I recently had the chance to test Kirschbaum XPLOSIVE SPEED, a string known for its unique pentagonal design to enhance power and spin.
Launched in 2019, this string has sparked interest among players for its combination of power and comfort, and my playtest aimed to assess these claims objectively.
Kirschbaum XPLOSIVE SPEED boasts a monofilament composition made from soft co-polyester, promising a blend of power and comfort.
Available in various gauges, it offers versatility to suit different playing styles. My playtest involved a 1.23mm gauge string strung on a VCORE SV 100 racket.
This review focuses on the string’s playability, scrutinising aspects like power, grip, spin, and overall comfort. It also provides a comprehensive understanding of its performance by comparing it to similar products in the market.
Whether you are a competitive player or looking to upgrade your equipment, this review offers insights into how the Kirschbaum XPLOSIVE SPEED might suit your game. Let’s go.
Kirschbaum Xplosive Speed Specification
- Composition: Monofilament, based on soft co-polyester.
- Gauge: I used 1.23mm. It is also available in 1.13, 1.18, 1.28 and 1.33mm gauges.
- Shape: Pentagonal
- Colour: Black
- Description: Highly elastic; extremely powerful; comfortable feel; excellent dampening.
Racket Setup for Testing
- Tension: Strung at 23 kg with four knots.
- Frame: VCORE SV 100 (2017), 300g unstrung, 318 complete kit, string pattern 16×19, length 687 mm, balance 320 mm.
- Grip Size: #2
- Head size: 100 square inches.
- Previous string on the frame: Head Lynx strung at 21 kg.
A Few Words From the Stringer
The string itself feels delicate—especially its coating. I needed to make sure I would gently glide the horizontal strings through the vertical to prevent any excessive friction that would potentially tear the strings. The string appeared to be very elastic, but it felt firm despite keeping its form and did not bend or twist while stringing. With the coating being soft, I had to spend extra few minutes on these strings, which could at times be annoying, but I did not encounter any particular issues that could make it something I would potentially dislike stringing. Stringing with Kirschbaum Xplosive Speed.
Kirschbaum Xplosive Speed Playest and Review
Upon the first encounter, the string’s sleek black colour caught my interest, complementing the elegance of most racket designs (including the VCORE 100 I used for testing).
This classic colour choice aligns seamlessly with my preference for more neutral string colours – avoiding distractions on the court—a sentiment that has been consistent across my previous reviews.
The string’s elasticity, evident in its supple texture, promises enhanced spin potential and admirable power. This initial impression, rooted in the string’s visual and tactile attributes, made me curious about how it would play.
During my playtest with Kirschbaum XPLOSIVE SPEED, the string’s traits gradually unravelled.
Already from the first shots, it appeared to live up to its name, showcasing a distinct power surge reflected in the explosive response of the ball from the onset.
Nonetheless, as I began playing with the XPLOSIVE SPEED, its performance was uncertain, especially regarding its ball bite efficiency.
This initial uncertainty about its ability to effectively bite the ball prompted me to delve deeper into its behaviour during groundstrokes to form a more comprehensive understanding of its performance.
Power, Spin & Comfort
Kirschbaum promotes the Xplosive Speed as incredibly versatile, citing its suitability for various player styles and court types.
As mentioned earlier, it didn’t take long for me to realise that the string’s touted power potential was valid.
Particularly on groundstrokes and aggressive shots, I enjoyed how effectively the string delivered power and speed to the ball.
This often facilitated achieving depth in my shots and taking control of the rally without exerting excessive strain on my body.
While I quickly confirmed the string’s prowess in generating power, I initially doubted its ability to deliver significant spin, which is crucial for maintaining control and precision with such a powerful string.
My first impression was a lack of bite on the ball. However, with prolonged play, I realised my initial assumption was incorrect.
Gradually, I discovered that focusing on shot consistency enabled easy spin execution. Challenges arose with ‘mixed’ shots—powerful and loaded—where the ball felt slingshotted away before the string could grip effectively, forcing a trade-off between power and spin.
This sensation might stem from pairing a power-oriented racket like the VCORE 100 with the powerful XPLOSIVE SPEED.
Using XPLOSIVE SPEED with more control-focused rackets like the Head Prestige S, Yonex Percept 97D, or Wilson Blade S etc., would resolve this trade-off, unleashing the string’s full potential.
In terms of comfort, I found the string’s multifilament-like feel to offer an indulgent sensation, effectively reducing unwanted vibrations.
This outstanding feature significantly boosted the string’s comfort, ensuring minimal shock on impact while keeping the ball response lively.
This vibration-dampening tech brings a host of benefits. For me, it’s a game-changer—it helps safeguard my arm, potentially sidestepping joint issues, which is crucial as someone prone to physical strains.
Plus, its tactile sensitivity allows me to feel the ball distinctly, amplifying my touch and responsiveness. The “dry” sensation upon impact is pleasant, especially for finesse shots like defensive slices or aggressive volleys.
The string’s top-notch dampening effect adds to its attractiveness, making it an excellent choice for players aiming for longer, more intense training sessions.
Durability & Tension Maintenance
Kirschbaum XPLOSIVE SPEED did not deliver an outstanding performance regarding durability, breaking just over an hour into play. Anticipating this due to its smaller gauge, the string’s durability aligned with my predictions.
Nevertheless, in terms of tension maintenance, it outperformed my initial expectations.
Some players seem to have complained about a severe tension loss during play; however, while I braced for the worst, I discovered that this string retained its tension remarkably well until it snapped.
Yet, towards the end, noticeable wear and tear emerged approximately five to ten minutes before breaking. This led to the vertical and horizontal strings interlocking, hindering the snap-back effect and diminishing the string’s ability to generate spin and control effectively.
Value For Money
At around $11 for a single pack, Kirschbaum Xplosive Speed string is an exceptional value proposition due to its versatile performance.
Despite its competitive pricing, this string boasts qualities commonly associated with higher-priced alternatives. Its adaptability to diverse playing styles and court types ensures versatility without a hefty price tag.
In the previous sections, I discussed how the string stands out in power generation, providing significant power and speed on groundstrokes and aggressive shots, elevating gameplay without exerting excessive physical strain.
Moreover, its consistent spin potential adds to its overall value, facilitating shot control and consistency, especially when paired with rackets designed for spin enhancement.
This blend of performance traits at its price range makes the Xplosive Speed economical for players seeking dependable performance without stretching their budget.
Kirschbaum Xplosive Speed vs Yonex Poly Tour Pro
Kirschbaum XPLOSIVE SPEED and Yonex PolyTour Pro showcase robust power, commendable control, and fair spin potential.
In my experience, both strings have impressive power generation and reliable control on groundstrokes and attacking shots, exhibiting consistent performance across diverse playing styles.
However, the Yonex PolyTour Pro’s ability to seamlessly blend power and spin offer more finesse in generating spin-infused shots than the XPLOSIVE SPEED.
Furthermore, while both strings demonstrate good tension maintenance, the Yonex PolyTour Pro edges ahead in durability, showing slightly better resistance to wear and tear and maintaining its playability over a more extended period.
On the affordability front, the XPLOSIVE SPEED emerges as a cost-effective choice, delivering an impressive performance at a more budget-friendly price point.
Who Kirschbaum Xplosive Speed Is For
Kirschbaum XPLOSIVE SPEED caters to a broad spectrum of players, from amateurs to advanced-level individuals seeking a versatile string.
It suits aggressive all-court players, harmonising power and feel, enabling them to unleash potent shots and confidently navigate the court, seizing opportunities to dominate at the net.
If you’re an advanced club player or higher level but don’t break strings and you like more of an elastic poly, I recommend trying this string.
However, for players emphasising control and precise shot placement, a more control-focused spin-oriented string might better suit their playing style.
Therefore, despite its multifaceted performance, I’d hesitate to recommend this string to heavy-hitting professional-level players due to its durability and potential for lack of control, which might not meet the rigorous demands of extended high-level play.
Big hitters will need several rackets for a match and will be forced to restring often. While sponsored players might circumvent this issue, those without sponsorships will soon rack up the costs.
Finally, for higher-level juniors who have started breaking multifilament strings too quickly, XPLOSIVE Speed is also worth considering as it retains the comfort and effortless power you get in a softer string and is a nice transition.
- Power Generation: The string excels in delivering power, especially on groundstrokes and aggressive shots, enabling players to control rallies with less physical effort.
- Comfort and Vibration Dampening: Its multifilament-like feel and soft composition provide excellent comfort, reducing unwanted vibrations and minimising strain on the arm.
- Value for Money: Despite its high performance, the XPLOSIVE SPEED is priced competitively, making it an excellent choice for players seeking quality without breaking the bank.
- Durability Concerns: The string tends to break relatively quickly, especially for heavy hitters, which may not be ideal for professional-level play.
- Spin-Power-Control Trade-off: While the string offers good power, players may find it challenging to balance spin, control and power, especially with certain racket types.