Ashaway Crossfire Hybrids

#1
First and foremost, my goal was to find a reasonably priced string, maintains tension long enough that the only thing for me to worry about is when the string breaks (low maintenance) and I suppose along the same lines durability. Spin is important but secondary to me meaning if it gives me good spin then great but most importantly, I am looking for a consistent stringbed throughout its lifespan until it breaks. That eliminates most strings such as Natural Gut (price), Poly (terrible tension loss) and Multifilament (frays too quickly).

That leaves me with not many strings besides Kevlar and Syn Gut. So I scoured the forums and came across Travlerajm's post on ESP which advocates a hybrid of Kevlar/ZX at a tension differential with the mains tighter than the crosses. I have a few questions and I was hoping perhaps a few of the notable posters on this topic such as Shroud and Grayincat could also perhaps share their expertise on this.

1. From my part of the world, I only have access to Ashaway Crossfire II (or the 17/18 gauge) and not the ZX hybrid. How would a Syn Gut as opposed to a ZX in the crosses change the stringbed? My initial impressions from reading the forums is that the ZX is a slippery cross which provides more spin compared to the Syn Gut which would lock the string bed somewhat and would provide a more dead feel. In simple terms, how would a Kevlar/ZX differ from a Kevlar/Syn Gut and would a Crossfire II be a suitable option for me given my goals from a stringbed.

2. Secondly, tension differential. I have seen alot of people on the forums advocating a tension differential, some advocating stringing mains tighter than crosses and vice versa. My question is, what would you suggest me to do tension wise when stringing my racquet?

3. Assuming I do intend to go for a tension differential, I cannot envisage myself stringing at a differential of more than 3 due to the potential effects of my frame and also the fact that no stringers that I have asked thus far is willing to go more than a 5lbs differential between the mains and the crosses. So assuming that I do go for a tension differential, is it a wise thing for me to for example string a Kevlar/Syn Gut at 57/54, not pre stretch them and let it lose tension so it maintains the differential (due to the Kevlar having the big initial tension loss) or should I pre stretch them anyway? My concern is if I pre stretch the Syn Gut, the Kevlar will have a big initial tension loss regardless so the crosses will be much tighter than the mains.

Sorry for the long post :(

Thanks!
 

graycrait

Hall of Fame
#2
I have tried to prestretch syngut (nylon) of various brands and that seems like a fools errand. The syngut retains nearly all its original length once tension is released. You might get an inch out of Ashaway Kevlar.

The Crossfire hybrid you are talking about is composed of Ashaway Kevlar Plus+ and an Ashaway syngut. Kevlar Plus+ is a mix of Kevlar and polymid fibers and I find that it doesn't play like plain Ashaway Kevlar. Kevlar Plus+ does play better than other "coated" Aramids you can buy IMHO.

If you can get some Zyex Pro (17gauge) and plain Ashaway Kevlar I don't think you really need to prestretch either to get a decent playing stringbed that should last weeks, maybe months. I do prestretch both probably for superstition sake as much as anything. I string Ash Kev x Zyex Pro in a hard hitting 28 yr old 5.0's Head 98" 18x20 rackets 62/62 with no prestretch and he beats the crap out of all of us around here regardless of what string/racket or tension the rest of us use. However, he might be able to beat us with steel cable strung in his racket.

I use a variety of rackets depending on my mood and who I am hitting against. 115" 27.75" 11.6oz Head Ti6 I use 75/59. In 100" Prince
Classic Graphite 11.5oz 100 16x18 I use 68/59lbs and in 12oz Wilson 6.1 BLX I use 65/59lbs. I string Kevlar x Zyex in 3 other peoples rackets, all 100" 16x19 at 62/59lbs.
 
#3
I have tried to prestretch syngut (nylon) of various brands and that seems like a fools errand. The syngut retains nearly all its original length once tension is released. You might get an inch out of Ashaway Kevlar.

The Crossfire hybrid you are talking about is composed of Ashaway Kevlar Plus+ and an Ashaway syngut. Kevlar Plus+ is a mix of Kevlar and polymid fibers and I find that it doesn't play like plain Ashaway Kevlar. Kevlar Plus+ does play better than other "coated" Aramids you can buy IMHO.

If you can get some Zyex Pro (17gauge) and plain Ashaway Kevlar I don't think you really need to prestretch either to get a decent playing stringbed that should last weeks, maybe months. I do prestretch both probably for superstition sake as much as anything. I string Ash Kev x Zyex Pro in a hard hitting 28 yr old 5.0's Head 98" 18x20 rackets 62/62 with no prestretch and he beats the crap out of all of us around here regardless of what string/racket or tension the rest of us use. However, he might be able to beat us with steel cable strung in his racket.

I use a variety of rackets depending on my mood and who I am hitting against. 115" 27.75" 11.6oz Head Ti6 I use 75/59. In 100" Prince
Classic Graphite 11.5oz 100 16x18 I use 68/59lbs and in 12oz Wilson 6.1 BLX I use 65/59lbs. I string Kevlar x Zyex in 3 other peoples rackets, all 100" 16x19 at 62/59lbs.
I dont think the crossfire 2 is kevlar +. Its regular old kevlar like it has always been afaik

http://www.tennis-warehouse.com/Ashaway_Crossfire_II_16_Kevlar_String/descpageACASH-XFIRE2.html
 

graycrait

Hall of Fame
#4
Oh hell! I'll just buy a set of every Ashaway "Kevlar" hybrid set and write reviews. I've frittered away a ton of money on strings, might as well state facts as opposed to guesses.
 
#8
First and foremost, my goal was to find a reasonably priced string, maintains tension long enough that the only thing for me to worry about is when the string breaks (low maintenance) and I suppose along the same lines durability. Spin is important but secondary to me meaning if it gives me good spin then great but most importantly, I am looking for a consistent stringbed throughout its lifespan until it breaks. That eliminates most strings such as Natural Gut (price), Poly (terrible tension loss) and Multifilament (frays too quickly).

That leaves me with not many strings besides Kevlar and Syn Gut. So I scoured the forums and came across Travlerajm's post on ESP which advocates a hybrid of Kevlar/ZX at a tension differential with the mains tighter than the crosses. I have a few questions and I was hoping perhaps a few of the notable posters on this topic such as Shroud and Grayincat could also perhaps share their expertise on this.

1. From my part of the world, I only have access to Ashaway Crossfire II (or the 17/18 gauge) and not the ZX hybrid. How would a Syn Gut as opposed to a ZX in the crosses change the stringbed? My initial impressions from reading the forums is that the ZX is a slippery cross which provides more spin compared to the Syn Gut which would lock the string bed somewhat and would provide a more dead feel. In simple terms, how would a Kevlar/ZX differ from a Kevlar/Syn Gut and would a Crossfire II be a suitable option for me given my goals from a stringbed.

2. Secondly, tension differential. I have seen alot of people on the forums advocating a tension differential, some advocating stringing mains tighter than crosses and vice versa. My question is, what would you suggest me to do tension wise when stringing my racquet?

3. Assuming I do intend to go for a tension differential, I cannot envisage myself stringing at a differential of more than 3 due to the potential effects of my frame and also the fact that no stringers that I have asked thus far is willing to go more than a 5lbs differential between the mains and the crosses. So assuming that I do go for a tension differential, is it a wise thing for me to for example string a Kevlar/Syn Gut at 57/54, not pre stretch them and let it lose tension so it maintains the differential (due to the Kevlar having the big initial tension loss) or should I pre stretch them anyway? My concern is if I pre stretch the Syn Gut, the Kevlar will have a big initial tension loss regardless so the crosses will be much tighter than the mains.

Sorry for the long post :(

Thanks!
1. Its ok. Zx as you mention allows snapback. Syngut doesnt. With zx the mains break, with syngut the crosses break. Spin is not as much as with zx, but there is some and the launch angle is lower with a locked bed. Think zx is even softer than syngut. Imho both are good with zx being spinnier and more arm friendly. Tension maintenance goes to the kev/zx

2.do what is comfy. I have done up to 50 iirc and zero issues. I also string at 86/86 with no issues. Start as something like 10lbs if you like.

3.big believer in prestretching and always do it. Always on all kind of strings. If you can minimize tension loss why not??? Anyhow re the stringers. I had a machine 25+ years ago and cracked all kind of racquets. I had racquets professionally strung and cracked all kind of racquets, friends cracked all kind of racquets. And there were no anger issues involved. Racquets cracked 20+ years ago and sometimes on the machine! Anyhow any stringer worth his salt was around back then or trained with someone who was and now they are afraid. Its even a proffesional mark of a good string job that the racquet is the same length, etc. and people being people they get something in their head and dont change. Respected posters here think kevlar destroys frames and stringers think a 5lb differential will destroy a frame.

But frames today are much tougher than they used to be and its hysterical to me that the same stringers who warn you are right now stringing gut/poly! Gut which has the best tension maintenance and poly crosses which has the worst! You dont think frames strung that way shorten and essentially have a tension differential???

That said i myself if stringing for someone else might hesitate if it was not a wilson, prince, dunlop or technifiber frame---just because i know from experience they are fine. Maybe heads and babalots will explode but i am doubtful myself that they are any different
 
#10
Between your (Shroud) and TJ suggestions I will have tried nearly every Ash Kev combo possible. I hope my new "illegal" Ti S7 with Kev x Zyex can allow me to beat the masses.
 
Last edited:
#11
1. Its ok. Zx as you mention allows snapback. Syngut doesnt. With zx the mains break, with syngut the crosses break. Spin is not as much as with zx, but there is some and the launch angle is lower with a locked bed. Think zx is even softer than syngut. Imho both are good with zx being spinnier and more arm friendly. Tension maintenance goes to the kev/zx

2.do what is comfy. I have done up to 50 iirc and zero issues. I also string at 86/86 with no issues. Start as something like 10lbs if you like.

3.big believer in prestretching and always do it. Always on all kind of strings. If you can minimize tension loss why not??? Anyhow re the stringers. I had a machine 25+ years ago and cracked all kind of racquets. I had racquets professionally strung and cracked all kind of racquets, friends cracked all kind of racquets. And there were no anger issues involved. Racquets cracked 20+ years ago and sometimes on the machine! Anyhow any stringer worth his salt was around back then or trained with someone who was and now they are afraid. Its even a proffesional mark of a good string job that the racquet is the same length, etc. and people being people they get something in their head and dont change. Respected posters here think kevlar destroys frames and stringers think a 5lb differential will destroy a frame.

But frames today are much tougher than they used to be and its hysterical to me that the same stringers who warn you are right now stringing gut/poly! Gut which has the best tension maintenance and poly crosses which has the worst! You dont think frames strung that way shorten and essentially have a tension differential???

That said i myself if stringing for someone else might hesitate if it was not a wilson, prince, dunlop or technifiber frame---just because i know from experience they are fine. Maybe heads and babalots will explode but i am doubtful myself that they are any different
1 & 2. When you say Zx allows snapback, is it because of the tension differential you string at eg: 60/40 or is it because of the ZX? What happens when you string Kevlar/ZX at 50/50 for example? Or the crosses tighter than the mains? May I also ask the purpose in stringing at 86/86?

3. I use the new Babolat Pure Strike 16 x 19. The reason and premise for me not pre stretching is so the tension in the crosses still end up lower than the mains because of its tension loss so I still get that differential after the break in as opposed to me stringing it as such to begin with.
 
#12
1 & 2. When you say Zx allows snapback, is it because of the tension differential you string at eg: 60/40 or is it because of the ZX? What happens when you string Kevlar/ZX at 50/50 for example? Or the crosses tighter than the mains? May I also ask the purpose in stringing at 86/86?

3. I use the new Babolat Pure Strike 16 x 19. The reason and premise for me not pre stretching is so the tension in the crosses still end up lower than the mains because of its tension loss so I still get that differential after the break in as opposed to me stringing it as such to begin with.
1. Both. Zx is smooth and will allow snapback with or without the differential. The differential makes it easier for the mains to move so less friction more snapback. 86/86 is simply cause i cant keep the ball in at anything less. Its my high sw, stiff frames and desire to hit the ball. So normal tensions and i launch. Probably bad technique but even technique changes havent fixed it.

Only reason i do poly crosses now is that zx cant go higher than say 65lbs
 
#13
I would imagine Kevlar/Syn Gut lasts a pretty long time too? Im thinking of stringing at 57/54 pre stretching the Kevlar and not pre stretching the Syn Gut so there is an effective differential
 
#15
Has anyone strung Kevlar/rpm team by any chance? On theory it should work


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In theory it would be great. But if you are new to kevlar it may be too stiff. Maybe a soft poly would be a better start? But if you like stiff i bet it rocks
 
#16
So I just strung a Crossfire II in my racquet and noticed that the Kevlar although brand new is fraying slightly, is that normal? I strung it at 57/55
 
#17
So I just strung a Crossfire II in my racquet and noticed that the Kevlar although brand new is fraying slightly, is that normal? I strung it at 57/55
Don't worry about the fraying, its normal with Ashaway Kevlar.

What I still find fascinating is to see how the Ashaway Kevlar saws itself until it breaks against Zyex and the Zyex looks just fine.

I am going to string a Crossfire 18 set (18g Kevlar x 16g Syn gut) just to see what happens with that pairing over time. 2 things I am interested in seeing: if the string bed locks up and if so how quickly and which string breaks first. (At 62 and 5'10" I'm not generating enough power to "prematurely" break strings like some better bigger younger fellas I know of so any string breakage I generally see is over time or when I get the clippers out.)
 
#18
Don't worry about the fraying, its normal with Ashaway Kevlar.

What I still find fascinating is to see how the Ashaway Kevlar saws itself until it breaks against Zyex and the Zyex looks just fine.

I am going to string a Crossfire 18 set (18g Kevlar x 16g Syn gut) just to see what happens with that pairing over time. 2 things I am interested in seeing: if the string bed locks up and if so how quickly and which string breaks first. (At 62 and 5'10" I'm not generating enough power to "prematurely" break strings like some better bigger younger fellas I know of so any string breakage I generally see is over time or when I get the clippers out.)
I have a 16g Kevlar and 16g Syn Gut, will update as well. How would you know when the string bed "locks up"?
 
#20
I have a 16g Kevlar and 16g Syn Gut, will update as well. How would you know when the string bed "locks up"?
Easiest way to tell is that the mains are crooked. The mains move when the ball strikes and on smooth crosses the mains snapback and the mains are perfectly straight. Its counter intuitive because it looks like the mains did nt move but they did and moved back in place

A locked stringbed has enough friction that the strings move out of place on contact and dont make it all the way back. So the mains are crooked. Syngut locks up pretty quickly. Most everything but poly and zx will lock pretty quickly and even poly and zx will at some point.

Locked beds usually have a lower launch angle than unlocked beds so some players prefer on or the other
 
#21
Easiest way to tell is that the mains are crooked. The mains move when the ball strikes and on smooth crosses the mains snapback and the mains are perfectly straight. Its counter intuitive because it looks like the mains did nt move but they did and moved back in place

A locked stringbed has enough friction that the strings move out of place on contact and dont make it all the way back. So the mains are crooked. Syngut locks up pretty quickly. Most everything but poly and zx will lock pretty quickly and even poly and zx will at some point.

Locked beds usually have a lower launch angle than unlocked beds so some players prefer on or the other
The mains werent even straight, straight off the stringer
 
#23
Tonight I strung up a 115" Head Ti6 that weighs 10.9oz with Ashaway 18g Kevlar x Ashahway 16g syn gut on a Prince Neos 1000 and the strings are straight at 68/65lbs.
 
#25
First time hitting with Crossfire II today for two hours and my arm hurt after. My recoil weight is 180+, not sure if I still want to continue playing with it


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#26
I hit 150 serves yesterday using a slightly improved technique to get a few more mph using two rackets: a 12oz POG strung with Genesis Pro Advantage and my 11oz Ti6 strung with 18g Ash Kev x 17g Zyex. I had to cut the syn gut out and replace it with Zyex. When I test fired it a couple of days ago the Ash Kev and syn gut locked up in no time.
 
#27
First time hitting with Crossfire II today for two hours and my arm hurt after. My recoil weight is 180+, not sure if I still want to continue playing with it


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One issue with syngut in the crosses vs. zx is that the locked nature is more harsh. If the mains slide then there is less shock so zx is more friendly.

Sometimes i get sore after a new stick or nee string job. It always goes away the next day.

Good thing is that after 2 hours it will be softer now so if you are not too sore it may be worth another try. Only you can judge
 
#28
Nothing like Monogut ZX for avoiding a locked stringbed. The more time I have on Monogut ZX crosses, the more I appreciate how amazing ZX is. Hated it in a full bed, but crossed with Kevlar mains has become my holy grail of hybrids.
 
#29
I have tried ZX in the mains with Ash Kev crosses - didn't like that at all and didn't like ZX fullbed either. I tried Kev x Kev too, not a good idea. The trouble with having a stringing machine is how much $$ I "waste" in trying different stuff out. Nat Gut mains with ZX crosses is pretty good, but has a lot of free power.
 
#30
One issue with syngut in the crosses vs. zx is that the locked nature is more harsh. If the mains slide then there is less shock so zx is more friendly.

Sometimes i get sore after a new stick or nee string job. It always goes away the next day.

Good thing is that after 2 hours it will be softer now so if you are not too sore it may be worth another try. Only you can judge
Wouldnt the Zx lock the stringbed as well if you dont string it with a differential?
 
#31
Wouldnt the Zx lock the stringbed as well if you dont string it with a differential?
No. The differential helps to make it have less friction but zx is smooth so it stays unlocked pretty much as long as the mains last.

Syngut is easily dented and locks easily. Zx is a strange string. It is super stretchy the long direction but really hard if you try to bend it. So it stands up to mainstrings and stays smooth while syngut notches and locks.

Poly also doesnt lock like syngut though eventually it could. Syngut and kevlar locks pretty much right away. Poly can lock after hours and hours.
 
#32
No. The differential helps to make it have less friction but zx is smooth so it stays unlocked pretty much as long as the mains last.

Syngut is easily dented and locks easily. Zx is a strange string. It is super stretchy the long direction but really hard if you try to bend it. So it stands up to mainstrings and stays smooth while syngut notches and locks.

Poly also doesnt lock like syngut though eventually it could. Syngut and kevlar locks pretty much right away. Poly can lock after hours and hours.
I have 2 options I am considering now if I want to continue playing with the Crossfire II.

1. Increase SW to 360 to reduce shock on the arm, because higher SW means higher recoil weight and more comfort from less shock to the arm.
2. Reduce SW to 340 because my current SW may have been too high for me as I had arm pain after playing with the Crossfire.

Which option should I take?

Keep in mind though that I was playing with a SW 350 for a while with multifilaments and had no problems with arm pain.
 
#33
One issue with syngut in the crosses vs. zx is that the locked nature is more harsh. If the mains slide then there is less shock so zx is more friendly.

Sometimes i get sore after a new stick or nee string job. It always goes away the next day.

Good thing is that after 2 hours it will be softer now so if you are not too sore it may be worth another try. Only you can judge
I have noticed the mains still slide but ZX prestretched @58 notches hard poly crosses.

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#34
I have 2 options I am considering now if I want to continue playing with the Crossfire II.

1. Increase SW to 360 to reduce shock on the arm, because higher SW means higher recoil weight and more comfort from less shock to the arm.
2. Reduce SW to 340 because my current SW may have been too high for me as I had arm pain after playing with the Crossfire.

Which option should I take?

Keep in mind though that I was playing with a SW 350 for a while with multifilaments and had no problems with arm pain.
Always a fan of higher sw myself! So the 1st one is my pick

Another option is to lower tension. I had a stringer at a shop once advise me to place the racquet on the ground and carefully stand on the stringbed. It certainly loosened the tension! Might be worth a try since you know 350 is ok. Oh and odds are the kevlar is lighter than the multi so the sw is less anyhow now.
 
#35
Always a fan of higher sw myself! So the 1st one is my pick

Another option is to lower tension. I had a stringer at a shop once advise me to place the racquet on the ground and carefully stand on the stringbed. It certainly loosened the tension! Might be worth a try since you know 350 is ok. Oh and odds are the kevlar is lighter than the multi so the sw is less anyhow now.
I measured the SW and static weights for both the racquet with multifilament (previously played with xcel) and my current setup with the crossfire II and oddly enough it was the exact same static weight which I presume to be the same SW as well. I did find it odd that a Kevlar/Syn Gut weighed the exact same as a Multifilament but didnt bother after.
 
#36
I’m new to kevlar and Kevlar hybrids. I’ve started with 2 racquets strung with crossfire zx. One with 60 lb mains and 50 lb crosses and the other with the mains at 54 and crosses at 48, which was Ashaway’s recommendation.

First off, I love the control both setups give me. Better than any other string combination I’ve ever tried including full poly. The spin is great. On par with textured poly. It feels softer than poly and definitely has less power, which I prefer because it allows me to use my full swing and the ball is almost impossible to hit deep.

The difference between the 2 crossfire zx setups is what you might think. The 60/50 offers a tiny bit more control and less power than the 54/48. I feel they spin about the same but the 54/48 is slightly more comfortable.

The rackets are both Pro Staff 97 LS with 18x16 string pattern. String durability can be a problem with spin effect racquets but so far the crossfire zx has held up for 3 weeks with no signs of wear.

One issue I have is the Kevlar mains don’t snap back like a full poly stringbed. I spend a lot of time between points straightening my main strings on both racquets.

I’m thinking about adding some Teflon spray to my strings. I’ve tinkered with this in poly before but ultimately just got tired of it. It dirtied up the balls quickly and needed reapplication often. I’m wondering if any of you have tried lubricant with Kevlar and or crossfire zx specifically.

Cheers!
 
#37
I’m new to kevlar and Kevlar hybrids. I’ve started with 2 racquets strung with crossfire zx. One with 60 lb mains and 50 lb crosses and the other with the mains at 54 and crosses at 48, which was Ashaway’s recommendation.

First off, I love the control both setups give me. Better than any other string combination I’ve ever tried including full poly. The spin is great. On par with textured poly. It feels softer than poly and definitely has less power, which I prefer because it allows me to use my full swing and the ball is almost impossible to hit deep.

The difference between the 2 crossfire zx setups is what you might think. The 60/50 offers a tiny bit more control and less power than the 54/48. I feel they spin about the same but the 54/48 is slightly more comfortable.

The rackets are both Pro Staff 97 LS with 18x16 string pattern. String durability can be a problem with spin effect racquets but so far the crossfire zx has held up for 3 weeks with no signs of wear.

One issue I have is the Kevlar mains don’t snap back like a full poly stringbed. I spend a lot of time between points straightening my main strings on both racquets.

I’m thinking about adding some Teflon spray to my strings. I’ve tinkered with this in poly before but ultimately just got tired of it. It dirtied up the balls quickly and needed reapplication often. I’m wondering if any of you have tried lubricant with Kevlar and or crossfire zx specifically.

Cheers!
Kudos for trying that combo!

Did you prestretch manually both the kevlar and zx. If not it just needs to be done. Probably why there is no snapback.

Yes I use a teflon lubricant. It sprays on and soaks into the kevlar. Last maybe 10-15 min but it is still better after that than nothing
 
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