Tecnifibre ATP Razor Code String Review
- Too firm and underpowered for beginners
Tecnifibre spent three years developing ATP Razor Code, a co-poly designed to give advanced ball strikers exceptional control, spin, and durability. Judging from the comments of our playtest team, those three years were well spent. ATP Razor Code had noticeably more comfort than many of the stiffer, more traditional polys we've hit, along with better responsiveness at slower swing speeds. This added playability comes partly from Tecnifibre's Thermocore Technology, a special manufacturing process that increases the flexibility of polyester without compromising the crisp response. In contrast to the deader polys we typically use, ATP Razor Code was quite lively and required slightly higher string tensions to improve control. Both of our players were satisfied with the spin potential, with one player ranking ATP Razor Code just behind the best spin strings on the market. Ultimately, for the player who wants a durable and spin-friendly co-poly with above average pop and comfort, we think ATP Razor Code is definitely worth a test drive.
Power - Score: 65
ATP Razor Code comes in two colors, carbon and light blue. We found both colors to have more power than typical polys, with the blue color being the more lively of the two. Chris had no problems with the extra pop, saying, "I found good power from this string. I hit both colors and the light blue was the one that offered a tad more power. However, both versions offered more pop than a traditional poly and many co-polys. I was able to generate easy pace and depth with this string, and I liked the power I was getting on serve. The level of power also felt nice and consistent, with a steady drop off as I moved outside of the sweetspot."
Though both colors of ATP Razor Code were a little too powerful for him, Troy used a higher reference tension to get good results from the carbon color. He said, "I found the power to be high compared to other co-poly strings. I was surprised at the amount of punch this string packed, especially being a 16 gauge (1.30). I typically favor a 16L/17(1.25) gauge stringed to provide a little more power and spin. I initially tried the blue color of this string strung at 42 lbs. With this set-up I found the string to be too lively, and felt like I was missing quite a few shots just deep of the baseline by a couple of inches. I then strung the carbon color of this string at 45 lbs. With this set-up I felt more dialed-in, and felt as though I was hitting targets well. Overall, I found this string to be a bit too lively for me, but it wasn't necessarily a detriment to my game."
Spin - Score: 86
ATP Razor Code didn't score higher than Kirschbaum Black Shark or Solinco Tour Bite for spin, but Chris ranked it pretty high on his list of spin strings. He said, "I was getting above average spin from this string. I thought it grabbed the ball well. There was enough ball pocketing to aid in bite and the result was easy access to spin. I was driving some nice slice backhands with this string, and I enjoyed how the bite helped me skid the ball low to my opponents. I was also getting the grab I needed to curve down the line passing shots in, make lobs dip inside the baseline and add some extra angle to cross court passing shots. While it is not the most spin-friendly string I've ever hit, it is getting close -- ATP Razor Code would definitely be in the upper third if I were to rate them."
Finding decent spin, Troy was not as impressed as Chris with ATP Razor Code's spin potential. He said, "I found the overall spin of this string to be a bit better than average, though it was better than I initially envisioned, considering that it was a 16 gauge string. I felt like I was getting a decent amount of kick on my topspin groundstrokes. Where I wasn't necessarily pleased was when attempting to hit a cross-court dipping shot; I really had to strike it perfectly or else I would hit wide or right into the racquet of the net-man. I feel like thinner gauges (17 or 18) of this string would be right up my alley in the spin department."
Comfort - Score: 65
Tecnifibre claims that ATP Razor Code was specially designed to offer good shock absorption and vibration dampening. After hitting it for several weeks we are inclined to agree. After a short break-in period, Troy found a comfortably crisp response, saying, "The comfort of this string was good throughout the duration of this test. During my initial hitting session I found this string to be firmer than I would have liked. After about an hour of baseline bashing this string became more dampened. I felt that it pocketed well, and provided a good amount of elasticity. Even though this is a crisp-feeling string, it never seemed jarring on my arm, even when hitting outside the sweetspot."
Chris also got impressive comfort from ATP Razor Code. He said, "Due to the combination of power from this string and the powerful racquet I used for the test, I strung this string at 60 lbs. Even at a high tension in a stiff racquet, this string played with better than expected comfort. I was finding plenty of give from this string. The response was crisp, but the ball pocketing gave it a softer than expected edge at contact. I really enjoyed the feel of the string in my racquet."
Control - Score: 84
Given that ATP Razor Code is livelier than his "go to" polys, each playtester required slightly higher tensions to get enough control. Troy had his best results with the carbon color, saying, "Control is an aspect that became more favorable as time went on, and when I switched from blue to carbon. During my 10 hours of play with the blue color at 42 lbs. the control was not quite there and I found the ball flying a bit too much. When I began playing with the carbon color at 45 lbs. I found better control and felt as though I was hitting my targets consistently. Towards the end of this playtest I was swinging freely and playing with confidence."
Once he got the tension right, Chris had exceptional control. He said, "This string offered more power than the kind of poly based strings I favor. To bring in some added control I had one racquet strung tighter and one at my regular tension for comparison. At my regular tension the string was playing with just a tad too much juice. The power difference was not huge and it was easy to adapt to, but I preferred the tighter strung racquet. At 60 lbs the level of control I was getting from this string was excellent. I felt like I could put the ball exactly where I wanted. The carbon color also offered a slightly more controlled response for me. The differences between the two are slight, but the carbon color seemed to pocket the ball just as well without having quite as much pop to it."
Playability Duration - Score: 69
Like all strings, ATP Razor Code loses tension, which leads to changes in the playability. Chris definitely noticed some changes over time, but he was ultimately satisfied. He said, "I was able to get a solid two weeks of play from this string without any issues. By the third week I was ready to cut it out, which is the norm for me with the vast majority of poly based monofilaments. When the string first broke in it felt softer and a tad livelier. Towards the end of its playing life the response deadened more and the string didn't feel like it had the same stretch and resiliency -- which resulted in a deader, less forgiving feel. Still, I was very happy with how the string played the first two weeks, and the change in feel was gradual and consistent."
Finding better results with the carbon color, Troy said, "I felt that the blue version of this string lost tension more than I would have liked and became too lively as time went on. I added three pounds of tension to the carbon color and I didn't feel the tension loss as dramatically as I did with the blue."
Overall - Score: 81
What type or player would you recommend this to?
Chris - "An advanced level player seeking good control, a little power and easy access to spin should really like this string. I liked the consistent response of it, and for me it was a confidence inspiring string -- perfect for the player who likes to keep their racquet head speed up."
Troy - "Someone looking for good durability and a little more power than most co-poly string."
Chris - "I liked the control, spin and power, and I thought it played with better than expected comfort. I would definitely use this string again."
Troy - "Good comfort. The carbon color was pretty trusty for my likes. Nothing exceptional in any one category but good in most aspects (spin, control, power, durability, etc.)."
Chris - "None."
Troy - "The string was a bit too lively for my likes (particularly the blue color). I would have preferred trying the 17 gauge (1.25mm) since that is what I typically use in my dense string-patterned racquet."
Comparing the string to others they've tried, our testers said:
Chris - "I was reminded of Topspin Cyber Flash, a little bit of Volkl Cyclone and even Babolat RPM Blast. I felt the power level was smack in the middle of those strings, the spin was right up there and the control easily dialed in with tension."
Troy - "Initially, with the blue color, I had flashbacks to my encounters with Prince Beast XP, where I remember the string feeling too lively and unpredictable. The carbon color gave me more faith in this string. It was somewhat of a blend between Luxilon ALU Power and Kirschbaum Pro Line X. It's powerful like ALU Power, but it had a dampened feel similar to Pro Line X."
(Scores are determined by averaging individual play test scores)
Playtester String Setups
Playtest Racquet: Volkl Organix 7 295
Playtest Tension: 61 lbs
Typical String: Volkl Cyclone 16g
Playtest Racquet: Wilson BLX Six.One 95 (18x20)
Playtest Tension: 45 lbs
Typical String: Luxilon 4G 16L
Review date: July 2013. If you found this review interesting or have further questions or comments please contact us.
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