Völkl Cyclone color comparsion (2018 update)

Opinions seem differ on this, but I found that string color can significantly affect string performance. For example, the Kirschbaum Pro Line 2 feels nice and plush in red, but pretty stiff in black. So how about the Völkl Cyclone, one of the most popular polys out there, and (again) my current string of choice?

In general, the Cyclone has been considered a great half-priced alternative to the (overpriced?) Babolat RPM Blast. You probably came across this post since you appreciate its spin to price ratio, while being pretty well rounded otherwise as well (as opposed to the spin chart topping Ultra Cable, for example).

Ironically, despite making a gear shaped string, that's been on the market for years, while most players have been looking for spin strings... Volkl is still not saying anything in regards to spin on the packaging!

The Cyclone is still available in black, yellow, and orange. Serious players would probably choose by playing characteristics, but then there's also aesthetics, and price.

Between the different colors, I found that prices can differ up to about 30%. So for example, should one just buy the cheapest one?

Volkl Cyclone on Wilson Pro Staff RF97 Autograph in yellow, black, and orange

Here's a quick comparison of playing characteristics of the available colors - but first, the setup:

Racquet: Wilson Pro Staff RF97 Autograph

Tension: 23/22 kgs (~51 / 49 lbs) via a Wise Tension Head, constant pull

Gauge: 1.25mm / 17, which has always been my top choice.

Black Cyclone - Surprisingly the softest of the bunch. Playing-feel-wise, it's probably the most similar to the RPM Blast, even though the Blast is much stiffer. Does not snap back as loudly as the other 2. Seemed like the most powerful too.

Yellow Cyclone - To me, the most generic feeling - I remember nothing really stood out to me. When I tested, it seemed to sit right between the comfort and power of the black and the spin of the orange Cyclone. If you want an allrounder, this might be worth a try.

Orange Cyclone - Most audible snapback, suggesting it's the most spin friendly, and feels like it to. Still appears somewhat plasticky to me, maybe the least powerful of the 3. Combined, that makes it the most predictable, which is why I stuck with orange for a while (and came back to it in 2018 after playing the Hyper-G for a couple of seasons).

Price-wise, around $100 / €100 for a 200m reel seems fair. I've seen some colors offered for as low as €90. In the US, the current market price seems to be ~$120. That's still only half of what the RPM costs over there, however starts to creep up on other popular choices such as the Solinco Tour Bite
or Hyper-G (~ $160). So if I was Völkl I'd probably make sure to keep that gap...

Compared to some of the competition, I'd say less spin but more power and comfort than the Tour Bite, a bit more spin but less pop and worse long-time playability compared to the Hyper-G, and softer playing than the black Moto and certainly the Black Widow.

Finally, quick note that a review and comparison of the V-Torque, V-Torque Tour, and V-Star is next on the list, probably happening sometime later this summer (2018). Also, I had already tried the Cyclone Tour a few times, and found it softer, less spinny, but mostly sucking a bunch of power on impact!

More regarding other stings in this comparison.

If you'd like to dig into the Cyclone topic some more, you can take a look at my 50+ Cyclone stringjobs with ratings and commentary...

Wilson Pro Overgrip color comparison

aka "the best overgrip" for tennis (and maybe other racquet sports like badminton too...):

This can be short one - at the end of the day, the white grips packaged as 2 x 15 rolls seem to be much grippier than the other colors. And in my experience, even white grips in other packaging such as individual wraps or rolls (e.g. in the 60 box).

It's still my favorite overgrip, despite having to replace it every couple of sets or hours.

If you want to save some money here, and not cause quite as much waste, you can regrip it starting with the used top part. That way, what overlapped before and is not overlapping now will still be nice and white. Overall, it doesn't feel or look as good as new, but for practice it'll do.

Out of curiosity, I had also tried putting the grips in the washing machine, held together by a mesh bag. That worked surprisingly well, though you do not get the slight initial tackiness when you pull the plastic layer off a new one. Plus if the detergent doesn't fully wash off it can get a bit slippery...

Other brands have been putting out pretty nice overgrips over the last years as well, but after sampling ~10 alternatives, I think the white Wilson Pro Overgrip still has the nicest feel to it.

The "Champions Choice" string job

Just a few lines about the popular (and quite expensive!) "Champions Choice" string job - a hybrid of Wilson's own gut and Luxilon's Alu Power Rough.

Of course Roger made it famous. Like a few other top pros like Novak and Andy, he has the gut put in the mains for power. If you want to prioritize spin, you'd put the Rough there (since the racquet head mostly brushes up on the ball sideways).

I've had a few hits with it, mains in the crosses, and can confirm that it gives a bit of a power premium over a full bed of a poly. Maybe 10-20% based on your poly? Other playing characteristics were alright. Didn't get the impression that it could keep up in spin production with the likes of the Hyper-G, Cyclone, and surely not the Tour Bite.

While these days, you usually cut out polys before they break, the Champions Choice job says goodbye somewhat quickly, especially on surfaces like clay or HarTru. Would give it somewhere in the range of 5-10 hours. So that adds to the expense.

If you'd like to mimic Roger's setup, note that he still uses Power Pads (leather inserts) on the throat grommets and even puts in a few string savers slightly north of the sweet spot...

You can probably save a bit of money and get similar results by buying another proven gut and pair it with the Tour Bite. I read somewhere that Ana played a setup like this for a while.

Personally, I've tried and tried, but putting 2 different strings in a racquet is just not for me!