Mid Level Gut Playtest

Discussion in 'Strings' started by McLovin, Jan 12, 2013.

  1. McLovin

    McLovin Hall of Fame

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    Intro:

    I've been hitting with gut mains / poly crosses for over 5 years now. I've tried many different combinations and tensions over the years, but for the past 6 months have used Pacific Classic @ 54lbs / MSV Co. Focus crosses at 52lbs. Because I am frugal, my gut choices lean towards the cheaper, mid-range brands (i.e. $25 -> $30).

    Perusing the TW site, I noticed a few new additions to their Gut offerings:
    • KLIP Legend Tour
    • KLIP Armour Pro
    • Boris Becker Hero
    I realize the Becker Hero has been around for a while, but for some reason I've never tried it.

    Having a $60 credit at TW, I decided to use it towards a gut/poly playtest. To be clear, this is a playtest of mid-range gut ($25 -> $32), crossed with MSV Co. Focus, not a test of 'which gut/poly combo is the best'. Co. Focus was used because that is my current poly cross, and I only wanted to change one variable: the gut.

    All racquets were strung by me at 54lbs for the gut mains, 52lbs for the poly crosses, using my Alpha Revo 4000 + Wise 2086:

    [​IMG]

    The Pacific and both KLIP guts are 17g. The Becker Hero is 16L because that was all they offered. For the record, I omitted the Babolat Tonic + because it only came in 16g. I prefer thinner gauge gut.

    Because I only have 3 frames, my first test included KLIP Legend Tour, KLIP Armour Pro, and Pacific Classic as my 'baseline':

    [​IMG]

    For the record, I'm a 44yr old 4.5 rated player who plays predominantly from the baseline (along the lines of a Ferrer or Baghdatis). In case anyone cares, I've hit with a few members here (mikeler, downs_chris, auzzieism) who can vouch for my level.

    EDIT: Here are quick links to the reviews:

    KLIP Armour Pro:
    KLIP Legend Tour:
    Pacific Classic:
     
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2013
    #1
  2. McLovin

    McLovin Hall of Fame

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    KLIP Armour Pro:

    Stringing: This was the easiest to string of all the guts. Barely any coil memory, which resulted in almost a 0% chance of kinking it. The poly crosses slid along effortlessly. So much so that during the stringing, I felt as if I was stringing full poly. Tension right off the machine was spot-on:

    [​IMG]

    Initial Hit: My first hit wasn't pleasant. There was a distinctive 'ping' when hitting, and I couldn't get it out of my mind that I was playing full poly. Serves seemed OK, but ground strokes felt like I was lacking serious power. There was practically no feel on the volleys. I only played 1 set of doubles with it, but was not impressed at all. I put it back in the bag, thinking maybe it just needed a while to settle. Tension immediately after 1 hit:

    [​IMG]

    The next day, I took another reading, just to see how it settled:

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2013
    #2
  3. McLovin

    McLovin Hall of Fame

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    KLIP Armour Pro: (continued)

    Second Hit:: My second hit with this string was singles against a hard hitting Del Potro style player. I had hoped the drop in tension would be beneficial to both the feel and the power. Wow, was I wrong. Again, this string plays nothing like gut. If I had to give it a tagline, it would be 'Poly feel, but at the price of Gut'. It was almost impossible to generate any power off the ground, which is hard to believe since my opponent likes to serve ~ 120MPH, followed by a huge forehand. This usually gives me plenty of power to feed off.

    I was able to get some good pop on my serve, but I quickly realized it was because I was swinging about as hard as I could. This seriously affected my arm/shoulder strength after just 4 games. Spin was OK, but feel was almost non existent. My arm & shoulder began to hurt after just 1 set, something that has never happened with any gut/poly combination in the past. Here's the tension after the 2nd hit:

    [​IMG]

    Durability: I'm sure this string will last a long time, but I won't know because it is about to be cut out of my frame as I type this. The coating rubs off after just two sets, as you can see from this photo:

    [​IMG]

    Conclusion: IMO, not worth the money, even at half the price. It strings like poly, feels like poly, plays like poly, and probably has the durability of poly. So why spend $32 for it? Not sure where KLIP was going with this, but I don't like it.
     
    #3
  4. McLovin

    McLovin Hall of Fame

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    KLIP Legend Tour:

    Stringing: The coating on this made it easier to string that normal KLIP Legend. Like Armour Pro, it had barely any coil memory and the poly crosses slid along effortlessly. Not as smooth as the Armour Pro, but more so than Pacific Classic. Again, tension right off the machine was spot-on:

    [​IMG]

    Initial Hit: The first hit with this was more promising that the Armour Pro. There was still a distinctive 'ping' when hitting, but it went away after the first 30 seconds. Serves were real nice: plenty of power and spin, and I had no problem holding during the doubles match. I don't serve huge (I'm only 5ft 9in), but like to move it around the box, and the string responded nicely. Volleys were also solid: good feel & control. My returns were solid, dipping when I needed it, and driving deep when I needed it. Tension immediately after 1 hit:

    [​IMG]

    The next day, I took another reading, just to see how it settled:

    [​IMG]
     
    #4
  5. McLovin

    McLovin Hall of Fame

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    KLIP Legend Tour: (continued)

    Second Hit:: My second hit with this string was singles against the same player I hit against with the Armour Pro. In fact, it was the 2nd set of our match after I had pretty much shredded my shoulder with the Armour Pro.

    I was looking forward to hitting with this string after my doubles match. It was very promising, especially since I've used regular KLIP Legend in the past and found it so-so. Even with my shoulder as tired as it was, I noticed an increase in power & spin right away. Serves popped off just they had in the doubles match. Ground strokes had more depth, spin and power. But the most significant change was the feel. It felt like I was hitting with gut again. Here's the tension after the 2nd hit:

    [​IMG]

    Durability: This one I will play with a few more times in the coming weeks & will keep updating as I go. I likely won't get the full idea of durability as I normally don't play until the string breaks (unless its clay), but can at least compare the notching to my Pacific Classic setup. Like the Armour Pro, the coating rubs off after just two sets, as you can see from this photo:

    [​IMG]

    Conclusion: This is a viable alternative to Pacific Classic, which on occasion has been on backorder. It costs the same as Classic ($29.95), plus, you get a cool color in black. I will likely hold on to the 2nd half of the set until spring and try it on clay to see what its true durability is.
     
    #5
  6. mikeler

    mikeler G.O.A.T.

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    Interesting stuff. LIke you, I was not very impressed with regular Klip Legend.
     
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  7. Say Chi Sin Lo

    Say Chi Sin Lo Legend

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    I'm curious if you will be including Pacific Classic and Klip Legend (non-tour version) in future reviews?

    I'm interested in those two strings. I've gathered some information scattered around the forum, so feel free to correct and contribute if you can!

    Klip Legend and Pacific Classic are both on the crisp side:

    Klip Legend - Crispest of all gut, plus for Klip Legend is that, it comes in 15L.
    Pacific Classic - Not as crisp, but still crisp, and there is a break-in period? (Not a fan of that...)

    If you've played with the non-Tour Klip Legend, how do you think it compares to the Tour version? Thanks!
     
    #7
  8. julian

    julian Hall of Fame

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    52.5 NOT clear

    How do you know whether 52.5 is a number referring to a gut or
    a poly?
    A git should loose between 7 and 9 percents
    PS I am NOT a stringer,I am a tennis coach
     
    #8
  9. mikeler

    mikeler G.O.A.T.

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    ^^^ Good question. He may just be "pinging" only the gut with RacquetTune but I suspect it is the entire string bed.
     
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  10. Francis27

    Francis27 Semi-Pro

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    Great review! But how does racquet tune work i might get it
     
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  11. McLovin

    McLovin Hall of Fame

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    RacquetTune has a 'hybrid' setting, so the tension loss is the overall string bed. Whether it is due to the gut or the poly, I do not know.

    BTW, I forgot to mention that the Co. Focus is 17g (1.23mm).
     
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  12. McLovin

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    Once I'm finished w/ the Legend Tour, I'll revisit regular Legend, alongside the Becker Hero. The Pacific Classic review should be written sometime next week.

    I have a USTA Sectionals tournament next weekend, so I don't want to tinker too much before then. :)

    Legend Tour is much less 'crisp' IMO than normal Legend. I don't know if it is the same gut w/ a coating, or if it is a different gut altogether, but after the first minute of hitting, after the 'ping' subsided, it settled in nicely. It reminded me of Pacific Classic. I have no idea why a coating would make it play better, but then again, it may be that I was coming from the Armour Pro.
     
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2013
    #12
  13. Say Chi Sin Lo

    Say Chi Sin Lo Legend

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    ^^?? You mean non-Tour Klip Legend doesn't have a coat?

    I thought they would have a coating since there's a Klip Legend "uncoated"...
     
    #13
  14. spdskr

    spdskr Rookie

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    Great report! I'm interested to hear how Becker, Tour, and regular Legend compare with Classic.

    I used Legend years ago. Stringing was always tedious. Good to hear the coating on the Tour makes things easier. I also recall the playability of Legend decreasing as it aged, unlike other guts. Have you noticed this in prior tests? Since Klip also manufactures BB Hero, I wonder how its qualities will differ from Tour.

    Eventually I migrated to Pacific Classic and then to Tough Gut. Both feel more muted than Legend when freshly strung, but play remains consistent until they break.

    Thanks again for posting your reviews.
     
    #14
  15. rdis10093

    rdis10093 Hall of Fame

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    thanks for the info, have you ever played with a higher level gut?
     
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  16. julian

    julian Hall of Fame

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    Loss of tension

    Loss of tension should be larger after one hour
    Basically poly may loose 10 percents
    Gut should loose around 9 percents
     
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  17. McLovin

    McLovin Hall of Fame

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    Sorry, what I meant to say was 'same gut with an extra coating'. According to TW's blurb, Legend Tour "offers 2 coatings providing a livelier feel with more durability". So far, it is definitely more lively than regular Legend.
     
    #17
  18. McLovin

    McLovin Hall of Fame

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    For years I used Bow Brand, which I would consider a higher level gut. Not Babolat, but still better than the others. When they stopped making tennis strings, I had to move on, and couldn't justify the $40 per set from Babolat.

    For the record, Bow Brand retailed for $40 per set, but I bought direct from the manufacturer. They gave me a 20% discount for larger orders, and at the time the $ was good vs the £. Also, a little known fact was you could buy squash packages. It was the same string, but in 37.5ft lengths, so it came to ~ $25 per set.
     
    #18
  19. McLovin

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    So far the KLIP Legend Tour is playing like Pacific Classic. Crisp, but not as crisp as the regular Legend.

    I haven't found Classic to require a break-in period, but that is just me. Also, I only use the 17g version, and maybe the 16L or 16 require it?

    One thing I forgot to mention was gauge consistency. Both Armour Pro and Legend Tour seemed very consistent throughout. The Classic, on occasion, will vary in thickness, sometimes looking like a 16Lg or an 18g.
     
    #19
  20. Ramon

    Ramon Hall of Fame

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    Great review! I like the pictures. I'm also using mid-range gut but in a full bed. I liked Klip Legend 16 enough to replace my favorite multis because of the durability, but I prefer Pacific Classic 16 because of the soft feel. I just strung my racquet with Tonic Ball Feel 16 and I'll try it in the next few days. Tonic was the easiest gut for me to string. I even did a one piece pattern with it. I hope I like it so I can spend less time messing with stringing problems!

    I had problems with multis breaking early on shanks. I still use multis as backup. It looks like RIP Control mains with a soft cross (like Hexy Fiber or Premier Attack) is working as a suitable backup right now.
     
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  21. Say Chi Sin Lo

    Say Chi Sin Lo Legend

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    Thanks, I'm currently playing with Mamba Premium Natural Gut. IF it stays on the frame, then there's nothing wrong with the gut. However, it is prone to premature unraveling and early breakage.

    I'm interested in moving away from the econo-gut and considering the sub-$30 range. The hit-or-miss quality of econo-gut can be frustrating, stringing it can be nerve wrecking.

    You definitely get what you pay for with econo-gut. But like I said, in the case of Mamba, if it stays on the frame, it's a great alternative to those who want to try natural gut.
     
    #21
  22. tennisnut09

    tennisnut09 Rookie

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    Mclovin, any update on this. Please post.
     
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  23. djNEiGht

    djNEiGht Professional

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    Have you had a chance to hit with the BB Hero? I'm hitting with that now and it's my first time with gut.

    Compared to Live Wire XP and NXT ( both 16 ) it has more pop but similar feel and spin. I don't like the ping sound it gives off early on in the strings life but the sound has changed and is less tingy. I had it stung at 60 and raquet tune said 58 a couple days after yet still before the first hit. Three weeks later it said it was at 46. The bed looks pretty ratty and decent amount of string movement. I am pleased with the way it is playing still and will see how much longer I get.
     
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  24. McLovin

    McLovin Hall of Fame

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    The plan is to restring this weekend w/ BB Hero in one frame and normal KLIP Legend in the other. I was down in VA Beach this past weekend playing USTA Sectionals and didn't want to screw w/ my strings, so I went back to my normal setup (Pacific Classic).

    I did notice that BB Hero is 'Buy 3, Pay for 2' on the TW site, so I may pick up a few more sets if it plays decent.
     
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2013
    #24
  25. McLovin

    McLovin Hall of Fame

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    I played with the Legend Tour the other night. I forgot to take a Racquet Tune reading, but the string is still going strong. Barely any string movement, still nice pop & spin, as well as good feel. In fact, after playing my normal setup (Pacific Classic) all weekend, I'm not sure I could tell any difference between the two.

    However, that was doubles, so its hard for me to get an idea of how it really plays from the ground. I'm playing singles Friday, so hopefully there will be more long rallies where I have to hit 6-8 shots per point, and can get a better feel for it.
     
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  26. AYone

    AYone Rookie

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    Question: what are you aiming for with your gut mains/poly cross, tighter/looser combo? I'm popping blood vessels trying to figure out what to experiment with in my set ups. I gravitated towards the poly mains or fully poly w/ tighter mains, with the understanding it optimized spin. But now I see people are doing the opposite. Please let me know your views on what has optimized spin and performance for you. Many thanks. I'm a solid 4.0 player.
     
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  27. McLovin

    McLovin Hall of Fame

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    The whole difference in tension is a highly debated issue. For years I strung the gut mains & poly crosses at the same tension (54lbs). Then I read here that people were suggesting the poly be dropped 5-10%, mostly due to the realization that poly plays better at lower tensions.

    So, I dropped it 2lbs about three years ago when I changed frames, and have continued doing it even since. I honestly couldn't tell you if it made any difference, other than maybe a slightly softer string bed.

    The only way to truly determine any difference is a 'blind taste test', where you string two identical frames with the exact same string and drop the tension of one. Then, not knowing which is which, go out & play a couple matches with each and try to determine afterwards if there is any difference between the two.
     
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  28. boinz

    boinz Rookie

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    Great thread! I'm subscribing with interest... Got a set of KLIP Legend Tour and BB Hero arriving next week :)

    Honestly I had ordered them not just for the cost, but I'm also a sucker for colored strings and there just not many out there. I had also ordered a Yonex Poly Tour Pro and SPPP to match these guts in my hybrid setups.

    Noticed the price of BB Hero had risen to $35, if not for the promo it will be also similar priced as the Pacific Tough Gut ( one that I had used previously and like it very much )
    In TWE, they carry Pacific guts that come in copper and black. Hope TW will get those soon for more choices
     
    #28
  29. Lambsscroll

    Lambsscroll Professional

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    Thx for the wright-up. Nicely written. You piqued my interest in Klip Legend Tour. I currently use Wilson gut and VS Touch BT7 gut in the mains. If you say Klip Legend Tour has more sustained power than Klip Legend then it may be a fit for me. Thx for adding that Klip is consistent in their gauging. That actually is important to me.
     
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2013
    #29
  30. AYone

    AYone Rookie

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    Thanks man. I think that's the truth. The Pepsi challenge!
     
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  31. corbind

    corbind Professional

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    Hopefully you'll get a chance to do that for a perfect test.
     
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  32. Francis27

    Francis27 Semi-Pro

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    Whats a good cheap gut? I want the babolat ones but theyre too expensive. I was thinking either KLIP Legend (original) 16g but i heard its stiff? planning on putting it as a cross with poly mains. Looking to either get KLIP Legend (original) or Pacific Classic. How do these compare? Basically im looking for comfort, durability and tension maintenance.
     
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2013
    #32
  33. Say Chi Sin Lo

    Say Chi Sin Lo Legend

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    That's a lot of money for a string used in the wrong places...
     
    #33
  34. Francis27

    Francis27 Semi-Pro

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    I can always put it in the mains. ive never used gut before
     
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  35. Say Chi Sin Lo

    Say Chi Sin Lo Legend

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    I only said that because the stringbed's characteristic is largely contributed by what's in the mains. So, putting $30 gut in the crosses is well, a waste.

    Gut in the mains, now you're talking. :)
     
    #35
  36. dave t

    dave t New User

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    If you've never used gut, definitely give it a shot in the mains or as a full bed.
     
    #36
  37. Ramon

    Ramon Hall of Fame

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    I've tried Klip Legend and Pacific Classic, both 16 gauge. Legend is stiffer, which is why I prefer Classic. Legend lasted longer for me. Both will hold tension very well in good weather but will drop dramatically in wet weather. However, playability is still quite good even after the drop. I monitor tension after every match with RacquetTune. From now on my racquets with gut stay indoors when the humidity is too high.

    Both are significantly more durable than synthetics and noticeably higher in quality than cheap econogut.
     
    #37
  38. McLovin

    McLovin Hall of Fame

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    As the others have said, KLIP Legend (the $25.95 stuff) generally is 'stiffer' (or 'crisper') than Pacific Classic. While I've just begun my playtest, I have found KLIP Legend Tour (the $29.92 stuff) to be much nicer than regular KLIP Legend, after a brief break-in period (maybe 5-10 minutes of hitting).

    It costs the same as Pacific Classic, strings slightly easier, and is black (which some people like). I cannot speak to its durability right now as I've only hit w/ it a couple of times, but there's nothing that leads me to believe it is any worse than the others.

    However, stay away from KLIP Armour Pro. You might as well go full poly IMO.

    As I said earlier, I hope to string up BB Hero next week, as well as regular KLIP Legend and also writeup Pacific Classic.

    And if you're using it in the mains, stay away from the bargain-based gut (e.g. Titan, Global, etc.). You get what you pay for, and while some may have good experience, most have it snap prematurely, either while stringing or just sitting in the bag.
     
    #38
  39. Say Chi Sin Lo

    Say Chi Sin Lo Legend

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    I'm not a fan of black gut. I just can't help but think the dye they used interferes with playability of a natural product. Yes, I am aware that natural gut is already thoroughly processed by the time we get it. I'm just saying, it doesn't need anymore processing in the form of coloring dyes. Also, I'm not saying the dye alter playability (maybe it does?), but it's certainly in my head. That's why I'm not crazy about black gut.

    The cheap econo stuff, you certainly get what you pay for. But I have had VERY good result and experience with Mamba Premium Natural Gut. Does it make me want to rip my hair out? Yes, but that's once in a while. If you are careful at stringing, the Mamba stuff is worthwhile for those with limited budget.

    Thanks for confirming Klip Legend plays crisper. That may be perfect for me.
     
    #39
  40. JT_2eighty

    JT_2eighty Hall of Fame

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    I've yet to try Klip gut.

    I've read in past threads that Klip tends to 'bottom out' over time, while Pacific's guts tend to 'hold strong' like Babolat, until breakage.

    How many hours/sets/matches have you logged on your Klip hybrids so far? I'm curious how the longevity of these guts will be for you. Great read so far. Thanks for the informative reviews, looking forward to more.
     
    #40
  41. ultradr

    ultradr Hall of Fame

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    From my experiences, Klip had 1/2 - 2/3 playability periods of Babolats(pre-BT7).

    But I used mostly uncoated and never baby-oiled them. And I use very dense
    string pattern of Head prestige MidPlus and hit not-too spinny. And I used
    string-a-ring things. That translates to pretty long string life.

    Therfore, long period of playability of pre-BT7 Babolat's used to work out best
    for me. But if you use open string pattern and hit pretty spinny (and thus tend
    to be string breaker), you might want to consider that into your choice...
     
    #41
  42. Ramon

    Ramon Hall of Fame

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    I just had my first match with Babolat Tonic + Ball Feel 16 gauge w/BT7. It plays the way I expect gut to play. It's very powerful, but with the kind of feel I get from it, I don't really mind all that power so much. Stiffness is closer to Klip Legend than Pacific Classic, which is to say that it's on the stiff side for quality gut. I suppose the BT7 does make it stiffer. I'm not going to cut it, but I think I prefer Pacific Classic for the softness and controlled pace. Now that Babolat increased their prices, it's no brainer. Tonic is too expensive now for me to consider buying it in the future when Pacific has a string I like better for $6 less.

    So for me, Pacific Classic is my go to string, but I will keep experimenting with similarly priced gut. Based on the reviews here, I think I'll give the black Klip Legend Tour a try. I'm also curious to hear about BB Hero.
     
    #42
  43. Ramon

    Ramon Hall of Fame

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    My experience with Klip Legend was that it played well throughout its life until breakage. It did lose tension on wet days, but it still played well at the lower tension. I think I logged about 30 hours on it, including 2 months in the closet when I had an injured shoulder. That was probably unusually long for me. Pacific Classic lasted half that long, but I think I was playing better and hitting harder when I was using Classic.
     
    #43
  44. McLovin

    McLovin Hall of Fame

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    KLIP Legend Tour (final):

    Final Hit:
    Since my second hit I played two more matches with the KLIP Legend Pro, one doubles and one singles.

    For the doubles match, it played as I remembered it: Good amount of pop & spin, volleys were crisp, and my returns were solid. Serves seemed to have a bit more on them, but that may also have been that I had taken a week off since my Sectionals tournament and my shoulder was well rested.

    For the singles match, I played a strong 4.0/weak 4.5 who's main asset is he can run forever. The only reason he's a 4.0 is that he has no single threatening shot (or else he'd be a 4.5), so all I had to do was dictate side to side and cut down on the errors. I served incredibly well, and the power & placement were still there. However, at times there seemed to be a bit too much power. I overhit many shots, but also hit a few more winners than I normally do. I won 6-3, 6-3 (I usually beat him 2 & 0). To be certain, I grabbed the racquet with Pacific Classic in the mains (my normal setup & next review) for the 3rd set. I immediately went up 4-0 and noticed that, while I didn't hit as many clean winners, I hit far fewer shots long.

    We ran out of time before we could finish the 3rd set.

    After I got off the court, I took a reading with RacquetTune:

    [​IMG]

    Here's a shot of the string's wear just before I cut it out:

    [​IMG]

    Conclusion:
    I really liked this string. While it became a tad powerful after just a few sets, I think it would do well on the clay. One thing I struggle with on clay is generating power (for some reason my forehand goes slightly more western when on clay), so I'm going to save the other half of the package for April/May when the clay opens up at my club.

    Durability looks to be solid, even though I don't break strings regularly indoors. The black coating rubs off quickly, but that doesn't bother me at all. Looking forward to my 2nd go-round with this in the spring.
     
    #44
  45. Say Chi Sin Lo

    Say Chi Sin Lo Legend

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2005
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    9,187
    Kindest words ever used to describe a pusher? :)
     
    #45
  46. McLovin

    McLovin Hall of Fame

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    Jun 2, 2007
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    Well, I hate to describe him that way because (1) I know it has negative connotations for some, and (2) I could be described as a pusher when I hit against the 5.0 college kids. They smack the crap out of the ball, and I'm just scrambling to get the ball back.

    I guess it's all relative...
     
    #46
  47. Say Chi Sin Lo

    Say Chi Sin Lo Legend

    Joined:
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    Not to derail the thread because you've got a good one here, but I think there's a difference between scrambling to get balls back just because the opponent on the other side is going nuts... and scrambling balls back as the only tactic (or as I like to call it, pushing).

    Anyway, back on topic! Will you be posting detailed findings of Klip Legend (the non-tour version) soon?
     
    #47
  48. man_untd11

    man_untd11 Rookie

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2011
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    163
    Yeah but what you consider "the opponent going nuts" is all subjective :p sorry back to the discussion
     
    #48
  49. McLovin

    McLovin Hall of Fame

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    I've got to writeup Pacific Classic first, and I just strung the BB Hero Sunday & played with it last night. Once the racquet w/ the Classic has run its course, KLIP Legend regular (coated) will be next.
     
    #49
  50. finalfantasy7

    finalfantasy7 Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2010
    Messages:
    508
    Op - would you test peformaxx gut?, or is that more expensive than the others.
     
    #50

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