Reality of Tension Loss on 17 ga. Volkl Cyclone Co-poly Due to Non-Use

esantoro

Rookie
I played tennis somewhat regularly from 1980 to 2008. During this time, I always played with multifilament string and synthetic gut and never thought twice about letting a racket sit for months while I favored playing with a different racket. I would play with a racket until the strings broke.

About six months ago, I started playing again, and the world of poly and co-poly strings is new to me. I tried poly (most likely a poor quality poly) one time, and knew after 15 minutes that this was a relationship that was not good for my arm. I wrote off poly strings and returned to multifilament, only to try a friends Pure Drive with 17 gauge Volkl Cyclone co-poly, which had amazing spin and power and showed no adverse effects on my arm.

I'm hooked, but I am wondering how the tension on the Cyclone will hold up due to non-use, as I'm always switching between pairs of Pure Drives, Pro Staff 90's, and Six.One 95's. I never before worried about tension loss due to non-use of a racket strung with multifilament and have been reading about how poly's and co-poly's lose tension due to non-use. I prefer to use my rackets until the strings break, but is this something that is no longer possible to do with co-poly? Is this tension loss unbearably noticeable to 4.0/4.5 players, or is it something that is easy to adjust to? Which co-poly holds tension the best when not in use?
 
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Big Bagel

Professional
I prefer to use my rackets until the strings break, but is this something that is no longer possible to do with co-poly?
You should not play until they break unless you are able to break them in under 10 hours. The best polys for tension maintenance might last 10-12 hours, the worst ones will last 4.
Is this tension loss unbearably noticeable to 4.0/4.5 players, or is it something that is easy to adjust to?
Most 4.0/4.5 players won't notice much of a difference from playing with it, but they'll notice a difference when they get it restrung. That is the danger in using polys; players don't always notice a drop off in performance so they keep playing, but they also get stiffer and harsher to your arm. Even if you don't notice a significant drop off in performance, it is best for your long-term health if you restring it every 6-8 hours of play. Some longer, some shorter.
Which co-poly holds tension the best when not in use?
Luxilon 4G and Kirschbaum Max Power are both factory pre-stretched which help them last longer, but they are also the stiffest and lowest-powered polys on the market. I've never used it personally (it's on my list to try), but Isospeed Cream is supposed to be a more comfortable poly with better tension maintenance and control than equally soft polys. Usually the softer the poly, the worse the tension maintenance and the greater the power.

As for the non-use, it is an issue, but a few weeks should be fine. I wouldn't leave it for a few months, but I'm less sure about the non-use tension changes.
 

SteveI

Legend
If I am not playing much for a few months.. (winter here)... I cut out strings in all the frames I use and only string one for winter (indoor use). Then I use a high end multi. The frames I use in the spring (polys) do not get strung until about March 15th or so. I never try to leave poly strung too long without playing it... or any decent string for that matter. Since I do my own stringing not an issue. If I need a frame on short notice.. no big deal. 30 mins... fresh strings.
 

esantoro

Rookie
Will going to a hybrid 17ga. Cyclone/16g. (or 17ga.) Gosen synthetic gut be a better solution if I plan on trying to extend the playing life of strings as long as possible? I ask because I have reels of both.
 

Big Bagel

Professional
Putting a synthetic in the crosses will make a negligible difference. Putting them in the mains will make a bigger difference, but then you lose most of the benefits of the poly, especially since it's shaped. 70% of the feel comes from the mains (roughly) so they are going to dictate the feedback you feel the most.
 

fuzz nation

G.O.A.T.
Will going to a hybrid 17ga. Cyclone/16g. (or 17ga.) Gosen synthetic gut be a better solution if I plan on trying to extend the playing life of strings as long as possible? I ask because I have reels of both.
I would expect the tension loss issues to be less drastic with that hybrid compared with a full bed of Cyclone. I also have reels of those strings and currently only use the Cyclone main/Gosen cross layout for a couple of "clients" in my stringing circle. One of these guys is a solid player - not quite an ex college killer - and he found this hybrid to be a step up in term of the service life and performance he wants compared with a round poly main.

I'm not a poly player myself. After sampling a few different hybrids in recent years, I didn't find any performance benefits with it that inspired me to switch. Also, my 52-year-old arm doesn't care for the stuff. But I tried a couple of layouts so that I could better relate to anybody wanting to talk about one of these combos that they might want me to install in their racquets.

I generally enjoy syn. gut in my own racquets. The feel and performance I get with a 17 ga. is usually right on and even though the lighter gauge probably wears out more quickly than a 16 ga. alternative, I can restring at home whenever I want. Syn. gut also seems to sit well - it doesn't lose much tension if it's left in the closet for a while. Syn. gut could be a nice option if you want to string one or two racquets and only use them here and there for a few months.

Gosen OGSM works really well as a cross in hybrids with a poly main, but it's a little firm for my taste in a full bed - at least in 16 ga. Lately I've been really liking Kirschbaum's basic syn. gut in 16 and 17 ga. Very affordable in reels from TW, but syn. guts are generally a lot cheaper than the premium multifibers.
 

esantoro

Rookie
I would expect the tension loss issues to be less drastic with that hybrid compared with a full bed of Cyclone. I also have reels of those strings and currently only use the Cyclone main/Gosen cross layout for a couple of "clients" in my stringing circle. One of these guys is a solid player - not quite an ex college killer - and he found this hybrid to be a step up in term of the service life and performance he wants compared with a round poly main.

I'm not a poly player myself. After sampling a few different hybrids in recent years, I didn't find any performance benefits with it that inspired me to switch. Also, my 52-year-old arm doesn't care for the stuff. But I tried a couple of layouts so that I could better relate to anybody wanting to talk about one of these combos that they might want me to install in their racquets.

I generally enjoy syn. gut in my own racquets. The feel and performance I get with a 17 ga. is usually right on and even though the lighter gauge probably wears out more quickly than a 16 ga. alternative, I can restring at home whenever I want. Syn. gut also seems to sit well - it doesn't lose much tension if it's left in the closet for a while. Syn. gut could be a nice option if you want to string one or two racquets and only use them here and there for a few months.

Gosen OGSM works really well as a cross in hybrids with a poly main, but it's a little firm for my taste in a full bed - at least in 16 ga. Lately I've been really liking Kirschbaum's basic syn. gut in 16 and 17 ga. Very affordable in reels from TW, but syn. guts are generally a lot cheaper than the premium multifibers.
This seems like what I'm looking for. Thanks. Poly is new to me, and my 50-year-old arm doesn't seem to mind 17 ga. Cyclone.
 

fuzz nation

G.O.A.T.
This seems like what I'm looking for. Thanks. Poly is new to me, and my 50-year-old arm doesn't seem to mind 17 ga. Cyclone.
Keep on with your research I'd say. The poly craze has been a very mixed bag - not all upside. Some folks try it and love how they can suddenly spin the snot out of the ball, but some of those folks can run into trouble because they're suddenly swinging a lot harder almost all the time. My own hybrid samplings made it only seem as though the poly was more dead than my full beds of syn. gut and that made me want to swing harder to get the same zip on my shots. Very not good for especially my volleys and serves.

Polys can turn sharply more stiff when it gets colder outside. This is another consideration depending on where you play. When I have to play outdoors in late March - I coach a high school team - temps are often in the low 40's or high 30's. I need to drop tension in my syn. gut by maybe 5-6 lbs. to get some feel back. Even those strings turn more firm in the cold, but poly seems to be worse.

It might also be worth noting that I tried a full bed of poly in my very arm-friendly Volkl C10 last fall; Cyclone 17 mains and Isospeed Baseline 1.25mm crosses all tensioned in the low 40's. I used this setup twice for no more than 20-30 minutes and it honestly slaughtered my arm. Not just tennis elbow, but serious pain in three distinct areas of my forearm. Ice, massage, exercises, patience over many months and I finally got past it. Won't touch the stuff ever again.

Light gauges of poly (I'm including co-poly when I say "poly") seem to be easier to live with for lots of players. I string for a lot of the kids I coach and I only switch them into a poly if they're popping syn. gut or multi on a very regular basis. I'm even more cautious with adults. I keep reels of every gauge of Isospeed Baseline on hand, but the lightest 1.20mm version has easily been the most popular. When I tried this myself in a hybrid with a Gosen cross at 48 or 50 lbs., it felt about as firm as a full bed of 16 ga. syn. gut at rather snug tension.

The lighter gauge will likely degrade more quickly, but I think it's not as inherently rock hard as a heavier alternative. Whenever somebody insists on trying a poly hybrid, I think that a skinny poly is a smart first step.
 

Traffic

Hall of Fame
You should not play until they break unless you are able to break them in under 10 hours. The best polys for tension maintenance might last 10-12 hours, the worst ones will last 4.

Most 4.0/4.5 players won't notice much of a difference from playing with it, but they'll notice a difference when they get it restrung. That is the danger in using polys; players don't always notice a drop off in performance so they keep playing, but they also get stiffer and harsher to your arm. Even if you don't notice a significant drop off in performance, it is best for your long-term health if you restring it every 6-8 hours of play. Some longer, some shorter.

Luxilon 4G and Kirschbaum Max Power are both factory pre-stretched which help them last longer, but they are also the stiffest and lowest-powered polys on the market. I've never used it personally (it's on my list to try), but Isospeed Cream is supposed to be a more comfortable poly with better tension maintenance and control than equally soft polys. Usually the softer the poly, the worse the tension maintenance and the greater the power.

As for the non-use, it is an issue, but a few weeks should be fine. I wouldn't leave it for a few months, but I'm less sure about the non-use tension changes.
Lots of good info here.
If your poly sits in the bag, it'll lose static tension from initial stringing. But if it doesn't get played, the tension loss is nominal.
 

blai212

Professional
you could try doing poly/poly hybrid with a smooth round poly in crosses that retains tension well...i like yonex poly tour pro or signum pro poly plasma as they are soft low powered and maintain tension well so I dont really have to worry about string setup dying


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