In praise of Kevlar/ZX hybrid!!!

USPTARF97

Hall of Fame
I don't think that was the goal. I could be wrong though. If anyone using kevlar with a high differential embarked on that path as a way to make kevlar playable, please correct me.
Without using the high differential the Kevlar/Zx string bed is so stiff it is ridiculous. I tried it at 48/48 and not only was it stiff the playability was terrible. Guys are taking the same set up and stringing it at 60/40 and 70/40 and say that it plays well. I wouldn’t use a high differential to make Kevlar playable in my frame. Not worth it.
The playability of Gut/poly or Poly/Gut is so far beyond anything Kevlar can produce. The whole point behind Kevlar is duration. The issue is how to make it playable and not destroy your arm.
I have always looked at what will help me produce my best tennis for 2 out of 3 sets and for my game nothing comes close to Gut/poly at $15 a frame.
guys... been using this combo 16g Kev with 16g Natural ZX for like 3 yrs now... 62/52 on an PureAero... My son breaks the Kev in about 45 to 50 hours of play.... Love it but wonder if anyone has a even better combo?
Better combo meaning you would like better playability? There are many set ups with incredible playability out of that frame. If you are looking for better durability you may already be at the pinnacle with Kevlar. Something to consider is wear and tear on the arm long term.
The best tennis I see being produced with that frame is with full poly, poly/gut, and gut/poly.
 
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blai212

Professional
@travlerajm so what tension would you recommend for me with kevlar ZX hybrid in my leaded up VCP 100? I like shaped soft copoly 17g mains at around 52-53 lbs and SPPP 17g crosses at 50 lbs. Also, what can I expect if I use kevlar mains with SPPP crosses (soft low powered) or if I use ZX as a cross in a different hybrid setup? Thanks


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Radicals, IG Radical Pro, Prestige Pro..all fairly flexible frames.
Yeah, I wouldn't do a high differential on a Head or Prince frame. Just not enough meat on the bone so to speak. Babolat, except for the Aero line, can handle the differential IMHO with ease, but I think that is primarily due to its woofer system.
 

Kevo

Legend
Without using the high differential the Kevlar/Zx string bed is so stiff it is ridiculous. I tried it at 48/48 and not only was it stiff the playability was terrible.
Zyex is an interesting material. When I was playing with various Zyex strings, before the ZX mono was out, I found that most of them played better at higher tensions. I liked Dynamite better at 60lbs than I did at 50. I think the dynamic stiffness, or softness depending on how you look at, made it such that you could feel more pocketing at a higher tension. I haven't tried ZX yet because I've been pretty happy with my current all poly setup, but I wouldn't be surprised if it behaved a bit counter intuitively.

Also, kevlar is definitely not for everyone. I played it all throughout high school in prince pro blend at 60lbs. I moved to it solely for durability, but after a while I think I grew to like the feel of it. Last time I hit with it I felt kind of nostalgic. Still really like the feel of that combo, but it's not quite as nice in terms of spin or power compared to my poly setup, and I don't like to swing as hard as I did when I was younger, so it's probably not for me any more either.
 

USPTARF97

Hall of Fame
Zyex is an interesting material. When I was playing with various Zyex strings, before the ZX mono was out, I found that most of them played better at higher tensions. I liked Dynamite better at 60lbs than I did at 50. I think the dynamic stiffness, or softness depending on how you look at, made it such that you could feel more pocketing at a higher tension. I haven't tried ZX yet because I've been pretty happy with my current all poly setup, but I wouldn't be surprised if it behaved a bit counter intuitively.

Also, kevlar is definitely not for everyone. I played it all throughout high school in prince pro blend at 60lbs. I moved to it solely for durability, but after a while I think I grew to like the feel of it. Last time I hit with it I felt kind of nostalgic. Still really like the feel of that combo, but it's not quite as nice in terms of spin or power compared to my poly setup, and I don't like to swing as hard as I did when I was younger, so it's probably not for me any more either.
Hear that Zx full bed is a good substitute for full poly and easier on the arm, great for juniors. Played Pro Blend as well in college and with technology, testing, and proven results things just got much better.
Hitting with Kevlar/Zx was swinging a ton to generate the spin and pace that I can generate swinging half speed with Gut/poly. There are so many full poly set ups that are light years ahead of Kevlar set ups in terms of playability. The benefit of Kevlar set ups has always been a string bed that lasts a long time. Playability is not a strong point.
Spend a good bit of time with D1 and D2 teams and this was the arena in he last few decades where one would occasionally see Kevlar. Now they all play with full poly and if anyone experiences arm issues, they drop the tension or put a softer cross in to give the arm a break. Last two D1 teams I have seen played poly from 47-54.
 
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Kevo

Legend
Now they all play with full poly and if anyone experiences arm issues, they drop the tension or put a softer cross in to give the arm a break. Last two D1 teams I have seen played poly from 47-54.
The other thing poly has going for it is there are about 18 gazillion different strings to choose from. You can find them ranging from syn gut like stiffness to approaching kevlar like stiffness. They also come in a bunch of shapes and colors. With that sort of variety it's hard to imagine other types of synthetics being able to compete for market. Once all us older guys that have had good experiences with kevlar in the past age out, I wonder if it will be able to survive. I wonder how well it sells compared to the everything else out there.
 

USPTARF97

Hall of Fame
The other thing poly has going for it is there are about 18 gazillion different strings to choose from. You can find them ranging from syn gut like stiffness to approaching kevlar like stiffness. They also come in a bunch of shapes and colors. With that sort of variety it's hard to imagine other types of synthetics being able to compete for market. Once all us older guys that have had good experiences with kevlar in the past age out, I wonder if it will be able to survive. I wonder how well it sells compared to the everything else out there.
22 years in USPTA and spent 18 years at a 36 court facility with 3 pro shops. Have never seen one racquet come in wanting Kevlar and have only seen 1 on the court in all those years. Travel a good bit now and in and out of clubs. Don’t see Kevlar or high differentials anywhere.
Most of the Kevlar play that I saw was in the late 80’s to mid 90’s.
 
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Kevo

Legend
22 years in USPTA and spent 18 years at a 36 court facility with 3 pro shops. Have never seen one racquet come in wanting Kevlar and have only seen 1 on the court in all those years. Travel a good bit now and in and out of clubs. Don’t see Kevlar or high differentials anywhere.
Most of the Kevlar play that I saw was in the late 80’s to mid 90’s.
That tracks. The guys that I know that actually like it, which is only a handful or so, all grew up in that time frame, myself included. I seriously doubt I ever would have tried it if poly were around back then. That would have most likely solved my durability issue and I wouldn't have had any reason to go to the kevlar.
 

First3Shots

New User
I strung my Prince Tour ESP 98 with Crossfire ZX at 60/45. It was great...while it lasted.

The Kevlar mains snapped in about 10 hours. I can do better than that with a 15g poly.

Was this an anomaly? Should I try again? It didn’t seem like a fluke. There was quite a bit of notching on the Kevlar before it snapped.
 

hurworld

Hall of Fame
guys... been using this combo 16g Kev with 16g Natural ZX for like 3 yrs now... 62/52 on an PureAero... My son breaks the Kev in about 45 to 50 hours of play.... Love it but wonder if anyone has a even better combo?
50 hours in Pure Aero is amazing. Maybe try 15 or 15L Ash Kev if they even produce such gauge?
 

hurworld

Hall of Fame
I strung my Prince Tour ESP 98 with Crossfire ZX at 60/45. It was great...while it lasted.

The Kevlar mains snapped in about 10 hours. I can do better than that with a 15g poly.

Was this an anomaly? Should I try again? It didn’t seem like a fluke. There was quite a bit of notching on the Kevlar before it snapped.
Crossfire ZX's Kevlar is Kevlar+ (with added stuff, think to make it play softer), not the regular Kevlar. Perhaps the regular Kevlar would last longer.
 

marsh

Semi-Pro
So, I've been absent for a while because I recently switched the Prince Phantom 93s and I've been experimenting with full poly. This past weekend is was time for restringing and threw in my old favorite Ash Kev 17 and Monogut 16 at 60/45 in the 14 by 16 racquet. Wow, I instantly remembered why I started this thread.
 

travlerajm

G.O.A.T.
I strung my Prince Tour ESP 98 with Crossfire ZX at 60/45. It was great...while it lasted.

The Kevlar mains snapped in about 10 hours. I can do better than that with a 15g poly.

Was this an anomaly? Should I try again? It didn’t seem like a fluke. There was quite a bit of notching on the Kevlar before it snapped.
Crossfire zx is 17g. If it lasted you 10h, 16g kevlar should last you about 30h.
 
I'm going to hybrid ZX with natural gut
I do full bed with either at 58.

How should I do hybrid?
Which goes in main?
which goes in Cross?

What about the tension for each one,?
 

2nd Serve Ace

Hall of Fame
No serious player has a differential of more than a few pounds. Is this extreme differential thing been dismissed as Internet wackiness?
The critical factor is doing the Kev sorta high to keep it taught and snapping back.

As for the ZX, do whatever you like, but i couldn't get a fully prestretched (10% elongation) 17 pro Zx in over 42 without it breaking!
 
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USPTARF97

Hall of Fame
The critical factor is doing the Kev sorta high to keep it taught and snapping back.

As for the ZX, do whatever you like, but i couldn't get a fully prestretched 17 pro Zx in over 42 without it breaking!
For this reason have stuck with a softer slick poly cross. (1.25) Didn’t like the idea of a string breaking on the stringer. 50 is the highest have strung Zx.
 
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Kevo

Legend
No serious player has a differential of more than a few pounds. Is this extreme differential thing been dismissed as Internet wackiness?
I'm currently playing full poly, WC Ultra Cable, at 52/40lbs. in my racquets. Not sure what you would say is extreme, but so far I am liking differentials in the 20-30% range. I'll probably keep experimenting, but so far I think it's a winner. Been hitting some really good spin with this setup. Serves are really popping too. Last doubles match I played I had several second serve aces with this setup. Also had a ton of free points on the second serve as well. I think the only way I could be happier is if I can be more consistent with my focus and footwork. The racquet setup right now is probably the best I've had all around.
 

2nd Serve Ace

Hall of Fame
I've strung full bed ZX at 58 with no problems the last few times
Going to give 16 natural a shot.

Hoping it is less fragile. Would like to be complete non poly if possible.

FWIW, a lot of 18 gauge polys can't survive 58: head hawk and ghostwire I know are problematic.
 
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blai212

Professional
strung kevlar ZX at 60/40 in my ezone 100 and played it last night...it has a decent feel but kevlar is such a dead string i dont think i could ever use it as my go to string. I could definitely feel the softness/power of the ZX but there was such a lack of control or ESP as @travlerjam calls it. My go to setup right now is tourna big hitter silver 7 tour mains // SPPP crosses in my leaded up VCP 100. BHS7T has the shaped sharpness of diadem solstice power but the comfort/power of cyclone tour...I highly recommend it. @USPTARF97 @Injured Again, how does big hitter black 7 compare to BHS7T? Also I’ve been finding that SPPP (signum pro poly plasma) in my crosses starts out with a smooth semi slick coating that wears off after a couple hours, thus inhibiting snapback and causing mains to be displaced regularly so I think I should try a slicker cross that would have a coating more resilient to being worn out. I have tried poly tour fire but felt that was too stiff. How does black zone work as a cross?


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USPTARF97

Hall of Fame
strung kevlar ZX at 60/40 in my ezone 100 and played it last night...it has a decent feel but kevlar is such a dead string i dont think i could ever use it as my go to string. I could definitely feel the softness/power of the ZX but there was such a lack of control or ESP as @travlerjam calls it. My go to setup right now is tourna big hitter silver 7 tour mains // SPPP crosses in my leaded up VCP 100. BHS7T has the shaped sharpness of diadem solstice power but the comfort/power of cyclone tour...I highly recommend it. @USPTARF97 @Injured Again, how does big hitter black 7 compare to BHS7T? Also I’ve been finding that SPPP (signum pro poly plasma) in my crosses starts out with a smooth semi slick coating that wears off after a couple hours, thus inhibiting snapback and causing mains to be displaced regularly so I think I should try a slicker cross that would have a coating more resilient to being worn out. I have tried poly tour fire but felt that was too stiff. How does black zone work as a cross?


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Hard to go wrong with BHB7 or BHS7T full bed. Feel like I have a bit more control with the BHS7T and a little more pop with BHB7. Can adjust tension with either one a few lbs and find what you want in terms of playability.
 
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Injured Again

Professional
strung kevlar ZX at 60/40 in my ezone 100 and played it last night...it has a decent feel but kevlar is such a dead string i dont think i could ever use it as my go to string. I could definitely feel the softness/power of the ZX but there was such a lack of control or ESP as @travlerjam calls it. My go to setup right now is tourna big hitter silver 7 tour mains // SPPP crosses in my leaded up VCP 100. BHS7T has the shaped sharpness of diadem solstice power but the comfort/power of cyclone tour...I highly recommend it. @USPTARF97 @Injured Again, how does big hitter black 7 compare to BHS7T? Also I’ve been finding that SPPP (signum pro poly plasma) in my crosses starts out with a smooth semi slick coating that wears off after a couple hours, thus inhibiting snapback and causing mains to be displaced regularly so I think I should try a slicker cross that would have a coating more resilient to being worn out. I have tried poly tour fire but felt that was too stiff. How does black zone work as a cross?
I haven't tried the Bit Hitter Black 7 but I continue to be very impressed with Silver 7 Tour. With @USPTARF97 saying that BHB7 is a bit more powerful than S7T but otherwise being pretty similar, I will probably end up trying it at some point.
 

USPTARF97

Hall of Fame
They are both great strings. Have settled on the Silver in the PS97’s @ 52lbs and the Black in the 6.1 95’s @ 45lbs.
 
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I played with the ZX main / Gut Cross.
The strings felt notched even before hitting a single ball.
I played a set and the strings did not need to be readjusted, so I like that.
 

2nd Serve Ace

Hall of Fame
strung kevlar ZX at 60/40 in my ezone 100 and played it last night...it has a decent feel but kevlar is such a dead string i dont think i could ever use it as my go to string. I could definitely feel the softness/power of the ZX but there was such a lack of control or ESP as @travlerjam calls it. My go to setup right now is tourna big hitter silver 7 tour mains // SPPP crosses in my leaded up VCP 100. BHS7T has the shaped sharpness of diadem solstice power but the comfort/power of cyclone tour...I highly recommend it. @USPTARF97 @Injured Again, how does big hitter black 7 compare to BHS7T? Also I’ve been finding that SPPP (signum pro poly plasma) in my crosses starts out with a smooth semi slick coating that wears off after a couple hours, thus inhibiting snapback and causing mains to be displaced regularly so I think I should try a slicker cross that would have a coating more resilient to being worn out. I have tried poly tour fire but felt that was too stiff. How does black zone work as a cross?


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You might want to check out tier 1 ghostwire. Most durable, slick poly cross I've ever used.

Zone isn't bad either but there is some denting that happens.
 

tennisbike

Semi-Pro
kevlar ZX at 60/40 .. lack of control
Try increasing the cross tension. (By removing the cross and re-pull, you can leave out the last cross since you might not have enough string.. to experiment. But be warned that you will be labeled a heretic on this forum.)

tourna big hitter silver 7 tour mains // SPPP crosses in my leaded up VCP 100. BHS7T has the shaped sharpness of diadem solstice power but the comfort/power of cyclone tour...
Off Topic: In case you are not aware of this, shaped main would tend to dig into the cross causing the main to stick. Your problem appears to be the shaped main not the SPPP cross.
 

blai212

Professional
Try increasing the cross tension. (By removing the cross and re-pull, you can leave out the last cross since you might not have enough string.. to experiment. But be warned that you will be labeled a heretic on this forum.)


Off Topic: In case you are not aware of this, shaped main would tend to dig into the cross causing the main to stick. Your problem appears to be the shaped main not the SPPP cross.
i gave up on the kevlar ZX experiment after one outing...jus doesnt get the type of bite that shaped polys do...tourna BHS7T mains with SPPP is quite nice...gonna compare 17g to hyperG and see, will report back...but as for kevlar, not for me...too low powered, not enough spin


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blai212

Professional
You might want to check out tier 1 ghostwire. Most durable, slick poly cross I've ever used.

Zone isn't bad either but there is some denting that happens.
ive tried ghostwire, it is up there in terms of poly crosses but I still think SPPP takes the cake


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USPTARF97

Hall of Fame
i gave up on the kevlar ZX experiment after one outing...jus doesnt get the type of bite that shaped polys do...tourna BHS7T mains with SPPP is quite nice...gonna compare 17g to hyperG and see, will report back...but as for kevlar, not for me...too low powered, not enough spin


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One frame with Kevlar/Zx in the 40’s and I was done. Pitiful in terms of playability in comparison to any number of set ups.
 

blai212

Professional
What did you find difficult about it? I don't string it that often any more, but I've always thought it was very easy to string.
it’s like pushing rope thru the hole which gets difficult sometimes in shared holes that u need to tie off etc


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graycrait

Hall of Fame
it’s like pushing rope thru the hole which gets difficult sometimes in shared holes that u need to tie off etc
I dip about 2" of each end in thin super glue and immediately wipe it off as it soaks in, prevents build up and and dries fast. Clip the ends to spear points.
 

USPTARF97

Hall of Fame
The worthy ones who are willing to experiment, who are persistent and dedicated shall reek the fruit. I just reused the Kevlar + with cheap SG @ 55/35. Feels sweet, but will try it out on the court soon.
I consider it an issue of worthiness as well. My arm is worth way too much to play strings that stiff in my frames.
 

drak

Hall of Fame
I consider it an issue of worthiness as well. My arm is worth way too much to play strings that stiff in my frames.
when I has Kev/ZX in my Blade 98s at 62/44 I felt like I couldn't miss and the top/slice was amazing. However it did after weeks of playing 3-4 times per week start to take a toll on my shoulder. I have since changed rackets and use Gut/Poly almost exclusively in my Angell frames. I do still experiment with different cross string and tension combos with Gut/Poly and my latest effort may have been my best in approximating Kev/ZX but with way improved comfort. I strung the Klip gut mains at 57, then I used Volkl cyclone tour crosses in a very different configuration I picked up from a thread several yrs ago. I strung 10 crosses skipping every other cross (so weave was the same) at 53 lbs and remember there is NO FRICTION pulling these 10 crosses. Then I wove the other 9 mains and only pulled 15 lbs or so in my attempt to keep the friction down and allow for as much snapback as possible - so it's a regular alternating weave string pattern which is fully legal. I have hit/played with it twice now and love the results, the spin is not quite at 98S levels with a 62/44 kev/ZX but its as close as I have come (its a "tighter" spin with a bit less launch angle) AND this is in an Angell TC95 16x19. The comfort is superb, the stringbed feels great and there is no string movement. The Volkl 1.30 Cyclone tour while being many sided has a very low COF (.068 I believe) - sawing action against gut is minimal (I use 1.30 or 1.35 gauge. I will keep you posted and I am going to string my K7 red now with a bit different tension.
 

USPTARF97

Hall of Fame
when I has Kev/ZX in my Blade 98s at 62/44 I felt like I couldn't miss and the top/slice was amazing. However it did after weeks of playing 3-4 times per week start to take a toll on my shoulder. I have since changed rackets and use Gut/Poly almost exclusively in my Angell frames. I do still experiment with different cross string and tension combos with Gut/Poly and my latest effort may have been my best in approximating Kev/ZX but with way improved comfort. I strung the Klip gut mains at 57, then I used Volkl cyclone tour crosses in a very different configuration I picked up from a thread several yrs ago. I strung 10 crosses skipping every other cross (so weave was the same) at 53 lbs and remember there is NO FRICTION pulling these 10 crosses. Then I wove the other 9 mains and only pulled 15 lbs or so in my attempt to keep the friction down and allow for as much snapback as possible - so it's a regular alternating weave string pattern which is fully legal. I have hit/played with it twice now and love the results, the spin is not quite at 98S levels with a 62/44 kev/ZX but its as close as I have come (its a "tighter" spin with a bit less launch angle) AND this is in an Angell TC95 16x19. The comfort is superb, the stringbed feels great and there is no string movement. The Volkl 1.30 Cyclone tour while being many sided has a very low COF (.068 I believe) - sawing action against gut is minimal (I use 1.30 or 1.35 gauge. I will keep you posted and I am going to string my K7 red now with a bit different tension.
That stringing method sounds interesting.
The toll it takes on the arm from Kevlar is normally over a period of time and not immediate.
Playing Gut/poly in 16x19 frames and my arm hasn’t felt this good since I was in my 20’s. Playing 5.0 tennis and training with players a level or two above me. No pain.
Hit with some full poly set ups in other frames at lower tension and it’s all good.
No need for a science project here with the stiffest string on the planet. The Zx crosses I find interesting as a softer option for poly and may give that a go with the gut mains.
 
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