In praise of Kevlar/ZX hybrid!!!

QuadCam

Professional
I am back on kevlar/zx on my regular racquet.

It’s working great on all stringbed metrics on my Ultra Tour.
What are you using for tensions these days?

I come and go away from the Kev/zx all the time. I'm thinking of trying it again in my 315ltds. Have a reel of 17 kev and some packs of zx lying around.
 

travlerajm

G.O.A.T.
What are you using for tensions these days?

I come and go away from the Kev/zx all the time. I'm thinking of trying it again in my 315ltds. Have a reel of 17 kev and some packs of zx lying around.
I am really liking it at 56/50 prestretched in my UT, which is a very dense pattern (probably the densest available new on the market). And I have it leaded up to 365sw.

I am going to try 50/40 prestretched on my BLX Pro Tour, which is even denser.
 
I am really liking it at 56/50 prestretched in my UT, which is a very dense pattern (probably the densest available new on the market). And I have it leaded up to 365sw.

I am going to try 50/40 prestretched on my BLX Pro Tour, which is even denser.
I was thinking of going with 60/50 on my Gravity Pro (not so dense 18x20). Thoughts? And it's Crossfire ZX, not Kevlar/ZX.
 

Shroud

G.O.A.T.
I was thinking of going with 60/50 on my Gravity Pro (not so dense 18x20). Thoughts? And it's Crossfire ZX, not Kevlar/ZX.
Monogut/monogut zx. Should be good. Not as dead or stiff as kev/zx. If I understand the ESP stringbed, because monogut (silver poly) is not nearly as stiff as kev you probably need even more differential than 10 lbs.

That said I may have that 100% backword :).

Make sure you prestretch the mains too.
 
Monogut/monogut zx. Should be good. Not as dead or stiff as kev/zx. If I understand the ESP stringbed, because monogut (silver poly) is not nearly as stiff as kev you probably need even more differential than 10 lbs.

That said I may have that 100% backword :).

Make sure you prestretch the mains too.
Crossfire ZX is Kev+/ZX
 

srimes

Rookie
How different is the kevlar+ptfe? I've been using regular 17g kev/ 16g mzx for years at 60/40, prestretched at 90/60. Just learned about kev+ and wondering if it's worth checking out.
 

2ndServe

Hall of Fame
How different is the kevlar+ptfe? I've been using regular 17g kev/ 16g mzx for years at 60/40, prestretched at 90/60. Just learned about kev+ and wondering if it's worth checking out.
Feel - no difference
longevity - I didn't notice any

Possibly more slippery for longer but I think that depends on cross used, as some polys just dig and dent even kevlar after time
 

tlm

G.O.A.T.
I tried Ash Kev mains vs Lux 4g crosses on more than several rackets. The guys who tried both, Ash Kev x ZX and Ash Kev x 4G, all agreed that Ash Kev x ZX played "better."
Well I wasn’t one of those guys because I would take the kev main with the poly cross every time. I use either 4G or ALU Power as the cross with 17 gauge ashaway Kevlar and they both play excellent. The ZX is just too springy for me and it can snap even stringing it at 60lbs.

I put my Kevlar Mains at 62 and the poly cross at 68 lbs. this set up is one of the best control string jobs I have ever used. The ZX set up might play longer than the poly cross does, but as long as I can get a good 10 hours out of it I don’t mind restringing.
 

Shroud

G.O.A.T.
Well I wasn’t one of those guys because I would take the kev main with the poly cross every time. I use either 4G or ALU Power as the cross with 17 gauge ashaway Kevlar and they both play excellent. The ZX is just too springy for me and it can snap even stringing it at 60lbs.

I put my Kevlar Mains at 62 and the poly cross at 68 lbs. this set up is one of the best control string jobs I have ever used. The ZX set up might play longer than the poly cross does, but as long as I can get a good 10 hours out of it I don’t mind restringing.
If you do a full manual prestretch with the 4g it will last a ton. Agree about zx. If it could play at 80+ lbs I would use it but it cant so I don't.

Kev/zx reminds me of being in bed with my ex wife. Its dead as hell but no need to cut it out...
 
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2ndServe

Hall of Fame
Well I wasn’t one of those guys because I would take the kev main with the poly cross every time. I use either 4G or ALU Power as the cross with 17 gauge ashaway Kevlar and they both play excellent. The ZX is just too springy for me and it can snap even stringing it at 60lbs.

I put my Kevlar Mains at 62 and the poly cross at 68 lbs. this set up is one of the best control string jobs I have ever used. The ZX set up might play longer than the poly cross does, but as long as I can get a good 10 hours out of it I don’t mind restringing.
what cross poly are you using? I'm having issues with zx snapping also
 

tlm

G.O.A.T.
what cross poly are you using? I'm having issues with zx snapping also
I use either 4G or lately I have been using ALU power 18 gauge. The 4G for the best control and the ALU for more spin and power, both are good set ups.
 

graycrait

Hall of Fame
I had another hitting friend use Ash Kev x 4G. I strung the same racket he plays with with Ash Kev x 4G. He said too low powered. He normally uses Ash Kev mains x NRG2 crosses.

I had strung up 4 different rackets with Ash Kev x 4G and while initially thought it was intriguing, it just doesn't work "for me" as well as Ash Kev x ZX.

ZX is kind of maddening but I think it is the only practical cross for Ash Kev. Ash Kev x ZX is pretty fascinating and definitely not for everyone. Every time I string ZX without it breaking I breathe a sigh of relief.
 
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tlm

G.O.A.T.
I had another hitting friend use Ash Kev x 4G. I strung the same racket he plays with with Ash Kev x 4G. He said too low powered. He normally uses Ash Kev mains x NRG2 crosses.

I had strung up 4 different rackets with Ash Kev x 4G and while initially thought it was intriguing, it just doesn't work "for me" as well as Ash Kev x ZX.

ZX is kind of maddening but I think it is the only practical cross for Ash Kev. Ash Kev x ZX is pretty fascinating and definitely not for everyone. Every time I string ZX without it breaking I breathe a sigh of relief.
Ya the kev x 4g combo is really low powered. I’m sure a lot of players would think it’s too dead and kind of a dead feel to it as well. But if you hit hard like Shroud does and want the ball to stay in the court then it’s a great set up. Like I mentioned I go between kev 4g and kev alu power in 18 gauge which the latter gives a little more power but still very good control and spin.
 

graycrait

Hall of Fame
But if you hit hard like Shroud does and want the ball to stay in the court then it’s a great set up.
I think you are right, if you are really a very strong player, I mean really strong (and I was a freestyle wrestler and weight room gym rat for years) I can understand Ash Kev x 4G. But I am 65yrs old now:) And when I look at all the local younger tennis players I see none that could have been a linebacker for the local football team:) So I think Ash Kev x 4G is a special set up for a special player.
 

strcmp

Rookie
I see a lot of people like the kevlar/zx hybrid.
Does the kevlar have to necessarily be the Ashaway one?
Is there anything special or different about the Ashaway kevlar string vs another kevlar string? Is the ashaway kevlar softer?
My tendons/elbow is kind of string-sensitive right now. I have another brand kevlar string and some monogut ZX pro sets. Was wondering if i can hybrid the 2 together.
 

djNEiGht

Hall of Fame
I see a lot of people like the kevlar/zx hybrid.
Does the kevlar have to necessarily be the Ashaway one?
Is there anything special or different about the Ashaway kevlar string vs another kevlar string? Is the ashaway kevlar softer?
My tendons/elbow is kind of string-sensitive right now. I have another brand kevlar string and some monogut ZX pro sets. Was wondering if i can hybrid the 2 together.
i forgot the conversation I was having with @kungfu5tin about kevlar...I think some kevlar have coatings. I showed him the set I got cut from reel from a local store and mentioned something about it....but I am spacing out about it now.
 

graycrait

Hall of Fame
Does the kevlar have to necessarily be the Ashaway one?
In a word Yes. All the other aramid/kevlar strings I have tried are strands encased in some "plasticky" sort of coating. The "plasticky" coating is the culprit here I think. Ashaway Kevlar is a braided and "uncoated," not in strands or twisted strands nor is it covered in some thick coating. It rubs freely and more or less "friction free" on the Zyex providing snap back till the last day it rubs through itself against the Zyex. So there is some friction but Ash Kev x ZX never locks up. And yes the Ash Kev wears out before the ZX unless the ZX has a catastrophic failure from a nick, poorly executed knot or a damaged grommet hole.

And for those who are OCD about strings staying straight, Ash Kev x ZX stays as straight as any string I have found while lasting longer as a safe playable stringbed.
 
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kungfu5tin

New User
i forgot the conversation I was having with @kungfu5tin about kevlar...I think some kevlar have coatings. I showed him the set I got cut from reel from a local store and mentioned something about it....but I am spacing out about it now.
I remember that conversation. You tried some frames that had Ashaway kev/zx and liked how they felt. We ended up talking about strings/kevlar/prince pro blend. Yes, as @graycrait posted above, most other kevlar strings have a coating that end up causing friction or lock up the string bed after the coating has been worn.
 

Shroud

G.O.A.T.
I think you are right, if you are really a very strong player, I mean really strong (and I was a freestyle wrestler and weight room gym rat for years) I can understand Ash Kev x 4G. But I am 65yrs old now:) And when I look at all the local younger tennis players I see none that could have been a linebacker for the local football team:) So I think Ash Kev x 4G is a special set up for a special player.
Thanks man. I am officially "special".

@tlm is right, kev/4g is super low powered and most aren't going to dig it. High swingweight sticks means I need a lowpowered bed or bad things happen...

Sadly I am not that strong really. At least my tennis doesn't correspond to normal feats of strength...
 

tlm

G.O.A.T.
I think you are right, if you are really a very strong player, I mean really strong (and I was a freestyle wrestler and weight room gym rat for years) I can understand Ash Kev x 4G. But I am 65yrs old now:) And when I look at all the local younger tennis players I see none that could have been a linebacker for the local football team:) So I think Ash Kev x 4G is a special set up for a special player.
You might be surprised a player doesn’t need to be super strong or a gym rat to enjoy a nice control set up like Ash n 4G. Shroud is a big strong guy but he is also an aggressive player so yes he hits the ball hard and when you swing big like that if the ball stays in more then it gives confidence to keep going big.

But I’ve played with guys much smaller than Shroud that still hit hard and they use low power string jobs. I’m more of a spin player and counter puncher and enjoy playing more of a grinder style but still play best with a low powered set up. So even though guys like Shroud plays a lot more aggressive style than I do we both have success with similar strings and high tension.
 
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djNEiGht

Hall of Fame
I remember that conversation. You tried some frames that had Ashaway kev/zx and liked how they felt. We ended up talking about strings/kevlar/prince pro blend. Yes, as @graycrait posted above, most other kevlar strings have a coating that end up causing friction or lock up the string bed after the coating has been worn.
hhhmmm...so what use is pro blend then...hahahah. i'm going to use it as shoe laces
 

kungfu5tin

New User
hhhmmm...so what use is pro blend then...hahahah. i'm going to use it as shoe laces
If you want cheap laces with free syn gut, tw has the pro blend black on sale for $5.99. Some actually preferred playing with a locked string bed. I was a pro blend user back in the 90s, loved the control and durability. I have used the kevlar from pro blend with smooth polys before, not too bad. The string bed didn't lock up much and had a little snap back.
 

djNEiGht

Hall of Fame
If you want cheap laces with free syn gut, tw has the pro blend black on sale for $5.99. Some actually preferred playing with a locked string bed. I was a pro blend user back in the 90s, loved the control and durability. I have used the kevlar from pro blend with smooth polys before, not too bad. The string bed didn't lock up much and had a little snap back.
Still might try it with the Peek strings.
 

2ndServe

Hall of Fame
I've asked this before but after a week or two my ashaway kevlar is super loose.

I've prestretched it, I've strung without tie the knot and letting it sit overnight, then strung the mains again at 63lbs, cross 63lbs. I've super glued the knots (but the knots aren't it because the leftover 1/4 inch hasn't moved in either a double knot or parnell.


A week or 2 later it's super loose
 
I've asked this before but after a week or two my ashaway kevlar is super loose.

I've prestretched it, I've strung without tie the knot and letting it sit overnight, then strung the mains again at 63lbs, cross 63lbs. I've super glued the knots (but the knots aren't it because the leftover 1/4 inch hasn't moved in either a double knot or parnell.


A week or 2 later it's super loose
What's the cross?
 

TypeRx

Semi-Pro
I've asked this before but after a week or two my ashaway kevlar is super loose.

I've prestretched it, I've strung without tie the knot and letting it sit overnight, then strung the mains again at 63lbs, cross 63lbs. I've super glued the knots (but the knots aren't it because the leftover 1/4 inch hasn't moved in either a double knot or parnell.


A week or 2 later it's super loose
How is it playing? How are you defining "loose" - is it because the Kev requires a lot of adjustment in between points?

Look at the main tie-off knots - have the knots slipped into the grommets at all? You say they haven't but I am skeptical. Are you sure they are really well cinched before tie off? If the Kev is losing tension rapidly, the string is getting elongated or weakened somehow. Is it frayed? I use lame double half-hitch tie offs but also stuff a small piece of ZXP in the knot, cinch tight, and then super glue. Seems to work well for me.

Not sure what you mean when you say you strung it without knotting it and letting it sit -- not sure why you would do that. That is not the right way to prestretch if that is what you were trying to accomplish.
 
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travlerajm

G.O.A.T.
I've asked this before but after a week or two my ashaway kevlar is super loose.

I've prestretched it, I've strung without tie the knot and letting it sit overnight, then strung the mains again at 63lbs, cross 63lbs. I've super glued the knots (but the knots aren't it because the leftover 1/4 inch hasn't moved in either a double knot or parnell.


A week or 2 later it's super loose
Describe what you did to prestretch, and we can diagnose.
 

graycrait

Hall of Fame
@2ndServe , What is your procedure for tying off the mains? Before I started using a cam pliers and awl to "cam and jam" that last main I would get loose last mains which in short order with some hitting loosened up the stringbed quite a bit. To solve that before I used "cam and jam" I would crank up the tension the last mains about 10lbs. Now that I have a constant pull Wise I don't bother prestretching any longer, either Ash Kev or ZX. But to each his own with this unique and somewhat peculiar hybrid.
 

tennisbike

Professional
I've asked this before but after a week or two my ashaway kevlar is super loose.

I've prestretched it, I've strung without tie the knot and letting it sit overnight, then strung the mains again at 63lbs, cross 63lbs. I've super glued the knots (but the knots aren't it because the leftover 1/4 inch hasn't moved in either a double knot or parnell.

A week or 2 later it's super loose
You probably hit super hard.. I would also advise you to walk the tension out. Pressing #2 main, then #3 and so on.. This will not only pull the center main tighter, it will also pull out the less than taut section outside the frame. I believe you will get a longer lasting string bed.
And do you use SM? Super loose is from x to y? what are your x and y?

I do not disagree that Ashaway Kevlar looses tension over use. I observed that trend continuously.. the number does not flatten, it continues. That is why redoing the cross can bring the string bed back, despite looser main on the Ashaway Kevlar.

One characteristic of low stretch string, such as Kevlar, is that any un-stretched, under-stretched section, such as outside the frame, or small amount of frame deformation would lead to greater lose of tension, compare to more elastic strings. Using the "cam and jam", or "Parnell lock", or Yonex loop may minimize the length of under-stretched section.

And once more, how tight is your enter mains? Try stringing proportional, or simply add 3 lbs to the center 6 mains would probably bring the center mains closer to the side mains.

Again I advocate finding a way to measure the individual strings to check your string jobs.
 
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2ndServe

Hall of Fame
This is ashaway 17 kev+

I've used a door knob and wrapped it around the handle of an old racket handle and prestretched it that way, I've then strung up the racket without tieing it off so it sits stretched there overnight (undone it and strung it again), I'm use a gamma progression els electric stringer and I've pulled the mains 3 times (4x if you count the night before leaving it on a racket)

I've also had 18x mains racket when I'm done with it after playing it for a few weeks, cut it off, left it with enough string to string 16x mains racket. This is prestretched I'm sure by the max by being hit with constantly for a few weeks.

In both cases I've experienced a lot of lost tension (I've grown accustomed to that particular soft old kevlar feel). I've measured the tieoff knot there is no slippage there it's the exact 1/4 of inch that I strung it with (both double knot and parnell knot). I haven't had time to hammer it, but even my old reused 18x mains to 16x mains kevlar has been prestretched well and still experienced a lot of tension loss. Yes it moves a tons and this is reused kevlar at 67lbs center mains and 63lbs . I've tried the center 8 mains 3-4lbs tighter also.

Thanks for all the tips

Been trying a lot of different strings but I keep coming back to kevlar/poly, or kevlar/kevlar (I hated this before I actually like it now), haven't really liked the kevlar/zyex, I've popped zyex a few times, stringing it, tieing off the knots a number of times, hitting overheads or serves in the sweet spot and have had zyex snap.
 

2ndServe

Hall of Fame
What are you guys using for the zyex tension. There was a podcast with the ashaway owners and they said it played best in the 53-57lbs
 

graycrait

Hall of Fame
@2ndServe , I strung some up at 60/55 (no prestretch) 16g Ash Kev x 17g ZXP in my Prince 107G and have enjoyed it. I'm going to string up a 100" 16x19 Graphene 360 Extreme Pro tonight 55/50 (no prestretch) just to see what happens. My experiments with PPC 15L in that racket have been a disaster. When my Pure Control GT 98s arrive I'll string one up at 60/55 (no prestretch) Ash Kev/ZXP. In several of my various Rad OS's I strung it at 65/58 and it works, but now that I have the experience with the 107G playing so nicely I may throttle it down 5lbs each next time. After the last purge I am down to 55 rackets, with 16 strung with Ash Kev x ZXP.
 
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2ndServe

Hall of Fame
@2ndServe , I strung some up at 60/55 (no prestretch) 16g Ash Kev x 17g ZXP in my Prince 107G and have enjoyed it. I'm going to string up a 100" 16x19 Graphene 360 Extreme Pro tonight 55/50 (no prestretch) just to see what happens. My experiments with PPC 15L in that racket have been a disaster. When my Pure Control GT 98s arrive I'll string one up at 60/55 (no prestretch) Ash Kev/ZXP. In several of my various Rad OS's I strung it at 65/58 and it works, but now that I have the experience with the 107G playing so nicely I may throttle it down 5lbs each next time. After the last purge I am down to 55 rackets, with 16 strung with Ash Kev x ZXP.
I'm having tension issues with kevlar getting too loose so I'm going to try zyex in the mains a few times with a soft cross. Not because it's a good idea , just wanted to try another Frankenstein setup just because.
 

tennisbike

Professional
Welcome to the dark side, the Frankenstein setups.. I think you were half way there, already, I think ;-)

My SM data also shows that Kev/ZX dropped tension continuously. Strung 60/45 initially off the CrossFire ZX 17 pack. Within two weeks, only a few hours of hitting, I re-pulled the ZX cross. Increasing cross to 51 lbs created a greater differential, according to SM. It lasted longer this time about two months. And I broke ZX trying to repull it. I put in Prince Warrior Response @52 lbs instead. I pulled the cross one more time.. until the Kev got so beat up. I cut it out from the center. Then I tie the two ends together and strung it with synthetic gut cross. I do think that the degradation slows but never stop.

I think a soft poly, such as Prince Warrior Response might work as cross. A little stiffer but more stable and less finicky than ZX. Adjust the tension to your liking.

I believe that the "differential" that was talked about so much is a myth according to SM data. You can get more actual differential using higher cross tension. I see that on my multiple re-pull of cross.

ZX has lower tensile strength, end of story.
 

graycrait

Hall of Fame
I strung 16g Ash Kev x 17g ZXP in a 16x19 100" Graphene 360 Extreme Pro at 55/50 and it hit pretty well. I think I will try 50/50 next time in this racket.
 

srimes

Rookie
This is ashaway 17 kev+

I've used a door knob and wrapped it around the handle of an old racket handle and prestretched it that way, I've then strung up the racket without tieing it off so it sits stretched there overnight (undone it and strung it again), I'm use a gamma progression els electric stringer and I've pulled the mains 3 times (4x if you count the night before leaving it on a racket)

I've also had 18x mains racket when I'm done with it after playing it for a few weeks, cut it off, left it with enough string to string 16x mains racket. This is prestretched I'm sure by the max by being hit with constantly for a few weeks.

In both cases I've experienced a lot of lost tension (I've grown accustomed to that particular soft old kevlar feel). I've measured the tieoff knot there is no slippage there it's the exact 1/4 of inch that I strung it with (both double knot and parnell knot). I haven't had time to hammer it, but even my old reused 18x mains to 16x mains kevlar has been prestretched well and still experienced a lot of tension loss. Yes it moves a tons and this is reused kevlar at 67lbs center mains and 63lbs . I've tried the center 8 mains 3-4lbs tighter also.

Thanks for all the tips

Been trying a lot of different strings but I keep coming back to kevlar/poly, or kevlar/kevlar (I hated this before I actually like it now), haven't really liked the kevlar/zyex, I've popped zyex a few times, stringing it, tieing off the knots a number of times, hitting overheads or serves in the sweet spot and have had zyex snap.
I have a simple drop-weight stringer. Anchor 1 end (I use a deadbolt), stand on the stringer to keep it from slipping and tension at 90lb until it stops moving. Doesn't take too long for the kevlar.

For the MZX I do the same but to 60lb. It takes a lot longer before it stops moving.

I'm very happy with the results.

I have noticed a huge difference between 16 ang 17 gauge kevlar. 16 lasts much longer but is very dead. 17 is pretty lively but breaks sooner.
 

strcmp

Rookie
Is there a huge difference in pre-stretching the 16g vs 17g monogut ZX? i could stretch the 17g maybe 6-8", but the 16g i couldn't stretch it any longer at all.
 

srimes

Rookie
Is there a huge difference in pre-stretching the 16g vs 17g monogut ZX? i could stretch the 17g maybe 6-8", but the 16g i couldn't stretch it any longer at all.
I've only used 16g zx due to all the complaints of 17g breaking while stringing. 16g stretches a ton.
 

2ndServe

Hall of Fame
If I string my mains on my 16x19 racket I need 18.5 feet on the mains for kevlar. If I string it with zx I only need 16.5 feet. For me 17g zx stretches about 2ft at 58lbs (too tight so I will back it down to 50lbs next time)
 

2ndServe

Hall of Fame
Going to save you guys some time and money, After a lot of time spent stringing, trying out, money on all sorts of mains.

I can say kevlar mains is superior to every other main I've tried (hyperG, zx monogut mains 17, pros pro red devil, blackout, blackforce, Yonex pro poly tour 17, volkl cyclone 17, ghost wire 1.10).

Superior in durability, superior in a soft feel (not sure why kevlar get the harsh bad wrap, just stringing it you can tell it's super soft), acoustics it's thud not pingy
 

TypeRx

Semi-Pro
After a lot of time spent stringing, trying out, money on all sorts of mains.

I can say kevlar mains is superior to every other main I've tried (hyperG, zx monogut mains 17, pros pro red devil, blackout, blackforce, Yonex pro poly tour 17, volkl cyclone 17, ghost wire 1.10).
Thank you for experimenting. I certainly agree that Kev/ZXP is a magical combo and that Kevlar's stiffness rating does not translate well to "shock" and other untoward effects when mated with an appropriate cross (IMO). I find semi-firm polys, like HyperG, to be MUCH more uncomfortable and harsh. Kevlar is stiff but also has a great ability to distribute force across its surface area. There is a reason it is a great material for the various non-tennis uses!
 
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