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colan5934 11-11-2012 12:24 PM

Yet another string review thread
 
Since I've been testing out a bunch of poly strings lately, I might as well review them.

A little bit about my play style: D2 College player. SW Forehand and 2Handed Backhand. Aggressive baseline game. Working on adding more of a transition game. First serve is more of a flat slider (think Murray-esque) 80% of the time, and my second serve is either kick or slice to the corners to open up the court.

Equipment: Babolat Pure Storm Tour. No dampener. Stock with overgrip. Stringing machine is either Gamma X2 or my coach's old Ektelon Machine (Lockout).

1. Dunlop Black Widow 16.

Stringing: 50# One piece on the X2. Measured 53 on rackettune right off the machine. Nothing to troubling. I don't have much difficulty with stringing poly. It was a little rough, so I was a bit more careful with the crosses to avoid friction burn.

Groundstrokes: Right away, this string was stiffer than I would have liked, but it had a lot of spin. The combination left a lot of balls sitting up short in the court. Once it broke in after the first hitting session, depth was easy and the added spin kept the balls dropping in. After the third hitting session, the edges had worn down on the string and tension had dropped even more. I had difficulty controlling the ball at this point. It broke during this session as well. 8.5/10 Underpowered for 2 hours, perfect for 2 hours, then overpowered for 1.5 hours.

Volleys/Touch: Being one of the softest polys I have tried, this string excelled at net. Plenty of spin allowed for some stupid good drop volleys and angles. Even when the edges had worn away and the tension had dropped, I found good control at the net. Depth was easy throughout the test and I could put it where I wanted too. 8/10

Serves: This is where I enjoyed this string the most. First serves were just a delight. It seemed like I got a little bit of extra pace and spin to keep my big flat serves in. Second serves were great as well. I could get plenty of spin when I wanted it and targeting was adequate. 9/10

Durability/Tension maintenance: For a 16G string, I was a bit disappointed. I only got 6 hours out of it, probably because the edges on the crosses cut into the mains. I played Tour Bite 1.20mm last year and I got 10 hours before it broke, and the playability duration was better too. With Black Widow, the tension dropped almost continually, and the characteristics that made it great for that small period of time did as well. 5/10

Overall: This string was a bit of a disappointment for me. I have played it in a hybrid before at a higher tension and really liked it, but as a full polyester setup, the poor durability and tension maintenance is a deal breaker and minimizes the great spin and power this string has, albeit for a small time frame. I may revisit it as a hybrid, but I can't justify $13 per set as a poor college student right now. 7/10

colan5934 11-11-2012 12:39 PM

2. Polystar Classic 1.30

Stringing: Easy. I used Polystar Energy throughout high school, and when I saw a reel of this for $30, I couldn't resist. It lacks a bit of the greasy feel of Energy, but it's still there a bit. It's a fairly familiar experience, so I had no problems. Knots and crosses were smooth. It's a little stiff, but not much coil memory. Strung at 50# two pieces on the X2.

Groundstrokes: Really a nice string here. Plenty of control and the spin is there if you work for it. Even as the tension dropped, the inherent stiffness of the string kept control at a premium. Easy to put the ball on a dime and manipulate opponents. 9/10

Volleys: Nothing spectacular, but the it got the job done. Volleying, for me, is more of a technique thing, rather than an equipment thing. As the tension dropped, though, the touch and feel increased with it. 8/10

Serves: Not a lot of free power or spin. I really had to work to get the ball moving, whether it be a spin serve or a flat serve. The tension drop helped a bit with this, though. Control, on the other hand, was exceptional. While I found it difficult to just bomb serve after serve, I could place the ball extremely well. 8/10

Durability/Tension maintenance: Being a first-gen poly, durability was at a premium while tension maintenance was not. I got 15 hours out of this string, and I'm quite pleased with it. The strings did move a bit, though. The tension dropped for the first 8 hours from 49# to 31.2# on rackettune. It stayed at 31.2 until it broke. Even at 31.2 lbs., control was great. The ball really sunk into the strings and I felt like I was playing with a net, throwing the ball where I wanted it to go. 9/10 Mostly for the great durability and the fact that even when the tension had dropped, the control remained premium.

Overall: Since I have a reel, this may become my go-to string for awhile. I am going to revisit PolyStar Energy after trying this again, too. Control, I'll reiterate, was at a premium. Good durability, and it retained its playing characteristics even when the tension had dropped almost 20 pounds. Really a no nonsense baseliner's string. 8.5/10

colan5934 11-11-2012 12:51 PM

3. Luxilon 4G 1.30

I reviewed this string in my modified Pure Storm standard in another thread, and also tried it in this racket. My thoughts are similar.

Stringing: Strung 2 pieces at 50# on the X2. Strung up like a normal Lux offering. A little bit of coil memory, but nothing excessive. Came off reading 48.8 on rackettune.

Groundstrokes: Really nice feel here. Tons of control. I can really keep the ball in the court with this even at the low-ish tension. Spin was not lacking, but it's not exceptional either--you get what you put into it. The most prominent characteristic is the stiffness and dead feel of the string. It's not so stiff that it's uncomfortable or jarring, but it's just dead. 9/10

Volleys: Surprising feel here. Really a nice poly for serving and volleying simply because placement is outstanding. I feel like I can't reiterate enough how well I can place the ball with this string. You need good technique and weight transfer on the volleys to hit a penetrating one, however. Drop shots were fun too. 8.5/10

Serves: Not a lot of free pop here, but control is at a premium. I could place the ball well, and when I really went for a big serve, I was rewarded more than the Polystar Classic. There's not a lot of free pace though, so racket head speed is essential. Kickers were fine, but I wasn't getting the same amount of hop I would with Tour Bite or Black Widow. 8/10

Durability: I got 21 hours out of this string, so I loved it. The tension maintenance was wonderful as well. After the first hitting session, it dropped from 48.8 pounds to 42.9 pounds, and was at 40.6 pounds before it broke at 21 hours. The play was even throughout the test. If anything can give me that many hours and consistent play the whole time, it's a great string in my book. 10/10

Overall: It's a good offering for the advanced player with developed strokes and a fast swingspeed. It does not give you much, if anything in terms of extra power, but the control it offers allows you to do pretty much anything you want with the ball. It seems like it would tame the power of big hitters well too. The best way I can describe it is that it plays, for its entire lifespan, like ALU rough does from about 3 hours of play (after its exceptional qualities have faded a bit) until it (ALU) has become useless and needs to be cut out. Basically, you know what you're going to get from this string whenever you play with it. I give it high marks because of it's longevity of playing characteristics and tension maintenance rather than it's playability, which isn't exactly exceptional. 9/10

Disclaimer: I did receive this string as a free sample set from my coach's pro shop. I'm not quite sure if I would pay $17 per set, but that's simply because I don't have a ton of money. It's an incredibly durable string, but even 24 hours for me is only 2 weeks. If I were playing twice a week instead of 6 times, I'd definitely be using this string.

colan5934 11-11-2012 01:16 PM

4. Yonex Poly Tour Pro 1.25 Yellow

Stringing: Really quite easy for a polyester. No qualms with it at all. Very easy to work with, and stiff enough to move through blocked holes. Strung at 50# on the X2

Groundstrokes: Can you say muted? Wow, is this stuff dull. It's really soft, and it's really muted. I could barely feel the ball on the strings. As with most strings, though, this got better as the tension dropped and I got used to the string. It was, however, very muted throughout the test. Spin was slightly above average, and directional control was pretty solid. Extra power was a nice surprise, though. 7.5/10 Too muted for me.

Volleys: It was really soft for poly, and that led to some great touch shots, but the lack of feel led to some really bad attempted touch shots too. My net game revolves more around touch rather than deep penetrating volleys, and this string was too inconsistent. When I did punch the volleys, though, I found good depth. 7/10 Very up and down on touch shots due to the heavily muted feel.

Serves: Flat serves were great. The higher than average power really helped here. I really had to work to get a lot of hop on my kick serve, but that just encouraged me to hit my slice serves more, and this led to more variety in my game. 9/10

Durability/Tension maintenance: Both of these were good. 9 hours for a 1.25mm string is about average for me. The tension, while I did not measure it due to my iPhone being out of commission for the week, seemed fairly stable after the first hit. The string was almost a catapult the first time out, and then it settled down a bit and stayed there for the rest of the test. 8/10

Overall: Not really my cup of tea. Serving was great, but the inconsistencies at net and off the ground overshadow it. I just couldn't find a steady groove with this string anywhere but on serve, and there's much more to the game than that. I have a teammate who really likes it, though, and it's pretty cheap, so it's worth a try. For me, 7.75/10

Stringers 11-11-2012 03:50 PM

Just curious, but the Black Widow you said was stiffer than you liked, but volleys you said it was softer than most other polys you played with. Can you explain? Is it a soft or stiff poly? haha

Thanks!

kiteboard 11-11-2012 04:37 PM

Try poly star with msv hex 1.10mm as main.

colan5934 11-11-2012 09:27 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Stringers (Post 7009261)
Just curious, but the Black Widow you said was stiffer than you liked, but volleys you said it was softer than most other polys you played with. Can you explain? Is it a soft or stiff poly? haha

Thanks!

Let me clarify, it was too stiff for my liking before it broke in after the first hitting session. Then, the tension dropped and it was really soft. Kinda weird. I've had the same experience with other heavily shaped and/or twisted strings, though.

Stringers 11-12-2012 05:24 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by colan5934 (Post 7009967)
Let me clarify, it was too stiff for my liking before it broke in after the first hitting session. Then, the tension dropped and it was really soft. Kinda weird. I've had the same experience with other heavily shaped and/or twisted strings, though.

Ahh gotcha. Just wondering. Just recently put RPM Blast in my Volkl which was a little too firm for me, we'll see the next couple times I play with it. Hopefully it'll soften up some. If not I'll probably give either BW or BHB7 a go.

colan5934 11-14-2012 09:10 PM

I really like RPM Blast as a hybrid main at 55 pounds. I've used Xcel and NVy in the crosses, and it's great with either cross. The only problem is it looses its playability within about 3 or 4 hours, and the stringbed becomes really mushy. I'm not paying the premium price of RPM for only 4 hours of quality playing time. Just my take, though, you may find something different.

fortun8son 11-14-2012 10:22 PM

Good job, colan5934. Keep 'em coming!

Ross K 11-14-2012 10:28 PM

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COPEY 11-14-2012 10:31 PM

Very nice reviews, colan - well done! Interested to see if you prefer Classic over Polystar.

mikeler 11-15-2012 04:49 AM

Kudos for helping others select strings.

colan5934 11-15-2012 06:44 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by COPEY (Post 7017287)
Very nice reviews, colan - well done! Interested to see if you prefer Classic over Polystar.

I'm thinking that you mean Classic over Energy? I actually prefer Energy, although Classic is a nice string itself, and Classic reminded me of how much I really do like Energy. I've been meddling around in other strings since I ran out of my reel of Energy over a year ago, and I'm starting to think I should just go back to it. It's a solid reliable string.

colan5934 11-15-2012 06:57 PM

Genesis Twisted Razor 1.26

I strung this up last weekend at 53 pounds on my coach's lockout machine. Rackettune showed 52 immediately after stringing. 4 days later, it read 45.5 after 4 hours of hitting. This is only an initial impression.

Groundstrokes: Really quite nice. Plush, soft, and controlled. The twisted profile provides plenty of spin, and I really enjoy the feel at contact. It's just smooth and offers a little bit more forgiveness that some other polyester strings like 4G. Reminds me how much I liked Typhoon when I tried it when it first released.

Serves: Enjoyable. The plush control made me have to work to put pace and spin on the ball, but boy was I rewarded. Lines were hit many times, and I had some good hop on the kickers. I felt like I could really move my opponent around and set up my down-the-line forehand well, especially on the ad side. I got a few extra aces too.

Volleys: Once again, very nice. Good form is rewarded, and the plush stringbed's forgiveness was welcomed as well. Placement is good as is touch.

I cannot comment on durability yet, but after 3.5 hours, it's notching a bit. Nothing terrible, but it's not great either. This is likely due to the smaller diameter and twisted profile.

I'll post a full review once it breaks. I'm really liking it so far.


Final Review: Finally getting around to writing this. Been really busy lately with finals and other commitments that come with the holidays.

Groundstrokes: Solid. Like I said before, very plush feel here. Plenty of spin if you want it--not Blue Gear of Spiky Shark spin, but it's there. I felt like I never really hit a bad ball on the groundies. Control was adequate too. It just felt good. 9/10: a very well-rounded string off of the ground.

Serves: Once again, an enjoyable experience. Plenty of spin on kickers and slices. I could flatten it out big as well. I do think that serving is much more technique than string, but I definitely got some help here. 9/10

Volleys: Good form is rewarded. Forgiving stringbed led to a plush response and exceptional touch from a poly. Not natural gut by any means, but playable for a poly. 8/10

Durability: The only area that I wasn't too impressed in. I only got 5 hours out of this 16L string. It just sawed into itself. Not satisfying at all. Still better than a synthetic, I guess. 6/10

Overall: I really enjoyed this string. It just plays well in all aspects. I broke it too quickly to really test it, though. I'm interested to see if it loses its characteristics with time like many other polys. The edges had started to wear off a bit too, and the spin decreased near the end of the test. 8/10: Good offering from Genesis for the time that it lasted.

Ramon 11-16-2012 04:11 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by colan5934 (Post 7018930)
Genesis Thunderblast 1.26

I strung this up last weekend at 53 pounds on my coach's lockout machine. Rackettune showed 52 immediately after stringing. 4 days later, it read 45.5 after 4 hours of hitting. This is only an initial impression.

Groundstrokes: Really quite nice. Plush, soft, and controlled. The twisted profile provides plenty of spin, and I really enjoy the feel at contact. It's just smooth and offers a little bit more forgiveness that some other polyester strings like 4G. Reminds me how much I liked Typhoon when I tried it in high school.

Serves: Enjoyable. The plush control made me have to work to put pace and spin on the ball, but boy was I rewarded. Lines were hit many times, and I had some good hop on the kickers. I felt like I could really move my opponent around and set up my down-the-line forehand well, especially on the ad side. I got a few extra aces too.

Volleys: Once again, very nice. Good form is rewarded, and the plush stringbed's forgiveness was welcomed as well. Placement is good as is touch.

I cannot comment on durability yet, but after 3.5 hours, it's notching a bit. Nothing terrible, but it's not great either. This is likely due to the smaller diameter and twisted profile.

I'll post a full review once it breaks. I'm really liking it so far.

Isn't Thunderblast a synthetic multi? Are you sure it isn't something else?

COPEY 11-16-2012 07:23 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by colan5934 (Post 7018906)
I'm thinking that you mean Classic over Energy? I actually prefer Energy, although Classic is a nice string itself, and Classic reminded me of how much I really do like Energy. I've been meddling around in other strings since I ran out of my reel of Energy over a year ago, and I'm starting to think I should just go back to it. It's a solid reliable string.

Yes, I meant Energy. Sorry, was at work and rushing, so I made a hasty post. I like Energy myself, but never tried classic. I've still yet to try Strike and Turbo. I have 'em (along with a lot of other strings), but haven't quite got around to trying them.

colan5934 11-16-2012 09:15 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ramon (Post 7019402)
Isn't Thunderblast a synthetic multi? Are you sure it isn't something else?

Definitely a typo on my part. I meant Twisted Razor. I need to proofread my posts more thoroughly.

colan5934 01-02-2013 11:35 AM

Finally back on this.

6. Solinco Tour Bite 17 (1.20mm). TW strung this at 56 in my new racket. I did not measure it with rackettune throughout the life of the string.

Groundstrokes: So. Much. Spin. The thin gauge brings out even more spin from this string as compared to its thicker variations which aren't exactly slouches. I can hit hard with a lot of net clearance and the ball just drops like a stone. This caused some problems at first because I usually hit more of a flat trajectory with lower net clearance, so the ball would land short and bounce up sitting right in my opponents' strike zones, but once I started hitting higher, the balls were landing deep in the court with heavy spin. Good power here too. Fairly similar to ALU Power with less pop and much more accessible spin IMO. 10/10: The best string off the ground I've played with. Ever.

Volleys: Eh. Not the same euphoric experience as groundstrokes. Not a lot of touch. Spin is good on drop volleys, but feel isn't. I found that I had to punch the ball a bit more squarely than usual to get comparable depth to my regular string (Polystar Classic 1.30). It works, but it's nothing special, and I have to take extra care to keep my volleys placed deep in the court. It's almost discouraging me from net play and encouraging me to bash from the baseline. 5/10: Mediocre at best.

Serves: Back to the good qualities. TONS of spin on serve. Kickers were bouncing around opponents' shoulders. Slices bit like crazy. Flat serves were pretty nice too. I did find that if I didn't attack the ball with the intent of creating a lot of spin, though, that there was a tendency for it to sail. Just more motivation to stay on the gas I guess. 9/10: Really enjoyable. Good targeting and spin. Rewarding, especially when you really go for a big spin serve

Durability: Not bad for a 1.20mm diameter string. I got 7 hours out of it. Playability (read: stiffness and spin) stayed consistent through most of the test. At about the 6 hour mark, I noticed that the edges had worn a bit, but I still got plenty of spin. 8.5/10: Good durability and playability duration for a string of this diameter.

Overall: I really enjoyed this string. It reminds me why I played the 1.25mm version all of last year. It takes the power and spin of that diameter and amplifies them. There's a bit of control drop-off, but the extra spin takes care of that. Durability isn't exceptional or anything, but for the performance, it's acceptable. 9.25/10: I didn't average the scores from the four categories like I usually do simply because this is one of the best strings for my game, and I really enjoy it. True Average would have been 8.125/10

djNEiGht 01-02-2013 08:07 PM

Thanks for making the reviews constructed with a format. I take note of such reviews and it encourages me to bookmark a thread. Since you also play around the 50s for poly tension, it's got me interested as well.

Just my suggestion...

Make a table of contents in the 1st post with a link to the review you have made.


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