Anything on Clash or Phantom with Kev/Zyex?

I am putting this thread here in the Racket section and hoping to get some info, thoughts, experiences from folks who have used the Clash 100 and/or the Phantom X (16 x 18) ideally with Kevlar/Zyex. (I first put it in the String section, but my inquiry is more racket-related.... I just happen to use a unique string setup, so I posted it in Strings first.)

Ok so as a spinmeister type who’s used this string setup for more than 3 years and still believes in its remarkable ability to accentuate spin (for nonpoly/copoly users due to arm issues), offer good control, and excellent durability (esp. for big hitting string breaker types), I just wanted to update followers of this thread on my “equipment suitability journey” as well as to ask for advice, recommendations, experience with this setup and how it tends to play in various rackets and string patterns. (USPTACoachoftheyear, please resist the temptation to weigh in here and bestow your disingenuous and close-minded warnings upon us. Really though. No one cares.)

So I’ve extensively used the (ported old Ferrer stick) Prince Exo Tour 100 (16 x 18) and the much lighter (although I added weight) Prince Tour 100 ESP (16 x 16) with this high differential setup.

It’s been said by some here—mainly Travlerjam (I think), Shroud, Greycreit, and maybe others- that the this Kevlar/Zyex high differential setup works best with string patterns that are not more open than, say, 16 x 18. IOW, sticks with patterns of 16 x 18, 16 x 19, 18 x 20, etc. with this setup tend to offer a more predictable launch angle than the ESP’s, and the ESP sticks like the 16 x 16, 14 x 18, etc. can have some undesirable inconsistencies in launch angle. I have seen this to be the case to some extent.

Does anyone else who uses this string setup have any opinion on this? I suspect that the ESP’s offer more spin potential simply on account of the open string pattern and may not need any further equipment-related bolstering effect like Kevlar/Zyex.

When I switched to the Exo Tour 16 x 18 from the Tour 100 ESP (16 x 16), I was amazed at the difference/improvement in
directional control (with a slightly lower launch angle as well) WITHOUT much loss of spin at all!

Now full disclosure I have whippy strokes and get a ton of top by virtue of my stroke production, but it was awesome how I didn’t lose any spin with the Tour 100 (16 x 18). So I went with it for a year or so and was hitting great overall (although the serve definitely lost pace, as many here have corroborated).

As I get a tad older and realistically have less of a life arm than 5-10 years ago, I feel that whipping this Tour 100 (16 x 18) is not as easy as it needs to be to keep up my RHS. It just doesn’t swing fast through the air compared to some IMO. My serve with it also suffers since I can’t get huge slice or kick (I’m a lefty, so spin is the name of the game on my serve too 75% of the time). The Exo Tour 16 x 18 is stable and super comfy, but for me is a little unwieldy and hard to really whip around and swing through the air. (Keep in mind that I used an APD for years.)
It’s total static weight when I used it was 11.67 oz.

So I’m thinking that I may need/crave the directional control of a 16 x 18 or 16 x 19 pattern in this setup and may need to consider some other lighter but stable sticks. Between 10 & 10.6 oz. unstrung would be within my range. (By the way, I realize I could have put this in “Rackets” category but since I use Kev/Zyex, which is unique, I put it here.)

Does anyone have any knowledge of how this setup plays with the Clash or the Phantom 100X (290 grams)? I like the ports but I may have to experiment with the Clash and the Phantom 100X.

The Phantom 100X (16 x 18) (290 oz.) seems like a great candidate (even tho it’s not ported) bc being so light, I could add weight to where I need it. The Clash is also considered to be a very stable racket considering how light it is and it’s 16 x 19, so the directional control should be great too...and both sticks are supposed be super comfy...

Any thoughts? Thanks.

Quote Reply
Report •••
 

PT280 Fan

Semi-Pro
I too am a fan of the Kevlar /ZX hybrid but not the high differential. The fact that it's deforming your hoop is a clear indication that it's also accelerating the deterioration of your frame IMO. I string the kevlar mains 9 lbs lighter than the Zx crosses and get all the top I want or need - control is the name of the game in my book. Never had any kind of arm issues either with my PT280s or with my latest acquisitions and I'm a big hitting senior that plays five times a week during the summer months (school teacher).

My latest acquisitions are two non-ported Beast 98's and I gotta say that this string combination is an even better match for this frame than my PT280s because it tames some of that free power I get. The racquet is still plenty lively though and gives me a feel I can only equate to gut. I have Klip gut in the mains of two of my PT280s but feel it would be too lively in the Beast.
 
PT280,
“I string the kevlar mains 9 lbs lighter than the Zx crosses and get all the top I want or need - control is the name of the game in my book.”

I’m assuming you mean 9 lbs. tighter? Lighter might be another way to say looser... who knows? If you string it about 9lbs. tighter, you wouldn’t be alone. Others do the same and swear by it. Maybe I’ll try about a 10 lb. differential.

The Beast sticks seem close to what I’d want but are a tad stiff for me, as I’ve had some pretty bad TE (not lately). That’s why I love the Exo Tour 100 16 x 18, but it’s a bit too cumbersome to whip around like I like and need to...

That’s why I was considering and asking about Prince Phantom X and possibly Clash (non Tour). Phantom X (290g) is 10.23 oz. unstrung. With string, OG, rubber band damps, it would be about 10.9 before I any weighting mods, which won’t be too much—just about 4 or 5 grams at 12 and maybe some above the handle or a small amount in buttcap.
 

PT280 Fan

Semi-Pro
No I meant 9lbs looser than the Zyex crosses. Zyex loses tension over time, Kevlar doesn't. On the Beast I strung the Kevlar at 46 and the Zyex at 55. Sounds like you know what you want and how to achieve it. I just weighed in to say that the Kev/Zx crossfire is a good match for the Prince Beast and assuming it would be for the Phantom - no arm distress whatsoever. As plush as the PT280s I'd say. RA is only 64 on this model.

PS Don't your Zyex crosses move a lot at that low tension?
 
Oh ok. No, my zyex crosses don’t move too badly. I do thoroughly prestretch both, so the zyex holds tension better than without a prestretch.
Hmmm... I’m sold on the idea of Kev/zyex sliding into each other, keeping the string bed “unlocked,” and not eating into each other and promoting nice spin.

Maybe I’ll mess around with tensioning...
 
Kevlar doesn’t really even react to tensioning much, it seems... Oh and the 64RA ain’t bad at all, but I need a friggin’ noodle for my elbow lol, so I’m staying in the 50s, hence why I use the Tour and Tour esp atm and am considering/gonna demo the Phantom X and Clash.
 

travlerajm

G.O.A.T.
Oh ok. No, my zyex crosses don’t move too badly. I do thoroughly prestretch both, so the zyex holds tension better than without a prestretch.
Hmmm... I’m sold on the idea of Kev/zyex sliding into each other, keeping the string bed “unlocked,” and not eating into each other and promoting nice spin.

Maybe I’ll mess around with tensioning...
The main reason I was using such large tension difference in the past was to compensate for the large initial tension loss of the kevlar during the break-in period. I’ve since improved my prestretch method for the kevlar (pounding on the mains with my fist while pulling on ends with drop weight before tie-off). This seems to lessen the need for such big tension differential. Also, using 16g kevlar instead of thinner also helps.
 
Oh ok, I do the manual prestretch method and don’t know how to string so maybe I’ll just try to keep thoroughly prestretching it and for tensioning a 16 x 18 100 sq. in. frame, what would you recommend? How ‘bout the Clash, which is 16 x 19? (Realizing that all grommets are not uniformly positioned.

TravelerJ, what would your sense be on lower tension for Kev mains as in ie. 46 kev mains/56 zyex xx’s?
 

travlerajm

G.O.A.T.
Oh ok, I do the manual prestretch method and don’t know how to string so maybe I’ll just try to keep thoroughly prestretching it and for tensioning a 16 x 18 100 sq. in. frame, what would you recommend? How ‘bout the Clash, which is 16 x 19? (Realizing that all grommets are not uniformly positioned.

TravelerJ, what would your sense be on lower tension for Kev mains as in ie. 46 kev mains/56 zyex xx’s?
The higher the ratio of main/cross tension, the more it will favor freedom for the mains to slide and snapback. At most stringbed stiffnesses, this has the benefit of increased spin potential, but depending on the overall stiffness, it can have the downside of increased launch angle, which may or may not compromise your control.

I generally prefer having my stringbed tighter and firmer than most, because having good control on volleys is paramount importance to me.
 
Thanks for all this feedback! Travelerjam, this all makes sense to me, but I just have one question before I throw caution to the wind and start experimenting with tensions (as a non-stringer, which will be somewhat costly).

How would stringbed be affected if Kev mains were like 52and Zyex crosses, like 62 as opposed to the more conventional way of mains tighter than crosses? Input is supremely appreciated
 
What is the difference between using Kevlar with Zyex, and Kevlar with synthetic gut. I have been using Prince Problend for the last 15 years. I have a Prince Phantom 100 ports, which is like a pillow. But I have recently gone back to the original Prince O3.
 

PT280 Fan

Semi-Pro
Thanks for all this feedback! Travelerjam, this all makes sense to me, but I just have one question before I throw caution to the wind and start experimenting with tensions (as a non-stringer, which will be somewhat costly).

How would stringbed be affected if Kev mains were like 52and Zyex crosses, like 62 as opposed to the more conventional way of mains tighter than crosses? Input is supremely appreciated
Okay so if we go back to the evolution of the original Kev/Zx thread and particularly the emergence of the poster Shroud, we can begin to see how the large differential with the tight kevlar mains and loose Zx crosses was born and then became conventional thinking on the subject. Prior to that development however, it was more accepted to string the kevlar 8-10 lbs looser than normal to account for the string's unparalleled stiffness and jarring impact. It took me a minute to realize that the only reason that stringing the kevlar mains at hyper tension worked was because the frame was being deformed (and compromised) to account for the added stress. This has the effect of making the hoop less stiff and more malleable making it more arm friendly, but also of deteriorating the frame and lessening the life of the racquet. (People even talk about how their hoop changes shape and racquet loses length. So there's that.

The other thing to mention is that I'm traditionally a champion's choice style of player like a Federrer or a Djokovic -in approach to the game. Two of the racquets in my bag have Klip mains and synthetic crosses. I'm a player that values control over the generation of massive spin, such as a Nadal. With the lower tensioned Kevlar in the mains and the higher tensioned Zx in the crosses, I achieve a feel very similar to a champion's choice with the gut strung a few lbs tighter than the Luxilon crosses. I still get plenty of spin when I want it - top spin lob or drop shot, but the racquet has a more organic feel that I control - if you get my meaning. Ultimately, I guess it all comes down to style of play and what works best for you.
 
Last edited:

PT280 Fan

Semi-Pro
What is the difference between using Kevlar with Zyex, and Kevlar with synthetic gut. I have been using Prince Problend for the last 15 years. I have a Prince Phantom 100 ports, which is like a pillow. But I have recently gone back to the original Prince O3.
Zyex or monogut is a more lively, more arm-friendly string than synthetic gut. I've never played a full of it but do appreciate it's properties paired with kevlar in the mains.
 

travlerajm

G.O.A.T.
Thanks for all this feedback! Travelerjam, this all makes sense to me, but I just have one question before I throw caution to the wind and start experimenting with tensions (as a non-stringer, which will be somewhat costly).

How would stringbed be affected if Kev mains were like 52and Zyex crosses, like 62 as opposed to the more conventional way of mains tighter than crosses? Input is supremely appreciated
If you are talking about 10 lbs or less, the effect is not that significant, because most of the 10 lb difference will relax and when the hoop shortens by a couple of mm, leaving only a ~2-lb residual actual difference. You may notice a slight increase in spin and launch angle with the differential compared to without.

I do find that the snapback effect is preserved longer by stringing mains tighter (that is what led me to stringing at huge differentials in the past). Another thing to keep aware of (with any hybrid where the mains and crosses might lose tension or relax at different rates) is that the shape of the hoop can drift as the stringbed wears. This can affect swingweight and the timing of your swing. I’m not currently stringing my kevlar/poly hybrid with a differential (as I discovered that for my game, it is more valuable to maximize control of the launch angle than to maximize spin), but I prestretch the heck out of it, with the aim to have very stable stringbed properties and stable swingweight as the stringbed wears.

Kevlar/poly is not necessarily better than kevlar/zx, but it is cheaper.
 
Top