Join Date: Oct 2010
Gauge of playtest string - 16 gauge
Tension used for playtest - Cyclone Tour full bed at 57lbs
Regular string set up - Tourna Big Hitter Blue Rough 16g mains 17g cross
Racquet brand and model used for test - Pro Staff Tour 95
Power of test string - This is a very powerful co-poly. First day hitting I wasn't quite sure what to make of it, the string is very soft and springy but yet it grabs the ball nicely. I was afraid the shots I hit would sail out but somehow the spin was able to keep it in the court. Definitely takes a little getting used to, one needs to have a lot of confidence in their strokes to be willing to hit out with this. Occasionally there will be a flyer or two but if you're able to control that power, this setup can be addictive! The added power along with a high launch angle creates a very heavy ball that is difficult for the opponents to handle.
Feel - One word, springy. This is a love/hate relationship for me. I love it when the springy and powerful stringbed allows me to launch a super heavy ball and the opponent struggles to get it back. I hate it when I'm on defense, had to block a shot back and the ball sails on me when I barely touched it. I thought to myself how can anyone control this stuff if they don't use spin, they can't. Initially I thought the wording on the TW site was a bit strange "Volkl Cyclone Tour, a somewhat springy co-poly designed for big hitters," but that pretty much nailed it.
Spin - At the start I was a bit unsure what the Cyclone Tour was capable of, looking at all the texture and and twists I was expecting this to be a spin monster but that wasn't the case. In rallying I was getting good spin but not tremendous spin, it wasn't until I started to hit out and take full strokes that the spin potential was fully realized. Once full racquet speed was used, the ball launched, nose dived into the court then exploded toward the back fence, it was jaw dropping. I could not believe what I was seeing, I really didn't think such a springy, powerful string bed could be controlled but it did. There were streaks where I hit 20+ forehands at full speed and every single one of them dove into the court, then jumping in an unpredictable fashion. The only way I can explain this is when striking the ball with full force, the soft/springy string bed cradles the ball and the textured strings bite and launch it with tremendous spin and power behind it. I have to say this stuff is not for everyone, some will say no thanks at the first sign of springyness but for those that can find a way to control it, it could be a really fun ride!
Comfort - Needless to say the Cyclone Tour scored high in this category. I had the 16 gauge, strung it at 57lbs and this is one of the softest co-polys I have tried. I thought the comfort level was on par with Black Magic or maybe even more comfortable than BM for how soft and springy the string bed is. I really don't think anybody can hurt themselves with this string unless you are stringing it at 60lbs +, I am not a believer in stringing polys that high. If one likes the firmer feel, they can simply play with Babolat Revenge or Alu power. The impression this string had made on me is I can hit big with tremendous power and spin but at the same time its not going to shred my arm into pieces, what a wonderful concept! Win win situation, best of both worlds!
Durability - This is always one of my main concerns as I am a string breaker. At the end of the 3rd hit session the strings are starting to move a bit, there are some notching but I expect to be able to get another 3 sessions out of it before breakage. The initial playability of the string with the textures and sharp edges only lasted one session and it wore off quickly like everyone says. Midway through the 3rd session there was a huge tension drop and the springiness got springier. At nine dollars a pop and $140 per reel, it is a bit difficult for me to pull the trigger since I break strings about once a week. To me the more realistic price point has to be $100 or less per reel, competition is stiff out there.
Playability Duration (share thoughts on if/how the playability changed over time) - Playability at the start is tremendous, the strings are sharp, the texture is there, the string bed cradles and bites the ball nicely and has a certain amount of crispness to it surprisingly. Couple hours into it, the texture is eroding, string bed is very lively, the bite is still there although not as sharp as earlier. In the 2nd session I thought the string maintained its playability quite nicely, nothing really changed much after the initial drop off. It maintained that consistency until midway through the 3rd session that's when I experienced a major tension drop and control is starting to suffer. I am still hitting the ball fine but in the back of my mind I am always thinking when is that flyer going to come. In match situation I may have to switch to a new string bed.
Control (predictable trajectory? performance on different strokes and swing speeds?) - Control was good as long as I have enough racquet speed going through my shots but in certain defensive situations where I have to block the ball back then it becomes a challenge. I find it very difficult after hitting full strokes then have to hit a touch shot and control the depth with this setup, that's the downside of a powerful setup. Other than that, I thought the control was very good for something this powerful. In my opinion, the more powerful the setup, the more difficult it is to get that pinpoint accuracy for the simple reason that so much more action could be put on the ball. To me, this string performed more than satisfactory in this area but I'm sure there will be others that disagree.
Tension recommendations (after hitting it, would you recommend a different tension? Why?) - For big hitters or people that like it a bit firmer they may want to string this up 2 or 3lbs higher than their usual co-poly but for me I'm going to stay at my usual 57lbs. The thinking behind that is this string is designed to be soft, springy, powerful. If I take it up to 60lbs +, it'll bring a lot more control back into play but at the same time it takes the "fun" qualities of the string out. Bottom line is if I want a control oriented string, there are plenty of those out on the market.
Compare to the string you use most often - Bhbr is a control string compared to the Cyclone Tour, they are both powerful strings but CT is in a class of its own. It is the most powerful co-poly I have used. In the spin department, I'd say they're about equal but its a different kind of spin. With the added power, pocketing and spin, CT's trajectory and flight path allowed me to do things other strings cannot. The one thing that keeps coming to mind is the control issue, while the majority of the time I am able to tame the power of the CT but there is that one shot under pressure where it can fly have me second guessing if this string is ready for competitive match play. Overall, I'd say one has to take the good along with the bad, I'm curious how CT holds up in the summer heat but at the moment it is definitely a good winter blend.
If you have played with the original Cyclone, please compare - Have not played with the original Cyclone
Summary - Overall I thought this was one of the more fun playtest I've had, there were many other ones where I was hoping to get it over with quickly. Sad to say but there are times where some of the manufacturers were putting out strings that they should not be, *ahem I won't say who.
The Volkl Cyclone Tour is definitely worth further investigating, it has unique attributes which I don't see many others have. In a way CT is allowing players to experience co-poly at low tension without physically going to that tension. The recent trend on the boards have players stringing polys in the 30's or 40's, in a way this is what the CT feels like but with added power and maybe slightly more firmness and crispness to that.
I never thought I could associate pocketing with co-poly strings but this is exactly what the Cyclone Tour has done. The soft characteristics allowed the ball to be more easily pocketed and effectively gives it more spin to control the shots, to me the extra spin seems not to be coming from the texture or the material of the string with but rather from the pocketing effect. I've tried low tension before and was a none believer but this playtest leaves me thinking I should explore that a bit further. I will be dropping tension wth BHBR from 57 to 52, 50, 48, 45 to see if I can create the same effect.
The CT is definitely something I would like to have in my bag for days when I just want something fun to hit with. I am really curious how other players will react to its unique characteristics by changing their setup to this. Unfortunately at $140 per reel I will not be taking that risk. I would have pulled the trigger if it was $100 or below, how about a promotion like what Kirschbaum did with the Super Smash so we can explore it a bit more?
Thanks TW for letting me playtest this string, it was a really fun ride~