Tourna Big Hitter Black 7 17 Reel Review
- High Comfort and power for a poly-based string
- Too firm and low powered for beginners
The comfort and power our team got from Tourna Big Hitter Black 7 almost makes it seem like we tested a stretchy multifilament rather than a firm monofilament. This confusion is understandable because Big Hitter Black 7, a shaped co-poly, was designed with the softer, more lively response of a multifilament. It was also designed with something else in mind, namely spin, which our team discovered in spades. The exceptional spin came partly from the seven sharp edges, which, as you will read, proved ideal for gripping the ball. Of course, with its springier response the control was not quite on par with the firmest polys, but this was easily remedied with higher tensions and increased spin. Ultimately, if our team has it right, Big Hitter Black 7 is not only a great option for advanced players in search of a softer poly with major bite, but it also looks like a great starting point for big swinging intermediates who are ready to take the poly plunge.
Power - Score: 74
For our playtesters, Tourna Big Hitter Black 7 proved more powerful than most of the co-polys they typically hit with. Andy put that extra power to work. He said, "I really enjoyed the amount of pop and power I was getting with Big Hitter Black 7. From the ground, the ball exploded off the stringbed, and I found I really had to increase my racquet head speed to generate enough spin to bring the ball down. It was also a soft enough string that I could get a lot of pace on flatter shots or big flat serves without it being too jarring on my arm."
"I was surprised at how much pop I was getting from this string," said Chris, who had to make some minor tension adjustments to perfect the response. "I had to go up a couple of pounds to add some control, and I ended up finding 57 lbs to work best for me in the Volkl C10 Pro I was using. I had no issues getting plenty of zip on both groundstrokes and serves with this string."
Spin - Score: 93
With its sharp edges and robust snapback, Tourna Big Hitter Black 7 gave our team exceptional bite and explosive spin. For Andy, the easy access to spin was crucial for controlling the power. He said, "The seven-sided design of the string allowed for excellent ball pocketing and exceptional spin off the stringbed. Like I said previously, because the string had so much pop I really had to amp up my swing speed to keep the ball in. When I did, the string grabbed the ball and sent it away spinning like an Olympic gymnast. Topspin was exceptional, and I also got tons of bite on my slices. I was able to hit massive slice and kick serves, getting the ball to slide off the court or jump over my opponent's hitting zone. The superb spin potential from this string really helped me control its explosive power."
Chris clearly had all the bite he needed. He said, "I liked how this string grabbed the ball, and I found it very spin-friendly. I was getting some nice pocketing in the stringbed, and it really felt like the string was biting the ball. Both groundstrokes and serves were leaving the stringbed with good spin. I felt like I could hook my topspin shots inside the lines pretty well, when hitting everything from short angles to lobs. On my slice backhand I was getting enough bite to allow me to knife through the ball and create a low skidding bounce."
Comfort - Score: 83
Tourna invested some time and effort into making Big Hitter Black 7 a softer, more arm-friendly poly. Judging from the responses of our playtesters, those efforts paid off. Chris, who typically plays with firmer polys, discovered the comfort immediately. He said, "For a monofilament, I found this to be a comfortable string even at higher tensions. At 57 lbs this string still felt soft and lively, while I'd keep the tension around 52 lbs to get a similar response from a classic poly. I was very impressed by the level of comfort and would recommend this string to someone seeking a softer feeling poly."
"Due to the softness of this string I found it pretty comfortable on my arm," said Andy, who appreciated the feel. "I could really feel the sensation of the ball sinking into the stringbed, allowing me to feel like I had ultimate control over the ball, which I loved! Being able to feel the ball and manipulate it while it's on the stringbed is a big attribute for me with strings, and this string didn't disappoint. I did find that when the tension dropped the string got a little mushy and lost some of that crisp response. However, when the tension was high enough I got the crisp response I wanted coupled with the soft elasticity of the string."
Control - Score: 79
With its relatively lively feel, Tourna Big Hitter Black 7 does not have the control of a Solinco Tour Bite or Luxilon Big Banger Original. This fact didn't bother Andy, who was able to control the power to great effect. He said, "The excellent spin potential from the shaped design gave me enough control. It's not the stiffest, and thus not the most control-oriented string, but I find that I would rather trade a little softness and comfort for a little less control. I could always go up a little bit in tension if I felt I needed a little more control from my strings. But again, when I generated enough racquet head speed to get lots of spin, I corralled the power of this string with enough precision to put the ball where I wanted."
"At first I found the control to be lacking," said Chris, who helps us understand that string tension is an important element of control. "However, switching to a higher tension helped greatly. Even then, the string offered a relatively lively response. I never found the deadened response of some low-powered polys, but I was finding my targets and hitting with confidence once my racquet was strung up at 57 lbs."
Playability Duration - Score: 60
As with all strings, Tourna Big Hitter Black 7 loses tension and playability over time. Chris was able to get his standard two weeks out of this one, despite having to make some adjustments. He said, "This string lost tension over a two-week period, and I felt the ball start to fly a little. I noticed the launch angle became higher on topspin shots, which gave my shots more depth and a slightly loopier flight path off the racquet. However, it was nothing excessive, and I was able to adjust with the string and find my groove for the duration of the test."
Andy also noticed some changes in the response due to tension loss. He said, "The playability for this string lasted me about a week and a half. After that it lost tension, resulting in a loss of control and a mushy feel at contact. After the string lost playability I actually gained power (as opposed to it going dead). However, when this happened I lost my connection with the ball, as it didn't respond off the stringbed like I wanted it to."
Overall - Score: 82
What type of player would you recommend this to?
Andy - "Just like any other polyester, I would recommend this to players with longer, faster strokes. Especially with this string, because I feel that if you don't generate that fast racquet head speed, you won't unlock the spin potential to help you control the ball. This string is definitely designed for the big hitting player in mind!"
Chris - "I would recommend this to someone seeking a softer and more responsive poly based monofilament, as it plays pretty juicy for a co-poly."
Andy - "A lot! Loved the power/spin combination, with just the right amount of control. The durability was also excellent, lasting me more than 12 hours of play, which is above average. I was impressed with the amount of feel and response I was getting off the stringbed at contact, as I felt a total connection with the ball."
Chris - "I really liked the spin and comfort of this one."
Andy - "It lost tension somewhat quickly, and when it did the playability of the string was affected dramatically."
Chris - "A tad lively for me."
Comparing the string to others they've tried, our testers said:
Andy - "I feel like I say this a lot, but it felt a lot like Volkl Cyclone, which is also a black, shaped string. I found this string to be much softer than Cyclone, though, so I strung it a few pounds tighter than I would with Cyclone. However, the excellent ball pocketing, great feel and excellent spin potential were very similar to Cyclone."
Chris - "The response reminds me of Signum Pro Poly Plasma 17, in that it had some spring to it for a co-poly. In other words, the ball jumped off the stringbed with pace and depth. As for the pocketing and feel, Poly Star Classic has a similar stretchy feel to it at impact, but is just a tad less responsive."
(Scores are determined by averaging individual play test scores)
Playtester String Setups
Racquet: Yonex RDiS Mid 100
Playtest Tension: 52 lbs
Favorite String: Babolat RPM Blast 17
Racquet: Volkl C10 Pro
Playtest Tension: 57 lbs
Favorite String: Volkl Cyclone 16
Review date: October 2012. If you found this review interesting or have further questions or comments please contact us.
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