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String Playtest Comparison: Polyfibre TCS Rapid 17 vs Polyfibre Cobra 17

About the play testerAbout the String

Tester: Jonolau of the Talk Tennis message board

Playing Level: 4.0

Regular playing equipment: Dunlop M-Fil 300, Pro Supex Blue Gear 1.25mm @ 60 lb and Dunlop M-Fil 300, Pro Supex Big Ace 1.25mm @ 60 lb

Game Style: Baseliner hitting 70:30 flat:topspin shots with eastern FH, one-handed BH. Fast swingspeed.

Strings being tested: Polyfibre TCS Rapid vs. Polyfibre Razor

Gauge: 17

Racquet(s) string is in: Dunlop M-Fil 300

Tension: 60 lbs

Stringing: One piece string job. TCS Rapid was relatively easy to string, and was easier to weave crosses compared to Razor and other strings such as Tecnifibre Pro Redcode, Signum Pro Poly Plasma and Luxilon Big Banger ALU Power. When doing a direct comparison between both Polyfibre strings, the Razor was more difficult to string because it appears to be a textured string. The rougher texture of Razor also created some friction burns on the mains when pulling the crosses even though the string was “arched”. Weaving crosses was also more tedious. However, Razor still isn't as difficult as ALU Power Rough. The only significant complaint about both strings is that after stringing, almost all the ink of the stenciled letterings on the strings were rubbed off, thus making it illegible and unidentifiable. After playing, all the ink was gone.

Polyfibre Cobra 17/1.20 String
A soft polyester string with a textured surface for excellent spin. Pre-stretched for optimum tension maintenance.
Polyfibre TCS Rapid 16L/1.25 String
TCS Rapid is Polyfibre's softest TCS string. This one takes spin production to an all new level. Lots of bite combines with a livelier feel than competing co-poly strings. Also maintains tension well.

Power Off the ground, there is nothing to differentiate both strings in terms of power, and both would be rated equally. Off the serve, both strings feel springy, and there seems to be more dwell time on the stringbeds. On groundstrokes, it was easy to generate pace on the ball without too much of an effort as the strings felt quite soft compared to Redcode and SPPP. However, after about 2 hours of play, TCS Rapid lost more tension than Razor and started to play much softer. Groundstrokes were going long and there was more trampoline effect than the Razor.

Control On serves, there seemed to be more dwell time on the stringbed, thus resulting in good directional control and accurate serve placement. Groundstrokes were also rewarded with satisfyingly precise down-the-line returns. It was an enjoyable experience playing with these strings as they offered great control in the first 2 hours. But after settling in, Razor held tension better and thus offered more control especially on slices and volleys.

ComfortBoth don't feel too harsh. However, Razor has an edge as a more comfortable poly with better tension maintenance.

Spin Razor has the edge here on spin. As it holds tension better than Rapid, the stiffer stringbed offered more spin control. Razor felt effortless when brushing up the ball on groundstrokes, and offered satisfying spin control on slices and bolleys.

Feel For those who are used to stiffer-feeling or control-oriented strings, these two strings can come across as being too springy. However, these strings can also be described as being very comfort-oriented polyesters and are suitable for those looking for durability and softness. TCS Rapid can be described as a soft poly that has some of the traditional characteristics of poly such as control and limited string movement, but has the added feature of feeling a little more playable for those used to nylon/synthetic gut. Razor would feel much closer to premium comfort oriented polys such as Pro Redcode.

String Movement No string movement at all from both strings.

Tension MaintenanceAfter 2 hours of play, TCS Rapid has a higher initial tension loss compared to the Razor. But after that, both strings stabilized and maintained tension after 10 hours of play. No more significant loss.

Durability Have played 20 hours with both strings and both seem so to have average durability for polys. Some notching has been observed on both stringbeds but nothing out of the ordinary.

Weather/Temperature: Tropics, permanently hot and humid atmosphere. Average temperature during day play was about 93.2F, evening games at about 87.8F.

Court Surface: Outdoor hard court.

Overall Summary: Having been a long time stiff string user, I much prefer the feel of Razor. It seems to have a lower initial tension loss rate compared to TCS Rapid and therefore the Razor stringbed stabilizes at a stiffer level which I prefer. The Razor also seems to have a textured surface and this gives it an edge over the TCS Rapid on ball bite and spin control. However, that being said, TCS Rapid could be a hit with those looking for a poly with a softer feel and should be positioned as a soft poly. Bottom line is: Razor will be a better choice over TCS Rapid. It feels and plays more like what people would expect out of a poly.

Polyfibre TCS Rapid 90
Polyfibre Razor 83
Polyfibre Razor 95
Polyfibre TCS Rapid 60
Polyfibre TCS Rapid 90
Polyfibre Razor 85
Polyfibre Razor 90
Polyfibre TCS Rapid 65
Polyfibre Razor 85
Polyfibre TCS Rapid 70
String Movement
Polyfibre TCS Rapid 95
Polyfibre Razor 95
Tension Maintenance
Polyfibre Razor 85
Polyfibre TCS Rapid 60
Overall Playability
Polyfibre Razor 90
Polyfibre TCS Rapid 80

Playtest date: August, 2007.
All content copyright 2007 Tennis Warehouse.

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