|12-10-2012, 08:27 AM||#1|
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Join Date: Oct 2010
VS Touch / Outlast 16 Hybrid: Excellent!
I believe that my search for a poly cross for my new Pure Storm GTs has ended.
I've tried many poly crosses in different frames. Some crosses were dogs no matter what. Most did better or worse depending on the frame. For example, I feel that certain, soft MSV products really shine in dense string beds. Meanwhile I love 4G in open string beds, especially with more powerful frames. PHT seems like a good all around workhorse as a cross.
This morning I hit again with my PSGT strung with VS Touch/Outlast 16 at 55/51. The strings have settled in nicely after a few hitting sessions and some serve practice. I feared they might become springy but no, they remain very precise.
COMFORT: always crucial for me, I have no issues with this setup. The sweet spot feels big and mishits are not jarring.
SPIN: the strongest feature of this setup. absolutely among the best I've tested. serving is great fun since it's so easy to serve hard and keep the serve in with spin.
POWER: I was worried that, given its low stiffness value, Outlast might prove too powerful as a cross for gut. at least in the lower powered PSGT this hasn't been an issue. It provides some welcome pop while remaining controllable, especially with its high spin potential. I was able to flatten out my one handed backhand without fear of hitting long which is a key indicator for me when testing a string bed.
CONTROL: Again, with its low stiffness value from the TWU lab, I was worried Outlast wouldn't provide enough control. IMO consistency and precision is more important than trying to blast opponents off the court with power at low-mid levels. I really enjoyed touch shots with this setup. I also have a favorite play that I use to evaluate setups for control: kick serve out wide from Ad court followed by a flat backhand down the line as the opponent scrambles back to position. I was able to pull this off with consistency and confidence using this setup.
I also have several observations or tests that I use to evaluate how a string might perform.
BEND AND DENT: bend the string and then try to straighten it. Strings which resist bending, which don't crumple or deform when bent, and which can be straightened with little or no visible damage make excellent crosses for gut mains, especially over time. Outlast 16 passed this test perfectly and sure enough, after several hitting sessions, the string bed remains "dent free" as far as the crosses go. This allows the mains to move freely instead of getting stuck in dents or being slowed by surface dimples when the string crumples. For example, 4G and many other Luxilon polys crumple badly after repeated hitting. 4G does this the least of the Luxilon polys but it does it more than Outlast.
TENSION LOSS: I've not measured the string bed using an ERT meter (my friend has one) but since the SB remains very controllable it probably hasn't dropped tension too much. According to TWU data tension loss is comparable to most polys (low 20s) but I've found there's more to long term playability than this number alone. Some polys seem to become more springy over time. Others feel sort of dead. Outlast seems to be in between which is welcome.
I have another PSGT inbound from TW and intend to string that with VS/Outlast but I might bump up the cross tension a few pounds. One feature of 4G that I love is its amazing control. At 51# as a cross Outlast doesn't present control problems when hitting with spin but I'd like a little less power for flat shots. So my first tweak will be to up the tension. Second will be to dump some mass from 12 but I don't think that will be needed.
One of my other criteria when testing a stringbed is sort of brutal but also useful: can I bagel my wife! What I mean by that: she's VERY consistent, very experienced, doesn't make many errors (never double faults), and doesn't hit with much pace. She's like a nightmare version of a pusher and almost never appears rattled. She also has annoying habits that get to me (very slow on serve, will stop play to pick up balls against the fence, etc...I think she does these things to me on purpose!)
Anyway, to beat her you first must NOT beat yourself. You have to play smart and with discipline. For 3.0/3.5 that means consistency and precision and using uber power topspin winners ONLY on the right balls. When I lack confidence in a setup or spray balls a wee bit too much I can't bagel her. I'll make too many UEs. She has played for many years and will steadily wear you down. She's the tortoise to my hare! But if a setup instills confidence in me and I feel like I can pull off touch shots AND attack opportunity balls without hitting long then I know I have a winning setup. This VS/Outlast setup is definitely in that category. I know that because I was able to bagel her and get under he skin. When she gets angry and exclaims about "not being able to get into a point" then I know my setup is good.
2x BLX 6.1 Pro Staff 95: 12 oz., 8 pts. HL, SW 325
VS Touch Black/Focus Hex 1.23 @ 58/54
Last edited by TimothyO : 12-10-2012 at 08:39 AM.