VS / IsoSpeed Black Fire: Spinnier Version of VS/4G

Discussion in 'Strings' started by TimothyO, May 12, 2013.

  1. TimothyO

    TimothyO Hall of Fame

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    I had the chance to hit with a VS Longevity / Black Fire hybrid a few times this weekend. My son is using it in one of his frames and I liked it so much I'm having one of mine strung the same way.

    TW's senior playtester, Chris Edwards, described Black Fire as comfortable and low powered and that is spot on!

    Best synopsis of Black Fire in a gut/poly hybrid: it performs like a spinnier version of a 4G cross and is easily as comfortable if not more so. Where 4G dents pretty faster than Black Fire and provides less spin potential than other poly crosses BF is still smooth after hitting a couple of hours each on Friday, Saturday, and today (total ~ 6 hours+).

    In a gut/poly hybrid I believe that it feels like it drops tension a little more and a little faster than Chris's full bed test but even then it's still very control oriented as Chris described. We had it strung as Longevity/Black Fire 17 at 54/48 and it's one of the most comfortable hits I've experienced. Due to some perceived tension loss I'm having one of my frames strung at 56/50.

    One benchmark I use in judging a new setup is my result against "pushers". As a low to mid-level player can I generate controllable pace to hit winners without giving up enough UEs to lose.

    My wife is the ultimate pusher. She won tournaments in high school, took several years off for career and kids, and has been playing mid B to low A doubles since earning several bag-tags along the way. If I can bagel her confidently at will by hitting winners off her crafty, low-pace shooting I know I have a potential keeper. This morning I was able to accomplish that goal.

    The primary benefit of Black Fire in this hybrid is its combination of low power and tremendous spin potential which means a noob like me can hit harder for even more spin without hitting long. Yes, it's a crutch, and it's effective. It was especially telling on serve. This morning my wife said I was serving with more pace than usual but they were staying down. Spin + power = winning combination.

    Durability remains to be seen but so far I'm loving the comfort. Certainly more comfortable than pre-stretched Focus Hex or 4G. It's like a combination of the two: it provides the control and comfort of 4G with the spin of Focus Hex. We'll see how long that control lasts, especially in ATL's hot spring temps (80s later this week). But even if we need to bump tension to 52 and maybe pre-stretch a little this could be a keeper.

    Still in the honeymoon period with Black Fire but if Chris's reports are accurate I'd be very happy if this lasts as a cross for 4 weeks (he reported 3 weeks in full bed and poly crosses in a gut/poly usually last longer).
     
    Last edited: May 13, 2013
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  2. spinovic

    spinovic Hall of Fame

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    What kind of man would bagel his wife? :)
     
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  3. TimothyO

    TimothyO Hall of Fame

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    I just do it for a little while now. Once I know it won't be a problem to achieve I stop playing in "Test Mode" and switch to "Silly Good Husband Mode". :D She's ok with it since she knows I'm testing something and it's only temporary. After test mode we then hit for giggles with me going for extreme low percentage shots or giving her opportunities to hit strokes that help her doubles game (short volleys and overheads).

    But you should know she's an evil tennis player in some ways. She has a wicked backhand that she uses to hit tight angles and precision down-the-line. Hit to her backhand without pace or spin and you're stuck since she'll hit either shot even if pushed back. There's no way to be in two places at once.

    And when I hit long she turns her back on me and raises her index finger even if it was obviously out. Sometimes I get the feeling that while it's her index finger being raised the message is really that of a middle finger... :)
     
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  4. TimothyO

    TimothyO Hall of Fame

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    I'm enjoying Black Fire so much as a cross with gut mains I've ordered three sets from TW, enough for six string jobs. If it continues to perform this well in the hotter summer months I'll buy a reel, the first time I've done so for any string (however, the current IsoSpeed BF 3 for the price of 2 sets probably beats a reel discount).

    After several hours of play spin remains outstanding with no denting or rippling of the Black Fire. Comfort remains great too, better than 4G at this same point in the string's life cycle. Touch and top spin shots remain my favorite but flatter hitting is a little more challenging as the Black Fire loses tension. It's nothing like the control issues faced with other soft co-polys and but also not as good as 4G.

    That said, the control is still good enough for my favorite combo of deep cross-court backhand followed by a backhand slice down the line (the side spin pulls the ball well off the deuce court). With heads larger than 95" and/or other string setups that can be risky. With gut/Black Fire (or Gut/4G) I'm fully confident with that shot. The advantage of BF over 4G in that combo is the far greater spin potential which improves my accruacy and the distance the ball breaks off court after the bounce.

    If you found 4G too stiff and not spin-friendly enough and other co-polys too soft and not control-oriented enough then do try Black Fire, at least in a gut/poly hybrid. It seems to combine 4G's control with the spin potential of slicker co-polys while also providing excellent feel and comfort.

    Best summary I can think of: Black Fire is the love child of CoFocus and 4G. :)
     
    Last edited: May 19, 2013
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  5. Smasher08

    Smasher08 Hall of Fame

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    Hmmmmmmm. . . . . :)
     
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