Solinco Barb Wire 16L / WC Mosquito Bite Black Death
This playtest was inspired by a post by TW University. They posted their newest string spin testing results, and found that the ratio of ball/string friction to string/string friction should be as high as possible. In other words: more ball bite, more string sliding. They found that Barb Wire gave the most ball bite, hence its choice as my main string. That meant that the only other choice for a cross was a smooth polyester. Any synthetic or natural gut would get chewed up by the textured main, and a textured poly, while likely giving an odd spin profile, does not make for predictable spin. Thus, I chose one of my all time favorite strings, which comes in a small gauge, is comfortable and is black like Barb Wire: WeissCANNON Mosquito Bite Black Death.
I HATE Barb Wire. It's so appropriately named that it defies belief. It is truly in the top 5 worst polys to string, and I really do mean that. If you've ever had trouble with BHBR, then you'll think that your former troubles were like stringing a syn gut. In comparison, I feel that Mosquito Bite is the easiest polyester to string that exists. It's so supple and since it's only 1.16mm, it just glides. If I had to rank my stringing ease for polys, it would be as follows:
1. WC Mosquito Bite
2. MSV Co Focus
3. WC Silverstring
I have only 1 hour on this setup, and if it has not broken in yet, then my goodness, am I in for a treat. I have yet to find a superior poly stringbed. Mosquito bite is the multifilament of the poly world, in my opinion. It gives great control, average spin, astounding comfort, but above all else, unparalleled feel. That coupled with Barb Wire's innate crispness and the heaviness that is produced by the stringbed and you've got a monster from the baseline. You can simply pick your swing to make the shot you want: high and deep, hard and heavy, short and low, etc. The string takes care of you. I've not found that before. If this continues as the strings age and settle, this will become my grail. Plus, in all black, it looks superbly humble and sinister.
Alas, I was right to not hold my breath. Barb Wire has completely changed. While it's still very usable off the ground, once it settled after about 2 hours (TOO LONG), it just feels like generic poly. The MB no longer shines through, and that was the only reason why this was good. Spin? Not anything near earth-shattering or even the other hybrids in here. After settling, I cannot see how this would be better than full Barb Wire.
Great here too, but since I use my serve heavily and I was not serving above 60% today, I can't give a valid assessment. Power is there, and spin is definitely there. So it's going to be a winner already.
Once again, Mosquito Bite's traits have vanished as the Barb Wire settled in. Pales in comparison to Mosquito Bite in full or hybrid, and Tour Bite for that matter.
Best poly setup at the net I've found yet. The directional control is simply superb. While the feel is not as high as Iontec, it is not far behind and overheads are superior.
Disappointing. The touch that Mosquito Bite gives is what you could feel before, and now that the Barb Wire is settled, you can't feel it anymore. In essence, you're volleying with a slightly softer baseliner's poly.
The second reason for choosing MB as the cross is because it's WeissCANNON. You can tow a trailer with the stuff and it won't lose tension. Solinco poly, however, doesn't have that same reputation. We'll have to see.
And here we come to the crux of the matter: longevity. The reason why this setup has gone downhill has nothing to do with notching or breakage. Rather, it's due to Barb Wire not being linear like most German polys (actually, if someone could tell me where Solinco is from, I'd appreciate it. Is it German?). So, after the few hour mark, this falls off the map. I'll go into detail below why that's unacceptable...or at the very least undesirable.
This is shaping up to be a great, great setup. If this holds, then I will purchase a reel of Mosquito Bite (I already have a reel of Barb Wire since some idiot posted the ad on the Bay in the memorabilia section and it went for a tasty price
). I am not holding my breath, having tested Cyclone only to be hugely disappointed. We'll have to see how it lasts and if it starts to notch. If anything, it shouldn't be broken in yet and it's already playing sensationally.
Barb Wire simply is not Solinco's best offering. What I alluded to above is the following: this setup exhibit's what I call Pro's Syndrome. What this is is the reason why so many professional players use RPM, Luxilon and natural gut crosses: they do not need their racquets to last for any period of time. As you all likely know, pros will either break strings quickly if using hybrids, switch racquets after a few games/a set or even just have them restrung if they haven't even been hit with. They'll use those frames on the practice court for an hour and then
send them off to be restrung.
Since recreational players do not have this flexibility (let alone money to have 6-8 frames of RPM Blast restrung every other day), it is exactly why in my extensive string list, I do not recommend Luxilon or RPM strings ever. I make more money, yes, but I want to be honest with my customers. If they're a higher level player but ignorant to strings, they'll come back dissatisfied because the strings simply went dead incredibly quickly. If they're a lower level player and ignorant about strings, I do not want them to risk injury since these "uber" strings the pros use go dead very quickly. My hybrid here works exactly the same way: this would get you through a match, and you'd think it was outstanding. Unfortunately, over the next hour or so, the performance changes so drastically that you're no longer playing with what you thought was amazing. That is unacceptable for a recreational player who does not restring every few hours. If you're a higher level player and you DO restring before each match, then go ahead and try it. For the majority of us 4.0 and 4.5s, look elsewhere. In the words of fellow TTW member kiteboard:
Originally Posted by kiteboard
I found that barb wire/alu was a damn good hybrid, with great feel and a loud pop sound, but the tens. loss was awful. Great for 1/2hr.