In praise of Kevlar/ZX hybrid!!!

Actually, I almost forgot about John Cauthen. We need to dig up some of his old threads. He had one about 20-lb differentials (I think maybe it was crosses tighter? Cant recall). According to him, it got him fired from his job as a stringer at a racquet shop. So he ended up posting about his victim hood on this site from his parents’ basement as an unemployed 50-something. That was 15 years ago, but his posts were pure gems. I blame him for attracting me to this forum back then.
 
Actually, I almost forgot about John Cauthen. We need to dig up some of his old threads. He had one about 20-lb differentials (I think maybe it was crosses tighter? Cant recall). According to him, it got him fired from his job as a stringer at a racquet shop. So he ended up posting about his victim hood on this site from his parents’ basement as an unemployed 50-something. That was 15 years ago, but his posts were pure gems. I blame him for attracting me to this forum back then.
Hey, travlerajm, I used to chat with you on these forums 10-15 years ago, during the infancy of real scientifically based investigation into how balls and strings react. I have no idea what username I had at that time, but do remember a bunch of messages from John Cauthen, I think involving weighting the upper part of the handle. At the time, I remember I was doing some investigation into sliding friction on poly strings by pulling a tennis ball across a poly stringbed with various weights on the ball, and trying to derive some sort of pressure/CoF curve. It was likely you that I talked to. I've seen from some of your other posts that you are in the Seattle area as I am, and I do remember playing with someone from the forum, possibly you, at the UW tennis courts.

I got away from these forums as life got busy and as my kids approached adulthood, though I never stopped playing. I've had to make a racquet switch recently and came back to see if I could get information to help speed up the process of customizing the frame and strings to my liking. Seeing your name brought back memories, and your ideas like ESP are very intriguing.

Let me know if you'd like to hit some time. I'm USTA 4.5 rated and belong to a club with lots of indoor courts, and of course would love to find out what else you've been researching over the years.
 
Hey, travlerajm, I used to chat with you on these forums 10-15 years ago, during the infancy of real scientifically based investigation into how balls and strings react. I have no idea what username I had at that time, but do remember a bunch of messages from John Cauthen, I think involving weighting the upper part of the handle. At the time, I remember I was doing some investigation into sliding friction on poly strings by pulling a tennis ball across a poly stringbed with various weights on the ball, and trying to derive some sort of pressure/CoF curve. It was likely you that I talked to. I've seen from some of your other posts that you are in the Seattle area as I am, and I do remember playing with someone from the forum, possibly you, at the UW tennis courts.

I got away from these forums as life got busy and as my kids approached adulthood, though I never stopped playing. I've had to make a racquet switch recently and came back to see if I could get information to help speed up the process of customizing the frame and strings to my liking. Seeing your name brought back memories, and your ideas like ESP are very intriguing.

Let me know if you'd like to hit some time. I'm USTA 4.5 rated and belong to a club with lots of indoor courts, and of course would love to find out what else you've been researching over the years.
Were you @Midlife_Crisis?
 

OldschoolKIaus

Hall of Fame
I strung Kev/ZX (60/45 lbs) in one of my dad's old Prince Tour 100T ESP (16x16) and played with it ... I felt like Nadal and my hitting partner claimed "Go back to flat hitting!".
I was almost too spin-friendly for me. I'm not sure if I should give it another try with higher tension.

Looks like the combo of Kev and ZX still had quite a surprise left for me.
 
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Strawbewwy

Rookie
I'd tried this before on a 2015 blade 18x20 doing 60/45 Kevlar/zx when this thread didn't have so many pages...

What's the latest and the greatest trend? I want to try it again in my prestige mids and I'm not too what's a good tension to start playing around with... For reference I normally do 48/45 a thin gauge poly and maybe 45/42 for a thicker gauge
 
I'd tried this before on a 2015 blade 18x20 doing 60/45 Kevlar/zx when this thread didn't have so many pages...

What's the latest and the greatest trend? I want to try it again in my prestige mids and I'm not too what's a good tension to start playing around with... For reference I normally do 48/45 a thin gauge poly and maybe 45/42 for a thicker gauge
I would start with good prestretch on and try 60/35 on prestige mid. That’s a pretty dense pattern.
 
Were you @Midlife_Crisis?
Yes! Wow, that brings back a lot of memories too! I wonder if I should try to re-activate that account or just continue with this one.

In any event, and to bring some relevance to this thread, I recently had to make a racquet switch. Back in 2012 or so, I purchased a large number of Overdrive 110 racquets, which I weighted up to 355 grams with a 33 cm balance point, swing weight between 340 and 345. The last of these racquets has now cracked and I've found the next generation feels totally different. After demo'ing a large number of racquets, I've made the switch to the SW104. To that, I've added four grams of weight at 3 and 9 o'clock, and have built up the bottom five inches of the grip with two layers of a heat shrink sleeve, along with two additional layers of heat shrink sleeve on just the butt cap. Along with a thicker replacement grip, the racquet is 355 grams, with a balance point of 32.3 cm. Swingweight is somewhere between 345 and 350.

On the Overdrive 110, I tried a number of strings and settled on a full bed of Solstice Power 1.35 for the 16X19 pattern. I strung that up with the center mains at 55 pounds and the center crosses at 54 pounds, with the outer mains at 49 pounds and the top and bottom crosses at 38 pounds, decreasing tension fairly linearly.

With the SW104, I've been stringing with a full bed of Cyclone 1.25, with the center mains at 49 pounds and the center crosses at 46 pounds, and the outer mains at 44 pounds and the top and bottom crosses at 34 pounds. I am currently looking at trying a number of other poly strings to see what else might work.

I've always noticed the tension differential affects the launch trajectory I get, and so after I settle on how stiff I want the stringbed, I adjust center main and cross tensions to achieve the launch angle I desire, balancing that higher launch angle also comes with more sensitivity to incoming spin. I've tried the mains at 52 and the crosses at 44 and don't notice that much of a change in the amount of spin but the higher trajectory makes me inconsistent on certain shots.

I'm tempted to try a high tension differential but for now have two issues. One is that I've only got two SW104s and so experimenting with one leaves me only one "known good" racquet - and I break strings about every six hours on the SW104. Second, I only have one set of kevlar strings at the moment. It's probably a 15 year old set of Dunlop Max Touch.

I did play with kevlar a long, long, long time ago. Would a high tension differential kevlar stringjob likely have a higher or lower launch trajectory than I now have? What about power levels? And how well would this 15 year old kevlar/syngut set represent what I could get from Ashaway kevlar and ZX?

Also, I haven't calculated mgr/i, but I am thinking the two racquets are fairly different. Still, I can play interchangeably with either and they both feel fine after a minute or two of adjustment.
 

2nd Serve Ace

Hall of Fame
Yes! Wow, that brings back a lot of memories too! I wonder if I should try to re-activate that account or just continue with this one.

In any event, and to bring some relevance to this thread, I recently had to make a racquet switch. Back in 2012 or so, I purchased a large number of Overdrive 110 racquets, which I weighted up to 355 grams with a 33 cm balance point, swing weight between 340 and 345. The last of these racquets has now cracked and I've found the next generation feels totally different. After demo'ing a large number of racquets, I've made the switch to the SW104. To that, I've added four grams of weight at 3 and 9 o'clock, and have built up the bottom five inches of the grip with two layers of a heat shrink sleeve, along with two additional layers of heat shrink sleeve on just the butt cap. Along with a thicker replacement grip, the racquet is 355 grams, with a balance point of 32.3 cm. Swingweight is somewhere between 345 and 350.

On the Overdrive 110, I tried a number of strings and settled on a full bed of Solstice Power 1.35 for the 16X19 pattern. I strung that up with the center mains at 55 pounds and the center crosses at 54 pounds, with the outer mains at 49 pounds and the top and bottom crosses at 38 pounds, decreasing tension fairly linearly.

With the SW104, I've been stringing with a full bed of Cyclone 1.25, with the center mains at 49 pounds and the center crosses at 46 pounds, and the outer mains at 44 pounds and the top and bottom crosses at 34 pounds. I am currently looking at trying a number of other poly strings to see what else might work.

I've always noticed the tension differential affects the launch trajectory I get, and so after I settle on how stiff I want the stringbed, I adjust center main and cross tensions to achieve the launch angle I desire, balancing that higher launch angle also comes with more sensitivity to incoming spin. I've tried the mains at 52 and the crosses at 44 and don't notice that much of a change in the amount of spin but the higher trajectory makes me inconsistent on certain shots.

I'm tempted to try a high tension differential but for now have two issues. One is that I've only got two SW104s and so experimenting with one leaves me only one "known good" racquet - and I break strings about every six hours on the SW104. Second, I only have one set of kevlar strings at the moment. It's probably a 15 year old set of Dunlop Max Touch.

I did play with kevlar a long, long, long time ago. Would a high tension differential kevlar stringjob likely have a higher or lower launch trajectory than I now have? What about power levels? And how well would this 15 year old kevlar/syngut set represent what I could get from Ashaway kevlar and ZX?

Also, I haven't calculated mgr/i, but I am thinking the two racquets are fairly different. Still, I can play interchangeably with either and they both feel fine after a minute or two of adjustment.
A lot to unpack here, but the SW frames suck in every regarrd.

Kevlar in the regular 27.5 blade is excellent.
 
A lot to unpack here, but the SW frames suck in every regarrd.

Sent from my SM-T560NU using Tapatalk
It was the best racquet for me to transition to from the Overdrive 110. At age 57 and still a competitive 4.5 singles player even in 18 and over USTA leagues, I need the extra reach and head size. What I didn't like about the SW104 was that the Overdrive 110, with all that added weight, was incredibly well damped so that even on bad mis-hits, I got the initial shock but no secondary vibration. The SW104 has noticeable impact shock and secondary vibrations, and probably about a 20% smaller sweet spot.

I didn't want to get another granny stick and weight it up. A larger headsize in 27.5" length means the sweetspot is about an inch to inch and a half lower, and now that I've tried the SW104, I like having the sweet spot further away from me.

I'm not that invested in the SW104 yet - I've only bought two racquets. I need the final static weight to be about 355 grams, balance point anywhere from 32 to 33 cm, and swingweight from 340 to 350. If you have other recommendations that meet the needs I've said so far, I'm all ears.
 

2nd Serve Ace

Hall of Fame
It was the best racquet for me to transition to from the Overdrive 110. At age 57 and still a competitive 4.5 singles player even in 18 and over USTA leagues, I need the extra reach and head size. What I didn't like about the SW104 was that the Overdrive 110, with all that added weight, was incredibly well damped so that even on bad mis-hits, I got the initial shock but no secondary vibration. The SW104 has noticeable impact shock and secondary vibrations, and probably about a 20% smaller sweet spot.

I didn't want to get another granny stick and weight it up. A larger headsize in 27.5" length means the sweetspot is about an inch to inch and a half lower, and now that I've tried the SW104, I like having the sweet spot further away from me.

I'm not that invested in the SW104 yet - I've only bought two racquets. I need the final static weight to be about 355 grams, balance point anywhere from 32 to 33 cm, and swingweight from 340 to 350. If you have other recommendations that meet the needs I've said so far, I'm all ears.
The only stick I can suggest is the pro kennex Ki 5x pro xl (27.5) not even sure if this is the right designation, but it is a super stable X-L frame.

Sent from my SM-T560NU using Tapatalk
 
Yes! Wow, that brings back a lot of memories too! I wonder if I should try to re-activate that account or just continue with this one.

In any event, and to bring some relevance to this thread, I recently had to make a racquet switch. Back in 2012 or so, I purchased a large number of Overdrive 110 racquets, which I weighted up to 355 grams with a 33 cm balance point, swing weight between 340 and 345. The last of these racquets has now cracked and I've found the next generation feels totally different. After demo'ing a large number of racquets, I've made the switch to the SW104. To that, I've added four grams of weight at 3 and 9 o'clock, and have built up the bottom five inches of the grip with two layers of a heat shrink sleeve, along with two additional layers of heat shrink sleeve on just the butt cap. Along with a thicker replacement grip, the racquet is 355 grams, with a balance point of 32.3 cm. Swingweight is somewhere between 345 and 350.

On the Overdrive 110, I tried a number of strings and settled on a full bed of Solstice Power 1.35 for the 16X19 pattern. I strung that up with the center mains at 55 pounds and the center crosses at 54 pounds, with the outer mains at 49 pounds and the top and bottom crosses at 38 pounds, decreasing tension fairly linearly.

With the SW104, I've been stringing with a full bed of Cyclone 1.25, with the center mains at 49 pounds and the center crosses at 46 pounds, and the outer mains at 44 pounds and the top and bottom crosses at 34 pounds. I am currently looking at trying a number of other poly strings to see what else might work.

I've always noticed the tension differential affects the launch trajectory I get, and so after I settle on how stiff I want the stringbed, I adjust center main and cross tensions to achieve the launch angle I desire, balancing that higher launch angle also comes with more sensitivity to incoming spin. I've tried the mains at 52 and the crosses at 44 and don't notice that much of a change in the amount of spin but the higher trajectory makes me inconsistent on certain shots.

I'm tempted to try a high tension differential but for now have two issues. One is that I've only got two SW104s and so experimenting with one leaves me only one "known good" racquet - and I break strings about every six hours on the SW104. Second, I only have one set of kevlar strings at the moment. It's probably a 15 year old set of Dunlop Max Touch.

I did play with kevlar a long, long, long time ago. Would a high tension differential kevlar stringjob likely have a higher or lower launch trajectory than I now have? What about power levels? And how well would this 15 year old kevlar/syngut set represent what I could get from Ashaway kevlar and ZX?

Also, I haven't calculated mgr/i, but I am thinking the two racquets are fairly different. Still, I can play interchangeably with either and they both feel fine after a minute or two of adjustment.
I recall hitting with the racquet you were using circa 2006. It was your weighted up stiff white granny stick, 28" long or so, strung low with SPPP, soft and spongy stringbed feel. The first time we hit, I was using a flexy NXG OS leaded up to James Blake's specs to play like an old school player's racquet, strung tight for control (70 lbs with 16g ashaway crossfire kevlar hybrid).

The thing about main/cross tension differential is that I find it's only worth the trouble on smaller headsizes. On OS frames, the geometry of the hoop is not stiff enough to resist the differential and hold its shape, so the hoop just squashes and relieves nearly all of the difference in tension . So you end up with higher launch angle but not necessarily any more spin, as you have noticed. The increased spin becomes much more noticeable with smaller head size (as stiffness of a cylinder is inversely proportional to the cube of its diameter).

Kevlar/ZX has very low string-on-string friction, so pairs best with dense patterns to keep the launch angle low. The SW fits the bill there as it's denser than most OS. You might also like my current stringbed combo: 16g ashaway kevlar / 15L prince nylon. It's not the kevlar you remember because the larger gauge nylon cross, for reasons that aren't entierly clear to me, keeps it from locking up like the old problend and crossfire beds of the past. But since the nylon surface is not as slick as zx, limited range of main string movement so its a little more control oriented (lower launch angle), but a little less spin, compared to kevlar/zx.
 
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travlerajm, you have a great memory! I still have that stick, probably still strung with that same string. My racquet preferences and playing style has certainly evolved over the years. I pulled out that racquet probably three or four years ago and wondered how I could have ever hit with it. With the Overdrive 110, I really went to a fully dead and springless stringbed, and feel forced to go back the other way with the SW104.

I kind of remember now that we started out discussions by providing each other the early research documents that the TW University folks had published. I ran across a printed copy of one of those several years ago during a spring cleaning, and wondered why I would have had that. The pieces are starting to come together.

I think my old Babolat has an mgr/i of 20.7 and the SW104 has an mgr/i of 21.3. I strung it up fresh last night with Cyclone but will try the next string job with the Dunlop Max Touch kevlar/syngut hybrid.
 
The only stick I can suggest is the pro kennex Ki 5x pro xl (27.5) not even sure if this is the right designation, but it is a super stable X-L frame.

Sent from my SM-T560NU using Tapatalk
Our local tennis shops don't carry Pro Kennex, and I was just too plain lazy to try TW's demo program. I was also desperate to get onto **any** racquet as one of our area's two big open age group tournaments was coming up. I ended up hurting my knee in a fall and didn't play anyway, so now may be the time to give the PK a try. Thanks!
 
Just wanted to close the circle on this. Tried the Dunlop Max Touch strung at 60X35 in an 18X19 SW104. Stringbed feel was pretty decent when hitting flatter but the launch angle is way lower than I am used to when trying to hit extremely top-spinny shots, and I don't have the technique (nor really the desire) to compensate. In particular, a low forehand approach shot that I would loop high to a righty's backhand corner was really difficult to get either the height or depth right. This is probably one of the most valuable shots for me as a 55+ 4.5 player and it feels like it's going to be a significant adjustment period to learn how to do it with this launch angle. I don't see that I gain anything significant from using this particular kevlar hybrid. Normal shots don't seem to have any more spin (and sometimes seem to have less) than a fully poly stringbed, and power levels are lower - ball speed coming off the racquet seems to be in the neighborhood of 5% less. The only thing that seems significantly helpful is that this kevlar hybrid is much less sensitive to incoming spin - pretty helpful when having to stab at a heavy underspin shot on a volley, or trying to control a low topspin passing shot.

As travlerajm says, probably the large size of the hoop allows too much flex to properly retain the tension differential for an ESP setup. The kevlar mains were moving all over the place pretty much from the start. And yes, I did compensate for the two grams lighter stringbed with lead tape at 3 and 9 o'clock.

The racquet has been restrung with Diadem Solstice Power 1.30 in the mains at 47 pounds, with SPPP Pure 1.23 in the crosses at 43 pounds.
 
There is no such thing as a stringbed with “high launch angle” or “low launch angle.” There is only such thing as “high launch angle sensitivity” or “low launch angle sensitivity.

That is, the launch angle of a racquet with “high launch angle sensitivity” is more sensitive to factors other than the angle of the racquet face at contact. These factors include the angle of the swingpath, the speed of the swing, the speed of the incoming ball, and the rpm of the incoming ball.

In other words, “high launch angle sensitivity” is a synonym for “poor control”. And “low launch angle sensitivity” is a synonym for “good control.”

A racquet that has high launch angle on topspin forehands will have a lower launch angle on slice shots. It will also require a bigger adjustment in racquetface angle between flat shots and topspin shots. It should be apparent that this is never ever a good thing.

My number 1 priority in a stringbed is good control. If it doesn’t have low launch angle sensitivity, it’s a no-go for me, especially because I enjoy attacking the net. The cool thing about Kevlar/zx is that it’s possible to get the requisite low launch angle sensitivity needed for high level control in a package that also has great spin.
 
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trav, the "high launch angle" versus "high launch angle sensitivity" seems to be just semantics to me. I don't see a reason why it would be defined as one or the other.

I also disagree partly that it means poor control. Maybe to someone freshly learning the game, having another factor is a complication, like trying to learn to drive while having to use a clutch. But in my mind, having a high launch angle is very useful. Maybe you are quick enough or have good enough footwork to get to the ball on time, but at age 57, I'm not as quick as I once was. Consequently, I will at times get to the ball when it is lower to the court, and at those times I also have to reach forward ahead of me. In both instances, having a higher launch angle helps. Being able to tilt the racquet forward allows you to get the sweet spot just that little bit lower than if you had to have the racquet face vertical. Reaching forward also typically causes the racquet face to tip downward. In both instances, having a high launch trajectory is beneficial. It really is just a matter of what one is used to. I'm used to higher launch angles and so low launch angles cause me to be inconsistent. You are used to the opposite so high launch angles cause you to be inconsistent. I innately adjust for what I expect the ball to do off my preferred stringbed, as do you.

Last point - the high launch angle is also one of the side benefits I found from using a larger tension differential between the mains and crosses. If I really have to reach forward for a very low ball and can only catch it on the mains off to the side, the higher launch trajectory also helps me get it over the net with some spin, and the seemingly softer stringbed there due to lower cross tension seems to help with that one or two balls a set where I may be in this situation. But sometimes, that one or two points a set where I get one extra ball back, makes all the difference.
 

Dimcorner

Professional
Anyone here setup a 18x20 with Kev/ZX? What setup worked best for you?
I'm thinking of grabbing a Speed 360 Pro (it hits fine with the synth gut demo) but want to hear how kev/ZX combo would work.
 

2nd Serve Ace

Hall of Fame
Anyone here setup a 18x20 with Kev/ZX? What setup worked best for you?
I'm thinking of grabbing a Speed 360 Pro (it hits fine with the synth gut demo) but want to hear how kev/ZX combo would work.
Well, ZX is the jack of all trades in this combo, since it works well with almost any main. So maybe you can try ZX with a low powered syn or multi and see how that goes, and then adjust from there.

Sent from my LG-LS993 using Tapatalk
 
Anyone here setup a 18x20 with Kev/ZX? What setup worked best for you?
I'm thinking of grabbing a Speed 360 Pro (it hits fine with the synth gut demo) but want to hear how kev/ZX combo would work.
I have used it in Angell TC95 18x20, TC97 18x20, and Wilson Pro Staff 25th Anniversary 18x20. Each time with a 20 pound differential or more. I'm stringing lower and lower these days, but would normally keep the Kev at 60 and cross it with ZX at 40 or even 35 prestretched.
 
I think the Kevlar/zx combo is ideal for smaller-headed dense-pattern frames. I was using it in a variety of 18x20 control frames, and it’s my favorite string setup for that type of racquet.
 

jered

New User
I’ve had a good few weeks with Kev/ZX in two racquets (RF97A) at 60/45 and 65/50. Both are equally comfortable but 65/50 has more control and a crisper feel so I’ll probably stick with that.

Great spin and comfort on both but the lower tensioned one is more launch prone if you don’t throw spin on it. For instance when stabbing at a passing shot or digging out at your feet I was send I got the ball high or long but much less so with the tighter setup.

The other thing I did was add string savers in an offset pattern which helps a lot with string movement and has kept the Kevlar from fraying.
 

2nd Serve Ace

Hall of Fame
I’ve had a good few weeks with Kev/ZX in two racquets (RF97A) at 60/45 and 65/50. Both are equally comfortable but 65/50 has more control and a crisper feel so I’ll probably stick with that.

Great spin and comfort on both but the lower tensioned one is more launch prone if you don’t throw spin on it. For instance when stabbing at a passing shot or digging out at your feet I was send I got the ball high or long but much less so with the tighter setup.

The other thing I did was add string savers in an offset pattern which helps a lot with string movement and has kept the Kevlar from fraying.
Tend to think that the 60/40 guideline was more for mid 90 tight frames a few years back, but since so many are at 100-97 lately, am really liking that 65/50 tension as a better baseline.
 

Dimcorner

Professional
how exactly do you go about pre-stretching the Zx?
I read that you can tie it to a post but i'm not exactly sure how that knot would go or if it would snap the string :/

Also how much weight do I need to pull it with and for how long? can it be done on a crank machine some other way? can you just pull it or grab the Zx and lean away on it?
 

graycrait

Hall of Fame
how exactly do you go about pre-stretching the Zx?
I clamp one end in a wood vice, about 1 - 2," wrap the other end around a 1.5" dowel holding it with a rubber glove and leaning back on it. But I wonder if the string stretches uniformly or does it stretch more at the terminal ends? I dunno and through the stringing process cut at least a foot off each end. I really feel there is utility in prestretching Zyex, contrary to what I felt some time ago. I like the way the stringbed plays if I prestretch both Ash Kev and Zyex. I don't think you need a winch to prestretch Zyex but with Kevlar I think it makes some difference. An alternative way to deal with the Ash Kev is to prestretch like I do the Zyex with vice and dowel, then on my lockout I pull and release tension twice before pulling a third time and clamping off.
 

2nd Serve Ace

Hall of Fame
how exactly do you go about pre-stretching the Zx?
I read that you can tie it to a post but i'm not exactly sure how that knot would go or if it would snap the string :/

Also how much weight do I need to pull it with and for how long? can it be done on a crank machine some other way? can you just pull it or grab the Zx and lean away on it?
I suggest a manual prestretch before stringing. My approach is to tie one end to my upstairs bannister and pull with the other end looped through my old gamma floating clamps. FYI the bannister knot is supplemented with my starting clamp, since ZX slides through knots very easily!

Also be aware that prestretching ZX does reduce the tencil strength. So that 60 tension limit will need to be brought down some. I've settled on a 6" prestretch strung at 53 as my preferred setup. Fwiw, you can do as much as an 18" prestretch if you are HeMan, but that will limit your stringing tension to the low 40s.

ZX does not even remotely dent whatsoever. I've got a cross that had 40 hours with Kevlar, and then put on another frame with a multi main at 16 hours and it is as smooth as it was from the start!
 
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Dimcorner

Professional
do you just do a 1/2 hitch on the post with a starting clamp at the tail and call it a day? I'm scared that the sucker will slip and smack me in the face!

I intend to string about 40 lbs or so if I can get 10" on it it would be ok. Like how hard are you guys pulling on this?
 
I tie one end around a loop of twine, and wrap loop of twine around end of my anchored bar countertop. I tie other end around a large wrench to have something to pull on. Best to do double hitch and keep one leg ready to brace yourself in case string breaks at knot.
 

hurworld

Hall of Fame
Here's the instruction I wrote to one of the forumers who sent me PM on how I pre-stretch my Kevlar / ZX. Hope it helps others.

Yup, definitely pre-stretch both strings if you can. The pre-stretch part of Kev/ZX can take a bit more effort, but well worth it, with the long playability this hybrid offers. In fact the biggest obstacle you might have is convincing a stringer willing to string at such high differential tensions for you.

I don't use special tools either. Well, some tools are used, for sure. Now because quite a bit of force (at least your own body weight) is used, I recommend tying one end to something sturdy. I looked around my house and found nothing that I have reasonable confidence in, so that's why I used this method below. Bear in mind you need at least 7-8m space too to do a 6m string pre-stretch.

On one end of the string, I tie the string to a small wrench, then tie the other end to a bigger wrench, or in my first attempt, my daughter's 19" first tennis racquet.

The end with the small wrench would go into a room with sturdy door, then I close the room's door, and now the small wrench acts as an anchor for the string on the other side of the door. I also use a kitchen mitt to pad the string from the door so that the string does not damage the door when I pull. I lower the string to a few inches off the floor as this allows me greater leverage to use my body weight, and if the string does damage the door, it is far less noticeable since it is at feet level.

Now you are ready to pre-stretch! I pull the string almost parallel to the door, if you can picture that, instead of perpendicular to the door, as this allows my weight to be pulled against the door / door's frame / wall. For ZX string, I use the pull-hold-relax cycle as mentioned by others in the thread. Get at around 60cm additional length from a half set of ZX. For Kevlar just pull and hold as long as you can. I get around 2" additional length from pre-stretching.

Don't worry about damaging the string at where the door closes, as that's going to be cut off by the stringer anyway.

Hope that helps, and good luck with pre-stretching!
 

OldschoolKIaus

Hall of Fame
I'm looking forward to try Kev mains with a thick syn gut (1.38mm) as crosses. Always fun to test how Kev plays in a hybrid with different crosses hehe Kev/Poly almost killed me ^^
 
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v-verb

Hall of Fame
I'm back in the Ashaway Kevlar/MonoGut ZX camp. A small reel of Ash Kev 18 on the way. Hoping it gets close to the insane spin of Diadem Elite XT 18 / MonoGut ZX 17.

I strung up some Prince Perfection 17 / MonoGut ZX when my Diadem broke. The Prince Kevlar hits with authority but since it's coated doesn't have the crazy spin. I'm thinking the braided Ashaway Kevlar will - I've used Ashaway Kev 17 years ago but can't remember if the spin was as intense as this Diadem poly
 
I'm looking forward to try Kev mains with a thick syn gut (1.38mm) as crosses. Always fun to test how Kev plays in a hybrid with different crosses hehe Kev/Poly almost killed me ^^
I am loving this combo - it has rejuvenated my love for attacking tennis. I have been using it in several open-pattern frames. I like to keep in on the tight side (to get the benefit of really nice launch angle control and pancaking), then lead it up so that the low power level of the stringbed pairs nicely with high effective mass and good plowthrough. 've been one-by-one going through the frames in my collection and retrofitting them with this combo to see how they play.

It's not the Problend you remember - still very low power and won't be high on comfort scale unless you customize like I do, but spin is much better (and strings snapping back and staying straight) - not fully sure why.

Love it on my shortened (26.6") Steam 96 at 61 lbs leaded up to 372 SW (open pattern, plush solid pancaking feel, great spin, low power but ability to bully the ball in the rally). Also like it in my Titanium Hammer OS 5.0 at 65 lbs - best racquet setup for volleys and chipped returns since my Profile days. Going to try it next with my denser-patterned Volkl G9, will try somewhere in high 50s. Went 55 on my leaded up Ezone 100 Lite (which is like an APD), and that had great spin but was too loose to make it special with control.
 
I'm back in the Ashaway Kevlar/MonoGut ZX camp. A small reel of Ash Kev 18 on the way. Hoping it gets close to the insane spin of Diadem Elite XT 18 / MonoGut ZX 17.

I strung up some Prince Perfection 17 / MonoGut ZX when my Diadem broke. The Prince Kevlar hits with authority but since it's coated doesn't have the crazy spin. I'm thinking the braided Ashaway Kevlar will - I've used Ashaway Kev 17 years ago but can't remember if the spin was as intense as this Diadem poly
The 18g kev/17g zx is really fun spin while it lasts.
 

QuadCam

Professional
Just came back to experimenting with kev/zx. Strung up 18 ga ashaway kevlar with 17ga ZX. I went with 70/45. And fully prestretched them both.

Yesterday, i went to the ball machine. The first 50 balls or so were amazing.... And then i noticed that the stringbed starts to lock up. Not as bad as playing with a full bed of syn gut but strings are noticably out of place. And now , im adjusting the stringbed all the time. It's more than just adjusting the strings. You can feel that the kev just doesn't slide well over the zx anymore. It creaks.

What am i missing here? This combo certainly doesn't have the slide and snapback of playing with a full bed of Alu Power. The kevlar has great bite but I'm wondering if a think round, higher power poly would be better in the crosses than the zx.

Advise please.
 

2nd Serve Ace

Hall of Fame
The black ZX seems to slide a little better compared to natural.

For the Kevlar, I've had the best success doing the four center mains high but then progressively reducing tension going further out. This directs more of the frame flex to the center of the stringbed, where it does the most good.
 
Just came back to experimenting with kev/zx. Strung up 18 ga ashaway kevlar with 17ga ZX. I went with 70/45. And fully prestretched them both.

Yesterday, i went to the ball machine. The first 50 balls or so were amazing.... And then i noticed that the stringbed starts to lock up. Not as bad as playing with a full bed of syn gut but strings are noticably out of place. And now , im adjusting the stringbed all the time. It's more than just adjusting the strings. You can feel that the kev just doesn't slide well over the zx anymore. It creaks.

What am i missing here? This combo certainly doesn't have the slide and snapback of playing with a full bed of Alu Power. The kevlar has great bite but I'm wondering if a think round, higher power poly would be better in the crosses than the zx.

Advise please.
If you liked the first 50 balls, it means you liked it best when the differential was highest.
The Kevlar will lose a lot of tension in the first hour of hitting. To make that initial feel last longer, go up to 16g kevlar for better tension stability and go up to 90 lbs in the mains, with crosses at about 40.
 

QuadCam

Professional
If you liked the first 50 balls, it means you liked it best when the differential was highest.
The Kevlar will lose a lot of tension in the first hour of hitting. To make that initial feel last longer, go up to 16g kevlar for better tension stability and go up to 90 lbs in the mains, with crosses at about 40.
The kevlar still feels super tight. Doesn't feel like it's loosened up much. The ZX has already notched the Kevlar mains, though.


Last time, I I went 86/40 on the kev/zx hybrid.... and I permanently warped my Babolat Aero Storm head. It's lopsided! That's why I dropped down to 70/45 this time.
 
For the Kevlar, I've had the best success doing the four center mains high but then progressively reducing tension going further out. This directs more of the frame flex to the center of the stringbed, where it does the most good.
Another way to achieve that proportional effect is ... took off cross ZXP. Transfer tension from outside in by pressing down first #2 then 3 toward outside. Do as much as you feel good, then reinstall ZXP. This way you are not actually increasing the overall main tension but you do give the center main a little more tension. If you are careful you can reuse ZXP, if you leave the tail uncut. A few people on the board does that. I did.
 

weelie

Semi-Pro
Now my spare racket has a Crossfire hybrid, first time I've tried Zyex. 29kg / 21kg (64lb / 46lb?), where as the main racket has some soft poly at 26kg (57lb) (102sq in frame). I can play with either, so works well. The Crossfire is more comfortable, but also sometimes I feel it launches the ball a little, I feel I need to be a bit more careful/accurate with it. Anyway, I am now rotating the rackets to get used to it.
 

graycrait

Hall of Fame
Small D1 school female player's rackets. This is the latest batch I got before I restrung. Racket on the left ZX crosses busted in the first 5 minutes. I checked the grommets and restrung the crosses. She tells me she is getting about 1.5 weeks out of a stringbed if nothing happens. I started a log and ID number for each of her 9 PCG 100s, so I can more accurately monitor how the strings are performing for her and to see if premature ZX breakage is racket specific. This is the second time the ZX cross in one of her rackets broke mid racket.

 
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USPTARF97

Hall of Fame
Small D1 school female player's rackets. This is the latest batch I before I restrung. Racket on the left ZX crosses busted in the first 5 minutes. I checked the grommets and restrung the crosses. She tells me she is getting about 1.5 weeks out of a stringbed if nothing happens. I started a log and ID number for each of her 9 PCG 100s, so I can more accurately monitor how the strings are performing for her and to see if premature ZX breakage is racket specific. This is the second time the ZX cross in one of her rackets broke mid racket.

Getting 1.5 weeks and premature breaking out of Kevlar/Zx.. she could play a good poly for half of the price and not worry about strings breaking pre maturely.
 

QuadCam

Professional
I played 3 sets of doubles last night.... All 4.5 players.

So far, I've spent a 1/2 hour hitting on a ball machine. 1/2 hitting serves... And now 3 sets.
The stringbed is completely locked up. I think i need to keep a bottle of silicone spray handy to keep the strings sliding. When the strings can move, the kev/zx playability is sublime. Spin, control, soft feel.... it's all there. When the strings lock up, it's painful to hit with. It feels like I'm hitting with a 2x4.

Speaking of spin. I've always been a big topspin player.... Playing into being a lefty. On 4 occasions last, I was shocked that balls dropped in. I usually know/expect certain balls to drop in.... But these were shots where i felt i over cooked it..... But the ball dropped like a rock l, safely in the baseline.... Leaving the opponents in wonderment. So, the spin factor is real with this combo.

What really impressed me was the directional control on this combo. It reminded me of a well worn in full gut stringjob. The type of directional control where the ball goes exactly where your mind intended it. It was very confidence inspiring.

As the night wore on and the strings locked up, all the wonderful qualities i just mentioned went away. The kevlar is notched up....and one mishit in the upper hoop completely tore through the outer braid of the kevlar. I'm pretty sure this stringjob is at the end of days. I'm spray it with silicone to see how much more i can get out of it, though.
 

graycrait

Hall of Fame
she could play a good poly for half of the price and not worry about strings breaking pre maturely.
The cost is irrelevant. It is sort of like guys who play gut poly and if the gut lasts the poly is still dead after 4-8 hrs. Boy is that expensive. In fact we tried that. Already been through fullbeds of Luxilon, Tour Bite and a couple others including poly x syn gut hybrids. She likes Ash Kev x ZX. It is fun to see and to discuss with her. Most of these kids use whatever they get from the school or started with through their junior coach. When we first met I asked her why Lux 4G at 58lbs? She said, "That is what coach told me to use and the team stringer would string my rackets?" Earlier this summer she had to transfer to the local uni and we got a couple of hits. That is when I asked her if she had ever tried various strings and rackets. She shook her head as if it was never an option. Fascinating.
 
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