Stiff poly with higher launch angle than Tour Bite

#1
I've recently switched racquets to the SW104 and found that my old go-to strings haven't worked quite as I wanted. I've been trying various strings and gauges, and I significantly prefer the stiffer poly strings. I had a couple of sets of Tour Bite 1.30 and have even found an ideal tension, only the launch angle is a bit lower than I would prefer.

I've ordered Cyclone, Solstice Power, Revolve Spin, and Hyper-G, all in 1.30 diameter. Any other recommendations for shaped poly strings that have roughly the same stiffness as Tour Bite, that would give me a bit of a higher launch angle?

Thanks.
 
#3
trav, our club closed at 4 p.m. to let staff get home, and will open again tomorrow at noon. Also, I'm hoping that my wife and I will be able to make our flights out of town this coming Wednesday - we've got a Costa Rica getaway planned. Can you make it to Kirkland any time next Monday or Tuesday? I'll grab a court for us! Or would you rather play at your courts?
 
#6
Can't make sandpoint today! I'm supposedly playing at 4 p.m. tomorrow with my son if our Club is open, so how about Sunday?

I'd love to get your opinion on my current racquets, and to pick your brain on stuff like MGR/I!
 
#8
Let's plan on it! At Sandpoint? I've never been there so I'm looking forward to it. Let's chat Sunday morning.

Any thoughts on strings and launch angle? Is this something you think I can adjust by varying the tensions in the mains and crosses? Would 50 mains and 44 crosses give me a noticeably higher launch angle than 48 mains and 46 crosses?
 
#9
Cyclone gives a higher launch angle than TB and HyperG. I compared them on the same frames with the same tensions. I tried 19g though.
 
#10
Let's plan on it! At Sandpoint? I've never been there so I'm looking forward to it. Let's chat Sunday morning.
Ok. We'll see what the roads look like by then.
Any thoughts on strings and launch angle?
Yes. This is something I've experimented with extensively.
Is this something you think I can adjust by varying the tensions in the mains and crosses?
Yes. The bigger the differential (i.e., the difference between the tighter mains and looser crosses), the higher the launch angle sensitivity to the steepness of your swingpath. So an uppercut swing would produce a higher launch angle. I don't see an increased launch angle per se as a benefit (on the contrary, I consider it quite undesirable, especially due to the higher sensitivity of your launch angle to both the rpm and and the velocity of your opponent's incoming shot, factors you have no control over).

So if an extreme differential increases launch angle, and I consider high launch angle to be a bad thing, then why would I ever recommend that someone use an extreme differential? It's because there are multiplel reasons why a high differential can help give you something not possible without it:

1. Increasing the differential (and compensating for the higher launch angle and increased mainstring deflection freedom by stringing tighter overall to maintain good control) gives you what I call the ESP effect (i.e., it can preserve much of the launch angle control benefit of a tight stringbed with the added spin potential of a looser stringbed). It sort of lets you have your cake and eat it too.

2. With full poly, a bigger differential will reduce denting of the crosses, which will increase comfort coniderably.

3. Due to the reduced denting of crosses, it will greatly extend the playable lifespan of your full poly bed before it "dies."

Would 50 mains and 44 crosses give me a noticeably higher launch angle than 48 mains and 46 crosses?
I think the difference would be perceptible, but generally not that significant. With the large head size and rounded head shape of the SW104, the benefits of an extreme differential that I mentioned above are largely negated because the hoop geometry is not stiff enough to resist squashing, unlike a typical 95si frame, for example.

You might be interested in a couple of my experiment threads on this subject for more detail on this topic:

1. https://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/ind...y-zx-hybrid-90-lb-mains-40-lb-crosses.558519/

2. https://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/ind...et-to-preventing-poly-from-going-dead.563630/
 
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#11
trav, I pulled out some of my previous racquets and they all are more oval in shape than the SW104, and despite being larger in stringbed area were all 16X19. I think that might be why, for the first time I can remember, that I'm having issues with getting my preferred launch angle. Your threads and discussions about ESP are interesting, but again something I can't take advantage of to the degree that you have been able to, and made more difficult in any case by the 18X19 stringbed.

I kind of wish I had been more aware of the differences that would have been caused by head shape and string density before choosing the SW104. In the past, I had always (accidentally) chosen racquets that were close enough that I could get comfortable with a slight manipulation of strings or string tension. I do get high launch angles with shaped poly strings so I'm inclined to stay with them on the SW104, which doesn't fully offset that I get more preferable stringbed response with a thicker, stiffer string that lowers launch angle.

Side benefit - in the course of looking at my old racquets, I found some of my really old racquets that I had stashed away after I stopped using them. Most intrigued to find the Head Graphite Edge that I used probably 30 years ago. I'll bring it along for you to try - it's really old school with a leather grip and strung with TNT Fat Core, so the string job isn't probably more than ten years old. 360 grams and the grommets are not cracked. No complaints!

Tomorrow might be kind of iffy for me to get a hit in with you. I've got a honey-do list so long it makes my head spin, and I'm out of town starting Wednesday. Let's play it by ear but I'd love to hit if I could. I had a court time today but our Club never opened due to snow.

Now also on my list of strings to try are RPM Blast and Lux Alu Soft and M4.
 
#13
trav, thanks for the link. The launch angle issue seems to be one where personal preference plays a big part in what would be desirable for any particular player. In my case, I greatly prefer launch angle differences even though I am often subject to issues caused by the spin of the incoming ball. I play against a couple of people who can hit really heavy underspin and it is hard for me to effectively volley against them, especially on the forehand side, because I don't always get the angle correct to compensate for the amount of spin I believe the shot has. I seem to put these into the tape more than anything, and then the next time I overcompensate and float the volley long. Both guys, both righties, seem to put more underspin when going down the line than crosscourt and that compounds the issue against my less reliable forehand volley.

The flip side, though, is that high launch angles seem self-compensating with my strokes. If I swing at a groundstroke and it happens to bounce higher than I am expecting, I usually won't time it perfectly and so there's less ballspeed off my racquet, but a higher launch angle means that my more upward stroke at it gets more air under the shot, and it has greater depth that way. Conversely, if the ball bounces a little lower or faster than I am expecting, I'll tend to catch it with a slightly closed face and a high launch angle can help the ball just skim over the net instead of hitting it.

Same with an extremely extended backhand slice, one where I am almost 180 degrees turned around to get maximum reach. In that position, it's impossible for me to do anything but hit an underspin and lead with the bottom of the racquet face, and having the strings grab the ball makes it a less floaty, deeper shot. A grippy stringbed, sensitive to incoming spin, also has helped me with drop volleys. It was almost a relevation the first time I tried a shaped poly and found that hitting a drop volley off a heavy underspin shot was so much easier than with the round poly that I was using before that.

In any case, it's not launch angle why I lose to the same guys in age group matches. I play an unsustainable style for someone in my late 50's because I'm still trying to play like a modern young player. That's effective to a certain level, but the top guys in the 55's all train juniors so all of a sudden my game is something they see all the time, and they win me out by putting balls in difficult spots and waiting until I miss. Or waiting until we get to 3-3 and then I get broken because I try to do something special in my next service game and make an extra error that loses me my serve.

Interesting to note that none of the top age groupers in the 55's hit with anything more than moderate pace and moderate spin. There's a lesson there for me, only I'm too stubborn to take it and believe in it.
 
#16
@travlerajm , @Injured Again , are you guys in PNW? Sandpoint and Snowmaggedon are only used around here.
I got in a hitting session with my son before the snow started again. Club closed right after that.
Yep. I'm a member of Central Park in Kirkland. We got in a very early dinner with my mother-in-law and then I got out for a very light hit with my son (except he's 25) right before our Club closed. Got about three inches of snow tonight. In any case, we should see who else is from around here and arrange a day to get together to put faces and names together.

I did pull out the Graphite Edge that I used back in the '80's and hit about a dozen balls with it. Certainly has that plush, pocketing, wood feel to it. Power is actually not bad either, with the ten-plus year old synthetic gut strings that were long past their use-by date. The leather grip was beyond done and I didn't want to boomerang the thing into the next court so it went back into the bag.

I pulled out the SW104 strung with 1.25 black Cyclone and think I may be gravitating towards it again, despite it being a bit more powerful than I prefer. The launch angle is definitely higher if only by a little bit, and better suits my swing style. This has been the most frustrating part of this racquet switch. I never had this many changes of mind, or doubt, ever before.
 
#17
I dont experience lower launch angles with Tourbite 1.20, however it loses tensions pretty fast which is a good thing with this stiff string. Maybe you could try hybriding with a smooth slippery poly like Outlast?
 
#18
I dont experience lower launch angles with Tourbite 1.20, however it loses tensions pretty fast which is a good thing with this stiff string. Maybe you could try hybriding with a smooth slippery poly like Outlast?
Earlier on, I tried a hybrid with Diadem Solstice Power 1.30 and SPPP 1.23. The Solstice Power was my go-to string previously, but I used a 1.35 gauge in a 16X19 110 square inch racquet. The 1.30 was a leftover from a previous reel and the 1.35 is just too large to work well in the 18X19 and added four grams with a full bed versus a 1.25 full bed. The 1.23 SPPP crosses helped with the weight and in total it was just one gram heavier when paired with the 1.30 Solstice Power.

I don't think I got the tension right. It just felt too springy any time I swung hard, though I do remember a good and high launch angle when I swung more slowly. I guess the SPPP 1.23 was just not firm enough and I should have used a higher tension. I've never used hybrid stringbeds so I don't have good experience in this area. I have several questions.

1. Is the Outlast and SPPP that much different in their stiffness?

2. When hybriding with different gauge strings, is there a general guideline as to tension differentials, or is it only based on the actual string stiffness?

3. What is the consensus with significantly gauge differences? I have a half reel of Solstice Power 1.35 and have 1.23 or 1.18 SPPP, and 1.12 Big Banger Ace. Not advisable?

Thanks.
 
#19
I find that what I guess something will feel like doesn’t always match what happens when I try the actual experiment. I used to think that using a thinner cross would always be better, but every time I use a thicker cross in a hybrid, it plays surprisingly nice.
 
#20
trav, I appreciate the feedback, but unfortunately it kind of frustrates me more. Like you say, sometimes what seems obvious just doesn't work that way, making it something I can only find out by trying. There are just so many variables and I don't know why I seem to be having such a difficult time nailing down the response I want. I played this morning against a guy who hits the ball very hard and very flat, and we used faster balls than I used with my son. The Cyclone was just too powerful or needed a bit of extra tension, so again I felt the most comfortable using the Tour Bite.

I guess I should just look at the process as one of being fun and allowing me to try things I wouldn't otherwise do if I had pretty quickly found my ideal stringbed response, but I'm tired of second guessing myself and league season is starting up soon. There's still an adjustment period with the racquet that I need to get through - I'm still tending to jam myself up when I have to run hard sideways to the ball, but I wouldn't give up that extra inch of length for all the other benefits. I just want this to be over with so I can work on my game rather than fiddling with my racquet, cause my game definitely needs a lot of work.
 
#22
I guess you're right. Even when I found my desired string, I still tested others just to make sure I wasn't missing out on that magic string that would all of a sudden help me reach more balls or hit shots I only see on TV. Only thing is I had a go-to setup that I now don't, and that feels unsettling.
 
#23
Earlier on, I tried a hybrid with Diadem Solstice Power 1.30 and SPPP 1.23. The Solstice Power was my go-to string previously, but I used a 1.35 gauge in a 16X19 110 square inch racquet. The 1.30 was a leftover from a previous reel and the 1.35 is just too large to work well in the 18X19 and added four grams with a full bed versus a 1.25 full bed. The 1.23 SPPP crosses helped with the weight and in total it was just one gram heavier when paired with the 1.30 Solstice Power.

I don't think I got the tension right. It just felt too springy any time I swung hard, though I do remember a good and high launch angle when I swung more slowly. I guess the SPPP 1.23 was just not firm enough and I should have used a higher tension. I've never used hybrid stringbeds so I don't have good experience in this area. I have several questions.

1. Is the Outlast and SPPP that much different in their stiffness?

2. When hybriding with different gauge strings, is there a general guideline as to tension differentials, or is it only based on the actual string stiffness?

3. What is the consensus with significantly gauge differences? I have a half reel of Solstice Power 1.35 and have 1.23 or 1.18 SPPP, and 1.12 Big Banger Ace. Not advisable?

Thanks.
1. In a hybrid i find outlast stiffer and more slippery.
2. I think you should try thinner cross than mains better than the other way around. There is no rule for tension differences, but if too much i would be afraid of frame distortion.
 
#24
Wanted to circle the wagons back on this. I've tried several strings so far, with a bunch more to go.

Solinco Tour Bite 1.30: Very nice string with good bite on the ball and moderate power. It has a moderate launch angle that is a bit lower than my preference, and has pretty minimal sensitivity to incoming spin. It's a very dense string and seems to add 1-2 grams more when strung compared to the other 1.30 strings I've used so far. It has a little bit of springiness when hitting flat that seems non-linear with the power it has when putting spin on the ball, and is moderately harsh when missing the sweetspot. It has gone 14 hours and has clearly lost tension but control and spin have diminished only a bit. Notching is minimal - it looks like it will last another 6-8 hours without breaking.

Wilson Revolve Spin 1.30: Very unremarkable string all around. Lower powered, very muted feeling string that doesn't have great grab on the ball. It does cut down on harshness on mis-hits, and is on the lighter side being a couple of grams lighter than Tour Bite 1.30 when strung. It lost tension after a few hours and strings started moving around after every rally.

Volkl Cyclone 1.25: My son's go-to string (in a Pure Drive Tour Plus). Just too much power even though I strung it up a few pounds tighter. I cut it out after a couple of sessions as it just clearly wasn't going to work.

Solinco Tour Bite 1.18: Tried this at the recommendation of a local stringer. It was significantly more lively than the 1.30 gauge. Had my preferred, higher launch angle but too much power. Comparing how much ball speed I got when hitting a topspin shot, flattening out the shot got me a fair amount more ball speed than I expected. The string was five or six grams lighter than the 1.30 gauge, and started moving around after my first 90 minute session. It lost tension and got even more springy so I cut it out.

Grappleskake Cube 1.18: Very tough to string with the sharp edges, with minimal elasticity. Tough to get it installed without any twist. Cube gave me my preferred higher launch angle with low power, and linearity of power between spin and flat shots. The best spin capability of any string I've ever used. Pretty muted string - not a lot of string vibration and mis-hits weren't very harsh. This string is very sensitive to incoming spin, and it took a long time to figure out the racquet angle when volleying heavy top or heavy underspin. After only five or six hours, it lost elasticity and the playing characteristics changed quite a bit. It doesn't notch because the strings are square shaped and contact each other with a flat edge against a flat edge, but the mains did divot a bit. By that time, it had lost power, become more muted to the point where the stringbed felt mushy, and lost spin capability. I would have put up with the difficulty stringing Cube if it had lasted twice as long as it did, and would have used it as my go-to string. The first three hours are pretty magic with how much spin it can generate.

Diadem Solstice Power 1.30: This was my go-to string with my previous racquet, and I can see why I loved it. Great spin capability, just a hair less than Cube but more than Tour Bite. It feels softer than Tour Bite but with relatively the same amount of power, only it doesn't feel springy when flattening out the ball. Has the higher launch angle I prefer, but is also more sensitive to incoming spin than Tour Bite, but less sensitive than Cube. Has that sensation of a deep pocket when hitting the ball, and I know from previous experience that even though it loses a fair amount of tension, the playing characteristics don't change that much until it nearly breaks.

Still to test:

Solinco Hyper-G 1.30
Solinco Revolution 1.25
Volkl V-Torque 1.25
Kirshbaum Pro Line X 1.25
Kirshbaum Pro Line Evolution 1.25
YTex Quadro Twist 1.25
Grapplesnake Neon Dust Hybrid
Grapplesnake Irukandji
 
#25
It may not be readily obvious, but 'launch angle' and 'sensitivity to incoming spin' are two names for the exact same stringbed property.

Both are ways to describe the sensitivity of the launch angle to the magnitude of the tangential component (i.e., in the plane of the stringbed) of the relative velocity at impact between the ball's surface and the stringbed.

A change in this tangential relative velocity can come from any of 3 things:
1. A change in the swingpath.
2. A change in the speed or direction of the ball's incoming velocity.
3. A change in the spin rate of the incoming ball.

You can only control 1 of these 3 things, which is why 'higher launch angle' generally makes controlling the ball more difficult, and why 'stringing tighter for more control' is an age-old adage of tennis. Of course, the best way to get a low launch angle is to maximize stringbed stiffness. So the control benefits of a lower launch angle need to weighed against other factors (comfort, power level, spin potential, etc.) in finding the right balance for your game.
 
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#26
It may not be readily obvious, but 'launch angle' and 'sensitivity to incoming spin' are two names for the exact same stringbed property.
While there's a pretty good correlation between launch angle and spin sensitivity, in my experience they are not one and the same. For instance, the Tour Bite 1.18 had a higher launch angle than the 1.30, but I didn't notice any more spin sensitivity. The Cube, on the other hand, had the same launch angle than Tour Bite 1.18 but was **way** more sensitive to incoming spin.

Remember those discussions from a dozen years ago when I was pulling a tennis ball across a stringbed with various weights on top, and trying to derive some sort of friction profile for the various strings? I've been doing that same thing with every stringbed by just pushing a ball into the strings with my hand and sliding it around. Shaped strings clearly have higher levels of friction at lower pressure levels, but a string like Cube really grabs the ball with the sharp square edges it has once the ball is compressed enough that parts of it start to deform into the stringbed. That is what I guess makes the Cube very sensitive to incoming spin at the lower ball speed levels where I am experiencing this, like trying to volley a heavy slice or a dipping topspin that is going 30-40 MPH. At those times, my racquet head speed is very slow and very linear, unlike when I'm at the baseline and swinging away with high racquet head speed at a ball that has already hit the ground and in most cases has fully frictionally engaged the ground and has topspin on it that is commensurate with its ball speed.

For high launch angles off the ground, I think there's also some component of a more elastic string stretching more on impact, thus bunching up more below the ball and so acting underneath the center of mass of the ball and launching it upwards.

I think you're correct about the launch angle/spin sensitivity correlation at higher ball-racquet impact speeds, and where I was unclear in my descriptions above is that I want high launch angles and good spin capability at high ball-racquet impact speeds, but am sensitive to incoming spin at low ball-racquet impact speeds. It's a tough mix to ask of any string, which is why I'm not that frustrated not finding one that does it all yet. Getting very, very close with the Solstice Power though.
 
#27
I think you're correct about the launch angle/spin sensitivity correlation at higher ball-racquet impact speeds, and where I was unclear in my descriptions above is that I want high launch angles and good spin capability at high ball-racquet impact speeds, but am sensitive to incoming spin at low ball-racquet impact speeds. It's a tough mix to ask of any string, which is why I'm not that frustrated not finding one that does it all yet. Getting very, very close with the Solstice Power though.
Try Ash Kev / ZX hybrid. You might be pleasantly surprised.
 
#28
Try Ash Kev / ZX hybrid. You might be pleasantly surprised.
From what I understand, it won't work for me because the hoop of my racquet (SW104) isn't stiff enough or oval enough to support even the milder tension differentials described in the "praise of" thread. The other thing is that travlerajm has described the stringbed as "spinny with low launch angle". I like the spinny part but I want a high launch angle.
 
#29
From what I understand, it won't work for me because the hoop of my racquet (SW104) isn't stiff enough or oval enough to support even the milder tension differentials described in the "praise of" thread. The other thing is that travlerajm has described the stringbed as "spinny with low launch angle". I like the spinny part but I want a high launch angle.
The launch angle is mostly a matter of the cross tension - can be very low or very high.
 
#30
The launch angle is mostly a matter of the cross tension - can be very low or very high.
But I still have the problem, right? The hoop on my racquet isn't stiff enough to support the tension differential needed, and a larger tension differential, with the mains being tighter, creates the high launch angle, correct?
 
#31
But I still have the problem, right? The hoop on my racquet isn't stiff enough to support the tension differential needed, and a larger tension differential, with the mains being tighter, creates the high launch angle, correct?
You don’t need a high differential to create a high launch angle. The reason I use a high differential is actually for the opposite reason.

I want a low launch angle without giving up spin potential.

Spin potential and launch angle are usually coupled together. But not always.

An ‘ideal’ stringbed with respect to control would have launch angle that is independent of the incoming ball and independent of the swingpath, and only dependent on the racquetface angle. But it would still have the ability to generate the ‘overspin’ that is enhanced by main strings having the freedom to move laterally within the stringbed plane.

Kevlar/zx at a high differential and relative high stringbed stiffness comes the closest to giving that ‘ideal’ decoupled combination of low launch angle and high spin potential.

I’m currently playing with an open pattern OS frame strung with 16g kevlar/ 15g nylon at 90/65 lbs.

It doesn’t give me the spin potential of Kevlar/zx, Kevlar/poly, or full poly, as the nylon is stickier. But my competitive results are better because my launch angle control is much better.

I still find very good spin potential in high-speed impact shots (such as the serve). I think this combination of high spin potential on high-speed impacts and lower spin potential (and better directional control) on lower speed impacts like volleys, is a good way to go for maximizing competitive performance for my game.
 
#32
trav, so I'm confused now. If I were to try kevlar/zx in my 18X19, 104 square inch racquet, how would I string it to give me the highest possible launch angle? I thought conventional wisdom was that lower tension on the crosses with higher tension on the mains provided a higher launch angle.

On another note, I got some more strings to try:

 
#33
The Tour Bite 1.30 popped this morning doing overhead practice against a ball machine. Lasted about 15-17 hours, the last two or three of which were getting kind of springy and trampoliney (not a word, I know). Notched through the mains and broke at the thinnest of the notches in the center main.

This was probably my favorite string, edging out Solstice Power by a small amount. A bit less grip than Solstice Power, but a bit more power and more linearity in ball speed that was more in line with my expectations. I got more spin when hitting looping spin shots with Solstice Power, but that shot is probably 5% of all the shots I hit in competitive play. The shot where Solstice Power didn't work as well for me, a flatter, putaway attempt on a groundstroke, is probably 10-15% of my shots so just a matter of which would benefit me more.

Strung the racquet up at the exact same tension with Hyper G. More shaped than Tour Bite, square profile, but not nearly as sharp edges as Grapplesnake Cube. Am going to go hit in a couple of hours with it. The color matches my Blade exactly, which is a bonus. Strung, it is one gram heavier than the used TourBite, which probably lost at least that one gram from wear.



 
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