String Playtest: Solinco Tour Bite 17, 18

Solinco tells us that Tour Bite is a newly developed, high-performance, and versatile monofilament co-polyester string designed to generate extreme power, and intense spin and bite.

According to Solinco, Tour Bite uses an innovative, proprietary composite formula of high-tech polyester resin compounded with new, performance enhancing additives. The distinct composition and make-up of Solinco's co-polyester strings provide the basis for their unique feel and playing characteristics.

Solinco says its co-polyester strings use the most innovative and cutting-edge engineering procedures that involve the mastering of three or more separate heating and cooling stages. Each distinct stage is carefully executed at specifically designed temperatures, durations, and with specialized extrusion techniques and molds to improve specific playing characteristics of each string. Solinco even matches the material with the shape of the string for maximum performance.

Solinco tells us its strings are quickly gaining popularity. Solinco is the official string of the 2005 NCAA Champion UCLA Men's Tennis Team, the 2006 NCAA Champion Pepperdine Men's Tennis Team, Virginia Tech Men's Tennis Team, and East Tennessee State University. Touring pros such as Kevin Kim, Lester Cook, Cecil Mamiit, and Leonardo Tavares have also adopted Solinco.

It is recommended for competitive and performance-focused players demanding the absolute highest levels of spin, bite, power, and control.

Tour Bite is available in 16, 16L, 17, and 18 gauges in silver only. It is priced from $11.50 for 40-foot sets, $155 for 656-foot reels. For more information or to order, email Solinco sales at sales@solincosports.com, or visit solincosports.com.

In the lab

We tested both the 17 and 18 gauges of Tour Bite. The coils measured 40 feet. We recorded stringbed stiffness immediately after stringing at 60 pounds in a Wilson Pro Staff 6.1 95 (16 x 18 pattern) on a constant-pull machine. We remeasured after 24 hours (no playing) for tension loss, as shown in the table. Our control string, Prince Synthetic Gut Original Gold 16, measured 78 RDC units immediately after stringing and 71 RDC units after 24 hours, representing a 9 percent tension loss.

Solinco Tour Bite 17 gauge 18 gauge
Diameter unstrung (mm) 1.22-1.25 1.18-1.20
Diameter strung (mm) 1.18-1.22 1.15-1.16
String weight (grams) 14 13
RDC stringbed stiffness new 74 72
RDC stringbed stiffness after 24 hours 68 66
Tension loss percentage after 24 hours 9 8
Number of playtesters 36 39

The string was tested for five weeks by USRSA playtesters with NTRP ratings from 3.5 to 6.0. These are blind tests, with playtesters receiving unmarked strings in unmarked packages. We did advise playtesters to reduce tension by 7-12 percent compared to nylon, as recommended by Solinco.

Tour Bite seems more ornery to handle than other polys, but only a little. We had more problems weaving the last crosses than we did with coil memory.

Solinco Tour Bite 17 gauge 18 gauge
Broke during stringing 0 0
Excess coil memory 12 9
Difficulty tying knots 2 4
Friction burn 3 2

On the court

Solinco made it a good day to be a USRSA string tester. Tour Bite 17 finished with an incredible seven ratings of well above average in Playability, Durability, Power, Control, Spin Potential, Tension Retention, and Resistance to Movement. Of these, the results for Spin Potential make Tour Bite 17 the best string we've ever tested for Spin Potential. To back that up, Tour Bite 17 also came in 13th best in the Power category and 15th best for Resistance to Movement. The overall score for Tour Bite 17 was well above average.

Solinco Tour Bite 17 gauge 18 gauge
Average playtest duration 20.2 26.5
Broke during play 2 2
Breakage at (hours) 8, 15 5, 11

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