Questions about 1st generation polys

Discussion in 'Strings' started by jdunnie014159, Jun 30, 2011.

  1. jdunnie014159

    jdunnie014159 Rookie

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    When I came into Tennis, Luxilon was already here, and the pros were already using it. I did some searching, and can't come up with much of this info on the boards and web.

    When did Luxilon become start to creep into the market?
    Were there other polys before it?
    If so, did the pros start using these other polys and gravitate toward Luxilon, or were these other 1st generations (Polylon, Enduro, Kirsch et al.) the result of Luxilon's technology being copied?

    Lastly, is the progress of the poly string (1st generation, 2nd, 3rd etc) only aimed at improving the playing characteristics desirable to the consumer market, instead of what the pros desire? For example, the reason Joe NTRP 4.5 buys Black5Edge is because it's playable for 6 hours, is easier on his arm when his form breaks down a bit, and is less money than Luxilon--professionals aren't concerned with any of this. Is this the gist of it, or is there more to it?

    Thanks.
     
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  2. mikeler

    mikeler G.O.A.T.

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    I prefer Black5Edge over Luxilon for softness. The first generation polys are not very arm friendly.
     
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  3. Jonny S&V

    Jonny S&V Hall of Fame

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    For the first hour or two, Luxilon is the perfect string. The only thing you can knock it for is lack of feel and it's harsh on the arm. More often than not, however, Lux's harshness is coupled with bad technique in the rec world.

    Pros don't have to worry about bad technique, so they don't have to deal with the only downsides of Lux (they have great technique and they only use the strings for an hour at the max).
     
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  4. MethodTennis

    MethodTennis Hall of Fame

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    Unless your Daveydenko who won a tournement with one sert of string, although to be fair it was only 4, 2 sets matches if I remember correctly.
     
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  5. TenFanLA

    TenFanLA Hall of Fame

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    I thought it was 1 racket that he kept using but he got it restrung.
     
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  6. Tennis Is Magic

    Tennis Is Magic Semi-Pro

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    Yes, 1st generation polys were basically tailor-made for pros and high level amateurs. They play stiff off of the stringer, have phenomenal control and durability, with good spin and a solid, crisp feel. Newer polys are made for the rec players who don't want those characteristics. They know rec players will use what the pros use, which is poly, so they made them more playable, softer, and hold tension better, where someone who changes strings every hour could care less how durable a string is, how soft it is on their arm, how much it costs, or how long it plays well.

    Kirschbaum was actually the first company to produce poly strings, and Luxilon and others soon followed after it gained popularity on the pro tour. First gen polys are almost identical because they were made from near 100% polyester, if not 100% polyester. Luxilon came on the scene with second-gen poly strings, and third gen soon followed. The most popular poly string with the majority of posters here is third-gen because they have more power, feel, tension maintenance, and aren't as hard on the arm as first gen polys.

    Honestly, in my opinion, first gen polys are the best polys. If you REALLY want the characteristics of a poly string, those are the strings to go to. They are so low-powered, spin friendly, durable, and they go through almost no characteristic changes. They play stiff, and then they play stiffer, there's no "this string pockets the ball well for an hour, then it loses it's playability, then it loses some tension and it's really nice, then it stiffens up some more and it hurts my arm and then I cut it out". At this rate, there won't be any polys left because they'll all be 10% polyester and 90% nylon. I just want a string that doesn't get in my way :razz: and co-polys are NOT that. They play too much like synthetic strings for my taste.

    But enough ranting, that's basically the difference in polys. I hope my wall of text is of service to you.
     
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  7. Jonny S&V

    Jonny S&V Hall of Fame

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    Here's the correct answer:

     
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  8. TenFanLA

    TenFanLA Hall of Fame

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    +1. After trying quite a few polys and co-polys I have concluded that I like Lux (ALU Power) the best.

    For baseline bashers Lux is awesome. Serve is very good. Volley is so-so because the feel and touch are muted. But I don't know too many S&V players these days.
     
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2011
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  9. diredesire

    diredesire Super Moderator

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    Polyester strings have been available in the tennis market for decades, actually. They were just not worth playing with up until relatively recently. Before Luxilon, there were several other polys. Luxilon hit the "scene" around the late 2000-early 2001 timeframe (from what I can tell from an archive.org search on tennis-warehouse.com). I recall Babolat Polymono/Strong Play being relatively popular before Lux came around. I can't speak on the origin of poly strings in general, because I don't know the original history. I imagine Poly strings first showed up in tennis frames as a repurpose of a different use.


    I have to be a jerk and point out that the above is mostly opinion. (So is the bulk of my post below!) I need to point this out because we need to be careful when portraying things as fact. (this is by no means a personal retort/etc.)

    I'm going to disagree with "tailor-made," and I think we also need to agree upon the terminology of "1st, 2nd, and 3rd" gen. In my eyes, as someone who's been stringing through most of the "gens," there is essentially only 2 gens. First gen (aka actual polyester) and second/post 1st gen (co-poly[not necessarily ester]). I think strings these days strings have a lot more "design" to them, and in the very early days of poly strings, they were "designed" with very little actual thought. They were created to be durable, and that's about it. The tension maintenance and performance were not good in the early days, so Kevlar (IMO) was more popular (and you'll see this if you look at the history of tennis retailers via archive.org). That's why I'm disagreeing with "tailor-made."

    I think you are generally correct in the sentiment that higher level players are going to tend to be able to make the old-school polys work, though. (Moya was a notable babolat strong play player).

    I'm also going to have to disagree that newer polys are made for "rec players." I think that current gen co-polys are designed to deal with the shortcomings of previous "gen" polys. I should also at this time clarify the nomenclature of the word "poly."

    Poly in the first gen context is referring to "polyester," which is a specific type of material/plastic. More modern "poly" strings refer to "co-polymer." While the prefix poly is the same, and while we use them in the same way, it should be noted that polyester is a specific type of material, and polymer is very UNspecific. This means that co-poly strings can play wildly differently. Co-poly strings also means that there is a "mixture" of materials in the final composite string. When we use the loose terms first/second/third gen string, we're definitely doing ourselves a disservice in the long run. As humans, though, we have a natural inclination to categorize things, so we should be careful (IMHO).

    Returning to the "rec players" comment, I should point out that Luxilon strings are co-poly strings (and they are what essentially created a booming co-poly market). This is why I believe that there shouldn't be a "3rd gen" designation without a significant/deliberate design methodology change. 1st/2nd gen designations are OK by me (even if they're very vague) because there was a material change between "gens." Clumping all co-poly strings together is unfortunate, but it's extremely difficult to categorize them otherwise (because by definition, they're mixed!).

    If we go by the argument that recreational players will use what pros use, and pros are using Luxilon, I think the rec-player comment doesn't make sense anymore. I come from the point of view that string design is for everyone, and string designers have just been trying to meet needs that weren't being previously met, and that's it.

    "Honestly, in my opinion, first gen polys are the best polys. If you REALLY want the characteristics of a poly string, those are the strings to go to."

    While I largely agree with your sentiments, and I feel that "first gen" polys have their place (I also like them), the comment about "characteristics of a poly string" just indicates that we, as a community, have a long way to go in terms of our nomenclature. I should also point out that most poly strings aren't necessarily nylon mixes (I'm not a materials engineer, but i'd actually venture to say that most composites don't have nylon as a major ingredient...)





    Edit: I'd also like to point out that if we were hell-bent on making a "3rd" gen designation, we should make it a string structure designation, AKA all the newer "shaped" strings that aren't made with the traditional round cross section. This is a pretty clear shift from previous string design, even though/if the string material is the same.
     
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2011
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  10. Tennis Is Magic

    Tennis Is Magic Semi-Pro

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    Responses in bold.
     
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  11. Jonny S&V

    Jonny S&V Hall of Fame

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    And yet most pros use 2nd generation polys, or co-poly(mer)s...

    Co-poly does mean co-polymer.

    Where are you getting this? I can't find where DD says this (see bolded):

    "If we go by the argument that recreational players will use what pros use, and pros are using Luxilon, I think the rec-player comment doesn't make sense anymore.I come from the point of view that string design is for everyone, and string designers have just been trying to meet needs that weren't being previously met, and that's it."

    There are three types of poly strings: 1st generation (aka Gosen Polylon), 2nd generation (aka Topspin Cyberflash), and ether-based (aka a majority of Luxilon strings). Do note that, since it's not straight-up poly, that ether-based polys can be lumped in with the 2nd generation (and typically is).
     
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  12. TenFanLA

    TenFanLA Hall of Fame

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    Whatever generation it is, Alu Power is a very popular string. The problem with rec players' use of it is that they use stiff rackets, they hit with "bad" technique and they use it until it breaks which is practically forever. I'm guilty of the 1st, probably guilty of 2nd but not 3rd. For an average player to use Lux properly it takes more $ and diligence than they are aware of. It is expensive and a pain in the rear to enjoy high performance cars/polys. As far as polys go I'd compare Alu to a Ferrari and Cyclone to a Lexus.
     
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  13. Tennis Is Magic

    Tennis Is Magic Semi-Pro

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    10charrrrr
     
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  14. jdunnie014159

    jdunnie014159 Rookie

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    Great information here people. So during the "1st generation", who was using these polys? Rec players only interested in not breaking a string? What volume of tour players were using these strings? I know DireDesire mentioned Carlos Moya was using one, but was there any significant following on tour? I'm gathering that most everyone was full-gut and then there was a mass exodus from full gut to co-poly when Luxilon introduced their product. Lastly, did Kirschbaum introduce the first "polyester" string, or was this introduction a co-poly that quickly took a back seat to Luxilon?

    edit: forgot to ask if Isospeed Baseline is a polyester or co-polymer?
     
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2011
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  15. Jonny S&V

    Jonny S&V Hall of Fame

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    Yes, but you say: "Yes, 1st generation polys were basically tailor-made for pros and high level amateurs," and yet: "Alu Power is a VERY well selling string, it's a mainstay in RSI's top 5 selling strings. To say rec players don't use Luxilon is inaccurate." I can tell you right now, most rec-players are not high-level amateurs.

    So, you interpreted the sentence (which I think you spun it in a different way than DD meant, but I digress), but not the entire statement? See the below sentence that came right after DD's quote above (particularly the bolded part):

    "I come from the point of view that string design is for everyone, and string designers have just been trying to meet needs that weren't being previously met, and that's it."
     
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  16. Tennis Is Magic

    Tennis Is Magic Semi-Pro

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    10charrrrr
     
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  17. Steve Huff

    Steve Huff Legend

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    Polyester strings have been around for quite a while. I started stringing them (and using them) in the early 80s. The first ones I remember were Leoina Poly X and Poly 7. I've been using them as a hybrid since the mid 80s. I rarely use any poly now because my arm is more sensitive. As for being made primarily for pro's, that statement is mostly true. Poly's were being used in Europe by a lot of clay courters due to their durability on clay (they didn't pick up the grit, as they were smoothe and hard). The early poly's squeaked as the strings moved. That was why I started putting another string in the crosses--they didn't squeak except in a full bed. Rackets were more flexible back then too (and I was younger), so arm issues weren't nearly as common as they are today. I'd call Kirshbaum strings a 2nd generation poly really. They may have been responsible for them getting more popular in the US, though not really sure on that. Luxilon has definitely got the media talking about it, which has spurred the growth of poly's.
     
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  18. diredesire

    diredesire Super Moderator

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    Yo man, you gotta start quoting people, the responses in bold are extremely annoying/difficult/time consuming to respond to...

    You interpreted it differently than I was stating. The inferred meaning should have been:

    Rec players use what pros use. Pros use luxilon. Rec players use luxilon.

    You stated it when talking about the feel and your preferences. The first part of your post (the historical references) shouldn't be portrayed as fact. A "In my opinion" 3/4 of the way down a post doesn't envelope everything above it... that's what I meant...

    Alright... that makes sense... :confused:

    This is a highly romanticized view of the stringing world, IMHO. While many top players do indeed string their frames extremely frequently, this is definitely not the case for many touring pros. Some of the lower tier professional touring players can't afford to restring 8+ frames on a daily basis, the short-comings are real, and they do affect players of any caliber. Tension maintenance can be a SERIOUS issue to many people, and it's also why the top-top pros are known to switch strings on ball changes. They can afford a ton of racquets with fresh strings, but it doesn't mean that the string characteristics don't affect them. They can just circumvent them much more easily.

    I'll concede the flex argument when you can show empirically that ALL pros play with flexible frames. While I acknowledge and understand that many pros play with custom frames with custom layups, this is woefully inaccurate for anyone outside the top-50 for the vast majority of players. I've worked with many top caliber Div 1 school's racquets, and I've only seen a handful of paintjobs in the past 6 years. Many extremely high level players stick with straight stock frames.

    I never said this, I actually implied the opposite.

    I'm not sure why you're asking me to concur, I said this already. That's where the definition comes from!

    Can you show me some examples of the 3rd gen term as commonly accepted lingo? I'm also interested to hear/read the definition of "3rd gen" co-polys. I'm fully willing to accept the fact that there is a "3rd gen," but I'd like to know what differentiates it from the 2nd gen. Obviously 3rd gen would come after 2nd gen, but if there's no clear differentiating characteristic/property, it's all the same to me: co-poly. If you're asserting that it's strictly time based, what is the time scale? X years? Does that mean by definition we're going to have a 4th gen co-poly in X years?
     
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  19. fortun8son

    fortun8son Hall of Fame

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    Of course, Luxilon is now Wilson and they have the marketing power of an 800lb gorilla behind them.
    All of the R&D since the 1st gen has been aimed at getting more power, more tension maintenance, or less harshness, but you can't do this without taking away some of the qualities that made the originals successful.
    That's why all of the 'co' and 'flouro' and 'twist', etc. are in addition to not in place of the original formulas.
     
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  20. jdunnie014159

    jdunnie014159 Rookie

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    Steve Huff--Remember these?

    [​IMG]
     
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