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Comments: I have previously reviewed Ashaway's Monogut ZX string (see Geoff 1/16 comments) and here I
turn my attention to the Crossfire hybrid of Ashaway braided Kevlar and Monogut ZX. This is a tremendous hybrid setup
that flies under most people's radar, likely because few club and recreational player know Kevlar strings still exist, even
though it's been around now for 20 some years. I use this string set up in most of my pro-weight (i.e., 11.5 ounces or more
strung), dense string pattern (e.g., 18x20), soft flex (63 or less RA) frames and it provides excellent low-powered control,
nice ball pocketing and impressive spin potential. Performance, in my opinion shines at the lower ends of recommended
tension range on Pro spec frames if you actually follow the stringing guidelines to drop the tension of the braided Kevlar
mains by 10-15% below your normal set up. In most of my frames, this means the Kevlar mains go in at 43-46 lbs and the
monogut ZX crosses go in 6 to 9 lbs more (as the monogut ZX will drop tension abit after about an hr of hitting while the
Kevlar string has near zero tension loss over its lifespan). At these tensions this hybrid combo is super comfortable and
the braided Kevlar Mains really grab the ball (even in 18x20 beds) producing greater spin than a comparable full bed of
textured poly. Enhanced spin breeds better control during heavy baseline exchanges. It is a fantastic control string in this
hybrid setup. Here are some additional issues to consider -- I have used Kevlar strings from Prince, Gamma, and Head,
and the Ashaway braided version is by far the softest feeling of the bunch. Folks that have used Kevlar strings and
complained of elbow discomfort may have installed at too high a tension. I once had a stringing job botched by someone
who flipped the requested tensions thinking I'd made a mistake asking for Mains at 8 lbs lower than the Cross and hitting
with Kevlar strings installed at 55 lbs (even in a soft flex frame) felt like hitting with a fiberglass plank strung with Piano wire
(it was not pleasant at all). Secondly, I have found this hybrid usable, but not as nicely 'playable' in stiffer flex frames. I
think this is because (in general) the stiffer the frame, the more power it provides, and thus higher the string tensions will be
needed to control this power, and as noted above, the higher tension you install Kevlar strings at, the stiffer they play.
Remember Kevlar strings do not pack their own 'punch,' this hybrid is thus less suited to lower pace, short backswing type
baseline hitters. It is most suited to heavy hitters who create their own pace with full groundstrokes. Lastly, because
tension loss on Kevlar strings is minimal, this hybrid string setup will last as long as the monogut ZX crosses remain
usable. I am a heavy, full western hitter, and can get at least three months of 4 hrs per week hitting before the monogut ZX
gets too mushy and the string bed goes dead (and you will easily feel when this starts to happen). You will definitely re-
string less often if you use these strings. That, combined with the amazing comfort and performance of this hybrid setup
garners it a strong recommendation for any NTRP 4.0+ players using soft flex, pro-wgt frames.
From: Geoff, 7/16
Comments: Best string ever! Blows polys away. Crisp and controlled on volleys and chip returns. But great
control of trajectory on topspin shots too. I prefer it with the kevlar mains strung at least 10 lbs tighter than the crosses --
it plays better for longer. Lasts months until the kevlar finally gets sawed through. Feel is grabby on spin shots, which I
like. The ball never slides across the stringbed like it can with full poly. I think this string would become popular if more
people knew about it.
From: Marek, 11/15
Comments: When I first played with it, it was stiff. After a break in period, it was comfortable. Control is its
best feature. I can take a very healthy cut at the ball and keep it in the court. Durability is outstanding. I've been using a
spin effect racquet and keeping it strung with poly for maybe a match and a half at most. This lasts about 25 sets on
average. I really like it once it breaks in. It seems to play better the longer it is in the frame. If you are looking for power,
look elsewhere. If power is not an issue, I recommend this.
From: Greg, 10/15
Comments: I love these strings! Compared to a full bed of Solinco Tour Bite, I find this string has a much
controlled launch angle at all swing speeds, without being harsh. The more topspin I hit, the deader it feels, which gives
confidence to swing out. The ability to absorb pace is outstanding. The only place I might prefer poly is serving --
has more pop. After about 6 days, the feel is still very crisp (although the mains are notched) -- a huge improvement over
From: Steve, 10/14
Comments: Well I guess I will be the first to review this string as no one else has blazed a trail! I put this hybrid
Steam 99 LS and I am very happy. I have tried many poly combinations and never was exceptionally happy, but this is 2
combo I have found. I found it was not hard on my shoulder/elbow and in fact was comfortable. An interesting thing I found
the string bed was crisp like a synthetic gut, but the strings snap back just as well as a poly. Polys always have that dead
this combination gives you that instant feedback along with the snap back that is required with today's topspin dominated
would highly recommend this string for anyone using the Spin racquets from Wilson or the ESP racquets from Prince.
From: Dustin, 10/14