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Friday, August 17, 2012 Fire Up Your Game With Wilson Extreme Octane!

Wilson

The solid-core synthetic gut market is a heavily populated one. Prince created the original 30 years ago, and it seems most companies have followed suit with at least one entry in this segment. Wilson has four options in this class already: Extreme Synthetic Gut, Stamina, SGX and Red Alert. Now, they’re adding Extreme Octane 16 and 17, promising improved power and, perhaps more importantly, durability. Plus, this new string comes in black, white, and gold!

Buy Wilson Extreme Octane from TennisExpress.com when it becomes available on August 27th! 

Specs: Octane has some classic synthetic gut attributes, like a solid nylon 66 core with one layer of nylon 6 wraps (18 filaments in all). Where it differs is in its use of bi-directional “X-Bands” of Nomex, a derivative of Kevlar more known for its use in fire-resistant suits for race car drivers. Its purpose in Octane is to enhance durability (it has a high tensile-strength-to-weight ratio), elasticity, and resistance to heat (frictional notching during play).

Since Octane is intended to compete with other solid-core synthetic gut strings, it’s only right to expect some of the specs to be similar, and they are. Compared to top-selling Prince Duraflex Synthetic Gut, for example, the percentage of elongation (stretch) is quite similar: at 60 pounds of tension, Octane elongates 10.2% of its length, versus 10.5% for Prince Duraflex (within the margin of error for “field” testing). Gauge (diameter) is a standard 16 (1.30mm) for each, and both are or, in the case of Octane, will be, available in 40’ sets or 660’ reels.

Wilson Extreme Octane

Wilson Extreme Octane Black

Stringing: Octane’s silicone coating is much more prominent than some other synthetics, as it is very easy to weave the cross strings. The feel is a little smoother as well, and straightening the strings is much less of a chore. It reaches tension, and holds it, similarly to other synthetic gut strings: Octane lost 9.8% of its tension 24 hours after being strung, while the Prince Duraflex string lost 9.9% (again, margin of error stuff).


In Play: Octane has a very solid feel, with little shock or vibration coming through. Many solid-core strings, on the other hand, are much more “active” on contact, with more feel but more vibration as well. Octane has another very interesting quality: its control. While it’s much harder to quantify control as opposed to power (logically, if a string has more power, the ball just gets there quicker), Octane seems to be much more consistent in how it launches the ball. Some strings of this type will occasionally surprise you with how the ball comes off, and you’ll miss your target significantly. Octane seems to help keep the ball more in line with the desired location of the shot. Wilson Extreme Octane White
Wilson Extreme Octane Gold

Fine Points: Strings with a drier exterior remain where they were after the swing is finished, making it more of a chore to put them back. But Octane’s coating allows the strings to be easily realigned.

The X-Bands also show off a little-known aspect of Nomex: its acoustic qualities. Octane has a much more muted sound upon impact than other solid-core strings, partially, one must surmise, from Nomex’s ability to filter out some sounds while enhancing others (it has been used as a canopy on concert hall ceilings). Whatever the reason, shots hit with Octane have a softer, more comfortable sound to them.

Wilson has added some real heat to the solid-core synthetic gut market with the introduction of Extreme Octane. Good control, power, feel plus the increased durability and sound-quieting properties of Nomex should have synthetic gut lovers dying to give it a try.


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