Whoah Dunlop: Black Widow

Discussion in 'Strings' started by alidisperanza, May 7, 2011.

  1. alidisperanza

    alidisperanza Hall of Fame

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    A friend of mine asked me to try out a new string he's stocking. He didn't tell me much about it, only that it was Dunlop's new shaped poly.


    Whoah. Interesting play.

    I strung BW/OG micro in a POG Tour 90 58/61
    Stringing was a good experience. Easy, no hitches. The string is a bit sharp when stringing crosses but not a big issue. I string on a 6pt crank machine so I usually can feel the stretch or elasticity of a string. Poly tends to be relatively crisp and lock out right away-- BW had a bit more stretch to it. Playing with the half set off a reel, it feels a bit softer than most polys I've dealt with (My go to is silverstring)


    Very solid off the ground-- A bit of a Lux Rough feeling where balls seem to dip in just before the baseline. Especially with the 14x18 pattern spin was very easy to generate. Very comfortable hitting flat as well. The best way to describe this string is "responsive." It puts out what you put in. If you want something loopy and rediculous-- aim up. If you want the ball to jump, accelerate. Flat-- level your shot out. All of it's there.

    Serving-- Great-- definitely above average here. I was able to put balls in the 110-120's again, something I been having trouble being able to do recently (especially not with a mid frame). Spin is ample too-- duh, 14x18. My favorite part about this string combination is undoubtedly the sound-- it's an absolute gunshot when you flatten out serves.

    Volleys-- All the normal good stuff. Easy to snap down. I had much success with more touch based shots (something I'm not good with at all). I found it a lot easier to place those drop shots and angle shots.

    Tension maintenance-- Eh. It was ok. There was a noticeable drop in tension from the first play to the next-- arguably I played 2 hours of hard tennis and took the frame directly off my stringing machine. Tension maintenance was tolerable though for the life of the string (READ PART 2...very disappointing)

    Durability-- oof. Less than 4 hours of play, 1-2:Heavy play 3: very casual play 3-pop Heavy play. Granted this is a POG so we'll see.

    What surprised me most about this string is how soft feeling it is. When you wind into shots, you can definitely feel the flex and response. Shifting wasn't too bad until the string was at the rough end of it's life.



    Overall a great play-- I'm testing out two more sets, one at the same tension and one a little bit higher tension to see if it will offset the initial drop. I'll post more as I play. I'm glad that Dunlop has finally produced something new and worth playing. My last big Dunlop craze was [now known as] x-life hybrid. Loved that kevlar.

    What I'm curious to know is if anyone else has played this string and Black5Edge. I'm a Weisscannon-**** and have been dying to play b5e. If it's anything comparable to Black Widow I'll buy a reel tomorrow...


    Continued 8 posts down MUST READ--- or here http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showpost.php?p=5630242&postcount=9
     
    Last edited: May 8, 2011
    #1
  2. Kcraig

    Kcraig Professional

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    Nice review.:) I have a set of BW 17g coming in and plan on testing against B5E/Mantis Comfort Syn I currently have in one frame (48/52). Have heard the BW spin is ridiculous, but I am a little cocerned with the tension loss. RSI ratings show it loses close to 25+lbs which is huge even by poly standards; however on the same RSI ratings have it in at 187lbs stiffness which is softer than a lot of multis out there--including X1. Hope to have strings in sometime next week and hope to give a run by next weekend. The B5E seems to really hold its tension nicely. After about 3hrs there is little to no difference in initial hit.

    Once again--nice write up and keep us posted on your experiences.
     
    #2
  3. mikeler

    mikeler G.O.A.T.

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    I've played both as mains with Mantis Comfort crossed at 48/52 in my Bab PSTs. Black Widow was too powerful for me at that tension. B5E is my all time favorite string, period.
     
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  4. parasailing

    parasailing Hall of Fame

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    You mean for now until the next great thing comes down the pipeline in 2 months:)!
     
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  5. alidisperanza

    alidisperanza Hall of Fame

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    Yeah-- It's great when hitting against pace but when the game slows down and you're generating your own spin, I found my balls going a foot long.

    Played a massive grind match this morning, will update later with review

    Happy mother's day to the moms!
     
    #5
  6. bad_call

    bad_call Legend

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    when the B5E and MCS reels are about to run out. :p
     
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  7. mikeler

    mikeler G.O.A.T.

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    I'll give it 2 months to make sure my elbow can handle it before buying a reel.
     
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  8. JTathlete

    JTathlete Rookie

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    good review.. not a bad string by any means but this bad boy loses tension fast :(
     
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  9. alidisperanza

    alidisperanza Hall of Fame

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    Continuing from before-- So, I got a hell-of-a workout this morning. I had a match at 10am against my WORST nightmare: A very quick, accurate human backboard-- I mean this guy does NOT miss.

    This really put me to the test (and consequently the BW hybrid I'm trying).

    As much as I'm prone to liking this string for it's initial play values, I hate to say it stinks in terms of tension maintenance. I currently have 2 frames (POG Mid 90 1stripe) strung with the test combination mentioned above one at 60/ 62 [A] and one at 61/63 . Frame B was strung 2 days ago but only played with for an hour yesterday of moderate hitting (just forehands and backhands). Frame A was strung yesterday and was completely fresh.

    After playing a set of very slow, very patient tennis with Frame B, I noticed my strings shifting around a bit in the POG, not something unusual but the play was slow enough that I didn't think it merited shifting. Not having a string-meter for reference, I tapped them against my other frame and holy cow. We're talking like E chord to A chord on the music spectrum. Huge, huge, drop in tension. Hitting the other day taking large cuts at the ball with ample spin, the drop wasn't incredibly apparent (in the first frame I popped, pre A and B). Playing someone where I had to generate all the top-spin and pace, it was incredibly apparent. Needless to say, I switched frames and the second set played a bit more competitively. Unfortunately I lost.


    While the string is very lively and soft and has the potential to be a great "spin-string" in this frame, this tension loss in totally not acceptable. After playing an hour or two, I have to delegate frames to "practice sticks?" Not a chance. If B5E plays anything like the Widow but maintains the tension, I'm sold. The extra spin is nice and the comfort is fantastic but I don't need the extra power.

    **FINAL EDIT**

    Experiment over: this string is just not for me-- Just got home from hitting with a friend. 10 forehands in, strings pop. 2hrs on frame B...grrrr

    Both frames I've popped in exactly the same spot on forehands. Only frame A left-- No bueno
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: May 8, 2011
    #9
  10. mctennis

    mctennis Hall of Fame

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    Great review. Thanks for posting it. Keep up the good reviews.
     
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  11. tennisjon

    tennisjon Semi-Pro

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    Do you think the extremely open pattern has a pretty big effect on the durability and tension maintenance? I have used this string and really liked its softness and spin. I did notice the tension drop, although I found it to be less than RPM, but more than Black Code. Durability, however, I found to be less than the other two, but not significantly so. Btw, my racquet is 16x20 in 100sq in.
     
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  12. Kcraig

    Kcraig Professional

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    Thanks--you just saved me $13!!!:)
     
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  13. Jonnykobles

    Jonnykobles New User

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    I just tested this string this week, It wasn't horrible for a poly (not the best with poly's), but I honestly much preferred RPM - Just felt better to me.
     
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  14. rodrigoamaral

    rodrigoamaral Hall of Fame

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    thanks for the review.. when you consider how it holds tension and the price it is offered at, there are MANY better strings out there..
     
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  15. Torres

    Torres Banned

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    Is that really fair though?

    You've strung this in a crazy 14x18 pattern racquet.

    The mains are going to be taking a hell of alot of stress and its still a relatively high tension ~60lbs in a 90sq" frame.

    You need a much stiffer, durable string to use as the mains in your 14x18 / 60lbs setup, not a comfort orientated, springy Black Widow type string.
     
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  16. fgs

    fgs Hall of Fame

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    i do think it's fair as he states very clearly "this string is not for me".
    we all express opinions on strings and we all have found strings that work in our set-ups and others that don't work. but we should know that given certain properties of the strings, they might be an excellent choice for other people, with different biomechanics, different sticks etc.
     
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  17. Mick

    Mick Legend

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    i picked up my racquet yesterday from the tennis shop and played with it for the first time today. wow. so much power! much more powerful than the last string i had on this racquet. i really like it.

    racquet = head agassi radical limited
    string = dunlop black widow
    tension = 45 lbs.
     
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  18. alidisperanza

    alidisperanza Hall of Fame

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    Thanks and thanks to all those who enjoyed it as well. I try to keep as objective a point of view as I can for strings. I hate reading reviews that claim OMG! BEST STRING EVER NADAL LIKE SPIN! Not everything can be rated a 10/10 :( Not even my go-to string gets perfect marks in my book.

    Yes, I do think that it certainly had something to do with the strings popping so soon but at the same time I also think that it has a lot to do with the tension drop. Once the strings went dead and wouldn't snap back into place is when they started getting abused. I happened to notice the "shiftiness" in both frames perhaps 10 mins before popping on both frames. We'll see how the last one holds up.

    In terms of softness it's great for a poly. and spin, it's fantastic for the first hour or two. A friend of mine who had been sitting on the sideline taking a breather noticed that my strokes still had the same trajectory and pace but they were falling about 3' deeper in the court after an hour of hitting. Could be a bunch of variables but it's an interesting observation.


    Yes, I think it's absolutely fair. The minimum recommended tension on this frame is 60lbs (max is 70). My first play involved silverstring (same gauge) with the same cross at my usual tension range and I got more life out of it with less notching. I ended up cutting out the silverstring after a few hours because I felt it was too loose from the get-go (and I was stupidly excited to try the BW, haha).

    I'm fairly certain that if I picked up a K90 my results would be similar-- perhaps ~ 30mins-hr longer depending on whom I'm hitting with. Same goes for a prestige.

    If someone wants to fence me a set, I'll gladly give it a go with the same setup in both those mid sized frames. At 10.00 a set though, it's a bit too much for me to be popping so quickly. The tension loss alone gives me the willies-- 2 fresh frames strung 1 day apart sound pretty different!

    I'm glad you liked it Mick. It's definitely a nice string to play with fwiw. At 45lbs I suspect your tension loss will be proportionately less. I wonder how long it will take for the string to go "dead." Keep us updated
     
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  19. alidisperanza

    alidisperanza Hall of Fame

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    Spot on fgs. My intention wasn't to bash the string and claim that it's terrible. It's not, by any means. The tension retention may have been terrible but the playing characteristics were rather nice while it lasted. I used to pop strings very often as it were-- recently I have flattened out my strokes when playing with my LM Radicals. Playing with the Prince Graphite brought out the spin in me-- I found myself enjoying really stepping in to the ball and whipping it up. Makes sense that the string would pop sooner.
     
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