Black Widow review

kahuna_will

New User
http://www.tennis-warehouse.com/Dunlop_Black_Widow_17_String/descpageACDUNLOP-DBW17.html

The best string there is! I've tested over 20 Polys the past few weeks. Stringing up my 3 APDs with 3 different strings all at 54lbs and this stuff is bad*%#.

Super comfy and arm friendly with good pocketing. It gives you that connected feeling and the confidence to take massive rips. It's soft and crisp at the same time and the spin is off the charts. On normal/safe rallys, nothing came close to the spin and penetration I got from this. I will say the RPM blast probably had a bit more nasty on it when ripping one, but overall the Black Widow is superior in spin out off all that I tried.

Control was amazing, soft and cushiony yet crisp with a good clean pop feeling. Their were a few other strings that I felt had a bit more control but the Black Widow is right on their tails.

Solid power, not huge, but the perfect amount for me. Serves had great pace. I found that a few others, especially some Luxilons to had quite a bit more power and gave me a huge serve. Again though, Black Widow is more than adequate in power. You have the confidence to take huge hacks knowing that you won't over hit. You do need to have good RHS to reach the strings full potential, although it is not nearly as RHS dependent as some others like the RPM Blast or Lux Spin. I'm all about less is more, but knowing I can unload on one is a huge plus.

Durability was great. Keep in mind, all 3 racquets were strung at the same time and used for 10 hours each and then cut out. Other than the normal tension drop, the strings stayed very playable throughout the 10 hours. I'm sure they will go dead fairly quickly beyond the 10 hours but most Polys will. I found this string to be one of the better strings in terms of tension maintenance and consistent playability during my tests.

A few other key points that stood out to me about this string was it's versatility. By the the most versatile of all the strings I tested. It just does everything well, if not great. Serves, heavy topspin groundies, slices were low and nasty, flat balls were noticeably better than many of the others, and volleys and touch shoots were pretty dang solid for a poly. I really felt connected and in control of my drops and touch volleys. While it was nice at net and with the touch shots, by no means does it "excel" in that area. This is a heavy, topspin baseliners dream. Another thing that stuck out to me were the really, I mean really good miss-hits. For some reason a missed sweet spot still turned out to be a solid shot most of the time. Even some complete God awful miss-hits weren't the worst in the world. It's just a very forgiving string.

Lastly, some of the angles that I found with this string just shouldn't be possible, and seeing that ball move 6 or more inches over the net as it tucks just inside the line on a DTL winner just puts a smile on your face. Some of the other big time spin racquets hit those same angles and can move the ball like that but the Black Widow overall, has more points next to it than the others.

If you are a modern game, aggressive, heavy ball, topspin baseliner, this is string will blow your mind. It's a game changer people.
 

SpinToWin

Talk Tennis Guru
Durability: non existent
Playability Duration: even worse than the durability
Control: meh
Predictability: ugh
Power: almost too much for poly
Spin: a lot, but erratic
Touch: like I'm playing a stringbed of wet shaped noodles, horrid

Whatever floats your boat man, but this string was horrible for me.
 

Rubens

Hall of Fame
Actually I totally agree with OP. I've just discovered this string and absolutely love it. The two main things that I look for are power and spin, and this string delivers. Yes, it has zero feel, so what. As long as it doesn't hurt the arm, and control is above average. Btw, I tried the 16, strung at 53 full bed.
 

EasternRocks

Hall of Fame
Agree with SpinToWin. Not a fan of the string. It is a bit too elastic and lively. A bit too unpredictable of a string to play at a very high level.
 

Rubens

Hall of Fame
It is very tension-sensitive. Most ppl string it too tight, including the guy who sold it to me. He said it was a bad string and that it hurt his arm. He strung it at 59. No wonder. As a result, I got a good deal.
 
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Mick

Legend
It is very tension-sensitive. Most ppl string it too tight, including the guy who sold it to me. He said it was a bad string and that it hurt his arm. He strung it at 59. No wonder. As a result, I got a good deal.
yeah. when I first tried it, the stringer told me to string at 40 lbs. I took his advice and it works out for me.
Because string tension would losen over time, I think the string tensions on most of my racquets are in the 30's
 

PBODY99

Legend
Differnent strokes & strings......

I got a 4.5 player to drop his tension from 68 to 45 with this string, it works for him. Every player is different, but I notice a number of players who"Quote Tension Figures bigger than Rafa's" when dealing with full poly.
 

EasternRocks

Hall of Fame
I can see this string working for a younger or older player who doesn't need to re-string as often. For a player that plays a lot like me, it doesn't take long before this string turns into an unpredictable one. The control of the string fresh off the stringer teeters on the edge of barley enough and not enough.

For me this string is basically a BHB7, but with a little less spin potential (IMO) to control the elasticity of the string.
 

mikeler

Moderator
I got a 4.5 player to drop his tension from 68 to 45 with this string, it works for him. Every player is different, but I notice a number of players who"Quote Tension Figures bigger than Rafa's" when dealing with full poly.
It all depends on the string pattern.
 

SpinToWin

Talk Tennis Guru
I got a 4.5 player to drop his tension from 68 to 45 with this string, it works for him. Every player is different, but I notice a number of players who"Quote Tension Figures bigger than Rafa's" when dealing with full poly.
I tested Black Widow in my YT Prestige Pros a few years ago. Initially I strung it up at 23kg and I could not keep the ball in the court because the string was way too springy. At 26kg the control was better, but still way below average and the predictability was awful. I don't see the string improving when dropping tension even further, it is just way too erratic for high levels of play IME.
 

Rjtennis

Hall of Fame
Durability: non existent
Playability Duration: even worse than the durability
Control: meh
Predictability: ugh
Power: almost too much for poly
Spin: a lot, but erratic
Touch: like I'm playing a stringbed of wet shaped noodles, horrid

Whatever floats your boat man, but this string was horrible for me.
I've never played it but a lot of people like it.
 

kahuna_will

New User
It is all preference guys. What works for some, is just awful for others. I just wanted to get this review out there for people who are searching/exploring polys. I loved this string, and after I test a few more, I will most likely buy a reel of it.

I play a lot and am lucky enough to be able to afford to restring when needed.
 

charmedRic

New User
My current set-ups:
Dunlop Biomimetic 600 - Black Widow 16G @ 54 LBS
Dunlop Biomimetic 600 - Black Widow 16G @ 50 LBS
Dunlop Biomimetic M6.0 - Black Widow 16G @ 50 LBS


For singles play I use the 50LBS set-ups, for doubles I switch up to the 54LBS. I love this string. I dealt with severe tennis elbow due to med side effects and it wasn't until I switched to BW and the lower tensions that it began to resolve itself.

I play 4.0 and 3.5 ... aggressive baseline with lots of transition play up to next. The only knock I have on the string would be durability. At tournament level play I got about 12 to 15 hours of play ... then I switch racquets and use them just for practice until it is time to restring.

I would contest that they don't really become unplayable as I did once play until the string broke and that took 3 months playing about 4 hours a week. So the strings themselves last a while ... you just don't have the same even experience the lenght of their duration.
 

mrc

Rookie
Appreciate the review..glad it's working well for you. It's all about what works well for you. I love Volkl V-Pro and it's not widely used or talked about.
 

SpinToWin

Talk Tennis Guru
My current set-ups:
Dunlop Biomimetic 600 - Black Widow 16G @ 54 LBS
Dunlop Biomimetic 600 - Black Widow 16G @ 50 LBS
Dunlop Biomimetic M6.0 - Black Widow 16G @ 50 LBS


For singles play I use the 50LBS set-ups, for doubles I switch up to the 54LBS. I love this string. I dealt with severe tennis elbow due to med side effects and it wasn't until I switched to BW and the lower tensions that it began to resolve itself.

I play 4.0 and 3.5 ... aggressive baseline with lots of transition play up to next. The only knock I have on the string would be durability. At tournament level play I got about 12 to 15 hours of play ... then I switch racquets and use them just for practice until it is time to restring.

I would contest that they don't really become unplayable as I did once play until the string broke and that took 3 months playing about 4 hours a week. So the strings themselves last a while ... you just don't have the same even experience the lenght of their duration.
Your experiences have a lot to do with your level of play. I played Black Widow 16G for 4 hours on clay and I had to cut it out at that point because it was severely notched, the edges in the sweetspot were gone and it had lost way too much tension (also, it would have broken not long after that). In that time its characteristics changed wildly and I never felt confident with it. Again, I'm glad it works for you, but this string is generally not for advanced players.
 

Jerme

Rookie
I had this string as a hybrid with Tecnifibre TGV in crosses. For me it was complete rubbish, had phenomenal power but it lacked completely bite and control to the ball so i cut it out after 2 hours.
 

Rubens

Hall of Fame
Your experiences have a lot to do with your level of play. I played Black Widow 16G for 4 hours on clay and I had to cut it out at that point because it was severely notched, the edges in the sweetspot were gone and it had lost way too much tension (also, it would have broken not long after that). In that time its characteristics changed wildly and I never felt confident with it. Again, I'm glad it works for you, but this string is generally not for advanced players.
You really seem to put the extra effort and time to write negative things about this string. You even go as far as to write about it in the racquets section, when someone asked about the Black Widow RACQUET... Why is it so?

Maybe I'm just getting the wrong impression here. In that case I'm sorry. Not my intent to start a keyboard war or anything.
 

SpinToWin

Talk Tennis Guru
You really seem to put the extra effort and time to write negative things about this string. You even go as far as to write about it in the racquets section, when someone asked about the Black Widow RACQUET... Why is it so?

Maybe I'm just getting the wrong impression here. In that case I'm sorry. Not my intent to start a keyboard war or anything.
I believe you are getting the wrong impression :)

First of all, I added my personal experience and then added some of the specifics of my test of the string when people commented that the tension used was the problem. Then I replied to the the OP's comment which seemed to explain why he likes the string so much, the comment where he explains his level of play.

I misunderstood the post in the racquets section, as I (and many others) am not aware of the Dunlop recreational frames (not the main lines) and I thought the post was referring to the more well known string and not the racquet (that the post had merely been posted in the wrong section, as it did not explicitly say racquet). That was my mistake.

I can see why less advanced players like this string, as it produces easy power and spin and their strokes are not yet developed enough to expose the string's weaknesses (most notably durability, control and playability duration). Again, there is nothing wrong with liking this string, but the point of this section is to share experiences so that players can decide which string may be to their liking (and critiques are the most important part of that IMO).
 

SpinToWin

Talk Tennis Guru
Not from what I've seen. Most of the less advanced players that I've seen trying it actually hated it, complaining that it was uncomfortable...
Opposite of my experiences… I find that players first coming to poly like it, but seasoned poly players do not. Interesting for sure though.
 

EasternRocks

Hall of Fame
As a more advanced player, I can comment that I did not care for this string. I am new to full poly beds but I still thought the string was a bit too soft and elastic. It only gets even softer, mushier and less predictable as you play more and more with the string. I found the string to be incredibly comfortable though as it ranks up there in comfort with other soft polyesters like TB Soft, V-Star, Cyclone Tour, BHB7, Quadro Twist.
 

Roland G

Hall of Fame
I would agree with the previous comment - this string is very soft and gets mushy very quickly in my experience
 

scotus

G.O.A.T.
Your experiences have a lot to do with your level of play. I played Black Widow 16G for 4 hours on clay and I had to cut it out at that point because it was severely notched, the edges in the sweetspot were gone and it had lost way too much tension (also, it would have broken not long after that). In that time its characteristics changed wildly and I never felt confident with it. Again, I'm glad it works for you, but this string is generally not for advanced players.
Andy Gerst from TW seems to like the string fine. Are you as good as Andy (i.e., do you have ATP points?)?

Strings are very subjective. There are pros who even like to use cheapo synthetic gut.

If you don't like it, leave a couple of reviews and let it be. Enough with all these I-am-better-than-you posts.
 

Muppet

Legend
How does Black Widow 17 compare to BHB7 17 and PP Strategem 17 (not 8 )? I used to string Strategem in my Aerogel 200 @54. Is this enough info for anyone to recommend me a BHB7 tension?
 

EasternRocks

Hall of Fame
Similar, BHB7 feels a bit more crisper while the BW has a mix of that crisp and plush feel. I found BHB7 to be more controllable than the BW, I was more connected to the ball with BHB7 and I was able to stay on the gas without losing consistency with BHB7 more so than BW. I would string BW maybe 1-2 pounds tighter than BHB7. I didn't play with the tension with BHB7 too much...I strung it at 54.
 
Andy Gerst from TW seems to like the string fine. Are you as good as Andy (i.e., do you have ATP points?)?
First of all, Andy is doing a play test for a website that sells these strings. Pretty sure his ATP points were using Volkl Cyclone (and RPM Blast?), if we're going to get into the nitty-gritty... I'm sure we both know what the answer would be if he was asked if he'd play tournaments with BW.


One's level has a huge impact on string response, especially since there is such a huge difference between how hard/with how much spin players from 3.5-4.0 hit the ball, as compared to a 5.0
 

scotus

G.O.A.T.
First of all, Andy is doing a play test for a website that sells these strings. Pretty sure his ATP points were using Volkl Cyclone (and RPM Blast?), if we're going to get into the nitty-gritty... I'm sure we both know what the answer would be if he was asked if he'd play tournaments with BW.


One's level has a huge impact on string response, especially since there is such a huge difference between how hard/with how much spin players from 3.5-4.0 hit the ball, as compared to a 5.0
Andy, in spite of his role as a TW "salesman", tests many strings and you can compare the comments and the scores he has assigned for Black Widow over against those for other strings. He regards it highly enough.

I would argue that there is no set relationship between one's playing level and the type of strings s/he likes. We can find a whole bunch of rec players who like ALU, RPM, Cyclone, etc. We also find pros who like synthetic gut, full gut, all sorts of strings.
 
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jz000

Rookie
Trying this out in my Pro Staff 97 v11
Currently Tried:

~55-60F degrees (stupid weather).
Mains: Volkl VStar 17g @51
Crosses: (From best to worst)
1) RPM Blast 16 @48 (Wanting to try 17g)
2) Adrenaline 16L @48
3) Head Hawk 17g @48
4*) Genesis Black Widow 17g @48 (Let's try!)

I had a theory about the VStar being too powerful/soft fullbed, so I mixed it up in the mains and crosses, and found it best in the mains.
With the ProStaff, I could feel a strain in my arm with full bed stiff polys (4g + hawk/touch/adrenaline/etc), and a harsh punishment if I don't hit the ball optimally.
I'm hitting a lot deeper now with same effort, plus get great control/feel.
So far RPM Blast in the crosses felt the best. Very responsive, but not too soft as to launch the ball.

Will change this setup in hotter climates, I'm assuming.
 

blai212

Hall of Fame
dunlop black widow is similar to volkl cyclone tour in that the thinner gauges (17, 18) are unplayable because they crap out too quickly. However, black widow 16g mains works really well with a thinner copoly cross that provides good feel and tension maintenance (polaris). I like to string low tension as well (30-40lbs)
 

jugheadfla

Rookie
dunlop black widow is similar to volkl cyclone tour in that the thinner gauges (17, 18) are unplayable because they crap out too quickly
Depends on the racquet. In a denser 18x20 it will last longer, but for sure in a more open 16x19 you'll maybe get a week
 
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