically .

    So many pros combine poly and gut right?

    The only reason I don't use poly is because in my personal opinion although poly is great for a week or two it then changes dramatically .

    So the only reason I use kevlar instead of poly is because kevlar is constant and it's the closest string to poly.

    Now following that line of logic why on earth wouldn't I want to put gut on the crosses of that's what I already do with poly?

    Make sense?

    And if kevlar is a yugo then cheap nylon a.k.a "synthetic gut" is a matchbox car.
     
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2014
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  40. The Dark Knight

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    Full gut absolutely feels amazing!!! But there are a a few reasons I don't use it exclusively...

    First of all gut breaks often when it's in the MAINS as opposed to the CROSSES ( sorry for the caps but certain people are not seeing my point ).

    Second the control of kevlar is only beaten by a purely fresh bed of poly.

    Kevlar plays like poly except that it is constant .....it pretty much stays the same for the life of the string .

    With this combo I virtually never have to restring and the playabilty just lasts . It's like playing with a freshly strung racquet for a year .

    Kevlar should be renamed "synthetic polyester". :)
     
    #40
  41. The Dark Knight

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    Ashaway monogut ....right ?

    That's a pretty stiff stringbed for me.

    I liked monogut a lot but it also changes after a period of time while gut is not only softer but plays the same throughout.
     
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  42. Tennusdude

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    MATCHBOX CARS ARE MORE VALUABLE THAN A YUGO, NO ONE WILL ARGUE THAT! I RETHOUGHT MY POSITION, KEVLAR IS LIKE THE FLINTSTONES CAR, NYLON IS LIKE AN OLD CHEVY IMPALA, WHILE NATURAL GUT IS A LAMBORGHINI. I DO LOVE KELVAR BUT SO FAR IT IS LOSING TENSION RAPIDLY, THE 18G FORTEN THAT IS.
     
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  43. Tennusdude

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    I Replaced The Nylon Crosses With Babolat Natural Gut, The Mains Head Aramid Fibers Or Kevlar. The Racket Is Deader Than Ever And The Sweetspot Shrunk. Tension Is 32, Go Figure, Makes No Sense Really But The Nylon Kevlar Had More Pop. Strangest Thing Really
     
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  44. The Dark Knight

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    Wow you changed it just from yesterday? Hard to believe but ok.

    It's not strange at all though!!... you forgot part two of the stringing method and which is actually advised on the instructions when stringing with Kevlar .

    Part 2 is that there needs to be a 10 pound differential . So the gut should be strung at 42 and the Kevlar at 32.

    If you don't do this then the gut never "gets to the Kevlar ". It's like mixing straw with concrete.....the concrete will still be hard as a rock.

    Note that traveljam advises a 14 pound differential and he does it the other way around . In other words he strings the crosses looser than the mains .

    Note however this goes against the instructions on the Kevlar packaging which states that the Kevlar should be looser.
     
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2014
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  45. The Dark Knight

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    Well you can say a lot of bad things about Kevlar.....but not that it loses tension rapidly.

    In fact the #1 string in holding tension is gut, the #2 is Kevlar ....mixing the two makes sense.

    Now as far as insulting string.....that's just silly. String is string....there is no need to get angry about it.....

    But the fact is that nylon is the cheapest string on the market....although if you like the name change to "synthetic gut" then you may feel better and pay more.

    It's no different though than Haagen dasz ice cream which is really made in Brooklyn NY. They gave it a fancy name so they can sell it higher prices . So if you want to call your cheap nylon job "synthetic gut" to feel better then ok. :)
     
    #45
  46. Tennusdude

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    Sampras wont more grand slams than anyone else at one point and I am relatively sure that he thought of himself of the best ever to play the game. However he never came close to winning the French Open.
     
    #46
  47. The Dark Knight

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    But Agassi won all four and guess what.....he used a Kevlar and gut blend!

    I wonder why he didnt use a Kevlar & nylon blend ....oops I mean kevlar & "synthetic gut"
    blend?
     
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2014
    #47
  48. Tennusdude

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    Agassi also used a 110 head and a 107 Radical OS yikes! I prefer to call it nylon, not sure why you prefer to call it synthetic gut.

    If I play you with a full bed of nylon and you are using kevlar and gut and I beat you like a redheaded stepchild, does that mean nylon is king! ha!
     
    #48
  49. Tennusdude

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    I strung my racket in 30 minutes. why is it hard for you to believe that I changed the strings since yesterday. Does it normally take you over 24 hours to string a racket? :) I actually strung 7 other rackets in less than 4 hours, all of them with nylon disguised as multifilament!
     
    #49
  50. The Dark Knight

    The Dark Knight Legend

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    So cool !!

    I don't string my racquets.....I know how but it's boring as hell...."over and under " sums up stringing lol.
     
    #50

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