Luxilon Big Banger 16 Review

Reprinted with permission of the
United States Racquet Stringer's Association

Luxilon’s Big Banger 16 is a co-polymer poly-ether-ether using a fluorocarbon resin. According to the manufacturer, it is a high-tech European product providing maximum performance. Its advanced polymers provide superb feel on impact. It offers enormous power and excellent control. Its tension loss is minimal and the strings do not move once strung. Luxilon recommends installing this string 10% looser than other strings. Available in 16 gauge in amber color only.

Bench Testing

Two coils each measured 40'. The diameter ranged from 1.32 mm to 1.34 mm prior to stringing and 1.26 mm to 1.30 mm after stringing. A stringbed stiffness of 68 RDC units was recorded immediately after stringing at 60 pounds in a Wilson Pro Staff 6.1 95 (16 x 18 pattern) on a constant pull machine. After 24 hours (no playing), stringbed stiffness measured 64 RDC units, representing a 6% tension loss. Our control string, Prince Synthetic Gut Original Gold 16, measured 78 RDC units immediately after stringing and 71 RDC units after 24 hours, representing a 9% tension loss.

The Testers

Tested for five weeks by 30 USRSA playtesters, with NTRP ratings from 3.5 to 6.0. This is a blind test. The playtesters are sent unmarked strings in unmarked packages. This means they know nothing about the string before they string it and play with it. As a result, no pre-conceived ideas regarding manufacturers, type of construction, or materials used are able to affect their impressions of the string.

Stringing

Luxilon Big Banger 16 felt a lot like polyester. It had a strong coil memory which was reduced, but not eliminated, by prestretching. It had a strong tendency to kink even after prestretching. Many playtesters used the word ‘wiry’ in their descriptions.

Its coating did not allow for easy weaving of cross strings and several playtesters experienced problems with notching and cracking during installation. Its wiry feel and low gloss coating made knot tying difficult. Extra care had to be taken to make sure knots cinched up snug.

Stringers should avoid cutting the string ends to a point because this string is so stiff it can actually poke through skin.

The length is a little short for some of the super-oversize racquets in today’s market. But, it should be long enough for most of the racquets being used by string breakers.

Initial tension readings were low compared to other strings, but 24 hour tension loss was less than most other strings (only 6%).

Playtesting

The playtesters seem to agree on the best target for this string: frequent string breakers trying to avoid the harsh feel of Kevlar. Two features stand out when playing with this string, durability and resistance to movement. It tied for the highest durability of any string we have playtested in the last few years and scored the second highest rating in resistance to movement.
Opinions varied regarding the string’s stiffness and tension maintenance. Everyone agreed that the string felt very stiff during installation. But, some felt it played stiff at first and eventually softened up, while others felt it started out soft and stayed that way. Luxilon recommends installing this string 10% looser than other strings, but we installed it at the usual tension for comparison purposes. Most playtesters still felt it played too loose. So, you may want to experiment for yourself in deciding what tension to use.

Even though the strings did not move much, the spin potential rated below average, perhaps because of the smooth finish. Power, control, touch/feel, and comfort all rated below average as well. Only two playtesters broke Big Banger - one each after 1 and 3 hours.

Conclusion

While this string is officially not a polyester, it has all the characteristics commonly associated with polyester. It’s very durable, offers good resistance to movement, possesses strong coil memory, low elongation and kinks easily during installation. This is a possible solution for your frequent string breakers looking for a softer feel than Kevlar’s.

Comments

(String used most
often in parentheses)

“For a stiff string, I was surprised with its playability. It lacked the control and feel I would like to see, but it had great power and durability. During the entire playtest period, these strings never moved” 4.0 all court player using a Yonex Super RQ 400 long 110 strung at 55 pounds (Gosen Tec Gut Pro 16)

“Great durability. No feel though. Would only use for string breakers.” 5.5 serve & volley player using a Dunlop Revelation 200G 95 strung at 45 pounds (Babolat VS Synthetic Gut 17)

“Very durable with decent playability. Good feel when volleying, tendency to hit long on groundstrokes. I used a damper after several hours. I usually do not use one.” 4.0 all court player using a Prince Graphite 90 strung at 56 pounds (Prince Synthetic Gut Soft 17)

“A nice string for anyone needing durability who doesn’t mind the stiffness.” 4.5 all court player using a Wilson Pro Staff Original 95 strung at 70 pounds (Gamma XL 16)

“Great string for big string breakers. My junior string breakers would like this. It is not hard on the arm like Kevlar. String plays very dead with a spongy feel.” Serve & volley player using a Wilson Hammer 4.0 110 strung at 63 pounds (Wilson Hammerlast 19)

“The string played firm yet did not adversely affect my arm. After 25 hours of playing, the tension loss appears to be minimal. Stringing was difficult at best. I thought I was weaving a 16 gauge wire through the frame. Had difficulty keeping the string uncoiled.” 3.5 all court player using a Slazenger Pro Braided 95 strung at 58 pounds (Gamma TNT 17/Gamma Gut)

“The string was very stiff and wiry. It had decent power and almost no string movement even when playing with heavy spin. It’s also a very heavy string, probably 5 to 6 grams heavier than a typical string (more with larger head sizes). It definitely affects swingweight on lighter racquets. I would only recommend this string for heavy hitters seeking a very durable string that can stand up to spin. It should not be used by anyone with elbow problems.” 4.0 baseliner with heavy spin using a Dunlop Revelation Superlong Tour Pro +1.00 95 strung at 60 pounds (Ashaway Vantage Pro 17)

“Once the racquet was strung, the string played well. Difficult to string. It was like wire to string which made it very hard to pull. I would recommend using two piece stringing.” all court player using a Head Ti. S5 strung at 59 pounds (Gamma 17)

“The string strung up stiff but did not play as stiff as I thought it would. The string had a noticeable pitch change after the first 6 games and it felt looser. The string bit into itself during stringing and its stiffness made knot tying more difficult.” 4.5 serve & volley player using a Yonex RD-7 95 strung at 60/57 pounds (Babolat VS Gut Natural 17L)

“Coating was cracking during cross string installation. Too much coil memory” 4.5 Doubles player using a Prince Precision Response 660 strung at 63/60 pounds (Gamma TNT 16)

“There seemed to be almost no stretch of this string when pulling tension. This string was very stiff, like wire, and would bend at times so that you had to stop and straighten it to continue the job.” 4.0 serve & volley player using a Wilson Hammer 6.4 Power Holes 110 strung at 60 pounds (Prince Synthetic Gut 17)

“I would not use this string. Strings very poorly with no feel at all. Knotted quite easily and stayed kinked.” 4.0 serve & volley player using a Wilson Pro Staff 5.7 EB 100 strung at 63 pounds

“Felt like stringing with wire (must be polyester). Care must be used in cinching up knots or excess slack was left in string.” 4.5 baseliner with moderate or no spin using a Slazenger Pro Braided 100 strung at 64 pounds (Babolat VS Synthetic Gut 16)

“After experiencing the stiffness of the string during stringing, I was surprised that after the first hour or so its playability was pretty good. This lasted through the 10th hour of play. By 14 hours it was noticeably difficult to control as the tension had so severely decreased. Again, surprising in such a stiff, almost ‘Kevlar-like’ feeling string initially. I was glad when the test was completed.” 3.5 all court player using a Prince Precision Equipe Longbody 110 strung at 62 pounds (Yonex Tour Pro 800 16)

“I only play with polyester string and have tried most of them. This string severely lacked power and feel even at a very low tension. The worst ‘poly’ I’ve tried. This string might feel better in a very high power stiff racquet.” 6.0 baseliner with heavy spin using a Wilson Hammer 6.2 Stretch 95 strung at 53 pounds (Babolat Strong Play 16)

“This string was the worst I have ever strung. When I played with it, I had no touch, no feel, and it hurt my arm. I couldn’t wait to take it out of my racquet.” 4.5 all court player using a Wilson Hammer 5.0 Stretch 95 strung at 65 pounds (Babolat VS Synthetic Gut 16)

“I have elbow problems on occasion. This string made my elbow hurt so much that I had to stop playing for nearly a week. I never had a string cause so much problem in such a short time.” 5.0 all court player using a Pro Staff Classic 6.1 95 strung at 58 pounds (Gamma TNT 16)

TESTER STATS

Results from 30 playtesters

EASE OF STRINGING

(Compared to string used most often)
much better 0
somewhat better 1
about the same 4
not quite as good 7
not nearly as good 15


OVERALL PLAYABILITY

(Compared to string played most often)
much better 1
somewhat better 0
about the same 4
not quite as good 13
not nearly as good 8


OVERALL DURABILITY

(Compared to strings of similar gauge)
much better 11
somewhat better 11
about the same 2
not quite as good 0
not nearly as good 3


RATING AVERAGES

Playability 2.4
Durability 4.0
Power 2.9
Control 2.9
Touch/feel 2.1
Comfort 2.3
Spin Potential 2.7
Holding Tension 3.3
Resistance to Movement 3.7

KEY: Respondents ranked string from a possible low of 1 to a high of 5. Median value is 3. Values represent average overall ratings.

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