In praise of Kevlar/ZX hybrid!!!

My body weight may not be much, but I use what I got.
I used to do the Ash Kev body weight prestretch. I have also purchased several different kinds of Kevlar 1.30mm (380lb tensile strength) string off the big auction site to see if there is anything that can be used in lieu of Ash Kev with any degree of success. Suffice it to say I could nearly fly a kite to the moon now and that no one makes a Kevlar string braided quite like Ashaway. As far as I can tell Ashaway's method of producing its kevlar string is unique among kevlar string makers. Just to satisfy my curiosity I sure wish there was some accurate way to measure Ash Kev's tension loss on the racket, especially using different methods of prestretching, no prestretching, as well as high, "normal" and low reference tension with various prestretch and no stretch stringing. I'm kind of doubtful about Racquet Tune when used with Ash Kev.
 
Not exactly On Topic but related. (Re: Ashaway Crossfire w/ Prince Warrior Reponse cross reused on Prince Triple Threat Bandit OS)
This was my main stick after I strung it with Crossfire late June 2018 until end of 2018.

Last time: 09/22/2018 free main tension (SM) tuned to 20-18 lb. cross tension to 52lb

Hit yesterday, center main not returning to position, spin seemed a bit lower, control a bit off

Today: 04.27/2019
Center 8 main strings: 45-44-40-31| 35-37-42-47,
cross: about 31~33

Cut cross knot, removed cross, .. main free tension tuned to 14-15 center, 10-11 edge.
Pull cross at 50 lbs.
Center 8 main strings: 55-54-41-43|48-49-54-55
cross: about 32~35
* strung only 18 cross because string is shortened. Had to use starting clamp twice to complete the last two pulls.

The hitting zone is pretty .. fuzzy on the center 2 mains but Warrior Response cross is notch free. Going to add some stringsavers on these two main strings.

A take away/note:
  • No doubt, the Kevlar main has loosened, comparing 20-18 to 15-10 lbs reading.
  • Came off stringer surprisingly easy. I thought the main was squashed but it is within 1mm. I do not have a good caliper for the length of the hoop. Not saying there isn't squash just that I was not able to measure it with my instrument.
  • Increasing cross tension increases main tension much much more than cross. Before and after stringing, main increase by about 10 lb while cross increase maybe 1 or 2 lbs. The mechanism is that when the cross is pressed, the main length would increase hence increase the tension on the main strings.
  • Kind of regret I did not grab the reel of Prince Warrior Response when it was on clearance for $50. It is slick.
 
So after reading this tread i ordered a set of crossfire kev/zx 18 strings. I want to try it on my Babolat PA. After reading here i have come down to try 65/45? Thankful for any other advice.
 
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So after reading this tread i ordered a set of crossfire kev/zx 18 strings. I want to try it on my Babolat PA. After reading here i have come down to try 65/45? Thankful for any other advice.
Sorry to break the bad news to you. As far as I know there is Crossfire ZX 17 with Kevlar+ and ZX Pro and there is Crossfire Kevlar 18 with Kevlar and SG. Former is on sale for $8.50 for 4. If you have purchased the Crossfire 18 you can still use the kevlar but you will have only the 16G Syn.gut not the ZX. I suggest that you use the crossfire 18 as planned. And if you feel like trying out a different cross then just redo the cross. I am assuming you have access to a stringer. ??
 
Sorry to break the bad news to you. As far as I know there is Crossfire ZX 17 with Kevlar+ and ZX Pro and there is Crossfire Kevlar 18 with Kevlar and SG. Former is on sale for $8.50 for 4. If you have purchased the Crossfire 18 you can still use the kevlar but you will have only the 16G Syn.gut not the ZX. I suggest that you use the crossfire 18 as planned. And if you feel like trying out a different cross then just redo the cross. I am assuming you have access to a stringer. ??
Ouch! I see, yes i have my own stringmachine.
But i am lucky, cause i ordered zx pro at the same time as the crossfire 18.

Thank you for the info(y)
 
I tried a set of ashaway Kevlar pre stretched 16 gauge at 78lbs. with A ZX cross that I also pre stretched and put in at 50 lbs. It was an okay set up and it was comfortable but I didn’t get the magic that some claim. It played okay but nothing special. I prefer Kevlar main with a poly cross.

If anyone wants a great control set up try Kevlar with poly cross or if you want even more control and comfort go with Kevlar main and head rip control cross. This set up gives unmatched control and the rip control makes the Kevlar main very comfortable.
 
I tried a set of ashaway Kevlar pre stretched 16 gauge at 78lbs. with A ZX cross that I also pre stretched and put in at 50 lbs. It was an okay set up and it was comfortable but I didn’t get the magic that some claim. It played okay but nothing special. I prefer Kevlar main with a poly cross.

If anyone wants a great control set up try Kevlar with poly cross or if you want even more control and comfort go with Kevlar main and head rip control cross. This set up gives unmatched control and the rip control makes the Kevlar main very comfortable.
I played kevlar/poly for about 5 years and then kevlar/zx for 5 years. At equivalent stringbed stiffness, these combos play and feel very similar at low to medium ball speeds. But they play very differently at high ball speeds because the zx power level is more linear and stretches deeper at higher impact forces, while the poly is much stiffer and lower powered at higher impact forces.
 
I played kevlar/poly for about 5 years and then kevlar/zx for 5 years. At equivalent stringbed stiffness, these combos play and feel very similar at low to medium ball speeds. But they play very differently at high ball speeds because the zx power level is more linear and stretches deeper at higher impact forces, while the poly is much stiffer and lower powered at higher impact forces.
That’s probably why I like the poly cross better because of it’s stiffness it gives better control.
 
Just ordered a set of ashaway Kevlar and monogut zx to try on my 14x18 Prince Phantom 93P - will be going through a couple poly sets before putting them on but I'm thinking the differential does not have to be as big since this is a pretty open pattern with an inherently high launch angle.
 
I’ve been using the combo in practice for the last few days and it feels even better than when new. I put the Kevlar at 78 lbs. and the ZX at 50 lbs. It plays well and is very comfortable just a little too much spring for me if I was playing a match. I prefer the Kevlar with poly cross or even better yet for me is Kevlar main with rip control cross.
 
@tomato123 , I have more than several Prince 93" 14x18s strung with Ash Kev x Zyex. I prestretched the strings. With the Ash Kev I use a winch to prestretch the strings. With Zyex I use body weight and try for around 20", nothing too extreme. I string 93 14x18s at 65/55. I string a D1 gal's 16x18 Prince Classic Graphite 100s the same way and she is going to the NCAA tournament as her little D1 team is 22-0. She is like 17 or 18-2 in singles. She is killer in doubles, something like 12-0 in No 1 singles playing with an unrated freshman.
 
@tomato123 , I have more than several Prince 93" 14x18s strung with Ash Kev x Zyex. I prestretched the strings. With the Ash Kev I use a winch to prestretch the strings. With Zyex I use body weight and try for around 20", nothing too extreme. I string 93 14x18s at 65/55. I string a D1 gal's 16x18 Prince Classic Graphite 100s the same way and she is going to the NCAA tournament as her little D1 team is 22-0. She is like 17 or 18-2 in singles. She is killer in doubles, something like 12-0 in No 1 singles playing with an unrated freshman.
I do not have the winch device but I will most likely let the string sit for a minute or so on each pull on the dropweight before clamping, and hopefully it will be adequate (this is how I used to string this combo on my old Yonex frames) But 65/55 sounds like a great starting point on the 14x18, much appreciated for your input. I'm actually very curious to see how this will work, and my intuition tells me that it will be a great setup for this racquet. Depending on when the strings arrive I may put the polyesters on hold and get out to the courts with this setup asap.
 
Is such a massive differential common?
Why 60 and 40 ?
One reason applies specifically to kevlar mains. The braided structure loses 10-15 lbs of tension during the break-in period as the fibers settles and align. Pre stretching it alleviates the break-in tension loss a little, but not completely.

The second reason applies to all string types. Having mains much tighter than crosses gives the mains much greater freedom to travel within the stringbed plane. This has pros and cons:
Pros: more comfort, more snapback effect, more spin, more power.

Cons: higher launch angle, less launch angle control, especially on volleys and blocked returns
 
Yea, but if the tension is too low, don't the strings just move on contact and not even snap back?
When my multi was fraying and about to snap, my serves were not even reaching the net.
The strings were pushed to the side by over 1 inch. Like imagine stringing at 1lbs tension.
The ball would not go anywhere.
 
Yea, but if the tension is too low, don't the strings just move on contact and not even snap back?
When my multi was fraying and about to snap, my serves were not even reaching the net.
The strings were pushed to the side by over 1 inch. Like imagine stringing at 1lbs tension.
The ball would not go anywhere.
Exactly. But if the mains were 20 lbs tighter they would snap back and provide more spin.
 
I used to do the Ash Kev body weight prestretch. I have also purchased several different kinds of Kevlar 1.30mm (380lb tensile strength) string off the big auction site to see if there is anything that can be used in lieu of Ash Kev with any degree of success. Suffice it to say I could nearly fly a kite to the moon now and that no one makes a Kevlar string braided quite like Ashaway. As far as I can tell Ashaway's method of producing its kevlar string is unique among kevlar string makers. Just to satisfy my curiosity I sure wish there was some accurate way to measure Ash Kev's tension loss on the racket, especially using different methods of prestretching, no prestretching, as well as high, "normal" and low reference tension with various prestretch and no stretch stringing. I'm kind of doubtful about Racquet Tune when used with Ash Kev.
Don't know if you have commented on this subject before. What is your opinion on Ashaway's Kevlar Plus?

I ordered a bunch of Crossfire ZX, thinking I was getting regular Kev and ZX, but it came with Kev+.
 
What is your opinion on Ashaway's Kevlar Plus?
I have no clue why Ashaway even makes Kevlar +? In lieu of plain Ashaway Kevlar it will do pretty much the same thing just plays a bit softer which isn't gaining me anything when I string Ash Kev x Zyex.

Maybe it is for people who want to string Kevlar fullbed, I dunno why they make it? I have not heard of anyone who prefers Ash Kev+ x Zyex over Ash Kev x Zyex.

I would use it just like you would Ash Kev. I have used Plus before like that and it worked OK in some other guy's rackets I strung it in. I had some and strung it for free but he has a pancake serve, flat forehand and backhand. His idea of spin is open stance last minute BH slice across the body sending the ball 30' in the air. Strong guy though and can whallop the heck out of the ball.
 
Don't know if you have commented on this subject before. What is your opinion on Ashaway's Kevlar Plus?

I ordered a bunch of Crossfire ZX, thinking I was getting regular Kev and ZX, but it came with Kev+.
I have both Kev/ZX and Kev+/ZX in two different racquets. The former in APD2013 and the latter in O3 Tour Mid. Playability-wise I can't tell the difference. Maybe there is a feel/touch difference but since the two racquets are quite different so I can't tell you for sure. One thing I can tell (and my hitting partner told me too) is the hybrids definitely give more spin than what I had before.
 
I have both Kev/ZX and Kev+/ZX in two different racquets. The former in APD2013 and the latter in O3 Tour Mid. Playability-wise I can't tell the difference. Maybe there is a feel/touch difference but since the two racquets are quite different so I can't tell you for sure. One thing I can tell (and my hitting partner told me too) is the hybrids definitely give more spin than what I had before.
Are you comparing Kev and Kev+ in the same gauge?
 
Are you comparing Kev and Kev+ in the same gauge?
Nope, but don't think it matters that much. The Kev+ (1.25) is from Crossfire ZX 17 pack, and Kev is from Crossfire II (1.30). Since I couldn't buy half set of Ash Kev to experiment with here in the UK, I ended up buying a pack of Crossfire II (Kev/Syn) and a pack of Monogut ZX Pro, then used the Kev from Crossfire II with half set of Monogut ZX Pro for the hybrid.
 
One thing I can tell (and my hitting partner told me too) is the hybrids definitely give more spin than what I had before.
No offense intended but for lots of levels of recreational hacks, me included, this hybrid is a good compromise string that offers comfort and decent play-ability until it breaks. It sort of boggles my mind that just because it says Kevlar so many look on it with either derision or disbelief.

The only person I have strung this for who said cut it out is this 40 yr old high roller I hit with on occasion. He said it doesn't give him enough spin but will have me string Hyper G in his racket at 58lbs and play with it for months and months even though I tell him it needs to be cut out. I really think when he travels and takes his rackets to meet some fellow countrymen immigrant tennis players Ash Kev x Zyex gets him some snickers. When he pulls up next to my 2001 CRV with his late model Lexus car or Mercedes SUV he just shakes his head and asks me when I am going to get a new car? I tell him I really think my CRV is going to last me until internal combustion engines are taxed out of existence so we all buy electric, which might be after I die.
 
Thinking about trying this for the first time. Is there a general consensus on tension? Skimming this thread it seems like a ton of different opinions.

My usual string combo is cyclone with black zone crosses at 48 .

Thanks
 
I don't have a machine, I have to have them done. Don't know what kind of machine used.
One of the issues with this hybrid is the prestretching and I doubt a retail stringer will do anything other than a 10% machine prestretch if they use an electronic constant pull. I can't imagine taking half set of each to a retail stringer and being very satisfied with the stringbed. Maybe it is possible.
 
I would say tighter as ashkev has no snapback but better bite.
Kev/ZXP has great snapback and and highly extended duration of this relative to poly or pretty much any other hybrid I’ve tried. Full bed Kev, sure, it locks against itself.

For tension I’d start with 60 lbs Kev/ 45 lbs ZXP as that plays similarly to 45-48lb poly IME.


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For the first time I can recall (but maybe it happened before...), I noticed the performance of my Kev/ZXP string bed falling off in my last couple matches (after 25-30 hours of play). I felt disconnected from the ball and didn't feel like I was able to generate as much spin or rip the fuzz off the ball like usual. The Kev is still very straight but is really dirty...running my fingers against it I can tell the normally high friction surface is much smoother. So, I'm cutting it out and will start again fresh. After using Kev/ZXP for well over a year, this is the FIRST time I am ever cutting it out before the Kev breaks.

Moral of the story? I dunno, other than I guess I should pay closer attention to string bed performance rather than waiting for the ZXP to saw through the Kevlar. I would always cut out and replace poly after ~8 hours of play...maybe I'll consider doing the same for Kev/ZXP at the 30 hour mark. After all, it is only $5 to replace the Kevlar and I can reuse the ZXP (2-piece crosses).
 
.. performance of my Kev/ZXP string bed falling off in my last couple matches (after 25-30 hours of play).

... I can reuse the ZXP (2-piece crosses).
I am not the least bit surprised. My limited experience tells me that Kev/ZXP string bed does change over time. The rate of change seemed pretty constant though. It is like it is loosening from the beginning, and continues to loosen pretty much all the way. Where some people say poly plays well until certain hours, as if the rate of change takes a turn at a certain point.

Since you are able to reuse the ZXP, If you can afford the time to try, I would recommend you to try simply re-pulling the cross again to your target ref. tension. You might find that, 1) string bed still sucks and how it sucks. (you did not say what way). 2) string bed feels better. or 3) too stiff. I found, at re-pull #3 string bed was too stiff, but after a week it played better. But at this point, Kevlar already became so slacked, the ability to snap back to original position has decreased. But you might still have enough main tension to have another 20 hours of good play.
 
I am not the least bit surprised. My limited experience tells me that Kev/ZXP string bed does change over time. The rate of change seemed pretty constant though. It is like it is loosening from the beginning, and continues to loosen pretty much all the way. Where some people say poly plays well until certain hours, as if the rate of change takes a turn at a certain point.
Agree -- there is no real point where the performance falls off a cliff...it simply degrades over time. I think hours 2-20 are just about perfect for me, before or after are just ok. Most of the time I play with the hybrid until the Kevlar breaks and it is fine, but this last time it felt like it made the difference between me winning/losing some important points (slightly long as I feel I didn't get the amount of topspin I expected) under pressure.

Since you are able to reuse the ZXP, If you can afford the time to try, I would recommend you to try simply re-pulling the cross again to your target ref. tension. You might find that, 1) string bed still sucks and how it sucks. (you did not say what way). 2) string bed feels better. or 3) too stiff. I found, at re-pull #3 string bed was too stiff, but after a week it played better. But at this point, Kevlar already became so slacked, the ability to snap back to original position has decreased. But you might still have enough main tension to have another 20 hours of good play.
I actually think the degraded performance at 25 hours+ is due to the Kevlar, not the ZXP. In my case, the Kevlar is ratty/dirty, and fraying at the cross intersections. I think the high friction of the Kev surface is important to spin generation and resultant control. I'm sure it has also lost some tension, although you might be right that there is still plenty left (since I start at 75lbs). But, since Kev is only $5, it is a no-brainer to cut it out and start over. I do re-use ZXP (generally just once). To do so I unweave all crosses (after cutting out the Kev mains) and can typically finish 16 crosses (on a 16x19) with it. I then knot it with the cross above. I then use a starting knot on the 16th cross with a shorter leftover piece of ZXP for 17 (double-pull), 18, and 19. I can detect no performance difference between re-used 2-piece ZXP crosses and a fresh pre-stretched 1-piece ZXP cross.

Anyways, strung up both rackets with Kev/ZXP at 75 lbs/45 lbs -- one with fresh ZXP and one with re-used. Played an hour on each this morning and they both feel great. The one with fresh ZXP was quite a bit stiffer/boardy for the first 20 minutes but I always attribute the boardiness to the Kevlar.
 
Anyways, strung up both rackets with Kev/ZXP at 75 lbs/45 lbs -- one with fresh ZXP and one with re-used. Played an hour on each this morning and they both feel great. The one with fresh ZXP was quite a bit stiffer/boardy for the first 20 minutes but I always attribute the boardiness to the Kevlar.
Thanks for sharing how you reused the ZXP. Last time I kept the tail end so that I did not have to patch in another section. Or if I cut out the tail, I might just leave off the last cross.

Disagreement: You strung both racket with identically pre-stretched Kevlar, and one has fresh pre-stretched ZXP and the other has used ZXP. Fresh ZXP felt stiffer and you think stiffness came from the the Kevlar!?
 
Disagreement: You strung both racket with identically pre-stretched Kevlar, and one has fresh pre-stretched ZXP and the other has used ZXP. Fresh ZXP felt stiffer and you think stiffness came from the the Kevlar!?
Yes, based on my experience with ZXP in fullbed, as a main, and as a cross in various non-Kev hybrids I can say with confidence it is never Board or stiff. It is springy. Kevlar takes a little time/use to “relax” and that is what is happening here IMO. It is normal with this hybrid setup. I strung two different rackets with different sets of Kev - even though my prestretch routine is similar I can’t be sure the end result is 100% identical.




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Can anyone stringing up Kev/ZX next time let me know how much static weight it adds to your unstrung racquet? Thanks.
Not exactly what you asked for but here is the weight of ~20' of each
Ashaway Kevlar 17: 8g
Ashaway Kevlar 16: 9g
Ashaway Monogut ZX Pro: 13g

Keep in mind that depending on your racket, this overestimates how much weight you are adding as there will probably be ~1-2' of excess Kevlar and 2-3' of excess ZXP.
 
Not exactly what you asked for but here is the weight of ~20' of each
Ashaway Kevlar 17: 8g
Ashaway Kevlar 16: 9g
Ashaway Monogut ZX Pro: 13g

Keep in mind that depending on your racket, this overestimates how much weight you are adding as there will probably be ~1-2' of excess Kevlar and 2-3' of excess ZXP.
Thanks. That doesn't quite give me what I wanted to know, but I guess at least there's a ceiling that I can use as gauge.

No hurries. If anyone remembers to measure before and after stringing with this hybrid, I'd like to know.
 
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