Solinco Tour Bite gauge comparison

After playing the Tour Bite 1.25 for a good while and occasionally ending up with arm pain, I started looking at the 1.20 and 1.15 mm versions, as they are significantly softer / less stiff. I ended up ordering all 3, and strung up my 3 SixOnes @ 21/20 kg for a direct comparison:

3x Wilson SixOne 95 with Solinco Tour Bite in different gauges

My playing impression was that both thinner gauges are playable, even for someone like me who's been committed to 1.25 mm. I was mostly concerned, but also curious about the 1.15 mm. That one surprised me by not feeling as tinny as I had expected. Overall, the 1.15 immediately appeared familiar and quite predictable to me. The only noticeable downside was that it swallowed a good amount of power, which I first noticed by watching my overheads dying off a bit, versus going though the court.

As one would expect, the 1.2 mm does fit between the 1.25 and 1.15, however it doesn't sit straight in the middle. Compared to the 1.25 you get an over-proportionate drop in stiffness, but in terms of feel it seems to stay closer to the 1.25 than move towards the 1.15. This is confirmed by TW's string data:

Gauge (mm)Stiffness (lb/in)Spin Potential

According to TW, the 1.15 is actually 1.18 mm thick, the 1.2 is 1.23 mm, and the 1.3 is 1.34 mm. That also helps to explain why the 1.2 felt close to the 1.25, and the 1.15 didn't feel too thin.

So how to choose a gauge? Some thoughts:

* If you *are* looking for stiffness, the 1.25 is clearly for you. Subjectively, the ball grab is the strongest I've experienced so far, producing not only vicious spin, but also providing confidence in match play.

* If you like thicker gauges, the 1.3 can give you a boost of spin, and I would assume power too. I could see the 1.3 doing well in a Pure Drive, or some other >= 22 mm beam frame with an open pattern.

* The 1.2 now seems like a compelling all-around option, and thus maybe the best Tour Bite to try first. It's probably most interesting for all-court players wielding a player's stick, for example a current Prestige Pro, Blade, Pro Staff.

* The 1.15 might be an interesting option for finesse players - it might do well in a 18x20 control frame such as a classic Prestige or - loosely strung - in control-oriented Yonex like the VCORE Tour F 97.

So that's some directional info. I have been blasted off the court by a 1.15 a couple of times, meaning other combos are surely possible as well. My takeaway from this comparison is that I'll likely give the 1.2 another go sometime in the near future...

RelatedComparison of interesting strings in 2016