Mamba Supra Gut 17g / Discho Iontec Black 1.20mm
Whew. This is one of the "budget" guts, so as expected, stringing ease is not top of the charts. it's also inconsistent along its gauge. I measured it at an average of 1.32mm unstrung. The tips were honestly the hardest part to work with because they are hardened somehow (perhaps to make it easier to pass through grommets), but they're extra thick and are slightly flattened. I measured them at 1.59mm. You can see how thick the gut is in the image below:
As is expected with the more inexpensive natural guts, the coating does not help you string much. It is also very dry and stiff, which makes it extremely easy to kink and get caught. Manual prestretch recommended (which I did not do).
However, with that said, it is far easier than any of the other "inconsistent" guts out there. Iontec Black, on the other hand, is incredibly easy to string. The gut is so rough, however, that the crosses don't notch but instead don't slide easily into place while tensioning. This means that if you don't have the strings grid straight before you move on, by the end, you'll have an uneven stringbed. It's no Performaxx, but at the same time, is less expensive and doesn't claim to be anything but a budget gut. Strung 53/48lbs.
I really, really like this setup. It gives you what all natural gut main setups give you: extra chances. You can hit shots that you cannot hit with any other main string. Extremely low slices, low pick ups, effective squash shots, etc. Groundstrokes are also nice and solid, but the slice is the winner here. Slicing is so, so easy. Supra is not a high powered gut in the slightest. Slightly more lively than Performaxx, but not in the same league as the Babolat or Pacific guts. Spin is less than with Performaxx mains, which I attribute to the extremely thick gauge and extremely rough surface. While I must be honest in that I prefer Performaxx, this is easily the best of the "cheap" guts that I've tried. Iontec Black crosses with it perfectly.
Very easy power, and very easy spin. Still not quite up there with some of the other gut mains, but this is still pretty juicy. Flats work well, and seconds drop in easily. Also very easy to generate good angles because you've got extra spin at your disposal to help the ball get over the higher part of the net.
I tried Supra primarily because it is sheep gut. Having read that it provides the most amount of feel that you can get, I have to say that I was underwhelmed. There is not as much feel as VS or Pacific gut, and is similar to Performaxx in this regard. It does however, give a more gut-like feel than the Pmaxx in that it feels firm when you want it, but lets the ball sink when you want to take pace off. Volleys are straightforward, and I like that.
Although this is a thick gauge and I only hit for an hour, it's already starting to fray slightly. I have a sneaking suspicion that the Iontec will die right around the time that the gut breaks. Luckily, it doesn't seem like a gut that is going to break in the bag. That said, I wouldn't recommend leaving it in your trunk to test my theory.
This is a good, all around gut mains stringbed. While the gut itself is stiff and hard to work with, it's not impossible if you're patient. Would I choose to buy this over Performaxx? No, no contest. Iontec Black, however, is quite sensational. I am going to try using the other half set of the ITb with Pmaxx mains and will compare and contrast tomorrow. This should be interesting. In the mean time, a very nice setup from Mamba for very little money.