Coded For Control
Mar 15, 2011 (Updated Apr 5, 2011)
Review by mht
Rated a Very Helpful Review
Pros:more spin, more control, good power, long-lasting
Cons:hard on the arm, stiff feel, the strings can go dead before breaking
The Bottom Line: Excellent control and spin string that lasts and lasts; it does not sacrifice much power and retains touch despite its harder nature.
Black code is a polyester polymer string that gives more spin and control. As such, it works better with a lower to mid-range string tension, even more so because it is hard on the arm. It is very durable and plays well as a hybrid with softer strings, such as NRG2 or XR3, also Tecnifibre strings. Tecnifibre, one of the leading string companies, actually makes strings for other companies, including when the string comes under the other company's name. Wilson would be an example of a brand that says "Wilson" but is actually made by Tecnifibre at times.
Recommend this product?
</b>Spin and Control</b>
Spin helps a lot for control. The hexagonal shape gives more bite into the ball and thus it gives more spin. It also helps in "pocketing" the ball more. The polymer for Black Code, which is the identical polymer used in Red Code (which does not have the hexagonal shape and is John Isner's string of choice), aids tremendously in increasing spin and control. So if you have a power racquet or power game, this string can help bring them under control.
</b>Durable and Hard</b>
Whenever I have used this string as a hybrid with a softer string, the Black Code portion has always lasted longer. In fact, the strings last so long, they may go a bit dead or loose on you before they break. When I recently had all Black Code in my primary racquet, towards the end I was somewhat wishing they would break so that I could get a new string job on them. Cutting strings before they break is an option, but one that not everyone would considerable affordable.
This string is hard on the arm. If you have elbow or shoulder problems, it is highly recommended that you use it as part of a hybrid with a softer string or that you crank the tension downward. In my racquet, the recommended midpoint is 57 pounds. The next time I go with all Black Code, I am planning on setting the string tension at or below the midpoint (57 or less). Some pros use poly strings at extremely low tensions, like 45 pounds (e.g. Nikolay Davydenko).
Here in Florida, after losing to some excellent players with tremendous spin and control, I inquired into what strings they were using. Most commonly, it turned out to be Black Code. So I figured that if I wasn't beating them, I would join them.
Since getting Black Code and using it both as a part of a hybrid and using it by itself, I won a 5.0 league, attained 2nd place in a 5.0+ league, and am about to play in the finals of the highest level (5.0) in a current league I am in. The level of competition here in Florida is wonderfully tough, and among the players I have beaten with this string include those who played college tennis, including at the NCAA Division I level. Especially since I use a power racquet, it helps to have strings that would help bring that power more under control.
</b>Try It, You Might Like It</b>
If you've never tried Black Code and are looking for more spin and control without sacrificing much power, I'd recommend it. If you have serious arm problems, I would stay away, or at least hybridize it or decrease the tension dramatically. It has more feel than one might expect from such a string. One player who beat me with Black Code could hit precision drop shots regularly with this string. It does not have a soft feel to it, so for those who like a soft feel in their strings, it would not be recommended. Overall, it is mainly a string that can augment spin and control, even if your strokes don't already have much spin or even if they do. As it has been for me, the Black Code may be the password for better tennis and more victories against comparable competition for you as well.
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