RPM Team: Initial Review/Impressions

Discussion in 'Strings' started by TimothyO, Feb 6, 2012.

  1. TimothyO

    TimothyO Hall of Fame

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    Frame: Speed 300 modified to 340g/12 oz and 8.5 pts HL
    Note: Speed 300 is 100", 16x19, Flex ~60

    String: VS Touch Black / RPM Team 17 @ 54 / 50

    Time: 4 hours so far...1.5 hours hitting serves and wall, 2.5 hours in mixed doubles ALTA B8 practice with teaching pro, drills and games.

    Comparison/Reference: VS/CoFocus 17 and VS/RPM Blast 17 (my favorites)

    Overview: extremely low power, superior spin, great control, potential comfort issue

    Power: extremely low...far lower than CoFocus crosses, and lower than Blast. When practicing serves and hitting the wall it was so low as to be worrisome at first which is weird for me since I love low powered setups. But after several shots it settled in and, while still very low powered, I felt comfortable.

    Spin: superior to CoFocus and Blast! Second serves were exceedingly easy. However, pace was much lower too. You have to eat your wheaties with this as a cross.

    Control: outstanding! Better than CoFocus and on par with Blast.

    Comfort: this is weird...my arm is stiff tonight! Didn't feel anything close to this discomfort even with dead Blast. However, I sometimes break my swing in Mixed doubles so as not to hit too hard vs the ladies, so it may be technique related. Even then I didn't feel like this with Blast playing mixed doubles, so I'm thinking it is the Team. It worries me enough that I'm not sure how far I'll proceed with this.

    The comfort issue is really surprising. Babolat is pushing this as more comfortable than Blast and for use by "kids and women who don't change strings as often." I'm really hoping it's just my usual cautious nature in mixed doubles as I love the spin.

    UPDATE 2/10, 6 HOURS PLAY TIME
    Will be hitting later today but noticed something of interest after 2 additional hours of play. Where CoFocus and Blast maintain a smooth surface over which the mains continue to slide with prolonged use the Team seems be getting dented like other polys. The denting is more shallow than polys such as Lux so the impact on spin seems minimal. But the mains don't return to their original position as perfectly as with CoFocus and Blast. But don't worry...it's not like multis or pure gut where strings get stuck out of place...we're talking minor imperfections compared to the perfection this is Gut/CoFocus or Gut/RPM. Comfort still good. Power is low enough that I might try some extra lead at 12 for added oomph. I love the feeling of extra weight (better control) so that aspect of Team might be a nice side benefit.

    UPDATE 2/11, 8.5 HOURS PLAY TIME
    After roughly 8.5 hours of play time I cut out the stringbed today. I need to order some CoFocus but had some FocusHex in the bag-o-string so I'm having the frame restrung today with VS/Focus Hex for now.

    The RPM Team remained comfortable throughout the test. Power remained low and control great and I really enjoyed both aspects. The deciding factor was a significant reduction in spin potential. Unlike RPM Blast and various MSV products the Team no longer provided what I call "casually accessible" spin. Of course I could still hit hard with top spin but if I screwed up in the slightest I failed to keep the ball in through topspin. As I approached the 8 hour mark I really needed to focus and hit as cleanly as possible. Spin was no longer idiot proof.

    I believe this may be due, at least in part, to the sort of surface deformation I've seen with other polys. When pulling on the mains, especially in the sweet spot, I could feel the tiny ripples that form when the surface of a poly becomes bumpy from repeated bending and unbending. These "dents" quickly limit the idiot proof spin potential of a good gut/poly hybrid such as VS/CoFocus. CoFocus resists surface deformation under constant stress remaining smooth with prolonged use. All polys will eventually dent, especially with hard topspin hitting, but CoFocus and even Blast seem to resist this well.

    A potential explanation for Team's greater deformation is that it's a "lower density" version of Blast. Where Blast is a tight solid monofilament Team is filled with tiny air bubbles. Maybe that weakens Team's strucutral integrity.

    All is not lost though. Those who hit flat might still benefit from Team's lower power and great control and comfort. I added some weight to the head and flat shots were really fun. I could drop them on the court like artillery fire. I still couldn't t-off hitting flat like I can when hitting with topspin. But in a video by Babolat they mention the string might be good for kids and women who don't change strings much. Setting aside the sexist nature of the comment (I know plenty of A level women who can beat me handily) I could see Team working for lower level rec players who hit flat and want both comfort AND control and maybe haven't found that in a multi. (note: this applies for use as cross with gut mains...not sure how it would work full bed since I don't use full bed poly.)
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2012
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  2. ChicagoJack

    ChicagoJack Hall of Fame

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    Hi TimothyO,

    Nice review, thanks.

    1. Better spin and better control than Co-focus sounds pretty sweet to me.
    2. If it's way lower in power, as you say, then your spin to speed ratio is up, (more revolutions per distance traveled)
    3. Then you swing harder to make up the power dif (even more spin, and tougher on the arm)
    4. 1.5 hours of serving is bound to tire anybody's arm out.
    5. All makes sense to me.

    -Jack
     
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  3. TimothyO

    TimothyO Hall of Fame

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    Yes Jack, you nailed the string's dynamics.

    While warming up with other male players I was hitting my best ground strokes ever. The extra spin and lower power allowed me to hit extra hard while keeping the ball in. One veteran player was taken by surprise by the extra pace and depth I was hitting with (it may sound odd that a lower power string allows extra pace but it's the extra RHS which allows more spin which drives the ball down sooner which allows the greater pace.)

    I could also feel more ball pocketing than with Blast (about the same as CoFocus) and often heard that "thwappy" sound of mains rippling back in place over the crosses on hits with extreme brushing motion.

    One odd aspect I forgot to mention...on slices I felt like Blast did a better job aiding spin generation while on ground strokes Team did a better job. Perhaps a function of ball pocketing? Don't know for sure and I need to try some more slices before reaching a conclusion.

    On the comfort issue my arm feels perfectly fine this morning so it probably was technique. When I was hitting with the guys last night comfort was fine as I was hitting with proper full strokes, a loose arm, and a firm grip (not a death grip). When I hit with the ladies I tend to slow the swing down and then tighten the arm muscles while trying not to hit too hard. Yes, it's foolish, and something our ALTA coach is helping me with as he noticed me breaking my swing too... need to do the same swing but slower...but then I lose RHS and balls drop short on me with my low power setup. I think the answer is more spin and less forward momentum.
     
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2012
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  4. InfCross

    InfCross New User

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    Nice review.
    I've played with both gut/rpm and gut/co-focus. Yes both are nice setups, but I think I solved the "powerful when dead" issue of co-focus crosses, kinda offtopic but Im now using pro hurricane 17(the round one) as a cross, its lower powered and still kinda soft(but stiffer than those RSI tests claim), also good in tension maintance. Too bad its pricey and buying a reel doesnt help much.
    Back on topic, do u think RPM team is worth a try? I dont actually need it but coud use a little more spin.




    .
     
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  5. TimothyO

    TimothyO Hall of Fame

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    Jury still out on Team. Hit serves and wall for an hour at lunch time and helped some friends warm up for their T2 doubles match.

    Zero discomfort so it must have been me breaking my swing last night.

    Definitely feeling more ball pocketing and spin than blast and definitely lower power. The extra spin is giving more confidence in my serves. I feel like Luke Skywalker..."Trust the force...err...spin, Luke".

    On one handed back hands the situation is interesting. Swinging hard it feels easier to control the ball with a completely relaxed arm. i just knpw the ball will stay in. oTOH...I MUST take a full relaxed swing or the ball's going nowhere.

    I'll be hitting this week with an A level ALTA player who serves big. He's going to practice serves amd I'll be practicng return of serve vs hard serves. We'll probably play some practice games too, will report back then. I think this might be my new goto setupbut don't want to jump the gun. Still in honeymoon period which can be misleading! :)

    Re: Hurricane you might want to try Hurricane Feel. That was my favorite before I learned about CoFocus. Less durable than CoFocus but maybe a little more spinny.
     
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  6. TimothyO

    TimothyO Hall of Fame

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    Updated after 6 hours of play. See first post for details.
     
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  7. Nostradamus

    Nostradamus G.O.A.T.

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    I string Big banger at 55 lbs and RPM blast that i tried once time at 60 lbs. and i thought these tension provided Good power for both. Since RPM team is much lower powered, if i string it at 50-52 lbs range, do you think i can get similar power level to RPM blast or BB ?
     
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  8. Nostradamus

    Nostradamus G.O.A.T.

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    What do you mean by Extra weight in above statement ?
     
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  9. TimothyO

    TimothyO Hall of Fame

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    Some extra lead tape at the top of the hoop.

    At the moment I have a few grams at ~2 and a few grams at ~10. Don't know the precise amounts since I did it based on feel with RPM Blast crosses. Based on the length of the tape probably about 3 grams in each location for a total of (very roughly) 6.

    I've tried frames previously with more lead along the upper hoop and it feels great but demands the right string to avoid excess power (driven of course too by frame stiffness, size, and pattern).
     
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  10. TimothyO

    TimothyO Hall of Fame

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    Only tried BB once and my arm couldn't take it, so not really sure. Remember too we're comparing RPM Blast to RPM Team in this instance. So far, Team is playing lower powered than Blast with the same initial reference tension and exact same frame.

    I think that many strings have a weird power curve where power can increase with lower tension but then at some point it sort of decreases again as the string bed goes all wilty. Same goes for loss of elasticity and tension loss based on play time (two different things): over time all strings lose tension but their change in elasticity seems to be different string-to-string...some become trampolines while others become boards!

    In any case I believe stringing polys lower (no more than 50-52) is probably a good idea. I tried RPM Blast cross at 57 or 58 (gulp!) and gosh they went dead fast. I had always wondered if I could tell when a poly cross went dead and sure enough, the difference was dramatic. Amazing control but felt terrible.
     
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  11. tlm

    tlm Legend

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    Has anyone tried this in a full bed, when testing a new string i don't think that using a hybrid is a good way to test a string.
     
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  12. TimothyO

    TimothyO Hall of Fame

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    For those who prefer full bed poly I full agree. That's why I tried to be careful in the OP and explain all the details on the hybrid setup. OTOH, since I don't use full poly it wouldn't be helpful to me to try it in a full bed.

    Also, I've udated the original post: result...after 8.5 hours I cut out the string bed today...see OP for details.
     
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  13. tlm

    tlm Legend

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    Okay thanks for the update, if you are only changing the poly part of your string job and keeping the other the same then i guess it still gives a pretty good comparison.

    I am really anxious to try this new rpm out. I found that even with the regular rpm that it does lose some spin production and comfort with time, so if the team at least maintains its comfort better that will be a plus.
     
    #13
  14. mixedmedia

    mixedmedia Professional

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    Plus, some strings aren't very impressive as mains in a full bed setup but great as crosses in a hybrid (e.g. MSV Co.-Focus).
     
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  15. TimothyO

    TimothyO Hall of Fame

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    Absolutely true!
     
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  16. mixedmedia

    mixedmedia Professional

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    TimO, I've probably asked you this before, but I lose track sometimes. Have you ever tried WC Scorpion as a cross with gut mains? How does the deformation compare to CF? I got sidetracked from testing a playing regularly for a bit, so it's hard for me to think how it's going to be going back to Scorpion after Cofocus. I'm worried the spin and comfort may be worse than I remember (even reading over the play log I kept, since I hadn't tried CF at that point). Sorry to be off-topic. Thanks!
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2012
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  17. TimothyO

    TimothyO Hall of Fame

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    Not Scorpion but have tried one of the other Weiss strings.
     
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  18. Nostradamus

    Nostradamus G.O.A.T.

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    Would you say that RPM team is lower powered than the pro hurricane string ?
     
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  19. TimothyO

    TimothyO Hall of Fame

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    I used Pro Hurricane Feel so can't compare to the other two flavors (regular and Tour). Definitely lower powered than Feel.
     
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  20. Nostradamus

    Nostradamus G.O.A.T.

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    how does the power compare to tech black code ? thanks
     
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  21. floydcouncil

    floydcouncil Semi-Pro

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    So... you are giving us a review of the string in a HYBRID?

    How stupid is that? I'm waiting for the full bed review!!!!!!!!
     
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  22. JackB1

    JackB1 G.O.A.T.

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    The worst part though is the string he is reviewing is in the crosses.
    I don't get where this is of any value? Slap just about any round smooth
    copoly in the crosses with gut mains and you're good to go.
     
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  23. mixedmedia

    mixedmedia Professional

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    Uh, yes and no. There are some differences between poly crosses, as the OP and others can attest to.
     
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  24. tlee

    tlee New User

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    RPM Team Full Bed

    I like full bed low tension (36lbs) RPM Blast 17. So I decided to try full bed of Team 17 at 36#.
    Felt stiff, plasticky, no pocketing. I immediately called the stringer and asked (sincerely) did someone possibly transpose my request and string this at 63#?
    Was told no; he definitely did it at 36#.
    I summary could not recommend as full bed; felt like a greased frying pan balls no dwell time and no bite; new balls just sliding off the string.

    Now maybe as a cross with gut someone might like it as maybe the gut would slide well.

    However my least favorite string experience. Would not use it if it was free.
    PS: in a Prince O3 Tour MP; tournament player
     
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  25. tlm

    tlm Legend

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    It must have been the ridiculous low tension of 36 lbs., it would have been a lot better if it was strung at 63 lbs. I have been using the team in a full job for a good month now and it plays good for a lot longer than the blast does by a long shot.
     
    #25
  26. tlee

    tlee New User

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    I have noticed from your other posts that you disparage low tensions; no problem use what you like.
    You failed to offer meaningful facts like the actual tension you prefer and what frame its in. So that rather than just reacting you could help others; how bout a little friendlier approach along with some factual data? It won't affect my preferences but I noticed others wanted some full bed reviews so maybe you could provide one?
     
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  27. tlm

    tlm Legend

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    I have stated that i have had some luck with some rackets and poly strings at low tension, but that is not the norm. On this site with all the low tension craze that exists my set ups are thought to be way to high of tension, they are considered unplayable even though over 90% of the critics have never tried them.

    I don't know what you mean by factual data, but with the guys i hit with we all agree that the higher the tension the better control and more restricted flight and lower trajectory. Unlike here were it seems to be the exact opposite of what any player i know thinks about low tension compared to high tension.

    Right now i am using a asian blx 90 with 17 gauge rpm team at 67 lbs. and it plays beautifully. Great feel and spin with tremendous control and good power, plus it feels comfortable. I know most will think this is impossible but the doubters will never know because they will never try this high of tension because they read here that it would play bad and their arm would fall off after 1 hour of use.

    See that is the difference between me and a lot of the people who think that low tension is the only way to go is. I have tried both extensively, and everything in between and find that the higher tension will give the best control hands down.

    I was using the rpm blast in the same racket with tensions between 65 and 67 lbs. The 18 gauge blast played pretty well, but the 17 gauge played perfect for a few hours but after that it felt and played like crap. It turned into a stiff wire like feel after a few hitting sessions. But since i have been using the team it keeps its nice feel and playability for a long time. So to me the team is much better than the original blast.
     
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  28. tlee

    tlee New User

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    Excellent

    OK that was helpful! Thanks!
    When I realized in 1980 after being throttled in a qualifying tournament won by Brian Gottfried over some kid called Borg that I would starve on tour and gave up on any dream of succeeding as a pro player; I throttled back but needless to say have tried numerous set ups.

    Just like to hear what people like in case I might try it...
     
    #28
  29. ChicagoJack

    ChicagoJack Hall of Fame

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    Hmm...

    That's piqued my curiosity. Sorry to derail the thread, but I've read this three times and can't figure out, did you play Borg or Gottfried in a qualie? BTW, Ive brought my tensions back up to my normal range high 50's from high 40's. My control is back. All this time I thought it was me. What an awesome discovery.

    -Jack
     
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2012
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  30. tlee

    tlee New User

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    your question

    NO they were the main draw finalists; the qualie winner could barely take points off Borg. Borg was the closest I've seen to a Rafa between his trajectory and spin.

    Just showed me how stratospheric the top guys were; an epiphany for me!

    As to tensions; the super long low tension thread hits it occasionally that it's almost like the tensions have harmonics ie

    60's excellent control; sore arm
    50's Ok; but die quickly
    40's some like
    30's good again (excellent control; caveat with the right string)

    it doesn't seem linear; also different polys die differently
    ie Blast for me just loses power; OK I swing harder I can deal with that
    Lux Flouro loses control
    so it really seems to vary...

    Happy playing to all!
     
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  31. tlm

    tlm Legend

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    Thats amazing you brought the tensions back up and your control is back. Wow who woulda thought that by raising the tension your control would improve.
     
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  32. tlm

    tlm Legend

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    Anyone else out there that has tried the rpm team strings?
     
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  33. Torres

    Torres Banned

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    Agreed.

    This is just the dumbest 'string review' I've ever seen.

    He reviews it a open 100sq" with VS gut mains at 54/50, says its the lowest powered setup he's ever seen, playtests it against a wall, then says that his arm hurts, adds some lead half way through the playtest, and throws in a whole load of meaningless psuedo tech mumbo jumbo.

    Is this guy a cross between David Henry and an L-Tech sales rep?
     
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2012
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  34. polytheist

    polytheist Rookie

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    he just should have titled the review differently
     
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  35. JackB1

    JackB1 G.O.A.T.

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    If you have read any other of Tim's post's this wouldn't surprise you. He claims to be a 3 or 3.5 player, but then describes what he can do with the ball like he is Nadal. Either his descriptions are delusional or he is a much higher rated player than he thinks :confused:
     
    #35
  36. rnrd001

    rnrd001 New User

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    up.

    Really, I think players should give this string a shot.
    I can't find any downside actually.

    Confort is really good.
    Tolerance is excellent.
    Durability and tension maintenance is way above poly's average.
    Spin is great
    Control is excellent.

    What I like most with this string is its respnonse. I kind of feel that I can play with two strings at the same time. I can hit with great control and pace but can also find excellent power if I flatten my shots. This is the only string I have tried (I tried 10+) that gives me that feel.

    I play a Pure Drive - 55/53
     
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2014
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